Stoptober…

The first weekend was another holiday weekend and we did very little. 

The universal suffrage movement has been slightly inconvenienced the city all month and we’ve all but stopped taking buses or taxis because of the congestion. It’s gonna be a long stubborn waiting game I think.

 

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We went one day at the holiday weekend to the water fall at Tai O with David and Ling and pretty much just hung out the rest of the time. I’m revving up for my market stall in November and we have acquired a fake dog, named The Ice King, to continue with the dog training.

 

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We had a staff day out on the third Friday. We went to a local out reach farm for a day out learning about organic farming and team building activities.
 
The last weekend of this month we where all ready for a fun boat party with our mates Stevo and Anjeli among others, until Jake ate the chocolate cake I had baked for the party. You know how chocolate is poisonous to dogs? Yeah, 3 hours in the vet and $700 later we came home with a grumpy dog full of charcoal tablets. I stayed in to watch him while the boys went to the party. I got some drawing done and he was totally fine, he could have at least have acted sick while I was missing the party! Anyway, that was another weekend out the way and It’s November next weekend. Eeek!

 

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Not much else to report other than we have clocked up about 50miles of trail runs which I’m quietly proud off.

 

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Sweaty September

We’ve started training at the weekends for these four marathons we’ll be doing at the end of the year. I also hope that it will save us some monies because we’ll be running instead of going out to dinner or something. We’ll see how it goes.
 
First was busy, week we had dinner with Will and Helena and their kids at their place on the Thursday. Mexican food for the win! Off to the Philharmonic on Friday then directly to a junk trip on Saturday.
 
Simon and Jo organised it and it was a fun crowd excited to be away form their children. Some how the boat ran out of beer and a quite frustrated birthday boy (Simon) insisted the driver took us to the nearest dock to buy more. It worked out well in the end but I don’t know if they’d organise anything with a local company again…
 

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September the 9th was a local holiday so I had taken the 8th off to do my own thing. Mostly drawing things. The short week was nice and once again we where in to a weekend of eating out.
 
We had lunch with Ling, Dave and Kim at the Japanese place we all love but the service is really going down hill and we where pretty disappointed.
 
Sunday we ran from Mui Wo over to Discovery Bay where we tried to catch the last of the Discovery Bay market but we didn’t make it in time. Just time for one beer with Anjeli and Stevo before catching the boat home.

 

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On to a full week of work and out the other side to our Friday Night Referendum Party. Everyone seemed to have a good time except Pete because a girl passed out in his bed and he is just too nice to just tell her to take a hike so he can have a sleep. Dinner out the Saturday with Kimberly, Steph, Jr and Justin. We tried to go to the Thai place near us but its getting crazy popular so we had to eat at the Indian. Which is just as nice but, you know, we where set for Thai food.
 
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Another week and then we where off to see the Pet Shop Boys! Honestly, to five live acts! Even in awful Hong Kong they killed it. LASERS!!! Home reasonable early and ready for Kimberly’s birthday night out on Saturday.

 

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Phew, pretty busy month.
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Austerity August

Yeah, It’s always tight after coming back from holiday and this month on August was no exception. Although we where still  mad busy!

 

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First weekend was Pete and Jamie’s Junk trip. Kimberly did an amazing job organising the whole thing and it was a super nice crowd. We where made late leaving by 2 idiot holes going to Sai Kung instead of Central but once we where away it was plain sailing. See what I did there…?

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The next weekend was a fish farm for Dave’s Birthday. Graeme did some wakeboarding and I chatted and caught up with folk. Straight from there to a joint hen/stag/leaving party for Team Java. I’m gonna miss Pete and Jamie so much 😦 But now we have somewhere to stay if we ever get to Chicago.
 
One more week of uneventful work and we hoped for a quite weekend. Pete moved in on the Saturday, he’s staying with us till his green card comes through and we just ate delicious curry and drank excellent sake. Yes, it was an brilliant combination.

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Another junk and now I know why we’re totally skint but tis the season and all that. This time it was Emma Kerr’s celebration of her finishing uni. Dadea and Alison where here for a 2 day smash and grab so we took them with us to see a different side of Hong Kong.
 
