Monday, 30 May 2016

Last full day

Today is my last full day in Hua Hin before I jet off to Australia tomorrow.

I've not had the best few days as I got bitten or stung by something nasty on my finger two days ago, which swelled up and the swelling was travelling down my hand to my wrist. Freaked out? Sure was! Thank goodness for the great worldwide interweb and the fact that I never travel these days without a whole load of meds of various sorts. The nurse here at the resort gave me some ointment to put on, but it was still hurting so I looked up online and I discovered that Ibubrofen gel is great for painful, swelling bites or stings. Thank goodness I'd packed mine, just in case I had a back twinge. It worked a treat. My finger is still a bit swollen and painful, but not nearly as bad as yesterday.

Also, we've had thunderstorms and as I'm a person of very delicate constitution my body seems to react to changes in air pressure by giving me headaches. Great!

My aircon was fixed pretty smartly the other day and, apart from trying to tell two Thai engineers a joke about how many engineers it takes to fix an aircon unit... ok, well never mind... I got the same reaction from the Thai guys who just looked at me completely nonplussed, I was super pleased that they didn't take too long to fix it.

I've still had very little work, so have employed my time by getting on with planning my next book. I'm quite excited about this one, which is about the menopause, but it's for men to understand what their women are going through. I don't think it's going to be as easy to write as Learn To Stress Less, especially as my holidays are now looming. I now have a desk completely covered in post-it notes and am thinking of sticking them to the inside of my suitcase so I don't lose the order. I'll see what writing I can get done whilst in Australia, but I have 2.5 weeks when I get back here in mid June to crack on with it as the guest occupancy here is pretty low (30%) as there are renovations taking place and half the place is shut down, so I don't think I'm going to be needed very much.

I've also been getting on with the poetry course I signed up to, which is 10 weeks long and we have a week to write a poem and then a week to critique everyone's and then back to writing a poem again. Now on week 3 and I'm up to speed so am feeling pretty good about that, even if my poems aren't of the best at least I've got something down on paper.

So that's me. Tan - ticked, 2.5 weeks of good food - ticked, 2.5 weeks of no alcohol - ticked, excited about Australia - ticked.

Sydney here I come!

Friday, 27 May 2016

Not all is comfort and joy

I know I like it hot, but sometimes I just wish for a little cool. Last night for example when my aircon broke down and I had the most unbelievably sticky night at 35 degrees. I opened my windows for some air, but then there were so many trucks going down the road outside in the night that it was almost impossible to get any sleep at all.

I made the decision this morning that breakfast in the airconditioned restaurant was more important than 1) calling the engineer and 2) sitting outside for breakfast like I usually do. That, at least, was a good decision!

Now I have to sit in my hot and sticky room, by the window, wallowing in the tiny breeze that comes as respite and hope the engineer comes to rescue me asap. I have very little work today - more's the pity, but I'm heading on down to the pool for my exercise session at 11 and will enjoy the cool of the water.

It hasn't helped that I received my first mozzie bite yesterday too. So last night was not only sticky and hot, but itchy too. Not the best!

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Next stop....?

One of the lovely things about working here is the amount of very interesting people who come and stay. Of course there's also the other side... the demanding and sometimes, downright rude folk. But the majority are great fun, fascinating to talk to and seem to be genuinely interested in what I have to say - ok, apart from the super rich guy who took a fancy to me and left me his hat to deliver to him over lunch in Sydney, but that's a whole other story!

The other day I was talking to a couple who'd come to my early morning Qiqong class and who loved it. They then told me they owned a spa place in Mauritius and would I be interested in coming over there and teaching Qiqong. Would I? Hmmm... let me think about it. Spa place, lovely climate, a country I've never been... yup, that'll do me. So I said yes.

Today I was doing a fitness class in the pool and at the end got talking to a guest who told me he hails from New Zealand. We chatted a bit and he has relatives in Scotland and I told him I'd never been to NZ, but always wanted to go. He then asked me what I did and when I told him he said, 'Well would you like to come over to Hawk's Bay and teach my staff stress management?' Would I etc etc? Sure as hell I would! I've always wanted to go to NZ (and in fact I actually have a practising certificate for there, though I'm sure by now it's out of date) but due to circumstances never managed to get to go.

I'm not sure if the Mauritius one will come off as I'll have to wait and see if I hear from that couple, but the NZ guy shook my hand and said, 'deal', so I presume a gentleman's agreement is a pretty sure thing.

