Nicholas Quirke was feeling the pace of Beijing life slightly overwhelming on 17 January 2021 as he had another day of work followed by a lunch in the city and once they returned to the apartment, the assembly of the new sofa due to be delivered that afternoon awaited him. It felt like a busy day ahead and when he left at 7.30 in the morning with a temperature of minus eleven degrees tearing at his cheeks and a number of other pressing issues to deal with too he wondered when he would get a break to write and publish his blog. A neighbouring Hutong had been sealed off from the public by blue screens as a resident , who was actually elsewhere in China, had contracted COVID 19 but to be safe, they had closed it down to all but residents. This meant that the pavement was now blocked and everyone had to walk in the road. The class were fortunately well behaved and he was able to get through the two hours with little trouble from the usually playful group. The minute it was over he cycled to the restaurant rendezvous with Peng at Haidilao Hot Pot. He was first to arrive and oddly pleased with himself for finding the basement venue. He was amazed by the restaurant, it’s staff who were immediately attentive and its unique modern style. The food for the hotpots was selected by robots and the diners were exposed to the sight of them operating. The service included a face changing dancer who treated him to a close up of his work, watching noodles being made at the table and to Peng’s annoyance, as a Laowai, he was given a gift bag including some very nice chopsticks. The food was perfect for his raw food diet. He had an enjoyable time and made the most of relaxing before they went home to tackle the construction of the sofa. The boxes were waiting outside the door and thus the task began. Like all Ikea furniture item was a straightforward process. It’s erection, however took nearly 3 hours and by the end their enthusiasm for the project had dwindled and left them feeling enervated and even the action movie they watched, ‘Open Water 2’ could not revive the flagging spirits. Nicholas wished he had enjoyed more rest as he faced a full week of 9 – 5 work, something he had not done for a number of years. For once sleep did not come easily but eventually it did creep upon him.