I admire the gall of the Chinese woman who rode full pelt at me on her bicycle, ringing her bell loudly, as though I would step off the pavement into the road, so that she could continue riding along. I kept my face deliberately blank as I stared at her, and she favoured me with what I presume was her dirtiest look as she dismounted, pushed her bike past me along the road, and then got back on to the pavement before continuing to cycle.

If I had known enough words in a language she understood to explain to her that riding her bicycle on the pavement was wrong, I would have told some pretty rude things, including where she and her bicycle could go.


I was in a cab the other day and the driver had the radio on. It was a Chinese station, and the song that played had a familiar tune, completely with an abrupt pause in the verse.

It took me a few minutes of mental humming to realise that the tune was “My Grandfather Clock”. The tune stayed in my head, and I was singing along in the shower this morning. One line in the first verse (the only one I know) was bothering me, so when I got out of the shower I looked it up.

According to the Wikipedia entry, the song was written in 1876, and the OED says that it’s responsible for the fact that we call tall pendulum clocks “grandfather clocks”. How cool is that?

Yes, this is why my head is full of trivia.