Diary Management

I had a rather clean diary for the week that just ended before it began, with just one lunch appointment and two evening meetings at Zetland Hall. I ended up however with meetings for all evenings including last night and a zoom meeting on Tuesday at home with Su preparing her favourite fish sashimi and bringing in champagne during the meeting to quench my thirst. Such is how life could be, almost 20 years after retirement.

Su and I recorded all our meetings and engagements on one common appointment diary, which helps to make life simple, for we both don’t keep electronic diaries. The diary is almost always on the meal table if not on the settee and I would call home when I was asked outside for dinner or meeting slots. The system has worked rather well. Thanks to Florence who works at Manulife and who sent me by SF Express each year a new bound copy around this time – the 2023 copy had arrived last week – I was able to manage our diary effectively.

A number of extraordinary events popped up last week. First, Monday was Terence’s birthday. He took us to a late lunch when the others couldn’t join for a breakfast or brunch. We were nevertheless joined by Peter towards the end who came with a birthday cake but which couldn’t be consumed on site without paying the club a cake-cutting fee, so that Terence eventually took it home. Peter had just learnt the night before that he was on the list of whom could cross the border to Shenzhen on Thursday, by which time he would have been back in Hong Kong for two weeks, and since he was required to be quarantined for another week before he could meet anyone, he would have been separated for three weeks with his wife there, which was rather long and difficult for newlyweds. Peter left on Thursday just in time to benefit from the new slightly shortened quarantine period, but that would be another story. After lunch, Su checked the prices of her favourite champagne, taking advantage of orders by the birthday boy, but was not impressed. She did some research the next day and found that Terence’s other club, the AMC, was doing promotion with 20% discount except that no delivery would be offered. There and then, she asked Terence to place orders for three dozen bottles, which Terence obliged on Wednesday with instructions that the goods would be ready for collection Thursday morning. It created some logistical issues which fortuitously were resolved in less than one minute through the helpfulness of the AMC staff at the Mariners. We had even arranged for Kenny to be the backup helper. He ended up being the site supervisor and our brunch guest at ABC.  Kenny enjoyed the environ of ABC and was considering joining.

Second, and still on Monday, Su organized a dinner with her ex-financial colleagues some of whom we picked up at the Hong Kong Fintech Week the week before, which I went after my meeting at Zetland Hall. I met some new friends and discussions were vibrant but soon focused on cryptocurrency and related issues. Lo and behold, a few days later, we saw the collapse of a major company dealing with cryptocurrency and I don’t feel that I am all the more wiser as a result.

Third, our Mei Foo neighbour Stella had arranged to meet her secondary school classmates over lunch at HKU Senior Common Room on Tuesday to discuss a reunion of the old girls most of whom would be around 75 later in the year. We met four classmates, including Stella, which meant that I was having lunch with five ladies, all chatting away so happily and nosily, and jockeying for sound bites. Stella liked the restaurant very much after a first visit a few weeks ago and made us promise to take her there more often, which was why she had booked the place that morning, at very short notice.

Fourth, Thursday night, Su found that some speakers were not working when she played her vinyl discs on the phonograph. She tested each in turn and found more problems, probably creating mew problems in the process. Meanwhile, I was in Zetland Hall because Kenny was joining a new order; and at dinner time, we were having good measures of Macallen. Suddenly, my good niece Jean appeared and gave me a big hug, to the amazement and awe of the rest of the Brethren. She was next door attending the Ladies Night of the Lodge of her close friend Antony Ou who is a member. I went over t say hello and met some long lost friends and had pictures taken – the usual nostalgic stuff. By the time I returned home from Zetland Hall, Su had wires and cables all over the place, with some broken ones. It was too late and she was a bit worn out. She resumed after breakfast Friday morning and invited me to help dislodging our main TV set and the cables and wires behind it. She replaced the main HDMI cable which connects the TV and the Yamaha amplifier, after which the blue ray CD player became muted, while one of the main speakers was still not working. After some repeated trial and errors, she concluded that the sockets for the phonograph of the amplifier had deposited in them metallic residues from the plugs, resulting in bad contacts. She also tested whether the speakers were all functioning and was content that they all were. I went off for an evening meeting while she continued to run more tests. Meanwhile, she had some technical breakthroughs, which brought us to Saturday morning. She recalled she had visited an audio-visual shop in Causeway Bay – True Sound Company – where she had bought some spare parts for the new phonograph machine from HMV when it was under receivership. She decided to window-shop there, but before we set forth, I called up Derek. Now, Derek was the guy Moses first introduced me in 2003 when I was moving back to Baguio after my retirement, planning to stay there for eight years. At his prompting and with his advice, I bought a host of audio-visual equipment, mostly high end stuff and rather expensive, and set up a rather sophisticated and mini-theatre in the living room. Alas, my plan to stay there for eight years didn’t work out and I moved back to Seymour room in less than three years, and that would be another story. By 2013, when we moved to Mei Foo, smart TV was the order of the day and the expensive amplifier Derek had me bought could not support the equipment, so that I bought, again on his advice, a new amplifier Yamaha which could support the systems and had new wires and cables installed. Fast forward to yesterday, I consulted Derek what I should do in the circumstances and he promptly advised that I need to have the amplifier replaced. At True Sound, we found to our delight that they were doing a promotion and we could get an upgrade at less than HK$4,000 and some cables with a similar discount. It was a brainless decision and we bought the Denon 2700 and some cables as if we were shopping for produce at the wet market. Once again, we had to deal with the logistics issues. Su called our nephew, who happened to be in Causeway Bay. He came with a trolley, collected the Denon 2700 and had it placed in his van. Now we wait till he is free to pass by Mei Foo.

Such is the joy and surprises that one can have in an average week; and I haven’t even begun to talk about what happened last night. Next week promises four meetings in Zetland Hall and two lunches elsewhere, plus a session in ABC on Saturday which I cannot attend, but which Su would like to go to when she would meet our friend Andrew, meaning that I would ferry her or them to ABC before or around 9am so that I could attend to my schedule for the rest of the day. Let’s see how the week pans out.

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