My Birthday Week

This week marked the resumption of daily Mass at the Seat of Wisdom Chapel at Ricci Hall and I rostered myself to take up scripture readings for the week, which was a ritual I sorely missed during the lockdown. Monday morning was cool and crispy and I arrived Ricci Hall shortly after 7am by MTR. I took a signature shot at the entrance and my young friend took a picture of me inside the chapel, both of which I uploaded on Facebook – I simply couldn’t resist that – as I left Pokfulam by a 970X bus which landed me in Jordan in ten minutes, so that I was seated at the Boundary Café of Kowloon Cricket Club shortly after 8:15am seeping coffee. I was rather pleased with myself. I had a gym session and was back in Mei Foo in time for a quick bite with Su before joining my Rotary Club friends for a leisure walk in Sheung Shui to near the border and back, ending with a BBQ and some drinks at Ted’s place in Royal Palms and meeting up his brother whom I last saw over ten years ago. The accidental reunion brought back so much memories, which would be another story.

I repeated the morning rituals every day through Friday, ending up sometimes at Craigengower Cricket Club (CCC) and walking on Friday in particular to a café at the junction of Cleverly Street and Queen’s Road Central which served rather good coffee and scrambled eggs.

It being my birthday week, Facebook had been diligently reminding my friends of the momentous event so that I received numerous congratulatory messages throughout the week, before and after the official date and even from friends of Su. Which gave me a rather nice feel, for whatever reasons. Many of these friends had been encouraging me throughout the years to write an autobiography which I did finally and which I hope some of them had started reading.

On Tuesday, Su and I had our second jabs of CoronaVac COVID-19 Vaccine at the Community Vaccination Centre in Kwai Fong. Many friends had warned us that we could expect more side effects from the second doses and that we should avoid alcohol in the following two days and drink plenty of water. We had plenty of water alright, but only after a good measure of champagne, for Shirley had brought her two sons – the elder one being our godchild and the young one we had sort of adopted – to visit us, for it had been a while since we met because of the lockdown and school would start the following day. It turned out to be a rather long and somewhat tiring day, ending with Shirley and Su making a return trip to their favourite desserts store near the Lai Chi Kok MTR station while I took Will and Matt to the Lai Chi Kok Park to spend their remaining energies and mine. It was amazing how energetic and imaginative kids could be.

Wednesday turned out to be even more taxing on my constitution. I had a committee meeting and an informal lunch with my brethren at Zetland Hall, and as soon as they found out that it was my ID card birthday, they wouldn’t allow my glass to be empty. I got away by chance and even managed to have a quick nap at Mei Foo, only to find myself at another drinking session in Tsim Sha Tsui East with another bunch of brethren I had not met for some time, before having dinner finally with Su at home. So much about not having alcohol in the two days after the second jab.

I had breakfast with William at CCC after which he walked me to Sogo for a baguette I had promised Su for a dinner planned for the evening. This dinner had been postponed from January because of the lockdown and other reasons. It was to feature caviar and seafood and other niceties between friends from the Rotary community I had known for more than two decades. Unfortunately, one of them couldn’t show up last minute because he fell sick. It would have been a perfect evening otherwise. A highlight for the evening was meant to be the Norwegian King Crabs, but Su’s supplier couldn’t source materials of acceptable standards and instead had gotten her a 4.5 catty lobster from Southern Australia, which was rather big and impressive, and which the seven of us washed down with four bottles of bubblies.

Friday began at Ricci Hall followed by the breakfast I had alluded to after which I had a quick gym session at CCC before taking a bus back to HKU to the Senior Common Room for lunch. I used to have breakfast meetings at the SCR after Mass at Ricci Hall. It was quiet and cozy and inexpensive. But they stopped doing breakfast after the pandemic outbreak and now would not open before noon, so that I had not been there for over a year. It was rather crowded, by the current social distancing rules, when I arrived. Indeed, there were only two tables not occupied. My lunch companions arrived shortly and we had a rather pleasant session. Back in Mei Foo, Su was already busy planning for yet another dinner for three other brethren who had asked to come over to celebrate my birthday and to try her cuisine. Su got yet another lobster, this time for sashimi, for which the fishmonger taught her the skills at the shop before agreeing to sell it to her. Su had other food prepared for the evening and between the five of us, we shared three bottles of champagne and another bottle of red. Two of the young brethren were dozing off towards the end.

We decided to go easy on Saturday, settling for just a dim sum lunch; but today we ended up having more wine and food at the Middle Island after Mass at Ricci Hall and after Su arm-twisted a friend to join us. That was all I could remember for the week, so far.

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