October Miscellany 2016

October is such a beautiful time of the year. Those whose birthdays are in October, lucky you!


I bought the last ever issue of Gym Class this month. Gym Class is an independent magazine about magazines. I have heard about it but never actually held one in hand. It’s closing partly because finance partly because the founder felt like there was no need of a magazine talking about magazines anymore. I ordered it from MagCulture and Later on I learnt from Monocle 24 that the copy that came through my door was one of the only 250 copies in the UK.

I don’t know why I bought Hot Rum Cow. Probably to see one more indie magazine with a low price even though I’m not interested in alcohol.

Dirty Furniture

This month’s STACK delivery is Dirty Furniture – Toilet. I also heard about this one since a long time ago and was very glad to receive it from STACK. I like the idea of discussing one piece of furniture from every possible angle: history, celebrity, design, social issue. I’m copying its idea for JOURNEY #03 ;)


I tried reading Surprised By Hope once again, got a bit further than last time (still in chapter two), but failed again. I’d love to learn more about new heaven and new earth, but I wasn’t able to climb over the language barrier. I felt like I was jumping outside a high fence and only had glimpses of the view inside.

To write better, I found a book called Reading Like A Writer. It’s a delightful surprise. I always know that some books are more gripping than others and the reason is more than how trilling the storyline is. Francine Prose explains masterpieces to me clearly and enthusiastically, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, opening the treasure trove of the hidden secrets. I’m now able to read books in a new light, not only the stories, but also the language. Her methods of reading remind me some of my primary school teachers, who used very similar methods to teach us. I received excellent education and I forgot all about it.

One of the books I’m reading with a new understanding is The Shepherd’s Life. It’s an excellent book about the stories of ordinary but extraordinary lives of shepherds who are humble and proud in the Lake District. The stories are touching. I can never look at fluffy lamb the same way anymore. It also gives me a new understanding of the Passover. His language is wonderful too, the verbs are vivid, the clauses clear and flowy, often painting a breath-taking picture. The book ends like this: This is my life. I want no other. I wish one day I can say that as firmly and freely too.

I have started Four Books, which was brought back by a friend from Taiwan. The story happens during the Great Leap Forward in 1960s in China. Disturbing and disorientating are my feelings so far. It’s not a good choice for bed time reading.


Friends. Mr Lynch.There was a house warming party for friends Dorothy and Pearl. I never had the chance to live in a place with a good friend before I got married. The closest was our Uni dormitory. But a lack of privacy made it not very enjoyable at times. Another house warming party was at a colleague’s new home. I realised that you could have a house with a sea view in the cold and grey north east part of England – somehow a less appealing image. Then we had a small gathering in the local pub, Mr Lynch. It was great news that the pub found a good chef. My husband and I used to go there a lot before we got married. They used to serve delicious beef burger with a home-made salsa sauce. But not for many years until our recent visit. The salsa sauce was still missing. But the burger was almost as good. Memory is always better though. I also met up with an ex-colleague. It never ceases to amaze me that some people are so easy to get along even after missing from each other’s life for years. It was also nice to see old friends from the second church site during our visits as well. The joy of friends reunions!


I stumbled into the news page about Pink Martini coming to Sage Gateshead completely by accident. The ticket was not cheap but definitely worth it. It was beautiful, touching and fun. I’m a fan of their music now! I do love Sage (it seemed Pink Martini liked it too!), even more now after I have been to a few different music and theatre venues around the country. I can also very proudly say, I sang in the Sage before! What a lovely privilege. I still remember standing at the right side of the stage with other altos, looking down at Noel conducting the orchestra enthusiastically, feeling my throat tightened when hearing the intro of “Let Everything that Has Breath Praise the Lord”. Music is as grand as the universe, as dazzling as the stars and planets.

Mis of Mis

There was the annual International Welcome Service and Lunch. The fruit and veg shopping in Hutchinson was a proper battle that brought back memories from similar nightmares in Beijing. Thank you to all my hard-working helpers working hard without any complaints and even offering banters and encouraging words. Dream team!

The main course was Chicken with Creamy Mango Sauce. The name didn’t sound very appetising but it tasted great, tested by me, my husband and one hundred odd people at the lunch. There was hardly any leftover after a dozen people came for second helping. A few people came and commented on the sauce. A couple of people even asked for the recipe. Mary Berry’s recipe was trustworthy as always!

Fruit salad was hard to estimate. We ended up wasting quite a lot. There were a few reasons I think. It was a guess work right from the point of shopping. Secondly, it was served in a platter on each table. People were not interested in dishing them out. Thirdly, chopped banana, apple and peach all got a bit brown by the time we served them and didn’t look very appetising. We should have just served fruit whole. No chopping needed, no waste. People can pick whatever they want, how many they want. The leftover can be given out at the door. I’ll remember the lesson!

On a completely different note, I’m pleased with Kana and Elliot’s maternity photos (so do they I hope!). What a lovely and fun couple! Adobe Lightroom revolutionised my photo editing process. I love it! See photos on my blog here.

I have been practising the processional from Pomp and Circumstance NO.1 and have the tune of Land of Hope and Glory in my head. My British husband rolls his eyes every time I hum it!

I have started thinking about Christmas… shocking!




1 thought on “October Miscellany 2016

  1. I like your writing too

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