Sunday, 28 March 2010


Things have been rotting like a pile of late-autumn leaves in early spring here. It's been an age since I could even bring myself to look at a news item without feeling my hands go limp and my cheek slide sideways against a window pane that isn't there. I've been propping myself up on the little things.

About a year and several months ago, I picked up a three-month old puppy on the road just outside my company's building. One lane of the two-lane road had been closed for roadworks and she was running around playing with the traffic and I could just see what was going to happen. Within the first five or six months of having adopted her, I began the process of trying to get her used to water by taking her to the beach at Anping - she was terrified of the little waves. I gave up the beach and began taking her to another park nearby where, following Typhoon Morakot last summer, the little rockery pools filled up with water for the next few weeks. It was there that she broke her fear and learned to swim. And so I began taking her to the beach again - but again, she found the waves a little too scary to venture in on her own so I would carry her into the sea with me and let her swim back to the shore herself. Then - just last week - it finally happened. I had taken her to the beach on a tuesday lunchtime so there was nobody around and after playing with her on the sand for a while I took off into the sea to give myself a little stretch before getting ready for work. I'd given up coaxing her into the water and had swam out a good hundred odd yards from the shore when I turned round to see she had followed me into the sea and was herself already a good thirty-forty yards from shore! I wished I could have had a camera with me at that moment. Over the moon I was! Since then she has regularly been following me into the sea on her own account.

I have also - as of two weeks ago - sold the motorcycle featured in my blog picture. Trying to keep four working bikes together is tricky, especially when you're not driving as much and as far as you used to. Of the four, it had to be that one to go; it was costing more than the others to maintain, it was offering nothing over the others apart from a distinct driving aesthetic, and was offering a lot less than the others on practical grounds. Still, it's a shame as there is a part of me that would have liked to have kept it. Soon after I bought it about four years ago, I drove it up the east coast - my very first time - all the way to Hualien and on the way back (riding with my helmet off, strapped to the back of the bike) I crashed it coming downhill on a bend on seeing a very big snake cross the road! The car in front of me had also slowed down (presumably to let the kids in the back look at the snake) without realizing that I was coming down behind him. Anyway, I made it back down to the south west of the island eventually. The east coast is a magnificent ride. Loved that bike.

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