28th Apr 13 at 06:04pm

Philip Glass in Hong Kong, March 2013

We went to HK early March to watch Philip Glass' 4 hour opera, Einstein on the Beach. 4 hours, no interval! You are allowed to walk in and out of the theatre anytime you want within those 4 hours.

I was fairly reluctant to go. This is after agreeing and having bought the tickets months before hand. It was David's early birthday present. He is a big, huge fan on Philip Glass. Me? Hm....

Who is Philip Glass? You can google him. He is a contemporary classical music composer and his music is not necessarily accessible to the general public. It's not easy to appreciate, nor liked. For sure not everyone's taste. 

I threatened to leave early. I moaned, whinged. I dreaded how obstructive and disruptive it could get when people walked in and out of the theatre.

Well what do I know!?? Once again, life threw me a curve ball. I actually enjoyed it. I sat for 4 hours, I walked about once just to give my leg a stretched. There were moments that I cringed and just wanted it to finish, but most of the time, I genuinely liked it. Something out of my comfort zone. I stayed, I didn't bitch. I loved the repetitive monosyllabilic choral singing, the sets, the energetic modern ballet part, with dancers leaping and twirling around. I hated the single violin player playing typical Philip Glass nail scratching on the blackboard tunes, repeating the same stanza again and again and again.

It was not any like the traditional opera we are used to. It's a multimedia avant garde production with dancing, acting, singing, music etc etc with staging and lighting as effects that on the whole made the entire production, I guess, worthwhile an experience. 

You can read more about Einsten on the Beach and Philip Glass here and here.

You can listen on youtube here

4th Mar 13 at 01:03pm

Lessons in Life

Those of you who know me, know me well enough to know I am not a touchy feely, soppy kind of person. I am not saying I am right old tough bitch cause I am not. But I am not new agey touchy feely ommmmmm etc etc etc. Ok ok I read The Celestine Prophecy but NO I didn't read The Secret, although I am not saying what it says in the book is rubbish cause it is not. But it's touchy feel! 

But, this below, which you may have received in your inbox or Facebook many times before, is something that resonates strongly (apart from the read the Psalms bit) 

Written by Regina Brett

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 50 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I've ever written. So here is the column:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

4th Feb 13 at 03:02am

The Reluctant TaiTai turned Graphic Designer finds peace at last?

I think I am beginning to find peace in my life. By that I mean, striking a balance as a freelance graphic designer/tai-tai!! By that I mean, well, accepting and actually enjoying and liking my life. No shit sherlock! 

January was an interesting start to the new year. I was terrified of January at the end of 2012. Terrified because I was worried I wouldn’t have work, and therefore having lots of time on my hands. I hate not having anything to do. It's been the root of evil since I stop working full time in 2009. The transition from full time work to not working full time for many women, for whatever reason, is difficult primarily because we are simply not used to being free. Having free time = bad/not a good thing/not doing anything worth while/not generating income/not creating useful footprints on this earth etc etc etc. It's just one of those wierd things that goes into our heads during that transition.

But wow, in January this year, I have been busy! I have no idea what but busy. I suppose it is a combination of chilling out, domestic chores, networking a little, work a little, catching up with friends for coffee, lunch, dinner and drinks, excursions, walks around Shanghai, cultural activities, making new friends, going to the gym (yes its kind of working people, this no resolution thing!), Chinese classes (although it has come to and end) etc etc.

I can survive the quietest month in the year, than I am ok. What a revelation! I can do this! It's ok. And the most important thing! I don’t feel a dire desperation to fill my time anymore.

That’s A HUGE thing! HUGE!! Can I say that again HUGE!!!!!

4th Feb 13 at 11:02am

A great Sunday out in Gaoqiao

After a week shitty polluted weather at the end of January, we were blessed with beautiful blue skies on our excursion with the Royal Asiatic Society to Gaoqiao, on Sunday, January 27th. Gaoqiao is about 45 - 60 min train ride out of Shanghai towards the mouth of the Yangtze river, north east of the city centre, in what they call Pudong New Area. It’s an ancient town that dates back to the Song Dynasty. (11 hundreds to 12 hundreds something). The main street is along the river and is studded with shops of all sorts, street food and amazing old architecture and beautiful Chinese courtyard houses and buildings.


Street food! The best!

The best ‘mcmuffin’ ever. A batter is poured into the round pan, topped with an egg, bit of spring onion, shredded carrots, mince pork, covered again with a thin layer of batter and cooked to brown on the outside, splattered in between with chilli powder. Divine!! We also had another pancake (no photos sorry!), made on a flat pan, filled with a mixture of several different types of vegetables and rolled into a burrito of sorts. Oh so good on a cold winters day!!! 

