Our Thai Street Dog Buddy is doing well in the UK

Its now 31 October 2017. Buddy our Thai Street Dog from Nong Pru Airfield is a changed dog. His aggression issues are no longer…..he is a happy, well adjusted dog. He is amazing. He loves to say hello to everyone. Still sometimes unsure of big dogs when on the lead but otherwise he loves to be up the hill sniffing about. Never too far away from us.

He loves to play with other dogs and has a great time. He grows more hair in the winter as  you will see from some of the photos below.

 

What a difference in a dog. He is on medication for his skin permanently. He has a touch allergy to something. We have no idea what but he has his herbal tablets with us every morning. In fact if I forget he hovers around the fridge area until I get his messages that I forgot to him his ham (tablets inside of course).

He is such a good dog. Considering he was a Street Dog from the Airfield he is a fantastic dog.

 

Royal Thai Police Clearance Certificate

Well, we returned to the UK last February. A slump in the Oil prices meant huge reductions in numbers of workforce right across the world. Even though OH’s job had been Nationalized the year before and we were not allowed to leave until the found someone (and they never did) it still was a bit of a shock. Getting what we wanted…….to finally go home…

The positive side of things was that we knew we would never ever be left high and dry like we were when we lived in Bahrain. No more mounting debts. The down side was that we never found Stella our beautiful cat from Saudi… No one ever came back with her.. We only hope that she is safe and well and living a good life. I pray no nasty big snake got her… I couldn’t bear that.

I still, over a year on, miss her so so much. She was my baby…

Anyway… what I am getting to is that ensure that you get a Royal Thai Police Clearance Certificate before you leave as oh boy is it hard to get this document after you leave Thailand AND COSTS A FORTUNE instead of the 100bhat.. I had to employ a Thai Law Firm via a good friend back in Thailand.

That piece of paper has cost me over 250GBP instead of that 100bhat…..finger printing, courier charges, law firm charges and then courier back.

Its amazing how many companies back in the UK want a full background check. I think as an Expat I don’t fit back into the usual checking system for employers. Especially if you are thinking of getting a job in a school, airport, government…the list goes in.

If anyone needs their details just email or message me and I am happy to pass on their details..

 

 

We have returned to cooler weather

We have returned from our first Xmas in the UK. Loved almost every minute of it. Delayed there and back. With tail winds of over 150km per hour we certainly made up or time delays. Arriving in Bangkok airport only 1 1/2 hours behind schedule. I have to say this – British Airways flight and service was far better than the one going out. Better food, more attentive staff. Everything. Even though we had plucked for seats right at the back of the plane. We still had plenty of room, albeit the plane was full.

We returned to a cool wind and the temperature is right down. Even though the sun is up and shining and it will reach 29 degrees. There is a huge difference in humidity. For the first in  years we slept without the air con on in our room last night. I could wear the same t-shirt for dog walking this morning as I did last night…….eeeeee this means so much less washing too.

It must be a great time to visit Thailand. At least tourists can do all the sightseeing without sweating buckets.

Yesterday I had to go on the airport link train and the MRT. Standing on the station it seemed dare I say it, quite chilly. Good heavens I can hear my friends say 24 degrees and quite chilly…FGS. but honest it was. I can understand why the Thais had their jumpers and coats on.

I guess in the North of Thailand it must feel like its freezing. Good job there were lots of blankets being knitted by the British Womens Group.

I am off to see my two friends today for a light lunch (we hardly every do anything not healthy)…oh yes and I returned 4 kilos heavier and after spending all that time slowly taking it off. It all went back on in 4 weeks of eating chocolates, cakes and crips….eeeeeee…well what did I really expect.

Jet leg seems almost none existent and even when I had our favourite Thai takeaway from the compound restaurant I was OK. Despite it having some chilli flakes in it…. usually good for a few days weight loss…. Sure this is all to do with my acupuncture sessions. My whole body of well being seems to make everything OK. Hence the over eating of the chocolates (in the past 5 was the max I could eat without being ill).

