Friday, 21 July 2017

The Homecoming.

I had planned to be in Melbourne, Australia this week, our first return visit 
after leaving two of our adult kids in charge of the house and our beloved dog.

The move to Bangkok, was not going to suit our adorable Crazy Poodle,
he does not like change at the best of times.
The climate and humidity of Thailand, plus our on-the-road lifestyle
meant he was going to be best left, even if slightly bored, 
in his home environment.

So the kids have lucked out and have ended up remaining in our family home
when logic would say move them into a smaller apartment...
Mostly because I wanted the dog to be happy!

Bless, here he is!

Before:



After:



Do you think there might have been a little bit of clean-up going on 
for our return? I mean if the dog's transformation is anything to go by, 
just think what could have been done spring cleaning the house?!

POSTSCRIPT: Things did not quite work out as planned.  
I am now with family in the UK, not Australia following my Grand Mother's recent passing.
Love you all Down Under! Keep that Crazy Poodle and the house clean
 I will be with you as soon as I can.
Wren xx






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Thursday, 13 July 2017

Pad Thai Eyes In Bangkok

When you are new in a place, or in my case a country, you see things for the first time and they are wondrous and amazing. Mostly. But what if you couldn't see any of it? 

In the past few months, I have got to know some of the awesome team at People Eye Care Foundation. The PECF hold monthly eye care camps in rural areas and have helped restore eyesight in 37,000 people over the past 27 years in Thailand.

I know you are thinking how in the dickens did you go from refugees to the blind in the blink of an eye? Well, let me save that for another day, except to say that when I see an organisation that is all Heart with a capital H, I am happy to do my bit...

Mr Nicholas Bear serves up Pad Thai at his Press Conference with a little help from his friends at the British Club, Bangkok.
So today my bit is to share their story with my friends and readers around the world. It would be hard to live in Thailand with no vision. Just take walking around for a start. This country must be a world leader in uneven pavements and trip hazards, there is more than one of us ladies walking around with broken bones and bruises caused by not seeing what was ahead.

Oh, how sad if you were unable to see the vibrancy of life in Thailand, the smiles of its beautiful people, or the blue waters of its amazing beaches.
Talking of beautiful smiles, have you met my new Bear friend? He's called Mr Nicholas Bear and we can relate, he's been displaced too. He was born in China, but educated and worked as a fundraiser in England, before moving to Thailand.  He was one of many stars at the recent Pad Thai Eyes press conference where he launched his fundraising video.

Thai Capital TV presenter Raine Grady and to the right Khun Fox
Just to give you a visual on him here he is above with Khun Fox who brought him alive by stepping into his body. He said it was a sweaty and suffocating role, so on this day, Mr. Nicholas Bear sat quietly amongst us. His video shows however that given the chance he's quite the Bear about Bangkok in his new role as the chief fundraiser for The People Eye Care Foundation!

We see Mr Nicholas Bear in a Tuk Tuk, at The British Embassy and eating Pad Thai at The Blue Elephant Restaurant, Bangkok. Where his friends suggest that if everyone donated a small amount of money each time they ate Pad Thai, this would result in money to Pad Thai Eyes after each operation. 

The People Eye Care Foundation place a pad over the eyes to protect them whilst healing - clever hey?

It's hard not get caught up in the excitement of the #PadThaiEyes especially when we are introduced to some of the individuals whose lives have been changed by very little money really.


Thai Celebrities, TV Presenters Andrew Biggs and Miss Universe 2005 Natalie Glebova
So without further ado, let me introduce Mr Nicholas Bear's video. What do you think? Feel free to share it too with your local communities. 



You can join me on my Little Wren Facebook page 
and share directly from here too.


Linking with Our World Tuesday








Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Good, Random, Fun from Thailand!

Welcome, Sawasdee Kha!  

We've just returned from a long weekend away, and I need to lighten up after being immersed in the grueling history of the River Kwai, Death Railway and Hellfire Pass. It was a moving trip especially wandering amongst the thousands of war graves in the cemeteries, but I'll save this for another more solemn day.




