British Women’s Group Breast Cancer Awareness Coffee Morning

I only joined the BWG late August so I only have a few coffee mornings and one lunch under my belt. For me living on the outskirts of Bangkok in the suburbs I start my journey (trek) with “is this going to be worth the sweat” and every time I come back buzzing. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming. Yes of course sometimes I stand and day dream but someone always approaches.

Christine Lawder was the host for this very special Breast Cancer Awareness coffee morning. Can I mention her apartment? Wow, if only I had been shown a place as nice as this in the city. Spacious, beautiful open plan living. I think I might have made my dogs make that elevator journey for a wee…. Wish I had taken my camera to show my OH how nice it was. Plenty of room and oh the kitchen. I would have been in heaven.

Christine and Ann had worked hard making the lovely tiny sandwiches, cakes and pastries. The large table was filled.  I have to give a mention to the sausage rolls. Demand was high, delicious, hot out of the oven. Well you have to eat them to be sociable, don’t you???? Heeheee

It was a big turn out . I believe over 50 ladies attended the fun morning to raise money for charity. All wearing shades of pink too. A fantastic effort and so colourful.  There were pins, ribbons, bracelets etc ready to purchase. Then the ladies (sorry I don’t know all the names yet) had brought along the lovely Christmas crackers for ordering. They make the Christmas Crackers (hard to get in Thailand) to order. Really lovely too. Pity I had stocked up last Christmas when my daughter was made to carry them in her luggage.

The welfare team explained all about the Christmas bags for underprivileged children at only 250bhat a bag. I think it’s a great idea and I will be supporting them every time we meet up. One lady mentioned that you could send an email to your friends telling them that you weren’t sending Christmas cards this year and that you would be giving the money to the Christmas bag appeal. I think this is a wonderful idea and might take up the idea. It certainly is a worthy cause. I believe Tesco had helped with filling the bags too.

Raffle tickets were also on sale and guess what I won. My number was called and I couldn’t even shout with joy,  I had my mouth full of sausage roll. Sorry ladies. Any one that knows me would probably say that I am always stuffing my face.  I came away with a lovely bottle of champagne and some beautiful napkins. I love both and have missed champagne quaffing here (so expensive to buy) and I am a collector of napkins. Unbelievable really. I usually stock up in the UK. I think it makes a table look really nice to have coordinated  napkins.

I made new friends and chatted to people I had never met before. I am not very good at stepping forward to chat but I certainly enjoyed myself.
Thank you for a most enjoyable coffee morning and I know a lot of ladies worked hard to make it special.

If you are a woman and you are coming to the Bangkok region. You don’t have to be a Brit to join. Its a great way to meet people and they raise money for good causes without pushing it all upon you.

They have all sorts of groups (Mah-jong  being my favourite).

Heres to many more happy outings. The monthly lunch is tomorrow at Hemingways. Lets hope it stops raining by then.

Sorry there are no pictures with this post.

Shopping in Bangkok and the suburbs so different to Pattaya

One thing I have found that is really different is the shops.

Goodness where to start. I think in Bangkok you can get almost anything you need….at a price…

I think I got used to getting around between Pattaya and our village of Huai Yai and then Horse Shoe Point by car. I knew exactly where to get what. Like Yorkies is the place for lovely bacon, pork pies, and good pork and beef sausages. They also stock a selection of British products. Sometimes more than others, depending on when stocks arrive. I knew I could park.

Yorkies The Butchers Pattaya

Same goes for the other butchers across the main road onto Chiaybruk 2. Great for Scottish black pudding and sliced ham.

Foodland, what isles and what products were best. Now I have to start allover again.

I have a page on shopping for new arrivals but that was with Pattaya in mind. Now Bangkok is a different story.

I am still finding my way around, thanks to the help of others. They must be thinking oh, no here she is again with her multitude of questions.

We went back to Pattaya within our first few weeks of being up here in the suburbs of Bangkok to just stock up on what I call ‘proper bacon ‘and good pork sausages. Sure there must be shops here in Bangkok. Plenty of streaky bacon to be found, even in 7/11’s but what I call ‘proper bacon’ harder to find. You can see packs of bacon and it looks good but when you open it, its as thin as anything. Still haven’t seen any proper black pudding either. I will have to remember to ask the ladies at Mah-jong on Monday.  Foodland do good hash browns so we just have to improvise lots of the time.

The same goes for coffee beans. There are plenty of supermarkets selling ground coffee. Plenty of exclusive shops selling coffee too, but not good and cheap coffee beans. The average price seems to be around 500 bhat which is way too much for a bag of coffee when you drink as much as I. So I have to hunt for Bon Cafe coffee which is good and much more reasonably priced.

In Bangkok and the suburbs there are so many shopping malls. Small ones, medium sized ones, to ones that you can get lost in. We tried Mega at Bang Na, 800 shops, restaurants etc., wow. amazing. I think I still prefer Central Department stores. I think they cater for expats. The clothes sizes  are getting better. No all small sizes now at sections called Sophie I found good sizes (American sized) Simplicity and Essentials. Not bad prices either, especially if like last week there was discounts. Ended up getting 20% off 2 pairs of capri pants and 40% off some blouses. When I went to Mega I found that if you weren’t a size zero to a 6 forget it… it just makes you so miserable going to shops like that.

Staff and customer service, vary. I find that either they follow you around like you are a shop lifter or you can’t get anyone to serve you because they are too busy with their makeup!!! That’s the norm and you have to get used to it.

I discovered Emporium the other day, only for a few minutes as I was getting a lift from Christine. Oh wow the shops. The same when I went into the Siam Centre and Paragon. Its changed since we first went there 2 years ago. Not all designer shops now. Not all over priced and they have so many nice restaurants to eat in too.

Still finding it hard to find Tetley Tea bags but I am going home for a visit at the end of the month so I will stock up then. Still no Aquafresh toothpaste either. Weird that somethings are so unobtainable.

Thank goodness that ‘Boots the Chemist’ are popping up everywhere too. Shower gel, smellies, face wipes and most of the things you get back home can be found in your local boots, including ladies things that seem non existent elsewhere except big horrible pads. Insist on a boots card too. Some of the staff for some reason don’t want to give you a boots store card to collect points but I found one lady in Boots at Big C mall in Pattaya very helpful. So customer focused.

If you find it hard adjusting when you first come to Thailand go to Central at Chid-lom and walk into the food hall. It reminds me so much of Fenwicks back home in Newcastle. Its lovely. So much choice (at a price) and everything so beautifully presented. I don’t think you would miss home so much if you got the chance to shop in here every week. The food bill might be a bit steep though but then again UK prices are no longer cheap either.

Bread. I love bread as much as I love cake!!!! Now I know exactly why I put on weight. Sliced bread for me has to be from a coffee shop/restaurant called ‘Au Bon Pan’. They seem to have many outlets around Bangkok and the suburbs. The bread is light. A good sized slice and they advertise ‘no trans fats’ so it has to be good. Brown only but they do have 2 varieties.

While you are there you may as well get an almond croissant. A soft almond filling. mmm…I could just eat one now.

OH’s favorite there is the frozen vanilla shake. They don’t advertise it,but its there on a menu at the counter. A real brain freeze of vanilla ice cream. Delicious. If you can manage a whole one.

Crusty bread can be found everywhere. So the choice is yours.

Cake seems to be a big thing in Thailand and it comes in so many shapes, designs and tastes. When I first came to Thailand, cake looked nice but tasted of nothing or a mouth full of butter. I am pleased to say over the 3 and a half years we have been here they are getting it right.

So many good bakeries and outlets. I really don’t know how they make the cake slices for the prices they charge. I certainly couldn’t make a cake for so little.

Tesco’s on Pattanakan Road have an outlet in their mall called the Cheesecake House. Oh my goodness you should taste their cheesecake and cakes. Wow. Something else. They have an apple crumble cheesecake or try the brownie cakes with peanuts in a what tastes like a sticky toffee pudding sauce on the top. Could easily eat 2 or 3………….mmmmm….my mouth is watering.

The Cheesecake House @ Pattanakan Road

It is going to be hard to be so good until I go to the UK. I will miss my coffee and cake visits.

Even yesterday I went to get my car cleaned and waxed. While I waited I had a lovely coffee. The way it was presented was really nice. The girls told me they had learned off the internet how to do the designs on top of the coffee from You Tube. Amazing. So I guess I will have to see if I can have a go too. They said you just put in ‘coffee art’……………clever arn’t they.

caramel machiatto

What you will see a lot of is sandwiches and ready made meals on top of counters or on street stalls. Not in fridges. OH paid the price for taking a  sandwich from a small coffee shop in the building where he works. It wasn’t in a fridge. So its out in the heat. Oh boy was he sicky sick.

