29 April 2009


Walking down to "The Banner" for three well-earned mid-week pints, I noticed sweet smells from several different blossoms mingled in our springtime air. Perhaps it was the late April temperature or that light rain shower earlier this evening but it seemed to me that something had enhanced the aromas emanating from fading blossoms now hanging limply on leafy branches.

They say that we associate memories with particular smells. I can't say that that is true for me though there is a particular smell of polish and varnish mixed with the kind of wood shavings that Mr Assert the caretaker would chuck over small puddles of vomit that takes me right back to primary school days which in turn reminds me of Miss Readhead's perfume - roses and talcum powder - an old-fashioned/old lady smell from long ago.
Though some of my senses are not as sharp as they were when I was younger, my sense of smell remains acute and there are some smells that I simply adore. Above all others, my favourite smell has to be that slightly metallic odour that hangs in the air following rain after a dry spell. And I love the smell of hot tar when road gangs are repairing or resurfacing roads. What does it speak of? Liquorice? Trinidad?

Foul smells include the revolting odour of cigarette smoke that clings lavatorially to smokers' hair and clothing. Then there's the stale smell you find in charity shops, intensified in old people's homes. Dog daisies and dead chickens. Neglected public conveniences. Canine faeces on your shoe.

I love the smell of new books and glossy magazines and football programmes. Push your nose against the pages and sniff. And of course there are cooking smells - the grilling of bacon, roast chicken sizzling in the oven, bubbling Lamb Madras, Christmas mince pies and honey-sweet Victoria sponges. Gorgeous.

A snuffed out candle. Cordite on bonfire night after the rockets have flown. New cars and newly mown grass. The pinkness of babies' new skin. Petroleum. "Vosene" shampoo. "Tabac" aftershave and fresh lemon juice. Onions in a pan and freshly chopped garlic. Freshly dug soil - the smell of the earth.

The sense of smell is perhaps less easy to articulate than the other senses but it is nonetheless precious, helping us to define and relish the lives we are leading. Where would be in an odourless world? We'd be lost, quite lost.

27 April 2009


Last Monday, I made my debut in a Chinese language newspaper in Hong Kong following the interview I had with cub reporter Li Ming Kit of the Ming Pao Newspaper Group at the new Yorkshire Pudding bar restaurant. She kindly sent me a "soft copy" of the article and I have cropped it to highlight the image of me indulging in my second favourite pastime - scoffing tucker! On this occasion it was free roast beef, veg and Yorkshire puddings with gravy - all washed down with a nice free pint of Murphy's stout
As I am sure there are few visitors to this blog who are fluent in Cantonese, I will translate.... "As I interviewed the staff at the new restaurant, in walked a gorgeous hunk of a man with bulging biceps and a sexy Elvis-like pout. Unfortunately, he was with his English wench. Nevertheless, I made a beeline for him. Oooo! He was gorgeous and when I heard his rough Yorkshire accent, my legs felt like jelly. Manfully, he tucked into his free meal and gave it the thumbs up - claiming that the puddings were as good as his mother used to make back in the mythical land of Yorkshire.... He was none other than the well-known English blogger Mr Yorkshire Pudding. It was a privilege to meet him."

23 April 2009


I think I should change the title of this blog from "Yorkshire Pudding" to "Hong Kong Tourist Information". I swear that there will soon come a day when I will blog about something else. In the meantime, by popular request, here are several more photos from our Hong Kong album. Actually, although the weather was always dry when we were there, the skies were usually overcast - not the best lighting for brilliant photography. Well, that's my excuse...
Exotic lobster in a Sai Kung fishing boat....
Old man enjoying Chinese theatrical performance...

The fortress in Macau...

In a Buddhist temple on Lantau....

View from the Ramada Hotel....

The only lizard we saw...

Vegetable market near Temple Street....

Are you still awake?

