Friday, May 31, 2013

 

Sharpthorne and West Hoathly Station.

We like going for walks and maybe sample some food from a cafe or pub.
We did it last Monday........and I have yet to post a blog about it.
But I will deal with today right now.
The plans were not all fulfilled.
We went to Sharpthorne.
I lived just outside this Sussex village when I was a baby.....1945/6.
I have never actually explored the place.....we did just a little today.
We parked the car and decided to walk down Station Road before we had some lunch.
The road once led to the station....and although we were in the village of Sharpthorne, the station had been West Hoathly Station.
The station is not there now. It was demolished when the regular line closed in 1955. (Strangely rebuilt and then demolished again in 1958) The remains of the platforms are still visible.



I have no memory of it.....but I  have been on the station. This is how it would have looked to my Mother when she went by train into East Grinstead.
It must have felt a bit of an adventure on the way; but on returning to the station Mother had a long, long walk....and the first part steeply up hill .....pushing me in a pram.
We hurried down the hill and chatted with an interesting group of people.....he was Romanian and was accompanied by his students - not Romanian. I think he did craft things with them.
But bother!
We just missed seeing a Bluebell Railway locomotive pass by into the Sharpthorne Tunnel.

There it goes....you can just see it disappearing round the bend.

We would have to wait until it returned from East Grinstead.







































We walked along a lane with our Romanian friend and the young ones.

Look a horse in the garden!

Cheap to feed!


























Wild garlic covered the ground of a small valley between the lane and the railway.
The air was filled with a mild (and pleasant, I thought) garlicky aroma.






Excited we all get ready to take pictures and wave to the driver and passengers.


























Lovely old wooden carriages at the back.




































Time to make the climb up to Top Road.
It was warm.























Time for a little something....quite a big something actually.
We had bacon and egg ciabatta rolls and  a pot of tea for two.
The cafe sold arts and crafts and one of the rooms was set aside for craft workshops.
Our food was very basic and normal.....but all sorts of less usual things were on offer. They had a juicer for making their own freshly made apple juice.

And then we set off for part 2 of our walk, which was intended to take in more views of the railway.
The first part of the footpath was narrow between a hedge and woodland. It was muddy.
Suddenly I heard the "flump".
Bill was laying on his back in the mud.
He was not hurt.....no more than his normal aches and pains.
But what happened next could have been comical, but was actually worrying.
He couldn't get up.
"Get away" he ordered me, "give me a minute, I can do it"
But he couldn't......I understand that feeling of somehow not getting messages from the brain to the appropriate muscles.
He kept telling me to leave it to him. I gave advice.....and in the end he allowed me to help, and together we got him onto his knees.
It took about half an hour in all to get him up on his feet.
I had almost decided to go back into the village to get some help.
So, the walk was abandoned - Bill was wet with mud.

But it has been another day out.



 

Bang Mud restaurant.

We went to the oh so attractively named Bang Mud!
Off the east coast of Phuket are  a number of restaurants....floating restaurants.
Long tail boats take diners to and from - you pay nothing for that ride.
We, however, wanted the boat for longer. After lunch we went on to a local small island.....but payment was not too much.
I'll deal with the island pictures another time.
Today we'll stay at Bang Mud. Bah! Can't remember what it means.

We climbed aboard our long tail boat and set off across the bay.

He sits and surveys to make sure all his family are safe....the young and the old.
That's my son.
But when I saw the thumb nail picture I couldn't be sure who it was......father or son?
People say they are very alike and this picture proves it.




































I love being on long tail boats.....once I am safely sat down!

























Our lunch venue.
























My daughter in law serves out the rice.
We had plain rice and lots of different dishes of other food.
































Looking over the water to Phuket.




















Waiting long tail boat.
This is the front of the boat.....the tail is at the other end.
The propeller is on a long pole from the back of the boat.







































Oh she is a poser!
































Next time we will go further out in the bay....Phang Nga Bay to our little island.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

 

Fruit.

Fruit is an important part of the diet in Thailand.
I mostly enjoyed mine in drink form - pineapple and water melon shake being my favourites.
In some restaurants the shakes cost the equivalent of a UK pound....these are often decorated with orchids, to add a bit of class.
You can also buy the drinks at the roadside, being freshly made as you wait.
Here they cost somewhere between 35 to 40p. No orchids!
There is a woman in the local village who does them......but she had often run out of fruit by the time we got there!
We also bought in Phang Nga.
The woman worked outside a supermarket - the only shop for miles around. It is very rural where we were and even small villages are far apart.



First remove as many seeds as possible.
Then chop watermelon into chunks to go into the blender.














Blitz the fruit with a lot of ice cubes and a small amount of sugar syrup.




















Pour into plastic cups.
Pop on a domed lid with a straw....a straw with  a little scoop on one end.
Place the cup in a plastic bag with 2 handles and its ready to take away.
Oh my.....I could do with one now!
















