Chu Si. Nickelodeon Nuance.

Nicholas Quirke was making sure that every nuance of the New Year calendar was honoured on 15 February 2021, a day on which sheep were created and the god of wealth is prayed to. The practice included offerings of fruits, cake and wine and at midnight the window should be opened to welcome the god in with eating and drinking until daybreak. The fierce sub zero temperatures made this an uncomfortable requirement and on this occasion it was hoped that the god could either find a way through the seals or wait till just before sunrise when the window would open. They hoped too that he could forgive the failure of the occupants to greet him until this time and enjoy the offerings of cake they had for him. The leftovers from the New Years meal should all be eaten on this day too and it was fortunate that they had come home from Peng’s parents with the tofu and treats that were not consumed and the breakfast ritual could be respected. With most of the traditions accomplished they set off for the fourth time in as many days for their fifth film, ‘Hi Mom’. Nicholas had seen previews of the film for a few a months and was surprised by the content of the film as the trailers, brief though they were, featured the actor Shen Tang and he expected the film to revolve around this character and his desire to be a stand up comedian. It was something of a shock to discover that his was a supporting role and the actual story was of an ugly duckling who thought she was a failure and had disappointed her mother. The story was charmingly whimsical but packed an emotional punch that had the whole audience sobbing by the end. They recovered in the nearby China World Trade centre mall in Guomao in Peet’s Coffee with tea and cake before leaving for a restaurant Peng had located in Chaoyangmen where they completed the days traditions with bing, Spring Pancakes with fillings of egg for the vegetarian and vermicelli and bean sprouts for the vegan. On the way to the rather tawdry eating establishment they passed Markor Cave, an architectural wonder and fashionable furniture store. For some reason it had attracted a host of photographers who bellowed at any pedestrian who might be trying to traverse the pavement. Naturally he managed to capture a couple of images as well as catch the fanatics waiting for exactly the perfect moment. It had turned into another long day out and relaxing at home with a movie was a must though ‘Willy’s Wonderland’, even with a silent turn from Nicholas Cage, was tedious and poorly executed. It’s monotonous pace and outcome though was perfect fare to ready him for the nights shut eye.

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