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Showing posts from March, 2018

A Model Husband

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To be honest, I did not think that my dear wife Irena would get some more modelling work quite so soon. But I was wrong. As all of my regular readers will have noted by now, it does not happen very often, my being wrong, but it does actually happen occasionally.
Anyway, Irena’s Friday morning meant a train journey to Guangzhou, surely one of the most impossibly-spelt words in that non-existent language known as Pinyin, and then five hours in front of the cameras. Just in case you are interested, “Guangzhou” is actually pronounced “Gwanjo”, but then how should (and how would) you pronounce “Cholmondeley”? It was all in aid of a UK cosmetics company (I am not allowed to mention the name) and Irena’s job was to tell everyone how this company has developed an exciting series of skincare products and creams that use the power of Nature and plant extracts. Irisha’s speech was in Chinglish, a language that really does seem to exist and is in fact regularly used in China. She had to deliver th…

Shoot Out

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My dear Irisha was out rather late the other night. In fact, she did not get home until 4am. So was she out partying? Another night out on the town? No, she had a “bit part” in a film. In fact, Irena has now had quite a few modelling jobs over the last couple of years, in Guanghzou, Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Some have involved making films, while others have been photoshoots for various advertisements, such as furniture. Occasionally she has been at the opening of an exhibition or special event (as part of a sort of “rent-a-crowd”). The art exhibition thing that she did in Hong Kong was all about trying to persuade people to “invest” in some rather dodgy “artwork” and she did not enjoy doing that.

As the husband of an international model, I have learned a bit about what it is like to do some modelling work. First of all, it is a completely unreliable and precarious job, if indeed you can call it a “job” at all. You just never know when or if you will have any work. Sometimes a month or m…

Boys' Toys

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Today it is exactly three months to go before I retire, so of course I spend a lot of my time crossing off the days and thinking about what I am going to do once I have come to the end of my teaching career. No more boring meetings, for one thing – three this week – and I will not have to check that the alarm clock is set to go off at 5.30am. In fact, I might even give away my alarm clock and not bother having one at all.
However, one of my main pleasures is thinking about what we are going to spend our money on over the summer and when we return from the Crimea. (That is, of course, if we actually go to the Crimea. The British government and Mr. Putin are not the best of friends at the moment.)
I once tried skateboarding, when I was about 15. It was fun, but falling off a skateboard onto concrete or tarmac is probably a lot more painful than falling off a snowboard onto snow. How difficult can snowboarding be? Okay, so we do not have any draglifts or chairlifts in Kalotina, but on the …

Spring in Shenzhen

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There are four seasons here in southern China, but they are rather different to the ones you get in Europe. Most new expats, especially teachers like me, arrive at the end of the summer. It is hot and wet. Either it will be raining or else it is about to rain or actually it does not matter whether it is raining or not because you are already sweating so much that you’re soaked anyway. Then, sometime around the beginning of October, it stops raining and the weather is pleasantly warm and dry. This continues right on into December, but in January you will get a few cold weeks. No snow or frost or anything like that, but it will be a lot colder, especially if your apartment only has single glazing and the windows do not fit properly. Then, around the beginning of March, it warms up and you get some pleasant and fairly dry weather through to the middle of May, when the rain seriously begins and Shenzhen becomes one big sauna.
I cannot believe that I have written so much about the weather! …

It's All Over Now, Baby Red

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Yesterday I received my little red envelope, hongbao, from my school and it finally signalled the end of the Chinese New Year. Yes, it is nice to get a little present to welcome you back to school, at the start of the new semester. 100RMB is not much, but it is a little Chinese New Year tradition to give these red envelopes and one I rather like. 

Apologies for the Dylan-themed title. (My dear Irisha hates Bob D's music, but I always listen to it while marking my class's Maths homework.)


The CNY all started back in early February, with the Miaohui that we had at the end of the semester. No, Miaohui is not a cat being sick: it is a wonderful celebration of Chinese culture and traditions. Lots of traditional music, food, dancing, costumes and, of course, red. Just about everything should be red, as red is a lucky colour in China, well-known for its ghost-busting properties, as readers of my blog will already know. In fact, a red dog appeared in the school's foyer, to mark the …