Well its been nearly 2 months now since Jun and I left Beijing arriving in the UK on the 18th of December back to our home in Teesdale.It was as usual a long flight made worse by a 4 hour stop over in Dubai and me going for a walk about and getting lost as I had left Jun in an area where there was some good seats but then had not took any notice of the number and letter of that area, consequently I could not remember where she was and just had to keep walking till I recognised somewhere, thankfully I did and I found her as they were calling for the boarding of our flight and we made our way to our boarding area just in time.
We had a very quiet Christmas just the two of us and went for some nice walks, then we were supposed to go to Throssel Buddhist Abbey for the New Year retreat but we both came down with a nasty virus so had to cancel that.
Jun went back to Beijing on the 18th of January and had only just over two weeks to pack and move from the apartment in the BDA area back to our own apartment in Tong Zhua District at the far west side of Beijing before she started her job in a new department of China Customs a 40 minute drive from Tong Zhua. It was very difficult having to pack, move and unpack and set up a new home by herself and start work somewhere new but she managed to do it all wonderfully.
I also applied for two voluntary jobs one transporting people to hospital/doctor appointments, and the second working for the Teesdale Partnership doing survey work on farms and various farm buildings in order to provide a record of changing farming methods and uses of buildings over the centuries. This will also require photographing the buildings and surrounding areas so I am very keen to start on this, I have my first one to do on Saturday 21st of February.
I had my pre op assessment the other week and was under the impression I would have my shoulder operation sometime in February but have now been informed it will be the third week of April. I was hoping to have had it done and recovered before Jun comes back on the 31st of March but at least she will be here when I have my operation and she can be a nurse for a time ha-ha.
I did manage to get up to Throssel Buddhist Abbey for the Festival of Avolikishtevara on the first Sunday of February but got stuck in the snow drifts three times before deciding it would be better to drive another way which made me late but at least I got there. It was very nice to meet up again with fellow lay sangha friends and see the monks again.
I have been going out regularly on walks with my friend Michael who has lived in the village all his life it's almost like having your own personal tour guide as we walk all these amazing places and Michael fills me in on all the history, and I of course get to photograph it all. Just recently I have had a barn owl fly out of a building just two foot above my head, I have watched a otter swimming in the River Tees, seen Kingfishers, Buzzards and a Red Kite as well as numerous other birds. Came across abandoned billets on a farm that were used for the Land Army girls during the war, old lime kilns, derelict cottages, monastery ruins and listened to great stories of people and places around Teesdale.
I have been travelling over to Hartlepool each week to see my Father who is in a Nursing home there, it's a really lovely place and the staff are very nice and although at 94 years of age and with a few health problems he can still crack a good joke, he is certainly a great man. I coincide seeing my dad with going to my friend Johns for tea after which we go to our local Buddhist Meditation group, I think it is now about 14 years since we started a local group as before that we travelled up to Newcastle.
They have just celebrated New Year in China today this year is the year of the Goat, Jun has been watching all the fireworks from the apartment window and as we are on the 19th floor she has had a great view of them,the downside is all the fireworks will precipitate more smog over the city. I was watching some of it on the news over here and they were talking again about Chinese New Year time being the planets largest movement of people as they all go home or elsewhere for the holidays, it really is a sight to see especially around the train and bus stations and yet everyone seems to get to where they want to be.