One Whole Year’s Fortune.

Nicholas Quirke was rarely given to feeling smug but on 12 January 2020 he had every reason to allow the warm sensation of satisfaction course through his bloodstream as the date marked exactly one year since he had set of on an adventure to the opposite side of the globe. When he had departed from St Pancras Station, seen off by his sister, sons and Grace, there was fear and excitement in his soul. Other than a train ride across Europe, Russia and Mongolia he had no fixed plan and absolutely no idea what the future held when he arrived in Beijing. But what an unexpected 365 days it had been. A Global disaster which everyone thought should, would curtail the journey and have him scurrying home had ended up keeping him from Englands shores and with the aid of the wonderful Guo Peng, whom he had the unbelievable fortune to meet, he had a home, had seen many of China’s cities, including some he shouldn’t have, had found himself in Korea and Japan , and had work that ensured he had money while he was here. It felt like success and he wanted to mark the occasion with something special. He had hoped to travel somewhere but with his new commitments he couldn’t fit in and instead chose to revisit the vast National Museum of China and soak up some the history and culture of this ancient, unpredictable civilisation. Firstly though he had a mission to get a new coffee blend from Nespresso in Tai Koo Li for Peng and journeyed across the city to the mall and to spend lunch in the Page One bookstore. For the first time in a long while he experienced problems getting into the museum. Firstly he pointlessly went through the security to get into Tiananmen Square as it appeared they had removed the ticket office. He then underwent rigorous questioning at the external box office and it also seemed they were surprised he wanted to visit. He didn’t have the QR code even though he had pre booked and he had to contact Peng to get that sent and then once inside he underwent a full body search and an inspection of the contents of his his bag. Though he had been before the hall was so vast he had only seen a fraction of its treasures and once he had been through the immense hall he went climbed the huge staircase and found some more galleries with some beautiful art work. He saw an exhibition of paintings of the Ming and Qing emperors, on the work Zhang Shulv whose combination of western and Chinese techniques and using chalks to create the paint revolutionised the traditional bird and flower paintings and a comprehensive exhibition of Chinese Drawing where 100 indigenous artists were invited to submit work. The range of style and content was amazing. He was satisfied that he had marked the anniversary in a suitable way and though he had hoped to see a Chinese film to end the day but instead they watched ‘Promising Young Woman’ which was as far away from a study of the Orient that you get and left him feeling very uneasy and a little bit queasy. It did not however stop him from sleeping

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