Friday, January 17

"toutes directions"

on my way home, middle of the evening
stuck in traffic in Wanchai, like a lot of traffic, like a lot stuck
I ended up playing around with my camera .. artistically, if unsuccessfully

this is a shot of a favourite sign (x) ... which usefully says

"all routes"

and they give you a little arrow in case you haven't got the point

it is on a tight bend just where the traffic clears so you have your eyes on other things
as a commuter .... if you ever wanted a metaphor for life .... !

I'll try and get a day light shot sometime

Wednesday, January 8


New colour scheme, new artwork (OK only a couple)
New Year's Resolution ... not to make any more... guess I won't even keep that one
because I am committed (big word I know) to making more regular posts

.. easy as that would be given recent records !!

Tuesday, January 7

What ever the weater ...

I am told that it is snowing in London
this is something from a time before the memory of man .....
the image of the tatty grey thoroughfares of that once great city rendered smooth and perfect if only briefly ....

wish I was there, albeit snuggled up somewhere warm watching through a window.

brilliant sunshine here on site, 9 degrees and feels like the Alps but we know it isn't going to snow anytime soon
(records show it has never snowed in HK, occasional ground frost is as exciting as it gets,
which makes the fact that HK is a major exporter of ski wear all the more surprising ...)

Thursday, January 2

7 Swans A-swimming

nearly a month goes by ... and it is nearly Twelth Night

mad headless panic on site, Christmas, mind wandering onto other things ........... err, no excuses really

had a festive one with the family back in Blighty ... cold and wet and miserable (the weather that is)
but enough liquid nutrients to keep us going,
and with the smell of the tree, the decorations, tangerines and chocolates (like I need them), fully trimmed turkey
and a couple of heart warming moments (Mx)

seems a shame to have to wait a year before doing it all again

Friday, December 6

loosen up

like if you need a good laugh, could do worse than Area 51

Homer quotes never fail ....

"And how is education supposed to make me feel smarter?
Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain.
Remember when I took that home winemaking course, and I forgot how to drive?"
"To alcohol! The cause of- and solution to- all of life's problems"
"Don't let Krusty's death get you down, boy. People die all the time, just like that.
Why, you could wake up dead tomorrow! Well, good night.
"Kids, kids. As far as Daddy's concerned, you're both potential murderers."
"Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything. 14% of people know that."
"Kids, you tried your best, and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try"
"All right, let's not panic. I'll make the money by selling one of my livers. I can get by with one"
"Son, when you participate in sporting events, it's not whether you win or lose; it's how drunk you get."
"Bart, with $10,000, we'd be millionaires! We could buy all kinds of useful things"
"Marge, it takes two to lie. One to lie and one to listen."
"Remember as far as anyone knows, we're a nice normal family."
"It's not easy to juggle a pregnant wife and a troubled child,
but somehow I managed to fit in eight hours of TV a day."
"What do we need a psychiatrist for? We know our kid is nuts."
"I bet Einstein turned himself all sorts of colors before he invented the light bulb."
"Trying is the first step towards failure."
"Don't eat me. I have a wife and kids. Eat them." (to aliens who abducted Simpson family)
"The lesson is Our God is vengeful! O spiteful one, show me who to smite and they shall be smoten!!!"
"Me lose brain? Uh, oh! Ha ha ha! Why I laugh?"
"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true."
"'To Start Press Any Key'. Where's the ANY key?"
"You can't keep blaming yourself. Just blame yourself once, and move on."
"Now, son, you don't want to drink beer. That's for daddies and kids with fake IDs."

respond favourably

.... so I stayed up late to write a seven page special on 'acceptance criteria' for the big trees coming from OZ, (??) which the big boss said absolutely had to be sent out today without fail .... "did I understand ??"
.... and got up early this morning to change it all because I had been awake half the night worried that what I had written was gibberish (I was right on that score), before rushing to the client's office to discuss the draft, and realising that I had, indeed, got the wrong end of the stick
... so I had to rush back to site to re-draft it before my topsoil meeting (sad man) at 2.30 ........

