Here we are sending Greetings to You.

If you had not already realized I have returned to Thailand to avoid UK Winter. Having arrived this year on 17th December it has all been a little different to last year. The perspective being that last year I arrived on Christmas Eve with my Mother in the afternoon. Christmas Day started with Church, Breakfast and Luncheon with friends. The difference this year – a week earlier and to witness the strange and complex goings on. The Europeans and Western hemisphere residents and visitors scurrying around trying to coordinate a traditional childhood memory of Christmas and the Thais trying to accommodate this concept when for them it was all just a normal working period. So unlike the UK when everything comes to a grinding halt as soon to Christmas Eve as one dares everything here carries on as normal. Mind the shops and Malls busy with afore said habitués trying to fine traditional fare. Turkeys are not indigenous to Thailand or are Christmas Puddings – Mince Pies. The imported treat supplies of Sprouts and such like are scooped up quickly as the network of communication comes into play as soon as they are loaded on to the display shelves. Hardened visitors or residents know the drill. Order supplies from trusted suppliers or book a local hostelry serving the traditional Fare to save the hassle. Mind much like the UK all celebratory Fare is at a premium and very near UK prices too. Wine mostly imported is also not exactly of good quality and usually charged at premium prices too. So with all this going on and dealing with Jet Lag a slow and very low profile slide into Thai living again was adopted.

I decided to make the effort for a home Christmas and quickly concluded that it would have to be self driven and executed. My dear friend Eileen, having her first Christmas, without husband Norman. Her first intention was a quiet day at her home alone but I persuaded her to come and join with Lam and I. Additionally I learnt on the Sunday before Christmas Eve that my host of last year had also not made any plans so both Tony and Pao were to be included. So to shopping and menu planning. Life is simple here at the Thai home. One combination Micro-wave and Convection Oven and Induction electric hob. So Menu planning had to be precise. Decorations – a few poinsettias and some Christmas lights draped just the job all put into place Christmas morning. Those on facebook would have seen some of the pictures. Our Fare: Salmon Parfait, Smoked Salmon and Salad with Toast – Roasted Honey Glazed Duck, Roasted Loin of Pork. Bramley Apple Sauce – Roasted Potatoes with Duck Fat and Caramelized Onions and a collation of Carrots, Sprouts and Peas – Braised Red Cabbage. Christmas Pudding accompanied by Green Tea and Macadamia Nut Ice Cream Christmas Gateaux. All washed down with Prosecco – Italian Trebbiano and Sangiovese. All enjoyed cleared up washed up and a nice sit and relax with a further glass of wine and a cold roast meat sandwich to finish of the day. That was Christmas.

Our treat for Boxing Day a drive down the coast to Bang Amphore to the Lighthouse for Luncheon on the beachfront overlooking the fishing boats and a dead flat calm sea backed with blue skies and not a cloud to be seen and needless to say somewhat warm. A further drive inland to see Eileen and explore some countryside. A stop off for a massage – Supper at the local Italian and then onto the Venue for the evening Cabaret. A full day of activity and diversity much enjoyed.

Thursday and Friday our usual daily routine set to play and talk of what to do for New Year. Last year a boat trip into the Bay but not this year. As previously mentioned and also repeated all the local hostelries were pulling the boat out with prices equivalent to 100 – 200 pounds per person plus drinks. The key locations paramount as the firework displays in the Bay of Pattaya have to be seen to be believed. Pattaya in mid December was again the venue for the World Firework Display competition so it has a huge legacy. Paper lanterns, Fireworks and set off almost the moment dusk falls which is usually about 18.30 hours and continue well into the early hours of the morning. Incredible seems hardly appropriate – breath taking and very hard to absorb. Dear Tony has agreed to host us at his 10th floor apartment. Yours truly taking the main course and we will watch from the balcony and slip down to the beach front just before midnight to join in with the revelry. We shall also have the advantage of watching the live broadcasts on the 65 inch Smart TV screen. I think it pans to be an enjoyable evening and I have done the food shopping just the preparation and cooking to do at leisure now.

We have visitors arriving after New Year so that will set a different pace for a few days and then it will be time to re-establish a routine.

In writing now I send you warm wishes for a Happy, Healthy 2013 and thank you for your friendship and camaraderie in 2012. I hope we will have the opportunity of more in the coming New Year no matter what it might hold in store for us all.

Hugs

Paul