Family

A little update before Year End 年終前的生活點滴

In slightly less than 24 hours, 2022 will be in history. Despite I managed to achieve quite a number of my targets in the first half of the year, things were getting worst as I was terribly laid-back for the rest of the year. Judging from the ‘One-post-per-month‘ of my blog writing, you will know what I meant. In fact, my personal loopback for November has already missed the schedule and probably (and hopefully) a bi-monthly version would be released shortly.

還有不到一天,2022 年便將成過去,上半年看似完成了很多目標,但無奈下半年卻像洩了氣的氣球一樣,變得不太積極,單從我最近「每月一 Post」便看得出端倪,而十一月的個人回望更早已脱期,相信要和十二月的一拼發佈!


It has been more than a year since I moved to UK and finally it was my turn to infect with Covid-19 in early November. Luckily I had two jabs of Pfizer vaccinates early this year and I recovered after two days of feeling uncomfortable. As I would go hiking with my friend lately, I talked to her regarding my Covid-19 infection. To my surprise, she was also recently recovered from similar Covid-19 infection and there was no big deal given that some effective vaccines were taken.

There is no guarantee that you are immuned from Covid-19 infection. However, you will definitely not seriously suffered.

Upon returning to negative, I managed to successfully complete the really tough hiking trip and I had proved to myself that I was fully recovered.

Currently, China is taking a sudden shift to removal of anti-Covid measures and opening of borders, which is effectively a “Zero-Control-Measures” approach. This may have serious adverse impact to the rest of the world and are they going to repeat the same disaster we have faced for the past three years?

Given those painful lessons learnt, a number of countries were already taken more stringent control measures to cope with the change in China’s strategy. In view of the special political position of HKSAR, I hope Hong Kong would survive at the end.

Hongkonger, stay alert!

到了英國這個「躺平」之地一年多,十一月初終於輪到我確診武漢肺炎,還好年初已打了兩劑 Pfizer 疫苗,只稍為辛苦了兩天,身體便回復正常。因約了朋友之後行山,特意知會朋友確診之事,言談間才發覺她不久前同樣感染過,真的沒有甚麽大不了。

當然注射了有効的疫苗亦是非常重要,不是保你不被感染,但肯定不會變得嚴重。

當测試結果呈陰性後更順利完成了十多公里的行山活動,亦証明一切已如常。

回看中國今天疫情發展,在沒有妥善的控制措施下便「監控清零」,更任由國民自由進出,難道真的要把三年前的歷史重複再現?

還好其他國家都已上過惨痛一課,亦相繼採取更强的監察安排,但無奈香港特區政治角色特殊,只希望最後能安然渡過。

香港人,大家要「小心睇路」呀!

Confirmed positive infection
Box Hill AONB Hike

In comparing with 2021, temperature has dropped significantly in this December and lowest temperature from -7 to -5 degree Celsius were also recorded early this month. As humidity was also terribly high, snowing finally occurred and in fact this was also the first time I actually saw snow in London. Situation lasted for a few days and I observed most of the houses were covered with thin layer of snow while I was driving to school with my son.

And to be honest, I felt bitterly cold and those winter clothes that I brought to UK couldn’t really stand such cold weather. I ended up getting my new thick overcoat using gift cheque from Marks and Spencer. By the way, day to day clothing are reasonably priced in UK and I don’t see any reason to specifically take those “HK Winter overcoats” to UK.

相比過往一年,這個十二月氣溫下降得令人吃驚,月初更低見零下 5 至 7 度。 由於濕度亦頗高,十一號終於讓我在倫敦第一次看到落雪,情況更持續了數天,早上駕車送兒子上學亦見到沿途的民房都給白雪薄薄的覆蓋。

坦白講,以這樣寒冷的天氣,香港帶來的寒衣真的頂不住,最終我也用了 Marks and Spencer 回贈的禮卷買了件大褸才重回人間。 在英國買日常衣著不算太貴,如無必要,移居時毋需特别的把寒衣帶過來。


It has been over two years since my family’s last overseas travel. We decided to spend our Christmas holidays aboard. Our original plan was to visit France but was subsequently changed to Belgium due to high demands on train tickets and hotel rooms.

Having lived in UK for more than one year and exposed to various forms of ‘Unpleasant Experience‘ on shopping and delivery, we won’t feel surprise if thing goes wrong with the train and hotel reservation.

Upon completing the package reservation in EuroStar‘s website at midnight and settled the required payment with our bank card, I suddenly received a notification that my reservation was abnormally cancelled due to lack of hotel room. To make the situation more alarming, there was neither any reference number nor confirmation email available for my reservation. OMG, how can I follow up with EuroStar then?

Anyway, I had no other means but to call the EuroStar Reservation Hotline the following morning. After waiting for more than one hour, I finally reached the support team and she managed to retrieve all information relevant to my reservation. The cancellation was triggered by the hotel side after all my payment, stating they had no room available. Seemed like the support agent did not feel any surprised and helped me to complete the reservation again over the phone. The reservation took another hour or so to complete and I finally realised why I had to wait so long before getting a support colleague!

You may say that this is another terrible experience but personally I have a mixed feeling on this. And most importantly, I do appreciate the great service from the support team!

