Monty, The White Knight

I’m Doggie minding again. This time I’m looking after the gorgeous Monty, for friends Martin and Jacqui. He’s a bundle of joy, no trouble and a pleasure to have here.

He’s a White Knight

Sleeps like a log all-night

Silently guarding the house

Quiet as a mouse

Yes ! he’s taken over my bed

Beside me at the bed-head

Listening to Leonard Cohen

As if he’s always known

He has a long waggy tail

With a curly coat, his warm veil

A round friendly face

Eye’s that plead for your embrace


Ivor Steven (c)  2018

Sage Bush At Guard Tower Twelve

I’ve been on the run for weeks

Heading towards the Great Wall

From atop this steep hill

My nose tells me, I’m close

And I smell that distinctive sage aroma

Knowing, the sage bush is nearby

At the gateway to guard tower twelve

My old bones shake and shiver

The Mongolians are closing quickly

Spears and arrows aquiver

Fear grips me, and I crawl low

Fingers grasping the granite, block after block

Frightened, I’m too scared to fall

Onto the cold sharp rocks below

I clamber higher, step after step

Finally, there above me

The flowering sage bush

Mauve blooms bowing in the breeze

My chest sighs and heaves

I clear my lungs, and scream

Soon I’ll be free, as I see

Beyond the sage bush at guard tower twelve

The Emperor’s warriors, my reprieve

Saved, I fill the Royal message bag with sage leaves


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Ivor Steven (c)  2018


Shichahai Area

Whilst in Beijing we visited the Hutong and Shichahai historic scenic area. Hutong has a double meaning. Originally, a hutong is a type of narrow-alley. In Beijing, hutong alleys are formed by lines of Siheyuan, old Beijing residences, called courtyard or quad houses in English. Thus, hutong also refers to the neighbourhood formed by lines of Siheyuan houses. So Hutong was the place we experienced the old authentic Beijing culture, and the Shichahai Scenic Area is where the old Chinese culture was most featured. It is located in the west of old Beijing and used to be part of the old Grand Canal of the Yuan Dynasty 600 years ago. Willows line the river bank, like a misty green curtain. The lake shore line is packed with people chatting, drinking, shopping and generally relaxing. From here we had a rickshaw ride through the narrow alleys of the old area. We dismounted our rickshaws and walked down even narrower alleys to eventually enter a single doorway that lead into a small private courtyard. This was a typical family home of the area, where the home family entertained us, with the lady of the house playing a 400 year-old Guzheng Chinese Zither. After which we all sat inside to enjoy an excellent traditional home-style Chinese meal(and a few Chinese beers). For me, this being allowed to share an evening in the home of a Chinese family, was one of the highlights of the tour. The house itself was over 500 years old, and I felt very privileged and honoured to be one of the family’s guests.

Above: The scenic Shichahai area of old west Beijing

Above: Part of our rickshaw ride, from the lake past gardens and former ministers residences.

Above: Ivor and Barb, (my travel companion), in a rickshaw, and then in the private courtyard of the Chinese family home, where we were entertained and had a home-cooked Chinese meal.


Ivor Steven (c)  2018

The Touring Crew

There was 36 of us, who all met up at Beijing airport for the first time. As the days of the tour went by we became a very happy and friendly “Australia Mob”, lots of fun and laughter together, and the comradeship of looking after each other, and making sure none of us were lost or feeling alone, was truly heartwarming. The above featured image, is of the whole crew at Tiananmen Square, on the first day of our trip.

Above, the crew at the Great Wall Of China, the Buddhist Temple, and bottom right photo, at a cafe/bar in Shanghai.

Above, on the left, myself with Barbara, my travel companion and a dear friend for many years (yes, we’re just friends), and on our canal cruise of Suzhou.

A Single Atom

I see a shooting star, traverse the full-moon

Like a jungle bush-fire, raging out of sight.

I feel the heat of midday, smothering the night.

Like a warm body, inside her tomb.

I see the dawn, without the golden sun.

Like a Lyrebird, singing all out of tune.

I hear the morning rain, without a cloud in the sky.

Like yesterday’s floods, leaving her high and dry.

I see a sandy beach, awash by a tidal wave.

Like a burning desert, water is her grave.

I fill lonely sheets, with empty dreams.

Like a dark chasm’s irrelevant beams.

I see a summer leaf, wilted by a frosty Autumn.

Like an unwatered orchid, opening to an old anthem.

I feel like a splintered heart, inside a single atom.

Like a snake’s dead skin, her rejected emblem.


Ivor Steven (c)  2018

The Golden Mask Dynasty Musical

The Golden Mask Dynasty is a large-scale Chinese musical drama, performed at the OCT Theatre in Beijing Happy Valley. The play is a fairy-tale like story of war, royal banquets, and romance. with the Ancient Sanxingdui Civilization as the times background, it tells the story of the beautiful Golden Mask Queen who built a glorious kingdom with her wisdom, tolerance, trust and love.

Above, prints from the program showing the colourful costumes. And below photos I took from the spectacular waterfall scene, with thousands of litre’s of water cascading down onto the stage, an outstanding moment in the show.



Ivor Steven (c)  2018


Shanghai,To The Markets

The tour of Yu Garden and it’s neighbouring Bazaar was enthralling, entertaining, and the market place was huge and busy.

Above, The famous Yu Garden.

Above, The the bustling Yu bazaar, definitely a place for the barter experts. !!

Above, The famous A.P.Plaza is China’s biggest “fake market”, located underground near the Science and Technology Museum. It has more the 1,000 stores.

Above, the towers of Shanghai, with Jin Mao Tower on the right, the one we went up to the observation deck.

Above, Photos from the observation deck.

Above, looking down the middle of the tower from 88 storey’s up, and looking across to the Oriental Pearl TV Tower.


Ivor Steven (c)  2018




Shanghai, Old And New

Shanghai is a relatively new city in China, growing from a small seaside city and port, in the 19th century, to be the second most populous city in the world, of more than 24 million people in 2017.

Above, The British style buildings of the 1920’s, along the banks of the Huangpu River


Above, the French section of Shanghai, and it’s lane-way cafe’s.

Above, the most famous Buddhist Temple in China, Jade Buddha Temple

Above, The Shanghai skyline during the daytime, of its famous financial institutions district

Above, The Shanghai sky-line by night, on our Wednesday evening Huangpu River cruise


Ivor Steven (c)  2018