and as I was driving down the access road to site (the one that runs parallel to the Expressway to the airport) with the piling for the MTRC railway link banging away on one side, and the decontamination of toxic mud on the other .... I suddenly found the way blocked by a herd of feral cattle quietly grazing on the scrubby grass growing out of cracks in the road pavement. 10 minutes I had to sit and watch them - not being animals that respond favourably to car horns ..... and finally a chance to relax (albeit forced) and think about more important things

.... why do we always try so hard to resist when nature is trying to tell us something

Wednesday, December 4

classic poetry

from Aunty, a poetic story of nature imitating art
well worth STG 2000, made me laugh, and given the millions spent on advertising that fails to do just that .... etc

which spoils the fun

got an e from Tim (former colleague). we were meant to meet up in Oz, but I got diverted. he reports that life from a briton in Australia is rendered meaningless by the cricket - can't imagine how he keeps watching, sounds like we don't have a bowler left standing. reckon it is time the English stop pretending and admitted that they don't really know how to play the game and gave it up for good. ... same is probably true of most sports except the rugby. as the famous song about the English and their attitude to foreigners playing sport has it

"And all the world over, each nation's the same
They've simply no notion of playing the game
They argue with umpires, they cheer when they've won
And they practice beforehand which ruins the fun!"

Monday, December 2

back in the yoke

and of course with a week away comes the weeks of misery that follow as you struggle with the hundreds of e-mails and mountainous intrays
nothing has changed ... literally. I was expecting the piles of soil around th site to look a little larger, afterall the contractor is producing enough topsoil to cover afootball pitch 6 feet deep, every day ... guess tht says a lot about the size of the site

thankfully attention has turned to other things and while everyone goes headless about fencing, I can quietly get things sorted.

The trees are coming together, literally, currently being gathered in nine different nurseries from which they will be platooned and brought to site for planting starting middle of next year. we have 50,000 big ones and another 4,000,000 shrubs and assorted bits. Big EC (Eric - bandana man) is my Senior Field Officer, he and his team of elves will have the pleasure of watching them all go in. Known Eric since I arrived on this distant shore, not that you forget him easily, tall, rake thin, permanent bandana, and an implausible assorrtment of unlikely sungallses (claims to have 50 pairs), think he makes the engineers nervous. and knows his greens too.

Irrigation is the issue of the moment - Kin (my ever helpful LA) and I have had a crash course in irrigation system design (bunker full of engineers here and none of them know a thing about irrigation !!) and we are now talking fluently about quick coupling valves and cluster control units, and can debate the relative merits of male adapters as opposed to toe nipples. suppose they have to do something to make it exciting. they say once built it will be the world's biggest ......... headache, and I believe them.

although I have largely given up playing hockey on the grounds of being too unfit to stand up for 70 mins let alone run around, I seem to have made it onto the office basketball team (for tonight) despite not having played in the last 20 years. I suspect they picked me on the 'Yau Ming' philosophy, get the tall one to stand under the basket and hope things bounce favourably off his head.

oh well .... two more weeks of this and then back to the UK for Christmas, to this rented a cottage on the Isle of Wight with the collected family (saints preserve us) where we will all gather for cheers, beers and tears. prospect fills me with dread.

better go lie down

Tuesday, November 26

Hence the break

A stupid coin operated computer located at the kitchen door to some sleazy cafe in Brisbane airport (Australia hasn't quite made it to the technological age) was the only computer I encountered all week. Hence the break.

