Chastity and Disloyalty

Nicholas Quirke was charmed by the stories that defined ancient Huizhou city , on 15 June 2021, established in 221 BC and yet another village that had maintained the integrity of its originating framework. Built on a hillside the narrow streets, though filled with contemporary shop fronts still echoed with a deep long past that had him wondering if a former life had seen him marauding the confined alleyways. The distressed , discoloured walls were haunting and catching gamins at play in the mouldering scenes were oddly familiar and added to the atmosphere. It was unfortunates that a disturbed sleep and the intense heat and humidity hampered his enjoyment and though they spent a good few hours exploring the streets and in particular the memorial archways that were discovered along the route, finding refuge in a cool air conditioned cafe was a kind of relief and gave him the opportunity to reflect on what he had seen and his experience so far. The stories that vied as his favourites of the day had resulted in the building of commemorative arches. Huang’s Chastity Archway honoured the wife of Wei Pei, a citizen who died young and in a staggering display of fidelity and chastity his wife starved herself to death by hunger strike when her husband died young. He was also fond of the Zhixiu Chogguang Arch constructed to remember the sad plight of two officers in the Ming Dynasty, Jiang Yingxiao and Jiang Bingqian who were framed by disloyal comrades and put to death. The calumny was discovered and their names were restored by erection of another memorial. But the city was not only famous for these fables but its residential buildings and the importance of Fengshui and yinyang in their construction, ancestral temples, a nine dragon wall and it also boasted a a Ming Dynasty Bridge that was expected to stand for 1000 years. This was the last sight they took in before driving to the airport to return the car and begin the journey back to Beijing. They expected a long wait at the airport though despite weather warnings the flight left early. It was subject to some alarming turbulence but they landed safely and 30 minutes early which was a bonus as they had expected to get home about 1am but in fact he was in bed and ready for sleep by 12.30pm.

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