In a noisy Little Mountain tavern

Today was another glorious one with blue sky and sunshine and just enough breeze to make it all bearable. My trip into town was sprinkled with greetings as happy people walked dogs and jogged and rode their bicycles. It was all very lovely.

In the meanwhilst, 10,000 miles and a hemisphere away…it was mum’s birthday so, Denise, Trace (it was also Tracey’s birthday) and various family members took her out for dinner at a nearby tavern. And, to sort of be there with them, Denise called me for a video chat.

The tavern was excessively loud. So much so that no-one could hear me. Most of the conversation was when people put the phone up to their face which negated the video aspect somewhat as I stared at eerie close-ups of eyes and ears and blurry hair.

Not that I had a problem hearing. As I tried to say, I could hear everything and they could have just talked. But, it was a bit crazy so, after I was passed around to most of the table (why didn’t Nathalia say hello?) Denise said she’d call back once they were outside.

A while later, they were sat in Tracey’s parked car. It was very quiet though still a bit eerie. Mum was very tired and couldn’t remember anything. I think she knew who I was.

Anyway, it wasn’t long before they all said goodbye and took mum home. All a bit weird, but it was lovely seeing Mum, Denise, Tracey, Kelly, Maddy, Jaxon and, of course, the minimally bearded Mitchie.

Following our very short video call, I spent most of the rest of the day continuing with work on the website for Mirinda. I had to create some buttons based on staff photos which was fun. It was all a bit more focussed than I’m used to. Still, I enjoyed it. Immensely.

Today, this happened

Alice Middleton Boring died today in 1955. She was 72. She was a biologist, zoologist and herpetologist. She was also a teacher and a Christian.

Born in the US, she taught for a time in China. From 1918 in fact. Firstly at Peking Union Medical College then at Yenching University. The first president of Yenching was another American, John Leighton Stuart who eventually became the US ambassador to China.

The Peking Medical College had been set up in 1906, mostly with American funding, all from Christian organisations devoted to missionary work. The idea, I assume, was to teach the ‘heathen’ Chinese, medicine and Christian values at the same time.

Of course, this all changed in the 1950’s, mostly by The Cultural Revolution which described the Peking Medical College as elitist, cosmopolitan, and failing to “serve the people“. They promptly renamed it the Beijing Anti-Imperialism Hospital. The Americans had long gone.

Particularly Alice Middletone Boring. She had left the Peking Medical College in 1923 when she moved to Yenching University. And she was still there during World War Two.

Following the attack on Pearl Harbour, as an alien, she was put in a Chinese internment camp, where she remained until the end of the war. She eventually returned to the US but often returned to China.

She is most noted for her study of Chinese reptiles and amphibians. Her Survey of Chinese Amphibia, published in 1940, is still cited in Zoological papers.

It has to be said that Alice may have been Boring by name, but she was not boring by nature. She was, clearly, one amazing woman.

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