« Previous | Main | Next »

More from Hugh for you..

Eddie Mair | 09:47 UK time, Thursday, 15 February 2007

Nee Hau!

Pollution and environment theme today.

Coal-burning power station providing steam central-hearing to a Beijing suburb.


Environmental activist Wen Bo in his office on floor 27 of a district with a population of, yes believe me, 400,000.


Concrete supports for new light railway connecting Beijing with the international airport - should be ready in time for the Olympics.


Tara asking for directions. It is sometimes very difficult - I had an address written down in Mandarin for a taxi driver, who then asked me to read it for him. Thank heaven for mobile phones; connect destination with driver, problem solved.


Recycling paper and cardboard is a lively industry here - sold by weight to local recycling points by the roadside in neighbourhoods. And (bee in my bonnet, this one) you pay a deposit on beer botles here - why don't we do this in Britain any more?


Zai Zhen (byee)!


  1. At 09:58 AM on 15 Feb 2007, Mark Ford wrote:


    What is this "central-hearing" of which you speak? does it have something to do with a collective conciousness?? Could you ask Hugh to expand on the subject?

  2. At 10:09 AM on 15 Feb 2007, Lewis wrote:

    wo hen hao, ni ne

    Unless they changed pinyin recently ni would be a more correct way to write it I think?

  3. At 10:24 AM on 15 Feb 2007, Susan Orty-Boyden wrote:

    Thank you Hugh.

  4. At 10:25 AM on 15 Feb 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Nice pictures Hugh.

    Please tell me that the recycling man isn't spitting on the paved area though ?

  5. At 10:27 AM on 15 Feb 2007, Gillian wrote:

    Thank you for the pics. Hugh. Your reports are fascinating, a treat to listen to. However, Yvonne set a new standard when she added a whistled version of the French National Anthem to one of her reports, thus raising the listeners' expectations........!

  6. At 10:27 AM on 15 Feb 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    I may have asked this before but what does it smell/taste like?? (I'm a great one for sensory information...and one of my favourite smelld being rain on really hot, sun baked tarmac).

  7. At 10:27 AM on 15 Feb 2007, Deepthought (John W) wrote:

    Mark (1),

    It's probably a literal translation, such as

    Steam central-hearing = Steam Radio.

  8. At 10:30 AM on 15 Feb 2007, jonnie wrote:

    I think it was how Hugh heard Central Heating with a Beijing / English accent.

    Ah so Hugh -- is for Cental Hearing.

  9. At 10:57 AM on 15 Feb 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Happy Valentine, er- Victory!

  10. At 11:01 AM on 15 Feb 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    I meant the smog btw!

  11. At 11:17 AM on 15 Feb 2007, Penrose wrote:

    Nee Hau!

    Can someone ask Hugh to post a picture of himself perhaps? I imagine him as a denim clad, blond haired, square-jawed whip-lash smiled adonis.
    Am I right?


  12. At 11:20 AM on 15 Feb 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Xie-xie Hugh!

    Those light railway pillars are making me jealous; we could do with a few of them built in our cities.

    Let the central-hearing begin.

  13. At 11:27 AM on 15 Feb 2007, Deepthought (John W) wrote:

    Hugh (as relayed by Eddie)

    Firstly that pic of the suburb - not much smog in evidence, is it on the windward side of the city - and a well caught pic, just as the smoke started to come out of the chimney stack.

    Joining you with bee in bonnet, When you say deposit beer bottles, do you mean like in the Netherlands - where all companies use the same bottle design, so you can return them for refund anywhere? I thought that a far-sighted move.

    (BTW, for others, In NL, the Gr*lsch swing top bottles are the only exception, but within NL, most of their beer is in the same bottles as all the rest.)

  14. At 11:34 AM on 15 Feb 2007, Aunt Dahlia wrote:

    Hugh - is there no beauty there, your i/v's show there are people who are hopeful, but what do they have to make their spirits rise and gladden their hearts?

  15. At 11:46 AM on 15 Feb 2007, Hugh the Hack wrote:

    OH DEAR! S O R R Y!

    Central heaTTTing.

    They are next to each other on the keyboard. (Like mosquito and mosque?)

    I wrote botle too. No one noticed!

    .....meek apologies.

    The smog doesn't taste of much, just makes me cough.