People even noticed my hands had cleared up and were not all broken and dry. My skin didn’t flake on returning to the UK either and my stomach on the whole was not so upset. Mind 4 course gourmet meals with friends did have some effect but not as much as usual.

I told Milos when I saw him how things had improved immensely. The main noticeable difference was I had no foot pain whatsoever.. amazing. I did return with what seemed like a water on the knee pain or I thought I had twisted it. Turns out its my spleen meridian and its sugar!!!! well there’s a surprise ……NOT….hahaaa its all those chocolates obviously.

Well got to dash. I have to catch the bus at 11am. Hope its not too hot out there now the sun is fully up in the sky. Still a nice breeze though.

 

 

Air Traffic Control Division on our flight

Who would have thought our excitement at returning home for the first Xmas holiday in 7 years would lead to us sitting in the Radisson BLU in Copenhagen…. While having breakfast this morning (and a lovely breakfast too) my husband said “who would have thought we would be sitting her in Copenhagen having breakfast when we took off !!!

Arrived yesterday to check in and wait for our flight. All was going well, there was us grumbling about the lack of service and food on British Airways flight BA010 from Bangkok to London’s Heathrow. When an announcement was given about Air Traffic Control system failure. OMG, what was to happen now. All sorts of things were running through my head. Terrorist attack…it was like being in one of those disaster movies….which I think I now must have watched too many times as no such thing had happened.

We were then told we would be landing in Copenhagen very shortly. British Airways staff worked flippin fast to clear everything away in double quick time.

Most of the passengers although worried just went with the flow and knew nothing could be done. Why do you always get one that won’t accept that nothing can be done and he wants answers. I am sure many of us wanted to grab him by the throat!!!

I can see how things can escalate with troublesome passengers…. what was he expecting the staff to do.

We waited in the plane for a couple of hours until further details were given and we were allowed to disembark. First into a lounge if we wanted to for comfort and fresh air and then into the airport for further instructions and issuance of vouchers for hotels, taxi’s etc.,

The ground staff at Copenhagen were fantastic. So happy and helpful at all times. It was a good boost for moral… queuing to find out that they had quickly ran out of food vouchers, then hotel vouchers etc., No worries a hotel had already been found for us and taxi vouchers issued. I think we were the lucky ones as our hotel included a buffet meal….it was late when we arrived at the Radisson Blu but a warm friendly, efficient greeting from all staff. Even the man at the restaurant said he could tell we were all off the BA flight by our tired faces.. bless him.

So here we are waiting in the hotel to go back to the airport and board our plane for a 2pm take off. We will then find out what happens this afternoon about our connecting flight to Newcastle.

Never will I travel without  spare underwear (which I hand washed and dried with a hairdryer!!!) I haven’t even brought a brush or makeup. Ah well at least its not Xmas eve.

We are just so pleased we have not ended up spending the night in the airport lounge as I think the Thai people had to do, due to immigration rules…

Now just to contact the hire car company to advise of our late or goodness knows when arrival at Newcastle. Staying positive at the moment after quite a good nights sleep and an excellent breakfast

Happy travels and the thought of seeing my family real soon keeps us going.

 

The Intercontinental Continued…..

Sorry for the delay, where does the time go…. I always seem to be busy these days.

So on with the story.

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This is the club room, well worth paying the extra for “Club” status. AND as a member of the management said “Its free”!!! Well actually its not. That’s what you pay the extra for..So still well worth it. Just don’t try and have your breakfast in there. Cool yes, bad service yes. The rest of the time, service great, girls friendly, efficient and very knowledgeable. The best thing. Peace and quiet….

Afternoon tea and early evening drinks and snacks. Well as you can see from the photo about, not just snacks. In fact really, you could fill up on these beauties and not bother with dinner. Unless you want to pig out of course and have both….ah hem…

Last night we decided to take a look into the Club Lounge as between 5 -7pm there is happy hour. Wow really nice. We decided to have a glass of bubbles each. Yep, Hubby had one too. Really nice. We had been told there were canapés and salad and some nice desserts. What was on offer was certainly more than that. Yes salads and beautiful tiny desserts but much more and besides….olives, anchovies, crusty breads, cheeses. Hot dishes of prawn cakes, sautéed mushrooms in spicy sauce, chicken satay… the list goes on . AND as much as you wanted to drink.

photo 1(11)Wonderful selection of small dishes and nothing too spicy either. The wine…ah…delicious. Red, white or bubbles and a selection of shorts too.  A nice way to spend the early evening before deciding which restaurant to eat at.

