Monday, July 27, 2015

out with our friends

We're 3 couples, a Thai wife with a farang (foreign/western) husband with a couple of coincidental things in common: all the ladies are from around the same part of Thailand, we all live in a 8 mile radius.

I met one of the men through a student who introduced me after I said i was marrying a Thai lady.  The other couple I met in April, in Thailand, during my month long holiday that included the wedding ceremony.  But I knew these two couples already hung out and were a long way along the visa route.

After wanting to make sure my wife was not too lonely, I was keen to find people who she had commonality with, and perhaps she could talk to and go out with. My plan worked out well because I found two couples who were local, and two of the ladies were already acquainted.   I also discovered a network of Thai's living here, locally, shops and the like selling everything you could want.

I did my best to make the house as friendly as possible, putting up framed photos of family and a rather nice canvas of a local (Non-Wang) temple we both visited on several occasions.

Even so after the first week of bliss, she became homesick.  Having done the formative years 11-16 away from home, I know how it feels.  At least my family were close by, 200 miles or so. Hers are 6,000 miles so not easy to keep in touch, especially with 6 or 7 hour time difference.  I had made sure there was video connection for her to talk, and this has been a godsend in all ways.  Right now she's talking to family, her nephew, sister and mother. It's 1140 here and 1740 in Thailand.

She's here in the UK for 5 and a half months, after obtaining a hard earned tourist visa.  That's another story, which you'd think was a work of fiction  however I can assure you is entirely true.  At the end she's going back to Thailand and at this point i don't have any plans.  Money is now so tight, I don't think I can even go in December, which will mark a 3 month separation period with no definite end.  At the moment, there's 2 months left, so I don't wish to think too much about that.


So, yesterday was an outing to Bristol to a washed-out thai festival. The rain poured and the people stayed away.  We left to go get lunch, and never returned.  It was a waste of time and money however the time with friends was priceless.

After that we passed by the chinese supermarket at Eastville and the ladies purchased supplies, on the way to my home where we spent an enjoyable evening drinking, eating, chatting and the ladies did karaoke to thai songs on the tablet (wifi'd to the TV).

The Ladies are planning a trip to London, which I am sure they'll enjoy seeing as it will include shopping, but will damage the bank account further.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

bored

Taking it easy today because we're out tomorrow and it is the holidays now, the term ended yesterday and I don't work until 7th September (apart from the friday sessions at the sports centres).  Cleaned the kitchen floor with neat cleaner as it was so filthy. Emptied the car and adjusted the seating to accommodate 6 people, after all it's a 7 seater so may as well benefit from it... But, in doing so can't take my scooter now so i'll be struggling to walk around the show, because the seat takes up the loading space it gives me half a boot and the lift arm doesn't allow for this.

This morning looked at containers - or rather making a house with them.  The ideal house building situation for Thailand, except in researching the costs, it may be expensive due to being £1,000+ per container and the design I had in mind involved 12 x 20 foot and 1 x 40 foot.  The most expensive bit is the land, however this can be purchased for very little in some places.

Now sat in the office thinking what to do..One task is the end of year accounts, yet to be finished.  Or watching TV...  Pass the remote control!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

missing post

I knew the problem of having to blog on the PC would eventually lead to not blogging, and it happened yesterday.  With good intention I came home after lunch and took the Mrs with me to town to bank some cheques. We wandered round a small market, and discovered a veggie stall sold some foreign asian foods, such as that found in asian supermarkets.  Having purchased an item or two, narrowly missing on spending a fortune (prices were higher on the market) we went towards the small mall where I didn't manage to avoid spending as the Mrs bought some tops from Peacocks. We stopped in asda, I did ask if she wished to go to the car and wait but unfortunately she wanted to come in.  It was a spending frenzy that I tried desperately to avoid but didn't.  The last stop was Boots for some face cream and girly face wash stuff, which if I had realised, was cheaper in Asda!

At least she cooked a delicious thai meal for dinner after which a selection of usual activities took place, some of which i'll leave to the immagination. Suffice it was a later night, and a very tiring next day due to the late bed time!

Sunday this week we're off to Bristol with our friends (two couples) to a thai festival so thats something to look forward to.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hospital

Originally made back in March before going to Thailand, the appointment was rearranged twice with one time done for me and not even aware until the letter came. Having arranged it so I could go, the new time meant I had to get cover for my class and pay someone for it. 

The lift was a little wierd, had to go from level 2 to 4, then down to 3 in another lift.  Luckily level 3 reception where i could get my parking validated was also the floor I needed.  Unfortunately upon reaching the reception area for orthopaedics at the other end of a very long corridor I found out the toilet was back at the original reception!