The Good

So let me take you back to วัดสมานรัตนาราม จ.ฉะเชิงเทรา Wat Saman Rattanaram in Chachoengsao, about one hour out of Bangkok where we saw the incredible pink reclining Ganesha elephant in the last post.




This Wat, or temple has been referred by some as a religious theme park. It's bright and perhaps gaudy temple complex is designed to appeal to the masses and is stuffed full of every conceivable religious and spiritual shrine going, plus a few Superheroes. It is one of many ingenious ways to attract donations to fund the construction of a hospital for the local community.


Other than finding the largest Ganesha in Thailand, certainly one with the most attitude, you will be amazed to see a huge lotus flower rising from the river, Pokemon, Power Rangers, a skeleton, some freakily realistic monk statues and of course the biggest Naga (snake) statue in the world! No, I made that bit up, but seriously everything here is really over the top.


There was shopping galore here too. You can donate or purchase at every opportunity, whether it is to feed the fish in the river or buy children's toys, or how about a fried banana, some taro or anyone want a broom? 

The word bazaar springs to mind, in more ways than one. 

Love it or hate it, it is religious abundance with a philanthropic twist and the links with the hospital make it special and therefore good in my book.

The Random

Talking of brooms, I think I'm becoming a broom bore! I can't stop taking pictures of these brightly coloured beauties. They can't have changed so much over the years, the winning combination of bamboo handle and dry grasses make them especially good on wooden floors.


The Fun

Now as I said it's been a holiday weekend, Buddhists celebrate Asahna Bucha Day held at the first full moon of the eighth lunar month. It is the start of Buddhist Lent and when many Thai people return to their ancestral homes to donate offerings to temples. It also means this...



Yes, you read right! A full moon with zero alcohol. We went away for two nights in a smart hotel and on neither evening, nor in any restaurant anywhere in Thailand, was alcohol permitted for sale. 

'What do you call that?' I said to Mr Wren? 
'Poor planning' was his reply!

Thanks to Tamar, Maggie And Ruth



Sunday, 2 July 2017

Bangkok looking pretty in pink!

Bangkok life is certainly bright and cheery.
Here are five of my best feel good photos from the week!



1. Take these little plastic cups of roses which I bought from a lady on the street for 40 Baht (just over a $1 USD or just under 1GBP.) What a bargain! 


I found that much as I love having fresh flowers in the house, the humidity turns the water really smelly, rather quickly. So I am happy with these roses, they only last a day or two but that's fine. Even if I have a slight fear that I should be taking them to a shrine or placing on someone's tomb? If you know the answer to this do let me know!


2. Our local shopping centre had a Thai flower garland demonstration, just look at all the work involved in these beautiful creations. My life here in Bangkok is still so new, even though I have now been out of Australia for twenty weeks, only eight have been spent in Thailand, I am still at that stage of "wow" at some of the things I see - long may it continue!


































These colourful garlands are all hand crafted from petals and leaves sewn together with thread and ribbon - aren't they exquisite? We can often see ladies sitting on the street pavements, often with a baby close by, making these garlands for sale. 


You will spot these amazing exotic flower creations draped over statues and shrines. In some hotel's holidaymakers are given jasmine garlands on arrival, I wish you could smell them, they are very fragrant.

Life in Bangkok is full of contrasts, let's move from the serene to a day in the life of a Pink VIP Tuk Tuk driver! That sure would be rather manic, between the traffic and the pollution.


3. We don't yet have a Tuk Tuk Driver that can whizz us around the Bangkok Streets but if we did, I reckon this pink and green seated VIP would be the place to start don't you? Really is there anything more synonymous with Thailand than the three-wheeled Tuk Tuk taxi? 

It would be good to have a Tuk Tuk driver that we knew and trusted, one that didn't charge you an exorbitant tourist rate. I need to learn enough Thai to say I'm a local! Until that time, maybe I'll just use the excellent SkyTrain public transport.


4. Thai Flowers. I have had the chance to admire some amazing flower displays recently in some of our local hotels. You can't really see it but this arrangement is huge and can be found in the foyer of the St Regis hotel. I bet they don't have problems with smelly water!


