Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Fun and Games

Well, Thailand hit the worlds headlines again last night when over 30,000 protesters took to the streets of Bangkok, invaded a state-run TV station and took over Government House demanding that the current Government of Thailand step down. The protest was organised by the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) who say that the current Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej is a proxy for ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra who was outsted in the 2006 coup.

We knew when and where the demonstrations were happening so avoided that area yesterday (Bangkok is a big place so that wasn't so hard to do) but I was unprepared for the phone call from Chris announcing that there was to be a 6pm curfew in the city and that he had been told to pack up his stuff and go home - Samak had given the protesters a deadline of 6pm to disperse or he was going to send the riot police in. To be honest we were worried that there was going to be violent clashes and another coup but thankfully that's not happened - the riot police did go into the building and there were a few scuffles but no-one was seriously hurt. It appears that there is some kind of Mexican stand off at the moment....the demonstrators are still inside Government house and the police are still outside!! I'll keep you updated when we know more but in the mean goes on as normal....Chris is at work today and I attended my first Operation Smile Meeting as a Board Member.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Just had to share this.....

A story hit the headlines here today about a school in Thailand that now has three bathroom choices for it's read correctly....three.

and Transvestite

The Thai's are well known for their tolerance of the country’s very visible transsexual and transvestite community and they are regularly seen on TV soap operas and throughout Bangkok, working at department stores, restaurants and in office jobs. So when a school in North East Thailand did a survey last term that showed more than 200 of the school's 2,600 students considered themselves transgender they decided to take action. They built a unisex bathroom which features a human figure split in half — part woman in red and part man in blue. Below it are the words "Transvestite Toilet."

The headmaster of the school told a local newspaper that most students didn't have a problem with transvestites but were uneasy when it came to sharing toilet facilities -
transvestites using female restrooms made some of the girls uncomfortable and using the men’s room often resulted in harassment so they decided to give their students a toilet where they could go in peace without fear of being watched or laughed at.

'Three transgender students praised the new restroom as they plucked their eyebrows and applied face powder in front of the mirror outside the stalls'

Only In Thailand....

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Pho Bo Thai

Not a lot is going on at the moment!! We've been having a rather lovely time catching up with friends who have been away for the summer.....which basically means we've been eating too much and drinking too much (again!!).

So since I have been neglecting you I thought that I would share one of my favourite Thai recipes. It's called Pho Bo Thai and is a soup that you have as a main course. It takes an effortless three and a half hours to make plus cooling (It really is effortless I promise!!) and serves between four and six people depending on who you're having round. It's best to make the stock the day before but you can do it in the morning :-)

Pho Bo Thai -

  • 1 – 1.3kg beef rib or shin bone
  • 1 large onion, cut in half with skin on
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 50g fresh ginger, unpeeled and halved
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, bruised or grated zest of half a lemon
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce, plus extra to serve
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 200g medium rice noodles
  • 2 heads of Chinese-type greens, pak choi is ideal, roughly chopped
  • 2 thick-cut sirloin steaks, trimmed
  • Bunch of spring onions, cut into short lengths
  • 150g beansprouts
  • 2 – 3 small red chillies, sliced
  • 2 limes, halved
  • Small bunch of Vietnamese coriander, or regular coriander

  1. First, make the stock. Preheat the oven to 200/Fan 180/ gas 6. Put the bone, onion, garlic and ginger in a roasting tray and cook for 1 hour.
  2. Transfer to a large pan and add 2.5 litres cold water. Add the cinnamon, cloves and lemongrass or zest and bring to a simmer on the hob. Cook for 2 hours, then strain into a bowl, discarding the solids – you should have about 1 litre. Season with the fish sauce, salt and sugar. Ideally, cool overnight, then skim any fat from the top.
  3. To make the final dish, cook the noodles in plenty boiling water for 2 minutes, until just tender. Drain, cool under cold running water and divide the noodles between bowls.
  4. Put the stock into a large wok or pan and heat until simmering. Add the Chinese greens. Thinly slice the steaks, add to the pan and remove from the heat – this means the steak is only just cooked and very tender.
  5. Divide the soup between the bowls of noodles, then top with the spring onions. The beansprouts, chillies, limes and herbs are served at the table, with extra fish sauce. Each diner wilts the herbs and beansprouts into the broth, then tempers it with lime juice, chillies and fish sauce.
Told you it was's also absolutely yummy and looks fab on the table!! (Actually the recipe is a mixture of Thai and Vietnamese. The stock is unique as roasting bones with garlic and ginger is very unusual for Asian cooking. It's believed that this recipe was created somewhere at the Thai/Vietnamese border and is possibly a legacy of the French colonisation of Vietnam)

Let me know if you have a go at making it :-)

Monday, 18 August 2008

Romance is not dead!!

