September 30th, 2017
One of the things I find a bit frustrating about learning Chinese is that there are a lot of words that seem to have very similar meanings. If you look up 收到, 受到, and 得到 in the dictionary they all apparently mean “get, receive, obtain”, which is not very helpful. Also 收到 and 受到 sound very similar which is extra confusing. Actually there are some subtle differences so I thought I’d share my researches here.
This one means to receive something concrete or a physical object. E.g. 收到一个礼物 “receive a present”, 收到一封信 “get a letter”. One person I asked also said there’s some sense that the thing being received either originally belonged to you or should rightfully belong to you. By itself 收 also has the simple meaning of “to get a thing”.
This means to receive something more abstract or emotional like love or concern or punishment. It also has some sense of being “passively” received. E.g. 受到指责 “receive criticism”, 受到关心 “receive the concern of others”. I try to remember this by thinking the character 受 looks a lot like 爱 “love” and so should have something to do with emotions (probably not etymologically accurate). By itself 受 also means to passively receive something, e.g. in 受欢迎 “be well-received or popular”.
This one is also more abstract than 收到. It means to receive something that was deserved or earned in some way. E.g. 因为他赢了，他得到了金牌 “because he won, he received the gold medal”, 因为他工作得很努力，他得到了表彰 “because he worked hard he received a commendation”. It can also be used a negative sense, like receiving punishment or criticism that was deserved.
September 17th, 2017
It’s been a whole year since I last went to Oslo and another work trip was probably a bit overdue. I flew out on Sunday morning so I had a whole afternoon to do some sightseeing. Unfortunately I’ve pretty much exhausted the sightseeing opportunities in Oslo so I had to go back to one I enjoyed from my first visit in October 2009: the Norwegian folk museum.
It’s a large open air museum with traditional houses taken from all over Norway. Most of them have grass roofs like this. I thought it might be somewhere to keep the animals in winter but someone pointed out that was pretty stupid.
I also found this traditional wooden church that we missed last time.
Unfortunately the weather on my three working days was totally miserable: cold and raining all the time. And it was just like that when I got back to England too.
August 31st, 2017
I went with my mum to the Eastbourne air show, as we do every year. But this time they had something different, a sea plane!
Alas it decided not to actually land on the sea. Health ‘n’ safety no doubt.
August 30th, 2017
The doof.me.uk content engine seems to have ground of a halt as of late. Partly because I’ve been doing some boring things at the weekend, and partly because I had a running/gym induced leg injury and the physio wanted me to rest it a bit. Anyway, I did manage to get out last Saturday and do a walk from Tring to Dunstable.
Towards Ivinghoe Beacon
This seems to a pretty optimal route for the area: the scenery was excellent almost the whole way. Except for a slightly crummy bit skirting round the edge of Whipsnade Zoo. Although I did see a kangaroo.
July 13th, 2017
Recently it’s got extremely hot in the southeast so I took an impromptu Monday off and went for two days exploring near Swindon and Avebury. Although really it’s just places I’ve explored before.
I’m not sure why, but I seemed to be the only person willing to go hiking in 30 degree heat and no shade. Hmm. Here on top of Pewsey Downs I didn’t see anyone for hours.
June 17th, 2017
Here’s somewhere I’ve wanted to go ever since I moved to this part of northwest London but never had the chance, Harmondsworth Barn.
It’s a medieval great barn. One of the few places of that vintage in these parts, although it’s been upgraded and restored a lot over the years.
I originally heard about it as it was scheduled to be demolished to make way for the third runway at Heathrow, but it’s unclear to me whether it will survive under the latest plans.
The reason it took me so long to visit is that I can never get my head around “Nth Sunday of the month” type of opening days. And it’s only open in the summer months.
June 15th, 2017
Last Friday was entirely too sunny to spend in the office so I took an impromptu day off and went hiking in Chiltern Hills near home.
Originally I thought I’d get as far as Dunstable or Luton but that wasn’t going to happen so instead I stopped at Tring.
The one interesting bit happened right at the end where I spied a strange tower on a hitherto unexplored hill in the distance. After a bit of scrambling around I managed to climb up to it and it was this monument thing. Only open at the weekend apparently, which was a bit of a bummer.
Finally I managed to take this photo of off-scale-Englishness country scene.
May 30th, 2017
A few weekends ago I tried a second time to do a full circumnavigation of High Wycombe, having not quite achieved it back in 2015. Success would be going in a big circle without cutting through any built-up area.
But the weather was a bit miserable and I discovered the bit I cut out last time was interminably dull. So I gave up after 18 miles. One day…
May 28th, 2017
Just one more China post! The evening before I flew home I finally managed to take a half-decent photo of the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai. It’s much more interesting to visit the Pudong area at night instead of in the day. A lot of buildings have cool light shows, but not as impressive or coordinated as in Hong Kong.
May 24th, 2017
Anchang 安昌 is a delightful little water town just north of Shaoxing. I went there on a sunny Saturday and it was quite busy, but not crammed. You can get there easily from Shaoxing by taking the regular public bus number 118. It takes around one hour.
The town is very similar to Tongli which I visited around the same time last year. Instead of roads they have canals everywhere and these traditional low whitewashed buildings. Like so many of these “scenic spots” in China you buy a single ticket which lets you get into a variety of attractions like old houses, a 1920s bank, a temple, and so on. And then you spend the whole day strolling around peering at stuff and taking photos. It’s basically my ideal day out, as you might have gathered from this blog recently.
For lunch I had this appetising plate of 田螺 which I think is “river snail” in English. The lady in the restaurant was very keen for me to try it. And then she took a photo of me, which was a bit odd. The toothpick it seems is the standard method to extract them out from their shells. Hm. Anyway I washed it down with some 黄酒 which is the famous “Shaoxing rice wine” that comes from these parts, and also available in your local Tesco.