NEW KITCHEN CHA-AM ………….

My new kitchen has recently been completed, and I must say I am very pleased with the quality of workmanship by the fitters. The previous owner had not lived in the condo and so it had been fitted out for holiday rentals, and the kitchen, if you could call it such, was a very sparse affair indeed.

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 10.01.01

Above and below, you can see that I included a breakfast bar in the plan, which gives me a view towards the patio doors onto my balcony.

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 10.01.53

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 10.05.00

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 10.02.28

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 10.02.10

New dinning table and chairs as well !!

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 10.03.38

Above and below …….. this is what the previous kitchen consisted of, so you will understand my need to have a new one fitted.

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 10.03.54

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 10.04.07

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 10.04.22

Above and below ………. work in progress

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 10.04.33

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 10.02.55

Above and below ……… nearly finished, just waiting for the glass splash back to be installed

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 10.03.17

Below ……… nothing to do with the kitchen, but I couldn’t resist sharing this one ……………………. Always remember that however badly you think your day is going, at least you’re not stuck in a fence being laughed at by a cow !!

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 23.52.51

BIRTHDAY AND NEW YEAR ON KOH CHANG

I left Cha-Am on 29th December with my friend Pach to drive around the Gulf Of Thailand to Ao Tammarchat to put my car on the ferry to the island of Koh Chang. We had booked an hotel for 3 nights and paid a 50% deposit, but when we arrived they told us that the room was not available. This was not very amusing, the hotel was situated at the southern end of this large island and the few other hotels in the area were fully booked.

Pach remonstrated with the staff for sometime and although I could not understand what she was saying, I noticed a heightened pitch to the tone of her voice and a marked increase in the speed of her delivery; fair to say that she was not best pleased.

We eventually had to leave with our deposit returned and look for accommodation elsewhere; with nearly all the hotels on the island fully booked for new year, we were very fortunate that one of Pach’s brothers, P’Rong, is manager at the Koh Chang Paradise Resort. He had already arranged a special birthday dinner for me on the 30th, at his lovely hotel, and although they were fully booked, he found us a room in another beachfront hotel a couple of hundred metres along the beach.

We drove back to Cha-am on 2nd January, a round trip of just over 1,000 kilometres and I must say that my new Mazda 3 was extremely comfortable and a pleasure to drive for such a long journey

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 13.06.29

One of the many fishing boats that cross the path of the ferries on the short crossing from the mainland to Koh Chang

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 13.10.18

 

Above ………. fishing boats at the small ferry port on Koh Chang

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 09.41.44

Above ……….. the beach directly in front of our Hotel

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 14.41.01

Top tip, trust me on this one ………… when someone wants to take a photo of you on your 67th Birthday, it is a good idea to make sure that they are behind you; thank you Pach for knowing instinctively what to do ………  (^∆*)

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 10.16.02

Sunset on my Birthday ……..

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 10.16.14

Above ………………. Pach looking resplendent in the beautiful, hand painted silk dress that I chose for her from a shop in Hua Hin.

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 10.17.09

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 10.16.59

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 10.16.35

Pach doesn’t drink alcohol but she alway seems to order some lovely fruit cocktails …….

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 10.16.45

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 10.16.27

New Mazda 3

I have been very lazy recently and have not been posting on my blog, but have been posting occasionally on Facebook instead, however, having become increasingly disenchanted with Facebook, I will try to redress the matter ……. a couple of months ago I took delivery of my new car from the Mazda dealership in Hua Hin; a Mazda 3 2.0 Sports Premium …….. it is the top of the range that is available in Thailand; far superior aesthetically to any of the other Japanese manufacturers, this Mazda drives superbly, a well balanced chassis, light but very responsive steering and the 2 litre “Skyactive” engine is quiet and extremely eager ………. its powertrain is fed through a wonderful 6 speed automatic gearbox, which has the option to be driven in manual mode, using paddle-shift leavers on the steering wheel ………. oh, what fun (^∆*)
The car is bristling with modern technology, zone controlled air-con, a 7” Display screen for Sat-Nav, Phone and Music, all controlled by either touch screen, voice command or a multimedia commander located next to the gear shift lever, and consequently easy to reach for “blind”
Safety warnings, speed and Sat-Nav instructions are also projected onto a clear screen mounted directly in the drivers view, to minimise eye movement and distraction, very clever stuff ………… no need to plug in my iPhone, it connects seamlessly via bluetooth so I have my complete music library and phone contacts available at fingertip or voice command; and as if you hadn’t guessed, I’ve reset the multimedia to English language for voice control, Sat-Nav and visual displays.

