9 Months 15 Days, still sober.
I’ve been enjoying a nice little interlude with my ‘new’ family over the past week.
Noo’s son, Tui, really is a delight to have around. He is polite, obedient and is more than willing to help his mother with the daily housework and cooking. He is a lovely looking kid, with a shy but endearing smile and the bond between mother and son is clearly very strong and very loving. They adore each other.
Last Tuesday, Noo demonstrated yet more of her many hidden skills by taking a quick trip to the lake and coming back with two long bamboo sticks, which she spent the evening whittling and fashioning into two very impressive fishing rods, complete with floats , lines and bait hooks.
So on Wednesday afternoon, the pair went fishing for a couple of hours. They didn’t say much, but I don’t think they caught anything, as they didn’t return with anything fish-like for supper.
With the seemingly never-ending torrential rainstorms, the lake is as full as I have ever seen it. I don’t think there is any imminent danger of it bursting it’s banks, and flooding ovet onto the road, but the water level is very high and the elevated water level has submerged much of the grassy area that used to border the lake. Many of the new trees, which have been planted over the past few years to landscape the lake side area, are now several feet under water.
So whether this increase in water has caused the fish to disappear, I know not. I know nothing about fishing and fish so cannot comment, but there is certainly no lack of budding Thai fishermen who drive down to the lake every evening in search of a bit of recreation and presumably nice fish supper. Most of the fishing is done after sunset so maybe the fish only come out at night?
A Day at the Zoo
Thursday had the all the appearances of a day when if it did any rain, it would be minimal, so I made the bold decision to take Noo and Tui to Khao Kheo open Zoo, near Sri Racha.
I am not a huge fan of zoos, especially in countries like Thailand where there is always the suspicion that the animals are not always treated as well as we like them to be. There have been many horror stories, including undercover journalism accounts through the years recounting some terrible mistreatment of animals in Thailand, from elephants, to tigers and even to common dogs. Personally, I have witnessed behaviour towards animals in Thailand that has ranged from outrageous cruelty, to caring behaviour which has reflected an obvious and deep love for animals.
I think this was my third trip to the Open Zoo through the years, and I have to say that as zoos go, it is one of the better ones I have been to, anywhere. It occupies a huge area and is very well laid out with masses of space for the animals, and from what I can see, great care and no expense has been spared to try and create realistic, comfortable habitats for the inmates. The place is very clean and you just get the feeling that the zoo operators/owners do seem to care about the welfare of their animals – although of course there is no way I can be sure about this.
The admission fees are not exorbitant (as they are in many Pattaya tourist attractions, such as Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens) and it cost me just 205 Baht for the three of us, including 50 Baht fee to take the car in. I think this was very reasonable.
The thing I really like about Khao Kheo Zoo is that you can drive around in your own transport as every ‘animal compound ’ has a parking area where you can park up and then walk a short distance to watch the animals in their large open enclosures.
Thus you can drive from area to area and you don’t start to wilt in the hot sun, trying to do it on foot. They even have golf-type electric vehicles which you can hire for a small fee if you come in a coach party, and then drive around under your own steam, as it were.
The workers seem to be very friendly and helpful and there is little evidence of overt money grabbing commercialism. I was actually amazed when a friendly lady who sold us some ice creams actually asked us very nicely to put our ice cream wrappers in the bin provided. It was quite an eye opener to find a Thai who cared about litter. In fact, I noticed the zoo was very clean.
It seemed as though quite a lot of Thai families had the same idea that I had and while the zoo was by no means packed, there was a good crowd of friendly Thai folk of all ages, all enjoying a brief respite from the weeks of rain.
It was noticeable that most of the visitors were all driving decent looking vehicles, were dressed nicely, and behaved well. I could have been anywhere in the west, except that I actually think that the kids were better behaved in that zoo than they would be at most places in the west. Thailand is truly changing for the better.
It is what I have always found in Thailand. If you get away from tourist places like down-town Pattaya, and even many parts of Bangkok and you will see Thais in a totally different light.