O my god five week months are tough. My good friends had their official office launch party on the Wednesday. Only one year after they officially started their business. The weekend we where hiking in Dai Long Wan for Kitty’s birthday.
 
This month I also set up a website for my art work. It’s small for now but hopefully it will grow. Check it out at this link www.alabamapark.blogspot.com
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July Blog

This July we where home in the UK for 17days, so to follow is the blow by blow account of our holiday as is expected. So best get a cup of tea now before you start.
 
Taking the direct flight to London is great because it means I can have a coffee as late as I want and I can officially say that airport beer is among one of the best beers in the world. The flight was uneventful. Gurning babies no longer irk me as much as they once did. I just now wonder if the parents are deliberate self harmers.
 
Landing in Glasgow on the Friday morning we met Gordon, Moira, Brenda and Moira at the airport. The ladies where boosting of to Holland for the weekend to see Andre Rieu in concert. After our first square sausage in the country we popped back to the house for showers and to re-arrange the bags for the week ahead. It was quite nice to have no one know we where in town so we could do all the dreary first day stuff like exchange monies, pick up gifts, set up the telephone and visit the bank in peace. We drank some tea with Margaret before some beers with Sandy, Liz, Morag and Alex before a take out curry and bed. Let the breakneck tour begin!
 
Saturday we went for a run, trying to start the holiday with the best intentions.We saw the ducks and a few dogs before getting back in time to head in to town. We had a coffee at the train station with Gordon before catching the train up to Inverurie. The train was nice and peaceful as we read the paper and I did my nails. It was still lovely and sunny as we got off the train about 6pm so once we have set up in the hotel we met Baz and Louise in the first pub we spied. After some disappointing fish and chips Gerry came down and Baz and Louise departed. The strange this about all the pubs up there was that they all started playing REALLY loud 90s house music about 9pm. Which was strange because absolutely no one was paying any attention to it. I’m talking about old man pubs where everyone just stares in to their pints playing REALLY loud awful music on a terrible sound system. Totally bizarre.We headed off at last orders to get a good sleep in before the next day.
 
The wedding on Sunday was gorgeous. Absolutely lovely. Ruthra looked breathtaking and the venue was so pretty. After the ceremony we spent sometime exploring the house grounds before dinner and the dancing. A wonderful day in all.
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Monday and we where up early to catch the plane down to London town. After getting in and having a mooch around Camden we had some beers with Williams in the same pub we always go to. Then from there on to dinner with Tod, Sally, Jasper, Lisa, Neal and Rachael. It was great to see everyone looking so well and sounding so interested and optimistic. Urgh, I want to move to London so much!!!!
 
 
Tuesday morning and while trying to pay for our next night in the hostel, they inform us that we had no reservation. Thanks a lot booking.com! In the end we just had to sit about waiting for the staff to find us somewhere else to stay. They where really really helpful but it was still a pain in the arse. In the end Tod and Salloy gave us a lift up to the new hostel before boosting up the road. We popped over to the British Museum ourselves to see the (terrifying) mummy exhibition. It’s really exciting how they can use technology to see inside the mummies now. They also had 3D printed models of the amulets inside the wrappings! Very cool!  Back to the hostel for a quick turn around before back out to the Shard for dinner and drinks. The bar in the tower is a gin bar and we had a lovely time drinking local gin and marveling at the view. I thought that it might be anti-climactic being only 50 stories high but London is quite a low city and the scale was perfect. The city looked wonderful in the evening sun. The dinner was as fabulous as the view but they obviously have some teething problems with the staffing. The poor sommelier simply had too many tables to manage. While she was doing a great job, she was run totally off her feet while the matradee just gawped about like a fat useless lump. I’m sure those glitches will be ironed out soon. Either that or it will be deserted by locals as soon as the novelty wears off. We’ll be back next year to find out.
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Wednesday we ventured in to Bethnal Green, where a junkie spectacularly tripped over me, to eat brunch with Jenn Wu.  A quick 8 year catch up and we where off again to catch the train to picture postcard Princes Risbourgh to meet Mum and Dad. Gran was looking excellent as always and we had a lovely lunch of quiche, cold meat and salad. Followed by tea and cake. I feel like we never really stay long enough there but that is the unfortunate truth of everyone being so far apart! That evening we all drove up to Lincoln. Seeing Johnny and Sammy and all staying in the house was quite fun.
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Thursday we spent a quiet day in Lincoln. We walked to town and drank coffee before meeting Jimbo’s dad to collect the guitar. In the evening we ate BBQ and played board games. I love being there because I can properly hang out with my family because we do no know one other person in that whole town. It was excellent.
 
