5 years and counting

I first decided I wanted to come to China when we studied Chinese history at O level.  Everyone else did the traditional WW2 gig, for some reason our teacher decided on an alternative path.  We hurtled through the dynasties, paused for breath at the Boxer rebellion and rolled on to Mao Zedong (or Mao Tse-Tung before he changed his name) and Jiong Jieshi (the politician formerly known as Chiang KaiShek) before grinding to an abrupt halt at 2nd December 1949. It was if nothing of interest happened after that as far as the Oxford Examination Board was concerned.  We still had time left so we padded out our knowledge with British parliamentary reform in the 20th century.  I think our class must have had the most warped perspective of any examination candidates that year.

Continue reading “5 years and counting”


A long time ago, when the world was young, I sat with a teenager who was reluctant to write and we composed a story. All the words had to be three letters long and no longer. I thought I had a copy, but If so I don’t know where it is. But it  started something like this:

Pip the Dog met Ron the Cat.

‘Hey Ron! Man, hip hat!’

‘Hey Pip!  Bow man wow! Say, you see the rat?’

‘The rat?’

‘The big rat.’

‘Reg the big Rat?’

‘Yeh. Man, the rat was hot.’

It was interesting (at least to us) how the word length created a distinctive sound and rhythm. So I was wondering if anyone would like to start a story on the same lines here, or go on with the one just started above.

It might be a bit of light, uncontentious stuff for a rainy Tuesday afternoon.

Orange Prize Long List 2010

Well here it is:

2010 Orange Prize for Fiction longlist:

Rosie Alison: The Very Thought of You
Eleanor Catton: The Rehearsal
Clare Clark: Savage Lands
Amanda Craig: Hearts and Minds
Roopa Farooki: The Way Things Look to Me
Rebecca Gowers: The Twisted Heart
M.J. Hyland: This is How
Sadie Jones: Small Wars
Barbara Kingsolver: The Lacuna
Laila Lalami: Secret Son
Andrea Levy: The Long Song
Attica Locke: Black Water Rising
Maria McCann: The Wilding
Hilary Mantel: Wolf Hall
Nadifa Mohamed: Black Mamba Boy
Lorrie Moore: A Gate at the Stairs
Monique Roffey: The White Woman on the Green Bicycle
Amy Sackville: The Still Point
Kathryn Stockett: The Help

I’ve read Wolf Hall and another one of  Andrea Levy’s, but I don’t know the others. Oh wait, maybe I’ve read a novel by Roopa Farooki too. Has anyone here read any of  the others? and if so, how did you get on with them?

thanks. 🙂

Whoops, for Claire!


Fiends and countrymen, lend me yours ears!
I’ll cut them off and try to make a purse of silk, but not of gold
When they themselves are totally blind to all that’s good.

Children at heart, their howls grow louder as they screech.
We do not hear;  they do not exist except in their deluded minds:
Have pity for they cannot help this longing to be part of life.

Rage and rant but no one hears their plaintive cries for help;
Sunlight comes and they are gone without a trace, and so they
Are without a voice, if we decide they are but shadows, and no more
Than we decree, and that’s a fact, helpless, and devoid of power.

Friday Night and we are here? Redux

It’s just a thought that crossed my mind
What are we doing for mankind?
We’re blogging here on Friday night
When humanity is in such plight.

Could there be new paths to seek
If we, as folk were not so weak?
Charity begins at home
Could you not compose a pome? Continue reading “Friday Night and we are here? Redux”


No Hockey Today
1970’s KGH

Across the sports-hall floor
in aertex blue shirts
short, navy gym-skirts
and sugar bag pants
all girls together,  we dance.

We change from Scottish Reel and dozy doe
to Waltzing and quick- quick- slow
us tall girls reluctant as men
holding our partner just ‘so’
giggling and treading on their toes.

Pull yourselves together, girls, says Mrs G
or it’s hockey on the top field-
the snow won’t bother me.