We decided that we were going to have a quiet night in the apartment on Friday night. We had dinner and then watched a bit of old episode of Friday Night with Jules Holland came on and after listening to it we decided to dig out our old LP's. (Yes, we still have a record player!!). We discovered that we have a lot of old crappy LP's but in amongst them were a few wee gems. Chris introduced me to The Notting Hillbillies and played their album 'Missing Presumed Having A Good Time'. I was surprised....I really liked them...they are a kinda mix of country (without the slit your wrists stuff) and blues. We ended up waltzing round the apartment which was rather romantic and a first for us!!

You can listen to them if you click here

Friday, 15 August 2008

Book Meme

Because we've been rather stressed and not doing much I thought I would do another meme. The lovely Caroline did this one and I thought I would give it a go

Look at the list of 'classics' and:

1) Bold those I've read.
2) Italicise those I intend to read.
3) [Bracket] the books I love.
4) Pass it on to a few others.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
[4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling]
[5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee]
6 The Bible
[7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte]
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
[11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott]
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
[16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien]
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
[19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger]
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
[23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens]
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
[25 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams]
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
[29 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll]
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
[33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis]
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
[36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis]
[37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini]
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie-the-Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
where is 44?
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
[48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood]
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Magus - John Fowles
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
[56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carols Ruiz Zafon]

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
[59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon]
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
[63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt]
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby-Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
[72 Dracula - Bram Stoker]
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - A. S. Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
[82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell]
[83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker]
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
[94 Watership Down - Richard Adams]
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

So I've read 47 out of the top (allegedly) 100 classics. I've put the books I intend to read in Italics.....but I would like to know which one out of that list you would recommend I start with. (Feel free to recommend a book that you have loved that's not on the list.....I'm going to the UK soon and will be book shopping:-))

I'm not going to tag anyone specifically for this but if you fancy doing it then give it a whirl

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Who's silly idea was that then.....

Erm....that would have been mine!!!

Tuesday was Queen Sirikit's birthday and as part of the celebrations there was a special Charity 1.8km 'fun run-walk' event being held in Benhakiti Park next to the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre. It only cost 250 baht to enter (£3) and all the money ra
ised was going towards The Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer to assist the early detection screening programme of the centre. Fantastic....thought I.....let's do that. It wasn't till later that I realised that registration for the event was at 6am....6AM....and by that time it was too late....I'd already sent an e-mail out to a few friends asking who fancied doing it (Note to self: Read EVERYTHING before asking people if they want to join you!!).

So on Tuesday Chris and I were up at 5am (inhumane time to be up in the morning!!) to be ready in time to meet up with Moon, Georgie and Debbie and be at the registration on time. Well, I had to laugh...we had no clue what was going on or where we needed to be and we discovered that having a Thai with you didn't necessarily make things any clearer!! What a giggle....after some time crowd watching and figuring out where to get numbers and pins to put said numbers on shirts...we finally worked out that there were three separate events that you could do. There was the proper run, the fun run and, if you didn't fancy either of them, you could spend the time it would take to do the run engaging in Community aerobics!!! We did the 'fun run-walk'...we even have a medal to prove it (although I think calling it a mini marathon was a bit of an imagination stretch!!)

We had a lovely relaxing afternoon recovering from our mornings activity and then the lovely Susan jetted in from Deli (She's staying with us for a couple of days). We had a blether and then we went out for Tapas. It was rather funny when this lot pitched up and started serenading us (They must have been bloody hot in that get up!!)

