Thursday, 24 October 2013

Forty Winks Friday, Sleeping on the job!

Quite a number of my Nappers are sleeping on the job. Some work for themselves, some for others, all work long, often hard hours so I'm sure they deserve a power nap. According to some research, a power nap can enhance performance, decision making and memory...maybe they are onto something!

Roby's Nappers

Knees make the perfect pillow after a busy morning sweeping the streets.

Robyn's Nappers

After cycling many miles collecting and sorting and delivering recyclables, time to use the tray as a daybed.

Robyn's Nappers

Slow day selling beads at this water town.

Robyn's Nappers

Time for a break from the removal jobs.

Robyn's Nappers

Maybe he had a busy spell selling table runners and bedspreads earlier?

Robyn's Nappers

This was slightly worrying...the lifeguard at the swimming pool my girls were swimming in! Never mind, I'm sure they could swim better than him anyway!

Robyn's Nappers

Peaceful day at the Fabric Market for this guard.

Robyn's Nappers

No problems at this building site either.

Robyn's Nappers

Making the most of a lull in customers perhaps!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

A Golden Moment

I have been to the beautiful Yu Gardens in Shanghai many times, beautiful sunny mild days, in the scorching heat of summer, the bitter cold of winter but my favourite Yu Garden moment was a chilly autumn day in 2009. It was a weekday and quite cold so not many people were around.

Autumn leaves

In one little courtyard this lady was diligently sweeping up the fallen leaves. I stopped to watch, enjoying the peace and quiet.

Autumn Leaves

She would clear a patch and a gust of wind would have more golden leaves flutter to the ground.

Autumn Leaves

She would patiently gather up the newly fallen leaves into her pile and continue on with her work.

Autumn Leaves

After a strong gust we were showered with a scattering of leaves. We looked at each other, both shrugged our shoulders and laughed at the same time. A connection, a smile, between two people from different cultures and backgrounds. It was a lovely moment, if there were more moments like these, the world would be a better place.

Autumn Leaves

She turned to continue sweeping, I rejoined my friends who had wandered off. That smile she gave to me was a gift. Smiles are part of the universal language, understood by everyone, give someone a smile today may make their day :)

Friday, 18 October 2013

Forty Winks Friday... The Chair...a Napper Luxury!

We see nappers in all sorts of bizarre postures and places, balanced on bikes, using produce as pillows, perching on concrete steps. In this selection, the nappers all have a chair to enhance their napping experience!

Robyn's Nappers

Slow day for the 'fixit man', time to recline until the next customer happens along.

Robyn's Nappers

Love the spare tile used to level this chair, and the convenient wall as a foot stool. Glad he isn't "guarding" my place though!

Robyn's Nappers

Ingenious, use the old spool as a stool and the chair to lean on...and hold up your trestle of wares!

Robyn's Nappers

These white framed chairs seem to be the choice of Shanghai nappers and are put to good use.

Robyn's Nappers

A hard morning's recycling deserves a few minutes to put your feet up and get cosy.

Robyn's Nappers

Hands clasped, legs crossed seems to be to position of choice, for movie sellers.....

...and Noodle pullers on a break!

Robyn's Nappers

Doing a good job of selling to passers-by...or not!

Robyn's Nappers

The community is safe with this pair around. At least they make good use of the chairs available, foot rest, head rest even hat rack!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Mole and the Chicken

I have heard rave reviews about The Mole and the Chicken country pub and restaurant from friends. It's located right in the middle of Midsomer Murders territory in Buckinghamshire near the Oxfordshire border and a short ten minute drive from home! Prince William has even popped in for a quick lunch with Kate when they were nearby before they had little George. I thought if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for us. My husband and I went for lunch on my birthday and were very happy we did!

English Pubs

It's such a cute old pub built in 1831, complete with low beams, roaring wood fires and gorgeous views over rolling countryside.

View from English pub

We had a lovely view of fields full of autumn colour and a friendly looking horse from our cosy table.

Cosy Bar

Nice squishy, leather sofas to have a drink and relax in before lunch.

pub restaurant

The restaurant is light and airy with lots of cosy nooks so perfect for everyone!


I spied the set lunch on the blackboard when we arrived and was sold when I saw the mussels in a creamy herb broth. I'm a sucker for seafood and though the restaurant sources most ingredients locally, being far from the ocean, the mussels were obviously not local but were fresh, plump and very delicious. The portion size was so large I even shared with my husband!

Pork Belly Curry

I chose the Pork Belly Thai Curry with Jasmine Rice from the set lunch menu as my main, curious as I would not usually put pork belly and thai curry together. It was divine, rich and smooth, crunchy nuts adding texture, earthiness from the mushrooms and the pork belly melted away. I know the pork was local, we drove by the farm, Crendon Manor where they source it on the way to lunch!

Breaded Pork Belly

My husband had the Breaded Pork Belly with Black Pudding Hash, roasted Carrot, Greens and Cider Jus
which was fabulous!

Birthday surprise

We had a lovely, relaxed long lunch in a picturesque setting. I was happy to sip a glass or two of Prosecco, birthdays and bubbles are the perfect match. My kiwi husband was happy to have a locally brewed Vale real ale with his meal. When our bill came, the waitress handed me a key and explained, as it was my birthday, take the key and open the corresponding numbered drawer at the front door and I would find a little birthday gift from The Mole and the Chicken. How fun! I discovered a lovely bag of hand made fudge in my surprise drawer, a very sweet end to a marvellous lunch.

