No Mandate – No Mandate/Scheme of Things – 1st December 2018

Cat #: 196TZM

Mellow dub grooves, heavy desert riffs, and short bursts of angular punk. This is the sound of new Sydney trio No Mandate. Their debut double EP, “No Mandate / Scheme of Things”, will be released as summer breaks – December 1st, 2018, via Tenzenmen Records.

Moving freely across genres and boundaries comes naturally to the three musicians, thanks to their experience in forward-thinking bands such as Hinterlandt, SEIMS, Meniscus, and many more.

The eponymous No Mandate EP constitutes the band’s foundation: instrumental, reggae-tinged rhythms circle themselves and merge with psychedelic fuzz, ultimately culminating in brief explosions of irregular math-rock.

Scheme of Things takes the dub-punk formula a step further. Understated vocals lead the way into increasingly progressive song structures, ending with Manifesto, a 45-second slap in the face of mediocrity that wouldn’t be out of place on an early hardcore seven-inch.

Creating the two EPs was a practice of grassroots egalitarianism: Jochen wrote the music; Alex recorded it in Jochen’s living room; Simeon created the artwork, and recorded additional overdubs at his home under the supervision of Harry the cat.

Nightmare A.D. – Phantoms Of Our Ruins – 19th November 2018

Cat #: 195TZM

Recorded and Mixed between Aug 2017 – Aug 2018 at First in Space Studio (firstinspacestudio.com) and Links Cambodia
Mixed and Mastered by Alex Khalchenia
Produced by Nightmare A.D. and Alex Khalchenia

All Music by Mia Priest and Nightmare A.D.
All Lyrics by Mia Priest
Additional Keyboards by Jon Banules

Artwork by Mia Priest

Lineup:
MIA PRIEST – Vocals / Guitars
TODD BAZLEY- Drums
GENESIS TRIAS – Guitars
NED KELLY – Bass
JON BANULES – Keys

Worlds Dirtiest Sport – Electroweak Phase Transition – 4th September 2018

Cat #: 192TZM

Worlds Dirtiest Sport (USA/France) is a one-man-band playing space, psychedelic, folk rock inspired by a wide range of music from Spacemen 3 and Moondog to Captain Beefheart, Charles Mingus and Nina Simone.

With only one person onstage WDS still sounds like a full 4 or 5 piece band. Guitars, bass, voice, keyboards and other noise making devices sampled and looped live create an intense ambience.

Catchy songs and lyrics invite the listener into a surreal and very distinct world that WDS has created through years of experimentation and playing live.

The artist, Kevin Branstetter, has been a touring musician for 26 years with countless tours and festivals in America, Europe and Japan. A founding (and still current) member of lo-fi legends Trumans Water – John Peel favourites from San Diego, California, and also a member of The Bugs from Portland, Oregon, Kevin has worked with and inspired many different musicians, from Thurston Moore and John Paul Jones to Beck, Cat Power, Wire and The Boredoms.

enema noise – eventos inevitáveis – 3rd July 2018

Cat #: 191TZM

Tape available for purchase:

terr-records.bandcamp.com/album/trrc-15-2018-enema-noise

Distributed throughout South East Asia by Terr-Records.

eventos inevitáveis (2017)

daniel: bateria, voz (2,3,4,6,10), guitarra (4)
murilo: guitarra (1,4,8,9,10) baixo (2,5,7) teclado (3)
lamim: voz, guitarra (2,3,6,8), baixo (1,3,4,9,10)

baterias e vozes gravadas no estúdio afra (brasília)
capa: leonardo oliveira (bit.ly/2xWMD9p)

enema noise (2016)

Mix & master by Mammoth Green Records (on.fb.me/1KtVHSG)
Photo by Lovelove6: on.fb.me/1ZQHDip

Brasilia, Brasil

Bichano Records: bit.ly/1ZQsIou
Share This Breath: on.fb.me/1Qiof62
Transtorninho Records: bit.ly/1Tb5BQl

Let’s talk about luck, right? Let’s talk about it – 27th May 2018

The words contained in the title are not particularly related to the content of this post beyond the fact they are words I couldn’t get out of my head for these 4 weeks of study.

