...... but my body's not quite working on European time yet! I managed more sleep last night (2nd one back) so things are moving in the right direction. Many good things to see in the garden, but it will take a few more days before I've time to post very much - nearly two months' worth of mail plus some small repairs to carry out means spare time is in short supply just now. The flowers along the sun deck are in good form this year, including this stunningly deep purple pelargonium - a cutting given to us by our neighbours.
..... just one day left of this tour. By this time tomorrow, when there won't be time to post on here! - I'll be throwing the last few things into the suitcase and preparing to check out. The long journey home is the worse bit - I just want to be back home once I'm done here ..... the more than 30 hours of traveling it takes is not what you want after more than seven weeks away, but such is life. I usually find I adjust to the change time more rapidly when I return than when I set out - let's hope it works as usual. Some paperwork to attend to now ......
..... I've been in HK for seven weeks now ...... just a few days left which are wall-to-wall work unfortunately. I'll finish about 18.30 on Saturday and then leave for the airport an hour later. The time has gone by really quickly, though. I find Hong Kong a very agreeable place to be and to work. I'm feeling ready for some French sunshine I must admit - although the water restrictions are a bit of a pain - but I'll be back to HK to work again in the autumn, so leaving won't be as difficult as it might otherwise feel. The long spell of unsettled weather still continues here - we've not seen the sun for ages! It's supposed to improve over the coming weekend, but that'll be too late for me to benefit from this tour.
Delonix Regia (Acacia Roja, Flame of the Forest)
..... for this tour in Hong Kong. After the torrential rain during much of yesterday which brought down trees and created various problems across the territory, today has been cloudy but dry so far. Over the past couple of weeks these trees, which are commonly planted across HK, have become a mass of flame red blooms. Where there are several together the impact is quite stunning, especially in the sunshine, although that has been in short supply of late.
Delonix Regia (Acacia Roja, Flame of the Forest)
Delonix Regia is also known as Acacia Roja and Flame of the Forest - the latter being a particularly apt common name. It grows to quite a height (20m) and is a most impressive tree when mature. It's not tolerant of cold, though, so there's no chance of growing one of these back home, alas. Ideally 7c is the minimum temperature, although when mature it will take just a touch of frost as long as it's brief.
....... which began early when the rain woke me hammering against the window. It persisted for the entire day, until about an hour before sunset. The morning was spent on paperwork, but my intended venture out this afternoon got cancelled for obvious reasons. News from home is mixed - the weather is good, but the dry warm spring has resulted in a water shortage and restrictions are in place, which means keeping the pool topped up is going to be a problem this summer.
I'm hoping for a break in the bad weather tomorrow, since it's my last free day of the tour and I have a few things to attend to before work starts again on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the forecast doesn't look promising, so maybe I'll just have to get wet!
..... and after an unforecast bright start to the day the rain moved in this afternoon and it continues to make its presence felt tonight. I got a little damp walking back from the concert hall where I went to hear the HKPO perform a mixed programme of which the Symphonie Fantastique was unquestionably the highlight. They are fortunate here to have such a vibrant and frequent series of orchestral concerts performed to a very high standard.
...... today actually turned out to be a sunny day on the whole. I didn't see much of it from my windowless air conditioned work place, but it was pleasant to walk out into the sunshine briefly at lunchtime. The cloud and drizzle was already moving back in by the time I was making my way back to the hotel. I doubt we'll be so lucky tomorrow since the forecast remains rainy through to the week end.
.... this morning enabled me to get out for a while and pick up a few essentials which were running low. However the rain has returned now and I was struggling a little when it came to the photos. The biggest problem is that my camera, having been in the hotel for some days gets covered in condensation when I take it outside. The air con has been turned off in the room since I arrived, but the whole building is just far too cold. By the time the camera had warmed up and was fit to use it was raining! Anyway, the foreground trees here are young specimens of the Hong Kong Orchid Tree (Bauhinia Blakeana) which is planted widely across the city. Its flower was adopted as part of the national identity after the hand over in 1997, and it forms the centrepiece of the national flag as well as appearing on coins etc.
The flowering season is more or less over, although there's usually some blooms to be found no matter when you come. They really are most attractive, and despite their common name, they are not a member of the orchid family, but of the pea family. Blakeana is a naturally occurring hybrid, apparently which was discovered by an early governor of HK (Blake) from whom it takes its name. Unfortunately for the gardener, it is sterile and produces no seed. The only way to propagate is from cuttings or layers, both of which are difficult I'm told. They must have the hang of it here, though, because the trees really are everywhere in Hong Kong.
.... as forecast. It could remain for the whole of the coming week, it would seem. In better conditions, where there is the grey sky in this photo, you would normally be able to see the skyscrapers of Central, on the island. Today it's masked by the fine drizzle, and cloud coming almost to ground level.
With a transport infrastructure, especially the trains, second to none, it beats me why folk would want to try to go anywhere by car in HK. This queue to enter the Cross-Harbour Tunnel is more or less permanent ......
..... and it often stretches as far as the eye can see.
...... just a morning of paperwork to do tomorrow. After the warm weather of last week, it's been largely rainy and blustery this week, with temperatures consequently lower (max.29-28c). It's forecast to be even more stormy over the coming days, too.
I managed to get to the HK Philharmonic concert again yesterday evening - Dvorak and Shostakovich. It was a good evening, although not as finely honed a performance as last week.
Today is widely marked as Buddha's birthday across Asia and is thus a public holiday in many countries. The weather has turned much warmer of late, but the last couple of days there's also been a good breeze which has resulted in some lovely clear air. Sadly, this is not all that common here. (Compare the clarity of this shot with the ones I posted on 08/05.) This yachtsman was making the most of the stiff breeze across the water of the harbour. In the background is the East end of the North coast of HK island.
....... reading the newspaper, then a trip on the Star Ferry across to the Island where I met up with some friends for a most enjoyable lunch in a small French restaurant up in Mid-Levels. We sat outside in the warm and chatted long after the meal, in true French fashion ...... all most agreeable.
Here you can see the Central district of Hong Kong Island, with The Peak towering behind it. Central is the main financial hub of HK, and The Peak, a must see for every visitor, provides a stunning view of the territory on a good day such as today. It's not infrequently covered in cloud, though.
On the water you can see two of the famous Star Ferries plying their way across Victoria Harbour. In years gone by I have used this crossing for my journey to and from work on the island. However since more land was reclaimed a few years back, and the terminal moved to a new site, the route has become much less convenient.
During the month of May there is a festival here known as "Le French May" which, despite its linguistically questionable name, celebrates all things French. Part of this year's festival includes a series of surrealist photos by a French photographer Philippe Ramette which is on display along the famous "Avenue of Stars" - another HK must see for the visitor.
..... or is it this way?
..... more or less completed - just some paperwork left to do tomorrow morning, then a break. We get an extra day this week end because Tuesday is a public holiday here in Hong Kong, so that will be especially welcome! I'll try to get out with the camera at some point and find something new to put on here.
Have you sampled any of the live recordings of choral music featured on the Moments Musicaux page of the website?
Or there's a Christmas Carol selection available here.
Michel - just an ordinary guy, I guess. A musician by trade and into 'techy' things as 'relaxation'. Originally from the UK, but resident in France for 13 years.
Welcome to Michel's Place (michelsplace, michelsplace.fr)