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Room Transfer Disappointment number 6
Our new room was ready just after lunch on Tuesday. Our Suite was ready… a double upgrade apparently for the inconvenience of having to wait 3 days. We had already started packing when the call came from the Club Reception to see if we were ready. We were escorted to our room by one of the Club Reception Staff. Oh my goodness as you will see from the photos below the room is big, spacious and beautifully furnished.Don’t now why I only have a photo of the bath!!!!

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Separate bathroom with a huge bath (not that we will use it of course) 2 sinks and separate shower and toilet just as the last room.

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A dressing room area. Ha ha…at least we shall have a wardrobe each now. Note…take extra coat hangers as these are limited. Sure you could probably get more though. We always take our own. I can’t understand why my photos are so dark but anyway it was a lovely room
The suite has a lovely big balcony which includes a Jacuzzi. All rooms come with butler service. We were encouraged to ask the butler to prepare the Jacuzzi when desired. Mmmm…not sure I will be taking one any time soon but you never know.
Disappointment number 7…..

What’s that smell in the room….. as the hours went by the smell… like stale air con vent smell. Mmm…needs cleaning I think. The kind of smell that gets in your nostrils and you can’t get rid of. A real damp horrid smell.

Then I decided to have a shower. Well, the overhead shower doesn’t work without the hand held shower and vise versa. Then I looked around to see water seeping out under the shower door…. Its now all over the floor in the bathroom and took quite a bit of moping up. The drain cover is broken and is not allowing the water to drain away.
The control panel on the bead head is loose and bare wires exposed. Oh yes and of course it doesn’t work either. Not a good start to this lovely new room.
Off down to reception to advise of the problems in the room. What becomes apparent when they show us another room (with no view at all) is that they had had complaints before about this room but they still gave it to us anyway……. some double upgrade eh???
We have stayed in the same room as they assure us things will be fixed but the smell we have to live with as it comes from an outside overhead water feature. That is why there is a diffuser in the room. To camouflage the smell….ah and I had turned it off…. Naughty.
Lets see what transpires today. What will be fixed.

All the items that needed fixing were fixed but we just uncovered more. So on our departure we advised them to not relet the room and try and fix the problems. Just really disappointed that they gave us a room that they knew had problems…

Despite being given one of our meals for free, it really leaves a bitter taste in my mouth….a nights free stay that was offered to date has never transpired. So I guess we won’t be going back there again in a hurry…..

Anyway onto the next

We were going onto our second drink when we were invited to join the celebrations for the Queen’s birthday. Front row seats…. Hahahaaaa… how nice of them to include their western guests in such a special ceremony.
We were given candles to be light and song sheets. The announcements were given in Thai and again in English which I thought was really considerate of hotel staff.

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We sang 2 songs. Kindly printed in English for us to try and keep up with. Hope we didn’t make too much of a mess of things.
We made two orderly lines, one of men and one of women.

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Then took it in turns to go to the front of the set area and place our candles in the designated planters filled with sand. Oh yes and I forgot to say we were presented with cocktails in the Queens colours. Delicious.
It was such a lovely special thing to be included in. A memory I shan’t forget.

So we had a lovely peaceful week at the Intercontinental with ups and downs. A beautiful hotel and  I would recommend it to anyone, providing you go in the winter months when it will be more manageable to sit outside and eat.

The view is amazing and no rooms are over looked due to the way the rooms have been sighted. Definitely loved Azure best and on the last morning ….ta da…….they had laid out breakfast at Azure. Fantastic. A lovely sea breeze and what a view. It was an experimental day as the owner wanted to try it. If they could get all their breakfast things down there then yes, definitely worth it. The setting was perfect. Would be great to return in the cooler months and sit and have breakfast there.

photo 3(16)This was a photo from one of the evenings we spent down there. There is also a roof top bar but it never seemed to be open. There was also a huge fire pit with beautiful seating but again after the weekend it didn’t seem to get used. Another lovely spot for a cooler evening.

Off to Kuala Lumpur next month to another Intercontinental Hotel. lets see what its like there.

 

Trouble in Thailand

Sure lots of people have read the newspapers and watched on TV the trouble that has erupted in Thailand. BUT….its not everywhere. Its only small pockets. Yes it must be very frightening to get caught up in such an area but rest assured most of Thailand and Bangkok its business as usual…

Even where we have observed protesters and all their tents etc they are only sitting singing. We have not seen any violence ourselves. We read in the newspapers that all the protesters must move to Lumpini Park because there has been attacks on their sites.

We just hope it is all sorted soon and no more people loose their lives. Stay safe.

Our friends are still coming to visit as we live way out in the suburbs and life just goes on as normal.

Cooler Weather, such a beautiful change

Most people know the best time to come to Thailand is the English Winter. November to March. This Winter has been the best that we have experienced so far. We had a cold front apparently from China….. so we have been told.

Ah the weather has been great. So cold in the early mornings and evenings. No humidity. A cool breeze blew. Wonderful. If only it could have stayed that way.

I was even wearing a hoodie in the mornings to walk the dogs. Brrrrrrrrhhhhhh. 20 degrees and I was wearing a hoodie. Could you believe it. I think I have been here to long to be feeling the cold at 20degrees. However, the last few weeks it dropped right down. No air conditioning required through the night in the bedroom. It was really cold. The outside temperature gauge measured 10degrees…..very very chilly for here. It did make me think about all the poor people here (many thousands) who live in tin huts. How on earth were they managing to keep warm.  To me it was wonderful for me but I have a nice warm duvet to snuggle into.  Having all the doors open and the breeze blowing through the downstairs  through the day instead of air conditioning was a refreshing change. Thank goodness we had insect nets fitted to the doors. Alas we are into February and mother nature knows the months have moved on and now we are back to very humid weather. Its still cooler in the mornings by a fraction but so humid with it. I can’t understand how that works.

So now back to air conditioning on through the day and sweaty sweat when you go anywhere. Except the hospital of course because they are ran like ‘ice station zebra’..

Roll on next winter.

 

Yet another trip to the vets

I think it would seem that not many weeks go by without a trip to the vets…….

We have been back down to Pattaya to get the dogs and cat their annual rabies jabs and vaccinations. In line with what we thought was a move to Singapore. Long story.

Tess has been weeing again. She is totally unaware that she is doing it. Sometimes its a complete flood but most of the time its just dribbles everywhere. Thank goodness we don’t have carpets. The rugs we gave away when we moved here and the smaller ones are now all rolled up and put away for the future…….. not a good thought.

Tiled floors are so easy to maintain when you have pets.  A consideration for when we move back to the UK.

The new vet took X-rays and was talking about a neurologist…….put her on tablets, which had no effect what so ever. Then they were talking about ultra sounds and all sorts of things. For heavens sake she is 14 years old now. Our original vet in Pattaya (Pattaya Animal Hospital on Pattaya Tai) advised that she is too old for treatments and to be messed about with. She is getting old. Its a fact.

I have tried nappies but alas to date I haven’t found any big enough. She is quite happy to wear them in the house but they just end up falling off. I even tried a pair of my knickers with a face cloth inside. She must have thought that hilarious. I should have taken a photo really. However, no matter how happy she seemed to be to wear such things they just fell off. Hence I just keep the mop and bucket handy….. Sure its just when she is tired and we have noticed its when she is waiting for food….

If we take her away from the table when we are eating and make her stay in the kitchen area we don’t have any dribbles….weir or what????