After my last post, some people on the course asked me what I was going to write in this one.  Which made me curious about what I would actually write and what people would think.  When a group of 30 or more people are shoved together for 4 weeks there’s going to be some drama.  In fact, there wasn’t really that much, to be honest.  We were – mostly – adults.

As new faces started appearing on the weekend, our peaceful processing of all things grammar quickly faded to distant regions of the brain.  By Sunday evening the place was abuzz with faces from across the globe.  It was quick to see that there was one Muslim group and another Chinese group of people.  They were all split across separate smaller groups on the first day, though that didn’t mean they didn’t stick together at most other times.  This caused some minor divides but about two-thirds of us were from other places and we all mixed together well enough.  It became apparent to me fairly quickly that it was good to talk to as many people as possible to get different points of view and different ideas – this made the idea of sticking in your little clique seem slightly self-defeating though it was an obvious comfort.

The Muslim group introduced themselves early on.  They were a group of teachers from Pakistan, seemingly lead by one, who we found out later was more a department head rather than teacher herself.  She asked if we like Thailand, to which we confirmed, only to be told that Pakistan is better.  As they walked off, she called back “Don’t mind me, I’m a jolly one!” which I thought rather odd and cute.

It worried me that there was a high percentage of teachers on this course.  Surely they would have a real advantage over those of us with no experience at all.  Thankfully they were given the task of teaching before the rest of us, which at least gave us an extra day preparation.  I also gave us a view of how other teachers go about their work.

So it was that on the second evening of the course we would watch the experienced teachers perform.  Whilst having nothing to compare with, I was mostly just concentrating on things that I saw that I thought I could use myself.  The following evening would be my turn and as I prepared during the night time and that morning I soon found the templates we could use to plan our lessons.  Although not needed at this stage it was obvious to me that they were useful guidance even not knowing how to fill them correctly.  I also made good use of the internet to see how previous students had done things and found valuable resources that would help with the assignments too.  Most of these were posted without comment so there was no clue as to whether they were good/correct or not but they at least provided ideas for the way to do things.  The CELTA folks are also pretty on the ball about plagiarism so straight copying would have been no benefit anyway.

During the daytime we were attended our own classes to learn all about the processes and skills needed to perform to meet the course requirements.  This is where I think that having no previous teaching experience was a benefit as starting with a clean slate was easier to deal with.  Experienced teachers were being asked to unlearn their methods and also they could see that the methods they were being taught may not be useful in their own environments, hindering their motivations somewhat.

So I opened my brain and let everything in and quickly adjusted to the tempo of the course.  The third evening was my turn to teach and despite sweaty palms and stuttering heart rate I went really well considering it was the first time I had ever done such a thing.  I could see that a well prepared plan made for a successful lesson so knew that this was where I should be concentrating my energies.  From here on out I enjoyed the planning and thinking about ways to improve my lessons based on what we were being taught each day.  And we were being taught a lot.

Again, I quickly surmised that there was no way we could learn, remember and incorporate everything we were being taught.  Based on feedback after each lesson you were advised what needed to be improved so it made sense to concentrate on that.

But then came the assignments. Each week a new assignment with ever decreasing deadlines.  They really interfered with lesson preparations, especially if you had to resubmit them as I had to on two of the four.  But again, it was apparent that there was no penalty for resubmission so it made sense to do your best for the first submission and follow the advice provided for the second.  This at least gave an extra few days here and there.

Everyone was warned at the beginning of the course that they would have to deal with critical feedback during the four weeks and some didn’t handle it so well.  I think I had a somewhat blasé attitude to the course after the first week.  After the initial stresses, reassurances from Amy to just do my best, and fairly positive feedback from my colleagues as well as our tutors I ended up concentrating on the end date and when it would all be completed and I would have my CELTA certificate.  This enabled me to cope with criticism of my teaching in a positive way.  After all, we were being told these things so that we could improve and ultimately so that we could pass the course.  Our teachers were obviously trying to help us, without spoon feeding us.

