Lake Mabprachan, East pattaya, 11th February, 2011

I’m well into my second calendar month of sobriety and I am feeling fine.

Since I reduced my antidepressant meds from 30 grams to 15 grams per day I am feeling more awake and alert. I can’t claim to be deliriously happy but neither have I slipped into anything resembling a depression. If I am still feeling like this at the end of February I will stop the meds completely and see what gives.

Little Noo is still with me and as the days go by I realise more and more what a little gem she is and how much I rely on her to keep me on the ‘straight and narrow.’

As I write this, my car is in the shop and has been there since Wednesday morning.  It was due to be finished yesterday evening but when I called to confirm whether it would be ready for collection (because they never – ever call me!!) I was told they needed it for another night and it would be ready to collect today, ‘not later than noon’.

Well noon has come and gone and so far I have called twice but still no confirmation on when it will be finished!! The problem with this dealer is as much about communication as it is about their expertise in fixing things.

I am not in a position to judge whether another dealer would be able to fix my car any better or any quicker, (although I wager they couldn’t be any worse), but I do know that their communication skills are absolutely appalling. They never call me to keep me informed of progress (or lack of it) and when I call them, they act as though they have never heard of me or my car. When, in desperation, I call the American owner, he always tells me he will check and call me straight back, but rarely does. Then, when I leave the car there and complain to him about his staff’s communication failures, he promises that he will personally call me to advise when the car will be ready – but never does. I always have to call him.

This behaviour is from a guy who seriously believes I will buy a new BMW from him when my current one is 3 years old! The whole business is totally mind boggling. When and if I ever get my car back, I will never take it to that dealer again. I will take my chances in Bangkok.

Rant over.

My friend, Bob, and his Cambodian girlfriend came to stay with me last Thursday evening, having travelled overland from Phnom Penh. He was here only one day when he went down with a bad cold and a racking, chesty cough and spent the next two days in bed. His girlfriend speaks no Thai and little English so it wasn’t an easy time for Noo and me to take care of the two of them, particularly as the young Kymer lady cannot eat anything spicy and became violently sick every time we went out in my car.

Anyway, we worked our way through it all and I must say I was somewhat relieved when I dropped the two of them at the airport on Tuesday afternoon.

As soon as Bob left I developed his symptoms and have since been suffering from similar ails. Maybe I should think twice before accepting any more ‘travellers’ into the ‘Mobi nest’.

I have recently been watching ‘True Blood’ and ‘The Good wife’  – two highly rated American series.  I regret to say that the former is as bad as the latter is good. I am surprised that HBO, who have led the way in producing superior TV series  have put their name to such trash as true Blood. The production quality and acting is pretty good but the dialog and subject matter is asinine drivel. Maybe I’m just getting too old for this kind of vampire ‘Hocus Pokus’, but I have found in the past that even where I detest the genre, a well – written and well produced drama can rise above its ‘roots’.  A good example of this was the magnificent ‘Deadwood’, even though I usually detest westerns.

True Blood is full of gratuitous sex and violence, which in itself is not necessarily a put off – but frankly, if you take away the sex and violence, there is little left but tedious, badly written dialogue that seems to go nowhere. The characters are unbelievable, and are totally lacking in sympathy or credible identities, even taking into account the preposterous scenario of vampires co-existing legally with ‘regular folk’. I have watched 4 episodes in the hope that it might improve and my give it one more episode, (Noo loves it!!), before ditching it for good.

On the other hand, ‘The Good Wife’ is a veritable ‘tour de force’. Ostensibly, yet another legal drama with the obligatory court room scenes in every episode, it has raised to whole genre to a new level of excellence. The cast are all terrific, there is an on-going, intriguing sub-plot which continually keeps you guessing and they deal with unusual legal cases (or usual ones from unusual angles) in a serious, engaging and highly believable manner. In some ways it is almost Boston Legal without the humour, but none the worse as a result. It is now finishing its second series and I highly recommend it.

For those of you who like British period dramas, I have just finished watching a veritable television feast of that genre. I started with the recently made ‘sequel’  of ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ (3 episodes set in the 1930’s during the build p to WW2), followed by Downton Abbey’, (5 episodes set in the period leading up to WW1) and finally the redoubtable ‘Cranford’, (5 episodes set in the late 19th century after the Napoleonic wars).

All three series were a pleasure to watch and the cast lists read like a ‘who’s who’ of British theatre. I loved them all but if  was to say which I enjoyed the most, I would say that Upstairs started off as the front runner  but was then overtaken by Downton Abbey as I concluded  episode two; but in the end, ‘Upstairs’ and ‘Downton’ were both surpassed by ‘Cranford’, which was a very slow starter as I struggled to remember all the characters, but by the final episode it was one of those dramas that had you in tears of grief and joy and gave you that oh so rare feeling of ‘well-being’ by the time the closing credits were rolling down the screen, (along with your tears). All three series are to be thoroughly recommended to all of you who appreciate excellent writing, superlative acting, the highest possible production values and a nice bit of good old fashioned story telling as a bonus.

I am removing Chapter 5 of my novel from my blog. I have taken a little break from writing and have come to the conclusion that Chapter five is not working as I would have liked and needs to be re-written. I know I can do better  and I have some ideas how I will do this but it may take a few days, so please bear with me.

6 thoughts on “Lake Mabprachan, East pattaya, 11th February, 2011”

  1. It will get better each day, not perfect just better, soon you will wonder what the heck you were doing with your life. 26 years ago I quit drinking, still feels like a miracle.


  2. Jyst a short note to say I’m glad you are holding things together and in a better place. It is a lot easier to read when you are doing well.

    I thought I would give you a Uk program that you should enjoy although it is vampires, ghost and werewolfs, “Being Human”. it is done with the typical british understatement, you might enjoy it. There is now an American version but I haven’t seen it so can’t comment on that. if you do want to watch UK TV nearly live there is a program IPORTAL which costs 5€ per month which pretends your PC is in the UK allowing you to watch Iplayer etc.



    1. Hi Paul, thanks for your comments and your recommendation on “Being Human” I will look it up and try to download it.

      I am certainly not averse to paying 150 Baht per month for something that will work. I have tried live streaming of programmes on many occasions and have always found my band width is insufficient to support reliable, stable TV streams.

      I assume it would be the same with IPORTAL, unless there is a facility to download the programmes and then watch the download later – similar to torrents or even You Tube (which is another service that I cannot watch live, but can download and watch later.) Once 3G is rolled out i may get a better internet connection, but in the meantime I am lumbered with a sub-standard service -95% OK for emails, web browsing, downloading, 90 % reliable for radio streaming but no good for TV or video streams.


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