Escape to Chiang Mai

Well Christmas came and went with barely a ripple. That’s Thailand for you. You only started to see Christmas Trees and decorations a few days before and none of the headless chicken rushing around like in the Western world.

It’s very refreshing. In the U.K. it appears to be overspending, overeating, overdrinking and just a huge consumer moment. What happened to the ‘peace and goodwill to all men’, it has seemingly got lost in the retail frenzy. On Christmas day, we were wished Merry Christmas by lots of Thais, well Melly Clistmas because they have a real problem pronouncing their ‘R’s’, they are very sweet, lovely people. There were Christmas outfits available too, but Chris didn’t fancy his…….

We went to the gym and I went to another Christmas Zumba party. We all wore Santa hats, it got a bit hot, red face to match the red hat, but again it was great fun. They want you to join in, you can’t hide in the corner, they come and get you!

For the first time when we have been away for the holidays we decided to have Christmas dinner out at a restaurant in the city. We were both looking forward to it and it was as good as we hoped it would be. Full Christmas fare with pudding and brandy sauce. It was an all you could eat buffet with 3 different meats, roast potatoes, sprouts, stuffing lots of veggies, it was very good. I don’t think they realised that 2 dinners Chris was coming, he made up for all the people with small appetites.

On Boxing Day we again went to the gym to remove some of the excesses of the xmas dinner. After we’d finished doing gym stuff we had a game of table tennis. We have been doing this every time we go in and have really enjoyed it, it’s fun. The bats were pretty ropey so after a couple of weeks we spent £5 in the local sports shop and bought our own. I’d forgotten how much fun it can be, and how rubbish we are, but I must say we are slightly improving. We are thinking we will buy ourselves a second hand table when we’re home and keep playing.

We went on a longer bike ride out of the city a few days ago to an area that has lots of lakes and reservoirs. On the way there, in the middle of nowhere, we saw a plane with no wings just on the side of the road. We pulled over and noticed there were a lot more just in a field along a dirt track. Bits of wings and fuselage, a whole plane and many other bits and pieces. This place is 30 miles from the nearest airport and there are no roads big enough, or straight enough, or long enough to land them on. How on earth did they get there?

The lakes and reservoirs are very pretty. It is on a big estate which also has an Agricultural Centre which had been started by the old King and is used primarily for educational purposes. There was a fish farm, weather station, lots of fields with different crops growing and a very sad little zoo.

We didn’t stay long in the zoo it seemed dreary, unkempt and desolate. There was the most beautiful large owl who when we approached seemed to chatter to us and came closer, I talked softly and the owl seemed to talk back, it seemed very sad and lonely. It was very depressing. Animal welfare is still a problem here but mostly it’s got a lot better.

On a brighter note I went today to the cinema with Chris and saw the new Mary Poppins film. I can’t tell you how giddy I was, time was going backwards, there was a palpable excitement, I could barely wait. Got there early….too early maybe

With Lin-Manuel Miranda and Emily Blunt, new songs, dancing and singing animals, animation and the normal Disney brilliance. Hallelujah!!

The original came out when I was 9, I know every song backwards, I have seen it many times. It really must be Christmas.

I had read the reviews, they weren’t brilliant. TAKE NO NOTICE, it was classic Disney at its best. The songs were memorable, a great cast with Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury and that cheeky cockney Dick Van Dyke (still with a dodgy accent), all with a cameo role. Brilliant. It sounds soppy but I had a tears in my eyes when Mary first appeared. Let’s set the scene. It suddenly gets very windy, leaves swirling round and round on the road outside the house…… and down comes Mary Poppins, parrot headed umbrella in her hand ready to weave her magic and save the day. I’m not spoiling anything because that’s how she arrives in the first one. Cheer yourself up, go and see it, be 9 again…….we all need a bit of magic and singing animals in our lives.

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