How exciting. Next year is already in the planning!

Friday, 20 May 2016

Time in Thailand

Here I am in beautiful Hua Hin. It took me several days to get over my jet lag, but I'm well and truly past that now. I didn't have any work for the first few days, which might or might not have been a good thing, but I've been working on my tan instead!

It took me a day or two to realise that where I'd been put in regards to rooms wasn't great for me as it meant I didn't have access to a balcony, but that was remedied and now I have the same room I had last year, so that feels familiar and rather lovely. The new building where I was originally has no openable windows, a great shower room and very strong air con. The old building, where I am now, has windows that I can open leading on to my balcony, an old shower and pretty ropey air con, but I know which I prefer by far. Apparently when I do my second stint I'll be in a different room, but still in the old building, so that's good.

And the last couple of days I've had clients to see and classes to teach so I'm feeling much better about eating my weight in food and spending my liberal spare time on my balcony. One minor problem is that I only have a high backed chair to sit on out there so it means my front is getting nicely tanned, while my back is pretty white. This will, I hope, be remedied when I have my day off. Because I've suddenly become popular I discovered today when I went to book my time out that I had clients right up til Tuesday, so I got that in there pdq before I found myself without a day off at all, which wouldn't do.

The food here is just fantastic and very 'clean'. They cook with no oil, sugar or salt and just use herbs and spices to make everything very tasty and is probably one of the best cuisines I've ever tasted, but I'm sorry to so say I hived my arse off down to the local Tesco (yes there's one here - but called Lotus Tesco) to buy some rather tasty cheesy crisp things. It wouldn't do for my system to become overloaded with purely good food now would it? I don't think I'd be able to sustain that habit at home!

When I got here it was just like I'd not been away. All the staff are the same and I was greeted with hugs and kisses. Even the General Manager came to say hi to me, so I felt truly welcomed.

Here's a couple of pics for you... tho having a camera is not allowed, so I had to sneak them, which is why they're probably not that clear, but will give you an impression of what it's like here.

Looking out to the Gulf of Thailand over the courtyard

One of the beautiful trees that I can see on my way to work

Saturday, 14 May 2016

There's early and then there's EARLY

Those of you who know me well know that I hate being late and would rather get places early and wait around than be rushing. Well, today I exceeded myself!

Last week when I looked at my flight info I checked my ticket and thought 'Great, my flight is at 15.15 and so I'll get up nice and early and have a leisurely travel out to Heathrow with no problems.'

And so, this morning, I got up at my usual 6 am and did all my bits and pieces in a very relaxed fashion, packed my suitcase and got the bus to Paddington to get the Heathrow Express. I felt particularly good at not having to hurry and arrived at Heathrow at just before 11, but when I looked on the departure board there was no sign of my flight.

I got my ticket out and just couldn't stop laughing! The time I'd been looking at was the time of my arrival in Bangkok and not my departure time! That was actually 21.30. Oh dear, what to do? I did think I could zip back into London, but then I'd just be hanging about there and my mother's house isn't the most comfortable for me. So on talking to the check-in guy I made the decision to check-in and, as I'm travelling Business Class to go to the lounge and relax for the day.

The check-in guy was such a sweetie. He took me to a special desk and insisted his pal check me in. Even my seat number is 1! My big suitcase (better known as The Beast) got checked in and then I was directed to the other side of the airport where the Business Class lounge is and here I sit, enjoying the food and drink and doing some work.

I've got a poetry course I'm working on so no excuses for me not getting my poem in on time and there's always other bits of work that need to be done.

And by the way... my book is now out in paperback! I'm really pleased with it and if you want to purchase a copy do go to either of these links below:

For go here.

For go here.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

An unbelievably cute moment

Packed? Yes!

Ready to go? Yes!

But even better, my adorably cute resident hedgehog has decided I'm an ok person to be around and today fed from my hand! I was amazed and truly grateful for such a wonderful experience. I did take a video of it, but could I upload it? No. So sorry, all you get is this still photo, but it shows the moment and you can't really ask for more than that now can you?

What a wonderful moment!

Monday, 9 May 2016

Garden tales

The sun is shining and my hedgehog loves coming out and snooping round the garden and doesn't mind me getting close. I've still got some hedgehog food, so if he's out at the same time as me at lunch time, I put some in a little dish for him and we sit very companionably and have our lunch together.

