Wednesday, 30 November 2011

First Thing And We Were Off To Drop Diana Off,

at the beauty shop,

 the We Care Clinic, whilst she was there, I had a few things to do,

 like stop off at the bank,

again! you can just see the sea, it is just beyond the Pattaya Beer Garden, where we will be having lunch later,

 as I went into the bank one of the security guards was having a chat with a local vendor,

our next port of call, but as usual I then went home and spent a bit more time on my stamps till Diana called to say her treatment was finished,

we then drove into Walking Street to park the bike, no sooner had we parked than Steve walked past, an almost impossible coincidence, we both said how many things meant that in just a few seconds either way we could have missed each other, strange,

 we both had to take a picture of the shrine on the way in to the bar,

 and one of a view along the bay,

 chicken and vegetables with rice for Diana,

 an Indian curry with rice for me,

 'Cheers!', from Steve and myself,

 a party of tourists returns from one of the islands,

 every one say Ah!

then home for a few DVDs, we watched the next in the Michael Palin travel box, Full Circle, for the first time since Great Railway Journeys his Billingham bag made a come back, but more of that later,

we both fancied a bit of a laugh, so what better than Monster Quest? it is so funny watching people looking for things that are plainly not there, not even a single hair! but the quest goes on, in one the team are looking for a wolfman, a wolf howls, the team immediately say it is the wolfman, but with out any actual proof could it have been say - a wolf?

even better a dead tree stump that has been burnt and charred allegedly by radiation and has given out poisonous gasses, scientists analyses the soil, trunk and bark, nothing unusual is found, now it gets creepy, what could have caused such damage? the team is bewildered, this can not be explained, all of this charring of the bark and stump - I wondered if they had thought of a lighting strike? such fun,

then almost like meeting an old friend, Michael Palin invites us along for the ride, this time Full Circle, but what a surprise, in Vladivostok Michael joins the Pacific Fleet Navy Choir and sings a song that I had sung when I was in Croydon Parish Choir, (we sung the English version), in Russian it is called Polushka Pole, I think Diana was surprised I knew it, the video clip has a bit of a long intro, but great fun to watch Michael when he is singing,

we rounded of the evening with another from Midsomer Murders, Secrets and Spies, it was like Baranby meets MI5, spy's and spooks everywhere, Brenda Packard tells Barnaby that Allenby House, owned by testy ex-spymaster Malcolm Frazer, is a safe house for agents, but after a series of murders that look like they have been done by an animal is the house really safe? then for us off to bed.

The Latest In The Snuff Box Collection of George and Mary Bloch,

has come up for auction,

this bottle at just three inches high, a miniature Chinese snuff bottle stunned bystanders as it sparked a bidding frenzy, collectors eager to snap up the highly prized artifact, battled it out pushing the the price five times over the pre-sale estimate of £400,000, I have mention the providence of this collection before in previous posts, in 24 March 2010 and again in May 2010, I wonder what new records will be broken in the next sale?

Only 24 Days To Go!

so I thought I would do a couple of posts about Christmas,
as it is the 1st of December tomorrow, so on with the festivities, in the hamlet of Dunsdale, Cleveland, the local council brought out their pride and joy, last years Christmas tree, lovingly nurtured by the parks department ready now for this years festivities, the joy this sight of a beautiful Christmas tree must have brought to the people must have been beyond measure,

well not quiet, according to Diane Jenkins, whose children Daisy and Hope Evans took a good look at the tree when they came home from New Marske Primary School yesterday, called it 'pitiful,' and neighbour Ian Shaw described it as a 'twig', retired construction manager Mr Berridge, 63, said: 'the top two feet still has green branches on it but the rest is dead, the cables for the lights are thicker than the branches, it's an eyesore, I know times are hard but in this case, no tree is better than what we've been given',

the council replied to criticisms, a spokesperson for Redcar and Cleeland Council said: 'the tree was part of a Christmas tree planting programme which the council has been working with several local communities on over the past year, it is an extremely worthwhile initiative, about sustainable planting, and one which we are pleased has been welcomed by the Dunsdale Residents' Association',

the spokesperson added, ''we are now looking for a more suitable replacement.'

Moving On From Trees,

lets have a look at some Christmas lights,

but Wayne Skinner, 23, has beaten most of us to it, his house in Bolsover, Derbys, is covered in around 200 sets of lights and displays — with a staggering 1,200 LED bulbs on the walls alone, visitors to their home help them raise money for a good cause, this year, the Skinners are supporting the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society, Wayne started putting up the decorations in September, so he had a good start over most of us, now let me see, where did I put them after I took our Christmas lights down last year?