Finally here is a humungous Ganesha pink elephant with attitude!  I have joined the British Women's Group, which has been a lovely way to connect with others living in Thailand. The organised activity this week was an excursion to amongst other things this Temple Wat Samen Rathhanaram, which was an hour out of Bangkok.  

The temple site was really interesting as it was full of larger than life characters including Pokemon and Power Rangers alongside all the more traditional religious and spiritual shrines. A strange mixture perhaps, but quite ingenious when you realise that they are hoping to attract donations to fund the construction of a new hospital for the local community.

I hope you have enjoyed some of the things which have caught my eye this week?  Have a lovely week ahead, I look forward to seeing what the week brings!


Linking with thanks to Beverley's at Pink Saturday  
and Maggie at Mosaic Monday 




Saturday, 24 June 2017

The HeART Project


Hello to you all and welcome back to Bangkok!
I have been looking forward to introducing you to the HeART Project.

Photo One: HeART by Helen Boyd
What do you see here?
I see a crazy Little Wandering Wren, sitting on a branch, under a shady tree...
Anyone see anything different? Do let me know!

Photo Two: Framed with other HeART examples 
The HeART project is the brainchild of Hong Kong artist and friend
Helen Bronte Boyd. 

I have long admired the growth of Helen's business and took the opportunity to pop in and see her in her Sai Kung H Studio Gallery, on my recent Hong Kong visit. This artists hub is home to art classes, workshops, and exhibitions. 

You can click here for more info on H Studio Gallery.

Photo Three: My HeART with Thai Art backdrop

The HeART Project is:

"a yearly project dedicated to creating original heARTs, 
posting them daily on social media to generate more kindness and joy!

Photo Four: HeART by the pool
Helen's HeARTS have gone all over the world, 
and I am very happy to be the first recipient of a HeART in Thailand. 
My HeART is number 143 and I just love it!

Just as soon as I got off the plane back in Bangkok, 
I headed straight to IKEA to grab a perfectly fitting frame. 
It was getting dark for my photo shoot, 
but I wanted to show my HeART amongst Thai artwork and elephants.
My 5th & final photo is nestled amongst the orchids in our apartment gardens.

Photo Five: HeART amongst Orchids
Oopsie, I seem to have got a little carried away with my photo editing borders
it must be all that mention of the word arty!

If you would like some HeART you can contact Helen and she will post internationally for free. Just tell her a little bird sent you!


Such a lovely and generous thing to do, don't you agree?
The world needs more kindness and joy, and more people like you, Helen :)

Here's wishing you all a HeARTily lovely week.

Love Wren x

Joining with Mosaic Monday thanks to Maggie at Normandy Life
and
Tricky and Carly at FASTblog for Five On Friday.  
Thank you for hosting!


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Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Escape To The Country ... well sort of!!

If you are a regular follower of my blog you would know how much I was looking forward to a return to my homeland to catch up with family and friends. 

White Horse Hill, Uffington - return to my childhood

With temperatures in Bangkok a scorching 34 degrees and humidity in the nineties, it was due to be a welcome change from my sweaty Betty Thailand life.

Wrong!


Imagine my surprise to find myself in the middle of a heatwave here in Great Britain, with temperatures, if not the humidity, matching Bangkok. Woo hoo, Great Britain! 


As you will remember last week we were huddled round log fires and barbequing in the rain, sheltering under umbrellas.  All change this week and the Gardens of Britain are looking glorious after a drop of rain and some sunshine. Here are some of my favourite Homes and Gardens pictures from my time here.


Celebrating its 100th year, this charming property with an unusual moat feature is worth a visit. The English Cream Teas were a hit too!


This old Hunting Lodge has magnificent views from the roof
excellent National Trust guides.



3. Buscot Park - Oxfordshire Country House 
This National Trust house currently is open for business as usual during the roof restoration project. Lavish house and beautiful gardens.

I hope you have enjoyed a little glimpse into my British Summer.
Thank you for your visit!



Sharing with thanks to all the hosts at Our World Tuesday

and Pam, for hosting the Gardens Galore Link-Up Party.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Somewhere over the rainbow...

