NaBloPoMo!

Would you believe that my return to the blogosphere coincided with the first day of NaBloPoMo?!

Complete coincidence, but surely a sign from the blogging Gods.

And so, I am embarking on National Blog Posting Month once again – where I shall be writing a post a day fro the duration of the month of Novemeber.

Technically I didn’t manage to make a post yesterday as firstly, I was completely unaware that it was NaBloPoMo at all and secondly, I was cowering under the pile of work that has manifested itself over the half term break which was making for a rather unpleasant Monday morning for all who crossed my path (my car also broke down twice on the way to work, but that is a whooole other story, which I surely shall tell when I realise that I have signed up to post once a month and run out of things to say about my life).

So here goes, a post a day – surely this will re-ignite my blogging spark.  And if it doesn’t… then nothing will.NaBloPoMo_2015_0

If you have a blog, join me and have a go!

Hibernation Complete.

Every time it happens.  And every time I fail to see what is happening to me until it gets too late.

Rainy season.

Every rainy season, without fail.  The rain comes, the sun goes into hibernation.  My summer sun-kissed-ness (new word) fades.

Every.  Thing.  Is.  Damp.

And somehow I let myself become the weather personified.

I am the cloud.  I am the rain.  I am the doom and gloom and I forget why I ever came to Thailand.  A brief internet search has me self diagnosing myself with Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder.  Which I probably don’t have considering I have survived many a grey Autumn/Winter back home in the UK.

My facebook news feed fills up with friends enjoying ice cool ciders on a Cornish beach.  With festivals and BBQs and all that is wonderful and right about a British summer.  Deck chairs.  Pimms.  Sipping Pimms in a deckchair.  I even find myself thinking about the bloody seagulls.  Yes, I miss those flying vermin that snatch tasty treats right out of your hand.

I can’t believe I would ever find myself hankering after a BRITISH summer.  They aren’t exactly renowned for being that great.

The blog all but dies, and Facebook has a wonderful time reminding me of posts I had made when I first came here and rainy season was just a bit of exciting weather and everything was new and exciting and inspiring.  Now I have nothing new or exciting or inspiring to post about.  I am sorry dear readers, but I am beyond the point of writing just for the sake of it.  And I am sure that you are glad of that.

But times are a’changing my dear.

Today is November 1st – the first official day of high season here in Phuket.  And, same as every year, it’s like someone has flicked the sunshine switch back to ‘ON’ and it is glorious and beautiful and all things that make the weather in Thailand wonderful.

Today I am feeling thankful.  Thankful that the sun has finally made an appearance that will hopefully continue for the coming months.  Thankful that I can once again wear my summer dresses and my flip flops and have beach trips on the weekends and BBQs in the evenings.  We may not be able to have a glass of Pimms but I can make a bloody good attempt at making some sort of Sangsom based summer cocktail.

I realise that as you read this in your Autumnal homeland with Winter drawing in and the prospect of not only rain, but sleet and snow and de-icing car windscreens and frozen pipes and… here I am complaining about a few months of rain.   But it’s all relative baby – and I should count my lucky stars that it is hot once again and that I have survived another rainy season.

#firstworldproblems?  I got me #Thailandproblems.  And I would rather make it through a thousand more rainy seasons than ever have to de-ice my car or wear thermal underpants ever again.

Time to once again start loving my Thailand life.  Expect more blog posts soon.  I am out of hibernation once again.

❤ Kylie

The Thailand Diaries: Mr. Parasite and the case of the missing toilet

After three years living in Thailand I decided it was time I wrote my memoirs… this one may be a little too much information for some but if you can’t tell your diary, who can you tell?


My tummy had been doing somersaults since I had woken up but I had put it down to whatever undoubtedly spicy-fried-stuff-with-rice that I had eaten for dinner the night before.  It’s not unusual to feel every single digestive movement within you when you are embracing the local food in Thailand.

Little did I know that there was a particularly pesky parasite harbouring within my body waiting to burst forth – quite literally – and make an appearance.  Only time would reveal this, and my what timing Mr. Parasite had.  I would soon find myself wishing I had listened to my gut’s grumbles with more attention but we all know that hindsight, and a rather memorable toilet (or lack thereof) experience, is a gift we cannot savour until it is already too late.

Perhaps someone reading this will learn something, and my experience will enable another to avoid what was unavoidably my fate.  Read on and take note, dear reader.