Then Buddy, bless him. Came down the stairs one morning to find his ears were fat!!! very very strange but I knew it meant trouble. I gave him an antihistamine and off we went to the vets. I know you are supposed to have an appointment but they were very accommodating. Yes, he had eaten something or been bitten by something that he had a reaction to. His temperature was off the scale!!!!! They gave him a shot of something to bring his temperature down and more antihistamines via injection. We had to wait for 30 mins and they took his temperature again.

Poor thing he hates the car anyway so I have to drag him inside and then he just shuts down. I have tried the Cesar Milan trying to make him go inside the car himself (which I know he can do as he manages to jump quite nicely into the truck on the return journey). He just doesn’t like the vets either. She said his breathing was very labored. I explained about the car journey and that the reason he was shaking was because of the car and the vet experience. He is so good at the vets though and they can literally do anything they want to him and he doesn’t mind.

So touch and go times for poor Buddy. I had to keep him indoors for a few days, which he didn’t like as he likes to sit on the step outside and guard the gate!!!!  It took nearly a week for his ears to go totally back to normal and he has scratched them quite badly.

He will never learn his lesson though as he is always eating things in the garden.

Next it will be Stella’s turn. It  seems to go around in circles…. lets not tempt fate..

 

 

Bread making and improvisation

I hate being beaten. My bread maker sits in the cupboard abandoned due to the fact that it doesn’t make bread properly any more. It was an expensive gift from my brother in law and sister in law when they stayed with us at Baandangmow a couple of years ago. This is the bread that it made in the early days.

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Delicious, well risen, although a bit heavy. Then after a few months the bread stopped rising. Back to Central Department store we went. I think I have already told the story way back but for anyone new, they sent the machine back to the manufacturer who had a base in Bangkok. Now bearing in mind we were jut 1 1/2 hours away in Pattaya. They kept it for over 2 months!! said they had had to move offices bla bla. Anyway 2 1/2months later the machine was returned and its never worked properly since. The bread doesn’t rise. It did for a week then it stopped working properly again. Oh for my bread machine from the UK that is in storage. Don’t buy a FAGOR bread machine. Each person that I know that bought one says their bread machine doesn’t work properly any more.

However……….It does mix the dough and lets it rise to the first stage only. So yesterday I tried this. Then took it out and let it rise in the warm kitchen. It took  well over and hour – hour and a half but it did rise. So I took it out and kneaded it and popped it in the oven!!! WRONG. I should have put it on the tray and left it to rise a 3rd time. Still here it is. Its not bad just really heavy. You can see my baby banana’s in the background.

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If I had left it to rise a 3rd time it would have risen again and been much lighter. Luckily I have another packet of bread flour so I am going to try again later today.

Anyone  who has lived in another country other than the one you called home will know it can hard to find some of the same products or similar that you got at home. Improvise, improvise should be the motto for any expat. There is bread flour, wholewheat, dark rye but trying to find it unless you live in the center of Bangkok is hard. Foodland in Pattaya had a good selection along with dried yeast. Foodland near us stocks none of this except basic bread flour for white bread.

The lack of crusty bread anywhere close by us is why I have to try again to make bread. Wish Eileen was here to show me again how to do it. I remember the Saturday morning spent having coffee at Eileen and Franks.

Frank always made the bread early on a Saturday and it was just out of the oven when I went for my coffee. Lashings of butter and jam. Delicious. Eileen showed me when they came for their holidays how to make bread buns,but I quickly forgot. I am going to write another post about the time Eileen and Liz came for their holidays. I never knew anyone could shop so much………and I have pictures as evidence.

Well, wish me luck for later. I will update with today’s picture of bread when its made.

 

A Royal Baby Arrives for William and Kate

Wow, I was woken this morning with fab news from my daughter back in the UK. A baby boy has arrived for William and Kate. The Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge.

So exciting. I have kept the BBC World News on most of the day to find out what is happening.  Seeing all the people outside Buckingham Palace.

Well done to the proud parents. Some nice news for a change across the world.

I am sure Princess Diana will be watching over them all.

Here is a photo of my daughter on a holiday last year in New York standing next to a huge photo of Kate Middleton. Certainly can see the similarities.