February 2011 books

Hmmm, need to try and remember what I have read whilst I have been away!

Kill For Me by Karen Rose is a pretty good crime novel. Pacey and relatively well written I enjoyed it, but as ever, the story is fairly ludicrous.

Living Dangerously by Katie Fforde is absolutely typical of one of her novels. Easy to read but with a predictable storyline – it was perfect plane reding material.

Dust to Dust by Beverley Connor is an enjpyable crime novel, more along the anthropology genre.

Secrets by Freya North is a book that I really enjoyed. I like Freya North – I know she is frothy and chick-lit but I like her stories! This one is about a woman who leaves London with ehr daughter, trying to escape all the debt she has accrued, and goes to live in the North-East as a house-sitter. Predictably she falls in love with the owner of the house and it all ends up happy ever after.

Eyes of a Child by Richard North Patterson is a really dense courtroom story. It is dense in the sense that there are a lot of characters, but also there are lots of twists and turns to the storyline. A good read if you like this sort of book but it took some getting through, especially in the middle.

Vision in White and Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts are books 1 & 2 in a Quartet of books by this author. Basically they have exactly the same storyline. Four childhood friends now run a wedding business, one is the organiser, one the florist, one the photographer and the other the cake baker. They all struggle with their own relationships with men, but in each novel one of them finds luuuuurve. Nice schmaltzy reads, but utter rubbish really.

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Eden Phoebe

My niece Eden Phoebe was born in the early hours of this morning weighing 6lbs 15 1/2 oz. Apparently it was a rather speedy delivery. It was hard when Barnabas was born but it’s even harder for me this time. My heart is full of love but it also feels like it is breaking in two.

Here is a rather lovely photo of my Mum, Barnabas and Eden.

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Hong King – Day 10 & 11

Well yesterday we checked out of our hotel and left our luggage there and went to the Hong Kong Space Museum which, to be honest, wasn’t that interesting. We also wandered through Kowloon Park which is absolutely gorgeous. The park is really varied and includes a swimming pool, an aviary, a kids play area, a Chine garden and other communal areas. I guess that as most people live in high-rise flats the green park spaces of HK are vert important. The weather wasn’t the greatest as it was really quite chilly by the afternoon so we went back to the hotel and sat in the bar for a few hours reading our books before getting a bus to the airport.

Today, well Day 11 although it’s not really a full day. We were on the plane at 11pm last night and it was about a 12 hour flight so we arrived at Schipol airport at about 4.30am Dutch time. I didn’t sleep very well on the plane, maybe catnapped for less than an hour so I am absolutely shattered. Currently sitting and waiting for our flight to Leeds Bradford airport and then HOME! I have to admit that I am quite looking forward to getting back now and I think it will have to be a really early night as we are both back to work tomorrow!

So, here endeth our trip to Hong Kong, and an amazing trip it has been. Thank you for all the comments on this blog, it has been really nice to know people have been sharing our journey!

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Hong Kong – Day 9

Well, absolutely no photos today as it was just too wet to get the camera out!

The Mister was teaching all day today so I went to City Church International which is Rob Rufus’ church. I went because there is a Guernsey girl there who is a friend of my sister’s and I was at a loose end. I quite enjoyed it but there were far to many histrionics, fallings over and shaking for me to be truly comfortable. It just reaffirmed for me that I have moved on from all that. Rob Rufus spoke well though.

Then I went and had a lunch and went up to the Ladies Market again to buy some more bags. It was a raining a little bit but soon there was an absolute downpour. I decided I couldn’t get much wetter (heh… whatever!) so I would walk down Nathan Road to get to our hotel. This road is a very long and busy road which runs right up Kowloon. It was only when I had been walking for a while that I realised that I was going the wrong way up the road! So I did what I should have done in the first place and found a bus to take me back to the hotel. By this point I was soaked, and I was so wet that even my knickers were wet!!!

Tonight the Mister and I went out for a nice meal and then back to Temple Street night market to finish off some gift shopping. We are both knackered but have had a brilliant holiday. We go home tomorrow, leaving on a flight at about 11pm. Hopefully it will be nice and easy with no delays. So, see you in England!