Monday, 11 August 2008


It's been a rather stressful few days!! My poor Mum has been diagnosed with Keratitis in both eyes and has been off work for the last couple of weeks (and will be off for the foreseeable future). I phoned my Gran on Friday night to see how she was doing only to be told that my Mum had just been admitted to Hospital. Her vision is bad because of the Keratitis but she had started to see star bursts which was caused by pressure building up behind her eye which, if not treated, could have meant losing the sight in that eye!! (Normal is between 13 and 25 and the pressure behind her eye was at 56). She has now had lazer treatment to reduce the pressure - they have made two wee holes in each eye. She got out on Saturday night but had to go back yesterday so they could check whether the pressure was building again. The Doc was worried that they holes were too small so they made them bigger and she's to go back on Thursday for a check up!! Horrible eh!!!

I'm got going to describe our sleepless nights so I thought I would do this meme which was passed to me by the lovely Hullabrouhaha :-)

1) My uncle once: played the organ in Liverpool Cathedral. It is the largest one in Britain.
2) Never in my life: have I felt so far away from family
3) When I was five: I told our next door neighbour to stuff her froggy face into the floor when she wouldn't give me a packet of crisps (The joys of listening to the Muppet Album!!)
4) High school was: definately not the best days of my life!!
5) I will never forget: The first time I met Chris
6) Once I met: Billy Connolly....I fell over his feet in a pub and landed in a heap on the floor!!
7) There's this girl I know: Who has had pornographic pictures taken of herself
8) Once, at a bar: I watched my best mate pretend to hump a cigarette machine whilst ABBA's Dancing Queen was on in the background. (You know who you are!!)
9) By noon: I am usually wondering what I'm going to have for dinner
10) Last night: I had a conversation with a guy on SL (Second Life) about the Wurzels
11) If only I had known: That if I wasn't happy about something I had the power to change it
12) Next time I go to church: I will probably be struck down by lightening!!
13) What worries me most: The people I love being unhappy
14) When I turn my head left I see: Books
15) When I turn my head right I see: A very spiky cat attacking a sock
16) You know I'm lying when: You always know when I'm's written all over my face!!
17) What I miss most about the eighties: Thinking Fame was cool!!
18) If I were a character in Shakespear I'd be: I have no idea....ashamed to admit it but I've not read any Shakespear!!
19) By this time next year: I will be painting
20) A better name for me would be: Donut (aparently!!)
21)I have a hard time understanding: Suicide bombers and anyone who can take the life of another human being
22) If I ever go back to school: I would poke my old art teacher in the eye for being crap and demotivating
23) You know I like you if: I slag you off
24) If I ever won an award, the first person I would thank would be: My husband
25) Take my advice, never: underestimate the potential cruelty or kindness of others (I pinched this one from Hulla.....I couldn't agree with it more!!)
26) My ideal breakfast is: Freshly baked croissant with butter and strawberry jam washed down with a lovely mug of hot tea.
27) A song I love but do not own is: The Lemonheads cover of the Simon and Garfunkle song 'Mrs Robinson'
28) If you visit my home town, I suggest you: get in touch and we'll get together
29) Why won't people: Accept responsibility for their own actions and stop blaming everyone else for their problems.
30) If you spend a night at my house: It will involve good food, good wine and lots of laughter
31) I'd stop my wedding for: Absolutely no-one!!!
32) The world could do without: Politicians!!!
33) I'd rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: Get on stage and perform
34) My favourite blonde is: Britney Spears.....she really went bonkers quite spectacularly!!
35) Paper clips are more useful than: A chocolate tea pot
36) If I do anything well: It's being able to put myself in someone else's shoes so I can understand their point of view
37) I can't help but: Laugh!!
38) I usually cry: At crappy films and TV programmes. I even managed to cry at The Simpsons once!! (How sad is that!!)
39) My advice to my child/nephew/niece: Have fun and try not to worry too will all work out in the end!!
40) And by the way: consider yourself tagged for this meme

Friday, 8 August 2008


The Thai's have an amazing ability.....they can sleep anywhere!!! Take a look at this lot......

That really doesn't look comfy does it!!!

She doesn't really strike me as the party animal type!!

Nor does she.....just goes to show what I know eh!!!

(Just in case you are wondering.....those weird hairy things are fruit called Rambutans.....Chris and I refer to them as aggressive strawberry's!!)

Fruit shopping can be sooooo tiring sometimes!!!
(She opened her eyes just as I took the picture)