Life, travel

Christmas in Chaing Mai 7

Travel to Chaing Rai

We travelled by red truck to the bus station after lovely breakfast yet again at the Ninety Nine Gallery Hotel.

We were on the 10.30 bus to Chaing Rai. This was a first class bus with toilet. There is a 2nd class without.

The journey took over four hours as it was raining hard. We saw three accidents on the highway. Apparently this is the highest cause of death in Thailand. Thank goodness we had a good driver.

Then after some help from satellite navigation we arrived at our new hotel. Baan Suan Jantra Home Stay.

I can only say this was a delightful surprise.

We had our own little house on stilts with two separate bedrooms and bathroom. The view to die for despite the rain.

There was Art everwhere. Sculptures and installations. Every piece special in its own right.


And Nee the lady of the house was very special from the start.

Liong had a lesson in how to make fried spring roll. We completed the evening with a home cooked meal and shared it with a family from Sweden. They became very special friends.

Off to bed to the sound of rain and insects and Thai countryside.

Life, travel

Christmas in Chaing Mai 4

This morning we decided to have a quiet day after yesterdays exercise. Late breakfast then out to see Wat Soundork

Beautiful temple so stunning!


Lunch menu nearby 40 Bhat ? 1.50 Then back to hotel. Liong went for a sleep.

I went for a full Thai Massage across the street. 250 Bhat.

First she scrubbed my feet. While I drank green tea. Then upstairs she dressed me in cotton top and trousers. Very modest. Then she began to massage. First my legs and feet. Using her body. At one point she had her foot in my groin while she stretched my leg. Uncomfortable but bliss at the same time.

Both arms were treated to same using her elbows for point pressure. A head massage. Then onto my front.

She literally knelt on my thighs whilst elbows were in my back.

Like I said uncomfortable but felt she released a lot of pent up tension. Will go back before I go home.

Bliss utter bliss.

After a nap we went out to the Black temple WAT lok Molee. Old siamese soldiers at the gate.

Under reconstruction but stunning again.

Outside in the courtyard was a lot of cross cultural/religious understanding. With Hindu and Bhuddist icons together.

Then the rooster king with all his roosters. Fascinating.


Finally we went to the sunday street market. A big event for tourists. Lots of music, people and great street food. The best ever spring rolls.

Home to bed. Its xmas eve. Tomorrow we go to the Elephants.

Life, travel

Christmas in Chaing Mai 3

Saturday 23rd Dec We had arranged to be picked up by our very own Red truck. A great way for regular Chaing Mai travel. You hail them like a taxi. But we hired one for half a day to go to 3 places. 1000 Bhat. First to Doi Pui a mongolian village. Tourists ++++++ I was a little overwhelmed at first with the small streets and shops. I also thought I had lost my money for the trip. I had it ready in my pocket. Then it was gone. I was afraid I had been a victim of tourist theft. But we went on to the gardens where people were wearing Mongolian dress. With a beautiful waterfall and flowers. Then back to the bus and there it was. My money safe in the floor of the bus. I was so happy. I gave it straight to our driver for his safekeeping. Then on to Doi ping and the Bhu bing palace. The Rose garden , beautiful flowers at this time of year in Dec. I found a giant Bamboo tree to hug. A lovely view for lunch With real Thai fish cake in Thailand

Lastly we move onto DOI SUTHEP 300 steps. The way of the mountain

Yes I made it all the way up. The temple at the top was spectacular.

What goes up must come down.

We lost our truck as there were so many but another Thai driver helped us out to get him to come to us. Very nice people.

Not too sure about the small children in Mongolian dress dancing for money. Their “mother” or chaperone sat in the back. Not sure how long they had been dancing. Sign said collecting money for scholorship. Hmmmmmm. We went back to the hotel for a short siesta then out to dinner via Tuk Tuk with reluctant small Santa.

Met up with some of Liongs university friends. All Cambodian. Thank goodness they all had a little english. The table was filled with food but soon finished. Tomorrow we will need a rest.

Life, travel

Christmas in Chaing Mai 2

Fri 22nd Dec

First day proper in Chaing Mai. Lovely breakfast in the hotel. Omelette made fresh for me. Good coffee.

