Mobi-Babble – 7th February, 2016


We are still enjoying the cool season in Pattaya, although the afternoons are starting to warm up with peak temperatures of around 33°C. But the humidity is still very low and the mornings and evenings are very pleasant. We get the occasional overcast day and brief downpours which help with the garden, but by and large, it has stayed pretty dry.

The lake (reservoir) is much higher now after the brief rainy season helped to replenish it, but I don’t think it’s as high as it should be for the oncoming hot season.

Many parts of Thailand are suffering from severe water shortages, and they reckon it’s the worst drought for 22 years. The poor farmers up-country have been ordered not to grow a second rice crop, (as they usually do), because it will use up what little water there is remaining in the reservoirs, from which the paddy fields are irrigated.

Today, Sunday, we were woken early by the incessant bangs of Chinese firecrackers welcoming in the Chinese New Year. We were still rubbing our eyes from lack of sleep when we were assailed by the crashing of doors, windows and things being blown around outside. I looked out of the window to see the surrounding palm trees bending under the power of gale-force winds.

I confess I have never seen such wind in Thailand. There is no rain, just gale-force winds. It has already blown out the cable TV and for a while the power, which is now back on at a reduced voltage. There is insufficient to drive our  water pump – so no showers, as yet.

The internet also went down, but I’ve managed to jerry rig the power connection and so far so good. Hopefully, it will last long enough for me to publish this blog.

Life is never dull here.

I am still pressing ahead with my new novel, provisionally entitled “SUZI” and am now on chapter six. I haven’t published anything yet as the chapters still need more work before they are ready (even in draft form) to inflict upon an unsuspecting blog readership.

At the same time, I am continuing to write commercial content for websites. I have found a really good client who has been providing me with regular work for the past two months.

The work doesn’t get any easier or more interesting – in fact, lately it has become a fair bit harder as my client keeps asking for completely new copy for new websites that sell similar products and services. Each one has to be fresh and different to the one I’ve already written. Ah well, beggars can’t be choosers.

Almost every day I check my author’s account with Amazon to see if there has been any activity on my book sales. Alas, nothing much changes – the occasional book is sold to someone somewhere in the world, but the royalties wouldn’t even buy me a meal.

I keep hoping for a miracle – that one day I will find that my book has taken off and is selling in sufficient quantities for me to retire from this brain-numbing content writing. But deep down, I know it is an impossible dream. I only wish I could just write for the pleasure of writing.

They’re dropping like flies!

I am now in my 70th year – a time of life when most people start wondering how many more years they have left before they depart this mortal coil. I am sure I am not alone in feeling slightly alarmed whenever I read about the passing of someone who is a similar age to me – sometimes much younger.

There has been a spate of celebrity deaths just lately, with the likes of David Bowie, Glenn Frey (Eagles), Alan Rickman, Natalie Cole, Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead), Celine Dion’s husband/manager (and also her brother), Maurice White (Earth,Wind and Fire), and a few more whose names don’t immediately spring to mind.

All of these people were around my age, and believe me, it does make me think.

The fact is, I have no right to still be alive and kicking at my age after leading such a dissolute life. For years, I probably drank more alcohol in a week than most people drink in a year. I never took any exercise, and once I had turned thirty I was always overweight. I ate unhealthy food for most of my life, and from my mid-teens to my late thirties, I was a four pack a day smoker.

Of course, I haven’t been completely spared. In my dotage, I have been beset by many debilitating chronic medical conditions, such as: Insulin-dependent diabetes (over 30 years now), glaucoma, chronic heart disease (including a failed heart valve), and the most debilitating of them all – irritable bowel syndrome. 

They all conspire to lower the quality of daily life.

On the plus side, I guess it’s a miracle I’m still alive; but as they say – only the good die young, so maybe there’s a few years in the old dog yet…

Let this be a warning to all you middle-aged guys out there who are following in my footsteps – with your excessive drinking, heavy smoking and generally leading unhealthy, dissipated lifestyles. I promise you faithfully that it will catch up with you in your sixties, and many may not be as lucky as I have been.

My IBS has been behaving itself over recent months, so I decided to reduce the medication. Can you believe it? On Friday night, I forgot to take my meds at all, and yesterday evening, (Saturday), I had the first serious pain attack in my abdomen for many months.

At first, I thought it was just a ‘brief aberration, but as the pain started to get worse, I reluctantly had to a dose up on a course of strong pain medication. Even then, I was doubled over in agony for about two hours before the pain meds kicked in.

So last night I had very little sleep, as these meds keep me awake. They actually make me ‘high’ and I am still feeling a little high now – 10.30 on Sunday morning…

Now back to the recent spate of deaths.

My non-UK readers will have to excuse me as they won’t know him, but the one death that really shocked me was the death of the veteran radio and TV presenter, Terry Wogan, at the age of 77.

I don’t know why his death affected me so much. After all, 77 is a pretty good age by any standards, but for some reason, I expected him to go on forever. He was still very active way into 2015, still presenting his Sunday radio programme and other specials like ‘Proms in the Park’.

I guess it’s because I grew up  – and also grew old – with Terry on the radio and television. His natural charm, his easy wit, his tireless work for charity and sheer down to earth geniality would always cheer me up, and millions like me, on a gloomy or depressing day.

I venture to suggest that he touched more lives in his long career than many of the rock stars and actors who also passed away this year.

For me anyway, the world is a much poorer place without Terry on the radio or presenting his marathon Children In Need charity event on TV.

RIP Sir Terry.


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