I leave my home, I leave it in the care of a friend – 30th January 2018

Hoo-ee!  I woke up yesterday morning after 16-20 hours of restless sleep, through 42-degree heat, though a cool change was in the air, it hadn’t quite made it to the upstairs in our new house.  I was totally betwattled.

Even the first coffee was no cure and I lurched around the supermarket uncertain why exactly I was there.  I figured it out in the end and shopping done I contemplated going back to sleep again.  The second coffee finally kicked me into gear but I had nothing to do except some reading and waiting for the man to come and give us internet again.  I stayed awake with both fans blasting and kids shouting in their backyard, perhaps hunting the floppy-eared white rabbit I saw hopping down the street earlier.

In fact, by the time evening came round I was no longer sleepy, contemplating security in our new house and a message I got from my cousin Sharon, that my mother was sick again and back in the hospital.  I got to sleep what felt like just a couple of minutes before my alarm went off and here I am back at work again, dopey-eyed with spinning stars.

My mother suffers from COPD, basically what emphysema develops into.  She needs oxygen all the time now and gets chest infections very easily which knock her down.  The infections are usually fixed with a course of antibiotics but consistently return when they are finished.  It’s been like this for the last 12 months or so.

She finally had to leave her home and now lives in a nice care home.  She was sad to leave and lose the independence she loved but she understands she couldn’t go on there anymore as she needs fairly constant monitoring.  The sale of the house should cover her care home expenses for a few years.

Being a practical sort, my mother often told me not to return to the UK for her funeral as it is a waste of money.  Amy and Sharon have both asked me if I want to go and visit but, practically, there isn’t much I can do for her, she will feel upset that I spent a lot of money to visit and I think she doesn’t want me to see her so invalid.  She has always been so strong.

She has a Do Not Resuscitate order in place, saying she doesn’t want to hang around suffering and just being kept alive for the sake of it.  She saw that happen with her sister.  I hope she’s not suffering.

I did go and visit her about 18 months ago after she was taken to hospital for the first time.  She was still able to do things to take care of herself at that time and it was really nice to be able to sit back and relax in my old family home, just chat and watch TV.  I actually enjoyed being back in the UK, it was the tail end of summer so some days were comfortably warm but it was also nice to feel that clean English chill in the air some nights.  These are memories I would like to keep of the last time to see my mother.  Somewhat selfish I know.

My mother’s sickness it most likely smoking-related, though she quit about 20 years ago already, she had smoked for about 20 years before that.  With cigarettes always around I soon started pinching some and the few times she caught me smoking she couldn’t really say anything to deter me.  I finally stopped smoking myself when my son was born.  My own father died of smoking-related lung cancer before I was two years old.

All you’ve got to do is do it – 28th January 2018

After just posting a couple of days about not being stressed about the move to Thailand I woke up mid-sleep in a panic.  This is real.  Once I’m there, I’m there.  No turning back, no running away.  I’d like to try and figure things out for myself without relying on Amy too much, though I do hope she can provide me with the emotional support I know I’m going to need!

I can do it. I can do it. I can do it.  Right?

The nervous energy I felt whilst winding down time in 1994 is not apparent now.  I’m more composed and more reflective.  I guess I have some idea what I’m in for this time.  I’ve been to Thailand previously, which is at least a step ahead of when I moved to Australia.  It is a massive culture difference though.  I look forward to that but also curious how I might handle certain situations.

I can do it. I can do it. I can do it.  Right?

Anyway, I wrote this long after I woke up mid-sleep and I easily fell back to sleep after the panic.  It wasn’t that bad I guess.


Mark E. cha cha – 27th January 2018

I only recently understood the meaning of Aladdin Sane.  Not the song/music but just those two words.  Duh!

I slept through the heat of the day, a bit more fitfully than yesterday’s deep dreamless rest.  The whirr of the overhead fan blades never reminded me of the first scene in Apocalypse Now and thankfully, this isn’t the end.

God bless Saturday
God bless Saturday

A women’s laugh from a backyard party on our street woke me, someone’s having fun.  A creaking door, a turned tap.  It doesn’t bother me, it doesn’t upset me.  People are just being people going about their days.

Day by day
The moon gains on me

The dreams I was chasing are quickly forgotten but I know they were good.

And it’s quiet again
Hidden figments, surface now
Repetitious history
One more time for the record

Last day of four night shifts again.  I’m starting to flag.

