Nicholas Quirke was coming to the end of his treatment at the massage hospital and his penultimate session on 5 April 2020 was a repeat of his previous visit, in the same dismal room and with the same smooth handed doctor, who stretched out his spine and ended with hurling his entire weight upon his hip. The move made him feel a little nauseous and he felt in danger of bringing up the mornings breakfast, which had consisted of Jianbing and a bowl of silken tofu and a spicy sauce. His sciatica really seemed to be much better and he took a walk through the Hutong at Ping-anli where had first tasted freedom after quarantine and of course tasted the delights of the sugary Tang, otherwise known as ‘sweet ear’. When he asked the ladies at the street stall for Tang and pointed to his ear they all laughed but knew what he was talking about and sold him 5 which was a little treat for Peng. He wandered round the Hutong, enjoying the sights of the ‘Peoples Theatre’ which was now a closed museum and the retro street paintings. On his way home for lunch, he called in at the local supermarket again for some fresh produce and spotted a small illegal shop which had sprung up from nowhere selling goldfish and plants. He made a tofu dish which Peng complimented with a take away. It was an enormous amount to eat but but each still managed to each consume a Tang. There was housework to do, they made a vegan cheesecake, with cashew nuts, cooked sweet potatoes fries and he then prepared a smoothie for supper before they sat down to watch ‘Star Wars’ The rise of Skywalkers’ A bowl of nuts, the fries he had made and some Chilli and Lemon Hummus crisps accompanied the movie and by the time he went to bed he felt bloated and sensed his digestive system struggling under the gluttony the day had involved.


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