Eating lunch

Climbing out of the dish once lunch is finished
My Australia plans have also been decided. I'm extending my stay and so will have 6 days in Sydney then fly to Perth for 4 days then back to Sydney for another 2 days before jetting back to Thailand again. It all feels good now.

My major decision now is what to pack, but I'm slowly getting there. It's been impeded slightly by the lovely weather we're having as I can't bear to be inside when the sun is shining, so have spent the last couple of days outside as much as possible. But then this is Scotland and to have so much fab sunshine around I feel I just have to make the best of it.

It went from 10 degrees on Saturday to 22 Sunday! And the hedgehog and I have spent our time along with all kinds of lovely butterflies, which is great. Also the birds and bees are out in force too, so spending time in the garden and being surrounded by all that visits is a wonderful thing.

And best of all, my tan is doing well so I won't look all 'pale and interesting' when I get to Hua Hin. Hooray!

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Making my mind up

It's not long now until I jet off to Thailand. I'm so looking forward to some sunshine with heat behind it as I'm still in my down jacket for most of the time here in Scotland. We always smile and say things like 'Well it's not windy or raining today, so it's all good', but actually it's not. And when the sun comes out we rush around like lunatics trying to get some of that Vitamin D. So sunny climes are a complete draw and I know I'm super lucky to be going off to work in such a lovely place as Hua Hin.

But then I've got my holiday in Australia to come too. And it'll be winter there. Still I've got my squashable down coat and jacket and vest to take with me, so I shouldn't feel too cold. But where will I spend my time? That's the big question and I keep changing my mind.

I'm now wondering if I should change my plans to extend my trip so that I can head to Perth to see my musician pal Jim, who's said he wants me to come and visit. Given that I'm landing in Sydney and Perth is the other side of the country, this isn't the best of plans, but then I want to see my friends while I'm there and I can't help it that they live on opposite parts of Australia.

Also I had made a huge mistake in timing. I have been given a wonderful opportunity to do a webinar with someone I've become friendly with on the internet. She runs a service called Red Pen, which is all about editing your writing for yourself and is an author too. Anyway, she offered me this gig to promote my book and I'm very grateful to her for that. It's going to be happening on the 6th June when I'm in Australia. But I'd totally forgotten that Sydney is 9 hours ahead of UK and so it'll actually be 7th of June there when I'm speaking.

So now I've had to extend my initial stay in Sydney (where I know I'll have stable internet and be in one place in a hotel room with no interruptions so can chat online to my heart's content) until the 7th. Do I have time to get to Perth? Should I stay longer in Sydney? Or should I head back to Thailand to visit with another friend, who's invited me to visit with him in Chiang Mai instead of staying in Bangkok for several days? Or do I junk the extra Thai days and stay in Australia for longer?

Decisions, decisions. And that's not all. The other logistical nightmare is the hard copy of my book. This typeface or that? Size of font? Cover, should it be matte or shiny?

I've not really made my mind up about any of this and I'm hoping that all will be revealed to me very soon. At least it had better be as time is running out!

Sunday, 1 May 2016

What not to do

It's May Bank Holiday here in the UK and I made the decision yesterday to go to Edinburgh and do some things that needed done.

One of those was changing my glasses case. As you know (if you read my blog from 21st April) I have new glasses. They are incredibly pink. Well I also bought a down vest, which is also pink. And it just so happens that I was in Asda and bought a new water bottle and as the choice was pink or blue... yes, you guessed it, I went for the pink. And then I realised my whole world had turned into a complete pink experience! Even the glasses case that Nigel the Optician had given me was pink!

Well I couldn't change the vest, nor the water bottle nor my glasses. But the one thing I could change was the glasses case. So while I was in Edinburgh I went along to the opticians to plead my cause. They thought it was absolutely hysterical!

However, when they went to look in the glasses case drawer there were only brown and black left, but as luck would have it they had just given another customer, who was just purchasing her new glasses, the last purple case. She immediately turned to me and said, 'Ooh I love the pink, would you possibly swap?' Would I?! I grabbed her case and shoved the pink one in her hand and got out of there pdq before she changed her mind! I left them all laughing in the shop... well at least I made them all laugh!

From there I headed out to Costco. And this was the biggest mistake of all. I hadn't realised how many folk in Edinburgh had the same idea as me, but let me tell you, it was as though pretty much the whole of the city had descended on Costco. It took me 45 minutes to buy 5 items, but the good thing is that I had my lunch on the way round with all the freebies on offer.

So there you have it. Don't allow too much pink in your lives and don't go to Costco on a Bank Holiday!