The man who’s head diminished. Sounds like my head, trying to unravel this lot
I can tell you Sparky!

A day and a half break to do some washing and reading and then back to it, but at least back on regular shifts, which will at least give me three and half day breaks again though I may see if I can get some more overtime cos money is money.

If your rates too high
Put your life on this bit of paper


Amy insists I bring her at least three bags of goon from Australia despite me having a full bag already.  Aussie wine is expensive in Thailand and Amy sounded like she needed a drink tonight.  I’m anticipating my first drink of the year when I arrive in Thailand too – will probably knock me off my feet.

Good riddance to my native country
It never did a thing for me
It’s a better life here


It is a good life here
Football and beer much superior…

Good night Marquis.

Great southern land – 26th January 2018

No dreams to report today.  I got home this morning and chucked down a couple of tablets and quickly fell into a codeine coma.  Woke up 9 hours later feeling totally refreshed.  The day of Australia Day is over and now I’m just working through the double-time overtime night.


Amy has been picking through catalogues of tiles as we start thinking about the details of our house.  There still feels like a lot of work to be done but the contract is to have it finished in the next two months.  In those two months, I will eventually have quit my job and left Australia.  It still feels less than real.  I’m not as stressed as I should be!

I continue to write up the 1994 diary entries, up to the end of March so far.  I had a habit of writing with no paragraphs or breaks and when typing without capitals too.  It’s a pain to keep track of where I’m up to in the text.

Each entry brings back evocative memories and it’s interesting to compare those times with these.  Do I not feel stress this time because I have some idea of what I’m getting into this time?  When I moved to Australia I would say it took me a good 18 months to feel settled.  I missed all my friends and the things we got up to before I left, knowing that it would be a long time before we would be able to do those things again.


This time is a little more detached.  It’s like we’ve already done the move but I’m not quite there yet.  As I’m just quietly beavering away in Adelaide I’m not thinking about partying my way to the last day.  Australia is a great country to live in really.  It has its fair share of problems but it had greater potential possibilities too.  I may be tipping my rose tinted glasses somewhat.  Either way, the future is now.

Is the cup half empty? – 25th January 2018

The house was empty now but my mum was here somewhere.  So was my stash; gotta find it before she does; we got a plane to catch.

It’s not here.  Where is she?  I started running around the plaza.  Got it!  A big bag of blue and white crystals, I dip a wet finger in and suck my digit like a lollipop.  Shit!  There she is, she’s coming.  “The plane leaves soon, we have to catch the train now!  What are you doing?”

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I run off. “Nothing!” I dig a finger in again and pull out a huge amount of amphetamine.  Shit, shit, shit.  I can’t take this on the plane but I don’t want to leave it behind!  I’m going to be hyper if I take any more though.  Mum will wonder why I can’t stop talking (I’m usually pretty quiet).  I sniff some up and rub the rest on my gums.  Fuck it!

The Beastie Boys wake me up.  Damn it’s hot.  Why can’t I just sleep for another 12 hours?


20 Questions Version

I look through your window, deep inside – 24th January 2018

Last night I moved house.  Two suitcases and bedding and I was done.  I have to trim that down to one suitcase and a carry on in the next 7 weeks.

It’s actually my housemates who wanted to move, this was after the landlord fixed the dodgy bathroom shelf after one year of being hassled, and then decided to put the rent up an extra 30 dollars a week.

The new place is a nice spacious 2 storey, 3 bedroom house.  Much nicer than the old place – more modern and more homely.  I did, however, have a weird affection for that old place.  For me it’s all about counting down time as cheaply as possible – I would live in a drafty garage and be ok. So this new place is nice but doesn’t really affect me much.  I’m still using the same uncomfortable bed and that’s where I spend most of my time when I’m at home anyway.

For my housemates, it’s making a big difference though.  It has them energised and should be something they can make into a home.  The old place wasn’t conducive to putting much effort into making it nice really.

With fully ducted aircon, ceiling fans, a double garage and two toilets, between the three of us we don’t own enough things to even fill it.  It’s not costing me any more in rent but as my housemates know I’m leaving soon they’ll be able to charge a bit more for the next person which covers the ten bucks a week increase from the old place.

The house is situated at the end of a cul-de-sac so it’s pretty quiet but the interesting thing is the house on the corner just up from us.


A bit of a web search reveals this place to be called Barton Vale House.  It even has a Facebook page, which seems to indicate it is a private residence, though someone posted the review about the food being amazing.  Seems that at one time it was a ‘home for wayward girls’ and of course, once the house fell into disrepair for a while, it became the subject of so-called hauntings.  It’s something more interesting than the usual suburban houses pretty much everywhere else on my route to work.

My housemates are an interesting couple.  Bram is 60 and his girlfriend, Katrina, is 30.  They met when he was travelling around China, ended up travelling together and finally living together in Adelaide. With me working shifts, Katrina working nights and Bram working regular hours it’s not often that we are all at home at the same time.

Bram reminds me of me a little bit, though he is much more of a man’s man than I am, not blokey though.  He’s into bikes, cars and fixing things and he looks like an ex-biker.  Despite the rough and ready exterior he has a gentle demeanour and is a bit of an old softy really.  As his mother passed away recently he is becoming more conscious of his age and often self-debates about his worth in their relationship.

Katrina is, to me, a bit of a stereotypical Chinese woman.  I can’t really explain the meaning of those words though.  She has struggled to adjust herself to Australian life, particularly as it was not the easy life she had heard about.  The house we were living in definitely hasn’t helped as she never felt like investing any time into making it a home.  I think the new place will be good for her so long as she can focus on the good things.  I know it will be a struggle for them to save money for the futures that they are discussing.

She’s waiting for Bram to propose and she constantly reminds him that his age doesn’t matter to her.  She’s not sticking around for his money, that’s for sure.  I hope they can both can achieve their dreams.  They are nice people.

Amy was in Bangkok today, paying a quick visit to Fah.  Fah has mostly been spending time sick in bed this last week or so but her mother said she has picked up significantly knowing that Amy was coming to visit.  She’s in constant pain and had to get around in a wheelchair but wanted to go out and eat just like she used to do all the time.  She is staying positive and still doing chemo when she has the strength.  I don’t want to think what I would do in her situation – I hope I never have to.

Ask him no questions he’ll tell you no lies – 22nd January 2018

Working Monday mornings only come around about once a month and they suck as much for me as for everyone else.  Day shifts are relatively boring, or I should say, even more boring than night shifts.  This whole job is an exercise in dealing with boredom.  I joke about having finished reading the internet.

Talking about reading I’m about to finish the 3rd book this week about bikers.  This one, ‘Outlaws’, is about the history of the clubs in the UK and constantly reminds me of my one time run in with a Hell’s Angel (which, on further thought, reminds of another run in).

Fatty, his girlfriend Sally, and I were on the 2-hour drive home from London after a gig and stopped at the service station to fill up on some food.  It was probably around 1am and the place was empty.  The food in bain-marie looked unappetising but we needed something to fill our empty bellies.  We filled our plates and sat down, having the choice of the whole room to sit in.  As we nearly finished a biker came in, got some food and chose to sit down next to us.  Of course, we immediately became nervous and finished up as quickly as we could.  The biker looked straight at Sally and said ‘do you want to fuck?’

Thankfully she was too stunned to say anything, which was unusual for her.  I could see her mouthing off and getting us all punched down.  We picked up our things and left swiftly.  I think I heard the biker say ‘guess that’s a no then?’ as we got through the door.  Thankfully he was alone.

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And the other story that came to mind was in a pub one early evening Fatty and I were standing next to a pillar, happily drinking away.  We stuck our drinks on the shelf around the pillar in between gulps and continued chatting, putting the world to rights as per usual early 20-year-olds shooting the breeze.  I turned to pick up my beer, almost full, and it was gone.  I looked around the pillar and three Hell’s Angels were talking to each other, paying no attention to this little runt who’d just lost his drink.

I tapped one of them on the back and as he turned I smashed him in the face and stomped on his stomach.  As the other two pulled out their pistols I karate chopped one and high kicked the other and then……oh wait.  That’s not what happened.  We went somewhere else to get a drink instead.

Hopefully, the next book I read is a little less hateful.

Nobody passes the test of time – 19th January 2018

Time is short.  Our time is short.  Have you done everything you want to do yet?  What do you want to do?

Do you already look back at a life fulfilled?  Will anyone remember who you were once you’re gone?  Next year,  next century, next millennium?

