Cycling, Shopping, Tea.

Nicholas Quirke was having a more relaxed day on 24 September 2020, spending the morning packing and catching up with with some of the series he was watching. These now included, ‘Raised by Wolves’, ‘Ted Lasso’, ‘For all Mankind’, ‘Ratched’ and ‘Staged’ he felt he should not be enjoying Michael Sheen and David Tennant quite so much as he was, for despite the element of smugness that surrounded them, their exchanges, their eloquence, temperament and the insight it provided into the process of performance was actually surprisingly appealing. The temperature was now decreasing, particularly where they were headed and shorts and short sleeved shirts were not going to cut anymore. As he went through the suitcase of clothes he hadn’t had to look at since arriving in China, the thermals, the scarves, the coats that he had bought with him to handle the fierce minus 20 temperatures of Siberia and Mongolia were too over the top, plus he had already disposed of a couple of shirts which had suffered during his two month journey through winter across Europe, Russia, China, Korea and Japan. He needed new wardrobe items and he took himself off to Joy City in Xidan and Uniqlo to see what was on offer and to get a tank top which he had been coveting for some time. As often happens with a desired item when he tried it on disappointment crept into the cubicle and nothing satisfied him. He eventually settled on a retro 50’s tartan flannels shirt. Having satisfied the need to spend he cycled to Caishikau to meet Peng and have tea. They went to the cafe next to his favoured 1920 venue. It was larger but he experienced many technology problems and as he was trying to sort out more issues that had sprung up about the flat he felt irritated by the group of students at the next table, ostensibly there to study but there was not a moment when they weren’t talking and giggling and annoying the tech stressed Nicholas. The owner did have a word with them at one point, asking them to keep the noise down but it reminded him of an incident in the Athena Cafe in Harrogate when he was 17 and he and his cohorts, including his brother Micheal were being noisy. They were told off, and the proprietor even went so far as to twist his ear an uncharacteristic comment from Michael resulted in them being barred from going in there ever again. Shame helped him to find tolerance in his heart for the noisemakers and he focussed on his blog and sorting out his issues. It was sunset when they left and as they neared the apartment they got off the bikes to walk through the Hutong. Much of it was tatty, in need of repair and under redevelopment. He enjoyed the distressed buildings and was happy to encounter a Ghost Singh for what had been a vegetable market once located there. He spoke again with Kate who explained some of the dramas that had been going on regarding his flat and the leak which was still going on. He had also had a quote for the repair work which seemed somewhat excessive and he needed to organise some other quotes. It was a relief then to relax in front of a film from South Korea, ‘Killer Toon’ which was a little confusing, but undemanding. Sleep, when it came was a relief.


  1. I don’t think anyone would risk ear twisting these days. If you did you might get stabbed, beaten or arrested!

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