My Rats – 7th August 2022

My rats, my rats, my little gutter rats
We ran together, we released the bats
Our bondage brigade marched ever on
We instinctively knew who was the clever one
With cider right beside her bag of glue
Hellzapoppin as all the young savages dü
On mattress castles, the princess and the pee
And stinking dogs shit wherever they be
No glamour in this clamour drenched in sweat
We know we grow to be the best ones yet
D. cried about courage, and soon he was dead
If the man doesn’t get you, he’s always in your head
Nuclear ghosts haunted all our youth
Marching in millions seeking some truth
The sham in 69 was still in 79 too
We loved in vain but knew that love was true
And so those glories now dare not be repeated
Angry eyes glared, “ever feel like you’ve been cheated?”
That revolution sparked is now a faded glory
Who now to stop the world with their own story?

And see how his face glows – 26th December 2019

Yesterday I was completely lifted by having three good fun lessons which the students and I all enjoyed. Then I went to visit CRPAO again.

The feeling there is still not good (for me, anyway) but my old classes were very happy to see me and I was surprised at Simone’s students who smothered me in hugs and were very affectionate. I made a point to see Funfai – she’s so cute! She said she misses me and it was very lovely. I felt very much appreciated after that.

I was still tired when I got home but felt more invigorated. Today is my easy day so everything has come back together nicely. I’m glad I didn’t let that glum feeling get me down at the beginning of the week

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful to have met the students at CRPAO and was very surprised at the reaction of Simone’s kids, they jumped on me and pulled me to the ground they were so happy to see me.

The Chiang Rai Alternative Hour #12 – 16th November 2019

Music from Ibrahim Maalouf, Pm 7_Jupiter, Vialka, Doctor Coffee, The Fugs, The Fall, Pavement, The Dickies, Turnpike, France Gall, WannFunTastiKlons, uSSSy, Birthday Party, Ween, The Who and And So I Watch You From Afar.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful that I have learned not to be afraid to stand up for what I believe in and also accept those consequences even if they are not in my favour. Others may do things differently and that’s their choice.

11th Apr 2021 – You’ll have to keep reading to find out more about those consequences – the period between September 2019 and March 2020 was very trying indeed! The last sentence mention of ‘others’ is just about the advice given by other teachers to me and how some considered that it is impossible for a farang to change and improve things within any Thai system. I fought against it and arguably, I lost – at least at the time. Longer term though I consider the minor changes I did create were worth the effort. Being a teacher is not about taking it easy for me, it’s a responsibility. I see others putting up and shutting up, but to me, that is just lazy. Never give up.

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’ll dig myself a hole and I’ll fill up that space – 21st October 1994

I cried

I cried wholeheartedly

I cried my guts out

I cried for an hour

I cried in the darkness of the bedroom, head under the sheets

I cried in Bronwyn’s arms as she comforted me

I cried and choked unable to say the few words that I wanted to say

I cried in a dance of tears

I cried, sobbed, balled in a fit of depression, overcome by dark hands, fingers in my mind

I cried unable to stop, wave upon wave of negative thoughts immersing me, dragging me into the depths of my soul

I cried out of loneliness

I cried through fear, here in this unknown territory, uncharted waters

I cried in this sea of complexity

I cried til Bronwyn cried for me in a joint sadness

We cried, then stopped and talked and fell asleep, hopeful for the new day.

Picture is an obscure connection that predictably tickles me.

The Week That Was – 25th February 1979

23rd Nov 2021 – Trevor Brooking – I hated Trevor Brooking!

Record of the Week: Just a Gigolo – The Village People
Highest Entry: Gary’s Gang – Keep On Dancin’ – 23

23rd Nov 2021 – The Village People! I had not converted completely to punk rock just yet. Perhaps my attraction to them was the happy, fuck-you attitude they projected. Well, their upbeat gay anthems were (and still are) part of the western zeitgeist.

Tracy Pew R.I.P. – Haha

25th February 1979
The other lot came round today. All four of them.
Blurp!