  16. At 11:58 AM on 15 Feb 2007, Aunt Dahlia wrote:

    Penrose, to a T if he is the same Hugh we used to know in Bristol. But slightly better looking than that.

  17. At 11:59 AM on 15 Feb 2007, silver-fox wrote:

    The chap wearing the scarf, is that the Beijing knot?

  18. At 12:06 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Hugh the Hack wrote:

    for Aunt Dahlia:

    Yes, there is great beauty here in China.

    Mostly the beauty of the human spirit.

    There is courtesy and gentleness and, above all, kindness to children.

    In many of the places I have been fortunate to have been sent around the world, I have noticed children safely ambling about alone in public places exploring and having fun.

    I think that is usually a sign of a fundamentally decent society - if children are confidently and happily alone, their parents must feel they are safe.

    This is true here in China - and in Syria and in Iraq and in the Palestinian territories.

    I'll post some photos of Chinese children at the end of the week.

    There is also the physical beauty of soft hills, strangely shaped mountains, and the Great Wall sturdily sweeping up improbable inclines and glowing in the light of the setting winter sun.

  19. At 12:12 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Hugh the Hack : don't kid yourself re botle.

    We were getting around to that.

    One humiliation at a time around here, as Eddie will confirm!

    Fifi ;o)

  20. At 12:23 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Belinda wrote:

    Beijing looks a lot like Milton Keynes to me.

    Hugh, a great big thank yugh for your contributions to the blog and for your wonderful photos.

    Another question, if you are still prepared to answer them: How organised does Beijing seem regarding the olympics? London's level of organisation, or something... better?

  21. At 12:29 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Hugh, Perhaps the greatest beauty of all in China is your own?

    A, x.

  22. At 12:33 PM on 15 Feb 2007, admin annie wrote:

    thanks for that Hugh. I will look forward to the pictures of chinese children as I think that they are almost always gorgeous. BTW how shallow is that?
    I have seen pictures of China and know how beautiful parts of it are and would loce to visit one day, however feel I am not adveturous enough. A danish friend did and I wouldn't repeat what she told me about some of the restaurant toilets especially at lunch time.

    jonnie I'm sad to say the gentleman in the picture is almost certainly spitting; many years ago on a student trip to Moscow one of the things most difficult to cope with was the constant hawking and spitting.

  23. At 12:36 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    Thanks for thje exce3llent work. And I didn't notice either typo.

    I tried to post earlier that it's probably an example of "combined heat and power" a method of usefully employing the 'waste' heat we build cooling towers to throw away.

    I also tried to point interested parties to the method of using biomass to both produce carbon-negative energy in combination with CO2 capture from coal or other fossil burns, but the post has met with some kind of bloggage.

    here's the link:

    Hugh, If you meet with any agriculturists, ask them if they know of this research, as apparently the resulting fertiliser is Ammonium Carbonate, the most commonly used in China, but apparently much improved by sequestration on bio-char.

    Hope this gets through this time.

  24. At 12:42 PM on 15 Feb 2007, The New Blog Prince aka Marc wrote:

    Just a little update from Beijing with a few thoughts...

    a) blimey, I can access the PM blog from here

    b) blimey the PM blog seems to be working (*touches all available wood in vicinity*)

    c) blimey this is a weird and wonderful country. I know that Beijing is not China, and I'm probably getting a sanitised, "westernised" view, but I like the place much more than I thought I would. As Hugh the Hack says, the people are incredibly warm and welcoming, the food's great and there's a nice feel to the city. Yes there are "issues" - which we hope to cover on The World This Weekend on Sunday at 1pm - but on the surface, China is far more enjoyable than I anticipated.

    Let's hope I've not put the mockers on the blog...

  25. At 12:51 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Hugh the Hack wrote:

    Belinda - thanks for your nice comments.

    I think Beijing are VERY well organised for the Olympics.

    There isn't much choice. The rule here is that the Party rules.

    And they have ruled that the Olympics Will Be A Success.

    That light railway will be finished on time, or my name is Saddam.

    There is a niggling worry though - they're very efficient, but what about the quality?

    One of our interviewees told us there was an emergency meeting a few days ago after it was discovered that poor quality cement had been used for one of the Olympic venues.

    No idea which one, and no idea how serious this is - but if it's true, it doesn't inspire confidence.

