Xuanwu Art Garden

Nicholas Quirke was immobilised in the morning by his woeful lack of sleep the night before on 25 May 2020. Stomach cramps had led to numerous trips to the toilet and the only saving grace of his trouble was that when he got on the scales for his daily weigh in he was 2 kilo’s lighter. This did mean he had reached his goal but he doubted it would be maintained as he was clearly dehydrated by the nights activities. It was good though to take it easy, to potter around, cook and try to eat again. The day was also threatening rain and keeping out of the inclement weather was also a priority. However, by mid afternoon Nicholas was itching to get out again and he chose to revisit the local Park where he had encountered various musicians. On this visit he discovered it was actual a designated ‘Art Garden’ with its own Outdoor theatre, though this, in common with theatres all over the world was also shut. It was sad, though there was plenty of theatre going on in side the boundaries of the park. Apparently the Peking Opera singers were there every day at 2 pm, a dance group of older ladies and there were people all indulging in various sports including a group of elders playing cards, which made him hungry for home and a casino session or two with his sister. He really wanted to talk with singers and find out if they were professionals who came there to practise or amateurs for a similar reason. In the park the strangled sounds had their beauty, and the performers an integrity in their performance which in the recording he made did not embody. He particularly enjoyed watching the Group of women dancing with fans who were not good at all and even they found their cavorting hilarious. The most powerful moment for him was two gentlemen, perhaps singing revolution songs, certainly something more tuneful, and while one played the harmonica with panache, the other sang with a soulful, melodious passion and a toddler added to the mix with a spontaneous burst into dance. Some of the avenues in the gardens were lined with works of art and characters. He was glad he had returned and discovered more about the park and its roots which had been established in 1953 around the grounds of the Shanguo Temple and was built to honour the local cultural inheritance. It was a space he was definitely going to return to again and find more enjoyment in the sounds and pursuits of it residents, including the birds. At home he and Peng did some further research on the sojourn to Nanjing and an Itinerary was put together. He did some more work on a video project and then went to sleep.

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