Then we walk to discover the city. The weather is warm and sunny. Traffic busy. Memories of walking in Phnom Penh come flooding back. Lots of Motos (scooters). Lots of big cars and what look like red buses. The cheapest local transport.

Onto the temple. Big famius Chaing Mai temple Wat Phrasingha. Small meditation with lots of people. Weird life like monk statues.

Then onto smaller less touristic Wat Prasat

Then we spent time at Chaing mai University. My friend Liong showed me where she studies, where she eats, where she spends her time. Had proper thai food in thailand. Student life


Then onto the beautiful University lake where I did some yoga/thai chi.

Back to the hotel for a snooze.

Then out to see Christmas in Chaing Mai.

We had drinks at the Roof top bar in the Maya shopping mall

We eat in the market. Lovely authentic soup Mokathak. Not an english white person in sight. Great.

Tomorrow I have 300 steps to climb

better living, Life, shopping, Uncategorized


This morning I was charmed by something being shared on Facebook.  A cuddly bear playing peek-a- boo.  It was holding up a sheet in front of it’s face, then putting it down.  The child laughed.  It was very cute. According to the comments everyone apparently loved it, wanted it, recommended it.

I then began thinking. Why did the people commenting not want to play with their child themselves?  Why did they want to buy a bear to do it?  Or, was it just a sad marketing ploy to put all those different positive comments? Were those comments real? Hmmm


I do recognise that if we don’t buy lots of “stuff” the commercial world will collapse.  The world runs on the creation of products and services that we buy.  We are purchasing to support jobs, the economy etc, but really!!!! Who is getting rich with our money?  Manipulating us to buy products we really don’t need and stop us from interacting with our children.

Why don’t we use our buying power to encourage them to make stuff we really need.  Things that are useful to society as a whole. Big business won’t make as much money out of us.  But maybe we won’t have bought useless rubbish that is good for no one.

Is it not about time that we recognised that the discovery of eyebrows was yet just another marketing ploy. The development of one more section of the huge cosmetic industry to sell us yet more stuff. To entice us to buy products we just don’t need.  We apparently “want” them, because the companies have cleverly told us we do.

Advertisements do work. Isn’t it weird that suddenly wallpaper is in fashion again! So off we go and buy it.  That we need a new sofa “before xmas!”  That we really must have something in “check pattern” to wear, because that is the latest thing. No, no, no we don’t.  Please think. If you have money to spend in this manner how could you use it to help someone else. Buy someone else a new sofa who hasn’t got one.


The thing that children need most is time with people who love them. Ask them they will tell you.    To show them how to live in the world. How to be kind. How to have fun.  I promise you, you do not need to buy a toy to occupy them with something you can do together. Time is free.   It is a lovely feeling to know it is you that have helped them smile and giggle


Oh, and just because the “Kardashians” have it, does not mean you need it too. Really you don’t. Whatever the product is it won’t make you happier or more beautiful, whatever the advert says.

We as humans are better than this. We know when we are being manipulated; exploited; used. Your children will still love you and appreciate the things you can give, without bankrupting the family.

Look around your house at all the “stuff” you have. Does it make you satisfied?  Look at the people you love. How does that make you feel?

Please don’t buy the peek-a-boo bear.  Interact with your child yourself.  The smile you get in return will stay with you longer than the “flashing light glow headwear” you just had to buy for halloween/bonfire night.

age, carers, Dementia, Life, poetry



Its difficult caring for an ageing mum

For a daughter, and a son

Its difficult caring when it’s so full time

Nights into day, no space was mine


It got so bad that it that it affected my health

Came on slowly, dangerous with stealth

Had a mental meltdown, had to run away

Now feel guilty, what more can I say


I need to go back, but my mind is not ready

I need to feel more balanced and really steady

My mum needs me, but I also need to be Okay

Need to find a better way.


