Wednesday, February 28, 2007
28th February Thinking of home
In any holiday there always seems to be one bad day and this has been it for me. For some reason I couldn't sleep last night. Possibly it had something to do with he iced tea I had during yesterday - I wonder why I didn't even consider the caffeine content; but maybe it wasn't that. As the hours slipped by I thought of many things - home of course, and Bill who I have never been parted from for his long before. These thoughts led on to being back home and life at home which led to thinking about all that must soon come into my life (hospitals and treatment) and I started to feel miserable and angry.
So with very little sleep and these thoughts lingering I have been crotchety and moody.
This morning we took Jessica to school very late for some reason and the assembly hour was over.
Mam had suggested we go to Si Re Island afterwards but having asked what we were doing and got no reply I had put on my long floaty skirt. I said I wanted shorts and suggesed we call in at Big C and I buy the ones I hopes to find there.
So, soon we were shopping. I quickly found some shorts and couple of cheap T shirts.
But we seemed to be in there for ages - maybe that was just me being bad tempered!
Then we came home.
I wasn't sure what was expected of me. I played with John and we had a nice time together for a while.
Jamie came home for lunch. This is the last day he will be able to do this - his last day with Dive the World. Sunrise Divers is too far away. He chatted with a me a little - but only time would calm me down again.
Mam had to go to Patong to collect Jamie's diving bag from work, which is too big to carry on the motor bike. She suggested we carry on for a walk on Paradise Beach, which sounded very good. But sadly the sense of Paradise has gone - a new over priced restaurant, beach sun beds strewn around the bay and the tide was out leaving a wide expanse of mud!
We had a drink - a pound for one can of drink and bottle of water and no glasses! We needed the drink and Mam couldn't walk because John was fast asleep.
Patong is busy and one way streets and even Mam, used to Thai traffic found it exhausting. Then it was back over the crazy road 'over the mountain'. Wow - that can feel so scary at times.
We were in plenty of time to collect Jessica and Mam suggested I went in to take out of her extra class early. I waited inside as Jessica finished the task she was on. The teacher asked all the children to say 'Good Afternoon Visitor' so I replied to these 5 and 6 year olds 'Good afternoon everybody' - didn't think I'd be doing that again, least of all in a Thailand school.
This evening we ate out in Leelawaddi - I had rice of course with a chicken/coconut milk soup which is delicious over the rice.
I find eating out with young children a bit tense at times - Bill will know what I mean when I say that we might have chosen to have a look round the plants for sale for a while!
The family needed milk so we called in at Tescos - for nearly an hour! I made my first trip to the pharmacy for cream and spray for all the damn mosquito bites.
When we got back I really enjoyed a treasured time reading an Angelina story to Jessica in bed. It was me being myself and she enjoying the way I read and talked about the pictures. I must send more Angelina story books for her.
Obviously I must go to bed soon - it is already gone 10 o'clock. John of course is still running around.
I will feel better tomorrow and we all will enjoy having Jamie home with us for 4 days.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
27th February. Beautiful beach
This morning I had a much longer time to enjoy the opening part of the day in school. The children, aged from 4 to 6 or 7 all congregated in the hall for songs and stories. The teacher with the mike told a story that was much like a pantomime with the children shouting out responses. She was a brilliant performer. Another teacher played a fingers and thumb game in English about Father, Mother and baby and the children all shouted responses in English. Then they all played Two Little Dicky Birds - one named Peter, one named Paul.
This occasion lasts about an hour and children arrive all the time, being dropped off by parents to be greeted by teachers with a bow and a hands together.
Everybody appeared to be happy. Good old Jessica was sat by the naughty boy of the class - I could see that before Mam told me; every class has such a boy! I could see that Jessica quite admired him, so perhaps she has inherited her grandmother's trait to admire the rebel!
Then the children all filed back to class and we left - left to go to Leelawaddi for a drink and to meet a friend.
Then we drove to the tax office where Mam had some business and we called in to look at a second hand shop. This was nothing like we would find at home and I doubt if much was second hand, though some of the furniture may have been constructed from old wood and then varnished. Things like that here are no cheaper than new things.
After some rest at home whilst Mam sorted out the laundry and we chatted we drove to the south to an area I have been several times before. But I had not been to the beautiful little bay that we went to which was completely uncommercialised - absolutely nothing to buy. We had stopped at 7 -11 small supermarket for drinks and a snack to have on the beach.
