‘Happy’ in Sai Kung, Hong Kong

'Happy' our Boat Lady

It’s Sunday.  Michael and I have endeavored to do nothing all day, just lunch in Sai Kung.  The weather is warmer, 23 degrees, the birds are effusive, chattering and tweeting endlessly, flitting here and there, busy with nest making.  Its hard to do nothing in Hong Kong. There are so many options to do things, meet people, see things, because the energy is up and ready to rock all the time.  But rest is needed and today we are basking in a feeling of luxurious time to ourselves.

Our party in the Sampan

Yesterday was delightful.  We took a sampan with friends out to a peninsula in Rocky Bay, about an hour’s trip from Sai Kung.  The sampan is a quaint and homely little tub, rocking endlessly and sometimes violently from every passing movement.  There were ten of us in the sampan steered by a sweet older lady we called ‘Happy’ because she constantly smiled gently, indulging us our merriment.  We are a few days from grave sweeping day and along the way, past the graveyards, there is a fire in the hills from all the paper money thrown onto the graves for the ancestors and burnt in the ceremonial fire at the graveyard.  Wind licks the floating embers and tosses them into the tinder dry landscape, a calamity every year and a danger to walkers.  We finally arrived at a settlement past the big reservoir, where people live and work on floating rafts, straw mats and wire frames strewn with small fish drying in the wind and mild sun.  On land we went to a restaurant overlooking the water and feasted abundantly on fish and beer before a play on the beach and our homeward journey.

Fire from the grave yards

Tomorrow we are back at school again and Michael begins his mosaic mural after weeks of working out with the engineers the weights of the framework and cement, ordering the smelti (glass tiles) from a factory in Beijing and finally settling on the design.  The smelti arrived last Friday in his studio, and he was joyful, playing with the colours and cutting himself to ribbons in his haste.  I have finished my new ‘Harvest’ sculpture and can now investigate the foundries in Guangzhou that have been found by some lovely assistants in the school (oh, for a personal assistant!) and also some recommended by artists.  The quotes we have received so far have been really diverse; some more expensive than our foundries in Pietrasanta and some at a quarter of the price.  It will be interesting to see the quality.


Hong Kong harbour on a smoggy day

We love it here.  The school has provided us with an opportunity to see if we could live here for months at a time.  When we come here, normally for a week or two weeks at a time, we are running from meeting to meeting and are often overwhelmed with the constant noise and heat and endless people and grey smoggy skies…. Living here,

Will this be our new studio in Hong Kong?

its all of that still, but there is release in these beautiful outlying places with walks in the mountains and on the beaches and sitting on little rocking boats in the seas amongst picturesque islands.  There’s also a marvelous stimulation from the people you meet to succeed and do and there is the knowledge that being here brings you more work and being artists who want to do nothing but work on their art – that is fantastic. So now we are looking for studios!  We want to be here for up to six months of the year.  The other six months in Italy are the perfect retreat and inspiration for our art.

The settlement on the water
A beautiful cove, Rocky Harbour, Sai Kung
Our Sampan waiting for the slightly inebriated party!!


Old lady opening shell fish
Fish vendors at Sai Kung pier



  1. Rene says:

    I found your blog while I was virtually looking at Bagni di Lucca…I am an American living in Japan longing for Italy! Really enjoyed poking around and your beautiful words and pictures!

    1. Hi Rene – I understand how you feel! We are still in HK and really enjoying it, but every day I dream of Italy, the colours, the richness and layers of culture and beauty, the earthiness…. We are back on the 2nd June and can hardly wait. New blogs to come!

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