Somchai – Super Dog!


Recently, I have been enjoying a resurgence of enthusiasm and my daily output of creative writing has increased dramatically; so as far as my novel is concerned, I am now quietly confident that it will be wrapped up by the New Year.

Why this resurgence? Well, I actually put it largely down to my somewhat long and protracted efforts to make an earlier start to my days. I know it sounds silly, but it is the truth.

For some time now, I have slipped into the habit of sleeping late, waking late and getting up even later. This means that by the time I get to my computer to settle down to do a bit of writing, it can often be as late as 11  a.m., sometimes even later. Then, quite often, I will procrastinate further by reading my emails or reading the news an so on , so it can be lunch time before I actually get into proper creative- writing mode. Quite frankly, by this time, my inspiration and enthusiasm has often all but evaporated.

Looking back over my life I think I have always been a bit of an early morning person, which may help to explain why getting up late seems to bother me and even depress me.

Way back in my school days I used to have to rise early, and from my teenage years onwards I rose  even earlier as I had a long newspaper round to finish before I went to school.

The work years always required me to rise early and as my career progressed I got onto the habit of rising and getting to my place of work earlier and earlier. During my final years of working in the City of London, a typical working day would start at 7 a.m., which necessitated me rising well before 6 a.m. in the morning. I use to manage this, even though on most mornings I was horrendously hung over from the previous day’s drinking excesses.

I suppose the rot started to set in when I retired and moved back to Thailand in 2002, although I still recall rising quite early when I first moved to Pattaya. I well remember taking dear Cookie for early morning walks and I even used to have the odd early morning swim.

But as my marriage became a war zone, my alcohol intake increased alarmingly and my ability to recover from horrendous hangovers became ever more difficult, I would spend longer and longer under the proverbial quilt. Many were the times during the final few years of my drinking career, when I wouldn’t rise before midday – sometimes much later.

I have been sober now for almost two years, and for some time I have been thinking that I really must make a supreme effort to get out of my ‘sleep late, wake up late’ vicious circle. Maybe my desire to get up early doesn’t strike much of a chord with those who have no particular reason to rise early; but for me, getting up late just doesn’t seem to sit well with my persona. Much as I enjoy the comforts of lying in bed, watching TV and sipping my coffee of a morning, the joys of being out and about when the day is still relatively young is even more satisfying– especially in Thailand, when the mornings are cooler than the rest of the day.

Of course, my open heart surgery back in June has been an additional impediment to getting up early; as not only was I still in considerable pain until relatively recently, but even moving around in the bed was painful. In particular, the act of getting up was the most painful of all, so I would tend to put it off for as long as I could.

I am still not completely pain free, and getting out of bed still produces a few twinges in my chest, but the pain is now at a tolerable level and it really doesn’t bother me.  (Except when I sneeze!!!)

So to make a long story even longer, over the past few days I have finally bitten the bullet and made a huge effort to change my sleeping habits. Like most things that are worthwhile in life, it wasn’t easy to start with, but every day it gets easier and easier. For the first couple of days, I managed to make it out of bed by about 8 a.m. but for the past 3 days, I have been awake soon after 6.a.m, and up by 7.

Upon rising, the first thing I do is take Cookie and Mickey, my two retrievers, for a fifteen minute walk along the lakeside. If the sun is up, I stick to walking  near the lakeside houses and hedgerows, so the grass is still in the shade, and it has proven a very pleasant start to the day for both man and dogs. Back at the house, I take my morning shower, enjoy my first cup of coffee before settling down at the computer to commence the day’s writing.

Starting the day much earlier feels absolutely great! I am full of ideas and energy and quite often by as early as 10 a.m. I have already written a substantial chunks of text. By 1 p.m. I am often more or less done for the day, which leaves me the afternoon to tinker around on other matters, or maybe go out somewhere with my lovely Noo.

So all in all, I am writing more vigorously and am enjoying a higher level of  satisfaction. This book will surely be out of my hair by New Year.

Getting up early really works!

Somchai – Super Dog!

I am sure that Noo and I must look like a bit of spectacle when we take our dogs out for their late afternoon constitutionals.

Noo walks the two shih tzus on their leads, with their tiny little legs racing along the ground at the rate of knots, with me – Mobi – just behind, struggling with Mickey – the two year old Labrador – who is on a short lead and is often close to pulling me over. Dear old Cookie, ‘lead-less’ and leader-less, makes her own way amongst us at her own pace, with her poor rheumatic back legs limping along, propping up the rear of her beautiful, shaggy body.

Everything is fine and dandy until we pass one of the many houses where dogs are lurking. Then all hell breaks loose. The dog (s) inside the gates let off their usual blood curling barks and yelps and our little troupe tries to pass with the minimum of fuss. Cookie – an old hand at such occurrences – completely ignores the growling and barking, Mickey is kept more or less under control by yours truly and little Yoghurt show no interest in becoming involved with these angry, vicious looking dogs.

But little ‘Somchai – Superdog’ is a totally different matter. Despite his tiny size, his bravery knows no bounds. Whenever he encounters a canine enemy – be it a single, mangy street dog, three times his own size with teeth the size of a sabre-toothed tiger, or a whole pack of the buggers – either in the street, or slavering behind someone’s front gates,  Somchai – Superdog shows absolutely no fear. He tries to put the fear of God into them with his high pitched yapping, and his snarling, frightening face is a wondrous terror to behold.

