Chinese visitors

About once a week we get tourists wondering onto our property. They take photos – of the view, of the house, of us in the house, selfies with or without us. It’s kind of weird. Except for a very few, they are Chinese tourists. They rarely speak English. I wonder if we have got onto someone’s Facebook or Instagram page. 

There’s no reason to mind. They are definitely not scoping the joint for a future burglary (I’m pretty sure). They just like the view – and who’s to say the view belongs to us? And they are curious about the “locals” and how they live. Me too!

I have thought, though, of jumping around like a monkey. Or raising my shirt. Or even coming out to greet them with no clothes on. As if it were normal. We’ve also wondered if we should put a sign up at the entrance asking for €5 a photo.

But who knows, if they keep coming, maybe one day we’ll be famous on Chinese TikTok (Douyin)!

My blog looks just like Annie Mueller’s. That’s because it is. I’ve had several blogs since my first blog on blogspot in August 2004 ( Then stopped blogging regularly. Always miss it.

Reading Annie’s “It’s just a blog” post shot me back. That’s why I do it. Plus her simple layout spoke to me. It’s a wonderful Anders Norén design. Works like a dream.

Hello and Reading are two headings that I would have. I spent hours thinking of an alternative to Hello. There’s Viva – it’s what I say in Portugal and sounds so full of life, but pretentious when the blog is in English. And there was Jambo – Hello in Swahili and definitely pretentious if you don’t know it was part of my vocabulary growing up in Mombasa. So I stuck with Hello, which sounds to my ears like the short response my grandson gives  to an effusive “HELLOOOO my DARling, how AAARE you”. Neutral.

And Reading is Reading. Just what I want to write about. 

So there you have it. Copied. Look me up, if you come to Portugal, Annie. I owe you dinner. 

Meantime, I looked up my first blog and found these resolutions moving into 2006. It reminded me how wonderful it is to blog. And to be able to look back on your unremembered self – Resolutions 2006.

WhatsApp creates so much noise. Happy Easter. Thanks. Heart moji.  Same to you. Repeat similar sequence for all in the group.

Except me.

Do I add to the noise? Do I say Happy Easter or shall I be the only one who says nothing?

Everyone will think I’m dour and no fun.

Or do I add my bit, however inauthentic?  After all, what do I care about Easter? And I’m working so it makes no difference to me.

So many pings. They disturb me. But I haven’t added my happy wishes for an Easter I don’t care about and that disturbs me too.

Inauthentic or dour? What should I be?

I want

… to be

…… a micro-influencer


On a wide

… and diverse number

…… of people who may be micro-influencers


I’d like

… for unlikely people

…… to feel seen and heard


In even the tiniest of ways

… by who I am

…… and my journey through the world


I subscribe to a Swedish lingerie shop just for the pictures. Sounds pervy, but hear me out. The models are wonderful, beautiful, inspirational people of all shapes, sizes and ages. There really is no need to be bombarded with touched up, idealised images all the time. We are beautiful in all our imperfect glory.

If you eat lots of sugary stuff, it takes a certain discipline to retrain your body to appreciate good food.  And it’s probably the same with body images – they have become tempting candies. And the only things on offer. They make you forget how scrumptious is a good apricot or date crumble.

Of course, some lacy underwear helps! 

Around 40 years ago there was an ad from Channel 4, UK TV, inviting people who had an original idea for travel they wanted to do. They would follow and film the story of you doing it.

Never one to miss an opportunity I applied with my idea: to travel to India and beyond teaching local kids circus skills. I had spent a good six months with Billy, the Community Circus in Leicester, UK , and had enjoyed learning to teach kids how to tightrope walk, walk on stilts, juggle, be a clown and to put on a circus show. 

I went for an interview in the basement of a big house in London (I think) and presented my idea with the cameras rolling. I guess that bit was to see how we were under the spotlight. 

I didn’t get it, needless to say!

The gawky boy on the side

The ninja class
The ninja class

That’s me with the red belt – a 62 year old who should be at home knitting woolies for her grandkids. Fifty minutes of running around followed by learning new moves for throws and kicks. Everyone is remarkably patient with me.

My big takeaway was being settled in for “kamae“, the stance or posture you get into in preparation for a move. 

I had mistakenly thought I should be coiled and ready to spring but…

Read more >


I’m looking forward to a nice glass of wine later. I’ll probably drink two or three.

Funny thing was having a Doppler ultrasound on my heart today. I heard my heart beating and the doc got a good few pictures of it. I heard (again) that my aorta is stretched – not to worry about, but it’s to keep an eye on. 

It gets you thinking about tradeoffs … how many days (?) hours (?) minutes (?) am I prepared to trade for that glass of wine? Aorta v rush of pleasure.

Read more >

The right to sex

22-01-11 Feminism

I’m half-way through Asia Srinivasan’s book of essays about the politics of desire. The author looks so young, I’m in awe at how cleverly she thinks and how masterfully she writes. I was twenty-five when she was born, with still another forty years to grow up. She’s not yet forty and I’m still waiting to be as articulate as she is. 

She has a wonderful line in the preface: “At its best, feminist theory is grounded in what women think when they are by themselves…“. So here I am, trying to make sense of what I think while I’m by myself. 

The rest of the quote goes “… what they say to each other on the picket line and on the assembly line and on the street corner and in the bedroom, what they have tried to say to their husbands and fathers and sones and bosses and elected officials a thousand times over.”