Kyran´s Christening

On Saturday the 24th of May, we drove down to Horley in Surrey for the Christening of Kyran, the son of Kevin and Shayna. We were delighted to see Paddy and Irene again (newly arrived from South Africa) together with Margaret and Bernard who had driven down from New Waltham in Lincolnshire. That evening, Shayna cooked us a delicious meal before we repaired to our B&B down the road.

There had been forecasts of rain for the following day but, fortunately, we were spared and, although the day began overcast, the sun was soon shining and we had a wonderful day. The service was held at their local Anglican Church, very near their home. In the photo are the two Godparents, Lynn and Tom. Interestingly, Tom was a friend of Kevin’s at Peterhouse in Zimbabwe at the same time as David was a Housemaster there. It was lovely to see him after all these years and to catch up wth his news.

After the ceremony, we went back to Kevin and Shayna’s house where they had erected a gazebo in the garden. The lunch was wonderful; all manner of canapés, sushi, various quiches and barbecued chicken, followed by Irene’s famous Milk Tart and, of course, the Christening cake in the form of a caterpillar – well done Shayna! Everything combined to make this a lovely occasion – one for the family archives!



Because we are continually on the move and, until now, have been using other people's computers (immensely kind of them), I decided to invest in an ultra-portable laptop. We already have a laptop but it has a 17" widescreen and we felt it was a) too obvious and b) too big and heavy to lug around. My new laptop has an 11.1" screen and weighs only 1.2kg AND can fit into a handbag! OK, not your average small clutch bag, but I have seen numerous ones on the high street that will do! Only yesterday I ordered my Sony Vaio from John Lewis online and it arrived this morning at precisely 8.38 am. Excellent service! I have spent all morning playing with it and I am still smiling happily!

It seems as if we have been celebrating all week one way or another. Doctor Clare passed her viva, is getting her thesis printed and will graduate in July; it was David's birthday on Monday; his new job begins in August (as an educational consultant to a group of school in Turkey - yes it's back to Istanbul); for John, the dreaded SATs are over (although now he has all the marking to do as he is an official marker) and I have a brand new toy to play with - life is bliss!! In this photo Clare is saying, "Happy Birthday, Dad and congrats on your new job." David's reply was, "Thank you, Doctor Coughlan, I couldn't have wished for a nicer birthday present!" No wonder they are both looking so happy - although that might be partly due to the Verve Cliquot!

Oh, I nearly forgot! We are going back to Chiang Mai on Wednesday, and I know that Glynn has all sorts of activities to keep us busy!


Sunny Days

David by the Pong Duet Geyser

This week we have savoured more of the cultural delights of Chiang Mai. We went to watch a play by The Gate Theatre Group, called 'The Gin Game' by D L Coburn. This is a two-act, four-scene play about a woman in her twilight years, Fonsia Dorsey, who enters a "home for the aged" and is, for a while, saved from melancholy by the crusty charm of Weller Martin. Weller encourages her to play gin, but becomes increasingly infuriated when she keeps winning, until his pent-up rage and her continuing needling, build up to a terrible confrontation. The play was very well acted and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

We also went to a concert given by the pianist Bennett Lerner. This was the first of a series called 'Bennett Lerner and Friends Present Noctures and Barcarolles' - featuring the music of Gabriel Fauré and his contemporaries. At this concert, he was joined by the Thai violinist Tasana Nagavajara, who is the leader of the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra. Bennett Lerner played the first three of the Fauré Nocturnes, plus works by Chabrier, Tchaikovsky, and Brahms (the latter two were for violin and piano). We were so fortunate to be able to attend this wold-class performance for only £3!!

On Sunday we went to the Pong Duet Geyser (rather aptly named given the smell of the sulphur!). The underground temperature of this geyser is between 176°C - 203°C and it shoots out of the ground to between 1 and 2 metres in height at an amazing 90°C - 99°C. (See photo above)

Our intention was to stay at the resort, but, although they said we were welcome to stay, the restaurant was closed for refurbishment and the spa was closed. There was one pool open, but the water was so hot that David almost lost a toe testing it!

We decided to carry on to Pai. On the way we came across the bridge over the river Pai - also built by British prisoners of war, but not as well known as that other bridge.

The Bridge over the River Pai built by British Prisoners of War in 1942.

Enjoying a beer as the sun goes down over the River Pai.

In Pai we stayed at Ban Tawan (The House of the Open Door). Our room overlooked the river and seemed an idyllic setting. Unfortunately, just across the river was an all-night disco with a thumping base; added to which the people in the next room to us spent most of the night arguing very loudly. I was very irritated, but even more so when David managed to sleep through the lot!!! We did, however, manage our swim in a hot spring at the Pai Hotsprings Spa Resort. (See photo, left).

Our holiday in Thailand has now come to an end and I am actually writing this in Bangkok airport as we wait for our flight to Amsterdam. We have had a great time and, as usual, Glynn has been the consummate host. We will miss Chiang Mai - especially the massages we have enjoyed at the 'Nimman House Thai Massage for Health and Relaxation' - a most wonderful experience!


Farewell to a Great Lady!

We are just back from our weekend in New Waltham. On Friday, we attended a requiem mass for David's mother. The sevice was just as she would have wished it – formal and traditional. All her children had visited her just before she died, but all the generations were represented at the funeral. There were two of her children, Margaret and David, with their respective spouses (Bernard and me); her niece, Marilyn, with her husband, Dick; six grandchildren, Kevin, Clare, Sarah, Catherine, Patricia and John (plus Shayna, Kevin's wife) and two great grandchildren, Jessica and Kyron. The readings for the mass were read by the grandchildren and Margaret and David spoke about their mother at the end of the service. The church was filled with all the friends she had made since arriving in England three years ago. She was obviously a very popular lady! After the service, we went on to the crematorium to say our final goodbyes while Faure's Requiem played in the background. Later, we all enjoyed a splendid coming together of friends and family to celebrate the life of this wonderful woman. All in all it was a very memorable day!

On Saturday, we all went to Sarah's engagement party. Sarah has become engaged to Zane, who teaches at the same school as she does. It was good to be able to celebrate this happy occasion – although the music was too loud for us oldies – my ears were still ringing the next day! And so on to Sunday ... this was Margaret's birthday, so the remaining members of the family went to a splendid lunch in a nearby pub (see photo). So, as someone pointed out, we are now the older generation – hmm, I'm not sure what I think about that!

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