Sunday, 12 February 2012

Final day of the visit

Travelling Aunty leaves Hong Kong today, bound for Northumberland.

It sets her off into sorrowful remembrance. Or maybe trepidation. Her facial expression looks remarkably the same when she contrasts the memory of sunshine temperatures in the Philippines with the expectation of snow-locked moors of Northumberland and a central heating system that doesn't work properly.

Tiger is beside herself with envy. Aunty Dee is going home. To England. This fact prompts Tiger to spend a morning growling and muttering at her computer screen, vengefully stabbing the keyboard. Going home can't come soon enough, and she's now counting the days to our own departure in March.

Squirrel watches packing proceedings with her detached air. These events are all happening out of her control. Later she'll be upset and slam doors. That will mark the loss of a precious aunty who can actually knit and seems to enjoy watching dolly fashion shows. But for now, Squirrel quietly assists in the to-ing and fro-ing to the post office, sending the holiday cards back to an office in Prudhoe. Everyone agrees the postal system can sometimes defy time. Magically the cards can arrive at work desks quicker than the person who sent them.

Shark is sparked into a fury of action in the kitchen. She wanted Aunty Dee to squeeze in one last cultural experience of Hong Kong. A journey by sampan. But the only sampan experience we can organise in time is the crossing between Hong Kong Island and the South of Lamma Island. That means crossing the East Lamma Shipping Channel. This route is the passage of the heaviest container vessels in the world, and one of the busiest sea ways in Asia, active every day of the week. A sampan is like a miniature rowing boat. Dig explains the usual terms of travel insurance and remarks how there isn't time to enjoy a hospital experience, so Shark is asked to cook cake instead.

She does that vigorously, bashing flour and beating eggs, clattering about the kitchen and warding off incomers, until she has created chocolate mousse, cinnamon biscuits, spicy cake and bread dough which we don't have time to cook. The time for departure is upon us, so our Travelling Aunty is hurriedly fed cake with a squashed mousse top and bundled out the door with her unfinished Sudoko puzzles and a flurry of farewells. Dig accompanies her to the airport, just to ensure she catches the right plane to the right place.

I put the house back to the pre-visiting order, wrapping laundry and rearranging furniture. Shark looks glumly at her uncooked bread dough, Squirrel sorrowfully slinks up to her room, and Tiger beams. Next month I'll be packing up our bedrolls, too.


Nora said...

I wish you would give a description of the house you live in there. I have you living in a hovel and I'm sure that can't be right. Dig would not allow it, would he?

Grit said...

i will do nora, promise.