The Beijing spring and its beautiful blossoms have come and gone, and last weekend the summer solstice was celebrated in the traditional way by eating noodles。 Mind you， there was no emperor available to pray to the gods at the Temple of Heaven， but they seem to be happy with us since we feel far away from the gloom and doom reported in the west。
We are now well into summer with temperatures in the high 30s centigrade (high 90s F!). I've not been able to make a new posting for various technical reasons, but am glad to report that all is well with me. We are enjoying the lychees from the south, which are so sweet and plentiful. I'm not sure why anyone buys the locally grown cherries at 3 times the price! Mangos, mangosteens, durian and apricots have been with us for some time, but strawberries which are just coming in time in the UK for Wimbledon are a distant memory.
We have had so many visitors - friends, relatives, clients - and they are amazed at the huge changes in this city. "I've read about China's growth in the papers but never imagined it was like this!", or " Is this really a communist state?", or "I'm definitely coming back again soon!". I was able to take them to my favourite restaurants, shops and bars. We had a great get-together last week of 6 old friends. We all used to play in the same badminton club when I was in London a few years ago, and it was such a coincidence that they were all in town at the same time. I also had the honour of showing round the owner of Utopia website and helped them update and expand their Beijing information.
There are certainly more and more things to do by day and night, especially with the warm weather allowing outdoor swimming to cool you off, dining al fresco with views across the Forbidden City or drinks on a terrace overlooking a lake or a local hutong, where you can watch the streetlife pass by below. I would be very happy to take you there next time any of you come. Just push the contact button on the left, and let me know in advance. Will get more photos up next time.