打從 2020 年初計起,一家人已有兩年幾沒有出國外遊,今年聖誕假期决定要走出家門,到外地玩數天。 原本計劃是到法國,但基於火車票及酒店住宿的大量需求,最後改了到比利時走一𨍭。

住了年多英國,在許多購物或送貨安排上已經歷過不少「甩轆」事件,順順利利反而是天荒奇談,就以今次預訂 EuroStar 車票及酒店套餐為例,又是另一大體驗。

晚上從 EuroStar 網站選購了車票及酒店套餐,透過銀行卡完成所需費用的支付,在不到一分鐘內即收到訂購失敗通知,但遺憾的是,系統並沒有提供任何參考編號或確認電郵,令我根本無法再跟進,難道真的倒錢落海!

在無計可施下,唯有早上致電 EuroStar 熱線,等了差不多一小時,終於聯絡到職員。 可幸是她找到我的訂購資料,而失敗原因是酒店方面在訂購完成後才通知沒有房間。 從職員的回覆中,感覺這情況應該頗普遍,她亦即時透過電話替我重新訂購。 如此這般,又花了差不多一小時才完成,這刻我亦完全明白為何要等這麽久才找到職員接電話!

你可以話這個體驗不太好,但另一方面我又非常讚賞職員的優質服務,真是正如香港人常說的「一啖砂糖一啖💩」!


Christmas holidays was also the peak period of the current UK Rail Strike. In order not to miss the EuroStar schedule, we left home before dawn and managed to arrive in St. Pancras International via bus and Tube. Despite the strike would definitely bring some inconvenience, this is a basic human right and the British tend to support it. Of course, prepare for the worst and reserve more commute time to cope with the strike.

This was also the first time I took EuroStar and frankly speaking, I was a little bit below my expectation. The cabin was not spacious and slightly outdated. After all, this is a twenty-plus years design and what can you ask for! On the plus side, the train was really fast and unexpectedly quiet.

假期前正值大規模的鐵路罷工,未天光即乘巴士、再轉 Tube 到 St. Pancras International 趕過境。 雖然罷工確實帶來一點不便,但英國人一般都倾向支持,亦是一個基本權利,自己預多些時間吧!

第一次乘搭 EuroStar,同預期有點落差,車箱不是太寛敞亦有點舊,畢竟已是二十多年前的設計,但要讚的是車速頗快而行車亦非常寜靜。

EuroStar arriving at Brussel Zuid / Midi

It took about two hours to reach Brussels from London, which was a very good timing for lunch after arriving in the hotel. Due to room shortage during our package booking, I had changed to a 5 Stars hotel, Le Hotel Plaza instead. Located near Metro station as well as major sightseeing spots, Le Hotel Plaza is a very nice and convenient place.

The outlook of the hotel was elegant with Art Deco style of design be found in every details of the building. Rooms were spacious and decoration was classy. However, a closer look might reveal that quite a lot of the fixtures were old and broken to some extends. I once joked with my wife that the hotel was just liked a declining wealthy family.

However, it turned out that the hotel was officially listed as a “Protected Monument” in 1992. This might be the reason why the building and/or its internal fixtures could not be deliberately modified. 

倫敦到布魯塞爾車程大約兩小時,午飯前便到達酒店。 早前因房間供應問題,最終我改訂了一間五星級酒店 Le Hotel Plaza,地點適中,非常方便。

這酒店外觀極度經典,Art Deco style 的設計流露在酒店的每個細節。 房間寛敞,裝修典雅,但細看卻發現裝修古舊,我還和太太戲稱酒店像個家道中落的豪門。

但其後在網上發現這酒店原來在 1992 年已被定性為法定保護文物,整座建築物及内部建設或因此不可隨意改動吧。

Le Hotel Plaza, Rogier

We had visited a number of tourists spots in Brussels in the following few days and went on a day-trip to Antwerp. Unfortunately, I was sick afterward with headache and fever, which I had to take rest in the hotel before returning to London.

By the way, right after arriving in Brussels, my wife had already noticed that quite a lot of the passengers were also coughing on the Metro.

So, what kind of infection I have suffered from?

往後的日子到過幾個市内景點遊覽,亦有乘 Inter-City train 到 Antwerp 玩了一天。無奈經過數天遊玩,我竟然染病,頭痛加發燒,最後只好留在酒店休息,無法再到 另一城市 Ghent 参觀,亦為今次比利時之旅帶來一些憾事!

其實剛到 Brussels 時,太太已留意到在 Metro 上有不少乘客咳嗽。

那究竟今次我感染了甚麽呢?

The Grand-Place / Grote Markt
Antwerp Central Train Station

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9 replies »

  1. 上次在倫敦坐歐洲之星去荷蘭也是遇上地鐵罷工,對我們影響不是太大,剛好是我們不在倫敦的時間。回來後又避開罷工的日子,不出去玩,剛好我們住的地方地鐵仍開動,所以也算幸運。打了針的話,重症機會減少。這兩天跟在香港的朋友聯絡,幾乎全部連全家都中過,除了一位朋友仍未中。有位香港朋友中了後九天仍未康復,我有點驚訝,通常五天就會痊癒的。仍在香港的朋友除了保佑他們平安之外,也不知可以說些什麼了。祝新年全家安康﹗

    Liked by 1 person

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