It's been quite a week here in the UK.
I seem to make a habit of being in the UK during a General Election or Brexit referendum which is always interesting, to say the least. This week's results, as on previous occasions, has resulted in an awful lot of tea being drunk trying to figure out what the British election result means. I have given up being surprised by anything in world politics these days.

Away from tea drinking, we have had a fantastic week catching up with family and friends in London, Oxfordshire, Nottinghamshire, Shropshire and Devon.

So welcome to a few of our photos which sum up our Great British summer road trip.


In a week where people are nervous of large white vans in cities - we spotted this band in a van in Brick Lane, London which made us smile, along with the giraffemu Street Art. 


As did the general vibe of the Brick Lane area of London. As you can see the sun was shining and people were generally out enjoying their weekend. This was just hours before the horrendous London Bridge terrorist attacks not far away.

We cosied up to dogs and fires where ever we went.
 Yes, we know this is a British Summer and we love all our friends who thoughtfully turned the heating up for their friends from the tropics.
No complaint's from me, I've been loving the weather.


We've also had two barbeques huddled under umbrellas. 
Nothing is going to dampen our spirits for the Great British summer BBQ!



Midweek finds us in Shropshire with friends who have bought a 16th Century Manor house. We make friends with more dogs and this little chap who greets everyone on arrival. Oh, those summer knights!


So we end the week with stormy weather and a wonky polling station sign.
It kind of summed things up!


The very next day there was a rainbow, it was a magnificent sight



Here's to a great week ahead everyone!

Linking with thanks to Maggie at Mosaic Monday



Tuesday, 30 May 2017

In a hot land far away…

Dear Blog

I'm sorry for the neglect, I am waiting for my new life in a hot land far away to settle into some sort of regular pattern... and maybe to feel cool with it!


I'm not sure what my 'normal' life here in Thailand will be. Slowly each day things are starting to seem a little more familiar. I hardly notice the wires in the street, the uneven pavements, the strange smells wafting in. 



I am beginning to feel less like all is foreign and I'm less like a foreigner. Slowly I'm feeling like I belong. I am getting more adventurous, I have yet to make it in the back of a motorbike taxi, but the weird and wonderful street food is starting to be more tempting!


Of course, the Lifers can spot the newbie in town by my huge bag. I never leave home without being properly kitted out. I take my Japanese paper fan, plus my electric fan, a lady can never have enough fans in these sweaty Betty conditions. Together with a face cloth to dab my glowing brow, water to rehydrate, an umbrella for rain, but mostly for shade... I plan my days to avoid the heat.

For such is my new life, in 95% humidity where the sun has it's way all the long day. 


I am starting to make some lovely friends. We chatter and we laugh as if we've known each other for years. We have not yet run out of conversation, for the most part, we are catching up on fifty years plus of each other's lives. 


Now, where would you start? If you knew no-one and no-one knew anything about you? What would be the most important things you would mention? I smile at how many times one of the first things I talk about is the Crazy Poodle! I miss that chappy!


The ladies here have interesting stories to tell. Especially those who have been here twenty, thirty years. Back in their day, this would have been an adventurous posting. I enjoy hearing all about their lives, how they ended up being in Asia. I love that here, even after all these years, they are open to talking, their dance card is not yet completely full.

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I love all the nationalities that I am meeting. After twenty-five years out of the UK, I am slowly finding my tribe of others with British or Aussie roots with a lifetime of experiences in other countries. There are newer people than me arriving. Bangkok is an ever changing landscape.  

Meanwhile up in the sky, the moon watches quietly as the sun burns, hoping soon to get his turn.

Sometimes at the end of the week, we take ourselves off to a rooftop bar. As we watch the sun going down in our new city, we grin. So far, so good but bring on the days when the moon has her turn.


Watch out world!



This post has been inspired by Amalia Rosen who blogs at Handmade by Amalia and wrote a post 'In a cold land far away, where all the birds are sad and gray' and has kindly adapted the post for a little hot bird!!! These are her words:

In a hot land far away
the sun has its way all the long day,
the moon watches quietly as the sun burns
hoping soon to get his turn.

Thank you so much Amalia!

Linking with thanks to all the hosts at Our World Tuesday
and Maggie at Mosaic Monday

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