Friday I went for a run in the common. It was really exhilarating and really lovely to be by myself for a time but I can’t expect to be able to fit it in when we get back up north and that kinda makes me sad and full of dread. We all went up to the Lincoln Life Museum to learn about the cities tank and tractor making history before coming home and getting ready for dinner. We had dinner at the Bronze Pig and it was delicious. It may be the most unsafe place in the UK according to most statistics but they sure have some excellent restaurants!
 
Saturday already and after a big breakfast we got the train the Edinburgh. Meeting Al off the train we got to see his new flat and it looks awesome. Martin and Meryl came over and we ate dinner in the flat before heading to the pub. Kirk, Ben Peggy and some other Edinburgh folk joined us before heading back to Al’s to make a heroic attempt at finishing the whisky.
 
One stinky hungover Sunday brunch in the sun with Al and Meryl just before a pint with John-Paul and Susanna then we where on the train to Glasgow to start what is always the most intense part of our trip home. We where met by Lewis and Sara before going directly to the pub where we met pretty much everyone, you know who you are. Moria and Gordon picked us up to head up the road which was a great idea because it was going to get pretty messy.
 
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Monday and a quick re-pack of the suitcase and a load of washing later and we where off again. A quick cup of tea at the flat, picked up Sara and then up to Tynult to see Anna, Andy and Hayden. We smoked, drank and BBQ’d in to the night. Tormented the dogs and played with the rats in the shadow of Ben Cruachan. It was really really lovely.
 
Tuesday we where up to the Sea Life Centre in Oban. It’s not actually too close to Oban but we got to see all the cool animals, the funny seals and the mean looking otters. Heading in the afternoon we dropped Sara off at the train before one last coffee at the house with Anna, Andy and Hayden before pushing off to Jim and Junes. The coastline drive was really breath taking as anyone who has ever watched James Bond would know. We arrived in time for sun downers on the balcony, too much food and a good sleep.
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Now it’s Wednesday and the trip is ending fast. After breakfast we are back on the road up to Glasgow. Once off the ferry it’s motorway all the way to Glasgow and not really as pretty. The strange vibration the car had been making all the way the last few days started getting worse until when coming off the round about the car just decided to power down and we had to pull over. The previous day we though we had a flat but we couldn’t see anything so had concluded that there was maybe something wrong with the electric traction control or something but now we where stumped. The old turning on the off again trick worked and we where off again thinking we’d drop it off at the garage on the way up the road but the mad vibration was worse now! A few more miles and Graeme decided he wasn’t driving any further in the rickety car so we stopped and called the AA. The guy came in and took one look at the wheel and said ‘yeah, 3 of your wing nuts have sheered off, you’re lucky the wheel hasn’t fallen off.’ Well we felt really dumb having looked at that exact wheel so much and not seeing that the thing was missing 3 fucking wing nuts! The guys says it happens all the time when folk change the tiers and just don’t screw the bolts back on properly then the bolts just vibrate and sheer off as your driving! Terrifying! He went round and had to tighten EVERY OTHER BOLT and was like, ‘yeah, you’re pretty lucky’. Scary stuff! After all that excitement/horror, we left the car in a car park and Gordon took us up the road in time for a quick turn around and then off to the Opening Ceremony of the Empire’s Sports Day!
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We had dinner at Celino’s before hand with Ben, then we ate ice cream cones on the way up the Celtic Park. I really enjoyed the opening. I don’t know why everyone was so down on it or what exactly they where expecting instead.
 