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At one point, one of the teachers from Pakistan complained to me that they weren’t being taught anything and that they were just being given advice on where to look to go and find out things for themselves.  Their background shows this method of teaching where someone stands at the front of class and tells the students A is A and B is B.  This is how they were taught (pretty much how I was taught too) and this is how they teach.

What was particularly surprising about the comment was that just 10 minutes before, everyone had agreed that this method wasn’t the best way for students to learn.  Being guided to discover the solutions for yourselves is generally a better way to retain learning.  At this point I realised that I could be a teacher.  If some of the people I met on the course were already teachers with years of experience I found myself thinking I could easily do a better job than them.  Whether I actually can or not in the future remains to be seen.  At least all these things put me at ease.

I was dealing with the stress of everything well enough, even as experienced teachers started coming to me for assistance with their plans and assignments.  The 50m swimming pool outside my window often begged my attendance but I rarely got chance to use it again.  I also found the best folks amongst my colleagues to ask for advice and guidance when needed.  One in particular, Iranian, London girl, Hedie stood out with her calm and methodical approach to everything, even as everyone around was in a spiral stress ball.  I was also lucky that she was teaching the same subjects as myself so we could understand and advise each other about approaches and develop ideas, whilst not just copying them directly.  Our own teachers were also very supportive with this and at one point our teacher jokingly challenged us to teach a lesson without speaking at all.  Fortuitously my next lesson seemed to fit the bill and when I told that I planned to have 0% speaking time she pulled me up and said she was only joking and that it would be really weird to not talk at all!  My hopes for the challenge slightly dashed I did however manage to keep my talking time around 10% and the class was brilliant.  I was really starting to get into the groove by this point and continued to push myself constantly, rising to the teachers challenges for the final lesson of the course, which unfortunately saw me come undone.  It was a slight bummer to end the 4 weeks on a less than positive lesson but again, I didn’t want to take the easy option and was just trying to push myself further.  All good learning experience.

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So it was, by the last day, everyone was now more relaxed and looking forward to their next adventures, whether continuing traveling or returning to teaching.  We headed into the city to partake in some alcohol, something I had purposely been avoiding this 4 weeks, but for me I couldn’t shake the sudden lack of stresses which resulted in a tired lethargy that saw me bow out earlier than the rest.

The final morning as a few of us walked up the road for a big breakfast I got a sudden feeling of Stockholm Syndrome.  I didn’t want to leave.  This place had been my life, fully consumed, for 4 weeks and now it was a return to reality.  That reality was now uncertain.  My head still spinning with 3rd conditionals and how to make a good reading lesson I would be thrust back into the world of gardening and job hunting.

There were many more stories, much more gossip and a whole host of feelings skipped over in this writing.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to approach this post and with time marching ever onward I wanted to get these words down before the memories fade further.

And the title of the post?  Some folks worked their way through their stress with meditation, relaxing music and yoga, some with alcohol.  I don’t know why, but the abrasive noise of Circus Lupus and Chris Thompson’s screaming put me right in the frame for writing lesson plans into the early hours.  Their two albums will now and forever be associated with this time.

“We’re all good people, all my people, just sitting around, drowned in sound,                        Open your eyes………                                                                                                                              Ennnnnnnd.”

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I got buckets full of time, I got nothing but time – 26th May 2018

“Time is such a deceiver.”

So, it’s been a while.  Who knows where the time goes? That was the original tagline but I got sucked in by the Leaving Trains instead.  In fact, there’s any number of songs that could be quoted for this post because… it’s been a while!

After the mad rush of Songkran, sobriety took hold out of necessity.  It wasn’t that I wouldn’t like to have had a drink it’s just that there wasn’t time.