To top off the day, we went straight from Gao Qiao to M on the Bund for their regular last Sunday of the month’s chamber music - (sorry for the blurred photo)

...with my awesome find in Gao Qiao. An old fashion chamber pot to chamber music!

And what do you think?? The first ever no spitting sign I have seen in China. This was in the train station at Gao Qiao! 

More excursions plan, so watch this space!

7th Jan 13 at 11:01am


Well....ok maybe I do.

I want to start running again. That's probably the only resolution I have for the year. It's prompted by the fact that I feel like a whale after the holidays. I know I don't look like a whale but I also know I have some dysfunctional self-image problem and some kind of eating disorder, or rather at times not eating disorder. 

Anyway, it's boring, all of it. Suffice you know I will join the gym and start running again. That's what I want.

Suddenly, I miss Bowen Road (in Hong Kong) running days. I was pretty fit then in terms of stamina and I truly LOVED running. I want that feeling back again!!That adrenaline, the feel-good-hormones flowing through my blood and entire system while and after running. Runners High! I want it back! 

And if I lose a couple of pounds, even better! 

7th Jan 13 at 06:01pm

The Cat hiding in the bathub

As I was working in the study one day, I heard a banging noise of sorts and knew instantly it has to do with the Chavvy cat of mine. I looked all over for her but couldn't find her, and yet I hear this banging noise. This is where I found her!!

Soapy had somehow learnt to open the glass door to get into the shower/bath room to play/hide in the tub. 

Quite clever and cute for a chavvy street cat!

7th Jan 13 at 06:01pm

Possibly our last Christmas in France

As always, we spent Christmas 2012 in the quiet French countryside with Mate's parents. And like 2011, with a stopover in Dubai to see our desert friends. 

The journey to my inlaws is a fairly tedious and long plane, train, car ride. No matter whether we fly from HK, Dubai or Shanghai, it is always a full day's trip. Mate and I both admittedly dreaded the journey this year. It never gets better, no matter how many times we have done it before. But sadly, as much as we don't love the journey, this may be our last. In fact, this Christmas is quite possibly the last time we have a French Joyeux Noel! My inlaws are planning to move back to the UK after 10 years in France.  

I felt quite sad when we were told. France and my inlaws house, La Margarite, named after the previous owner, will always hold a special place our hearts. I got married in that house in 2005, and France was part the Morkel love story. 

Adieu France! Just as well since I have not picked up any French in the past 10 years of going there apart from "Deux cafés creme s'il vous plaît!"

Photos taken Dec 2011

7th Dec 12 at 10:12am

Back....on my birthday

Sorry, been away on a hiatus for a bit. But I am back and I will try to be more diligent and certainly to be more interesting.

It's my birthday today. I am happy. I was happy yesterday despite being hungover from another Wicked Wednesday. I met a friend for coffee in the morning at Sunflower, had a bowl of pasta to soak up the remnant alcohol sloshing around inside me, walked down Anfu Road and found a cool cashmere dress for RMB 1000, grabbed a new DVD, had my favourite jian bing at Wulumuqi, street food crepe-y yummy thing, walked all the way home feeling super. It was one of those dazzlingly seductive, cold but fabulous winters day with the sun high up in the sky over bright blue skies.

Back at home for a couple of hours working and pottering. Trip the post office and some Christmas shopping later in the day. Topped up the just so feel goof factor day with delicious roasted sweet potato, brussel sprouts, brocolli and fish dinner!! 

 Everyday should be like yesterday! And today of course although it has just started. 

I have decided that I am forever 38! 


Cashmere dress for myself 

Present from Mate on the left and cats on the right. 

8th Oct 12 at 11:10am

In Memory of....

Just as I had posted an earlier post with the same title, I heard another tragic news of the loss of another dear friend in Hong Kong. Greg Derham who passed away suddenly on October 4th. 

Rest in Peace my dear. You were an incredibly unique individual Hong Kong will ever ever have. We will all miss you and your wonderful contribution to life in Hong Kong for some many of us, for so many many years. You are loved by many and we will continue to celebrate your life! 


8th Oct 12 at 07:10pm

China National Day in the Great Wall

A million reasons to not visit any major tourist attractions in China during National Day Golden Week!  

This photo was taken from Shanghaist website. The photo was doing its rounds in weibo, the Chinese micro blog site. No joke eh? You think it was a photoshop job for the fun of it. Naaaaaah, its for real people! 

More on photos of Chinese tourist attraction jam pack full of Chinese tourist from -