So why does a chap in his Fifties suddenly decide to go to China. Well, read on, and if there’s nobody reading perhaps I can explain it to myself.
I’ve been fortunate in life, after a succession of crappy jobs I managed to get to Ruskin College, Oxford, where I learned a lot and had a great time and then Cambridge University where Er I learnt a lot. For the last 20 years or so I’ve had 2 teaching jobs, one at the Open University and another at Bellerbys College, Cambridge. So far so mundane ! I’ve always been fascinated with China. Partly due to teaching many Chinese students I learnt more about China. And China truly is another culture. A staggeringly complex language and a pretty much totally different way of life to here in the West. As far as my preparation is concerned I’m reading lots. Much about living in China, some of that’s been an eye opener and I like to feel I’ve prepared myself. Vital I think to embrace the new and not permit my self to miss things from back home. So that first squat toilet will be fabulous.

I’ve also been battling with the language. When I heard there were 4 tones in Mandarin I thought that’s pretty tough until I found out there were 9 in Cantonese. I think I’ve got a few phrases off now : Ni hao, ni hao ma ? ( the auto-correct didn’t like that ) but get the wrong tone and you’ve called your mother a horse.