Monthly Archives: June 2013

The fight goes on

A woman’s home is her fortress

Too much of a good thing

Sometimes too much of a good thing can be bad.  In Britain we crave the sun.  Here we avoid it like the plague; the source of Vitamin D in plentiful supply.  I don’t understand why there aren’t solar panels everywhere capitalising on all this free natural energy.

Living in the ‘countryside’, yes indeed the New Territories is considered that, I am enjoying the open space, greenery, fresh air, birdsong, butterflies.  But here again too much nature can also be a pain.

The battle with the mosquitoes are on-going but I am slowly developing clever tactics.  Now the army of giant black ants have joined forces.  These are not your common garden variety ants but super resistant ants; an excellent illustration of Darwin’s survival of the fittest.

The better Hong Kong



a word


hard to grasp gossamer

caught  by the breeze

through slippery fingers

takes flight

On-going battle


Thus far I have found the people of Hong Kong very honest.  Hope I don’t offend anyone by confessing that this came as a pleasant surprise.  Don’t get me wrong, it  isn’t that I think they are all crooks; more that the pressure to make ends meet so huge that pennies from heaven, I assumed, would be very welcome!

The other day I forgot to take the money from the ATM (cashpoint) and the guy behind reminded me.   And a couple of times I had handed over an extra twenty dollar and the traders have returned it.  This is admirable considering how hard they have to work; yet their pride and sense of fairness won’t allow them to pocket undeserving gains, however small.

So when mistakenly a shop assistant put in the bag a top I hadn’t paid for it wasn’t such a hard decision to return it.  To be honest, I didn’t really like it.

I know from observing working life here that not only are high standards a given but mistakes are not tolerated.  When they do the stock check the crime will be uncovered.  With any luck she might get away with a severe reprimand or formal warning; otherwise she would have to compensate the loss.  The worst scenario is both.   Even if she wasn’t the perpetrator, she was still lax in allowing him/her to get away.

For a milli-second I was tempted, as the top would have been an ideal gift; so I slept on it.  I suppose you can guess the outcome.  The manageress kept thanking me as I returned the top to its rightful home.  Indeed, the culprit would have had her salary deducted and no doubt a black mark against her name.  Doing the right thing felt good.  The sales assistant has the other honest people to thank.  Karma.

How the other half live

I have the privilege of living right next to a very posh ‘gated’ community full of ex-pats and well-to-do locals.  There is no physical gate but security guards checking cars going in and even pedestrian traffic.  However I can enjoy their facilities such as landscaped gardens, supermarket, cashpoint machine, bakery and waiting taxis.

The supermarket is convenient for rainy lazy days and saves lugging heavy bottles and cans around.  The downside is as it is catering for the luxurious private estate the prices are rather inflated and I laughed when I saw products from Waitrose.  Yoghurt and cheese and any imports are extortionate.  Anyway I’d much rather eat the fresh local produce.  And best of all, I can sneakily push the trolley just short of the guard’s station which means it is only a little further till I make it back.

But that’s where it ends.  I am denied access to the much envied private minibus which shuttles residents and their maids mainly from the Phillipines and Indonesia back and forth to Tai Po to buy groceries.  It is a door to door service.  Whilst, I on the hand have to battle through the heat and humidity and/or heavy rain to the nearest bus stop 5 minutes away.  It doesn’t sound too far but trust me that particular combination is a real killer, especially if you are returning laden with shopping bags.

Then there is the country club…  Imagine my delight when one day a banner appeared announcing that its membership was now open to non-residents.  I just wanted to take advantage of their swimming pool, right on my doorstep.  So I boldly went to enquire what the fees might be.  I was gobsmacked: lifetime membership would be a cool 5 million HK dollars or an annual fee just 1.5 million.  As if that wasn’t enough, in addition there is a monthly fee of $4,200.  ‘And just for swimming?’ I ventured to whispered after recovering from the shock.  But it was all or nothing.  I was reminded that I could enjoy all the facilities: playing golf, tennis, squash, state of the art gyms, aerobics classes, professional swimming coaches, bars, a restaurant and so on and so forth.  And even better your spouse, children under 21 become automatic members and you get the all important permit to park your car.  I summoned up my best acting skills and said that I would take the brochure away and think about it.  Yeah right.

As taxi drivers are familiar with the name of this top end development and not my hamlet, I always tell them to head that way.  They always want to take me through the security barrier to drop me off but I tell them to stop in front of the entrance.  They assume I am filthy rich, have maids and drive around in posh cars.  They couldn’t be more wrong.  And because I shop in the local supermarket that I am a resident.

I don’t enlighten them as for once I’d like to indulge in the fantasy of being so wealthy that you don’t have to worry about money.  A huge wad doesn’t buy you happiness but it certainly smooths the way and reduces anxiety about the future.  And often while perusing the reduced meat in the chiller; by the way nobody else does this as money is not an issue, I dream that one day some multi-millionaire will spot me and find me irrestible and move me into his decadent penthouse.  Come on, a girl can dream, especially with my makeover.

Boiler drama

Challenging Weather

%d bloggers like this: