30 July 2014

Booties & Bad Weather

It's been quite a week already and this morning I've waived Mr John off on his trip to Bangkok.  The school are taking some teachers up there for a professional development course which he's hoping is conducted in English.

Pre beard trim for Mr John
In preparation for this big event, we went and had our hair cut at Art Hair with the lovely Kik.  Mr John went for a complete change after I'd spotted a "do" on a Queensland Reds rugby player that I thought would suit him.  And do you know, having spent hundreds of pounds over the years having my hair chemically straightened which is really cool I have now gone completely feral and my hair is getting even curlier than it used to be.

We also skipped tea at Tom's last night and headed to our favourite Lollipop CafĂ© for Spaghetti Carbonara.  They also occasionally do a pulled pork burger which is rapidly becoming a favourite of ours.  It's so meaty and flavoursome ... yum! 

Anyway, whilst we were there we got to see the gorgeous Lolli who is the sweetest thing and is happy on anyone's lap.  We have friends who have a dog called Lotte and I kept calling her that, poor thing.  She looks nothing like "our" Lotte.  They are, however, both very cute.

Pre spreading
One thing I've never mentioned on here is how good our landlord, Pii Pang, is.  It's quite extraordinary.  In over six months in the old house we never saw anyone.  During the same time here we've had our air-conditioner vacuumed twice and the garden at the back well more like jungle really tended to.  Then yesterday, following some pretty heavy rain on Monday, the driveway was being given a helping hand.  We love living here.

And speaking of the rain, about 3pm on Monday it got so dark that really I should have put the lights on in the house.  The heavens opened and the wind that came with it saw me battling to get the clothes back inside the house Monday is washing day.  This wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't been in the middle of pampering myself.  I had a moisturising mask on my face and moisturising "booties" on my feet and my thirty minutes as per the instructions were nowhere near up.  The wind nearly blew my face mask off and my steps were none too stable in the booties which were full of various creams as I gave up trying to get any form of shoe on.  It took a while to replace the traumatised feeling with one of calm and tranquillity I can tell you.

25 July 2014

Fish Palace

It sounds much better in Thai - Wang Pla - but that shouldn't detract from what a lovely spot it is.  It was Tom's birthday Thursday last week and we took him to Pa May's for lunch finally getting a chance to pay him back for all the kindness he has shown us.

But before I tell you about our day, let me wish my nephew Damian a very happy birthday for today.

So, we'd told Tom where we were eating was a surprise and when we were heading back after eating our fill, he got me to turn left off the main road saying he had a surprise.  I couldn't believe this place, which is only about 10 minutes from our house, tucked away on the back roads.

Aptly named, we got some food for the fish.  Looking into the lake, you could see about half a dozen or more reasonably sized fish.  Throw the food into the water and they just come out of nowhere and dive bomb each other in the feeding frenzy. You can check out the action here on my You Tube channel.

We just had some coffee here as we were really full from lunch and it was not a bad filter coffee.  There is accommodation which you can hire for the night, or longer, and apparently for just three hours???  There was a lovely breeze for quite a warm day and I think we'll head here for lunch some time. 

23 July 2014

What day is it?

With Mr John being off a lot lately, I've really lost track of what day it is.  Along with that, my ankle is still slightly swollen so I feel as if I've not moved from the house for ages.  Mr John went to Bangkok on Sunday for the competition held on Monday.  The school were very good providing transport, accommodation and even spending money for food.  Anyway, the exciting news is that Chompoo came fourth, so proud of her. 

Life with the junta continues and we mistakenly changed channel on Friday night for a small break from rugby and found this on our screens.  I think we're up to Announcement 101 line up for the jokes now and sadly, with other countries giving advice not to travel here, our expected visitors in October are delaying their holiday. 

The weather has not been anywhere near as wet as last year and every time I think we're going to cop it, we get beautiful blue skies.  Having said that I could have done with a thunder buddy on Sunday night as there was quite a storm.  The temperature yesterday was only 26 in the middle of the day.  I took advantage of the coolness and finally finished hand-sewing the curtains you'd be surprised how hot you can get with material draped over your legs.  So finally, we have matching curtains on the front window very posh.

18 July 2014

More scars....

Driving over here, whether by bike or car, is quite an experience.  It seems that road rules are definitely more a guideline than the law and you certainly need your wits about you.

We had taken the car back to Pii Kob, but he was worried about us riding in all the rain we've had lately and so told us to hang onto it.  Speaking of the weather, we've been due to have a lot of rain on the back of the typhoon in the Philippines but weirdly the past two days have been picture perfect.  This wasn't the case earlier in the week.  I was making my way back from doing the washing and waiting to turn right. The car in front didn't move for the whole time the lights were green.  There was a police highway car behind me so I refrained from getting heavy with the horn. 

I suspect the guy in front was not local as although the red light for turning right went off, it didn't go green I'm being kind here.  Clearly the policeman didn't have as much patience as he decided he was going round that car and turned the two lane road into three so he could turn right.  Go figure.

This was after a close encounter with a motorbike.  The other day, Mr John and I were waiting on his bike at the lights to turn right.  There was a bike on our left looking like it was going straight on.  Anyway, the other rider must have decided the car in front wasn't moving fast enough and pulled out to the right.  Sadly, that was straight into us. 