As I have already said, I was embracing the local cuisine of Thailand’s deep south, and so I found myself heading over to a little khao geang (literally rice curry) place at breakfast time.  It was owned by a lovely couple who would rise early to prepare an array of dishes to be laid out buffet-style for the customers to peruse and take their pick of.  As is usual in these set ups, the shop was in the front of their house, backing on to the living room which they shared with the patrons.  Unusual by Western standards but very much the norm here in Thailand.  Another rather un-Western thing – customer toilets are few and far between in these types of establishments; this fact would become all too apparent all too quickly.

Grumble.  Groan.  Squelch.  I looked at my breakfast of spicy-fried-stuff-with-rice and was unable to conjure up the slightest inkling of an appetite.  Strangely enough, being able to feel your internal organs in action tends to be quite the appetite killer.

Grumble.  Groan.  GRUMBLE.  GROAN.  Suddenly the urgency with which my insides operated reached a peak with only one message.  TOILET.  NOW.

Mee hongnam mai ka?  Possibly the single most important phrase to learn upon travelling to any foreign land – do you have a toilet?

The husband-wife curry shop duo looked at one another and then at me, in my white school shirt and pencil skirt.  They started to explain that it’s their toilet, it’s no good for customers, especially not farang customers in tight skirts… but I was already up and heading to the back of the house where their gazes lead me.  Tee nee ka?  Here?

I was  in there before they had time to answer but sure enough I found myself in what must be the family bathroom.  A damp concrete square of a room with a concrete floor and only sky where a ceiling would normally take residence.  Good for ventilation I suppose.

GRUMBLE.  GROAN.

I desperately cast my eyes around, looking for the bog, the loo, the porcelain throne… nothing.  There was a small container of water, adorned with wrung out flannels, an old bar of soap and a couple of toothbrushes.  Next to that, a larger bin also full of water with a Winnie the Pooh children’s cereal bowl floating in it.  A quick peek beyond and I found a hole in the ground.  A hole, albeit encircled with a porcelain frame, as if to confirm that yes, this is in fact the toilet.

Full disclosure: I should probably apologise for the misleading title of this post – there was a toilet, just not the type that I am used to.

My pencil skirt was too tight to be hoicked up and so I whipped it off and flung it over my shoulder.  I’ll save you the details of what happened next but let me tell you that Mr. Parasite put me through my paces.  Epic toilet times – a rite of passage when adjusting to a life abroad but something best enjoyed (wrong word) in the privacy of one’s own home.

Something you learn quickly when you are traveling through or living in an Asian country is that there is a distinct lack of toilet tissue, especially in those countires that favour a bidet hose, or bum gun as I like to call it.  In fact, you quickly learn that we have developed a whole load of unnecessary Westernised expectations when it comes to the toilet.  We don’t need toilet seats, automatic flushes or jet powered hand dryers, but at some point we decided that we do.   Had I had the time to think things through before my rush to the toilet I would have grabbed some paper towels from the table.  Again, hindsight.

Unfortunately for me it was a double whammy.  Not only was there no toilet but no bum gun either.

Panic started to set in.  Do I shout for someone to bring me some tissue?  There isn’t even a bin.  Not an option.  There I was, squatting askew a hole in the ground, half dressed with my skirt slung over my shoulder desperately looking for a post-toilet clean up solution.

There’s only so long one can stay in such a position without taking action.  I was time to go truly native, armed with gallons of water, a Winnie the Pooh children’s cereal bowl and…

… my hand.  Oh yes, native indeed.

Thank goodness there was an old bar of soap.

At the time I have to say that wasn’t one of my most pleasant mornings, but at least now I can look back and laugh, and I can face any toilet situation safe in the knowledge that it will never be that traumatic ever again.


I may look back and find this funny, but many people don’t even have a hole in the ground let alone clean water to wash with or even drink.  Check out the gifts you can buy over at Water Aid  to enable people to have access to clean water and village water systems. 

This isn’t a sponsored post, I just want to make up for laughing at what is a daily occurrence for so many people around the globe.

Yet another accidental animal addition…

Yet another accidental animal addition…

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Intruder alert!

Yes, that is a one-eyed cockerel.  He mysteriously appeared in the garden yesterday morning.  I’m guessing from his missing eye and the fact that he walks with a limp that he is an ex-fighter.  I’m going to ask around but I have a feeling he may have been thrown over the garden wall – we are a bit of an animal sanctuary anyway so it makes sense to add a battle worn fighting cock to the mix.  He spent the day following Marjorie around and it wasn’t until after a few hours that he actually made any attempt to have his wicked way with her.  I’m not sure what this means in terms of eggs and chicks and all that, I guess if she gets broody and sits on her eggs then perhaps we will have mini Marjories on the way!

Any ideas for a name for the gent?