If Noo was to let Somchai – Superdog off his lead, woe betide any hostile dog that crossed his path – even the neighbourhood pit-bull, who certainly puts the fear of God into me – but in Somchai – Superdog? – never!

‘Let me get at’im!’, he seems to be begging us.


Cookie – Senior Citizen

Mickey – young blood

Yoghurt… Yoggy! Yoggy! Yoggy!…Oi! Oi! Oi!

Somchai – Superdog! – In pensive mode

Cookie – in all her  shaggy glory
Young Blood – get out of my Mind!
Yoghurt – Preparing to repel boarders

A mess of Dogg-idge

Mickey’s taking the mickey

Head to head

Somchai – Superdog – the beast is awakening…

Somchai Superdog – getting really angry

Somchai-Superdog – In ‘Attack Mode’!

Christmas is coming– Humbug!Bah!

Every year, it seems to me that the shops and stores start promoting Christmas earlier and earlier.It was a few weeks back, around the time of Halloween, that I read that  Halloween masks and decorations were competing with Santa Clauses and Xmas decorations for floor space in American stores

Many shops  in the UK regularly start Christmas promotions as early as September, but surely nowhere can compete with the pubs and bars in Thailand, where quite often, we have the pleasure of enjoying year- round Xmas decorations. You must agree that it’s very considerate of these entertainment establishments to provide us, their valued customers, with the ‘Christmas spirit’ throughout the twelve month period. I suppose you could say that ‘every day is Christmas day’ in the ‘Land of Smiles’…

Or you might say: –

‘Why are these bastards so lazy that they never get round to taking down their decorations?’

Like most of my readers, Christmas brings back many memories –  a few good ones and many, very bad.

As a child, my domineering, bully of a father would always choose Christmas Day to go into one of his really special temper tantrums – leaving a wave of terror in his wake. He would always make sure that his family descended into paroxysms of fear and trembling and would totally ruin any lingering hopes we may have cherished that Christmas Day might be the one day when we could all be a happy together and free from his terrible rages.

In more recent times – only a few years back – I well recall the Christmas when my sister and her husband came to visit me here in Pattaya, when I was still living with my wife, Dang. My wife’s elder sister also joined us for the day and we had a very pleasant Christmas lunch at the Bang Sarae Club, a few miles down the coast from Pattaya. After we returned back home in the late afternoon, Dang suddenly informed us that she had to drop her sister back into Pattaya, and promised to be back home in an hour.

By one in the morning, and after numerous phone calls, it was clear that Dang was on bender with her sister had no intention of coming back. By two a.m., I was driving to Pattaya to seek her out. As luck would have it, I found her car parked near Walking Street but I never succeeded in tracking her down. I ended up drinking what remained of the night and half the next day away, and my family were ‘having kittens’ back home, wondering what had happened to the pair of us.

A great number of Christmases have come and gone, in between the above related events, – some good, some bad – and many ‘non-events’, as I have tended to avoid too much celebrating at this time of year. By and large, they have not been very good experiences.

In past years, my ideal Christmas was always to be alone in a bar somewhere in this world, where I could quietly drink myself into oblivion; thinking back to the bad old days of my childhood, and dreaming of better days to come. Over the years, bars from as far afield as Nigeria, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Jakarta, Bangkok, Port Harcourt, New York, Amsterdam and Montreal have had the Christmas treatment from Mobi at some point in their chequered existences.

This year, by way of a change, I am seriously considering booking a Christmas lunch in one of the local ‘Darkside’ restaurants. It will be my first proper Christmas meal for several years as I have a new family and a new life. Noo and her son have never eaten turkey, so why not give it a go?


That was no bishop! That was a woman!

Can anyone really credit that in this day and age of equality and female emancipation, that an obsolete anachronism known as the Church of England, (you know – the one that had all those paedophile priests in their schools), had the effing effrontery to continue to deprive their female ‘flock’ of the dubious privilege of  becoming Bishops?

Now, personally I couldn’t give two figs about the Church of England and if this unbelievably misogynistic decision accelerates the final collapse of the C of E as we know it, then more power to their elbows – the sooner the better!

What angers me is the fact that The Church of England is still the so-called ‘Establishment religion’ in the UK, even though less than 1.5% of the population attend its services on anything approaching a regular basis.

Just what is an ‘ Establishment religion’?

Well, apart from having the privilege of crowning our monarchs, (another obsolete anachronism), one of the lesser known privileges it enjoys is being exempt from the Equalities Legislation.  Don’t you think that if this so-called Christian- loving Church practised what it preached – about all people being equal in the eyes of God – then it wouldn’t have to hide behind legal exemptions to deny women the chance to become bishops? What a load of  hypocritical claptrap.

Organised religions – I hate them all – whatever their creed!!! They are run by hypocritical, power hungry demagogues  who have caused more death, destruction and pain and misery in the world than their founders could have possibly imagined in their wildest dreams.

But the greatest anachronism of all is that this bloody Church, which 98.5 % of the UK  population has nil regard for, has the  unbelievable and undemocratic  right to appoint an incredible 26 Bishops into the House of Lords, the UK’s second legislative chamber.

OK, the House of Lords is in itself an anachronism, but until it is disbanded and replaced by something more democratic, it is still the second chamber of the UK parliamentary  system and is still able to influence and even introduce important new legislation.

So just what are these 26 unelected bishops doing there – passing laws on our behalf?  

And even worse than that – not a single one of them is a woman!

Well… come to think of it…maybe the C of E have got the right idea after all….

It’s joke! It’s a joke! On my oath, me Lord!


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