Thursday we got the train in town and had morning coffee with Shandy. A meeting with the mortgage adviser. Then over for tea with Lewis and Sara, and a walk down to the Quay with Dougal in the baking heat. Over to Jonathan and Jennifer’s for sun downers in the park, dinner and more whiskey than is strictly necessary.
 
Friday breakfast with Jonathan because Jen had already left for work. We walked through the park to have a lunchtime pint before a spot of shopping before picking up Kimberly and Justin at their hotel. We had one in the new Art School Student Union before dinner at The Wee Curry Shop with Sara, Lewis and Declan. We all walked up to Brew Dog before meeting Moira and Gordon again who had been at the gymnastics in the afternoon. Once they had left we popped over to the Merchant City for one more with Cammy and his lady friend Then up the road while consuming our last chips and cheese.
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Saturday and it was time to go. Breakfast and tea up at the house with Moira and Gordon, more tea with Morag, Alex and the dugs before saying goodbye to Margaret and driving up to the airport. One coffee with Lewis and Sara before checking in and then being delayed for 2 hours. We spent that time figuring out our savings goals for the next year.
 
Arriving home on Sunday night and directly back to work on Monday, head long in to a busy week and now it feels like we where never away 😦
 
Roll on next July when we’ll be back for another wedding and to do it all again. Stay Classy Britain.
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June Blog

This first weekend in June I went on a lovely bike ride with Team Java. it was really nice except it was TOO HOT! a total mistake and I came home directly to bed for 14 hours. Luckily the next day was a holiday so I could recover. Graeme took and failed his motorbike test that weekend.

The rest of the month was spent quietly, partly because we’re moving house and partly because we’re back in the UK in 2 weeks.

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MayDay! We’re taking on water!

No really, It rained, with out ceasing for 3 weeks of this month.

 
In the first full week we had a the Tuesday off so Graeme and I booked the Monday off the work to hang out. Matthias came over for a smash and grab visit of 2 days. Enough time to have some glasses made and for us to loose him in Wan Chai. I missed all this as I ducked out early to go sailing on the Saturday morning. It was lovely but I’m not sure if I’m in love with it. that was before the rain started so I managed to get sunburnt on one side of my face, great look. 
 
As Matthias left Jimbo and Yvonne arrived. They have moved here from Taipei and where staying with us until they find a place to stay. We expected about a month but they found a place with in the week so they weren’t with us for very long, which is good because the dogs where stressing out to the max with all the visitors.
 
With the rain on, not a lot got done this month. We’re taking it easy as we count down to the UK visit. We saw a few movies, went bowling, checked out some galleries and have been just hanging about. Pretty slow over all. The same is projected for next month and then we’re in the UK. Awww yeah!

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Ah Ah Ah April!

If you where paying attention you’d realise that the last post missed out the last weekend of the month of March. That particular weekend was Rugby 7s weekend, we saw 2manyDJs at the music zone on the water front and didn’t watch any rugby. the weather was really dreach and we did a lot of frustrated walking with the dogs.

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The actual month of April started with a visit from Craig. Bowls of wontons, fermented soy beans and a tram tour later and we where in central with Team Java on Friday night. We met up with those guys again on Sunday for an impromptu BBQ because the weather is getting better.
 
In the second week it was my works day out to the bowling. Very exciting, mostly because everyone gets away early. It’s so Hong Kong for people to be SO UTTERLY DESPERATE to get away from free team building events. That weekend Graeme and I went to the beach at Shek O. It was lovely for us both just to lay about in the sun together. I really wish out dogs where better so we could actually take them places. The tedious training continues.

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Jeremy was in town the next week with his Mum and Sister. That’ll be another person turned on to Insane Fight Club. We ate at the Dai Pai Dong in Fo Tan before drinking some beers on the roof on the Thursday night then it was Easter! We had planned to go camping but its a bit like herding cats trying to organise people in Hong Kong so I was kind of disappointed in the lack of hill walking. We camped on the beach for one night before having to come back to town to pick up the dogs from heir staycation at Yeoseff and Penny’s place.