I went for a short walk, clambering over the sand and rocks to enjoy the best views. I can be a bit unsteady these days when clambouring and a lady about my age came to give me a hand. She was French and we got chatting (in French) about our sons in Thailand. Her son works in Patong with some sort of computer job. She took a photo of me with the rocks and sea behind and it is nice record of a nice interlude.
Then we drove into Rawai - a more commericalised area but with no good beach. We stopped for fried rice with prawns very close to a place where Bill and I had enjoyed very lovely similar meal last year with fantastic good pineapple crush drinks. Today I enjoyed my second iced tea of the day.
Now we are back home pottering for a short while. I have spoken with Bill before he goes to do my duty at the shop - it is antiques fair today so lets hope he is busy. It often rains on antiques fair day - and this is no exception. Bill is now seeing an osteopath for the painful hip that may have been caused by his decorating efforts. I do hope he is feling better soon.
Right it is time to venture out on to the mad roads again to meet Jessica.
Jamie will be home just after 5 0'clock. Maybe there will be a short trip out again before nightfall (it is dark about half past six here).
I never know what is coming next - I just go with the flow.
Monday, February 26, 2007
26th February. School day and shopping day.
Suffice it to say that I perceive long and regimented days. I would not aim to criticise because all cultures evolve different ways of doing things and Jessica is happy and more self controlled than a year ago and the teachers seeemed to be caring.
We dropped Jessica off by quarter past eight and waited until all the junior classes filed down to a hall. They sang the national anthem and said a prayer. Then Mam said it was time to go - she said later that she normally stays for the dancing but feared I would be bored! I was disappointed but there wil be other days.
I was more bored sitting in Leelawaddi (the restaurant) whilst John had some rice soup -I had a little and Mam talked with her friend. Tomorrow I will take a book!
We popped back home and then went shopping. First to Tescos where I bought a black cotton top and we bought some food - but not all the food because Mam feels that meat in the Central supermarket, which is linked to Watrose in the UK (very up market!), is of better quality. Central is the modern shopping mall.
Once in Central there was a chance to eat lunch - at about eleven o'clock. I had an interesting salad of apple in a spicy sauce - with something I have decided to do without in future; I can't much see the point of crunchy dried shrimps, its like grinding down shells in the mouth.
On the way home we called in to Macro - a cheap non air conditioned warehouse selling food in bulk and good cheap greengrocery stuff.
When we got back I played with John whilst Mam unpacked food nd prepared food for the evening. John and I were out in the garden for some time.
It was quarter past four when we went to pick up Jessica - 8 hours after school began. It is true Jamie and Mam have opted for an extra hour's English after school. Classes of all sorts go on until all hours. Teachers were sill on duty - all wearing a uniform. You will see when I get some picures on.
Jessica will be moved to the English education school very soon, but I think it will be more formal and structured than anything we would know and the days will still be long.
Jessica came straight indoors and found food, which she can help herself to and then she sat down to do her homework! Her work can be incredibly boring - she has written out the numbers 51 to 100 in her homework book 3 times in the last couple of weeks - no copying, but from memory. To my mind if she knows how to do it then why waste time doing it again?
When Jamie came home he took Jessica and I for a walk up at the damn, where is is beautiful and peaceful.
Dinner tonight was very good - Massaman curry using the beef from Central, some prawns and stir fried green vegetables and of course the rice which is served at every meal.
Well, I think I shall need my bed quite early tonight - not sure about John for he fell asleep this afternoon t about 4 o'clock for a couple of hours. In fact he has just started to empty put the toy box again!
Jamie has written weather blogs I know, but tonight he will put things on about Sunday on the jjjj blog and I do hope you will have a look.
I will talk to Bill then leave the computer free.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Sunday 25th February Beach Restaurant.
I woke up quite late - so did everybody else.
Before we went out Jamie carried through my battered suitcase, still half full with the things I brought from hom for everybody - there were many books of course and other things for the children, there were DVDs, a wind up torch and a jar of Branston Pickle.
The teddy I had been enchanted by in a charity shop which I bought with John in mind has, as I expected been taken over by Jessica. It sings and plays music and instructs. John has clutched his little Ant and Bee book all day - "My book" he says if anybody asks to look at it.
The day of course was sunny and hot with vivid blues sky - actually it is not always so, for last Sunday there had been rain in the morning.