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

We Had Not Seen Don For Some Time,

so I called round to have a coffee and a chat,

 also to have a look at the fish in the pool,

he keeps koi carp which are normally looking for food at the surface, but today were more than a little camera shy,

Don was his usual jovial self even though he had a minor operation on his leg that had become infected after his fall, as we were drinking coffee Derrick also called by to say Hi, then I was off,

to KPK Foods for some of their delicious sausages, it is in Soi Yumae, the road behind what was known as Care Four, a little expensive at 250 baht a kilo, but so far the best in town,

the home feet up for a few DVDs, first a two part DVD Longitude, a real gem, it is two stories in one running in parallel, in the 18th century Harrison builds the marine chronometer for safe navigation at sea, in the 20th century Gould is obsessed with restoring it, great acting and story, even better so as we saw all 4 of Harrison's clocks when we visited the Royal Observatory in Greenwich in September 2010, back to the film, basically if at sea you did not have accurate time on board a ship there was a good chance that you could be many miles off course as many ships captains found out to their and their crews cost,

the film's main story is that of craftsman John Harrison, he built a clock that would do the job, what we would now call a marine chronometer, told in parallel is the 20th century story of Rupert Gould, for whom the restoration of Harrison's clocks to working order became first a hobby, then an obsession that threatened to wreck his life, for me a must see factual film,

this is one of may places that Diana and myself would like to visit, the Egyptian Pyramids, an interesting DVD, part of a set of 8, it explores amongst others a method of raising the stones that make the pyramids by using levers and ropes, not a slope as many people think, the evidence is there, many stones have slots cut into them where it is alleged the levers would have been placed, but I wonder if we will ever definitively know how they were built? great DVD by the way,

the first of the Police Academy series next, new rules enforced by the Lady Mayoress mean that sex, weight, height and intelligence need no longer be a factor for joining the Police Force, a film I guess most have seen and for us found to be funny, all the more so by watching the interviews of the actors after the film finished, looking forward to part two,

to round off the morning the start of series twelve of Midsomer Murders, The Dogleg Murders being first, bullying snob Alistair Kingslake is killed with a golf iron at the Whiteacres golf club, after another member, Miles Tully, tells Barnaby about illegal gambling among players, another member, who has had an 'odd phone call' is also slain, this episode full of hatred, gambling, violence, jealousy, extortion and murder, just like a golf club really,

then to The Black Book, before I start I have to say Diana guessed it in one, as my choices for who the culprit was were killed off one by one, at the end with a choice of two suspects I still chose the wrong one! an elderly woman discovers an old painting in her house, it turns out to be a previously unknown painting by Hogson, a famous 18th century painter, it's sold at an auction for 400,000 pounds to a collector, but what happens if some one can prove it may be a fake? then for us off to bed.

Although Not Every Ones Idea Of Fun,

as a kid back in the late 1950s,

I used to spend so much time at the Natural History Museum in London it was almost my second home, the dinosaur and whale halls being my favourite galleries, so I have just noticed some thing I would have made a bee line for that went on display last week, a fossil Archaeopteryx lithographica that was first discovered in 1861, it is famous for being the fossil that confirmed Darwin’s theory of evolution, it is a of a feathered bird, it shows both bird and reptile features and was discovered just two years after Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859,

my copy was printed a bit later in 1998! but back to Archaeopteryx (meaning ancient wing), it lived 147 million years ago during the late Jurassic Period, it had a bird-like feathered tail and wings along with a reptilian long bony tail, teeth and three claw-like fingers, the discovery of this fossil in 1861 was a breakthrough, giving the first snapshot of evolution in action between two major groups, it later became a key piece of evidence in demonstrating that birds are the descendants of dinosaurs, what fun days I used to spend at the museum.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Sunday Again,

so we were off for a Sunday roast lunch,

 Diana pretty in pink with matching earrings,

this week we were off to the Robin's Nest in Soi Diana, 

 we must have been a bit early as some of the food had not yet been placed out yet, but there was more than enough to be going on with,

 joining us today was Anita and Steve, over here for a couple of weeks holiday,

well we had to get in the pictures as well! the lunch as usual was all that we hoped it would be, after dessert we all came back to 388 and had a nice afternoon chatting away, after our guests had left we settled down to watch a few DVDs,

Micheal Palin was on first, we watched all of the Pole to Pole series, for me an unexpected surprise as the team headed down Lake Tanganyika to Mpulungu, where many years ago Neil and myself stayed and I made a underwater film to show in the shop, (also where I caught a nasty and ended up staying in the The Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London for 10 days on my return), but that's another story, but great fun to see the village that we shopped at,

we rounded off the evening, well early morning by watching another Midsomer Murder, this time Talking to the Dead, the Goodfellows and Thomases have vanished, leaving half-eaten breakfasts on the table, some years earlier the Thomases' son died in nearby Monks Barton woods, believed to be haunted, and flamboyant psychic Cyrus LeVanu arrives to perform an exorcism in the woods, but some one is really haunting the woods, who and why are the questions, both of which I failed to guess, then for us it was off to bed.

