Blog News

1. Comments are still disabled though I am thinking of enabling them again.

2. There are now several extra pages - Poetry Index, Travel, Education, Childish Things - accessible at the top of the page. They index entires before October 2013.

3. I will, in the next few weeks, be adding new pages with other indexes.

Monday, 3 March 2014


Well things didn't turn out too badly though the journey was a bit of a nightmare. It went like this.

7 pm Sunday taxi to station
8 pm Sunday train to Lanzhou arrive 11 pm
1:45 am Monday train to XiAn arrive 10 a.m, sitting all the way (too late to book sleeper) while three seats away someone spent the whole night playing a very loud computer game and ignoring pleas to stop.
11 am Monday to 5 pm Monday sleep in hostel
5 pm Monday drive to airport arrive 18 pm
7 pm Monday flight Guilin arrive 9:45 pm
19 pm car to Yangshuo, arrive 11:30 pm

Then sleep

As you might imagine, all that sitting with my knee bent left my leg feeling like someone had attacked it with an axe. Still I had Tuesday to recover.

Over the next two weeks I delivered the training and assessed the teachers lessons and everything went well. My leg improved to the point where I could walk properly without the stick and by now I can hardly tell that there was ever a problem. I spent quite a bit of time and money in the London Tavern and the Kali Mirch Indian Restaurant and the two weeks were pretty much a success all round.

The fly in the ointment was the inland revenue who, in spite of my having completed all the necessary paperwork three years ago, decided to send me a letter telling me that if I hadn't completed a tax return by 31st January they would be fining me 100 pounds plus 10 pounds a day. Naturally they didn't give me any way to contact them other than by letter (which would take too long) or in person (which is clearly impossible). A colleague with an internationally enabled phone left a message for my brother to contact me - sadly her wording left something to be desired and threw my brother into a panic as he heard on his answerphone "You must contact your brother immediately, there is a serious emergency".

You can well imagine the state of panic that caused him to try to contact everyone on my Facebook friends list while I was safely asleep in my bed.

Once we sorted out that I was alive and uninjured but in need of some help contacting the IR we proceded with the tortuous and arcane process of persuading them of their error - a process that I expect will take some time yet.

And so I returned to Baiyin but I have decided that at the end of this semester I shall request a transfer to another city. There are now only two foreigners here and neither of us feels we are getting great service from the people who are responsible for helping us. There is a constant battle that goes on between us about all sorts of things from the payment of our salary to the location of our apartments. And it's wearing me down. The schools and the kids are great but I've fallen out of love with the city.
Truthfully I would have gone six months ago but I had a reason to stay. And that brings me to the latest news in this round-up. For a couple of months it has been clear that while we still referred to each other as boyfriend and girlfriend, Teresa and I were functioning as friends who occasionally had dinner together. After some discussion, yesterday, we decided to just face the reality that this is in fact all we are so my reason for staying no longer exists - friends I can fine anywhere.

So there you have it. The job is still interesting and the classes are great but overall the feeling at the moment is a bit mixed. Nothing that a change of scenery in six months won't cure though.