Jamie is keen to see much of the Phuket heritage to put on his blog and so we stopped at a local temple. We can see the roof from the road, but they had never been to this temple.
Temples have similar styles and then contrasting details and it is good to find some of the little gems off the beaten track.
Jamie's main Phuket blog is beginning to make money for he has included links to hotels, shops etc. The blog is important for him and he dreams of earning his living through websites,
We then drove south to Cape Panwa for lunch. It was not long ago that Jamie and Mam discovered the beach restaurant on the shores of Chalong Bay which is a huge broad inlet separating the two capes in the south.
The water was a deep turquoise, the glistening golden sands were peaceful with no steaming tourist bodies roasting - hardly a person at all.
We sat under the roof of leaves and ordered food, enjoying the view. Dishes arrived and we tucked into sweet and sour prawns, beef and cashew nuts, snapper fish in a lime sauce, a coconut milk and chicken soup and of course a large tureen of rice. I let Jamie and Mam do the ordering and I guess they kept my needs well in mind for nothing was too spicy for me.
Other diners came to fill the adjacent tables and soon we were serenaded with music. A Thai singer - jolly, handsome man singing folk songs and pop songs of the folksy type with a guitar. They were songs I knew well and I loved to hear them in that setting - Streets of London sounded good. And then he sang Fairy Tale of New York. Some people know that this is one of my all time favourite Christmas pop songs by Kirsty McCall and Shane McGowan. I love the song but it often moves me close to tears for it reminds of long ago days when Jamie and Ashley were in their teens and living at home, when they would sing it often. Now I can add this memory to other poignant thoughts - the beach, the sun and my Thai family.
It was just lovely sitting there.
Jamie and me and the children went for a short walk along the beach - yes, I have caught the sun just little.
By the time we were back at the table a friend had arrived with a collection of children. We chatted and then left them so that we coud drive home and rest.
Some have slept and others have relaxed.
In the late afternoon light Jamie, Jessica and I went to another temple - the local one in Kathu village. It was very peaceful there and the building looked fantastic. I have been to the star attraction temple on the island, but this little one pleased me more. It is set amongst the trees, surrounded by the monks' little houses often with gardens tenderly cared for.
We stopped for some beers for Jamie on the way home and I bought a little packet of nibbles - dried coconut and palm sugar it said on the packet. I am sure there was a good amount of chilli in there too - and yet it is tasty.
The evening is progressing. Mam is out and we are assuming she is picking up some take away food of various types to be eaten with rice in he rice cooker.
Later I might put some pictures on the blog. All I have taken so far are now on Jamie's computer.
Right I must get ready or the evening meal - assuming Mam is doing more than just picking up the ironing. You can never be quite sure!
Hey! - Dinner has just arrived. Great!
Saturday, February 24, 2007
24th February - swimming and things
I will, however, go back to the beginning of the day.
It had taken some time to get to sleep - and I took one of my excellent antihistmines in order to promote good sleep. In the end I actually managed to sleep round until half past nine, so woke reasonably refreshed.
Jamie had already long gone to work - but I saw him soon after because Mam rang him with the plea to please come back with the gate key, for she couldn't get the car out.
She took John to the noodle shop for some breakfast and Jessica stayed with me.
Jessica has become much more disciplined after nearly 2 years at school and will spend time concentrating on drawing or numbers.
Later we had a lot of visitors, but not for long. Mam's father and the rest of his sports team had driven down from Chumphon about 300 Kms away for a match. There were about 10 of them - 6 in the two rows of seats in her father's new pick up truck and 4 in the open at the back, where it can't have been very comfortable. They had some water and then left to mooch around. The plan had been that we might go and see the game, which would have been interesting; but plans often have to be changed.
The game that this team plays is a sort of cross between volley ball and 'keepy uppy' - I think it is all played using the feet. The ball is about 6 inches in diameter and made of woven sicks. I think maybe I will buy one.
Then Mam and I and the children went out.
