Strange sudden interests

The trees in flower on Wenweng Lu Autumn has arrived in Chengdu. The trees along 文翁路 are flower­ing, as are a number of other plants. I’ve even seen some bushes outside the Jinjiang Hotel which appear to be showing new growth, their leaves being a rather vibrant green for this time of year. It still feels hot when the sun comes out, although that won’t be happening today. It was one of those mornings when it might’ve been any time for all I could tell. Fortunately, we’ve been spared the autumn storms which have been battering the UK and Haiti. So far.
And since it’s autumn, Teacher Appreciation Day is nigh. Fortunately, we’re not being asked to put on some performance this time. I always hope that the direness of our earlier efforts has their lordships saying, “We must ask the foreign teachers to perform again – on a really special occasion.” The Chinese teachers seem to like these music hall performances, but that’s just not us. Not all foreigners are guitar-playing hippies. I have no talents that are suited to the music hall and transcend the language barrier[1]: I play no musical instruments; I should never be asked to sing (which would be an abuse not of my human rights, but those of others); and I have no abilities which would leave a credulous, non-English-speaking audience making “Ooh!” and “Ah!” sounds.
1. I could read one of my short stories, but unlike last year, when one of the English teachers did a simulcast translation with our performance, I wouldn’t be satisfied with some off-the-cuff rendition of something I’d written. Besides, a simulcast would stumble and crash where my use of English exceeded the translator’s proficiency.

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