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A nice four day week and it was another weekend. The weather is really fine just now, not too hot and slightly clearer than usual. We went for drinks on Saturday night at the new Inn Side Out where they have a big roof top above the driving range, very nice. That evening we went bowling. I’m now a member at the SCAA so we can expect to go a bit more often I think. On the Sunday, we popped over to the opening of the PMQ artist studios and drank coffee and bumped in to loads of people. Lovely and relaxing and making us think we should move out the hell mouth that is North Point.

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We also booked our tickets to the UK this past week so be ready for us in July 😀 10 weeks baby! 
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March Madness

  First weekend of the month was a day Japanese Beer Festival! Tasty Tasty! HK Brewcraft saved my dwindling faith in Hong Kongs ability to do anything well.
 
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One week down and we where off to see the Rolling Stones in Macau the next Sunday. We didn’t realise but it was only a 3,000 people capacity venue. It made me kinda mad seeing all the empty seats – corporate gifts that no one ever bothered to use up, but the show was great and I can say that the heroin diet is really working for Mick. I swear it is preserving him in some way, he looks the same as he always has! Keith Richards is obviously utterly crippled with arthritis and Ronnie Wood plays a lot of the guitar riffs. He was holding it together by far and the best musician in the place. It was 90mins dead of non stop hits and although there was no banter it was a solid show. I think maybe it might have felt a bit like a reunion or tribute show if there was lot of ‘back in the day’ chat. We got too drunk again on excitement over seeing people play actual instruments, you see the pattern here, and where not too fresh in work on the Monday.
 
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One more week of being hammered at work, honestly 12 hour days are a fucking joke, and we’re in to another weekend. We popped over to try and find a food fair in Sheung Wan but all the good venders are at the daddy of all Hong Kong beer festivals, Beertopia, this weekend. Catherine big 4-0 was the highlight of Saturday evening and a lot of rum was drank by all.
 
Monday and Tuesday I was off the work with general fluey-run-down-ittus. Safe to say I’m not cut out for Hong Kong working style. And I can tell you sir that I care not one jot for it either. I came back a slightly refreshed and resolved to try and work better instead of longer, some how. The rest of the week was quiet and the weekend uneventful. We went for long walks with the dogs in the nice weather and ate with Team Java which was the best and worst as we learned that Pete and Jamie are leaving Hong Kong in September 😦
 
 
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Follow on Feb

 Yeah, it’s like the end of February already. We’ve both been crazy busy at work and the month has flown in with the only events of note being, paying our taxes, one heroic hang over the day after Amy and Blakes leaving dinner and our trip to see the Scottish Ballet in Sha Tin. Highly recommended.
 
Its March next week and we’re off to she the animated bodies of the Rolling Stones perform in Macau. Very exciting!
 
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We’re on a boat melon farmer, don’t you ever forget.

 

We booked on to a harbor junk boat trip to see in the new year and we where kinda unsure how fun it would be, but being on a boat is never dull, right? We had dinner with Alex and Nicole, who both had stinking colds, before heading over to central to catch the boat. Waiting at the pier with all the other people, some going on other junks, we kinda felt a bit under dressed. Lots of ball gowns and high heels, but really? You’re going on a boat. In winter… Jamie and Pete had just got back from the UK at 4pm that day so where feeling a bit ropey until we got in the swing of things. We finished the whiskey from before we went away and enjoyed the fireworks from the water. It was cool but I don’t know if it’s something I’d choose to do again because it was kinda pricey. You’ll be unsurprised to hear that we waited far too long for a taxi to get home which tainted our mood for the evening. The next day we just stayed in.
 
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Apart from that, the most of January we have just spent trying to resume some sort of normal service. We’ve both been busy at work but resolved to take the dogs out more so that maybe at some point in their lives they can be something resembling normal. I had my tattoo finished and we had some nice lunches and catch up dinners with friends – this is still on going and never ending. We have been over to see the Fotanian open doors art fair and going to the gym to try and shed all the weight we gained in the last 3 months.
 
Harry and Moira popped in on their way to join a cruise ship. We took them to the usual at the FCC, they got us back the next day at the Korean BBQ and told us a few stories we didn’t know about Gordon and Moira. Apart from that no holidays or visitors planned until we are home in July. Thankfully, that’s loads of time to get back in shape before landing in Britain.
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