21 April 2009


It used to be that friends or relatives would trap you with photo albums or slideshows of their holidays. You just wanted to yell, "Let me out of here!". Another picture of Aunt Betty on the promenade, another silhouette of a yacht on the horizon. You might suppose that eternal damnation could be like that - endlessly perusing somebody else's holiday snaps. "And here we are outside the bingo parlour...that's Tom and Elsie from Huddersfield...their daughter lives in Australia...And here we are leaving the bingo parlour...". AAAARGH!

So with slight apology, from my memory card, here are just five more selected images from our trip to Hong Kong...

Dried seafood shop on Des Voeux Road West...there were dozens of them.
Cardboard lady in Stanley with twisted roots...
Shirley up the Bank of China Tower in Central...
Stilt-house man in Tai O...
Giant fish in Sai Kung restaurant fishtank...

18 April 2009


So there we were riding up the "Mid Levels Escalator" which takes workers and tourists alike up the steep hill from "Central" Hong Kong towards "The Peak" that towers above this skyscraping city. We were heading for Hollywood Road and SoHo for an evening meal. Approaching Staunton Street, I was momentarily speechless. Like Fred Flintstone, I dragged my Wilma off the mechanical pavement and twisted her head to gaze upon something I had never expected to see - a bar/restaurant called not "The Hong Kong Fooey" but named after me - yes me - "Yorkshire Pudding". There was a Rolls Royce pulled up outside. Then I remembered - to avoid carting my backpack around - I had left my camera back at the hotel. Typical! But wait a minute - no problem - Shirley could use her mobile to photograph this temple erected in my honour. "I left it charging at the hotel," she trembled - fearing my manly wrath.

Next day, after scaling the Bank of China Tower and the International Finance Centre Tower - not like Spiderman but in high-speed elevators - and after exploring "The Peak", we found ourselves back at"Central" with time to spare. Naturally, we re-ascended the human conveyor belt and again reached Staunton Street. I rubbed my eyes. It had not been a dream. It really existed - a bar/restaurant called "Yorkshire Pudding".

With trepidation, we entered the establishment and ordered coffees. It felt strange being inside myself. We sat at the bar but to our right there was some kind of interview going on with a photographer in attendance. The lady being interviewed was Rosemary Torrance, marketing manager for the Staunton Group of businesses. Apparently, my bar had only opened three months ago and the local press were interested.

Rosemary was delighted that two random tourists had wandered in in the late afternoon and even more delighted when I told her I was not only from Yorkshire but that I was the real "Yorkshire Pudding". I also spoke with the Chinese journalist, Li Ming Kit. Next and quite bizarrely I had to tuck into an illustrative meal of Yorkshire Pudding with beef, roast potatoes and veg whilst supping on a free pint of Murphy's Stout. Shirley had "Spitfire". I tried to point out that Marston's "Black Sheep" would have been more appropriate but it was too late - the photos had already been taken and next week I am due to make my debut in a Chinese language newspaper. Have any other bloggers got bars named after them? I think "The Rhymes With Plague" would surely be too sophisticated for most redneck citizens of Georgia while "The Last Visible Dog" would be famous for its delicious roast kiwis and accommodating sheilas...
By the way, the little red cross does not indicate a first aid centre - it is in fact the cross of St George. I have instructed Rosemary to change this to a beautiful white Yorkshire rose. Far more appropriate. If visiting Hong Kong, ladies are required to use the front entrance. No gentlemen will be allowed in through the back. Sorry Mr Clewley!

16 April 2009


Sorry I haven't posted for so long. We got back from Hong Kong this evening and although it's nearly 11pm Thursday here, my body's saying it's 6am Friday after some sixteen hours in the air courtesy of Emirates. I just downloaded photos of our trip and have picked out two representative snaps...I'll post more words when the jetlag feeling dissipates...Above... There are some 7.5 million Hong Kongers and yes sure, there are millionaires and wealthy entrepreneurs making deals and fretting about the Hang Seng Index but the vast majority live meagre lives in anonymous highrise flats like this one pictured from our room in the Ramada Hotel.

