Thursday 2nd Feb. and we are up bright and early to travel to the National Museum, in the old part of town near the Grand Palace, for a lecture series. I used to be a member of the museum volunteers and a friend told me about the series which was postponed because of the flooding last year.
The first lecture was about the funeral rites of Royal family members as conducted here in Thailand. It was fascinating as it detailed where the belief systems came from; first Brahmanism, then Hinduism and finally Buddhism all play a role in these rites of passage.
Second lecture was a run through in words and pictures of the Ramakien (a Thai adaptation of the Indian epic The Ramayana). A story told in fantastic wall murals painted on the cloister walls surrounding the temple of Wat Phra Kaew (Emerald Buddha temple). It is a tale of war and love, loss and redemption with strange demons and monkeys as well as gods and humans all mixed up in a sea of Thai imagination. Fantastic.
On our return to our hotel we were caught in a huge downpour (this is not the rainy season what is happening to the weather) and had to wade through the water to the boat pier. Of course our journeys on the Chao Phryer river were as interesting as always affording an opportunity to both people watch and stare at the huge rice barges being pulled upstream high in the water like a 4 story house, followed by skinny long tailed noisy boats zipping in and out of the other traffic like dragon flies with megaphones. Over seeing all this bustle the prang of Wat Arun, stands in its Angkor glory representing the mountian of Meru; the centre of the spiritual world to Hindus and Buddhists alike, as well as the home of Lord Brahma. Further along the river bank are other tall buildings representing great success in the human world, if you can afford the rent to dwell in any of their oppulent rooms.
In the evening, after a nap, we decide to check out a local bar we once knew. Walking along Sukhumvit we suddenly bump into Moore, a Taiwanese guy Dave used to work with in Taipei who later moved to Bangkok where he got a job with Bombardier and eventually moved to Sweden where he now lives and works. We thought it extraordinary to meet like this so we repaired to the nearest bar to catch up. Later that night we fell into bed still jet lagged
Our friends, John and Joelle, drove us to Ottawa airport bright and early Monday morning the 30th January where we checked our 3 bags (more on this later) to be picked up later in Bangkok. We first flew with Air Canada to Toronto and then boarded another Air Canada flight to Beijing. The fourteen hours it took to get there flew (!!!!) by in a haze of wine, bad movies, good food and sleep. We had a couple of hours wait in Beijing Airport, this is new since we where last here in 2007 and must have been opened for the Olympics in 2008. It is very modern but at 4:30pm on the 31st January it was almost completely deserted. We flew to Suvarnabhumi Airport with Air China and slept for most of the 5 hr journey. Passing through immigration at midnight on 31st January all was well until we came to collect our 3 bags. Only one of them turned up (fortunately it was mine), after reporting the missing items we arrived at our hotel at 2am on 1st Feb. We fell into bed and slept!
The next day was spent in a blur of jet lag reacquainting ourselves with an area of Bangkok we were very familiar with, but which has changed a lot since we were last here in 2010, as well as trying to get Dave some clothes. Our wayward bags finally arrived at 11pm on Wed 1st February. We imagine the bags were left on a trolley somewhere in Beijing airport!!
My daughter and a few friends have suggested I might like to start blogging here again
Dave and I are now settled in our house here on the Kemptville Creek in Oxford Mills Ontario.
When we first moved in we put a new roof on it, had wood floors fitted in lounge/ dinner, new furnace/oiltank. the usual stuff, just to make it comfy!!
The summer after we moved we fitted a wood burning fireplace in the lounge. We were lucky in that their was a rough in for a fireplace behind the drywall. Most people think we are mad having a wood fire place but we like the ambiance. We have a wood stove in the family room which gives off a lot of heat especially when we keep it well fed.
Their is a large room off a bedroom upstairs which was roughed in for a bathroom and we started to work on this in January 2010 with help from a friend who came down for 5 days and managed to get a lot of “behind the scenes” work done. Then we took off for 3 months to Thailand. On our return the garden required a lot of work just to catch up on the lack of weeding the previous year/s. Thus the bathroom took a back seat untill the fall when Dave started to work on it now and then. We had already got most of the fixtures and fittings but there was a lot work required and soemtimes Dave got a little overwhelmed. In the end it was compleated and we moved into the bedroom in the summer of 2011.
We have been welcomed to Canada this week, more precisly, Ontario, by a huge fall of snow. It started on Monday when it snowed all day leaving about 3 inches and two, very excited, just returned to the land of snow and ice, people. We should have known better, being the age we are with the experience we have, that it wouldn’t all be lovely white sparkling fluffy stuff. It could get serious.