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 12.22.16

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 12.25.32

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 12.22.32

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 12.23.06

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 12.24.05

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 12.24.27

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 12.24.56

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 12.23.29

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 12.22.46

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 12.24.41

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 12.25.13

BACK IN THE LAND OF SMILES

Friends on Facebook will already know all of this and seen the photos, but for my friends that are not on Facebook, here we are:

After months of protracted negotiations with solicitors and the freeholders, I finally completed the lease extension and subsequently, the sale of my flat in London, I boarded a BA flight to Bangkok the next day and arrived there at 10.00 am on Friday 16th October; my friend Pach, met me at the airport and we spent a lovely day in Bangkok which involved lunch at “Cafe Chilli” …….. a wonderful restaurant in my favourite shopping mall “Siam Paragon” and after a few hours of shopping, we had dinner in the excellent and very well located Amari Watergate Hotel (a short walk to Isetan store, Central World Shopping Mall and Siam Paragon) ………. our regular and very reliable taxi driver Mr Niwat ferried us to Cha-am the next morning where I was reacquainted with the other lady in my life ………. my Vespa Sprint 150; I had disconnected the battery on my Vespa and bought a fitted Vespa cover for her, but she needed to go straight to the local boutique for a wash and blow dry.

It has been great to get back to my condo in Cha-Am and once again embrace my routine of an hour’s swim every morning in the main swimming pool before breakfast. I shall now set about having a new kitchen fitted, because although it is a lovely big condo, it was fitted out originally for holiday letting and the kitchen is hardly that at all, just a sink, an old two ring hob and a free standing fridge, so watch this space !!

Last weekend Pach came down again from Bangkok and we had a lovely day on Saturday ……… a morning browse around the shopping mall  “Market Village” in Hua Hin, followed by ice coffee and then back to a lovely part of the beach at Cha-am for lunch (somtum of course) and swimming ……. and in the evening we took one of her friends to the excellent beachside restaurant “Chom Talay” at Hua Hin (^∆*)

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 13.02.18

Above and below ……… the main pool where I take my early morning swim every day

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 13.02.41

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 12.58.18

My beloved Vespa getting the treatment

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 12.58.36

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 12.59.32

 

Pach …….. posing by the beach

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 14.21.29

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 14.21.04

 

Somtum for two ……….

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 14.22.24

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 13.00.10

 

 

 

 

Back in Isleworth

I have now been back in Isleworth for a couple of weeks after my winter break, and I am just about starting to readjust to the climate and the pace of life here; I’d forgotten that drivers here, blast their car’s horns at each other in a declaration of war, and gesticulate wildly at each other for what appears to be an act of total trivia ………. hey ho.

On a far more relaxing note, I went to a race meeting at Kempton Park on Monday afternoon, to meet two dear and faithful friends, Martin and Curly Jeff ……. it was a beautiful warm, and sunny spring afternoon, so apart from a couple of loosing bets, I wandered around soaking up the special ambiance that is always prevalent at National Hunt race meetings, taking a few photos of the magnificent horses …………

 

Version 4

 

Version 3

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Version 4

 

Version 3Version 2

HOME SOON

This winter has passed so quickly for me, I find it remarkable to think that I will be back in Isleworth in a few days time; tomorrow (Monday) I leave Cha-am and travel to Bangkok, and then on Wednesday morning, I board a westbound British Airways flight to terminal 5, Heathrow ……………. so all being well, I will be back in London on Wednesday evening.

