29 April 2012

Interesting times

There is a phrase, often said to be a Chinese curse:  "May you live in interesting times."  And April has certainly been interesting in many respects, including some that you really wouldn't want to experience.

The month appeared to start well, with a trip to Phuket in the second week.  And while we did, on the whole, have a good holiday, it is fair to say that the tsunami scare while we were there wasn't quite my idea of a relaxing time.  It is easy now to look back and say well, at least it didn't happen and it wasn't that bad really.  But at the time it was frightening.  We had just arrived in Patong, planning to trawl the beachfront market stalls and shops before going to Simon Cabaret, a show largely notable for the transvestites and transexuals that are included in the global-themed musical pieces.  We were browsing in the first shop we came upon, and were asked to leave.  It wasn't hard to guess why, given that the owner had already expressed concern over feeling an earthquake a little earlier, and that everyone was very clearly heading for the hills - literally.  We walked - quickly! - for a while, eventually finding shelter on the first floor of a food market/mall, but although we may well have been safe there in the event of a tsunami, I still didn't feel safe, and so we went back into the throng, making our way through the back streets, and then up a muddy and slippy hillside to the top of what must have been a recently cleared and soon to be built on site.  There everyone looked out to sea regularly, told stories of where they had been - in one case, checking out of the hotel and about to fly back home - phoned home and checked the latest news on their phones.  An hour or so later, we went back down the hill to a largely deserted (other than the traffic that was still stuck on the road running along the back of the town) Patong.  This all sounds very calm and orderly, and to be fair there didn't seem to be any panic.  But I found it very frightening, and it was hard not to recall all the stories read about the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami which killed so many people - and which hit Patong very hard.

Anyway, all was well that ended well, and although the holiday continued to have a watery theme (including the Thai New Year water festival and a huge downpour just as the celebratory al fresco buffet was starting), we did enjoy it.  And in case you're in danger of feeling that bit too sorry for us, here is a picture of the view from our room.

The day after we got home, we had another interesting day.  Alex wasn't feeling well to start with, and then shut the door over his toe.  He sat, in some pain, on the side of the bath, and I, being a good wife, started to put a plaster on his toe.  And then he fainted.  And cracked his head on the tiles behind him.  And knocked himself out.  For several minutes.  Really - not good.  Very scary - not for him, of course, but certainly for me and the kids!  We called an ambulance, and they took him off to hospital - at this point he was conscious again, but still clearly pretty dazed and unable to stand.  He was checked over, given a brain scan, and within an hour or so was declared well enough to go home.

Since then things have, fortunately, been somewhat less interesting!  Although Kuala Lumpur made it into the international news yesterday with a rally,  allegedly not a political one though held by the political opposition, calling for fair elections.  It started peacefully enough, but when the demonstrators broke through the barriers to Merdeka Square (where they had wanted to hold the rally but were banned from doing so, it being of historical importance), the police retaliated with tear gas and water cannons.  

Over 330 people were arrested, apparently, all released now, and the post mortems on the event have already begun, with the blame dependent on which newspaper you read.

So there you have it, a quick catch-up post.  Which will probably make better reading than the forthcoming "April in photos" post, because I have been really rather negligent with that this month - some days have photos, but a lot of them don't!  Maybe I'll do better next month....

1 April 2012

More of the little things of life

I did it - I managed to keep going with my photos for another month!  So, as promised, here they are - all those little day to day things that made up March 2012 for the Ford family.
Please note that you won't be able to see two of the images properly - I have started volunteering once a week at a children's home, and while I want to document this in my scrapbooks, I need to keep the details off my blog.

1.      An interesting challenge – no tap in the kitchen! Hope the plumber manages to find a new one and the time to fit it tomorrow.  (NB He didn’t, but he did the following day.)
2.      Hock Choon, our local supermarket.  The aisles are ridiculously narrow, but the food choice is excellent and the staff are very helpful.
3.      Caitie and Ella made candy floss!
4.      My new 70’s tv bag –images include Camberwick Green!
5.      KLCC mosque.  We can hear the five daily calls to prayer from our apartment.
6.      Parents’ evening. Caitie got excellent reports, and showed me a much faster way home! Smart girl!
7.      Wendy, looking very pleased with her new rice basher and idli pan that we found in Little India!
8.       Our new, very ethnic sideboard, delivered today.
9.      Alex was very chuffed to have found this horseshoe crab shell on the beach by the Golden Palms resort!
10.   Caitie on our balcony at Golden Palms, as the sun was setting.
11.   Alex chilling out before we hit the road back to Kuala Lumpur.  That evening, he flew to Delhi for a few days.
12.   My first photography club outing included Chow Kit market and Tatt Khalsa gurdwara. The Sikhs’ Holy Book, treated with great reverence, is under the cloth.
13.   My usual view of the school bus! We’re so lucky to have this service – without it I’d be spending around 3 hours on the school run each day!
14.   My bumper pack of scrapping goodies from Jennifer McGuire came today! A huge pile of papers, stamps, inks and embellishments – I think these stamps are my favourites.
15.   I had to wear this blood pressure monitor for 24 hours. Results were fine, BP a bit high, but nothing that a very low dose of meds won’t help J
16.   It was international day at school. Caitie painted the cross of St George on her nails!
17.   Alex made me a HUGE Pina Colada, served in a pineapple.
18.   Happy Henry, a cute little sock monster made for me by Caitie for Mother’s Day J
19.   I started volunteering at the girls’ home today.  Nice to be able to do something worthwhile.  I’ll be going every Monday.
20.   My small IKEA craft storage drawers are gradually being decorated. This is my favourite so far – Totoro, done by Caitie.
21.    Vegetarian Indian food for lunch, in Little India with Wendy and Noopur.
22.   The Formula 1 exhibit and sales points at the Suria mall were very popular.
23.   Alex just loved wearing this classy T-shirt to work today – not!
24.   Alex and I spent a pleasant, if hot, couple of hours at the Lake Gardens.
25.   I made more cards to sell at the school Spring Fair, to raise funds for the Kenya trip.
26.   Making cup cakes with the girls at the home – they loved it!
27.   Roast chicken for dinner last night.  Unfortunately, I had to get rid of these gross (and attached!) feet first.  Ewww!
28.   My collection of Opi nail varnishes!  Not quite as bad as it looks, as most of them are miniatures.
29.   One of the five rings I wear all the time.  This was my Nana’s, bought when she was little and the perfect fit for my little finger.  It has her initials on it – EB for Elsie Bottomley.
30.   A lovely (apart from the baby octopus!) Taiwanese lunch with Alex at the Suria mall.
31.   Alex’s huge new Lego Star Wars model, bought today at the Tropicana City Mall.  It will be about 4 feet long when complete.