During the visit of our friend Roy (81) from the UK, we made a short 2 day trip to the city of Harbin in the far north of China, right next to the Russian border, the nearest Russian town was the Naval port of Vladivostok and it was bloody cold, mostly around minus 25 degrees Celsius. I have uploaded the photos of the visit as you will see they are in 3 lots, one is of the Songhua river which is totally frozen over and is used as a road and recreation, one is of the Harbin Ice City That they build every year and one is of the Snow sculptures, they also have an ice sculpture competition but that didn't start till the 5th of January and we were only there from the 25th December to 27th.
As you can see from the photos, the Ice City, is made entirely of Ice blocks that they cut from the local river. The snow blocks come from further up the mountain.
Its the fist time I have had to wear 3 pairs of socks, two pairs of trousers and
I have recently been asked to perform a few of my songs in public, this time its at the Shenzhen University, in front of the students. I was asked by a couple of guys who are performing there themselves and they have asked me to do a 'guest' spot during their show.
This all came about when we were looking round a new music mall that we came across last week, its a kind of musical department store, a bit dilapidated but they have a lot of stuff there and I (well Rose) got talking to the guys in one of the shops and I have now ended up with this gig..
Today i went over to see them as they had asked me to get some photographs done with them. not exactly studio stuff, it was in a small car park, and every time a car came or out we had to move!
About halfway through the shoot, the other two guys that were being photographed with me had a young girl come in and do their makeup! including lipstick!, I declined the offer! When they were done they looked like a couple of corpses as they were made up to look whiter, the Chinese seem to think being whiter is more beautiful/handsome depending on your sex. I didn't really think it did that much for them.
I was there most of the afternoon, messing around with this stuff, I played a couple of songs for them, just to show I was able to.
So I now have to prepare for this gig at the University on the 18th (as far as I am aware) of December. I wait to see how this all turns out, it at least should be interesting, if not nerve-racking.
Well it's been a little while since I updated this blog, due mainly to there being not a lot happening here, My dear wife has now recovered physically from her 2 cancer operations which have basically grounded us for the past year.
It now seems that the great Chinese firewall has blocked this website inside China, so anyone wanting to see it that are friends here, have to use a VPN to see it.
My music creation has now reached 230 items a lot of which are available via the MY MUSIC button above. I am still not world famous or a millionaire because of my efforts but at least some people do listen to my songs from places like the USA, Germany, UK, so I guess I am kinda world famous!!!
The only success I've with the music was my Christmas song (Christmas just gets earlier) that was played on the UK DAB radio system last Christmas for a week or so. and before that one song I never expected to get anywhere (Old Mexico) got to a number 8 in that stations chart. (well for 1 week anyway).
We, like most places have had a few more Typhoons that usual, the worst on was a couple of months ago that took out most of the big trees here, but they have now all been put back up again. Winter is just about to start, we have a changeover from summer to winter and back again, no autumn or spring, although they do have what they call the Mid Autumn Festival, kinda the same thing as our Harvest Festival only a lot bigger.
The car is still getting its fair share of scrapes and bumps, so now mostly I get a new car as most of the outside has now been replaced at one time or another, Rose has now discovered that it puts the insurance up, a little item she neglects to remember every time she calls the agents for the little scratches she incurs, i will fix these little things myself in future.
Rose is now teaching part time at home again now, I am glad to say, she now has a purpose back in life after the cancer. At least she now controls the kids and not trying to control me so much!!!
We have a friend due over for the Christmas period so there should be a little more blog to write for the period, but for now that
Well its been a little while since I updated this blog, this has been due to not a lot happening with us having my step daughter and her husband staying for a few months. They moved out today. and are at this moment on their way to Hong Kong to live and work. Their visit severely impaired my access to this computer as its in the room where they were staying.
This has also restricted my ability to produce any music lately, so that now should soon be rectified, whether that will please anyone or not will soon be seen!
Its the rainy season here again, midsummer, hot and wet. I don't mind the rain here with it being warm unlike the UK where its usually wet and cold!
Rose has also taken to teaching some kids at home again, they are in the next room as I write.
I've not yet got everything back to how I want it in the room here, I still have bits to find!
The other day I was walking round our local Shopping Mall, (yes its a Mall here, like the states!!, not a good old shopping centre) anyway, this guy comes up to me with two ladies and says, "I remember you!", "Do you?" I said, "Where from?", "Gaungzhou park. I remember the hat!" The I kinda remembered him, we only had a brief conversation he being another Russian gentleman and another Sergey, (are all Russians called Sergey?) anyway he introduces us to his mother and his auntie and was very chatty. I don't know if we will meet again, he gave me his business card, me being retried don't have those any more, maybe I should get some "Retired old git" cards printed. I have emailed him but nothing back as yet.
Also re-met another Englishman, Mark from london and had dinner with them, he has just recovered from an injured leg and at least isn't hobbling round at the moment, unlike Rose's son in law Jasmin, played football last week and twisted his ankle in a similar fashion to like what I did previously. He is on ice packs and hobbles. My ankle is now a lot better, it can still give me a jolt if I catch it wrong but well on the mend now.
