And then you start to enjoy it, take all the plugs out – 30th January 2021

Do you find it normal that there are daily demonstrations by ________? That women in love run away from their Prince Charming? That people dream about farms rather than love? That men and women sell their time, but can never buy it back again? And yet, all these things happen, so it really doesn’t matter what I believe or don’t believe; all these things are normal. Everything that goes against Nature, against our most intimate desires, is normal in our eyes, even though it’s an aberration in God’s eyes. We seek out our own inferno, we spend millennia building it, and after all that effort, we are now able to live in the worst possible way.

– Maria, Eleven Minutes – Paulo Coelho

Certain passages just jump out at you when you read them. Resonate with your thoughts and feelings at that particular time.

In the text, the blank is ‘Kurds’ in the first sentence, but this day I’m writing, or this day you are reading, you can fill it in with anything. There are sure to be daily demonstrations somewhere in the world, about some injustice or other, and so that we have spent millennia building this reality and despite all our efforts we end up living in the worst possible way – and that is what we perceive as normal.

The picture attached is not connected with this thought in any way. I took it this morning, riding around after finishing reading Eleven Minutes at my regular weekend coffee stop. The newly planted rice looked weak and vulnerable deep in the water. Though from the angle of the photo it looks much more cohesive.

There is a cafe in the middle of the fields, working the photo opportunity whilst the rice is growing. Rice is life here. Other fields are burning off their waste, ready for the next season.

The shack at the corner, a shield from the sun for tired sweaty workers to take a breath. It is a romantic structure, though I will never find myself in need of its use.

The big tree behind the shack looks strong at base yet scrawny at height. It looks climbable, it looks liveable – build a treehouse and live above the land.

Sketches for my sweetheart (the drunk) – 5th January 2021

We had a 4 day holiday over the new year. For 2021 I have made a half hearted resolution to play more video games! Last year I rarely played anything at all. In fact I have many things I could, can and will do but I thought it was amusing to make a resolution often seen as negative.

So for much of this 4 day holiday I gave myself a backache by playing new games on my old Xbox One.

An exception to this was the evening of the 31st December where Amy and I enjoyed a spicy hot pot with the last packet of sauce my friend Ellen delivered from China last year (or the year before….when was it!?). We also sipped on yoghurt flavored shoju but Amy gave up around 11pm. We had watched the Sydney Harbour fireworks at 8pm and that is when Amy considers the new year to have actually started for us, her heart still being there. I carried on building cities and shooting monsters and was up again pretty early the following morning.

On the Saturday a few of Amy’s friends and I got together at a cafe on the way to Mae Sai. It was busy there but we all ate our fill and lazed around, Amy knocking back a few Heineken’s and getting a little louder as she likes to do.

We decided to visit her old friend from Sydney who has a cactus farm nearby and he kindly gave us a couple for Amy’s collection.

We had to stop at a shop on the way home so that Amy could grab another beer and she organized herself to head on into the city for more food and alcohol! My sweetheart the drunk!

I left her to it but she came back much earlier than I expected, mentioning about some of her friends who insist that good luck only comes from going to the temple – something that particularly rubs Amy the wrong way. Amy believes in herself and all good and bad comes from within. Thai people are still very superstitious and like to put blame and benefit on things outside their control. Obviously I agree with Amy’s point of view but I don’t let other people’s ideas like this rub me the wrong way, though I also don’t have to listen to them complain about their lives either!

Before this holiday I thought I’d like to do something artistic again and started off with sketching. I have more ideas for continuing this than I have time currently available – it could be a battle between sketching or video games. I hope to balance this effectively. So, I was quite happy and proud of my first sketch – just looking up from my little floor table where I was working.