I was secreted off to a rural location on the outskirts of Chiang Mai for a month of intense training in the arts of teaching English (CELTA – look it up).  Of course, being entirely ignorant of the subject, beyond speaking it for the past 49 years or so, I arrived early to get a little refresher on the witchery that is English grammar.  It was not nearly enough preparation.

I had been put to sleep many a time whilst opening a grammar book or watching videos on the subject.  Luckily we had a teacher who was a female version of my old pal back in Southampton, Rob Callen.  She was precise and accurate and even modelled some of the lessons that we would end up learning in the coming weeks, without realising it of course.

So, I said we.  I was joined by Tom, a recently retired American looking to support himself a little beyond what the pension there pays so he could spend six months living in his new house in Portugal.  Tom was also from an IT background so we bonded quickly enough around the bullshit that that involves.  We were both concerned about our abilities to be able to complete the course, knowing how intense we heard it would be.  Along with us was Victoria, from London, whose grammar knowledge shone in comparison.  Mid-30s, deciding on her future possibilities, whilst travelling to vacations and friends’ weddings around the world, she was a bright and bubbly counter to the two old blokes.

And so it was for the first 3 or 4 nights as we did a couple of days of grammar refreshing, in which I was mostly bewildered but also provoked.  English grammar does seem like the kind of thing I could get deep into and become the ‘grammar nazi’ amongst my friends.  Though considering we are about to learn how to teach English as a second language in a foreign country though, my relaxed attitude is more inclined to take precedence.

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Location, location…..

Our facility is structured like a resort hotel.   There are teaching rooms, a reception and a restaurant.  More importantly, our personal rooms are cleaned daily, there’s a laundry service and outside my balcony, there is a 50-metre swimming pool.  Oh yeah, there’s aircon too.  For some reason, the keycard in my room didn’t work properly so the aircon stayed on even when I wasn’t there.  What a blessing.

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With no pressure and performance ratings around the grammar refresher – we studied, we learned, we swam and we ate.  It was the calm before the storm.  Our little world was about to be shattered when all the other students would arrive.

And talking of storms.  One arrived about five minutes after I made it to my room on that first day.  There was a lot of damage to the surrounding gardens and it took the internet out for a while too.  Both storms and internet outages would become regular occurrences during my time there.

I guess the grammar refresher paid off a little as I can recognise myself switching in and out of different tenses as I write this but they seem to make more sense to me as I write them.

Anyway, the quiet was broken as other students started arriving, as well as our teachers too.  And this is where things sometimes got confusing as we were students, and we would be teachers so we had students as well.  On top of all the learning our brains were being jammed with, it was sometimes confusing to be calling home and talking about teachers (teaching us), teachers (us), teachers studying (many people on the course were already teachers), students (us) and students (who we were teaching)!

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Confused? You will be!  In the next episode of….. (Prizes for knowing where this quote comes from*)

* there are no prizes.

I’ll dig myself a hole and I’ll fill up that space – April 14th 2018

Ok, let’s start with some toilet talk.  It had to happen sooner or later.

Having some experience of South East Asian countries I was already aware of the ass blaster but never really used it.  In one of the toilets at Amy’s parents, toilet paper has to be thrown in a small bin instead of down the toilet.  This presents difficulties for those of us used to just dropping it into the bowl and flushing it away.  I actually first came across this on a trip to Rhodes, Greece just before moving to Australia and I probably talk about it in that diary (whenever I get back to it!).

It turns out that in our house, the builder recommends not putting tissue down the toilet too which initially was a bit of a disappointment.  This drove me to pursue learning the art of the ass blaster.  In case you can’t guess from my description, this tool is usually part of any toilet system in Thailand and it’s pretty much a jet hose with very slight control of pressure.  I was dubious about the ability of this equipment but after using and wiping up the water with tissue it usually does a good job of any leftover bits that might have accumulated around your bumhole.  It’s pretty easy to fold up the tissue and chuck it in the bin and can usually be done in one wipe, saving paper.  Unless you’re drunk.  Or the day after you were drinking.  And you’ve been eating lots of chilli.  Potentially, every day.

