January 2023

The big news in November/December 2022 was the visit to UK, the first venture outside Hong Kong for what seems like decades because of the Covid pandemic.

To make sure the holiday was truly memorable, we went business class on Cathay (OK, but not what it used to be), flying out on Monday 19 arriving London on Tuesday 20. We picked up the hire car without difficulty and drove to our hotel, St Michael’s Manor in St Albans. A very pleasant hotel with great atmosphere and good food. Could have done with a lift though. The next day (21st, my birthday) we went to Kew Gardens to view the new bench sponsored there in memory of my Mum and sister Lynda. The previous one had been scrapped a year earlier after condition deteriorated.

We picked up daughter Tiffany at the nearby rail station. Throughout most of the fortnight we were joined by a branch of the Wong family – Nelson, Edith and Kailey –and for the Kew leg Lynda’s daughter Jenny (my niece) was able to join in time for photos, with the younger of her two sons. Very emotional visit. Dinner in a London restaurant joined by son Alex.

The next day was a show in the West End (“Six”, a musical based on the life of Henry VIII). Suggested by Tiffany, not my usual kind of entertainment, but in the event extremely enjoyable.

A side trip by some members of the party to Stonehenge and Windsor Castle, which I did not join. Christmas Day itself at brother Tim’s place in Hatfield.

Major highlight of the holiday was a trip to Manchester with lunch at the Peaky Blinders restaurant followed by football match at Old Trafford, sitting in the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand, adjoining the famous Stretford End and facing the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand. First time I have seen the Reds play a competitive league match at home (saw them before at Craven Cottage long time ago, and a few exhibition matches in Asia). For a fan of over 60 years not a very good record but finally dream came true. Healthy 3-0 win was a bonus.

The big dinner on the 28th was a huge success. Brother Tim, his wife Ann, and two daughters Abigail and Faye and her husband Matt, my best friend from school Gerry Halls and wife Judy, Lynda McKenzie (widow of Ken, my best friend from college) and her daughter Helen, former brother-in-law Chris and wife Dawn, Jenny with both sons (Edward and Henry) and boyfriend Stewart, plus the three Wongs and the four-person Breezy contingent. A truly memorable occasion. To be repeated, in Hong Kong, for my 80th in six years time.

Finally a tour of the Warner Brothers studio where the Harry Potter films were made. Then back to Hong Kong, exhausted and broke. But a much needed trip renewing old friendships and family ties.