Sunday 6th January 2002
One Sunday in January was overcast. As the day progressed it became even more overcast. At 2pm, snowflakes began to fall - just a few. Then it stopped. The problem was that that North-eastern Chinese winter had been unseasonably warm. There was a day just after the New Year (a Friday) when it was possible to walk outside without gloves. Orlando Jones was astonished. Disappointed too, as she saw her fantasy of high white snowdrifts and icicles hanging from the boughs receding with the endless blue days and (albeit weak) sunshine. On the other hand Orlando Jones felt less like a skater in a Russian novel and more like a writer. For serious snow, she thought she must go to Harbin, closer to the Russian border. She planned to travel there after she had been to Beijing. Orlando Jones did not know at the time that she would not travel to Harbin that winter.