Combating the Cold.

Nicholas Quirke was out on the streets on 20 December 2020 in a temperature of minus ten as the sun was still on its ascendent course and he was infinitely relieved that his new military strength headwear had arrived to help him combat the cold. The vintage looking venture felt a little large on his small head and he did feel like he was disappearing inside the faux fur but he liked the look and the benefits of wrapping his skull in the surfeit of material were manifold. The air penetrated his gloves, but his face felt rosy and warm. He had an enjoyable lesson with his students who were in good spirits and surprisingly attentive. Making them watch a story on the IPad was a good move. He had agreed to meet Peng for lunch at ‘The Slow Boat Brewery’ a beer and burger joint, founded by a Laowai and serving Vegan options. He liked the ambiance which had all the trademarks of a western business and was popular, not only with the Chinese but the expats that populated the capital. The burger and chips were delicious and for once he accompanied his meal with a beer, brewed on site and with such exotic and tempting names, ‘Moon Jelly Clear Ne IPA’, ‘ Safe Harbour Christmas Ale’ with descriptions he could not resist. Though it remained cold the day boasted another brilliant blue sky and cycling south to the cinema through what was now familiar territory was refreshing and helped to absorb the food and drink he had consumed. After the failure of seeing , ‘Monster Hunter’ Peng had been very keen to visit the Emperor Cinema and experience their IMAX screen and the next blockbuster to open in Beijing was ‘Wonder Woman 1984’. He was surprised to find himself attending a screening such commercial fare. The film was in 3D and his expectations were low and turned out to be justifiably so. Though he throughly enjoyed the 3D experience which was probably the best he had ever encountered the story was somewhat lacking in its coherence. It was good to see two strong female protagonists even if the plot was not inspiring. However, that evening he was hugely compensated for the lack of integrity in the movie when after a light supper and a shower they sat down to watch ‘Another Round’, Thomas Vinterberg’s, of Dogma film fame, deeply intelligent, profound and human story of a middle age coming of age. The film had added resonance when he learned his daughter, who had talked to him of the youth drinking culture in Denmark , had died in a car crash and he had filmed the piece at her school amongst her class mates. It was stimulating fare and it took him a while to relax and prepare himself for a night of oblivion.

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