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Had a couple of short trips in quick succession last week, one with our doctor friends to an Intercontinental hotel spa near Longmen in the further north of our province. That was just a one night stay and back again, always a reasonable trip with them, we also had Jasmin and Julie with us.
Our next trip, the day after we got back from that one was to Hainan Island, where I've been a couple of times before, this time we were sent to a place recommended by a friend of Rose, We had Jasmin and Julie with us again along with Wuxians mum and dad, it was in a holiday hotel owned by the Chinese Navy, I have to say I was a bit sceptical that they would allow two foreigners in (Jasmin is French Canadian) Anyway we got picked up at the airport after the hour flight and taken there, we got all settled in, Jas and Julie went for a walk but when they tried to get back in the guards on the gate wouldn't let them in informing them that 'foreigners' are not allowed to stay here. So we then had to hurriedly find another place to stay, luckily one was found not to far away just a little dearer in Sanya. We then started having trips by bus, on one bus swapped to another bus looked round a sort of rain forest, not that interesting, no animals at all. Then back on a small electric bus, to another bus to take us back to the first bus. What a palava. The next trip was to another beach (we were staying right next to one!) where we stayed last time we were here. again by bus. and back again by bus.
We were only there for 3 days, I met up with a couple of Russian guys who we kept meeting, on enormous bloke by the name of Sergie and another by the name of Vassily. both from (the told me) sunny Siberia.
Then it was a quick trip to the airport followed by a 3 hour delay
The Chinese New year once again has come and gone and we are now into the year of the dragon, so maybe not a good year to get married!!!!. The week before we went away I had a small disaster in the house, yes me for a change, I left the water on in the sink in the bathroom, unfortunately unbeknown to me the drain had blocked and we soon had a flooded room along with a quarter of the living room which has a wooden floor. A hasty mop up ensued and we managed to clear it all up quite quickly, luckily, the floors in this building are solid concrete so its a little hard to flood anyone below you, although if it had been left it would probably have found a downward path somewhere, and at least the wooden floor survived OK.
We had our usual New Year trip with our doctor friends and had a 3 hour car convoy of 9 cars to the middle of our Guangdong province to a hot spring resort. The only problem with it was that the weather on the day had abruptly dropped about 5 degees down to a freezing (to us) 45 Deg F. and on top of it all it was raining so it was very English type weather for the time of year. Not many folk ventured to strip to get to the hot springs. I had already previously sprained my ankle which is still quite weak and gives me a sharp jab when I catch it wrongly.
We stayed 2 nights at the hot spring, and then moved on to a hotel nearer home where we stayed for one night and them returned home.
We had the usual silly games on the New Year night, mostly organised by the kids (18+ year olds) which at times got quite hilarious. and other folk, including me, did their party pieces, I played them a couple of songs one of which I had written the night before about the trips we take. It must have been OK as I got requests to play later in the evening. fame at last!!!
We ran into quite a lot of thick fog in and out of the resort as it was on a mountain top, and we were mostly up in the clouds.
Well yesterday he smelt heavily of shit!!. We went to the park the evening before and it was dark, the park is lit but has dark spots, unlike the UK the parks here are full of people in the evenings. Anyway we were walking Happy off the lead and he ran into a grassy bush area, at the same time Rose decides to shoot off on her own into the dark. I call her to come back to help find Happy who had now disappeared but got no reply. So then I have to decide who to go look for first, I shouted for Happy and went to find Rose, about 100 yards further on Happy suddenly turns up beside me and we then find Rose as well. The boy unfortunately has this dark mark all over his back. On close inspection we find he has been rolling in a large pile of crap. On the way out of the park we stop at the toilets and wash off as much of the crap as we can, Rose in full panic about the dangers of crap on my coat!
We get him home and give him a good showering down with shampoo etc (doggy type) and he seems to be OK, I then have to take him for another walk just to dry him off and then afterwards go and clean the back seat of the car!
next day Rose takes him for his morning walk and everyone in the lift complains of the shit smell! so we have to wash him again, This time he gets a real good scrub up. and now at last he doesn't stink, well no more than usual.
I had as you may know recently sprained my ankle, well it was just about getting a bit better but the double walk hasn't helped and the bandage is now back on as its throbbing a bit..
I also had to visit the dentist that day due to the start of an abscess starting near my right wisdom tooth. that worked out OK and by the next morning the swelling had gone and I'm now taking a bit of medicine to clear it all up, So I've had pain at both ends of my body. I wonder what next.
Unfortunately I had the experience of my Visa running out because I forgot to renew it, this was because of Rose going in and out of hospital and me running round in the car the month it was due, anyhow, it ended up costing me a £500 fine, it could have been worse the could have charged me the full fine which is around £1000, but luckily we know a man.....
What this then entailed was me being given a 10 day 'punishment ' visa, which only allowed me to go out of China, so I then had to go to Hong Kong, well I went to the border crossing and got on a train to the first stop and then came back again and got a 3 month visitor visa at the border. I now have to go back again to the Security Bureau and get my 1 year multi entry visa back again.... nothing is simple her
The blog of a retired old git