The other thing about the ass blaster is that it is quite powerful.  It can sting your haemorrhoids.  It can also stimulate your anal sphincter and help push out that last little tricky bit that sometimes can’t decide which side of the door it wants to be on.

Of course, if any situation becomes too sticky, the shower is usually just a step away and it always being hot, any time is a good time to have a shower.

I still haven’t really complained about the weather but the last few days have been torturously hot.  We’ve also been busy and having to get things tidied up in the garden.  Amy’s parents and brother coming to help out early in the mornings.

The reason for all this was that April 12th was our house blessing.  Amy had to do some negotiating with her family about meeting this requirement that her dad insisted upon.  A big house blessing can involve up to 9 monks, all family members and all the local villagers.  And you have to feed them all too, as they sticky beak around all your belongings and criticise colour choices etc.

Amy negotiated down to one monk and about 20 family members and for it to be done as quickly as possible.  This still took about 3 hours and a day and a half of food preparations and another day to clean up.

I was introduced to one of the guys from the local temple who was really nice.  He would lead the ceremony whilst the monk did all the chanting and er….things.  It was both beautiful and ridiculous.  I was expecting a solemn affair with everyone paying undivided attention but people seemed to come and go, fuss about and fidget as even for the experienced here, sitting cross-legged on a tile floor for an hour or so is not easy.  My mind wandered a lot but when all said and done it was fine.  Now, everyone – get out of our house!

We had moved in a couple of days earlier as we had mattresses delivered and despite our bathroom still needing re-tiling, painting touch ups ongoing and various other dusty bits of work required, we couldn’t wait to get out of our limbo land with Amy’s parents.  They insisted we took the cats with us though which was a little traumatic for them and quite stressful for us as we had to keep them calm with work and people around all during the days following.  But they’re fully settled now.  Maybe we are too, though it doesn’t quite feel like it yet.

I did get a bit emotional one evening though.  As I was watering the garden and looking for the fish in our pond I realised that here I am, I’ve achieved a dream, a plan fulfilled.  A beautiful new house, in a beautiful location, with my beautiful Amy.

I just wanted to show my mum.  I wanted her to see what her son had achieved, wanted to make her proud.  A few tears were shed but I was soon back to whatever backbreaking chore was next on the list.

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The day after the house blessing we went off to the city to enjoy the Songkran water festival.  My first time experiencing this event, it was a fun family day with smiles everywhere.  We were camped in a restaurant that turned itself into a bar just for the event and it was jam packed when we got there around 2pm.

We set to drinking and jumping and dancing and talking and getting wet, inside the bar and outside on the street.  I made the rookie error of carrying my can of beer out on the street with me and it was impossible to keep out the water so I was chucking down water from who knows where along with the alcohol.  I videoed my walks up and down and people responded with smiles and yells and shouted appropriate English phrases, inhibitions lost to the fervour.

 

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Amy’s brother, Oh, who had a couple of hours start on us fell asleep in his chair and somehow we decided it was time to depart, even though it was still light.  Oh was pretty far gone, even by the time we arrived and had soon become unintelligible in both Thai and English.  We took a minicab back to Amy’s parents and I managed to get Oh up to his room where he passed out in his wet clothes for the next 15 hours or more.

Whilst I was doing that Amy was throwing up in the bathroom and then the garden.  I was drunk but was still semi-coherent enough and when Amy’s dad dropped us off at home at around 9pm I plugged my phone into the stereo and listened to some music for another hour or two.  Eventually, I dozed off for a while before waking with indigestion which I took a tablet for.  A couple of hours later though and it came back so I went off to get another tablet.  It was then I realised that maybe it wasn’t indigestion and that, in fact, I needed to throw up. So I did.  A lot.  All I could think about was ditch water that I swallowed with my beers and wondered if I’d have to be taken to hospital in the morning.