Which means, apart from many other things, that I will be available for luncheon and dinner invitations from Saturday 11th April 2015 onwards, until further notice …………..

So, just a few snaps from my last couple of days on the beach and around Cha-am ……….

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 11.06.04

 

Above …….. “What’s with the long face”  ……… and below ……… “Are you really a cowboy mister ……………. cause I’m ready to draw, and my big sis is backing me up”

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 11.13.54

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 11.00.47

…………. another six months and I’ll be able to reach those stirrups ………….

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 10.59.10

I might need a year or two ……………

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 11.17.57

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 14.31.19

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 11.02.24 Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 11.15.12 Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 11.07.25 Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 11.08.29 Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 11.09.13

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 11.09.52

It’s that bloody drawbridge again …………….

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 11.11.12

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 14.31.47

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 11.12.04

 

VESPA SPRINT UPDATE

 

When yo buy a new vehicle in Thailand, it comes with a temporary registration plate; you then have to apply for a permanent registration, proving ownership, and in the case of a farang (foreigner) proof of a residential address, which entails acquiring a letter from the nearest immigration office.

I was agin fortunate enough to have the help of Get and Len (the agents that I bought my condo from) to organise this for me ……….

My permanent registration duly arrived a couple of days ago, and it coincided with the arrival of the chrome side bars that I had ordered ………….. so my Vespa Sprint now has some shiny new chrome to frame her petite and pert derrière.

 

I am now also in possession of a full Thai driving licence, or rather I should say, two Thai licences; in Thailand you have a separate licence for car and motorcycle, there is no combined licence ………. and once again, the help from Get and Len was invaluable ……….

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 11.32.37

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 11.34.35

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 11.31.44

I have to try and memorise this registration plate ……………. doddle …………

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 11.35.17

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 11.32.49

Above and below …………… my new Thai driving licences ……….. new licences are only valid for a year, but successful renewals receive a 5 year licence.

On production of my UK driving licence, I had to take a couple of tests; one was a reaction / reflex test ………… you sat in a chair with a weird accelerator / brake contraption at your feet, and using only your right foot, you pressed hard on the accelerator pedal until a green light directly in front of you turned to red, at which time you had to hit the brake pedal …… easy-peasy, although I know a few people that might struggle with this test !!!!!!

The second test was for colour-blindness, you had to sit looking at a large board covered with different coloured circles; the tester then pointed to different ones in quick succession and you had to call the colour ………… not suffering from colour-blindness,  this was very easy, apart from trying to remember the Thai words for the different colours, this combined with my pronunciation raised a few sniggers from the rest of the people taking the tests ………. the tests are conducted in groups of about thirty, so everyone else becomes an audience as you take your turn …….. but good fun and I got my licences

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 11.33.00

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 11.43.22

 

Above and below  ………. wouldn’t you just know it, when I went to the Vespa dealership in Hua Hin for my registration plates and chrome side bars, they had just had a delivery of new tee-shirts and key neck-straps !!

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 11.44.37

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 11.43.02

 

 

 

I LOVE CHA-AM

This weekend just past, saw the celebration of the annual Cha-am kite festival; fortunately, this lovely little seaside town was embraced for the whole weekend by an energetic onshore south easterly, which ensured that the clear blue skies above the beach were littered with dancing, billowing kites of many different shapes, colours and imaginative design.

It was an uplifting (pun), cheerful and happy occasion that brought even more colour and fun to this already vibrant little seaside town ……….. I LOVE CHA-AM

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.12.18

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.12.32

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.12.56

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.11.51

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.13.39

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.13.05

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.12.07

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.13.27

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.12.44

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.14.07

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.13.50

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 11.13.14

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 14.42.14

Above …………… these ladies are on the beach every day selling their kites, not just at kite festival weekend ………….. and below, these little hand made and hand painted aeroplanes  are still my favourite kites ………….. the kids adore them and are mesmerised by them, as am I …………. 50 baht each (£1.00)

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 14.43.25

A Trip To Bangkok

 

I have recently made a trip to Bangkok for a weekend, in order to change the routine of everyday beach life in Cha-am; and of course, to spend some time wandering around in the wonderful air-conditioned shopping malls there.