  26. At 12:51 PM on 15 Feb 2007, admin annie wrote:

    Fifi at 19, hear hear. 'Fraid we were definitely getting round to the botle comments Hugh!

    On a more serious note, can I just say Mr Hack that you are for me at least a major reason for listening to Radio 4 news, also occasionally the World Service. (I often fall asleep to the WS - have you tried that yet Eddie as a cure for your insomnia?). I would particularly commend your middle east reporting for both its lack of bias and its humanity. It wouldn't be exaggerating to say that occasionally you bring a tear to my eye - and also sometimes make me laugh. I don't care whether you are a

    'denim clad, blond haired, square-jawed whip-lash smiling adonis'

    or the exact opposite, you're a damned fine reporter whatever you look like.

  27. At 01:02 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Hugh the Hack wrote:

    RE: Penrose: "Can someone ask Hugh to post a picture of himself perhaps? I imagine him as a denim clad, blond haired, square-jawed whip-lash smiled adonis.
    Am I right?"

    I wouldn't dare disagree.

    But I MIGHT, just might put up a photo tomorrow of me on a very high, very long, very steep, very old....wall.

    Ah, Aunt Dahlia...: Bristol. Happy Days!

  28. At 01:24 PM on 15 Feb 2007, gossipmistress wrote:

    Thank you Hugh for some great reports from China, really feels like you can imagine what it's like to be there. Are there any plans to put them all together in one programme? I, for one, missed some as am usually at work and don't always get to 'Listen again' in time.

    Also, I thought I read that BBC News internet sites were blocked in China - if Hugh & Marc can access the blog, does this mean that anyone there can, or am I showing a huge lack of technie knowledge here??!

  29. At 01:33 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Sara wrote:

    Hugh (and of course Marc too) - thank you. I'm here in my dark little basement in Staffordshire but thanks to your brilliant writing and super photos, you are making Beijing real for me.

    Wish I was there to see for myself. But your reporting is the next best thing.

  30. At 01:45 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Member of the Public wrote:

    Eddie and Hugh (PM)

    Thank you for the photographs. They remind me of my visit out there only last year. China is certainly a land of enormous contrasts. The dazzling neon lights and skyscrapers of Shanghai, the mega cities of Xanjou, the gridlocks of Beijing and the gap between the booming East and the impoverished west of China.

    I know it's a Communist country that tolerates the capitalist power house of Hong Kong, but it is also intolerant to internal dissent. I have to say that when I was there it both scared and fascinated me. Nobody can escape the environmental, social and economic impact that China has – and its growing geo-political influence.

    China's economic growth has been staggering, but with it comes the environmental impacts that we ourselves experienced as the world's first industrial nation – air pollution, water pollution, traffic congestion, waste generation, energy demand and all the problems of rapid urbanisation.

    Hugh the statistics are staggering, you've quoted a number of them already in your reports. If China reaches the same level of car ownership as the US, which they aspire to, it will mean constructing more cars than currently exist in the whole of the world.

    We know that China's insatiable demand is sucking in huge quantities of raw materials, like cement, oil, steel and timber, to fuel its manufacturing and building boom.

    For the West and developed countries, like our own, this offers opportunities with new markets which UK companies have not been slow to exploit. I noticed this last year.

    There are also risks that it will become impossible to compete with cheap Chinese manufacturing. Even the mighty Japanese are losing jobs to China. However, it is still the environmental impact of all of this that the West seems to fear.

    It is often pointed out that the UK produces two per cent of global greenhouse gases and that this reduction – if we stopped all activities that contributed to this – would be wiped out by 18 months of Chinese growth.

    So does that mean we might as well give up and look forward to a future where the height of luxury will be a holiday home in Scotland where the wealthy can brag about having non-stop rain while those in the parched South wilt in the heat?

    China is not obliged, as we are, to accept binding cuts in emissions under the Kyoto protocol. Although a mighty powerhouse, it sadly still has millions of people living in grinding poverty. Economic growth means poverty alleviation, and China, like other emerging economies, has a right to be treated with equity.
    Not that I tnink that China should ignore the issue of sustainability. Not only is this good environmentally, but it makes economic sense.

    Nor is it immune from pressure from civil society. People in its cities don't like water shortages or pollution, and so they make demands on the local mayor. This too I saw whilst out there. They put pressure on the Politburo. The Chinese government look at environmental statistics and what climate change can do in terms of flooding and crop failure, and they don't like what they see.

