Hong Kong parks are sociable places

Parks in Hong Kong are quite different to British parks in many ways. First of all, there’s very little in the way of grass here. Whereas British parks tend to be wide expanses of grass with some plants and trees and other things dotted here and there, the parks here are much more landscaped and ornamental, with flower beds and benches everywhere.

But one main difference that has struck me is that they are so well used. I suppose this is partly because of the number of people in such a small area, but I think it’s also down to the culture. People utilise the parks well; old people socialise, people exercise, play with children or just sit and watch the world go by. The following photos are from a park very near me. I hope they illustrate my point!

This park (like most parks) is beautifully landscaped with pagodas and waterfalls, and is kept immaculately clean.

Hong Kong parks - pagodas and waterfalls - Little Koo

There’s a large pond where terrapins and fish can warm themselves in the sun (can you see the terrapins on the rocks?)

Hong Kong parks - terrapins and fish - Little Koo

There’s a well-equipped playground with swings and climbing frames and other equipment.

Hong Kong parks - childrens playground

There are lots of pieces of equipment dotted around the park for the elderly to use to stay fit and healthy – and they’re well used! More often than not when I walk past a piece of equipment there will be someone on it. In the UK, something like that would never get used, but I feel like lots of the older generation here are very serious about looking after themselves. It may be part of the reason why Hong Kongers have such a good life expectancy.

Hong Kong parks - elderly exercising - Little Koo

In the early to mid-mornings there are often several groups of (mainly) middle aged ladies practising dances. One morning I was walking around the park and counted 9 separate groups – and the park isn’t that big! (Yet another sight you would never see in the UK)

Hong Kong parks - ladies dancing - Little Koo

First thing in the morning there are also usually groups of people practising tai chi, sometimes with fans or swords. I’ve not managed to get a photo yet but I’ll keep trying, it’s quite a sight!

Other forms of exercise are common too. There’s a jogging route around the edge of the park and there are usually a few people taking advantage of that, some with more effort than others! There are often people doing strange stretches and clapping their hands or hitting other parts of themselves (which I think is to boost circulation). Some people even run backwards! I feel like the locals have no inhibitions when it comes to exercise – anything goes!

I’ve seen a man practising his Chinese calligraphy with a sponge on a stick dipped in water. That’s quite a fascinating sight, and something that you wouldn’t see outside of China (or east Asia at least).

Hong Kong parks - practicing calligraphy - Little Koo

I’m very lucky to have such a lovely park close by, it really is a nice place to spend some time!

Thanks for reading!

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Handmade calligraphy Christmas cards

I really wanted to make my own Christmas cards this year. Last year the twins were so young that we had barely any time to prepare for Christmas at all, let alone make cards. In fact, we didn’t even post any cards! This year I was resolved to do better.

I had an idea that it would be pretty quick if I created a calligraphy design that I could repeat easily for each card. I chose to write ‘Merry Christmas’ with a couple of swirls and it took me about an hour to fine tune my design. I’m really not very good at swirls! I see so much beautiful swirly calligraphy, but I just don’t seem to be able to design something similar myself at all. I guess it just takes practice.

Anyway, once I had my design sorted, I created the layout and used my light box to see the layout behind the card blank so I could write on the card. I originally was going to use red and green card blanks but when I placed them on the light box I realised that I couldn’t see the guidelines because the card was too thick! So I had to use white card instead. But I do like the combination of white and gold at the moment so it wasn’t a complete disaster.

Gold and white calligraphy Christmas card - Little Koo

Gold and white calligraphy Christmas card - Little Koo

I used gold and silver Manuscript italic marker pens and the script is my own – it’s a bit of a hybrid between italic and foundational hand!

Once I was up and running, it didn’t take too long to do the 30 or so cards that I wanted. I was really pleased when I laid them all out together, I think they look great!

 

Metallic calligraphy Christmas card - Little Koo

Gold and white calligraphy Christmas card - Little Koo

Gold and white calligraphy Christmas card - Little Koo

Gold and white calligraphy Christmas card - Little Koo

I managed to get them them in the post last week so they’re currently winging their way to the UK. I missed the last guaranteed post by quite some way so I hope they turn up sometime in December!

Did you handmake your cards this year? Please share a photo or a link if so, I’d love to see what you came up with!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

Calligraphy family tree

Calligraphy is another of my hobbies, one that is sadly neglected most of the time and gets picked up again whenever I want to use it to make something! This is very bad of me, I should really practice a little every day if I want to get better. I’ve only taught myself from books, and I wouldn’t say I was that great at it but I’ve got to a level where I can use it to make cards and presents for close friends and family and they come out looking ok.

It was my grandma’s 90th birthday earlier this year, and my mum has been doing a little research into her family tree so I thought I’d write it up in calligraphy as a birthday present for my grandma. She has a very large family so I had to simplify it a lot and only included her closest relations and no dates or any other details, otherwise it would have been massive! I used greens and blues as those are her favourite colours. It also makes it look a little less traditional than most family trees. Here are some photos, I hope you like them!

Calligraphy family tree

Calligraphy family tree close up 1

Calligraphy family tree close up 2

Calligraphy family tree close up 4

Calligraphy family tree close up 3

Thanks for reading!

Rachel