Paintings by Yu Qiping either side of the double doors leading to the drawing room
As our time for refuge in Hong Kong draws to a close we have chosen to ignore the temptations of the city's bustling night life, in favour of quiet nights (and days) at the beautiful house where we are staying.
Our host who has gone away on a business trip invited us to use the place as our own, and suggested we gave a party. This gesture is both kind and generous, but with new staff having only begun employment the day we arrived, embarking on such a venture would be quite onerous, with knowledge of where things are not yet what it should be. So we've selfishly decided to make use of it by ourselves alone.
During the day we only seemed to have strayed away to enjoy the long walks on some of the many hiking trails close to the house. This morning's walk included the one we used to traverse from our flat, when we lived here ten years ago, so it was a trip down memory lane, and included the reminder of one of the less attractive aspects of life here: overpopulation. The weather was also that very unattractive steam bath, which eventually gave way to rain. However, luckily our timing was perfect, ensuring we returned just before a terrific downpour.
Sundays here are best enjoyed when the only member of the household's staff is the Gurkhali guard. As a favour to my host, I agreed to show the new maid the ropes about how best to manage her tasks. We were familiar with the previous maid and she with us, but she has returned to her native Philippines, and there was no overlap between old and new. The training sessions are therefore proving somewhat frustrating, in not knowing exactly the preferred programme of daily requirements, and whether they would match my own in a similar situation.
Ah well, silver polishing, shirt-folding and how to roast a chicken seem to be new skills that I have passed on. If there was more time my buttling skills could be admired for a lifetime.
Now there's a thought.