01 February, 2010

Christmas Abroad

You know that you've been away a long time when you realise that your fingers have forgotten how to type.

Merry Christmas!

Visiting our Chinese half of the family is always a lovely experience, but I have to admit that it is good to be home.

"What should they know of England
who only England know?"

To me, Kipling's words used to mean "travel the world, broaden your mind".  

Now, I feel that the meaning of those words has changed to "the purpose of travelling is to remind yourself how much you love your home".

The Li river, near Guilin, is possibly the only famous sight in China that remains relatively unspoiled,
but they're working on it

After travelling the length of China, the thought of returning to our humble house became mightily appealing.  Our house may be a building site, with radiators and floors removed, but it's home.  After a few weeks, everywhere seems ghastly when compared with the halcyon aura of your home.

We arrived back in Oxford at midnight, greeted by a gentle snowstorm.  Lei's mother is staying with us, her first trip outside of China, and the city welcomed her with a full display of its snow-covered beauty.

Almost immediately afterwards, I was sent off to the south coast of Spain for a conference...

(More bad cartoons may be found on my much-neglected Facebook page, as ever)

The tropical Mediterranean climate came as rather a shock, after the snow of Beijing and England.

It takes just six minutes for the sun to rise above the horizon at this time of year

I even found that it was impossible to enjoy a restaurant surrounded by an aquarium without my dear wife to experience it with me.  Although it was rather impressive...


I'm probably going to start adopting the practice of the late pope, HH John Paul II, and start kissing the tarmac every time I land at home.  It really is great to be back.  

I have a few tong of various decent cakes from one of my favourite shops in Beijing (run by a friend of MarshalN, no less), and some others from another decent shop in Maliandao, so please watch your mailboxes for strange samples arriving whenever I finally get around to unpacking.

Little Brother works his magic


五行雲子 said...

Welcome back to Blighty.. I did wonder what you had been up to.


Bret said...

Welcome back. I cant imagine the torture of being deprived of the comfort and solitude that my tea table brings to my daily well being. Unless I have a good session at the table, my day is just screwed. Although I,m sure you found many treasures while away, hard to fully appreciate them in an environment other than home.

Hobbes said...

Dear John,

Thanks - absence makes the heart grow fonder!

Dear Bret,

You know, my house has been in a state of renovation for so long that I've almost forgotten what it is like to sit down at the tea-table... I'm looking forward to being able to unpack my tetsubin in a few weeks. :)



Kim said...

Ahhh...shout it from the roof-tops - the half-dipper is back !!

Hobbes said...

Back like that annoying rash that you just can't shift, no matter how much medication you apply...

Kim said...

Maybe I should send you some samples of ointment instead of tea - as I am in fact a dermatologist :)

Maitre_Tea said...

Welcome back!

Guilin is gorgeous...it's perhaps the only place in China I would consider swimming in the water...though I did see a drowned young pig in the river

Scott said...

Good to see you back. Looking forward to more pictures!

Adam Yusko said...

Welcome back, and view your time off as a undisturbed aging time for your cakes.

Can not wait to start reading many more great posts.

Edward said...

Yes. Welcome back! Just curious, where was the fishy restaurant?

Hobbes said...

Thanks, all.

Edward - it's in Valencia' Oceanografico. Go there!



speakfreely said...

Welcome back! Been missing the Half Dipper.

"After a few weeks, everywhere seems ghastly when compared with the halcyon aura of your home."

Takes me about two months on the road before I start getting that feeling, but I know exactly what you mean.

Janneman said...

Welcome home good Sir! So good to see the blog jumping back to life again!

sp1key said...

Some gorgeous scenery there. Glad to have you back and connected =)

TacoBell said...

Welcome home. Little brother's shop does look magical. I agree Guilin is gorgeous. Good luck with your renovation. I just had to replace a couch and rug...traumatic enough. Amazing what one teething german shepherd can accomplish in an afternoon

Hobbes said...

Thank'ee, all!

MarshalN said...

Is that Xiaomei on the right? She looks serious. Were they posing?

Hobbes said...

I re-used a photo from summer 2007, because I didn't have my camera with me this time - in fact, Xiaomei was elsewhere when we came through recently, so we didn't get to meet.

In this photo, I think Xiaomei is contemplative! No posing occurred, at least, as far as I recall. She's often much bubblier, of course.