    There is the Chinese five-year plan to reduce the country's energy intensity by 20 per cent. They also have plans to generate 30 per cent of their energy from renewable sources. These are ambitious targets that go beyond anything that the US administration is proposing. And China already has a five-year plan to ensure that 80 per cent of all urban waste water is properly treated.

    They are not perfect, of course. The People's Congress made it crystal clear that these targets were part of their national plan and that they would not accept targets imposed by external international bodies like the UN International Panel on the Climate Change Convention, more commonly known as the Kyoto protocol.

    They are strongly attached to the wording in the protocol that refers to "common but differentiated responsibilities". This highlights the differences between the industrial nations like ourselves, who have grown rich on the back of our industrial pollution, and emerging economies like China.

    This is only fair, but it should not be interpreted as doing nothing. I don't think China does, although India is much less positive and seems to lack political will. Both countries, however, are often suspicious of new international initiatives through the Kyoto protocol and can be reluctant to see progress. China's dramatic impact is also used as an excuse by countries like the US, and some voices here to do nothing, too. "Why should we cut emissions when China is increasing them?" is a claim that I often hear.

    That doesn't wash when the US accounts for 24 per cent of emissions alone and has the capabilities and technologies to reduce this figure. We really need to more sensible attitude.

    We must strive to reduce emissions and move towards a low-carbon economy in the UK. There are I think real opportunities in manufacturing and financial, design, planning and consultancy services. British companies are involved in sustainable design for the Beijing Olympics and for new zero-carbon sustainable cities the Chinese are building. This is a growth area for the UK.

    China must not be used as an excuse by the US or anybody else for not facing up to our international responsibilities. China must be encouraged to address sustainability in its own national plans, as it is clearly prepared to. We must seek partnerships with China to pioneer new technologies like clean coal and carbon capture.

    There is a start with the EU-China agreement, but we must do more and clean coal technology has benefits for us, too. We should harness the power of China's low-cost, high-volume manufacturing to turn out environmental products, everything from solar panels to micro-hydro.

    There are economic and manufacturing partnerships to be forged as we concentrate on a high skill, hi-tech economy. We should look for these opportunities. Perhaps we should be seeking a single market in environment goods and services between the EU and China?

    We have all fuelled the dragon's breath by what we buy, and there is hardly a house in Britain that doesn't have some products made in China.

    We must harness the dragon's might and make the case that economic growth can be sustainable growth with a little thought, planning and regulation.

    We live in a global economy and we need global rules. There has to be changes on both sides if we are to avoid dangerous climate change and its inescapable consequences. That I think is the challenge for all governments and one they've not yet achieved.

  31. At 02:03 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Slow Reader wrote:


    Would you like to expand on that?

  32. At 02:53 PM on 15 Feb 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re gossipmistress -- Good point but wasn't Marc in the bureau a while back. And I suppose they could always dial into an ISP.

    I seem to recall it was something to to with google but perhaps Hugh can remind us.

    As requested by Penrose earlier. Can we please see a pic of you ? Go on you know it makes sense !

  33. At 03:05 PM on 15 Feb 2007, HelenSparkles wrote:

    Hugh is a hero, & for some reason it was particularly touching to hear your disussion last night about posting pictures, or were you just showing off when telling Hugh you could post and broadcast simultaneously?! Odd how such glimpses affect us, perhaps because it illustrates a slice of your working partnership.

  34. At 03:15 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Roberto Carlos Alvarez-Galloso,CPUR wrote:


    Your blog on China was interesting. This is my Valentines Day Gift for BBC PM [although late].

  35. At 03:30 PM on 15 Feb 2007, admin annie wrote:

    sparkly Helen! - where have you been? haven't heard your dulcet tones in ages! good to have you back again.

  36. At 03:31 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Ulrika Garlic wrote:

    Hey Eddie,

    Why were you not hosting the Brits last night ?.

    That Russell Brand feller looked like an explosion in a mattress factory.

  37. At 03:35 PM on 15 Feb 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Hugh (18):

    That was a beautiful post. This is why i love, not only your reports, but those featured on "From Our Own Correspondent".

    The news is too often quick, to-the-point and above all, depressing. We really need the human views like yours and the FOOC features as an antidote.

    Oh, and Eddie fluffing his Toms, of course.

