Tag Archives for child


The Longest Night

Detail of MRI scan output.

After Zac’s epic and terrifying reaction to Stemetil, I am now quietly confident that everything that could go wrong already has. After a refreshing cigarette or five, I locate the floor that has free coffee and make myself some, then rejoin my spawn and his father in the quite ludicrously sci-fi basement of the Union. […]


What Else Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Zac in MRI Scanner

The Union hospital stands tower-high among the green hills of the Sha Tin district in Hong Kong’s New Territories. Jungle winds between luxury condos, car lights wend their way to glittering mansions, the neon of the city shines below us in the velvety dark. It’s harder to find a bigger contrast to our normal Hong […]


Disaster Strikes

Horse on Khovsgol Nuur

We know it’s going to be a brutal ride out from the reindeer people – six full days, seven hours a day, riding fast as we can over the boggy terrain. And we’re making relatively good time when we break the summit of the last valley before the taiga, the woods disappear, and the landscape […]


One Benefit of Learning English in Chinese Schools

Space babies and a space dog in kitschy Chinese art.

Handwriting has never been a strength of Zac’s. He’s a lefty, and started writing aged three. Then, because current British thinking is that young children should be left to “experiment with mark-making” by themselves – which is ideal if children are “mark-making”, rather less so if they’re actually writing – he wasn’t taught how to […]


First Day of Chinese School

Tang dynasty Chinese calligraphy.

We’re both fairly quiet in the taxi to the school. What had seemed like a really good idea at the time – put Zac in a Chinese school for a term or so so that he could improve his Chinese – now seems more and more unnerving. Not least since Huaze, out of the goodness […]


We Find a Chinese School

Chinese school in Harbin -- kids shovelling snow.

A bit of English language Googling around bilingual schools in Harbin finds a site for teachers of English as a foreign language, and a job advertised at a bilingual school. I Google around the school’s name in English, plough through a lot of investment sites, and eventually dig up the Chinese language site for the […]


In Glorious, Technicolor Drunkovision

Blurry sideways shot of moi in my kneeboots.

The ringing of my phone jerks me into wakefulness in a room that is streaming with light. A cursory scan of what passes for my consciousness reveals that I am still EXTREMELY drunk, ergo do not yet have a headache, but have done something absolutely bloody terrible that will emerge from the fog in unsightly […]


2012: A Year in Random Numbers

Camel and sand in front of the bent pyramid at Dahshur.

Wonders of the World: 5 Mount Everest Petra The Pyramids The Dead Sea The Blue Mosque Our favourite pyramid? The Bent Pyramid at Dahshur, not the famous ones at Giza), because we had the site to ourselves and could climb inside like Indiana Jones. I’d still take the Aya Sofya over the Blue Mosque any […]


In Which I Do Battle with a Travel Blogging Calendar

Travel Blogging Calendar

A couple of months ago, I unwisely signed up to The Travel Blogging Calendar. Yes, a travel blogging calendar. This is, as the name would suggest, a laudable initative whereby travel bloggers, male and female, pose for a calendar, which is then sold to raise money for charities (pre-order here!). I’m not, honestly, quite sure […]


Things To Do With Kids in Bali — Sick Child Edition

Petting Cockatoos

Zac is well on the mend from his surgery. But not enough to do many of his favourite things, or even ride a motorbike — and most of his friends are away. That sucks. You see, a lot of Zac’s favourite things for kids to do in Bali are on the active side. Neither of […]