Our first job was to buy a swimming costume - for Mam. She has a nice curvy figure - sure she is no bean stick, but I think she shouldn't worry about the size of her bum, her legs etc. She is far slimmer than me but wanted a swimming costume that covered every perceived fault. We went to Central - the new huge shopping mall. The clothes section in the up market department store had a lot that was interesting. I mused that it was a shame that Thai women are small - nothing for me. But it was worth asking and out came a couple of items that looked just great and I was invited to try them. So I left Mam browsing and very quickly my relaxed holiday attitude allowed me to choose a swimming costume that I didn't need but is infinitely more suitable than the one I bought in Crawley. It is black and has a skirt - maybe difficult to explain, but it suits me. Perhaps I will find a photograph that I am prepared for the world to see which will be put on the blog one day.
Meanwhile Mam found a nice top and something like cycling shorts - and then didn't buy. She began to say it might be too small. It was quite expensive and perhaps she was worried about that too.
So we then went off to eat. Mam chose the Japanese restaurant in the mall. I am not a sushi fan - not actually tried it though! Anyway I had the most delicious salmon fillet, asparagus and other vegetables and sauces. It was a lovely meal. Jamie said later that the Japanese restaurant is expensive - and meals do cost more than some of the cheap Thai places; but for a special treat then I cannot grumble about 210 baht which is about 3 pounds.
There was a litle more wandering in the mall and then Mam realised the time and said we were late to meet friends at the pool. We had arranged to meet them at 2 o'clock and it was nearly 4 when we arrived. But at least I had a chance to say Hello to people I have met before, including Diego who has been so good to Jamie - first finding him the job at Dive the World and then being so fair minded when letting him go again.
The swimming pool is in a village - housing estate really; it is a really lovely estate and the pool is the nicest I have ever been in. It is set by a lovely lake under coconut palms. There will be photos of course.
I swam a little with Jessica who manages very well with arm bands. John is still not at ease with the water but we sat on the step and dangled feet in and splashed. There were still friends there who talked with Mam - young mothers and children together, including a little beauty 2 months old.
I thought this was a lovely ammenity - the pool, fitness room, games room and we watched 6 year olds in their pink ballet clothes having a lesson.
Mam did wonder with me about moving to the village; but this may be difficult to achieve for houses there are expensive.
When we got home Jamie had finished work.
We have relaxed for the evening - and at the moment Jamie is switching between rugby, Ialy v Scotland and football, Liverpool v Sheffield Utd.
The children were up late again, but John did have a long sleep in the middle of the day whilst we were shopping.
I have talked with Bill again, hard at work on decorating the kitchen. He has realised the walls will need 2 coats of paint.
Well, bed time soon. Tomorrow is Jamie's day off and we hope to go to a beach down on the south of the island with one small bar/ restaurant. Jamie would like to take me to a temple as well. And we will open presents from England.
Watch this space - will the day pan out as planned I wonder.
Friday, February 23, 2007
23rd February. Arrival in Thailand.
The early drizzly morning on Thursday seems such a distant memory.
Bill dropped me off at Gatwick Airport and it was straight onto the coach to take me to Heahrow airport. Soon I had checked in and sat with a paper and some snacks to see me through the next 3 hours.
I sat down in my aisle seat on the plane next to a Thai woman and it wasn't long before we knew each other's life stories! She actually lives in North Wales, near Chester, with her English husband. She had her 21 year old daughter with her.
But there were many hours to fill and I saw most of the 3 films that were shown - one based on a Year in Provence with Russell Crowe, another about Marie Antoinette and the 3rd was silly really with Robin Williams, playing the part of comedian who became President of the USA.
We arrived at the brand new airport in Bangkok on time - 6 o'clock in the morning the clock said, although my body thought it should be 11 o'clock in the evening!
I said fare well to my Thai friends and walked the length of the airport (miles~!) to the domestic transit lounge. I didn't think it was as nice as in the old airport.
Eventually I boarded a coach to take me to the plane - the entire length of the airport back again! The flight down to Phuket takes just over an hour. At about quarter to 10 I was striding through to meet Jamie, Mam and John - with a severely battered suitcase. I think I might look for a new one here, probably made of canvas fabric this time, for that won't crack and break.
It was of course warm, but slighly cloudy as we drove back to the house. The flowers are looking really good along the roadways.
Jamie went off to work soon after. I had a cup of tea. My eyelids drooped and I tried to get some sleep, but managed no more than half an hour.
I got up and sorted my things a bit and then had a shower and hairwash.
John and I looked at some of his books.
Then it as time to go and meet Jessica in school.
I went with Mam to the classroom and Jess was standing by the teacher and didn't notice me at first, then her face lit up, she dropped and bag and charged at me, jumping up and wrapping her limbs around me. Yes - bless her, she was pleased to see me!