The hangover wasn’t grotesque and as we still have a million things to do we didn’t have time to contemplate it too much and zoomed off again for the rest of the day.

I stand before you, a simple man, a sly dog, a politician – 30th March-2nd April 2018

Thailand reminds me of the free festivals I attended occasionally in the UK in the mid to late 80s.  There’s a chaotic order and unspoken civility but one that borders on the edge of disintegration at all times.  Whilst everything goes well for everyone concerned things go on as usual.  But things don’t always remain that way and then will be the true test of one’s mettle.  Sometimes the rush of blood from my head, as I stand up too quick, reminds me of that wafer-thin barrier between reality and insanity.

At the moment, Thailand is far more beautiful at night, when the rough edges are hidden in darkness.  The smoky haze of the day’s white skies now unseen, along with the mosquitoes that suck on your sweaty ankles.

The days are full of dust and dirt.  Individual abodes may gleam and glitter powered by personal responsibility but the bits in between are left to rot and ruin.  Construction is everywhere, as in all developing countries, ignorant of the political decisions made in far-off lands.  I try not to keep up with the news of the world but the stupidity of the American presidency is hard to ignore, like a train wreck in super slow motion.  I know enough about Thai politics to not talk about it.  I am the stranger in the strange land and that suits me fine.

 

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Politics…..

 

We avoided any house stresses by taking a quick trip to Chiang Mai.  This was its own small test of my driving skills.  Whilst puttering around the city of Chiang Rai is a pleasant enough affair, the open road, full of its mountainous twists and turns, is a different beast altogether.

Tail-gaters desperately seek advantage and pull out at any opportunity and decide they will ‘go for it’ if there is even an inch of space.  All this at high speeds that even had me bemused at how fast I was going.  Amy and I whooped and hollered at one particular basket case who we hoped to see crash in a fiery ball of petrol and oil but instead, everyone acquiesced and moved aside and let the danger advance to be somebody else’s problem.

Settling into the drive, it is quite a pleasant trip through some nice forest and jungle, offering some nice views when you may afford a brief glance away from the road.  After three hours though I was happy at the approach of Chiang Mai.

The city has grown considerably since my first visit and I must confess my dislike of it now.  It sprawls and crawls, taking its dusty entrails out into the paddy fields, eating up new villages as it goes.  We were lucky enough to be heading out into those edges though, to meet our friends from Sydney past.

Jess is one of Amy’s best friends and she was staying with her aunt and cousin.  It took us a long while to find the location but once there it was an oasis of frangipanis and beautifully cut grass.  A big main house and steps leading to what was until recently a small and very popular restaurant.  So popular in fact that Jess’s aunt was on TV just a few days previously talking about the construction and design.

Two dogs, one in its autumn years, the other a bouncy teenager, sniffed at us and the younger one was warned not to get too excited.  Aunt Siripan advised that sometimes he can get aggressive for no reason as I would discover several times through the evening.  Though he never bit he would snarl and bark, teethed bared and scarily so.  But a few seconds later he would be calm and look up at me with a sorrowful face.  It was shocking and amazing to see.  One second I was expecting a bleeding arm and the next I’m in love with this pup’s dopey eyes and soon after scratching his belly again, prompted by a paw offering.

Auntie’s food was amazing as expected.  She had spent a fair amount of time in different parts of the world, including England, even speaking with a stronger English accent than myself.  She spoke a very deliberate and thoughtful Queen’s English which was impossible not to like.  We were regaled with stories of her life and past times, though saddened by the sudden death of her husband last year, which eventually saw her overwhelmed with the task of running a successful restaurant solo.

She was now reviewing her plans for the future but still in obvious mourning for that close comfort and steady hand of guidance of a partner.  She commented that if she died now she would die happy with her life as it was but I encouraged her to consider that if she lives until she is 100 she still has another third of her life ahead of her.

Our evening was enjoyed with other Sydney friends, all now scattered worldwide, Lekky and Steve and Lena. We were so happy with our time there that inevitably Jess was asking us to leave as she was tired and wanted to go to bed.  Jess is the bright shiny smile as she awaits food, but once filled just wants to slip away and retire.