Anyway, by way of a change from posting photos of scantily clad beauties, here are some of the pics that I took during our day out at the zoo.
Here they come…two more ex mother-in laws…..
Complaining as usual……
What a mouth! what a mouth! what a North and South! Blimey what a mouth she’s got!….
A bored sugar cane seller….
Two binturongs – Malay ‘bear cats’
Yet another Ma-in-law, (well I did have 5 wives), getting herself into a little paddy, stamping her feet…
This was a long zoom shot
Ostriches in the shade
A long shot of two pretty little birdies…
and two little duckies
Remember the ‘ugly duckling’ song?
The great Asiatic bear
What a dear little chap…
the obligatory ‘chor chang’…
Hmm.. I maybe wrong, but I really don’t like the look of this mahout with the baby chang…
pigs in shit…. springs to mind
A very long shot
They really don’t look very happy…
Neither does he, does he?
A walk by the Lake
Upon our return from the zoo, the rain was still holding off so we decided to take the dogs for a walk around the lake. Even though the water level has risen substantially, the track across the lakeside bank near our home was still more or less dry so around the lake we went to admire the beautiful and awesome sunset.
Here’s a couple of pics that I took.
A ‘water tree’….
The Gods look angry…
Of politics, politicians and elephants and pantomime clowns…..
Fox and a Friend…
It has been a reoccurring theme amongst political commentators to deplore the fact that so many politicians these days have had no previous experience in business or, indeed in the real life outside of politics.
So many of today’s politicians are what one can class as ‘career politicians’. Having decided at a young age that a life in politics was for them, once they complete their education, which for most, will mean some kind of university degree, they go straight into politics.
This will involve becoming a political activist in one of the major parties and after doing their time as canvassers and party workers, if their face fits, they will seek office in local government or in some full time position within the party.
Then, at an appropriate juncture, the best of them will become candidates for Westminster. If they stand in the right constituency, with luck, they will eventually become elected as members of parliament, having spent their entire adult lives in the rarefied atmosphere of party politics.
Their career then continues within parliament and after doing their stint on the back benches, the brighter ones will be given junior positions in government and depending upon their performance, the chosen few will eventually make their way up the political ladder to hold one of the great positions of state.
Nothing wrong with this per se, and there is no doubt that especially these days, we seem to be blessed with some very bright people who are leading our country.
The problem is that they are, first and foremost career politicians, and as such have nothing to fall back on should their political careers come to an untimely end, and secondly they have little or no experience of real life with all the attendant skills that can only be acquired in the real world; like how to run a business or even how to properly manage people or departments and when to make difficult, but necessary decisions.
In recent years we have seen this flaw in our country’s leaders again and again when they show their utter ignorance and incompetence when dealing with colleagues under their control, who – for want of a better word, – have screwed up and from the ‘screw ups’ themselves, who simply do not understand when it is time for them to go.
Instead of doing what any self-respecting leader would do in the real world – fire them – they let these ministers hang onto their jobs by their finger nails. Sometimes, after a minister has committed a major screw up in either his personal or public life, he is are allowed to hang onto his job for weeks or even months of agonising indecision before eventually being put out of his misery and being obliged to resign, before he is pushed.
On some occasions, the errant minister never resigns and continues in office indefinitely, bringing shame upon himself and his government.
I did hope that the Tory / coalition administration would do better in this regards than its labour predecessors – but no such luck.
It is inconceivable that someone, such as the British Minister of Defence, one of the principal offices of State, and one which is always in the forefront of world events, could allow himself to become party to such mind boggling stupidity. How on God’s earth could he allow his so-called ‘friend’ to waltz around the world with him, when on government business, and to pass himself off as a member of the minister’s office and to do and say all the things we now know he has done, and not consider it an immediate resignation matter?
When I had first planned to write this piece today, Fox had not yet resigned; now, thankfully he has – but it took him several weeks to come to this conclusion. Several weeks, during which time he has strenuously denied any wrong doing. Fox is either completely stupid or is living on a different planet to the rest of the world, or he is so desperate to hang onto his job, that he could allow himself to believe that he could ride this one out.
