It all depends on cultural interpretation. This morning, as I was enjoying a walk in a small park under some trees, I felt a spatter of something on my head and shoulders. Is it raining? I wondered. The sky was clear, or as clear as it gets in spring in Beijing. The squawk of a bird above me told me otherwise. It had crapped on me.

Back to my apartment I went, washing my shirt and head, before heading out again. I had arranged to meet some Chinese students on our way to the opening of the Beijing office of the University of Newcastle. They told me that this experience was incredible good luck.

Why? I had received a ‘golden gift from the sky’. When I told them I had experienced, back home, a seagull doing the same thing a couple of months ago, they opined that I am indeed very lucky. I must admit that I am hoping this kind of luck does not become a habit.