Nakhon Pathom to Isleworth

Just a little add-on to the time that Gordon and I spent drooling nostalgically over the immaculate London Routemaster at the car museum in Nakhon  Pathom: we recalled those halcyon days when we were able to jump on and off of the open platform of  a moving bus, and I have subsequently been remembering, with great affection, the 37 bus route from Hounslow bus garage to Peckham Rye…………….

 

this route is still operational, but for many years now it has been operated by a single decker bus and renamed the H37………..without a geographical knowledge of Isleworth, this entry looses some significance (if it ever had any)………….but anyhow, the H37 leaves Hounslow bus garage and when it gets to Isleworth it turns right into St Johns Road on its way towards Richmond; however, its predecessor, the 37 bus, was a double-decker, and as such was unable to get underneath the brick built railway bridge in St Johns Road, so it circumnavigated the bridge by going past the top of St Johns Road and turning right into Linkfield Road, then first right again into Loring Road and then left again back into St Johns road………..

Prior to the arrival of my first Vespa on my sixteenth birthday, I was a frequent traveller on the 37, and living at No 5 Linkfield Road meant that a bus stop was unnecessary; every Sunday morning (post Sunday-school days) I would stand on the corner of Linkfield and Loring, wearing the cream ice skating cardigan decorated with green fir trees, that my mum had proudly knitted for me, ice hockey boots slung around my neck, waiting to leap onto the platform of the 37 as it slowed to make the turn into Loring road………. the driver would always try to take the corner too fast for me, but it was a futile effort, and the conductress would always wag an admonishing finger at me…….five bob in my pocket (25p)  more than enough for the return fare to Richmond, the entrance fee to Richmond Ice-rink and a mug of oxo…………….

What was that line from Dire Straits ?

“My conductress on the number nineteen,

she was a honey,

pink toenails and,

hands all dirty from the money”……………..

 

apologies, for this meaningless entry, but it’s the kind of thing you do when you spend hours lying beneath a parasol gazing out over the gulf of Thailand, with a cheap Thai notebook and an expensive German “Staedtler” pencil on the table next to your sun-bed…………..waiting for your next iced watermelon juice ??

Oh, and I have just remembered that those of you in Europe have turned your clocks back by an hour at the weekend, signaling the onslaught of daylight deprivation, windscreen-scraping, yuppie flu, SAD and many other winter ailments………enjoy !!

 

Bangkok to Koh Chang

I arrived here on the island of Koh Chang on Thursday (24th Oct) after a 7 hour journey from Bangkok; I took the minibus option from Ekkami bus station for 300 Bhat (£6.00)…….the service runs 1 minibus every 2 hours starting at 06.00, I was told that you can just tip up on the day and get a ticket, but you are told many things inThailand that transpire to have a lack of affinity with the factual, this, coupled with each minibus having a maximum capacity of 9 people, prompted me to go to the bus station the day before and “reserve” a ticket for the 8am service the next day; you pay for the ticket and receive a receipt that you hand in the next morning in exchange for the ticket……………

 

This method of transport is not for anyone of a nervous disposition, I had read advanced warnings of the speed and recklessness at which the drivers on this route propel these vehicles down the southbound highways and byways; the warnings are not without foundation, the driver on my trip showed a contemptuous disregard for any traffic regulations………overtaking, undertaking, tailgating, ignoring red traffic signals, albeit with a modicum of caution………….several times he drove into lay-byes to undertake, not, I hasten to add, a line of stationary traffic, but traffic traveling at 50kph;

 

Within the first half an hour, he had committed enough traffic violations to have incurred a custodial sentence in most European countries, but somewhat paradoxically, I did not feel unsafe with his driving, anyone that drives quickly themselves, as I do, will maybe understand this seemingly contradictory statement, but he had good control of the vehicle and his concentration was intense………………nonetheless, the tranquillity of the ferry ride on a beautiful calm turquoise sea, beneath a bright blue sky was a welcome relief…………..

 

I am staying at the Chang Buri hotel where I spent a few days last winter, it has a great swimming pool, and more importantly, a large wooden sun-deck with direct access into the sea………nice large rooms with balcony, air-con, minibar, tea making facilities and a safe………it is in a great location with numerous  really good cheap restaurants and bars in close proximity, and at £32 per night is pretty good value…………

 

 

 

I spent most of this morning watching this single handed fisherman as he circled the bay looking for shoals of fish……….he would then wind down the large net in front of the boat  from the wheelhouse that also serves as an observation tower; then, as the boat moved slowly forward he would start to winch up the net and his catch………..magic !!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last night in Bangkok…………for a while………….

I leave early in the morning for the bus and ferry rides to Koh Chang, about 7 hours in total, I think !!………….I have just spent my last evening here in my customary fashion, a slow stroll through the streets of this chaotic city, streets that are throbbing with traffic and life, streets that are littered with innumerable stalls selling everything from the predictable through the full range to the obscure and the unimaginable…………..

When I finally chose a food stall that had room for me to sit at one of its 5 tables, I ordered, and subsequently, thoroughly enjoyed, pak boong fai dang (morning glory) gai sap kapow (chicken chop chop with crispy basil leaves)……..rice and a large bottle of beer……………………..150 bhat, which at todays exchange rate, equates to £3.00………but to be fair, Bangkok has always been rather more expensive than the rest of Thailand………

Above and below………….If you cannot identify it…………..buy it and try it…………..advice that is not recommended for anybody that wears carpet slippers……..

 

Please  note in the background a “Lucky black cat” that I believe belongs to the pathology unit at Charring Cross Hospital………..

 

The now legendary…………..pak boong fai dang………….subliminal……….

Slow lane or fast lane……………..it’s either motionless or maniacal mayhem (organised)

 

 

Back to the asylum

Well……….I’m back in Bangkok after a typicaly tiresome and uneventful flight from Heathrow; one small point of interest for you celebrity spotters, as I boarded the 747, my way to the cheap seats at the back of the bus was momentarily blocked by Jeremy Clarkson and James May; I could not see Richard Hammond, so I assumed that they had already placed him in an overhead locker……….

 

Not much appears to have changed here since my last visit, so this wonderfully vibrant city still retains full Asylum status………..and you wouldn’t want it any other way.

 

Met up with Gordon (Craig) today and we took a cab together to this rather wonderful vehicle museum at Nakhon Pathom, which is about an hour cab ride from Bangkok; good to meet up with him and there was a great collection of all kinds of cars and scooters there……..so I thought I should post a few pics on my first blog entry of my winter sojourn………

 

Beautiful 1952 Mercedes………..Gordons star of the show

 

Row of “Bubble Cars” in immaculate condition, mostly BMW Isetta’s

 

Very early Vespa in lovely condition, no date on it, but looking at the handlebars I would guess that it is 1956 / 58

 

Gordon and myself taking a trip down memory lane on this wonderful London “Routemaster”

 

No standing, upstairs please………….

 

Wonderful……….BMW Isetta Police Car…………maybe for chasing speeding cyclists, although I doubt that it would have much luck………..especially with a fat copper behind the wheel !!

 

Some rare, vintage kiddies toys in the foreground………….

 

Immaculate Nash Metropolitan…………they were made between 1954 – 1962

 

Beautiful 1950 BMW next to another stunning Mercedes……….