  38. At 03:41 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Hugh the Hack wrote:

    re 28 gossipmistress and website access in China.

    It's very strange.

    bbcnews.com ? NO WAY.

    bbc.co.uk/pm ? no problem

    blog? easy peasy (sp?)

    but try to click on a link to a news item within the pm site, again, NO WAY.

    bbcworldservice.com ? Perfect live sound, I listen when I get up every day - but again, blocked access to story links.

    To get onto bbcnews.com, I have to use a number code for a 'mirror', and that works fine...so the censor can't be very on the ball.

    Broadband here in Beijing is fast.

    But there are FAR too many McDonalds and KFC and Pizza Hut....they're EVERYWHERE. They'll Keep the Red Flag Flying??

  39. At 03:57 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Sparkly Helen, you're back!

    * does a little dance around the desk *

    Fifi :o)))

  40. At 03:59 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Carl wrote:

    Hugh and much belching... of fumes I mean. Looks like we have to be praying to God and trusting in politicians. But then as Lord Dowding famously said 'More like trusting in God and praying for politicians' We're gambling with our planet, and if we don't stop now, we're going to lose... did I sound like Ralph Richardson!

  41. At 04:53 PM on 15 Feb 2007, nikki noodle wrote:

    Hugh - a big thankyou!

    your reports are Hugely Appreciated back here, by all PM listeners i am sure, and as others have said before, some of your previous, especially on Fooc, have brought a tear and a lump.

    May I ask:
    I once grabbed the chance (1999) to visit Beijing Xian and Shanghai in a fortnight, and it remains a wonderful wonderful memory.

    I left my 'hosts' in the capital after finding out how the public bus worked, and found myself in an area with no shops. I got off, wandered about, and saw a tiny one room cafe. having no chinese, i popped in and said 'chai' as i mimiced drinking.

    Within minutes, i had tea and rice and dumpings, and there were phonecalls to neighbours who came round to take photos of me in their cafe on a hefty SLR camera.

    >>Is this still possible in Beijing- or have the Olympics changed everything?

  42. At 05:25 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Penrose wrote:

    TSSC [37]

    Here here....

    Three cheers for Hugh and the crew

    Hip Hip....

  43. At 05:49 PM on 15 Feb 2007, RJD wrote:


    Where the heck have you been? Did you get trapped in Borrowed Frown?

  44. At 06:00 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Ooerr, Eddie on Any Questions tomorrow night. That WILL be fun!

  45. At 06:15 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Frustratingly, a post I sent about an hour ago is being flagged up as a recent comment, but hasn't actually appeared.

    I bet Shaun Ley's stolen it and given it to Mr. Knibbs.

  46. At 06:25 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Did anyone else watch the programme on BBC4 last night about Ping Pong, btw? It was really v. interesting, in particular in setting out the circumstances of the so-called ping pong diplomacy which led to the thaw between the US and China. The reflections of US players who were invited to China and the kindness shown to them by their Chinese hosts was also a revelation.

  47. At 07:03 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Penrose wrote:

    Sorry to be serious..

    Quoting from BBC Website regarding the High Court Judgment on government consultation failings over nuclear power..

    Tony Blair said while the ruling would change the consultation process, "this won't affect the policy at all."

    Erm, in that case, what is the point of having a consultation process in the first place. It seems that the word 'consultation' is used synonymously with the phrase 'rubber stamping' by government ministers. So why spend a shed load on canvassing the opinions of others when formulating policy? I'm sure someone clever can figure it out.

    Just a thought


  48. At 07:27 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Penrose wrote:

    BigSister [44]

    Yeah, might even be able to stay awake this week

  49. At 07:52 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Note to the moderators: Could you kindly retrieve and post the Thanks to Hugh Sykes I posted up on this thread earlier this evening? I know you have received it - and the link in the recent comments section confirms this, but, as you will see, the link leads nowhere. And I would really like to thank Hugh and his team.

    Thank you, moderators.

  50. At 08:44 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Deepthought (John W) wrote:

    Big Sis (49),

    I've noticed that the first two "Recent Comments" have been "yet to be posted comments" all day today. I'm not sure if that means pre or post moderated - you seem to suggest pre-moderated, if it did not ultimately appear.

  51. At 08:48 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Deepthought (John W) wrote:

    Big Sis (49),

    As per my previous comment, please add in a "frequently" to cover the current instance when the link works...