Maybe John has not forgotten me either - for he is obviously very comfortable with me and has chatted about this and that.
After school was what I feel is a typical Thai occasion. We went to the cafe, Leelawaddi, close to the school for Jessica to have a pink ice cream. When I was aked if I wanted a drink, that seemed a good idea and I had pineapple crush. Mam's friend Noy and her son Sean joined us. The next thing I knew the table was being strewn with plates of various foods. I realised then that I felt quite peckish and shared with them noodles, a spicy vegetable dish, a milder noodle dish with bean spouts and prawns and salad items. The children wandered off and played in an adjacent room and then by the water feature round the cafe - this cafe is also a garden centre. Jessica even caught some little fish.
We had got to the point when I assumed we we going home when suddenly another plate of food arrived (minced spicy pork) and sticky rice. I had another pineapple crush.
The journey back was leisurely and before were back both children were sleeping!
Jessica does get very tired at school.
When Jamie returned from work (he sneaked off early) he found a sleeping household.
I roused myself and we chatted.
Mam has now also woken up and I smell aromas from the kitchen.
I am sure I shall need an early night - help - how shall I drop off without the voices of Radio 5 informing and entertaining me. I have loads of books to read - so that should help me relax.
I am missing my own normal routines of course - and really missing Bill. But even though only a few hours have passed since my arrival I feel I have slotted back into life here.
Tomorrow is Saturday - Jamie must work of course. This will be his last Saturday with Dive the World and only a few more days next week. I don't know what Mam and the children and me will do - I need to get some Thai money.
Bye from day 1 of this Thai Aventure.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
11th February The Visiting Toad.
The toad was very still and didn't move even when prodded nor even when Harry the cat had a look at him.
But later the toad had gone, so I assume he is fit and healthy somewhere.
Friday, February 09, 2007
3rd February Hayling Island Part 3 The Westerly Point
The beach at the bottom is alongside Langstone Channel, and you can see our own pictures of this area below.
In this aerial picture we can look across the entire southern part of the island - we had our lunch towards the middle and we had walked at the far end in the morning.
This is a wide shot from Hayling Island across Langstone Channel.
In the late afternoon sun, people gather at the inn by the harbour, looking out to sea.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
3rd February Hayling Island Part 2 Lunch and Beach Huts
This is the view looking back along the southern edge of the island to the point where we were walking before lunch. Later we investigated the beach huts.
Beach huts are a peculiarly British feature.
We like beach huts and admire the little communities of people who spend their days on the beach relaxing by their huts.
Some are painted in bright colours. Beach huts always seem to make interesting pictures.
Most were shut up on the day of our visit - early February is not the best time for sitting on the beach, though we did see one hardy couple sitting oustide their hut reading and drinking tea.
Here is a 1950's post card of the beach huts - known then as bungalows. It is good to see the family gathered round their hut, enjoying their picnic lunch.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
3rd February Hayling Island Part 1. Eastoke Point
We drove to the southern edge of the island and explored various parts. First we went to the eastern side, to Eastoke Point. Here is the opening to the English Channel from Chichester Harbour, which these days is mostly devoted to leisure boating.
The first picture shows the harbour entrance and looking back inland we can see The South Downs.
It was a beautiful morning for sailing, but I suspect peoples' hands would have got cold working the sails and ropes.
There will be more about Hayling Island in the next days.
Monday, February 05, 2007
05th February Glass slides of churches and ruins.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
January 31st Reflections of Buchan Park. Part 4.
Now we have 2 lovely pictures of duck reflections.
And finally here are reflections of my lovely pine trees and other woodland trees.
Friday, February 02, 2007
31st January Buchan Park with Bill and Paula Part 3
Here is a 3rd collection of photographs.
Bill strides out close to Douster Pond.
I enjoy a quick rest looking out over Island Pond.
Later we enjoy being close to the trees.
We named the tree Bill is leaning against - The Nobbly Tree; there were lots of gnarls and knots. Do you think the one in the photograph looks like a tortoise?
I love pine trees. I feel I receive some sort of strength through my hands when I touch a tree. The pine tree I was touching was very tall.
The pine trees are on the edge of Target Hill Heath, an open space that I love. I think we should take a picnic in the summer to the seat under the tree on the heath.