His bike was leaning to the right, ours to the left and my left leg was caught in the middle, right on his really hot exhaust pipe.  Man it hurt.  We were stuck in this lopsided position for what seemed like ages.  I had to lean right to help Mr John put the bike upright again and with that, the other bloke rode off. 

Yeah, thanks very much mate, don't' mind me.  I may or may not need to have my leg amputated.  I can tell you, the air was pretty blue. 

10 July 2014


It's been a funny week really in our "post holiday trauma" state. Lots of things have been happening. Mr John has been invited by the school to go on a development course in Bangkok at the end of this month. There's a minibus going from school with a few of them and apparently a test at the end of the course.

He's also preparing one of his students for a competition in Bangkok in a week or so.  His student, Chompoo, is in the story telling section and she's doing The Ugly Duckling. Needing to be about five minutes long, it's the standard story plus some add-on he's written.  As I've done a lot of amateur dramatics plus this sort of thing when I was at school, he's asked for my help.  As a result, I've been at the school a couple of times this week and we're currently working on some moves.  She's a quick learner and is doing a really good job.

Last night saw the final State of Origin rugby league match between Queensland and New South Wales.   Finally Queensland won a game but all credit to NSW for winning the series. Our friend Iain joined us again to complete the series and seemed most excited about the dinner I prepared.

When in Pattaya last weekend, we picked up this kit and you'll never believe - Tesco Lotus had minced beef and sour cream. I was thrilled though maybe not as much as Mr John and Iain! I don't have a photo of the finished product, we were all clearly too excited. We had a great night and are now looking forward to an extra long weekend with Mr John having both Friday and Monday off. 

07 July 2014

Road Trip

We've just had the most amazing weekend, but before I launch into that I must tell you about last week.  The eagle eyed among you will have noticed that I didn't post anything on Friday.  It wasn't because I had nothing to say but because I thought it was Thursday.  You see Wimbledon tennis has been on and having said previously that our new TV package would not take over our lives.... I was wrong. 

Mr John adhered to his "it's a school night" mantra  he can be such a goody, goody sometimes but I was way too interested to bother with all that.  Consequently I stayed up some nights til 4am, creeping into bed so as not to disturb him.  The resulting consequences were that I would get up in the morning feeling as if I'd had a night on the tiles and I promise you I was not drinking during any of this.  Anyway, having watched the final last night, normal service has now resumed.

So, let me tell you about Pattaya.  It all started with the Transformers film coming out and Mr John and I really miss going to the movies.  Don't get me wrong, there are enough here in Chan but they're either Thai films or western films dubbed in Thai and our language skills are denying us this facility for the time being.  We had heard Pattaya is full of ex-pats a good reason some might say to stay away along with McDonalds and Starbuck.  Mr John had even been told he could buy Pork Pies don't worry, it's a British thing.  We were talking with Pii Kob about our trip and getting on the bus when he very, very kindly offered us his other car.  It was so exciting being able to drive the 106 miles in lovely air-conditioning and I haven't driven for over twelve months but I hadn't forgotten anything it is indeed like "riding a bike".

Our weekend revolved around the Central Festival shopping centre and eating our own body weight well that's what it felt like in western food.  Man it was good.  Being very health conscious we had McDonalds, Burger King, lots of coffee at Starbucks and a pub meal of steak & ale pie for Mr John, including a pint of Guinness, and shepherds pie for me.  The weather was really kind to us and we were able to sit at the rooftop Sky Bar and have an ordinary cocktail.  Parking at Central is really easy and they even have a floor just for ladies to park, so lucky I was doing the driving.

The supermarket on the ground floor has a huge variety of foods from all over the world and Mr John was truly over-excited wandering around mostly because he got his pork pie and a scotch egg along with British beers.  We bought some smoked pork sausages and ham off the bone and have agreed we need to seriously get saving and do another trip before Christmas so we can spoil ourselves with food and drink who needs presents right?  And, unbelievably, Marks & Spencer which some might say is a British institution opens a store here in September.

The hotel we booked was the Sabai Wing and it was excellent value for money at 990 baht (roughly GBP£18 / AUD$33 / US$30) all up for the two of us.  It was a 20 minute stroll to Central but that just meant it was nice and quiet to sleep in the evening.  There's three pools at the hotel which all looked very inviting, but we ran out of time and didn't use any of them.

Pattaya has a lot to offer a westerner in Thailand if you're feeling a little homesick and is more convenient, less populated and cheaper for movies and accommodation than going to Bangkok.  A weekend for us was ample sufficiency, though I would consider staying two nights.  It's a bit too plastic and completely non-Thailand for us to spend any longer there.  Having said that, we'll definitely be back. 

02 July 2014

Samad Dang Resort

It sounds so posh when you give it its full title!  We were taken here by Tom for Mr John's birthday and I can't believe I never blogged about it.   It's at Leam Sing beach and to get there you go over the long bridge to the white temple, turn left, go up the hill then take the left that looks like it goes nowhere except over the edge of the cliff.

Tom's brother Tor joined us along with his wife Pok and their daughter Taan and even though there was a bit of a language barrier they were terrific company.  We had an amazing lunch looking right out into the bay with crispy snapper, red curry, prawns, noodles and washed it all down with a large bottle of Johnny Walker with soda and ice.  I wouldn't recommend drinking whiskey in the middle of the day - soda or not!

If you do fancy tucking in though and having a few drinks, there is accommodation at the resort and I believe it's reasonably priced - just call the number!