Western World.

Nicholas Quirke was feeling a little tested on 17 March 2020 when he went on a shopping mission for Peng. The day had started extremely well, he had had a refreshing sleep and was able to tackle the technological issues that had prevented him from posting his blog, his leg felt pain free, and he had a plan to get out and see more of Beijing. After breakfast Peng went to work and he weighed himself for the first time since he witnessed his weight had been going up instead of down. He was delighted to see they were recording a decrease of nearly 5lbs. His spirits soared and he was eager to get on with his day. he made some Hummus, washed up prepared himself a salad for lunch, including the Tempeh he had marinated and cooked the night before. Peng wanted him to go to a mall where there was an Ikea and other fashion outlets. When packing for his journey he had focussed on the arctic conditions he would be enduring in Siberia and Mongolia and had not carried many items other than trousers that were smart casual and could be worn through the seasons. He would need clothing for potential employment and to replace the shirts and items, torn and stained, he had dispensed with along the journey. This meant he needed some essentials like a smarter jacket, a pair of shoes and maybe another shirt. Peng thought it laughable that he was so poorly attired and that he had travelled with white shirts. Peng provided him with a train route to get to the mall, but the fact that it was a perfect spring day, made him want to cycle and then the route changed and with it Nicholas’s inattention to detail. He enjoyed cycling along the strange route which took him into the suburbs of Beijing and then he took the subway along the rest of the route. He got off at the stop and then was unable to fund the Mall. When he messaged Peng about where the mall was he got a short response as once again he had got off at the wrong station. He was in fact meant to have cycled to that station and then get a train the rest of the way. He had curtailed his bike ride 3 stops too early and then got off the train too early. A time and money wasting moment that made him cross with himself. And put him out of sorts and in a bad mood which extended to his behaviour and he took hardly any photographs to record the day. By the time he got to the correct location he was sulky and his foot and leg were starting to ache. He was expected to scan a code into his WeChat but as he was fussing about getting his correct Chinese mobile number the employee on the door, giving up on the old white mans ineptitude, just waved him through. The shops in the mall were open and there were some cafes open and he prowled the mezzanines to find somewhere that wasn’t only offering take out rather than providing a place to sit down, relax and seriously ’take the weight off his feet’ which were killing him. He was sure the Dr. he had seen would not approve of the punishment he now felt he was administering to himself. He looked at some clothes shops which had a distinctly western vibe, with H & M, Though it was closed, Doc Martins, GAP, Uniqlo. Nike but the attempt was so lacklustre he gave up and went to get the items Peng wanted from Ikea, again this was not an experience he had expected to endure out in the Far East. No different to the UK or, clearly, across the globe, and even at a time of crisis still busy. He got the goods and headed back to the apartment feeling a little more cheerful though the dull ache in his leg continued to agitate. He did feel though that something was shifting and that the pain had moved a little. He was looking forward to his next treatment. He cycled from the station, bought some Bananas and garlic, which they were low on and on arriving back, washed and sat down to deal with the responses to the admin that he was trying to get resolved. Now TV were refunding him the subscription they had been taking but nothing from Bulb to say they were dealing with his enquiry. He felt another phone call coming on. He avoided the treadmill and stretched his muscles and his intellect, chatted with a friend and once supper and writing were out of the way he went to bed.

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