  52. At 08:51 PM on 15 Feb 2007, nikki noodle wrote:

    Penrose (47) - TB said pretty much what alistair darling said on WatO,

    but they're going to re run the consultation again because we didn't consult with them *properly* and, whats more, they are going to keep on consulting until we agree with their policy. Then they can claim public support...

    and the silly thing is, i kind of agree with the policy as it is anyway, but am liable to change my mind if this sort of sloppy language is used by TB et al.

    Big Sis, could you ask mr mair to pose the question that penrose raised in (55) on Question Time, seeing as he's your wee bro

  53. At 09:38 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Deepthought (John W) wrote:

    Nikki (51),

    Yes, the arguement that govs continue to consult/hold referenda etc until the public agree with policy is an old one.

    And, as a scientist, I sort of agree that nuclear is a necessity, since everyone would revolt if the lights literally went out because there's not enough power. [But I remember the power cuts of the 1970's, and the three day week...reading by a hurricane lamp is interesting memory]. But (and despite my personal income depends somewhat on nuclear), I feel the nuclear industry is wildly unsafe and wildly irresponsible.

    But while the public did not revolt when the petrol pumps ran dry over the fuel protests, what would happen if that was to be the permanant state of affairs because of refusal to adopt some other (considered dangerous) technology?

    I can give a personal example of the last nuclear statements, but contact me directly via my blog for details, I don't wish another libel case....

  54. At 10:52 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Thanks, Deepthought.

    Nikki Noodle: Sadly, I am completely unrelated to Lord Mair and have no influence whatsoever with him, no matter how hard I try. I am currently trying to persuade him to divulge just how Mr. Knibbs managed to produce yesterday's World at One - but to no avail. Having been at a broadcast of Any Questions many years ago (with Nick Clarke hosting, as it happens - happy days!), I can confidently tell you that Eddie won't have much say in the questions that are put, and they are selected from questions submitted from the audience. I gather it's coming from the Hexagon Theatre in Lancaster, so perhaps you can speed up there tomorrow and try to get into the audience? Tickets are usually distributed beforehand, however.

    Eddie: Hope you have a good trip up there, and don't forget to tell us about the adventures of Enos Knibbs when you can spare a moment .......

  55. At 11:21 PM on 15 Feb 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: nikki noodle,

    As BigSister said, I doubt Eddie will have much influence over the questions -- however one thing is sure, he does read the blog - so you never know.

    I really hope, if the chance comes up, he does a straw poll!

  56. At 11:23 PM on 15 Feb 2007, nikki noodle wrote:

    no can do, Big Sis, but will attempt email for the sat edition of any answers!

    Lancaster - doesnt m'Lord have to drive passed Mr Knibbs new domicile on the way? in the sense of within a hundred miles or so.

  57. At 11:29 PM on 15 Feb 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Interesting -- Maybe --

    They just showed us a wide shot of the Question time audience on BBC1

    Quite a lot of empty seats ?

    Just an observation

  58. At 11:31 PM on 15 Feb 2007, jonnie wrote:

    More importantly, Richard Littlejohn should never be used as a commercial for 'Just for men'!

  59. At 11:43 PM on 15 Feb 2007, gossipmistress wrote:

    Hugh (38) thank you for all the answers! Clearly they don't think us Froggers are too subversive then.... I have no idea what a 'mirror' is but I'm sure it's vital. Maybe a clever computer-buff Frogger can tell me?

    Having access to ask questions like this is just great! :-)

  60. At 11:49 PM on 15 Feb 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Slow Reader (31) Hahahaha. ROFL! (But I suspect you of being Eric in disguise.)

  61. At 12:18 AM on 16 Feb 2007, gossipmistress wrote:

    Jonnie (57) I took part in 'Question Time - The opera' before christmas - we are the audience/choir, and we had to keep moving around to make it look like we filled the whole auditorium.

    Obviously they have the same problem with the real show - did you notice anyone appearing in a different seat?!

  62. At 12:29 AM on 16 Feb 2007, Slow Reader wrote:

    Aperitif (60) - Sorry not Eric, but Zoe and Janet's walking companion.

  63. At 12:31 AM on 16 Feb 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re; gossipmistress,

    I'm sure Hugh will verify this - but a Mirror site, is basically another server (computer) which is elsewhere. --probably NOT in Beijing. It will hold the same data on it as the other server, however the internet connection to it (the mirrored server) will not have the same blocking or (firewall) applied to it.

