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.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Twenty four hours from now I shall be boarding a plane for Gansu. My term finished last Friday and I don't have any work arranged until my week training new teachers beginning 22 February. I don't start back at school until 1st March. I'll be splitting the time between Baiyin and England and thought I'd mention an odd reversal of feelings that I have. Going to Baiyin where I was teaching for three years feels like going home but going to England, where I lived for more than fifty years feels like I'm going on holiday. I know it's probably because I'm coming back to China and intend to spend at least another couple of years here but it still seems odd to me.
Anyway, that means that I won't be able to post here for a couple of months. So much for my rsolution to be more active on my blog and less active on Facebook.
Oh well, see you later.

Where credit's due...

I wonder how Dick Van Dyke feels about, according to the IMDB,  being credited immediately below Crystal The Monkey on the movie Night At The Museum 3.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Not a good place for a walk

I like living in Yangshuo. I really do. It has a lot going for it. Unfortunately it has one or two things in the debit column too. I decided to go for a walk today, time having dulled the memory of why I don't go for walks in Yangshuo. I was soon reminded. It simply isn't a city where it's possible to enjoy a pleasant stroll. There is one walk that is a circular stroll down by the river and round  until you get back into town but that's about it and it does get a bit tedious when there are no other places to go.
No other places to go on foot anyway. Today I went over the bridge and started walking out towards Xingping. I persevered for about forty-five minutes and then gave up and came back. The trouble is that the roads simply aren't designed with pedestrians in mind. There is nowhere for people to actually walk. Often you either have a long drop or a high hedge two centimetres to one side of you and an endless stream of criminally insane drivers hurtling past two centimetres to the other side. Those aren't the only hazards to contend with, either. The narrow strip where you are walking has frequent deep potholes apparently designed to trip the unwary and equally frequent subtle changes of level so that the ground isn't quite where your brain thinks it ought to be and you run the risk of breaking your ankle from a misstep. Assuming that you manage to concentrate hard enough to avoid the quarter of a second lapse in attention that will get you killed by one of these obstacles there is a pretty good chance that you'll contract some fatal lung condition from the air which is so polluted by car exhaust emissions that a blue haze prevents you seeing clearly a whole mountain that is less than half a mile away. China has emission control laws but you certainly wouldn't believe it from walking around in Yangshuo.
Anyway my whole walk was a singularly unpleasant experience. So I won't be doing it again until the memory of this time has also faded.

Is that the right way round?

Just followed links from one of the ESL sites that I follow to a large collection of downloadable ebooks. Interesting to see that while The Bible was classified as factual, Darwin's Origin of Species was filed under science fiction. Says quite a lot about the people who run the site.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Delivering New Content

I've neglected this blog in the last year.
The post count says sixty-five but that's a bit of a lie. It's as misleading as the medical claims on a TV advert for toothpaste. This blog has been clinically proven to have more than five posts a month on average. Except that it hasn't, has it? Of those sixty-five posts at least twenty-five of them were reposted from things I'd put on Facebook so that the actual count for the year is no more than forty. Probably rather fewer.
So for a while I shall return to posting a few things here.
There may still be reposting going on but I'll try to, as they say in television circles, “deliver new content”.
So let's begin with last night's New Year celebration at The Lounge, an ex-pats bar in Yangshuo. I go there a lot but usually there are no more than about ten people in – sometimes just me and Adam, and he owns it! Last night was different - it was packed. There's a band that plays every week at another bar in town and they had set up their equipment in the lobby of the adjoining hotel (which, bizarrely, seems to only have guests about once a year). There were cheap drinks and free food. There were fireworks. And there was possibly the most surreal spectacle that I have ever witnessed outside a David Lynch movie.
At one point in the evening there was something Adam described to me as a silent disco. Sets of cordless headphones were handed out to people who could put them on and then choose from one of two different playlists being piped into them. The music wasn't audible to those of us without them.
These headphone-wearing customers listened to the music and danced to it while the room itself was filled with an eerie silence broken only by the shuffling of their feet on the tiled floor. To make it even more bizarre all the headphones came equipped with flashing red and blue lights and the room lighting was subdued to the point where tripping over the furniture became a major hazard.
It all went on for about twenty minutes and the sight of twenty or so people dancing to music that only they could hear was unbelievably weird. It looked like a cross between scenes from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and an early Doctor Who episode where the Cybermen were busy taking over people's brains with silver headsets.

Anyway, it was a passably jolly evening over all. I've had far worse New Year's Eves in the past. Hopefully it will bode well for the forthcoming year.