View from outdoor eating area

The stunning views over the countryside from the outdoor area, will have to come back next summer, sit outside and soak it up, I have heard the Thai Duck salad is incredible!

Set Lunch menu, 2 courses £14.95, 3 courses £18.95, changes daily

Impressive A la Carte menu, wine list and a good selection of real ales on tap.

The Mole and the Chicken
Easington, near Long Crendon, HP18 9EY
Phone: 01844 208387
Website: The Mole and the Chicken

Friday, 11 October 2013

Shanghai Nappers...Forty Winks Friday!

There have been a few articles in the media lately, about Chinese people sleeping and socialising in their local Ikea stores. A friend posted a link on Facebook: Swedish article on Ikea nappers in China  and tagged me with the comment "Well aftonbladet....You're about five years late so not really the new trend...Robyn and I have tons of pictures as this was a humorous pastime of ours ...taking pictures of the locals sleeping, lounging and enjoying the Ikea display furniture"

I spent a considerable amount of my time in Shanghai snapping pics of nappers in Ikea and beyond. Chinese people seem to have an amazing ability to take a nap anywhere, any time in unimaginable positions. A friend, who runs a company in China was surprised when his staff asked for an afternoon nap to be added to the work contract...and were dismayed when it wasn't added! It must be said though. that a high percentage of my nappers worked very long hours in objectionable conditions, so if they could grab a quick nap to recharge...good on them!

There was never any shortage of nappers for me to snap. I had my children, friends and visitors as napper spotters, even used them as decoys to get shots of nappers who had non napping friends with them. Using my daughter and her friend as a decoy in the park, the friend said "Your Mum isn't pointing the camera at us" to which my daughter replied "She isn't actually taking our photo...she wants to catch the napper"!

If I went more than a day or two without adding a napper to my Shanghai napper album on Facebook, I would get messages from friends all over the world telling me to lift my game and add some. I admit, the nappers are a part of my Shanghai life that I miss, along with the food and friends. It appears I am not the only one as, since my friend tagged me in her Facebook post I have had a flurry of messages asking for a return of the nappers.

So here we have the first instalment of "Forty Winks Friday"! I will post a selection of nappers every Friday until my collection runs out....which could be a while!

Robyn's Nappers

The Ikea napper curiosity, I particularly like the use of Ikea product as a pillow!

Robyn's Nappers

Another Ikea napper circa 2008

Robyn's Nappers

Ikea is not the only furniture shop with nappers...

Robyn's Nappers

No where is immune!

Robyn's Nappers

This man was quite comfy on his ledge...he had a little newspaper as padding!

Robyn's Nappers

I love a 'gang' of nappers....
and they look comfy after their morning's work at Xujiahui Park

Robyn's Nappers

The guys and girls on the tricycles are the lifeblood of Shanghai and deserve a nap
after long hours recycling and delivering ridiculous loads around the city.

Robyn's Nappers

Park benches are popular!

Robyn's Nappers

A quick nap amongst the produce at the wet market after a very early start.

Robyn's Nappers

I just love the fact he can balance on a scooter and
get a good sleep...I would soooo fall off!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Sweden and Denmark Ping Pong

On the final night of our recent trip to Helsingborg in Sweden, our friend suggested we jump on the ferry that travels between Helsingborg, Sweden and Helsingor, Denmark and have dinner in the restaurant on board. The idea of ping ponging between two different countries while I ate my meal appealed to me. I grew up in Perth, the most isolated city in the world, where it is quicker to fly to Indonesia than it is to fly to Sydney.

Swedish Ferry

We bought our tickets at the ferry terminal in Helsingborg and boarded the Aurora to Helsingor. We hadn't booked a table but still scored a window seat. It was quite a stormy day, so the views were quite dramatic.

Ferry crossing

The cities of Helsingborg and Helsingor are the world's oldest twin cities and at this narrowest part of the sound it took just twenty minutes to arrive in Denmark from Sweden.


As we gazed at the beautiful old buildings and watched trucks and cars get loaded into the ferry we decided on the buffet dinner, tonight was seafood and it looked great! A decent a la carte menu is also available.

Aurora Restaurant

Aurora Restaurant


While we were sipping on our nice Sauvignon Blanc and devouring a delicious seafood chowder we found ourselves back in Sweden.

Helsingor Castle

We had barely touched the salmon before we were back in Denmark and taking in the views of the Kronburg Castle.

Aurora Restaurant Mussels

The food was scrumptious from the fresh mussels boiled in wine to the shrimp and smoked salmon.

Aurora restaurant, Fish Gratin

The fish gratin was delish too. We had a lovely evening playing ping pong between Sweden and Denmark, great food, fabulous company and a fun adventure.


You have to buy tickets at the ferry terminal to walk on. One way is 34 Swedish Krona. If you don't get off in Denmark it is classified as one way. Return is 65 Krona. Be a fun day trip!

Scandlines Terminal, Knutpunkten, 252 78 Helsingborg. Tel +46 42186130

Waves Restaurant on the Aurora, Seafood Buffet is 209 Krona, they also have Game evenings with Wild Boar, Venison and Lamb. Wine, drinks and A La Carte prices are reasonable. You can also book a set menu for parties! What a fun night that would be!

Info here:

Book here: