Back home now to a rather excessively cold UK (or so it seems to me - I think I must be getting too acclimatised). My five weeks in Hong Kong were busy, with quite a lot of work done but not really as much writing as I'd hoped. I think that's always the case - perhaps unrealistic expectations are to blame. But I'm worried that if I trimmed those down I would then fail to meet even these lower goals.
The highlight of the trip for me was meeting Ireland's new Ambassador to China, His Excellency Mr. Eoin O'Leary, at the Consulate's First Friday Breakfast. It was a packed occasion, with many from all aspects of Ireland's engagement with the region there and it was exciting to hear how strong the links between Hong Kong and Ireland are growing.
I gave a couple of talks, both of which involved extrapolating material from the book and adding to the work I had done for that, so they took time to put together. Talking about family life for working class Europeans at the start of the twentieth century in Hong Kong was fun, but as ever with women's lives here, there are gaps in what we know .... and until I unearth a cache of letters home from a policeman's wife, I'm afraid that I won't have as many answers as I'd like.
At the lovely Café8 on top of the Maritime Museum I considered how three major incidents in the life of the Hong Kong Police Force between 1912 and 1923 showed both its professional development and the increasingly integrated nature of society, as the three contingents (Indian, Chinese and European) started to work better together, particularly in the way that the Chinese contingent began to receive better training and be empowered to take both initiative and responsibility. (Hmm, that's a very twenty-first century way of phrasing it!). It was a brilliant venue for this Royal Asiatic Society
talk, and the folk at Café8 couldn't have been more friendly and helpful.
Sales of Policing Hong Kong - an Irish History seem to be going quite well, although, almost unbelievably, there still are no books available in the UK (aside from those I've brought home). Two surface mail boxes have been in transit for three months now, and even an airmail box is coming close to two months 'in the air'. Tracking says 'left Hong Kong' but nothing's arrived in the UK. Frustrating.
Excitingly, Blacksmiths have now heard that the book will be launched in the USA and Canada in February of next year. At least we'll have time to get the books there by then! And more good news is that we'll soon be into another print run, and I'll have the opportunity to correct the mistakes I've found. There are a few date errors and similar I've found in the text and footnotes, and various slips in the index. Given that I did the index myself, and was given the generous timescale of 36 hours to do it in, I'm surprised I haven't found more. But to help with this, I'm going to put up a corrections page ... and I'm hoping that you might help with this!
Down to work now, for a few weeks before I'm back in the New Year .... busy now getting plans to record the 100th anniversary of the Gresson Street Affray and to mark the deaths of all five policemen who lost their lives then.