July 2024

May and June rolled around as usual, some things changing, some staying the same.

Son Victor celebrated his 46th birthday in May and demonstrated his mastery over the march of time by walking barefoot from Beijing to the Great Wall over three days in June. Several birthdays in June itself, granddaughters Alyssa (now 17!) and Liora, plus daughter in law Lisa. There was a book launch of a collection of stories about Hong Kong, which I attended having endorsed the book sight unseen.

My fortnightly columns in the SCMP continued as usual, as did the weekly radio shows on RTHK. One change with the latter during this period is that Backchat now goes out on Public Holidays just like other weekdays. No rest for the wicked I hear you say.

The biggest change during these two months concerned arrangements for the summer holiday. The children in effect seized control of proceedings from the older generation. First up was Alex who decided unilaterally to spend 10 days in June in North Macedonia. In the event he had to amend the plan because (a) he had to stay behind to submit fresh papers in order to complete his university degree (b) He secured a job starting in August. The combined effect was to push his holiday with friends to later in the year, probably Spain. Meanwhile Tiffany had unilaterally decided to visit Germany and Austria in July and booked accordingly. Fanny opted to join her but I held back to save my energy for a trip to UK in November when Alex should finally graduate.

Meanwhile eldest son Vincent had decided to take his whole tribe to UK to consider possible universities for Alyssa to apply to attend starting next year. Reminded me of the similar exercise I had undertaken with him and Victor in the early 90s for the same purpose. They met up there with Alex and also brother Tim and his wife Anne, and their daughter Faye and husband Matt. So the biggest get together of 2024 was hosted by niece Jenny, together with her Dad and his wife. The picture of a large family gathering without me in it was a salutary reminder that I am now officially past it.