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It was bad enough that her daughter was marrying a professional banjo player who did not own his own flat or car. It was untenable that her daughter was living without a refrigerator

A middle-aged police officer decided not to wait for high-tech equipment, like a safe ladder, and scrambled up in his loafers, followed by a firefighter. “Nothing here,” they exclaimed. It was pretty embarrassing. They left

China has to be one of the most “convenient” places in the world. It prides itself on convenience, in many senses of the word. Making things easy is part of the national psyche.

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I noticed she was taking a photo of me as soon as she sat down.

I have a love-hate relationship with Chinese New Year, that moveable feast which is at once very quiet, and extremely noisy. Quiet because half of Beijing leaves town, leaving the streets strangely empty.

I was the only person on the slope, while every other slope I could see had dozens of people. Also, it would soon become so steep I couldn’t see the bottom