Either way, he was gravely misguided and has no business being in charge of the nation’s defences. But the problem is that Fox is just a career politician, and he has nowhere to go. He has no experience of the outside world and his political career is effectively over.
As for Cameron, I’m afraid he has dropped a long way in my estimation. The mark of a good leader is that he acts decisively and quickly when the situation demands it, and this was one situation that clearly demanded prompt action. As soon as this nonsense of Fox’s ‘friend’, Adam Werrity, came to light, he should have been shown the door. Cameron will get no brownie points for dithering and waiting for Fox to jump. He should have been pushed from day one.
Elephants & rooms…
And of course nobody has dared to whisper about the ‘elephant in the room’. This is an elephant that I am quite sure every politician and every British journalist is fully aware of.
What is this elephant? You may ask. Well I’ll give you a couple of clues. A number of years ago, it was suggested on more than one occasion that Fox may be of a certain sexual proclivity. This was denied with such vehemence and was followed up with legal threats that the press was obliged to backed off in fear of a law suit.
Then five years ago, at the age of 45, Fox got married and guess who was his ‘best man’ -Adam Werrity of course, having previously lived with Fox in his flat, rent free, for a year before the special day. Since then, Werrity has rarely been out of Fox’s life, both at a personal and ‘business’ level, having accompanied Fox some on some 16 occasions on overseas government trips and even enjoyed many personal holidays with the Fox ‘Family’.
After ‘brer Fox’ comes ‘brer wabbit’…
Then we have this blithering idiot Oliver ‘wabbit’ Letwin! Our dear Oliver ‘wabbit’ is a Cabinet Minister, and like brer Fox, he is in a ‘wabbit’ world of his own. He seems to think it is great sport to take all his cabinet papers and parliamentary correspondence into the nice London park of a morning, and when he has read his fill, dump it all in the nice public park waste bins.
On at least one occasion he gave a sheaf of unwanted correspondence directly to a nice lady a park cleaner who happened to be passing and was carrying an empty bin bag.
Of course the doughty park cleaning lady did what any self-respecting park cleaner would do in her situation; she gave the bin bag straight to the Daily Mirror, no doubt receiving some due recompense for her trouble.
There must be a case for arranging for the dear Oliver Wabbit to be sectioned in a lunatic asylum before he gets an urge to disperse State security secrets in one the large waste bins kindly provided by a nearby MacDonald’s hamburger joint. That would be merry, wouldn’t it?
But what does our beloved dear leader, the estimable, ex-Eton Cameron do? Why, nothing of course. If Cameron doesn’t toughen up and learn to make the hard decisions, I really fear for him and his government. He obviously never beat his fags at Eaton….
Portly Pantomime Pickles
Then we have that perennial pantomime prankster, the estimable Eric ‘Portly’ Pickles. Portly Pickles is Mr Cameron’s Minister for Communities and Local Government.
On a recent TV news programme, David Dimbleby, one the most respected and longest serving political commentators on the BBC, introduced Portly Pickles as the ‘Minister for Communities and Local government’
Not much wrong with that, you might think.
But Portly Pantomime Pickles was most upset, (bless his big Bradford boots) and was determined to put the legendary Dimbleby in his place.
‘Would you please ensure you that you show due respect to my office and introduce me by my proper title? I am NOT the Minister for Communities and Local government’. I am Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for Communities and Local government.’
Dimbleby was at a loss for words and for a moment I really thought I was watching a pantomime.
For those who may have forgotten, this is the buffoon who was forced to repay 300 pounds of expenses he had claimed for cleaning during the expenses scandal; and the one who claimed a second residence in London as he asserted that his first home, some 37 miles away, in Brentwood Essex, was too far from London from which to commute. This, despite the fact that tens of thousands of Brentwood and other countless residents, much further away than Brentwood, commute to their London jobs every day without the benefit of a second London residence and succeed in getting home every night with little or no problems.
Cameron, please, sack this dangerously inept clown, before he does some serious damage.
BUTT…BUTT…BUTT…BUTT…I don’t give a hoot!