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The week has been ok.  It’s my last day of six twelve hour shifts, the last four as night shifts.  I’m tired and slightly out of it.

We are often reminded of our fragility.

There’s always a lyric that can be found to echo my thoughts.  Often, from Nomeansno.

Thin voices call out of thin air
“Do you really care?”
“Do you really care?”
There is no reason to be afraid
All of the bodies have been laid to rest
Nobody passes the test of time
The long climb
Into thin air
Thin air
There is no one there

You think you have time
You have no time

An image may be left in place
Of what was felt there is no trace
In words recited without a sound
By voices buried underground
There is no meaning to be found

 “Do you really care?”
There is no one there
You think you have time
You have no timeThere are no castles without ghosts
And no spirits without hope
But nobody passes the test of time
You stand in line, you have your place
Then in the space of moments fall
From again and again and again
To not at all
From again and again and again
To not at all
I do not fear the buried sounds
Of words that echo underground
A memory is a loaded gun
And I remember everyone

I remember you..

“Do you really care?”
There is no one there
“Why are you scared?”
There’s no one there
You’re clean, strong, and free
Like you always wanted to be
You’re alone, alone, alone
There is no one there

Nervous, I’m nervous, so nervous – 18th January 2018

Don’t complain about the weather.  Don’t complain about the weather.  Don’t complain about the weather.  It’s boring!

Faaaaark it’s hot!

It was 42 degrees today here in Adelaide.  Luckily I slept through it and it was only 41 degrees when I woke up at 5pm.  Dropped down nicely to 31 degrees when I went out for my walk at 10.30pm.

Yes, it’s boring to talk about the weather.  But when you live in Australia and plan to move to Thailand it’s quite a relevant topic.  I didn’t own a jacket for the first 7 years of living in Australia, and I only had one after that because it was a present from a girlfriend.  I do appreciate some warmer clothes during the winter here these days though, these old bones are getting creakier. I have seen frost in Sydney once too – about 12 years ago.

Amy has suffered through the Thai winter where there is a regular annual news item about how could it is each year.  This year the lowest overnight temperature was around 8 degrees.  Looks like I might still need a jacket then.  For the two weeks that it lasts anyway.  Kind of the reverse to an English summer.

I’m promising myself not to ever complain about hot it is in Thailand.  Let’s see how long that lasts.


Amy has gone from bored-to-stressed in 24 hours, as she has been running around dealing with the people who will build our kitchen and walk-in wardrobe.  Figuring out who will build our bed base design and special wardrobe in the second bedroom.  Expanding the outdoor kitchen area and deciding to put the washing machine out there and renaming the laundry to Amy’s craft room.  Choosing the wall paints and figuring the guys building our fence deserve a bottle of rice whisky when they finish – to keep in their good books if we need any other help in the future.


Hopefully, the paint goes on in the next few days so Amy can see how everything will look and change anything before it’s too late if she decides.  It’s still so weird for me to be here just looking at photos and only being able to visualise living in a finished house, rather than be involved with its development so closely.  I hope I like it!


I emailed off my application for the CELTA course in Chiang Mai, starting in April, after Songkran.  They wrote back quickly and I’ll need to do an interview with them sometime soon.  I want to do a video interview but need to make sure the internet is stable enough.  I also need to be on top form and with only have a day and a half break between shift changes again this week I can pretty safely assume I won’t be up for it.  As well as this, I’ll be moving house on Tuesday evening and there won’t be any internet connectivity for a week or so.  I guess by then though I should have a long enough break to be alert enough to what I already know will be a difficult interview.

I’m just a little petrified about my ability to do this course – it’s been so long since I’ve been in a study situation where I’ve had to actually care about what I’ll be learning.  I was sent on so many useless courses in my old job that I never really paid much attention. I know my focus and concentration is not as good as it used to be too.

But hopefully, with a more meaningful result and benefit at the end of the course as the reward, I will be motivated enough to push on through and do my best.  I really want to learn to do something that has more meaning, to myself and to others.  I hope that I can be a good English teacher, and a great mentor to those I will end up teaching.

Once done I’ll start investigating opportunities to work in schools and also to do some private tuition, which I think will be what I might end up doing longer term, once I’ve done a couple of years to get a good grounding on the best way to do things.

I’m still nervous though.  If I can’t pass the course, what will I end up doing?  I do take comfort in the knowledge that other of friends have passed so if they can do it, so can I!