Tuesday was a lovely sunny day and I took Karen Christmas shopping, fun and rewarding. Wednesday we awoke to a snow storm and Dave had to take the car (we have bought a red PT Cruiser, I LOVE it) back to the garage to have something fitted. He spent most of the day traveling around carefully doing errands and picking up attachments for the the lawn tractor he just bought. Thursday, we had planned to go and do a food shop, it took us 1 hour to get out of the driveway due to the deep snow and getting stuck in it just outside the garage. We did not have snow tires yet so we used a lot of bits of wood and digging out before we got traction. We drove straight to Canadian Tire and ordered a snow blower to be delivered the next day!
This was originally written in Dec, 2009.
We have moved into a house in Kemptville Ontario. It is situated on 4+ acres of land and we love it or we did until…………..
We took over possession on 16th Nov. and our furniture arrived from UK on Wed. 25th Nov. We spent our first night in the house last night.
Yesterday the roofers began to replace the roof, it started to rain last night and this morning it turned to snow!!!! When Dave went down to the basement to start plumbing in the washing machine he found we have a leak!!!! Most of the basement is finished so it has travelled a ways before we found it. We have discovered the source of the leak, a crack in the foundation wall with an indentation in the ground beside it thus enabling water to accumulate there and seep into the basement. We are in the process of trying to find who will pay for repairs!!!!
Otherwise we are loving living here, we are very happy to be back in Canada, it is where our hearts are, all we need now is for the family to follow! Actually it really isn’t that far across the pond after living in Asia.
More later, I have work to do
Mum, me and Mum’s sister Bernadette 2003
We were driven back to Knott End and the Golf Club, taking the flowers with us as we wanted everyone to see them and also to take photos to send to US.
The golf Club is a lovely venue, we had part of the large lounge upstairs overlooking the river Wyer and Fleetwood.
Mum had first arrived, in 1945/6, on a train and alighted at Fleetwood docks where she was told a ferry would take her to Knott End. On this day we watched the present Knott End Ferry (strange ball like affair that is propelled by a sort of suction action which is supposed to mean it can operate even when the tide is very low!!)
bounce back and forth across the river mouth. It was a lovely view and a very clear sunny day.
Some of Mum’s friends had come and they enjoyed looking through the photograph album I had prepared of her life. I tried to chat to most people, everyone had good memories of mum and I like to think that the reception was as she would have wanted.
Mum had left instructions as to how the funeral and cremation should go, also that she wanted a good “party afterwards”. We chose the Golf Club because it was in the village and easier to get to than a restaurant mum had asked for.
Throughout the day everyone had been very kind and especially my friend Helen, who was at my side whenever she saw I needed help. Helen and i have been friends since we were 11/12 so we knew each others family and after Helen’s own Mum died, she had helped my mum with hospital appointments and really enjoyed her company. They were close as they both had breast cancer around the same time.
I would like to thank everyone for your kind words, thoughts, prayers, cards and support at this very sad time. It was a shock to realize that mum was going to die and now it feels like an empty void in my life, I miss her and wish I had done things and said things………… I love you mum, thanks for my life.
Mum’s funeral took place on 21st May 2009 at 11:30A.M. A Requiem mass was said in St. Bernard’s church Knott End, followed by a short service at the Crematorium in Carlton. Finally a reception was held at the Golf Club in Knott End.
The funeral directors brought the coffin to Ashness where they placed the Liverpool flag on it and rearranged the flowers, the one that spelled NANNA really caught your eye.
We then set off for the ferry, the hearse, followed by two cars with the family mourners (first car;Dad, Peter, me, Bernadette and Gerard, second car; Matthew, Lee, Amy, Thomas, Adam and David). My sister and I felt we should drive through the village that had been home to mum for 60 years. John, the funeral director who looked after us, got out of the car and walked in front just before we turned down Hackensall Rd. Once we reached the church we were met by the rest of the family. John gave the boys who where carrying the coffin; Gerard, Matthew, Lee, Thomas, Adam and David, some instructions. The family mourners then followed the coffin into church where it was placed at the front of the Alter (it is a very small church). There were about 60 people in the church including family members, Mum had a lot of friends and people who loved and respected her.
I was doing the reading (Genesis 1 i-iv) and psalm,I was determined to do it well (one of the things mum did for me, when I was still at school, was to pay for elocution lessons, which I have used a few times since. I think I did OK at her funeral. Bernadette read the bidding prayers which she had personalised for Mum. Bernadette read well in spite of being very upset she managed to hold it together. Father Bernard Partington, the pastor spoke a few words about Mum’s life, we had given him some information before. He tied everything into the fact it was Ascension Day (The feast has now been moved to Sunday 24th)and how mum liked the open air and animals (Mum was in the Land Army for 9 years and always loved the outdoors).
The hymns were picked by Dad, mum’s sister, Mum’s niece and my sister. John (the FD)had arranged for a lovely lady to play and sing, everyone thought her renditions of “Ave Maria” and “On Eagles Wings” were beautiful and I know Mum loved it too.