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One day child, you shall be free range like me…

In other chicken news… the chicks are well into their teenage stages of development.  Marjorie has had a turn around from her initial dislike of the chicks and now won’t leave them alone!  We actually released the chicks into the garden free range this weekend (maybe the cockerel has a taste for the younger lady and this was the reason for his arrival…) so they are having fun running around and chilling out in the shade of the banana trees.

We also have a group of four jungle fowl that have taken up semi-residence in the back of our garden.  They are like skinny, long necked chickens and I am hoping that they join the ever growing flock that I have.  We are leaving them alone but each day they edge closer and closer to us – the more the merrier I say!  Just need to brush up on my egg recipes…!

That’s all for this backyard jungle update – stay tuned for more riveting news as it comes!

Meet the menagerie

Moving to Thailand (or anywhere, for that matter) changes people.  Learning to adapt, to make do, and to appreciate things that may not have been appreciated in a previous, non-expat life (like butter that actually tastes like butter, or Cadbury’s chocolate, or good underwear).

One of the most noticeable changes in myself (at least, it is the thing that I hear comments about the most), is my new found love for animals.  Some people are born animal lovers – I was not.  As a child I did have a bad tempered pet hamster that everyone was too afraid to hold, and a fairground goldfish that lived for 9 years (RIP Tyrone Mullet III) – but that’s about as far as my animal ownership had stretched until coming here.  Having never had a cat or dog or other animal where you actually get some loving payback for your care (usually in the form of licks, sniffs and cuddles) I just didn’t get the whole animal thing.  I certainly would never click on, like, or share a funny cat video online.  Oh how things have changed.

Those of you who have been following the blog for a while will recall the first animal to enter my life – a scrawny, flea ridden unidentified black cat found under the stairs at school on the last day of term.  I named her Cat, a non-name just in case she didn’t survive.  But, two years later she is alive and well in all her semi-Siamese, bug-eyed beauty.

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She’s such a babe.

 

A few months later, we added Patchy to the mix when we scooped him up from the flooded gutter at the side of the road during rainy season.  We initially couldn’t take him to Phuket with us and after a year staying with our old next door neighbour in Hat Yai he is now back with us.  He’s actually not very well at the moment and is having weekly chemotherapy sessions as he has a TVT (transmissible venereal tumour) AKA a sexually transmitted cancer.  Lesson learned here?  Get your animals neutered, especially if they are out on the streets gang banging the night away.  Luckily, the prognosis with these kind of tumours is very good, and don’t worry – as soon as he is well enough those balls are coming off.

Patches our not-so pup
Patchy… we went for quite an obvious name.

After the move to Phuket, another animal entered the picture; this time he chose to adopt us (we surely all know about Brian).  He’s old, he doesn’t have many teeth left and he has feline leukhemia (just call us Phuket animal hospice).  Sometimes I look at him and think he has gotten so fat and healthy he could last for years.  Other days I look at him and wonder how he is still going.  They don’t put animals down here so it may be a long stretch for Brian yet, but he is very happy in the menagerie and much better off than his last home under a car in our street.

Crusty-nosed Brian

 

Then, when we moved to our new house with a lovely big garden, Marjorie the chicken quickly appeared – inherited from a friend from work.  We were meant to be taking two chickens off her hands but one mysteriously disappeared (AKA someone spotted a plump looking hen and plucked her from the garden and onto the BBQ).  Marjorie was hand reared and loves people.  Most chickens run away when a person walks towards them, but Marjorie comes running!

I need to get a good quality picture of Marge!

 

When you’ve got one chicken, you may as well have a few more… and so five chicks were added to the clutch (yep, that is the collective noun for chickens there people).  Unhappy hens don’t lay eggs, and I didn’t want Marjorie to be lonely!

Little fluffy bums!

 

Sadly Lil Benny, the runt of the chicks, didn’t make it very long.  I learned an important message there about naming the smallest and cutest of a group of animals… small and cute = runt.  Runt = not gonna make it.  Lesson learned = lets avoid naming the chickens in future.  Also will help if we end up having to eat any of them (clearly Marjorie will not be appearing on the dining table any time soon).

RIP Lil Benny!

 

People often ask me what we will do with all of these animals when we finally move home.  Luckily for us, home is the UK – and the UK is surprisingly laid back on bringing animals into the country.  There are no quarantine requirements if your animal is micro chipped, has all of the necessary injections and a blood test to prove that they are rabies free.  The only difficult part is paying to fly them home… we’d better start saving now!  Obviously the chickens won’t be coming home with us.  Maybe we will have a big leaving BBQ… chicken wing, anyone?

I’m not quite there yet, but one day this may very well be me…