Holidays Over!

September 2, 2012

Thank you very much for your all your feedback – I feel encouraged to do more & have included many of your suggestions.

We have been exploring our new city even more – on foot – now the temperature is a bit cooler. We walked around our block – which incudes a park “Panyu Green Space” – which has reflexology walk (a pebble path in a circuit, which you walk on in bare feet) & “Red Town” which is an art space with some big sculptures.

Yesterday we walked up & down Anfu Lu & Wulumuqi yesterday. We bought some very good value DVDs. We went around looking for cupboards 70cm wide, we measured every cupboard we saw. I also measured a shop.

We also went past some interesting shops and signs.

No markets in the last week.

List of items that Dad has fried: Pancakes & onions.

Fun Facts: Topic – Pinyin (with thanks to Dad for the research – this is a complicated topic!)

Pinyin (or Hànyü Pīnyīn) is the official system for transcribing Chinese characters into Latin script. Hànyǔ means the spoken language of the Han People and pīnyīn literally means “spelled sound”. A long succession of scholars have tried to develop a way “spell” the Chinese language. In 1605, the Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci published Xizi qiji (The Miracle of Western Letters). His work was more a way to help western people. It was not until more than two hundred years later that the concept of spelling planted in China by the Jesuits had sufficiently matured for the Chinese themselves to begin proposing its application for the design of new and more efficient scripts. The first late Qing reformer to propose that China adopt a system of spelling was Song Shu. Song had been to Japan and observed the stunning effect of the kana syllabaries and Western learning there but it took many more years before the idea was officially adopted as a way of trying to unify the way the language was spoken across China. The first edition of Hànyü pīnyīn was approved and adopted at the Fifth Session of the first National People’s Congress on February 11, 1958. It was then introduced to primary schools as a way to teach Standard Chinese pronunciation and used to improve the literacy rate among adults. Since 1958, Pinyin has been actively used in adult education as well, making it easier for formerly illiterate people to continue with self-study after a short period of Pinyin literacy instruction. Pinyin has become a tool for many foreigners to learn the Mandarin pronunciation, and is used to explain both the grammar and spoken Mandarin.

A school slogan asking elementary students to speak Putonghua is annotated with Pinyin.

Happy Highlights:

First week at School – My first week at school was brilliant. My small bus is number 4, & a lady called Smiley makes sure that all 7 children on my bus are collected – I am second on the bus. There are 48 school buses! My new teacher Mr Grimwood had to go to hospital on day 3, but nothing to do with me. School lunches are the best ever. I played tennis in PE & 2 mandarin lessons. This is me on my first day.

Delivery pizza from pizza marzano (a lot like pizza express)

Lost Heaven – Best roast chicken ever! According to the app Smart Shanghai “it specializes in the tribal cuisine of China’s Yunnan province” & it has great cocktails like this one – called Thaizeed – Dad said it was the best cockail he had ever had & very spicy.

Seeing this overloaded bike on the way to Wagas for dinner – the rider was stopped by the police – Look at it!

Nightmare of the week: BEEP BEEP BEEP

The landlord didn’t pay the phone bill for the month of May – so our phone was cut off. Unfortunately, the phone is connected to the security system – and the Internet – and the TV! (So if someone cuts the phone line, none of these works). And we had to endure an every-thirty-second BEEP! (Until the landlord paid the phone bill & the system was reset). That took more than 24 hours & a lot of phone calls (poor Dad). In the end the best idea was just to cellotape a pillow to the alarm to muffle the noise.


In Progress

After (beep beep beep)

Dad has another idea…

Official State News of the week: This was on the front page on Tuesday! -sorry it is sideways

Word of the week (in Chinese, of course): Please – Qǐng (pronounced tshing)



That’s all for this week – thanks for sending me comments/more comments – from Thomas


  1. Rossners here – Loving the blog and amazed how Cocktails seem to always feature where ever you move to!

    Keep writing Thomas – what about some funny photos of your parents? xx


  2. Hi Thomas – we’re just back from France so reading your blog for the first time. Tres bien mon ami – please can you add Charlotte to your list of recipients as she would love to hear your news – – also I need to know what happens in the shop called Big Toe. xx


  3. Your blog is so busy – I’m learning a lot. Keep it up and I will join in when I can. Do you have to learn any French yet in your school?


    1. We have a subject called MFL where we can choose a language to lean. I chose french.


  4. very witty. glad to see lots of sympathy for dad!


  5. Another lovely entry Thomas. I do like the idea of grass dreaming, I think it’s much better than it growing! And that poor man on the bike – we saw someone in Tanzania loaded up on a bike – almost that high (but not quite) with….eggs!!!! Luckily he didn’t fall off! xxx


  6. Nice blog this week! Was the lock shop for thieves ….open a lock and then make a key…..hmmm. Love the look of the cocktail. Nice also to think about grass dreaming! Glad your first week at school was so good… Let’s hope your cousins have as much fun!!! We’ll skype again soon, AC


  7. Please send Dad over to tape a pillow to my lodger’s face so I don’t have to endure that snoring which resounds through the walls throughout the night. I’m loving the blog Thomas – it’s very interesting reading. How wide was that shop by the way? You never said.



      The shop was 2.8 meters wide.


      1. Thank you. Shall measure Artimadora in herne hill. I’m sure it’s smaller. Watch this space (for a while because I’m awf to Italy for 10 days).


  8. Granny Devon · · Reply

    Very glad to hear that you like your new school and you look really smart in your uniform. Pinyin seems very complicated to me so I’m pleased not to have to learn it – I’m too old! Bleep bleep bleep must have been awful, our kitchen tap drips all the time and it nearly drives me insane (I don’t think Grandpa can hear it so it will go on – drip drip drip). Tell Dad not to drink too many cocktails, and you mustn’t eat too many pizzas or you will get very FAT!


  9. Diane Hawkings · · Reply

    What a very interesting newsletter. I was reading my book and just remembered to look in my e- mails, thinking you would have been too busy to do it, so was not only interested but impressed. You have had a full week. I have seen the boys and Claire this week as she had to go to Holland for a day. Just about recovered from the tiredness.

    I need suggestions as to how to sleep when I have a different bed – like when I go to Claire’s. Night two is usually fine but by then I am kna……

    I look forward to more news about school, food, Bromley’s adventures and Mum’s work

    Lots of love Granny fixit

    PS. Aunty Sarah is now 41!!! And ask Mum to let me know what she would like for her birthday.

    Sent from my iPad


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