I finally arrived at 1035am and the self serve machine told me the clinic schedule was on time for 1040am, to see an orthopaedic consultant.

My reason for wanting yet another opinion was that pain is a sign in the body and must always have a cause. Telling me otherwise, with my knowledge, is futile.  Treating it forever with ineffective and life threatening drugs was not my ideal situation and I did feel the existing surgeon doesn't want to do any more, which is not surprising considering his cock-up putting the screw into the L5 nerve on the good leg.

And before you ask, no one wants to take the case on for damages; unfortunately a 5% risk is acceptable for this type of mistake and I signed my rights away, despite the catalogue of cock-ups and ridiculous delays during my extended stay in 3 different wards!

90 minutes later I'm called in. I did find his accent a little difficult, without sounding racist, because he was pakistani/indian.  He read the GP referral and did a quick exam, then suggested there is no quick decision because he doesn't have any XRAYS or MRI details, and will need to get them from the other THREE hospitals I've been treated at.   He told me to return in 2 months!

Meantime, I am still barely working and living, mostly with moderate pain.  The medication I know is not doing me good, the celebrex is damaging my stomach and giving high BP, and the codeine is stopping me going so I take laxatives to make me go.  My guts feel bad but mostly the pain is still there, especially late evening and night.

I have to get up at 5/6am (when I wake) to take the pain meds so I can get about. I'm usually in bed by 10-1030pm on weekdays, and not much later at weekends.

Dont get me wrong, compared to before the operation when I could not walk at all, at least I can walk with difficulty, a stick and mobility scooter.

And now I limit the crap I take I am at least sane again whereas half of last year was spent in a drugged haze; I used to take family members with me to appointments so they could tell me after what was said. 

I could tell you about the June to December period but you'd probably not believe me, especially when I say I could easily have ended it all, it was all too much.

Having finished in 15 minutes, I left, not surprised at all. On the way down in the lift I pressed "2", and ended up on level 4... I had to find another lift when I realised where I was to go down to level 2.....

Monday, July 20, 2015

20th July

So, today I thought I might offer my software at a knockdown price - £60... It should be £249 for the advanced version. I did try 50% for a 2 week period and sold zero. I figure I have sold zero up to now making zero pounds in sales, so if I sell one at £60 thats more than I have ever made since launching it in 2009.  I just dont understand the lack of sales.  It's even offered for 30 days free use...

Anyway I need to make some money quickly, the fees I have taken for September's classes are way down and I am a little worried because after paying for hall hire there's  barely enough to last until November/December.

I just did a £110 mail shot (postage and photocopying) to my ex-students for 3 of the 6 classes, and this was 176 - that's the number who no longer come. I hope that maybe 10 will return, but doubt it.  The annoyance is they never tell you why they stopped although I suspect it was because I was not very well with drugs and the back operation.

Ideas on a postcard please

Sunday, July 19, 2015

a lazy sunday musing

In the news Vodafone owe 4bn in tax.  The social security bill is 3bn.  But the idiotic government is going ahead with 12bn cuts, mostly aimed at the social security sector.

Anyway, excuse the aside above; Yesterday I was re-reading the posts from years back and there were a few common themes, one of which is still an issue - SKY.

My sky box, a 2tb HD recorder, fitted about 18 months ago to replace one I bought because the WIFI would not work, is now playing up.  Within the last few months it started crashing, with the only solution to switch off/on.   It is now worsening to the point that this week alone (13-19 July), it has stopped 3 times so far.  The helpdesk I spoke to a few weeks ago did a menu rebuild,  but that solution lasted a day. I usually do a full "reboot", pressing BACKUP while turning on the power, which downloads the update; allegedly.   If I get them to replace the box or rebuild the drive, I will lose all my saved programmes and that is really annoying.

It is a generalisation, but south wales drivers are fecking mental.  The other common theme in previous posts was about advanced driving, and to be blunt, they need some training.  I was nearly wiped out 5 times in the short journey to Barry Island and back.  On the motorway, going 70mph, this one car driver saw fit to come right up my bumper and flash his lights constantly. As I was overtaking slower traffic in lane 1 and 2, there was no where for me to go if I wanted to and the ignorant tw*t could have seen this had he not been speeding.  As with all karmic situations, after overtaking me he didn't get very far before he was stuck in lane 1, and I went past him...smiling.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saturday

Well, that's another week over. I just tried logging into this blog on my tablet, as I seem to use it a lot lately, especially in the morning. Although most of the work is leisure, e.g. facebook, games, etc I was interested in being able to blog mobile.  However, as with everything in life, it is not that easy and the logging in failed with an error about virgin media my ISP provider.   Doing a google search, other engines are available but not as good or memorable, I saw the error was commonplace and unsolveable. Luckily, the PC entry method still works but involves extra steps and not always do I want to fire up the beast.

