Monkey business



Clockwise from front: me, Jenny Wee, Chef Roland, Catherine Yau, Debbie Yeung, James Owen, Geordie Willis, Amanda  Parker.

Well it’s been a week but slowly and surely the memories of my “jazzy” Hawaiian shorts and Binging beach in Bali have subsided and it’s back to work as usual.  With most of trade taking August off, it is usually fairly quiet this time of year. After hurricane 2009 EP, there was debris scattered everywhere and many smart buyers did some looting and picked up some bargains from those forgotten-about vintages (‘06 Cos and Pontet for starters).

Most would believe that my holiday was to relax after this busy period of trade. Well if only that was true. Unfortunately the events of one Saturday afternoon in August were a far greater reason for needing to relax and lower the heart rate…..

As we walked across a bridge over a main road to start stage 5 of the Wilson Trail, it was a joy to behold: Mother and child monkey sat on the end railing in a loving embrace…a picture moment. As I wandered across with my colleagues James and Geordie, looking forward to a great hike, nothing could prepare us the terror that lay ahead. The memories are still hazy and there is a tear in my even recounting the sorry tale, but we got to a few metres away from this loving embrace, about to turn the corner and say goodbye… when boom… in steps daddy. To say that this little monkey was not happy to see us was an understatement – I have seen less howling at a Portsmouth match. From then on we should have followed the books and walked gently back quietly. Unfortunately this did not happen. If memory serves me right I think it was Geordie who was first to scream, James to stare straight at daddy monkey and me to turn and peg it!

I have never been so scared in all my life as when this little 3 ft monkey came chasing after us, with his mates jumping up on the other side of the bridge… yes, we were cornered and trapped. Daddy monkey was nearing for the kill, hurtling towards us like Usain Bolt, and we were contemplating taking in the 40ft drop – what’s a few broken legs and being hit by a car compared this?!!!! Fortunately we did the wise thing, slowly and surely we creped back with our heads low in shame and prayed that all the other monkeys were not as aggressive and would take pity on these delicate flowers… they did. Finally, we turned down to the steps and RAN… just as we thought we were home and dry I heard a thud behind me and, oh yes, man down! James had taken a dive worse than Christian Ronaldo… and now daddy monkey was at the top of the stairs eyeing this wounded gazelle… James was in pain and Geordie and I looked at each other…  should we do the right thing? How would we explain this to his parents?!  Well, before we knew it our mind was made up… daddy was coming for us down the stairs and James, with a bruised arm, decided that enough was enough and joined us as we ran off into the sunset.

We decided not to hike that day. We took a cab back to Hong Kong Island and went for a few drinks in the Globe (our local), to calm the nerves and recount this horrific tale to all that would hear it (with James proudly showing off his cuts and bruises). To our amazement people have laughed at this tale, particularly those in the office! I post this blog in hope that somebody somewhere can understand the terror we went through. In hindsight we are three strapping young men and it was 3 ft monkey… perhaps we were a little, well… gutless!

We were wondering for days what had provoked this attack, reading hiking guides and trying to understand just what had gone wrong, but it wasn’t until Geordie revealed the contents of his rucksack that the picture became clear…

1 x bunch of bananas
4 x snickers
1 x packet of sweets

Nice work Geordie…

As well as a holiday, there have been a few wine dinners to lift the spirits. A cracker was held on Saturday with colleagues (at the Drawing Room in Causeway Bay – left) with a great line up of wines from around the world. However one wine really stood out, the grand old lady that is 1982 Ch. Grand Puy Lacoste. This is pure and utter class, showing what restraint, subtlety and refinement is all about. If recent great vintages of GPL turn out like this…well, I think GPL is a hugely undervalued chateau at present!