Things are beginning to get done in terms of moving to my new flat. James, the current tenant and friend from the hockey club, has moved out over the weekend, and tomorrow evening I should be doing an inventory check of the flat, and signing the full tenancy agreement. I’ll also be handing two months worth of rent, in addition to the one month of rent I’ve already paid up. Apparently most tenancy agreements over here run on the basis of two months rent as a security deposit. They also typically run for two years which seems suitably far enough in the future not to worry about. I guess the good news is that at the end of my tenancy I get the lump sum of two months rent back.
I’ve now started thinking about all the stuff I’ll have to buy to kit out the flat. Cutlery, crockery, bed linen etc. Basically all the items that you need to live – I can remember having to do this kind of shopping when I moved from Birmingham down to Bracknell. The prospect of having to do it all over again, wandering around shops I don’t really know, let alone a language I find impenetrable is somewhat daunting. To be honest I’d much rather be buying gadgets, but I suppose things like seats and kitchenware have there uses too. As I don’t want to accumulate too much stuff whilst I’m out here, I suspect I won’t be buying a full size dinner service – probably just bare essentials.
Another one of the many things I’ve noticed out here is recycling, or rather the complete lack of recycling that I’ve seen. Back home (by the way, for the benefit of the parents, I now view home as Wokingham, so one of my earlier derogatory comments about home was aimed at my home in Wokingham rather than N. Ireland), I’d say that we’re pretty good at recycling, with the various kerb side boxes for paper/cardboard, and cans/plastic bottles etc. Over here though there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of visible recycling going on. I’ve seen a couple of posters in the MTR stations urging recycling, but I’ve not actually seen much in the way of how to actually do this. Of course, living in a serviced apartment means my bin gets magically emptied every day. I somehow doubt, though, that the cleaners are sorting my rubbish for recycling, which would be a little unsettling if they were.
The whole living in a serviced apartment has been pretty good not having to worry about cleaning, bills, and a laundry service (albeit somewhat randomly priced). Before anyone starts worrying that I’ll have to get back in the habit of flat cleaning etc. this is all in hand. James currently has a helper who cleans the flat every Monday, and not wanting to see the woman out of a job, I’ve opted to continue the service! Apparently costs are about HK$70 per hour, and as it’s a small flat it doesn’t take too long. Added bonus is if I want I can have my ironing done. I hate ironing – so will definitely be taking that option… once I’ve bought an iron and ironing board of course.
(If you’re not interested in hockey – you may want to stop reading now)
The hockey season has been continuing, and the mighty C team now have 4 points from 3 games, with one loss, one draw, and one win. The win did come against one of the newly promoted teams, but we had a real test on Friday night against the Vets A team. This is a team of players over 40 rather than animal doctors. A fairly tense first half ended goalless, with both teams having had a few chances we had more short corners than the Vets. I’m now beginning to get used to my centre midfield role – definitely more involving than left back or up on the wings. We had the ball in the net early on in the second half, but somewhat implausibly the umpire decided to blow the whistle and award a short corner to us rather than award the goal. Both the team and the sizable crowd (it’s very weird to play in front of a crowd – far more fun though) were very disappointed with this decision. It probably atoned for the same umpire making the most bizarre decision at the end of the first half though. The Vets had played an innocuous through ball which had been partially stopped by one of our defenders meaning the ball was going towards the byline, but that one of the Vets players was likely to reach it. Out of the D steps our keeper… is he going to play it (legally) with his stick? Not a bit of it. He decides to kick it. Umpire’s decision: blow the whistle and signal half time. Lots of bemused players, with the Vets getting very annoyed. Half the Valley C team have legged it from the pitch and half time is called. Having come close to opening the scoring we were very disappointed when the Vets then opened the scoring with a weak short corner not much later. Despite then dominating we couldn’t find an equaliser, through a mix of a lack of composure in front of goal or bad short corner routines. With two minutes remaining our coach took the decision to take the keeper off and play eleven outfield players. This seemed to confuse both umpires and opposition, but it had the desired effect and with about one minute left we got our deserved equaliser – a somewhat scrappy affair with the final touch being from about a yard out. Much cheering from the crowd, and we could even have nicked the win in the dying moments…
This sets us up nicely for a Friday night game on 9 November against Valley B team. The B team have had a slow start to the league – they lost 4-3 to the Vets, and currently we’re revelling in the fact that the C team are above them.