Apart From Being A Little Antisocial By Parking In A Disabled Bay,

I can not think the owner of this car will be too worried about paying for the ticket,

in fact if you think about it if all of the car parks are full or too far away to walk from why not park and risk a ticket, with car park charges rocketing if you leave your car and get a £40.00 or so ticket it could be cheaper than leaving it all day in a high price car par, but going back to this car at  £839,285 I guess the owner of this Bugatti Veyron will not have to worry too much about the cost of a parking fine,

speaking of expensive cars you could have bought a row of houses for the cost of this one when it was new, at £1,200, it is a Lanchester made in 1912, unusual in so far that Lanchester was one of the very few companies that made their own engine, chassis and coachwork, built for the Maharaja of Rewa it is only one of three still known to have survived, the 38 horsepower State Limousine was capable of doing 60mph, it appears the Maharajah was impressed with this car, he later ordered a 40hp Lanchester as its successor, if you are interested in becoming its new owner, have a few readies standing by, it is being sold by a collector at the Bonhams sale at Mercedes-Benz World in Weybridge, Surrey, on December 1, guide price about £100,000,

although many may never of heard of the Lanchester car, Fred, one of the three Lanchester brothers was considered to be one of the world's geniuses, Britain's Leonardo da Vinci, and is so highly regarded in Japan that over 3 million books have been sold, containing information derived from Lanchester research,

some of their clam to fame is that they designed hundreds of inventions and designs for cars such as disc brakes, rack & pinion steering, turbo charging, power steering, 4-wheel drive and even the humble accelerator pedal, apart from designing the first, all-British motor boat, to the first, all-British, 4-wheel motor car, to the fundamentals of flight, warfare and strategic planning, to music, colour photography and petrol-electric hybrid cars, yes you read that right, petrol-electric hybrid cars! geniuses, all of them.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

First Thing We Were Off To Makro,

to meet Bob and Porn,

 amongst other things we were getting low on my medicinal red wine,

 but I now have 10 liters in reserve,

 as soon as we arrived home and unpacked the shopping we were off again,

 to the RS Seaside Hotel on Jomtien Beach road,

 conveniently located for the beach just across the road,

we had called round to meet Steve and Anita, but we were a bit early, as we had a coffee a truck selling those small oranges we like pulled up outside,

 so Diana was off like a rocket,

 3 kilos for 100 baht, a bargain!

of course we had way too many, but I knew we would be giving some to our next door neighbour,

 then Steve and Anita arrived so we had a chat about where to meet up later,

next to Steve's room, he had very kindly bought Diana 3 huge bars of Toblerone, an early Christmas present and had kept them in the fridge, trouble is I can not see them lasting till Christmas!

 the view from his room,

when we returned I popped next door with some of the oranges, in her front garden I noticed a plant that I had not seen before,

 it looked quiet strange with green leaves that then turned to a sort of pink/purple,

 at the end of which was this small yellow flower,

 all to soon it was time to go again,

 it was getting dark as we made our way along Soi Diamond,

 past Sea Zone, we were on our way to the Pattaya Beer Garden,

the car at this bar was being cleaned, if you look carefully you can see he is wearing Health & Safety flip-flops!

 the Walking Street sign is still working I am happy to say, 

we sat at a table looking along the bay, apart from meeting Steve and Anita we had read there was going to be a fireworks display,

 but we (Diana) thought a table looking towards one of the floating restaurants would be better,

 in the event we moved again to a seat almost opposite the seafood restaurants,

the floating restaurant had a neon crab whose arms beckoned you by opening and closing, it was almost hypnotic,

after a plate of warm cashew nuts our meals arrived, chicken with vegetables and plain rice for myself,

 and a lasagna for Diana,

 Steve also went for the lasagna,

 whilst Anita had the chicken and rice,

 as we left the tide which was high as we arrived had now become low, as it happened we found out the fireworks had been cancelled till next month but it was a secret!

 next stop to Champions where we had a great time and were well looked after by all of the staff, then a walk back to the taxis,

 but on the way we pasted the bug cart, Diana just had to have some,

 most had already been sold,

 Anita could not believe her eyes,

 but she just had to try one,

 in it goes,

 then another,

 just a quick crunch,

 and taste the flavour!

 Diana of course needed no encouragement,

 then to the pancake stall,

 the first of three to go,

 now number two,

meanwhile on our side of the counter Anita decided she really liked the bugs, we should have bought the bigger bag,

 pancake number three on the way,

 cooked and almost ready to go,

 just cut into mouth sized pieces,

add condensed milk and sugar and we are good to go, we went our separate ways then a DVD when we arrived home,

we had watched From Hell, a little while ago but it was sort of the first one that came to hand, the story of Freemasons and a Royal cover up in this very atmospheric movie, then for us off to bed.