Joyful in the Jing
It’s a bright, sunny day in Beijing today and, although it’s cold, it’s bearable.Nothing like the sunshine to put a smile on my face and a spring in my step. This morning we went to a ‘temple fair’ at Ditan in downtown Beijing (literally a fair inside a temple grounds). It was packed with people lighting incense sticks and making wishes for the New Year by hanging red ornaments on the walls. People were stroking the heads of horse statues to bring them riches this year and buying rat-themed trinkets, bracelets and wall hangings as they are auspicious. All kinds of traditional street food was on sale and there were juggling performances and Chinese puppet shows .This is a picture of the front of the temple, the big pot at the front is for incense sticks
The next photo is of Teah and me in front of the ‘red wall’. You buy the red Chinese knots that have a small wooden square attached. On the wood, you can write your wishes and resolutions for 2008 and then you tie them to the wall so that the hopes come true. I wished for a huge win on the lottery or a sudden windfall, do you think I’ll get what I wished for!!! I’ll let you know if my wish is granted…
If you look closely at Teah’s hat and scarf, you will see an emblem in the shape of a shield that gives a clue to one of my biggest passions. The shield has the phrase ‘Prepared’ on it. Also note the colour of the hat and scarf, claret and blue which is another clue. If you are still not getting it, then I’ll just say they beat Newcastle 4-1 yesterday!! Yes, it’s football and in particular, Aston Villa. Anastasia, as you have visited the UK, you surely cannot have been oblivious to the fact that Brits are mad about football. Watching it is a national pastime and even though we are always sad when summer is drawing to an end, we are secretly glad too because it means the football season will start again. A love of Aston Villa is a family tradition for me. This stems from the fact that my family lived close to the Aston Villa football ground. Now, my parents have moved a little further afield but the distance from home to Villa Park is only 28 miles. My Grandad was an avid fan and we still have the programmes he got from games he visited in the forties kept in pristine condition, my Mum and Dad are Villains(name for Villa supporters) and this passed on to me and my brother. Now I’m trying to indoctrinate Teah with the football bug!
Are you interested in exercise Anastasia? I have an exercise machine at home called a ‘cross trainer’ or ‘stair master’ which I hop on for about 20 minutes a day. Due to the poor air quality and smog that hangs over this city, I think it’s better for me to run on a machine indoors than jog outside. Inside the compound I’m living in, there is a clubhouse with a gym, sauna and Olympic sized swimming pool. When spring comes, I’ll buy a membership card and test these facilities out for myself. I’m wondering if Russians are into sports? My husband thinks watching all sports is tedious and loathes the thought of doing any sport or exercise himself but he is only half Russian so might not be representative!!
The weekend is nearly over, I hope you had a good one. The next important day on the calendar this month is the 14th...what do you think your boyfriend has in store for you?!Roses, chocolates, an intimate dinner?Or something more imaginative perhaps..I'll be lucky if my husband even remembers!
Wishing you a sunny, joyful day everyone
PS Did you ever tell me what we have in common, Anastasia?
spring in my step added energy
incense (n) substance that produces a strong smell when burnt, often used in religious ceremonies
trinkets (n) small bits of jewellery with little value
auspicious (adj) a promising start, favourable
resolutions (n) decisions to do or not to do somethng in the year ahead
windfall (n) unexpected good fortune
claret (adj) dark red
oblivious to the fact that unaware or not noticing something
further afield farther away(from home)
avid (adj) eager
pristine (adj) original, unspoilt condition
indoctrinate (v) to teach someone a particular belief
football bug footabll craze
smog (n) mixture of smoke and fog
tedious (adj) very boring
loathe (v) detest, really hate
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