23rd Nov 2021 – Hmm, so now I’m confused about the ‘first lot’ I mentioned and ‘this lot’, ‘the other lot’! If there were four of them…..perhaps my Aunt Shirley, Uncle John, my cousin Sharon and her husband Ken. It’s possible though I think my Uncle John may have already passed away by this time and maybe Sharon and Ken’s first son, Mungo, was already born. My uncle John was a competent carpenter, or at least that is in my memory bank somehow. Perhaps just some weird association with fresh-cut wood? I know I liked him.

I was ambivalent to my Aunt Shirley as she always seemed so strict but I really came to dislike her over the next few years as she would often tell my mum that she was doing a bad job at raising me. I tried to avoid her as much as possible, which wasn’t that difficult really.

I wasn’t very family-oriented really, possibly due to the fact that I never had a father around as he had passed when I was too small to even have any memory of him, and even though we were living with my grandparents I think I resented that in some ways, as other families of friends were just the more traditional family unit of parents and one, two or three children living together. There were times when I wished for my mum to remarry. I was always hopeful whenever some man or other came into our lives but I appreciate that my mum was happily self-sufficient.

By calling my extended relations, that lot and the other lot I’d already made my mind up about certain things.

26th February 1979
Didn’t see the eclipse today
Da! Da!
Ipswich 6-1 Bristol Rovers

23rd Nov 2021 – February in England. Well, it’s no real surprise that I didn’t see any eclipse.

27th February 1979
Had five pancakes
Did games today!
Even though my foot hurt

23rd Nov 2021 – My foot is hurting right now. I can still poke into the arch of my left foot and feel something isn’t quite right. But it’s mainly the joint of my big toe that is painful now. I’m considering going to get it checked out. I’m not sure what to expect from the Thai medical system here in Chiang Rai. It feels like we are a long way from where folks with real expertise might be. I’m sure whoever I see will give it their best shot though. At least I could get an x-ray done that might give a better idea of managing it.

By fuck, did I love my mum’s pancakes, covered in sugar and lemon juice. What a treat. I could never replicate them though.

28th February 1979
Went to orchestra at school

23rd Nov 2021 – I guess I was playing the clarinet. Mr Broadway was my science teacher and music teacher. He had curly brown hair and was quite fun to be around. But I gave up the clarinet when it started to get more tricky. This was quite a common behaviour through my teenage years. Too hard? Give up. Sometimes I still do this. And I see Hayden do this too. What is it that makes us give up so easily when things become more difficult? When I get stuck learning to play the guitar now, I just keep trying until I finally get it. I don’t put the kind of pressure on myself that I used to.

1st March 1979
1. Bee Gees – Tragedy (2)(1)
2. Blondie – Heart of Glass (1)(3)
3. Elvis Costello – Oliver’s Army (5)(2)
4. Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive (7) (-)
5. Abba – Chiquitita (3) (4)

24th Nov 2021 – Oliver’s Army was great as were some other early Elvis Costello tunes but I stopped listening after listening to the “Carry On Sex Pistols” album where Steve Jones continually shits on him, so I thought I should too. I’ve more recently bought his first two or three albums as they are often revered in certain circles but I haven’t given them a listen yet. It’s only been about 5 years….one day, one day.

Writing this post is making me want to go home and listen to this and the Birthday Party (Mr. Clarinet). Not the Village People though.

2nd March 1979
Get REV homework
Soap was on at 11:40
Only my second whole week at school

3rd March 1979
Do bricks 2p
Didn’t do them?
X – Ipswich 1-1 Forest

24th Nov 2021 – Outside our back door was a small bricked patio area that needed to be cleaned every week or two as it would get a little mouldy and slippery. I hated cleaning them, although I can imagine the first time I did it I was really trying to do my best but after a while, I just resented the time I had to spend doing it and I would attempt to do it as quickly as possible and sometimes I would be made to do it again because I had been too careless, which of course meant losing more precious time.

I’m curious about the X, and various other codes that appear more often throughout the year. I’m thinking that this was some secret indication of my masturbatory habits as it would have been around this time I discovered the pleasures of touching my dick. More on that later.