Monday, 19 January 2009

A belated and rambling New Year update...

I've finally uploaded all the Christmas and New Year photos and have an hour to call my own, so a shortish, belated update on our recent visit.

Christmas Day and lunch was spent with Lucy and Jonny at their lovely house with guests Mark and Tan. Used to bigger facilities, cooking and keeping warm all the components of our traditional lunch in Lucy's galley style kitchen was much, much harder than cooking for the 25-30 guests and friends we've catered for at the hotel in past years. But well worth the effort and ... we all felt better after a lie down.

Lucy's goddaughter - Maisie - came over to open-up her presents, and morphed into a mischievous looking imp the instant she pulled on her new angel outfit.

As previously posted, the weather was atrocious for the rest of our stay and I really felt sorry for our guests, but Brits and Canadians are a hardy bunch and they would shuttle in and out of their rooms several times a day to catch whatever weak rays would appear, and in spite of the
chilly onshore wind. When it was too overcast or even during rain, two stalwarts - Brit Colin and Canadian Al would invariably join me on 'beach watch', the mesmerizing and wholly pointless occupation of observing and trying to second guess what the sea would next do to the beach.

Concerned at what the high winds might do to our coconut palms or, more properly, what our coconuts might do to our guests, we used a few hours break in the weather to have the nuts and over-abundant fronds cut back. We normally need this treatment three times a year to ensure the safety of unsuspecting visitors, and now seemed like an opportune time.

In a previous post, I described how trained monkeys are often used to twist-off ripe nuts at harvest time. One of our guests already in possession of this information and anxious to share his knowledge asked, as we watched the old boy that had just finished his romping free-climb to the crown of a 25m palm, start to hack away at the heaviest fronds, why a human was doing this work. I took some small satisfaction in reminding him of the first rule of coconut men everywhere - you don't give a machete to a monkey.


New Year's was lovely. The wind dropped and the drizzle stopped long enough for our staff to enjoy their 'Secret Santa' gift giving to each other and a beer or two with the seldom indulged northern Thai delicacy of fried duck tongues (yummy!)


The evening stayed calm and balmy, and so did we. I'd made pea and ham soup - tongue shrivelingly salty, but it disappeared down the necks of many of the guests who decided our bar was as good a location as any to watch the village's firework displays. And so we remained for really, quite a special night with some wonderful guests.

Viv, Jonny, Olwen, Colin, Brit/Greek artist and Paxos shopkeeper Hartley, Tik, who finally left at 03h30 and Canadian Cathy, who's husband Al, was doubtless beach watching.

Lovely people Viv and Colin - absent, son Garrulous Greg

And finally, to update recent posts...

The palm was rescued and, since this pic was taken, relocated to replace the old stump - foreground; camouflaged with plants.

The villa next door was finished, so no more noise... from that direction.

The beach is almost back to normal, the sun has come out and today, Baan Bophut has a full house.

Congratulations to Lucy on finally getting her Thai motorbike driving licence, after 5 years on the island.

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