Sydney's a real fine city, full of Australians but beautiful none the less. sunny warm, fresh air, enough seafood to take a bath in, and plenty of wine ... before u ask we did do a little work. we saw some big trees that they had moved in at the Homebush Olympic site, like these were very large 30m+ Moreton Bay Figs (which is what we are after for the Mouse Park) and lots of Canary Date Palms as well as some interesting flowering trees which we don't need but I wanted all the same. We also spent time wandering around nurseries and docklands looking at the logistics of picking the things up, popping them in a bag driving them to the docks, tipping them into a ship and on their way to HK. A process that will take at least 15 months, and cost plenty of HK$. The trees get till October 2005 to recover before Disney HK opens to the masses. (book now !!) so should be able to make it to the intended 12m high.

We stayed in the big new hotel above the casino at Darling Harbour and go to do lots of touristy things in the evenings like the opera house and harbour cruises, .. but mostly eat and drink.

There were 9 of us, including the deputy director who showed a fine sense of humour and spent most of the time telling us horror tales of his travels in Europe. The Contractor sent four, including their QS who went from novice to tree expert in the week - we made him stand under the figs as a scale when we took photos. Think he has anunusual view of trees now. We also had a colleague from the States, who loosened up in the sun (like a true Californian) and even got up at 5.30 one day so he could go surfing at Bondi before breakfast. I got really out of sync on the time and kept waking up at stupidly early hours. still fun to have a couple of hours day dreaming before heading out to graze the breakfast buffet. I took my Senior Field Officer with me (he makes me look like a rank amateur in the tree hugging game).

Wednesday we flew up to Brisbane to do the same all over again with a different nursery supplier. They had a fab nursery - even had their own koalas. sadly, we didn't stay in the city, but drove two hours north to Gympie (??) an old mining town in the heart of the endless green fields of Southern Queensland. Lots of big fig trees and an improbable number of cows is about all we saw in two days driving around. Food was a bit more basic and the accommodation very motel, but we had got tired by them so didn't need much to keep us all happy. We had a short fat German guiding us around, comically shouting instructions at us at full volume (in fact his only volume) and playing sheep dog when we started to stray. Disconcertingly he drank Lambrusco red wine while he was driving. I travelled in the other bus.

Back on Saturday, from Brisbane (and the hateful computer) via Cairns to be greeted by a couple of hundred e-mails. Panic seems to have hit in a serious way, everyone is going dizzy over fencing (??). Topsoil continues like a long running soap opera, our unexploded bomb issue went public, and we are still swimming in engineers ... all the bit.

At least I have some happy memories, and have lots of photos of big trees now to hang on my wall ... and a few of the opera house.

Monday, November 25

where is your head Katherine ?

nothing to do with anyone called katherine, more for the line from the KD Lang song
"your talking to yourself again, is causing great concern for your health"
which popped into my brain on the way to work this morning
with so much happening recently I am surprised that there was room for a random thought

much to tell about the big Australian Tree Hunt (and what we found) in Sunny Sydney and breezy Brisbane
and all that has been going on back here in slightly less sunny and not at all breezy Hong Kong (nice to get back to the haze !!)

later sweetheart, later

Wednesday, November 13

Lists (2) - Opening lines of Harry Graham Poems

Harry Graham, author of Ruthless Rhymes, certainly had a skill for eye catching opening lines

When Grandma fell off the boat, And couldn’t swim and wouldn’t float ...

Late last night I slew my wife, Laid her out on the parquet flooring ...

Aunty did you feel no pain, falling from that willow tree ...

Billy, in one of his nice, new sashes Fell in the fire and was burnt to ashses ...

"There's been an accident," they said. "Your servant's cut in half. He's dead!" ...

Father heard his children scream, So he threw them in the stream ...

Dr. Jones fell in the well, and died without a moan ...

While having dinner at the Ritz, my father kept on having fits ...

Fate moves in mysterious ways as shown by Uncle Titus, Who inexplicably one day was stricken with St Vitus ...

When Baby’s cries grew hard to bear, I put him in the Fridgidair ...

Broad is the gate and wide is the path, That leads man to his daily bath ...