One slight hitch occurred when I signaled Dave to organise my Dad and Peter who were carrying the gifts up to the alter for the offertory and Dave thought I meant him to take up a collection! Most people gave their offering to the RLNI (Royal national Lifeboats Institution) marked in envelops which Dave took out. I appologised and the priest was very happy!
I gave a small presentation which Mum’s family in the States (her sister emigrated there in 1953 and Mum had visited and got to know her three children and there families)had put together as it was not possible for them to be at the funeral.
When that was over I felt I could relax. The boys picked up the coffin and we followed it out to the strains of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” (Liverpool Football Club’s anthem) at this point I lost it and started to yell.
After talking to some people outside church we all got into cars and the chief mourners followed the hearse along the roads of Over Wyer to the crematorium. Again John walked in front of the hearse both as we left the church and as we arrived at the crem. Again the 6 boys carried Mum into the crem. while the theme tune from the film Titanic played (David picked this). Father Bernard said a few words and all too soon the curtains closed on Mum for the last time. Outside I felt very sad to see the boys without Mum’s coffin.
Tomorrow the reception
My Mum died. Mum died at 2:15 A.M. on 13th May 2009. Mum died in Victoria hospital Blackpool. Mum was surrounded by her husband, two daughters son in law and four grandsons. We all loved her and we all miss her. My Mum was the best mum in the whole world, just like my daughter is the best daughter in the whole world (to me).
Mum had gone into hospital on 1st April 2009 to have a replacement hip operation. Much consternation, consideration and consultation had gone into this decision, not to mention the extreme pain mum was suffering with the pain in her hip. The operation was successful, they used an epidural type of local anesthetic so mum was awake during the operation, which she didn’t seem to mind.
I returned to England from Taiwan on 6th April and went up to Knott End on 8th April, mum seemed happy but her ankles were swollen a lot, she was walking around, just. After almost two weeks in hospital they decided to move her to a Rehabilitation centre in Bispham. Mum made friends there as she had done in the hospital and was ok at first but as time went on her legs swelled even more and started to leak water out of the pores. However they allowed her to return home making her very happy. People came to visit and she had loads of cards and flowers.
Mum was getting fed up because she couldn’t really go out. We went to see the Dr. and he took some tests. I had arranged to return to my house in Reading to take my daughter to the airport and to meet my husband on his return to UK.
We were/are in the middle of moving out of our house and their was a lot to do. I returned on Wed 29th April and kept in touch with mum by phone. On Tues 12 May when I called, Dad answered and said they were taking mum into hospital as she was in terrible pain with her legs and couldn’t go to the toilet.
About 8:30pm Dad phoned me again to tell me the hospital had called and he was going to hospital as they didn’t give Mum long to live. This was a big shock to me, I told Dad to go around to Bernadette’s and I phoned B. By now Dave was throwing things into a suitcase while I called the hospital who told me mum’s heart was not strong and they didn’t expect her to survive the night. We left Reading at 9:30pm and got to the hospital in Blackpool at 1:30A.M. Thank God we were in time, I was still in shock and couldn’t believe mum was going to die. In the end mum’s breathing changed and she quietly slipped away.
Mum was born on 19th December 1922 and died on 13th May 2009. Mum is greatly missed.
Mum had Cellulitus in her legs and the cause of death was Congestive Cardiac Failure and Sepsis, Atrial Fibrillation.
I will write about her funeral n in the next blog.
Here we go again yet another “Super weather system” is working its way across Taiwan. It has hit us in the middle of the country bringing wind and rain to Taipei. All night the wind raged sounding exactly like a sound track for a Bronte novel. now 6p.m. and still it is raging, the rain is torrential and we have had the odd flash of thunder. The lights have flickered a few times but so far no power cut. We managed to get to church at noon, their seemed to be a lull in the storm then, not many people made it. We have spent the rest of the day indoors Dave doing work and reading, me blogging and trying to do my Mandarin homework.
I signed on again for Chinese classes when they began in September. I thought it would be good exercise for the brain, that may be but Oh boy this learning thing sure gets harder with age. Being dyslexic doesn’t help of course (how many multilingual dyslexics do you know?) but it is a work out for my brain in spite of all that and the pace that Gloria, our teacher, takes is to my liking.
An aside here, all the Chinese people take a western name when they are very young and they do it on how a name sounds to them and if they like it. Thus you come across all sorts of strange old fashioned names which give a completely different view of the name because of who is using it. We recently met a baby called Doris (the parents had named her).
Back to the Typhoon, Dave is due to fly to S. Korea again tomorrow, the last time he went we had a Typhoon, we shall have to wait and see how this works out, he may go later or on Tuesday.