It will be difficult, as family relationships are hard

Communication and understanding, often marred

By events that happened a long time ago

But they are back and graphic, it is just so


It can’t be forgotten and brushed aside

Even with our mother needing us unified

So, I am lost and trapped and I don’t know what to do

I just know I cannot deal with you

age, carers, Dementia, Life

Mum: Things that are working/things that are not

Over the last few months we have now developed a routine. She had a routine but there is now a her and me routine too. It has taken a few months to settle but she is not shouting at me quite so much.  She even says “I am glad you’re here” sometimes when we have had to get over a difficult moment.

So mum gets up to go to the loo about 8am 8.30 and then she goes back to bed. I get up and get the breakfast things out. It really is important to me that she still sits at the table with the tablecloth and the teapot and an old-fashioned glass milk jug.  This was her standard. I try and keep to it but I do know when I am not here she does the minimum but at least she can still do the minimum.

Then I will go to work. On Mon and Wed she either goes to the bank with my brother or her sister shopping.  This means I am a little anxious to ensure she is ready to go out when they arrive. I recognise this is my anxiety more than hers or theirs but she tells me she hates rushing and not being ready when they come. So I try and help her to be ready.

I try and make sure she looks good when she goes out. She has always been known for looking smart and colour co-ordinated. So we try and keep the standard.

At 11 she usually has a cup of coffee with a piece of toast or a couple of biscuits.  This is to keep regular food throughout the day for her diabetes.  I am not sure she was eating something at this time before I came to stay with her. She had lost weight.

At 12 12.30 we have lunch. I try to be there most days. Just for a sandwich or soup.  It is great that my job allows me to pop back.  My mum will have been asleep in the chair.

Then the afternoon I have either gone to work or we try and do something around the house. Cleaning, cooking, ironing etc.  My mum would have changed all the curtains by now for summer. Sadly, we are a bit delayed this year. The things is it really would have bothered her in the past but doesn’t seem to anymore.

Then we have tea/dinner around 5 -5.30.  My mum gets a bit jumpy if it is not on time.  She does still make her own tea but it takes a while.  I do cook most meals now. Or  I try to make them as easy as possible when she has to do it for herself. We are both paranoid about gas taps on the cooker being left on. But I can be as forgetful as her if not more so.  Maybe I have dementia?

We generally watch TV in the evening. Most soaps and some drama and then the News and then to bed. I am not sure my mum can follow the story anymore. If I react to something she asks. “what happened?”.  I also work on my computer at this time. It means we can be companionable in the same room but doing what we both want to do.  Earphones are a marvellous invention.

My mum really likes quiet. So I can have the radio going in my ear and not disturb her.  But we can still have a conversation.

 We are often in bed by 10.30 and I help her shower a few times a week. She is frightened of falling and it is a bit of a struggle physically and psychologically but we manage.  I am grateful for the early night I was not aware of how tired I might feel.

But there are some things that are deteriorating and beginning to worry me.

 At breakfast she struggles with the boxes of cereal, even the plastic boxes she bought herself.  She has also developed a tremor when she tries to drink her tea. This has become more marked over the last couple of weeks.  She is not walking as well as she was either.  She has definitely got a “wobble”.  We can laugh about it and we have decided to call her Mrs Wobble, a new character for the Mr Men series.  Her sister, my aunt, who has a wheeze has become Miss Wheezy.  But we do laugh which is good.

She has been on antibiotics for an infection but her cough still is quite bad.  So today the doctor is calling. My mum will not like it but I think it is important that she gets checked out. 

I am now getting concerned as I am supposed to be working at the weekend. Beginning already to feel guilty for leaving my mum.

But my brother says he will call around in the day when I am out.  I have to say, he has done a great job of the garden and my mum does have a lovely place to sit. But getting there with Mrs Wobbly is getting harder.

 I do wonder if I have done too much for my mum and made her “give up” slightly.  If you don’t move, your ability to move does get less. She spends a lot of time asleep in her chair.  But I want to look after my mum. I want to cook for her and help her if I can.  She is 84.  It is a constant psychological battle.  We have to be grateful for every day.

There has been a bomb in Manchester that killed a lot of people at the Manchester Arena. My mum watched the telly all day.  She said she felt she had to.  This is not like her she only turns it on in the evening. But she is right there with the whole of Manchester standing together against this outrage.