You see it everywhere. Sometimes the food has been standing a long time. So be very careful as some of the food looks very yummy indeed.

The good thing also about moving up here is there are UK magazines. Again at a price. I used to get my ‘Woman and Home’ delivered direct from the UK. Its a good price and certainly even with postage cheaper than buying them here. The average price for a magazine from the UK to buy over here is around 8 to 10 pounds.

If I think of anything else I will add to this post.


Snake in the garden

I stupidly never expected to see a big snake in the garden of our new house. In fact, I never really considered seeing any snakes in the garden. Thinking that there are so many people here and lots of gardeners, workers etc., snakes would not have been allowed to survive…………..

A few weeks ago while washing Tess our dog by the back door I did see some rather fast moving what looked liked worms. The way they were moving was just like a snake. Then it dawned on me. These were hatch-lings as worms don’t have markings on them. OMG. By the time the penny had dropped and I got Tess out the way and my gloves on (baby snakes can be highly dangerous) but they had disappeared into thin air.

Then on Tuesday Buddy was barking outside. That deep, there is something/someone there bark. I just assumed there must be someone near the big gate. Stupidly I also let Tess out to see what was going on. There was Buddy giving chase to something. Then Tess joined it. They had it cornered. I just presumed it was a rat until they both jumped back and I saw the snake. It was blooming fast. Up the tree it went. It was very pale in colour and long. About the thickness of my wrist.

Sorry I didn’t stop for photos. I had no idea what I was dealing with. I got the dogs inside and ran for the guard. The guard has a little house at the end of the row of streets. There I was shouting away about a snake, big I said in Thai when he shouts ” A snake- big”!! couldn’t believe it. For over 2 years now I have been practicing the word snake in Thai. Its really hard to get the pronunciation as its a noise made in your throat and nose.  Didn’t need it this time.

He followed me on his bike. I grabbed my pronged snake stick and my machete, popped my wellies and thick gardening gloves on and off we went. The snake was still there. It was hanging upside down from the tree. It didn’t look half as thick this time but it was long. What I could see was a good 4 feet and that wasn’t the end of it.

The guard jumped back and obviously wasn’t going to tackle it until back up arrived. By that time the snake had gone. I found that there was a man hole cover for the water drains in the corner of the garden by the tree it had climbed up. There was gap in each side. Just as there had been at Harry’s place. It had gone.

Back up arrived and I tried to explain with gesticulations what had happened. He was very brave. I gave him my gardening gloves and he opened the man hole cover, jumping back as he did so.

There was nothing there. It had gone. Mores the pity really as I would much rather it had ended its days there and then. I hate it when they disappear because you know at some point they will return. Maybe it was female and it had laid its eggs. I really hope not.

I let Buddy out and explained to the guards he wouldn’t bite them. He picked up the trail. The snake must have been right near the front double doors and also by the car port then around to the corner of the house before it crossed over to the wall between us and next door. Thank goodness I have insect screens now or it could have been in the house!!!

The  thing about encountering a snake is:

1. They are really fast movers and 2. you never really know what you are dealing with unless you recognize it straight away. Cobra’s don’t display their head shape unless they raise themselves up to threaten or attack.

On looking in my snake book afterwards, the colour etc., pointed to a cobra. I just hope it doesn’t come back.

The lady opposite was out in her garden when I shouted the alarm. As far as I know she doesn’t speak English but she knew by my Thai that I meant a snake. The guard went and talked to her afterwards. Would love to have been a fly on the wall.

So from now on I will have to be more vigilant when I am gardening. No more leaving the screens open either when I am popping outside.

I saw the Danish lady waiting for the bus on Wednesday morning and asked her if she had had any snakes in the garden. Unfortunately too many she said. some small, some big……. They are everywhere she said.

Of course we have lots of ponds on the compound. Snakes like water and there sure are plenty of toads and rats about.  Praying hard for no more encounters.

I wrote an email to our  landlord and K.Ya his brother appeared the same day. I explained what we had done at Harry’s place with the man hole covers. Trying to show him what I wanted by drawings. When I came home the next afternoon all manhole covers were/are fitted with chicken wire mesh underneath covering all exit holes. No snakes coming in that way anymore.

Good job done by K.Ya. So I am making him a cake today to say thank you.