A Long, Tough Winter

It has been one long, tough winter for the plants on our roof terrace. They had to deal with inept gardeners as The Hubs and I took turns overwatering and underwatering them, they had to survive an onslaught by mealey bugs and white flies (horrid little critters, both of them), and then after they’d survived all that, they were subjected to Poppy’s unusual brand of botanical experiments: namely digging up said plants, and seeing how they fared with their roots in the air and their leaves in the ground (the answer to that one: not well). Continue reading

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A Battle of Persistence

It’s a little known fact that spiders are the most persistent animal out there. This fact is little known because I just made it up, but it should be true because my god are those critters stubborn.

At this time of year Hong Kong is already hot and humid (gravity might as well not exist as far as my frizz is concerned), and that means spiders are appearing from whatever place they have been hiding all winter. Said spiders are still small at this point but they have a predilection for weaving their webs across hiking trails at face height. Yep.

I go hiking daily, and at the moment this is how it goes:

1. Celine and Poppy arrive at hiking trails stupidly early so no one has been yet. Celine clears the spiderwebs with a stick as she walks. Poppy finds a spot of wet mud and rolls around in it (the latter is unrelated but is a frequent enough occurrence to warrant a mention) Continue reading

What gives, mother nature?

Seriously, what gives?

There are plenty of green-thumbed-mother-earth types out there. I say this with envy because I, sadly, am not one of them. Most house plants I’ve owned (they have been few and far between) have withered and died within seconds of entering my home. This includes a cactus. Yes, I overwatered it.

But still, I figured that outdoor plants are resilient, even if they are potted plants. So, as long as I keep them watered and in the sunshine, they’ll be fine, right? Continue reading

Scrubbed Walls and RSI

I think I may have SRSI (Scrubbing Repetitive Strain Injury). What’s that, you ask?

It’s an injury that afflicts those who have to pry the photo frames they put up on the wall using double sided tape.

You see, we are moving apartments tomorrow, which is epically exciting. We have found somewhere with good natural light (hard to find Hong Kong, where buildings are so close to each other you could spit a cherry stone and easily hit your neighbour’s windows), with an oven (because life without an oven is just not worth living) and with an open plan kitchen (about as common as hen’s teeth). These things are all rare individually but together they’re Hong Kong Real Estate Gold Dust. The Jackpot. The Holy Grail.

When you find such an apartment the only thing to do is bring a sleeping bag with you, change the locks, and barricade yourself inside, declaring squatters rights until the flat is yours. To do anything else is to risk losing it. Which is why I won’t be leaving our new apartment, nor answering calls for the next three months, at which point the flat will become mine.

Just joking.

It takes six months. Continue reading

Shanghai, puzzles, and bladder pressure.

The husband and I went to Shanghai for a long weekend just recently. I know it sounds pretty exotic, but for us it’s actually only two and a half hours by plane, so kind of like going from New York to – I don’t know, Boston? Philly? I have no concept really. Suffice to say it’s just around the corner.

So anyway – you know when you’re on holiday with your significant other, and it’s a Saturday night, and you decide to go to a bar together for a drink, and you just walk in through the door?

Well, let me tell you, that is SO passé. So 2013. It’s boring. It’s mundane. It’s banal.We westerners are way behind the times.  Continue reading

V is for Views and Vistas of the Hong Kong New Territories

Over Easter, my husband and I spent the long weekend hiking up in Northern Hong Kong, in the New Territories. We did half of the Maclehose Trail, a huge 100k trail that crosses the whole of the New Territories from East to West. Some nutters athletes do this all in one go for the annual Trailwaker race. A friend of Will’s holds the record with his team for doing all 100k in just over 15hours. I know, I don’t get it either. It makes me want to lie down and have a snooze.

The hike was really good fun, and the views were breathtaking. On the first day we did 17k, on the second day 22k, and 16k on the third day (we had aimed for 28k but our legs gave out. Again how anyone does 100k in one go is beyond me). We climbed up around 1k of elevation a day, and descended about that much. I don’t know if what we climbed are big hills or small mountains. I’m going for small mountains because it sounds much more impressive.

What was incredibly though was the sheer variety of the views. At times it felt like we were going from one country to another, what we were seeing was so different.

We started off at High Island Reservoir, where the water was an incredible turquoise colour:

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Doesn’t this look like it’s right out of a James Bond film? It could be part of Dr No’s lair.

Continue reading