As so often during the past 16 years, I’m operating out of Interim Moodie Davitt Bureaux this week, both in Hong Kong and Taipei. Alas, my original Worldwide Headquarters at my home back in West London is also looking more interim than permanent after my neighbour decided to light a bonfire at the back of his garden on Saturday. Amid a long-running intense heatwave. As you do.
He had no problem burning off the rubbish that he wanted to get rid of. But he did have a problem when he also set fire to his fence. And then I had a problem. As he also set fire to my fence. And a magnificent 100 year-old oak tree at the back of my house, which now looks more like an Ash tree than an oak. Oh, and to my company’s original worldwide HQ at the foot of my garden. And to my beloved 20-year-old climbing white rose that smothers it like a giant floral duvet.
As a result I was woken from my fragile jet-lagged slumber in Hong Kong hours after my arrival to be told that I now I have an open plan view from my house to the parkland and allotments beyond. And anyone walking there could also walk right up to my house. Come in please, why don’t you, the owner is in Hong Kong?
But as any football follower knows, the best form of defence is attack. So indeed with a tack or two, and a few more nails, de fence has been restored at Chez Moodie, while I await to view the damage to the WW HQ on my return.
Yesterday I walked Ever Rich Duty Free Shop’s fine downtown store in the Neihu district. Despite a sharp downtown in mainland Chinese visitors, the store was busy yesterday. It’s a classy, elegant store from a retailer whose commitment not only to retail excellence but also to Taiwanese society and culture is all-pervasive in its philosophy, from Founder & Chairman Simon Chiang (whom I had the pleasure of dining with last night) to the newest employee. The company’s commitment to public services (at the airport and in the community) is probably unrivalled in the travel retail world. More of that in a later report.
Writing this hurried Blog from my Interim Taipei Bureau, I’m more worried about wind than fire as Typhoon Maria is headed this way fast and most flights have been cancelled from late afternoon. I’ve managed to rebook onto the 14.10 Eva Air to Hong Kong but it’s touch and go. As in, if Maria touches by then, I won’t go. A little worrying really, as I need to be back in Hong Kong for our exclusive coverage of the Duty Zero by cdf opening on Thursday, the third red-ribbon day in as many weeks at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).
On my way out of HKIA to Taipei yesterday I walked the retailer’s stores in the East Hall South and North. They are ambitious and impressive with a whole host of innovations, exclusivities and high-profile promotions. Look out for my story on Thursday. If Maria lets me out.