Water, Wind and Willows

Nicholas Quirke was full of aches and gripes on 22 April 2020 when he woke with a pain in his left foot and a sciatic flare in his right leg. He had already been informed by the foot specialists he had seen at the weekend that he had Athletes foot in his heels and further irritations made him suspect Plantar fasciitis which Grace Wilkinson had once suggested he had. None of it made him feel particularly cheerful, but at least he could lead a relatively normal life which was more than his family and friends in the UK and around the globe could. He promised himself he would not whine and instead get on with his business and rested a bit. It was impossible though for him to stay still for long and as he had booked to go to Taoranting Park in the afternoon he decided he would keep his Parking appointment and head for the green and open air. One of the benefits of spending time in the parks of course, was the opportunity it gave him to not wear a Face Mask. As long as he kept his distance from others, he could gulp down the ozone without fear of punishment. It was another bright and blue sunny day though once again he battled along the boulevards against the fierce wind. This was a park he had been refused entry to at the start of the week and as Peng had booked online for him he was expecting some difficulties breaching the North Gate his map directed him to. His worries were unfounded and like the wind he breezed through and into another zone of calm and serenity. Another historic park, famous for its Taoran Ting ‘Carefree Pavillion’ built in 1695, apparently a location for literati to gather reciting and composing poetry and essays, or just to relax, admiring the beauty of the moon, at a time when most of Beijing’s gardens were reserved for the use of the imperial families during the Qing Dynasty. Its name derives from a poem by the poet Bai Juyi, “Wait till the chrysanthemums are yellow and home-made wine is ripe, I’ll drink with you and be carefree” It also hosts the tomb of Gao Junyu and his lover Shi Pingmei one of the earliest members of the CPC who died in 1925 at 29. There is also an old temple, which was built even earlier during Yuan Dynasty. There was plenty to see and experience and he soaked up the sun and air and watched the reeds and willows stir and ripple in the wind And forgot about all the aches and pains his day had started with. He enjoyed a quiet night reading as his host had another interview for another job.


  1. Sorry to hear you woke in pain, but thank you for taking me to the park, it was beautiful and gives me the opportunity to enjoy being outside xx

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