I have had fruit today.....cooked fruit.
I remember my Thai daughter in law querying "cooked fruit?".
Today we had fruit that it is not possible to eat raw......though of course it is not strictly a fruit.
Rhubarb.
We, in the UK, all know rhubarb. Thai people will not know it.
In the UK at this time of year, people who like rhubarb are often happy recipients of sticks of it because it can grow rampant in gardens.














Rhubarb is sour....it needs some sugar in the cooking. I used brown sugar.



The fruit is now ready for the crumble.










Flour and maragarine.

The recipe books then tell you to rub the fat into the flour.














Until, say the books, it is the consistency of breadcrumbs.

Add some sugar and stir it in.




















The crumble goes on top of the fruit.













Ready for the oven.

There you are, daughter in law, you know how to cook a rhubarb crumble.......if you had an oven and if rhubarb was a Thai fruit.











I also made a fruit salad with things that needed eating up.

Not cooked, of course.
















Serve with custard - a bit too milky for my taste.
Wish we had had some ice cream or sorbet.






At least daughter in law might recognise the bowl.
I bought it whilst with her 3 weeks ago in SuperCheap.


Some other food today was prepared for me.
Bill's sister (P) came and had a late lunch in The Jack Fairman with us.(Horley Wetherspoons).
After 2 o'clock they do a cheap price meal.
We had gammon - 2 good chunks, 2 eggs, chips and a J2O fruit drink for £4.
We sat there and chatted for almost 3 hours....whilst rain beat down on the roof and onto those scurrying by outside, heads bowed under umbrellas.
I hope there is better weather on her actual birthday.

And food was enjoyed (with music) at The Beach Bar.......scroll down.


 

Back to The Beach Bar.

So, what is a family to do after a drive back in the rain of Phang Nga Province to a sunny Phuket?
Let's take a vote on it........unanimous decision......"Let's go to The Beach Bar".
I am so glad that we did.
I had asked Jamie if they ever get singers at The Beach Bar anymore.
I remembered a lunchtime with singers in 2007.
"No" he said "they don't come anymore.....play bigger venues now".
But that night they were there!
The same guy and a friend.
They played gentle rock, country and western.....all that I could recognise.

We sat down at our table and enjoyed the music and the sunset.




















The tide was low....coming in. Fishermen were hopeful of a successful catch on the incoming tide.




















Jamie enjoys his world.
His family, The Beach Bar, the music.































Love it that my grand daughter enjoys the quirky and likes to photograph things from strange angles.

Just a bottle of water.
















I enjoy my son's world.






















Music certainly pulled people in to The Beach Bar.



Happy with a bottle of Chang!








































The musicians took a break......and another took over.
My 8 year old grand son  finally got hold of the guitar.....music is a passion.


















Across Chalong Bay the lights twinkle.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

 

Cliff and River. Khao Sok.

Back to Thailand.....at least the rain is warm there!
And there was rain......when we arrived at The Cliff and River Resort in Phang Nga National Park, it felt like a good time to curl up with  a book.....having first enjoyed the views of course.
We have been there once before......and the family several times.
My, didn't it rain last time we were there!
But only for an hour or so.
This resort is built on the side of a steep hill, with log cabins, a swimming pool and pretty gardens.


This photo was taken in 2010. It is the view from reception.
































That's the view from our jungle hut.
The building at the bottom of the hill is the restaurant.
































I saw the bird fly by our balcony.

He landed on trees to our right.
Some sort of heron.

























Yes, the rains came......but what  a bonus came with the rain.
Taken by Jamie.




Another photograph from Jamie.....who was entranced by the view to the right of our huts.

In the morning the mist drapes over the cliff and hills.
Time to go down to breakfast.





















Breakfast is included in the price.
It is  a buffet breakfast with choices from Thai style breakfasts and what they perceive might be a European style breakfast.
It was tasty and plentiful.

Bill leaves the restaurant.





















That's our hut up on the hill.



Rustic wooden garden furniture is popular in Thailand.
But, in truth, it isn't very comfortable.


We always count the steps....and then forget how many there are.
I think it was 68.
Quite a climb!































I am thinking that probably Bill found the steps somewhat easier 3 years ago!
































Straight to the pool after breakfast.






































My grand daughter sat by the pool, doing things on her tablet.















Time to return to our hut and pack up for the journey......to where?
Maybe to stop in Khao Lak again.



Strange couple on the next balcony.

Does he think he is Usain Bolt?


































No - he thinks he is Mo Farrah!

In the event, we didn't stop at Khao Lak that night.
By the time we reached there it was pouring with rain.
We continued on, back over the Sarasin Bridge to Phuket.
We returned to Khao Lak a few days later.

Of course, Jamie has been to Khao Sok before and reported a visit on his blog.
http://jamie-monk.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/khao-sok-national-park-cliff-and-river.html

He wrote this 3 years ago.....oh how our grandchildren have grown in that time!


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