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Hong Kong – Day 8

Well The Mister had preparation work to do this morning and was teaching this afternoon, so I went shopping!!

My first stop was to a street called Sham Shui Po as I had been told that there were haberdashery shops and things like that. To be honest I couldn’t see anything remotely like this when I got off the MTR so I just wandered and eventually I found a whole bunch of shops, as well as street market stalls selling fabric. It was like being in heaven! Not only is there such a vast selection, it is all so, so cheap! I think I paid about 12 HK dollars per yard of fabric which is about £1 a yard. The really gorgeous wide sparkly trims were about $5 a yard – I probably should have haggled more, but there is still something in me that thinks this is so cheap for me, but to the vendors a dollar or two might make a difference. I spent more that I thought I might, but I think it was probably only about £60 worth of stuff! In the end I had to go back to the hotel to drop off all my goodies before going out again.

This afternoon I went to one of the big shopping centres. Now, the reality is that whilst HK is a shoppers paradise, it certainly helps to be thin. There are few, if any, shops that cater to fat women. So I was sadly not able to buy any clothes, however shoes are a different issue. I really wanted to go and find some Birkenstocks, but they had to be genuine rather than fakes. So, I decided to go to the Birkenstock store. It would seem that they are about 2/3 of the price in the UK and before you know it I accidentally bought three pairs. My excuse is that I wear the all the time in the summer, and I need several pairs so I can rotate wearing them otherwise they stink!!!

It has been a most successful day, although my legs are aching from walking for hours. The one thing I realised when I was wandering around is that I am so much more confident than all those years ago when I moved to the mainland from Guernsey. I was quite happy today just exploring today, even though I got lost a couple of times. Years ago that would have really panicked me, but I just carried on walking thinking I would find out where I was soon enough! It’s quite nice knowing that I can cope whatever happens.

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And lastly… this made me laugh. It would seem they recycle everything in HK!!!

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Hong Kong – Day 7

Well it looks like our run of gorgeous sunny weather may have come to an end in Hong Kong. It is about 15 degrees today and overcast.

So, today The Mister and I decided to be cultural and we went to visit the Hong Kong Museum of History. This museum opened in 1998 at it’s current premises and it is a massive space, covering history right through from archaeological finds to folk history and cultural festivals etc. For a lover of fabrics and textiles it was just heavenly as there were loads of costumes and displays etc. It also had displays about the opium wars, Japanese occupation and the development of the city. It’s a brilliant place to visit if you are interested in how Hong Kong has developed over the years.

Then we went to the Science Museum. It mainly has stuff for kids about human development and other sciencey bits such as stuff about power, magnets, mirrors etc. The coolest thing in there is an Energy Machine which is 4 storeys tall.

Tonight the Mister is off to work again (poor thing). Think I might resume my position on the sofa in the bar and read my book. Might just have a little wander to Temple Street Night Market though – it’s conveniently close to the hotel!

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Hong Kong – Day 6

Today has been a much more chilled out day. We had a bit of a lie-in and then went for a wander around some shops, but also around the Goldfish Market and the Ladies Market. They are so busy and vibrant, but it also made me realise how much crap there is to buy! I think we managed to only buy one thing, and it cost about £2 so not too bad!

This evening the Mister has had to go to work, the original purpose of this trip! So, whilst he is out I had a nap, went for a swim in the rooftop pool and then went to sit on the sofa in the bar. I ate a burger and drank two very nice glasses of Pinot Noir. The joy of finding out that it is Happy Hour! So, I was happy there with my food and drink and a book and now I am sitting in bed waiting for himself to get home.

Life is good.

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Hong Kong – Day 5

Today the Mister and I went to Lantau Island to visit the Tian Tan Buddha, aka the Bronze Buddha or the Big Buddha. The Buddha is 34 metres tall and weighs 250 metric tonnes. It is surrounded by six smaller statues known as “The Offering of the Six Devas” The statue was finished on 29 December 1993 and is one of the tallest seated Buddhas in the world.