We cheered everyone off as Amy and I headed over a suburb or two to stay with her old high school friend Oh, around midnight.  Amy wasn’t quite done for the night though and got Oh to ride to the 7-11 to get more alcohol.  So it was at 2am we finally go to bed with plans for a late meet up with Jess and her dad the following morning.

That done, we headed back over the mountains for the quick return journey.  Exhausted I was by the day’s end but finished off nicely with a full and fancy dinner with an ice cold beer.

So it was for the next couple of days, us totally escaping the realities of our house build, a mini-holiday, a quick trip via a tea plantation into Myanmar, to get me a new leave-by-date in my passport and to score ridiculously cheap malt whisky that I just hope is real when I get to open it in our new house…..one day!

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Try to relax me now but then again, Oh no! Isn’t it good? – 23rd-29th March 2018

Damn, I’m running out of energy.  Early mornings of digging earth, shovelling stones, wheelbarrowing stones through wet clay, moving concrete blocks from one end of the garden to the other, these things are catching up with me.  Amy jokes that it’s like an everyday episode of the Biggest Loser and I hope that it can at least result in some weight loss.  We generally only work until about 10am when the sun breaks through the cloudy haze and starts to sear flesh.  If we are not running around on errands or furniture shopping we can get a couple of hours in from about 5pm when heat tends to dissipate somewhat.

I’m trying to keep my promise to never complain about the heat here and, in fact, most of the time it doesn’t bother me too much, certainly not to complain or moan about.  But it is energy sapping.  I’m at 3-4 showers a day at the moment.  Any effort in the garden is almost instantly rewarded with wet clothes and it’s important to cover up as much skin as possible.  The biggest pain is when bending down to pick out weeds and sweat pours over my glasses, which I’ve also managed to drop on concrete and scratch the supposedly scratch proof lenses.  The next biggest pain is standing upright again and feeling dizzy for a few seconds.

We arrived at our house at about 8.30am this morning, with Amy’s parents driving up too.  We had a small hornet’s nest to get rid of and Dad was going to show me the correct way to use the metal bladed strimmer, which appeared to be just not to use near anything that might smash the blades, which is unfortunately not that many places on our land but at least he got some long grass and weeds cut.  However, as soon as we arrived I was so exhausted I fell asleep for 3 hours, despite all the noise going on around the house and garden.

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We’ve started buying various bits of furniture that we need now that we are close to the end of the house build.  We won’t get them delivered until we’re absolutely sure everything that needs fixing is fixed and that seems to be delaying us a bit and it looks like I may not even get to live here before I head off for my course in Chiang Mai.

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I’m supposed to be doing a pre-course task before attending but I’ve just been too tired and time consumed with everything else.  This weekend we are driving to Chiang Mai to meet Sydney friends Lekky, Steve and Lena, along with Jessica and her dad.  We’ll drive back to Chiang Rai with Jessica and her dad the following day and then drive up to the Myanmar border the day after and see what goodies we can buy there.  I’ll be driving mostly though I hope I can get Amy to drive on Sunday so I can watch the AFL on my phone.

I’ve had to pay for the AFL app access along with VPN subscription to be able to watch the games but in the end, it seemed to be the easiest option.  There are a couple of Aussie bars in the city that screen the games but they don’t open until 5pm and the early games are already halfway through by then.  Plus I like to have a beer and relax when watching and don’t want to have to drive the 20kms or so home afterwards.  Damn, I can’t wait to sit down on our new lounge with a beer from our new fridge, watching football, overlooking the sun setting over the mountains out the back window, the smell of Amy’s delicious cooking wafting from our kitchen.  It can happen one day, right?

I have more to write but it’s going to have to wait. There are no more 1994 entries scheduled to post either, not until I get more free time to write them up which might not be until the end of May.

What a lovely place to be, what a lovely place to be.