So I got an invite from via a friend. When I still lived in the US I would exchange books with this guy on a regular basis. I was pretty much travelling every week, often internationally which meant long haul flights. You can only handle so much in-flight entertainment and you can only fly so many times before you hit the mother of all delays, so I would never travel with less than three books, replenishing my supplies at the airport bookshop. Over one month, that’s a lot of books. Although my friend didn’t travel as much, he had a lot of free time and was also an avid reader. We would typically exchange 20 books at a time. Goodreads seemed a perfect opportunity to reflect on what had been read
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There is a part of the game of cricket that many foreigners don’t get, even people from other cricket mad countries. When I lived in America, Indians would try to taunt me about the latest defeat for England, but for me cricket always meant sitting in a deckchair at a village game, slightly disorientated from the alcohol and unable to get out of the chair except by slowly toppling over sideways and collapsing in a heap on the grass. Sometimes something would happen on the field and an uncertain applause would trickle around the edge of the green as the spectators tried to figure out what had transpired.
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Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble

These days I am up before dawn so I can get out on the bike at first light. There are several reasons for this. For one thing the temperature is beginning to creep up; we generally only get one week of spring in this neck of the woods. Last week I was still wearing thermals and a waterproof. Today I set off in t-shirt and shorts and the sweat was pouring off almost immediately.
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So I’ve got this mate who is as keen as they get when it comes to cycling. To them, the best start to a day is to get out on the bike and sneak in a few miles before work. Foul weather or fine, muddy trails and water crossings make no difference, as long as they are out and about on two wheels, that’s what matters. So, I was particularly taken aback to find they don’t do hills. Or rather, they do them because they have to, in the same way that you have to finish your Brussels sprouts before you can have dessert.
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My parent’s house has a gate to the front driveway. It isn’t the sort of gate that comes with matching gatehouse or which opens on to a long driveway that winds around the corner to lead to some unseen mansion, it’s the sort of gate that the postman or dustman never bother to close after them. In days long past when the post office managed to get a delivery in before dawn I could roughly gauge when it was time to get up by the whine of the battery driven milk float straining up the hill, accompanied by the rattlling of milk bottles. By the time I heard the rattling cough and wheeze of postman wheeling his bike up the road and dragging the open gate, I knew it was time to be making a move.
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Woof Woof

Spring has arrived in Wuhan, we already did the Peach Blossom thing, now we are getting an occasional warm day with clear skies slotted in between three of four days of torrential rain, and winter coats are being shed in favour of more flimsy attire. And another indicatior of where things stand in the seasons cycle is the number of randy dogs roaming the streets.
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4987-Northwest Passage

Wuhan is a city full of windy streets, lakes and hills. The city skipped the development boom of the first part of the millennium because, well, no one is quite sure why. Local websites are full of people asking what exactly the local government has been doing for the last ten years. It’s only now they are following the example of every other major city in the country and throwing up high rises that no-one will live in and highways that go nowhere useful.
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Got another supply of weird snacks yesterday. Every couple of weeks an old lady shows up with a bag of groceries for me. I have no idea why she gives them to me but she’s been turning up on a regular basis for four years now. Sometimes the snacks border on edible, particularly if it is late and options are few, but I generally hand them out to the students, who have a palate as refined as a seagull scavenging a refuse decorated beach.
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