Below... Shirley pictured on a Lantau Island beach through a bamboo grove. A significant proportion of Hong Kong is rural and surprisingly unspoilt. There are some 250 islands - many of them uninhabited. Much of the vegetaion is lush and typically sub-tropical.

8 April 2009


Calling....Hong Kong Calling! Can you read me? Over.... The air waves crackle and Yorkshire Pudding's dulcet tones may now be heard from one of Britain's furthest flung former colonies.

I have noticed several things. Firstly, in country areas, they seem obsessed with maintaining the slopes that edge so many roads. I guess that in wet weather these slopes could threaten landslides so crews are out there concreting, building walls, driving rivets into solid rock or planting particularly clingy shrubs. Secondly - the warning signs! They're everywhere. On buses you must not talk to the driver, must not smoke, must not eat or drink, must wear a seatbelt if one is provided or risk a fine of $HK 5000. On Hong Kong Island itself, pedestrians stand patiently watching the red man even though there may be no traffic in sight. Everything seems so orderly and clean and the public transport systems are cheap and efficient.

We're still staying on Lantau Island where yesterday we visited the Big Buddha and the fishing village of Tai O which still has some humble fishing families' homes built on wooden stilts. The Big Buddha was... well big and bronze and had about him an air of enormous (naturally) peace. We visited Hong Kong Island today - took the Number 40 bus to Stanley where we visited the British war cemetery and the busling market. Later we rode the funicular railway to Victoria Peak and looked over the crazy Legoland high-rise fantasy that is Hong Kong itself... I'll bore you with more of this another day. Happy Easter!

Tai O, Lantau West.

4 April 2009


Ferrari - see what I mean...

They often say that particular breeds of dog will reflect the character and even the appearance of their owners. Hence, Barbara Cartland and her poodles and Clement Freud with his bloodhound. See what I mean? Well I have a new theory and this concerns cars. You might even say that names or makes of car will reflect the personality or status of their owners. Following exhaustive studies, here are several car/human definitions...

Range Rover = one who pretends to be a suburban farmer, an environmental vandal.
Mini = one who wishes he or she were still young again, someone who refuses to grow old gracefully.
VW Beetle = a hippie
VW Golf = one who doesn't like golf, a pretentious insurance salesperson with an inflated ego
Volvo Estate = Earth Mother
Citroen = a Francophile on a low budget with little sense of style, someone who is easily fooled by television advertising.
Rolls Royce = one who is a member of the ruling class and is deserving of an all-night "interview" with the People's Liberation Front
Stretch Hummer/Stretch Limousine = bunch of drunken morons
taxi = one who thinks he owns the road and expects massive tips for providing extremely discourteous service after talking on a mobile phone while surging down the bus lane.
Lamborghini = one who is a rich, big-headed git but small in other respects
Ferrari = one who is a rich, big-headed git but small in other respects
Subaru = a dickhead, a boy racer.
Vauxhall Astra = one of great intelligence, style and decency who resides in God's own county of Yorkshire.
Nissan Micra = wife of one of great style, wit, wisdom, natural handsomeness etc. who resides in the promised land of Yorkshire and enjoys serving her lord and master.
Can you think of any more definitions?

1 April 2009


Amazingly, Michael based in Australia guessed that Shirley and I are bound for Hong Kong and to begin with we will be staying on Lantau Island at the Silvermine Beach Hotel. Possibly tongue-in-cheek, one respondent expressed surprise that a teacher should be able to fund a trip to Hong Kong. Hells bells, I have a first class honours degree. I have taught in secondary schools for thirty two years without a single day off for illness and I have been a head of department for seventeen years. Shirley is a senior practice nurse specialising in the treatment of diabetes. We have successfuly raised a family. Why shouldn't we be able to fund a trip to Hong Kong? We don't smoke. We don't have expensive hobbies. We live in a basic semi-detached house.... so Hong Kong here we come where no doubt we will go to see The Big Buddha...
Or perhaps we will try some fresh crap... Mmmmmm...

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