    As Hugh said, he can gain Dial-up access to the mirror site.

    At the end of the day - any pc- could use dial-up access in Beijing back to a UK providor, the only drawback is that it would be slow and the price of an international phone call.

    It's not just China though. For copyright and other legal reasons, much of the 'Listen again' material can only be accesed from the UK. My Sis lives in Holland and much of the BBC material is unavailable for that reason.

    There are simple workarounds but I won't discuss that here !

    Now shock us all gossipmistress and swop that valuable information for a detailed description of 'Castration in Dogs' --

    Does it hurt ? and wiil he be any less the stud ?

    :-) :-(

  64. At 01:40 AM on 16 Feb 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Do you know Slow (62), that thought had crossed my mind too. You are a tonic.

  65. At 02:03 AM on 16 Feb 2007, jonnie wrote:

    In the light of Eddie Mair hosting / presenting Any Questions tomorrow, the Froggers website has a direct link for any Froggers questions to be submitted.

    This hasn't been authorised, but rest assured Eddie will see the responses or feedback:-

    Click on this link :


    and enter your name and comment - then post.

  66. At 03:37 AM on 16 Feb 2007, Hugh the Hack wrote:

    re 41 Nicki Noodle.

    Yes, I think it could still happen here - away from the neon lights and the Starbucks and the McPizza Huts (growl), foreigners are often an object of curiosity, and a target for generous hospitality.

    I have been stopped several times (in the street, on the underground) by people who have simply wanted to say hello.

    This happened yesterday, on a very remote section of the Great Wall, where I was on my own and had seen no one for about two hours; suddenly, five young men came striding down a steep section, and when I said "Nee Hau!" they all responded - and added, "Welcome to China!"

    As Bill Clinton might have also have said, "It's people, stupid".

    PS Thanks to all the bloggers who have written such nice things about our China stuff (and central hearing). Much appreciated!

  67. At 08:45 AM on 16 Feb 2007, gossipmistress wrote:

    Jonnie (63) whom were you thinking of castrating???!!! (teehee!)

    I'm sure the moderators would prefer not to hear the details......:-/

  68. At 09:09 AM on 16 Feb 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Dear Hugh and Team,

    Yesterday I posted on this thread to add my own thanks to you for your wonderful reports and patience in answering our questions. The words were carefully crafted, in honour of your own eloquence and verbal skills. Sadly, somehow, in between receiving my posting and putting up a link to it on the latest comments slot, the Powers that Be let it slide away and it has failed to appear, despite some pleas from me (see above).

    But I will not allow this mishap to deter me from saying that I add to the praise heaped upon you by others. I find your reporting quite superb, creating vivid and compassionate pictures with words of daily life in Iraq and, more recently, China. Your humility and awe in the face of the inner strength of 'the common man' coping with daily tragedy - as in Iraq, or decades of isolation from the rest of the world - as in China, bring these experiences to light for us in the complacent West. Your ego is never there: the story is that of the people. I for one value this so much, and admire greatly your wonderfully fluid yet literary way with the English language, effortless yet unfailingly well crafted.

    I hope you will put your undoubted talents, both humanitarian and verbal, to good use in setting what you have seen down in some more concrete way, and would personally love to have a set of recordings of your experiences from around the world.

    Thank you, Marc, FrogPrince, for keeping in touch with us, too, and all the technical people who remain faceless and silent but who have helped make these reports happen.

    This time I shall copy and paste this entry elsewhere as a fallback in case it also escapes. I think my earlier entry was probably better expressed, but as I didn't keep a copy of it, none of us will, apparently, ever know!

  69. At 09:21 AM on 16 Feb 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    There may be froggers out there who are unaware of Fido's Corner Chez Jonnie's but who are dog lovers, too. You may want to check out the doggie gallery which is gradually growing as a tribute to K9 pals on
    Other K9 pals will be very welcome!

  70. At 10:18 AM on 16 Feb 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    re Hugh and central hearing (66), I think all the Ts in China are being used to support the new light railway system!

  71. At 02:58 PM on 16 Feb 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    *groan* Big Sis (70)! That's got to be the best/worst pun we've had so far today! :-))

This post is closed to new comments.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.