While doing this I took time to review the previous posts and for the most part they are quite intellegently written and I am surprised I was an elloquent blogger with a fairly rounded view on topics of the current news.  Some of those themes persist to this day, which is not surprising, for example, bad drivers, taxes, the government and all.

Today I reflect on a lot of things, mostly the fact that I'm financially knackered, again.  I spent a huge amount in the last year chasing my dream of being married to my Thai wife, most of which I earnt and saved up since 2009. 

The journey's not ended, as far as the goal of living together in married bliss, because the immigration system is so biased against relationships where one person is from a non-EU country.  Many people have said to me, now that you are married, is your wife coming to live here with you?  The short answer is NO, not without a lot of effort and cash, mostly going to HM government.

I believe the path I followed could have been different but for the knowledge I have accumulated on the journey.  There are a lot of cultural differences to understand and would seem very strange to you if I told you everything.  I have yet to differentiate the ways to be either cultural or to be just my lady and family.  Sure, similarities exist throughout the culture and my new family, which I am aware of from conversations with couples we have met and the couple who introduced us. 

Notwithstanding, on a good day, I am happy as the preverbial larry.  On others, I am in deep depression about what I chose to do and the ungrateful aspects of the relationship that appears one-sided.  A lot of people do this dating thing successfully and some do not. There are documented cases of foreigners being fleeced, and of couples blissfully in love.  Our friends whom are local in the sense of where we are in the UK and where the ladies originate in Thailand, have been quite useful for both of us.  For her, to talk all things Thai, and for me to discover what I am going through (OR indeed will need to), is similar to current experiences for them.  They are a long way ahead on the immigration routemarch and have been invaluable in terms of advice and guidance.

Many have said, family included, why go to Thailand to find someone.  To be perfectly blunt, apart from the fact that I am 54 and mildly disabled, I have yet to meet people here who are willing to date me for me aside putting the previous two aspects in the mix.  I've done all things to help myself find someone e.g. dating websites, not trying too hard to look, asking around, etcetera, but to no avail.  Most people who would be compatible are not available, not interested, or have kids (I am not averse to children or having my own but didn't want to be in a relationship that involved them).

Given the obvious things about Western men having a wealthy lifestyle, something Thai's don't have but want, they are less discriminating and willing to accept the differences.  Certainly, people my own age do not excite or inspire me.  My Thai lady is 13 years younger and I could easily have chosen an even younger lady to date, but I didn't.  I wanted someone I can be with every day and see the reason I wanted to be with her every time I looked.  I wanted someone who will take care of and commit to me wholeheartedly forever to create a loving and lasting relationship. For my part, I want to take care of someone who will appreciate the old values, lost in the West during female emancipation.  That's  not saying I want a slave, because that's just ridiculous.  In more ways, it's the old style family values that appealed to me more than anything.

The other main driving force was about the materialistic motives. The ladies from the Eastern Europe regions more often gave me the impression they were primarily interested in money and status.  This is a very big assumption I know and certainly not without exceptions.

My initial thoughts were the Thai's are predominantly Buddhist.  One of the 5 precepts is disregarding material wealth and evidenced by the majority who live in modest means with very little.  I was drawn to this because I was sure that any lady I dated would be more interested in me than in what my bank account held.  I also have an empathic view to Buddhism, and this reflects in the work I do teaching qigong.

Of course there are exceptions. I know of one Thai lady living here in the UK who thinks more of the £1,000 handbag than anything else and is looking for a "very rich" man who can buy her things such as that. The man she dated and whom paid to bring her to the UK, is no longer around. Subsequently, she's had a few dates but is alone at the moment.  I can see why when she talks like that.

The Thai culture is an anomaly because the West is infiltrating it with the things I class as corrupting such as fast food and materialistic views (e.g wanting the latest curved TV).  Shops in the cities reflect this, with Burger bars and electrical superstores offering the consumer everything.  I do wonder how the people can afford it, considering the comparatively small wages.  As Westerners, we're considerably better off (although I would not agree as I spent on average £2-3,000 each trip, on purely frivolous stuff.  5,000 baht, equating to £100, did not last long, for example one trip to the nightclub was 6,000 baht.  This amount was on average, a weekly wage for workers). 