I took a private taxi there and back, 1800 Baht (circa £36.00) each way, great value for a journey of about 175 kilometres, especially as it meant that I could, and did, request the driver to take the old coast road from Cha-am to Bangkok, which is perpetually bereft of traffic, and allowed me to see the amazing and enormous salt farms that fill the gap between the road and the sea for many miles.

The private taxi service also allowed me to take an entirely different route back ………. in order to visit 3 temples that I had not seen before, all of them different by design, a remarkable old temple built within the roots of a very old banyan tree, a temple constructed entirely of wood on the banks of the Mekong river, and a temple built into an enormous cave in a huge rock face that was home to a huge troop of monkeys .

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 03.04.05

above and below………….. the wonderful salt farms on the coast north of Cha-am

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 03.02.17

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 03.03.14

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 03.11.26

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 03.17.55

Loverly roadside tree with many different coloured blossoms

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 03.18.43

above and below ………. loads of these fantastic life-sized combat statues in the grounds of this wonderful old temple …..

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 03.24.56

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 03.24.13

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 03.23.10

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 03.24.32

above …… I bashed him up, he didn’t have a chance ………… and below, the temple built into the roots of the banyan tree …..

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 03.40.26

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 03.39.38

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 03.25.24

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 03.30.51

Temple on the banks of the Mekong ……

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 03.29.58

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 03.34.31

amazing old temple built entirely from wood ….

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 03.31.14

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 03.44.19

above and below ………. temple built into a cave ……… in a huge rock face, which is the natural home for monkeys in Thailand ……..

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 03.44.49

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 03.35.51

Huge and spectacularly beautiful reclining Buddha in the cave temple

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 03.37.05

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 03.37.39

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 03.35.16Cheeky _ _ _ _ _ _

VESPA SPRINT 150 cc

A couple of days ago I took delivery of my new Vespa Sprint 150cc from the dealership in Hua Hin; after 2 months on a rented Honda Scoopy 125cc, it is difficult to express what an incredible pleasure it is to be riding this beautiful example of Italian engineering and styling…………. I could have bought 3 Honda Scoopy’s for the price I have paid for this wonderful machine, but hey, no contest, this is a Vespa, and as such, it cannot be held in comparison to anything else in this world………….

At an age when some unfortunate soul’s are ordering a mobility scooter, I am truly fortunate and privileged, to be able to buy and enjoy this fantastic and aesthetically beautiful Scoot.

I have put 400 kilometres on the clock in 2 days of sheer unadulterated pleasure, just riding up and down the almost deserted costal road that leads from Cha-am to Bangkok. This new model, the Vespa Sprint is available with either a 125cc or 150cc engine, and it has been a wise decision to shove my mitt deeper into my pocket for the 150……….. with just my 65 kilos on the seat, the acceleration is awesome, and with new 12” wheels, the largest ever on a Vespa, the scoot is incredibly surefooted without loosing any of the agility and nimbleness that are the very essence of a scooter.

Oh, happy days, I am riding around all day wearing a lottery grin, and now only taking lunch and dinner at restaurants where I can park her within sight of my table, so that I can drool over her beauty while I enjoy my food………… what a lucky man I am …………. ieieieieieieie

So here she is ……………………………. (*^*)

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 08.56.50

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 09.00.41

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 08.55.43

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 08.56.18

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 08.56.28

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 09.04.55

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 08.57.47

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 08.55.13

Above … collection day, and below, with Apple, the manager of the Vespa shop in Hua Hin

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 08.55.27

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 08.55.54

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 09.06.05

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 08.56.38