08 January 2019

Twitching

Super happy to keep seeing new birds around Man Kok Tsui.   It just underlines how despite being so close to the city and all the pollution and chaos, Lantau still provides a natural sanctuary.   To watch an osprey and a cormerant hunt along the shoreline and both succeed to catch fish is an absolute pleasure.

02 December 2018

Sapphira

Sapphira is a Cape Carib 33 yacht that was built here in Hong Kong in 1975 to a Ted Brewer design.   

She came to us when her previous owners eventually admitted to themselves that they could no longer find the time to keep her in the condition she needed to be in nor the time to sail and enjoy her.

After nearly two years of floating on her swing mooring the hull is far from smooth and her teak deck and woodwork has lost most of its lustre and varnish.

Ahead of me I have a winter of DIY but what a challenge it will be.

25 November 2018

Catch up

It's been a while since the blog was updated.
Why?   Well its been an active and hectic year for our little clan.

  1. After 6 months of more of noise, dust and muscle ache our house upgrades are all but completed and we are fully installed within.
    1. New wooden flooring for the bedrooms
    2. A complete enclosure of the frontage to the house to give us a super living area with a stone and marble floor and 270 degrees of glazing or sliding door openings
    3. A rebuild of one of the piggeries into a utility / laundry / storeroom
  2. We have invested in a boat, "The Edna May", to get back and forth to Mui Wo in.
    1. A 21 foot fibreglass hull with a spanking new outboard
  3. We have invested in a small but very pretty sail boat, "Sapphira", to cruise about in.
    1. A Cape Carib 33 sloop built here in Hong Kong in 1975
  4. We have slowly come to accept that broadband internet is a thing of the past and we will have to just get used to the wandering reliability of telephone data.
  5. We have survived the biggest storm on record, even if it did mean we were without electricity for a few days

22 March 2018

More renovations afoot

We took over out little spot at Man Kok Tsui ten years ago this year.   When we first took it over it was a damp, rotting and crumbling shed with a very shaky wooden lean too roof, no kitchen and a bathroom that was of a rustic theme to say the least.   The loo ran on pond water, there was no potable water and the electrical wiring was a mix of old and frayed wires connected by equally fragile looking ceramic switches that were last used on a Frankenstein movie set.    The windows were so rusted they could not close and the front door simply was not there.    Inside were three rooms, each with a mini cock loft.   

Behind the house the slope supporting wall had collapsed and backfilled to a height of almost two metres, so much so that it could almost have been said that the house was holding up the retaining wall.    Inside, it was so damp that when it rained the water would drain through the house wall into an indoor gutter, yes and indoor gutter! that ran along the floor next to the wall and out through a hole in the front wall.

Over time, we have slowly improved and made good.   We now have a kitchen and a bathroom.   We have potable water, three phase electrical wiring.    The retaining wall behind the house is now back where it should be and the house no longer holds the wall up.   The damp has gone and with the new windows and doors it is surprisingly cosy.

How it was in 2008










How it was in 2009










How it was in 2010













How its going to be in 2018
Well, the plan is simple.   Because the house roof is made of wooden beams holding up three layers of roofing materials, starting with wriggly tin then poured concrete on top of that and then a second tin roof a few inches above (presumably to create some sort of heat insulation) we have decided it is best to rust seal seal the upper roof to prevent it self destructing and then build a fourth roof to cover not only the existing buildings but also the open areas to the front.    This should create a much larger living space in front of the house.   Here goes nothing.

 





Rush hour in Mui Wo

There was a big herd of buffalo in Mui Wo earlier this week.    All seemed peaceful enough and the big bulls seemed totally relaxed.    

But this big fellah who from a distance looked like he was just out enjoying the spring sunshine has evidently been in a bit of action.      

The rest of the herd was nowhere to be seen so perhaps he has decided to go and find another herd to try his luck in? 

17 January 2018

First ever sighting of a crested goshawk - superb

Saw a beautiful crested goshawk soaring and displaying over the hills behind the Pamela Youde hospital in Chai Wan this afternoon.   A super clear day but it did take me a while to work out what it was.    Initially I though tit may have been a buzzard as the wings were too rounded to be the usual kite and the tail was long and quite flared rather than pointed like the kites.   But it was just too small.   It was hard to compare its size as no other birds came close to it but what gave it away was the very distinct white feathering underneath and directly before the tail feathers and the way it was able to instantly dive and turn as it explored along the tree lines.   The first time I have ever seen one of these in the wild.

08 December 2017

Easter eggs come early

Presumably because Christmas marketing seems to start earlier and earlier each year our cockatiels, Douglas and Babs have decided to get in on the act too and yesterday, exactly 1 week after the new and much larger nest box was installed they have all ready produced their first egg.   
   

23 August 2017

Any port in a storm

While checking over the boat last night before the typhoon struck today, I found this fellow resting, curled up around the engine control leads.    The picture is not very clear but it is a baby Burmese Python of around two feet in length.    I have no idea where he came from or how long he had been living on the boat either.   Anyhow, he was duly set adrift to find his home elsewhere.

08 August 2017

Tokay Gecko

Stock photo of Tokay Gecko
Was rather privileged to catch a glimpse of my first Tokay Gecko in Hong Kong in 25 years the other day.   The rather splendid and quite big reptile was casually walking across the Tung Chung Road a the bottom of the hill by the YMCA in Tung Chung.    I had no idea what it was until I started digging about at hk reptiles

Apparently these lizards were first discovered in Tung Chung in 1951.    How cool it is to know they have managed to survive all the building works and construction.