I am considering teaching English, for which the monthly salary is 28-35,000 baht. This is thought to be a good to great wage and because English teachers are in demand, this is the reason it is so good.  I could supplement this with private work, and make even more money.  But do I want to substitute full time here for the same in Thailand?

Certainly the lifestyle would be better, along with the weather / heat. It might be good for my back and help me get around. I know from my brief times in Thailand, I always felt better and more mobile. I believe the trips contributed to me losing the walker (mobility aid) from everyday use; something I relied upon for a long time even in the house.





Friday, July 17, 2015

Annoying equipment failure

Well, quite an annoying day and a half. Starting last night, the dishwasher gave up. Let me quantify, a few weeks back I put it on and upon hearing a beeping discovered an E3 error and the cycle unfinished - in fact barely started.  The dishwasher has not been used very much since March, because my wife tends to wash by hand.  It's had a fair use, almost daily, since 2008 so you can argue it is probably overdue.  But upon looking up the code I discovered it is really common for this make and type and people have had the error within a year on occasions.  The code means the heating element is broken, e.g. not heating.  To be fair the machine's always had issues with the salt and rinse aid, barely using any aid on most 2-3 monthly refills.  As I say, with me the only user, it was used regularly but not heavily.

So, last night the wife suggests it should be used.  It doesn't want to work and no matter the setting, it did not clean.  This morning I had to explain the machine has broken completely and the dishes were still dirty.  It will remain broke, as I dont have the cash to replace it.

The other annoyance was receiving a note on the car saying (roughly) thanks for parking in this disabled bay do you want my disability too?  Clearly, their disability was "blindness" because if they'd looked a little better then my badge on the dash would have been seen.   I agree that bay abusers need to be told, but really, people should check first.  Funny thing is I go there every week and park in the same spot to teach a health exercise class.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A trip to the shops

So today after the Chippenham class I took my wife to the thai supermarket in Bath. She asked me last night to take her as she needed some supplies. Have to say I end up spending £70-£100 here everytime, and usually its fortnightly or has been since April.  We were introduced by our new friends in Melksham, well two couples like us with a "farang" man and thai wife, to this smallish shop with thousands of products from every corner of the Asian market including fresh and frozen.

Shop owners Alan and his wife (who has been here for 30+ years now) even invited us to their weekend celebrations when there were 5 buddhist monks and loads of local Thais (some with their farang partners).  It was a great day and I even had my own private blessing by one the monks, who spoke excellent English.

Back home now awaiting a banquet of Thai food cooked fresh for Lunch/Dinner, so thought I would do a quick blog.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

2011-2015 update

If anyone is reading this, then it has been a huge five years since the last post. I feel like this is a confessional, forgive me for i have sinned..blah blah. Anyway, nothing I've done warrants a confession or a forgiveness.  I do have some news though, and while its not practical to document the last five years entirely, I can give you a brief rundown of events.

2011 Did the demo at the health awards. fiasco, is my only comment!

2011 Went to Ukraine for dating purposes. Didn't find anyone but had a great time, met loads of new people and came back alone.

2012 Went to Moscow, as above! Did meet more people, but no one special. Even managed to meet some disabled people too and saw how they live.

2012 Started to get back and leg problems. Had wanted to go to Thailand, but was too bad.

2013 Despite the worsening back/leg pain, went to Lynmouth for their annual event and was teaching qigong stuff to a very small audience.

2013-2014 worsened until the point that in 2014, after being prescribed a bucket load of drugs that did nothing, I could not wait any longer. So I found a surgeon who would do an operation for me, sensibly without trussing me up like a turkey. Then, after the Op in May, I spent June to October 2014, trying to rehabilitate myself as the establishment really had let me down. The major disappointment was that the operation did not go as planned, and with a 5% risk of happening the screw was misplaced into the nerve leaving me worse off.  This made everything difficult.  Luckily, my preplanning meant i'd signed up for ESA, which was a good job because I found working too difficult.  I used a walker most of the time even in the house. 

September 2014 - had to start permitted work because I found the income was not covering expenditure. Luckily, I had enough students left to make it work.

October 2014, went to Thailand for dating purposes.  Met a lady and decided it was all or nothing.

December 2014, went back and met her family.

January 2015, went to Bangkok, Thailand registry office and did the paperwork for marriage

April 2015, Went to Thailand and had the thai wedding.  Managed to get a tourist visa for her, and she came home with me.

July 2015, married life in the UK - sorting out the various language and cultural issues slowly but surely.