Nicholas Quirke was in a reflective mood on 31 December 2020 as he ruminated on what many were calling the worst year ever, one that had sunk and destroyed lives like the seventies disaster movie ‘The Poseidon Adventure’. As friends and family around the world and specifically in the UK were either suffering with Covid or locked away avoiding its ravages and facing the severing of ties with the European Union the next day Nicholas, privately celebrating what he saw as a remarkable year’s adventure, was feeling a little guilty but also relieved. In honesty he had conceived the plan of exploring China for a year to escape what he personally felt was a disenchanting period in Britain’s history and he wanted to be as far away from the experience as possible. That the subsequent pandemic that afflicted the planet had ultimately kept him firmly on his course and allowed him to remain uninterrupted in the land he was deeply intrigued by had served only to ensure he had spent his year in an almost perpetual state of discovery and excitement. He had wanted something different but he had not anticipated the monumental changes and experiences that he had undergone and he felt blessed to be crossing into 2021 from his current joyful perspective. He was however not planning to make it an overblown event. He generally liked to be low key on New Year and he was happy to find that although the transition to a new Gregorian Calandar year was celebrated in China, there was not quite the same excitement that accompanied celebrations in the uk. A lunch, a film and counting the New Year in from an apartment in Beijing with a loved one was enough. He and Peng had decided to make their way across the City to QMex and to complete their exploration of the ‘Vegan’ menu they offered. It was astonishing that the sky continued to be so blue in the temperatures they were experiencing and made the city and its iconic towers shimmer with life. There was plenty of room in the restaurant and they found themselves sprawling on the low seating among the preparations for the pending party which at that point resembled the debris of a celebration already passed. With a planned fast approaching on the 2 of the new month they gorged on the Mexican food and followed it up with a visit to ‘The Bread Society’ where fantastic looking cakes of peanut and black sesame were purchased to be devoured before the austere eating plans for January kicked in. At home they watched the tense french drama ‘Three days and a Life’ which was compelling but not the lighthearted fare that the day’s expectations begged. There was time to kill before the countdown began and to a background of gala celebrations in China on the TV he opened his New Year Gift from Peng, a China Flag red sweatshirt with the slogan ‘Vegetarianism’ in Mandarin emblazoned across his chest. Apart from the acts the tv festivities were strikingly similar to those witnessed across the world at New Year and when the countdown to 2021 was completed, fireworks shook the Chinese sky as indeed they would from Sydney to LA. There was no ‘Auld L’ang Syne’, though he had noted throughout the year, the tune was often played in shops and department stores. He sent wishes for a better world for everyone through his social media and went to bed with a new year in a new land awaiting him when he woke from the much needed sleep he closed the day with.