To get to the Buddha we took the MTR underground train to the island. London could seriously learn something from the HK underground line, it is incredibly clean and fast and easy to use. No smelly carriages with rubbish everywhere, these are pristine!

From the underground station we took the Ngong Ping 360 cable car to the top. This was a bit of a challenge for the Mister as he isn’t too keen on heights – he couldn’t be persuaded to try the crystal cable cars which have a transparent floor. The trip is 25 minutes each way over some truly stunning scenery. You get a brilliant view of the airport on the way up and can see the planes taking off and landing. As you come over the hill the Buddha comes into sight – standing (or sitting as the case may be!) tall on the landscape, looking down over the island.

To get to the Buddha itself you have to climb 284 steps and visiting the outside is free but you have to pay to go inside it, but the ticket does include an ice-cream and a bottle of water! The view is awesome and well worth the trip. Next to the statue is the Po Lin Monastery, and there were many people there lighting incense sticks and offering gifts at the shrines. We also had lunch at the monastery café. Of course it was a vegetarian meal, which cost us about £5 each. It was nice, but it has reinforced the fact that I really, really dislike tofu. It is revolting and has the consistency of slugs, Bleurgh!

This evening we had a wander around Temple Street Night Market. I have rarely seen so much crap that I don’t need and don’t want. However, some of it is really funny, especially the t-shirts with spelling mistakes. We also had dinner in a diner-style Chinese restaurant. It seemed none to clean to be honest and this was confirmed when the Mister returned from the toilet and declared that there was an overflowing urinal which was drowning the cockroach on the floor. Nice!!!

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Hong Kong – Day 4

Another mega-busy day but a fun one!

The Mister and I got up and out early today, catching the Star Ferry over to Hong Kong island and then a bus up to the tram to go up Victoria Peak. It has been the most beautiful day – warm and sunny and fantastically clear, so perfect for a trip to the Peak. The funicular train takes about 10 minutes or so to get to the top and when you get there, rather unsurprisingly for HK, there is a shopping centre. We paid to go on the skywalk though which is right at the top and gives the most brilliant view of the Hong Kong skyline. It was perfect weather for it and an amazingly beautiful and dramatic view.

We then got the Big Bus all the way around Hong Kong Island, via Aberdeen and down to Stanley to go to the market. A very interesting drive because it took us through some really run-down parts of HK, as well as the extortionately expensive areas of Deep Water Bay and Repulse Bay. Stanley is a very pretty seaside location but has a fab market selling cheap goods. I bought a couple of really good Cath Kidston knock-off handbags whilst I was there!

So, that took up most of our day and we are absolutely knackered. I also have really caught the sun on my shoulders and the Mister looks slightly like Rudolph! So, sadly we are now both sitting on the bed with our laptops open.

Tomorrow, a trip to Lantau Island to visit the bronze Buddha!

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Hong Kong – Day 3

Well after a long and blissful sleep we both felt a great deal better. I think we went to bed at about 8,30pm last night – after I had pretty much fallen asleep in my dinner!

We decided today to go on a Big Bus Tour. I love this sort of thing as you get commentary, but also a good idea of the geography of the city. It was also pretty good for us today as I had a really sore back.

So, first of all we did a tour of Kowloon. It’s such an interesting place and travelling on an open top bus it is possible to see lots of things, and especially the brightly lit signs which line the streets. We then crossed the sea on the Star Ferry and did a tour of Hong Kong Island. We were going to go up on the Funicular Railway to The Peak but it was at least an hours queue. So, we will go back tomorrow.

After that we had to go back to the hotel room so The Mister could have an afternoon nap and then we were out again to do the Night bus tour and see the light show. Hong Kong is so spectacular it night. It is all hustle and bustle and there are flashing neon signs everywhere. It’s fabulous!

Oh, one of my favourite things today though was totally unexpected. We were walking back to the hotel when we could hear a brass band somewhere so we followed the noise. In a square there was a marching band practising their routine, and they were playing Colonel Bogey. They were fab but it was so unexpected it really made me smile!

If you want to see more pictures then click on one of the ones above and go and see the rest on Flickr!


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