Flora At Yuyuantan

Nicholas Quirke was in domestic mode on 7 May 2020 and gave the apartment his attention for the weekly clean. It was a gloomy day outside so spending time indoors was not too much of a source of discontent. His plan was to venture on another parking expedition but this was not so much a history trip as to catch the last of the blossom in a park renowned for its cherry tree orchard and its its proximity and view of another modern soaring landmark, the Central Radio and Tv Tower. He was parking again and believed that he had possibly exhausted the city’s open green spaces but it was an opportunity to cycle and exercise and contemplate his future which for now was looking fairly set in Beijing. On arriving at the park which ran alongside another of the capital’s canals he was immediately struck by the variety of the numerous, he counted 10, conifers that lined the paths. It was a very serene place to be with sculptures and shaded pavilions to reflect in though there seemed to some expectation of a momentous happening on the banks of the canal as a plethora of apparent paparazzo with big cameras and looming lenses pointed at the water with mounting excitement. He guessed there must be some expected sighting of a special fish or bird. The air for once was full of birdsong and delightfully free of the instructions to be a thoughtful citizen of the world spewing from the speakers. The parks big surprise was that on walking through the leafy glades and following its path it suddenly opened up onto a wide shimmering lake with its view of the tower, which on this overcast day looked vaguely romantic, a sense that was added to by a charming old lady taking a languorous turn through the park along the lakeside and over the bridge, practising an aria. He had expected much more colour from the trees but his arrival was a little to late for the cherry blossom, though there were still some spectacular images, iridescence and scents to drink in. It was another park that spanned a huge area and he had covered quite a distance before sitting down to enjoy the calm and people watch. It was a no surprise that once again he was an alien face all the more obvious now that he could dispense in the open air with wearing his face mask. The cycle home was an equally enjoyable visual treat along the river bank and past the famous Diaoyutai hotel for visiting dignitaries. He intended to call his mother for a catch up, but while he was waiting for a response Kim called from Australia and they had an engrossing, hilarious and productive hour long conversation, by which time Peng had finished his cycling and they sat down to watch the creepy ‘The Hole in the Ground’ before retiring

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