Park Life

Nicholas Quirke was celebrating the first of the month, April Fools day on 1 April 2020 with a visit to the massage hospital. His sciatica certainly was a lot better, there were still flares but the intensity of the pain was significantly reduced to a discomfort. As he cycled on the crisp, fresh morning his thoughts again turned to the worldwide crisis, where country upon country had closed its borders, the roads were quiet, skies mercifully free from air traffic and it occurred to him what good it must be doing to the planet right now with the Global stillness it was experiencing. He would have to look on line to see if there were any statistics. He had travelled to China by train not just for the adventure but to do his bit for the planet and somehow as he made his journey the world was stopping and the carbon footprint suddenly looked a lot more positive than it had at the year start. His consultation was in Room 16, which turned out to be an odd little annexe, not the salubrious setting he was used to It started as a lot soft,er than he was used to by now and the stretching out of his spine with a rhythmic rocking of his lower body felt like it was doing him a lot of good. But the doctor soon got the nerves jangling in his leg as he went straight Into the pain with his Weight and elbow Thinking that it could be the worst it could be, the final flourish was bouncing his full body weight on the pelvis. Odd as it seemed there was an almost instant quelling of any pain. Feeling buoyant, he returned to the apartment via a supermarket where once again he was lost in wonder at the variety and vibrancy of the fresh fruit and vegetables. The medication Peng had provided for him had numbed the soreness in his mouth and he was relieved to be able to eat for lunch. He felt he had over indulged and was glad that he had his Wednesday housekeeping routine to complete and the visiting another Park, Chaoygang or alternatively known as Sun Park. Which would walk off the excesses of his smoothie lunch, followed by some of the Tofu he had braised. and then fruit and nuts. After 2 days of barely eating his stomach had clearly shrivelled and setting of for the park feeling bloated was not ideal. It was an hours journey on subway and then a short bike ride when he passed some incredible modern architecture. which he wasn’t sure he liked, in fact he felt a little scared by it, though that was probably because it looked a little like the alien, but he found it very impressive. Sun park had a very different atmosphere from the tranquility of Beihai, this was clearly a fun park, though apart from kite flying, jogging and walking all the fun attractions were closed down. There was something extraordinarily fascinating about disused funfairs and he spent a long time enjoying the desolate nature of the rides disuse. He walked through the huge grounds, Beijing’s Central Park, heading slowly but surely towards the North gate where he would meet Peng and they would go out for supper. Even following the park signs he lost himself in the myriad of paths and time slipped away from him. By the time he was supposed to be meeting he was completely disorientated and Peng had to come to the rescue. They were eating at a trendy Health food restaurant, Tribe, in a smart shopping mall called Solana and after 3 hours of wandering he needed some sustenance. First they visited a Bakers where Peng could buy some unusual bread and then wandered through the quirky mall with a tropical theme and a replica of Piccadilly Circus’s Eros. The meal was delicious though the restaurant and food had a very cosmopolitan western style. Night had fallen by the time they left and the mall at night was lit up with illuminated air balloons. Peng had ordered a new fridge which was being delivered in the morning and once at home he was enlisted to help move the existing appliance to another room to make way for its replacement, then he discovered the one he had bought was too big and would not get through the doors! He cancelled and then ordered a new one. It was a surprisingly easy process and Nicholas thought about how difficult to manage that would be in the UK. The problems he had endured trying to cancel flights he had booked in the UK and was still not sure they had been cancelled or if he would get his money back were the irritating thoughts that sent him to his bed.

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