Introducing Toy

Introducing Thanatorn Puakpromma (Toy). Some of you already know him.

Toy is my carer. As I get older ( I’m 74 now) I rely on him more and more. He comes to doctor appointments with me and understands my medical conditions and can inject insulin. He is a great shopper and brings home stuff from the market at prices I could never achieve.

He is 41 years old and comes from a typical Thai village near Wieng Chiang Rung, surrounded by rice paddies, 40 kms north-east of Chiang Rai.The Waterford Valley Golf Club & Resort is not far away. He is part of a large family of 9 children (6 girls and 3 boys). All are still living and all except Toy are married.

Rice Paddies North of Chiang Rai

His father died at 70 after being an invalid for 4 years following a stroke  when Toy was about 25 years old. He was a cattle trader and farmer. His mother at 85 years old is still alive but has mild dimentia and poor hearing. Thais respect their parents and are expected to financilly support and care for them in old age, especially daughters. Toy is no exception, he has deep respect for his mother.

Toy with his Mother

Mealtime in Mother's House

The main family compound in the village has three houses. Two are older style teak houses and the other one is of more modern construction.His mother lives in the oldest house and is cared for by La, the youngstest daughter. His niece Banyean and her husband Witnai and their daughter live in the other teak house. Banyean is a nurse at the Overbrook Hostital in Chiang Rai and Witnai is a policeman in Chiang Rai. Both the teak houses are high set on stumps. His eldest sister and husband, who drives a songtheaw in Chiang Rai, live in the more modern house. Other family members live around the district.

From left, Toy's Mother, Sister La, Sister Kab, Toy

Toy has a motorbike but I am getting him to learn to drive.


Saxaphone Recital

Last night the Duriyasilp College of Music, presented a Saxophone Recital by Phachara Tanwattana at the CRK Recital Hall, Payap University, Kaew Nawarat Campus

Phachara is a student of Dr.Chaipruck Mekara. This was a Senior Recital and he was playing for his Performance Achievement Award. The certificate was presented by his teacher, Dr.Chaipruck Mekara.

As usual Esther Cha did a great job as piano accompanist.

The programme included,

Pedro Iturralde

Sonata in G minor                             J.S.Bach

Monody                                             Jeffery Wilson

Three Romances                             Robert Schumann

Pequena Czarda                             Pedro Iturralde

Sonata for Alto saxaphone              Phil Woods

Esther Cha & Phachara Tanwattana

Phachara Tanwattana Plays Jazz

Despite his excellent playing, I found the programme fairly boring, especially the jazz components.

Phachara Tanwattana Recieves his Performance Certificate from Dr.Chaipruck Mekara




Travel Club – Romania

At the Sangdee Gallery last night, Jennifer

Davis,spoke about Romania. She filled in for a speaker who was to talk about Botswana but unfortunately had to return to the USA due to a family emergency.

About 12 months ago, Jennifer was invited to a wedding in Romania by a Chiang Mai resident (Romanian).

Dracula's Castle

She first went to Transylvania, a historical region in the central part of Romania, and then drove to Constanta, where the wedding was held. The hightlight of Transylvania was

Jennifer Davis

Dracula’s Castle and the postcard mountain scenery.

The family where she stayed were financially comfortable and she enjoyed excursions together. The wedding was a wonderful experience and she was grateful for the family hospitality.

Romania is part of the European Union, and has made much progress since the transition from a military dictatorship to a democracy.

Romania part of the European Union

Romanian Flag


Australia Votes

Australia has a new government and a new Prime Minister. The Liberal–National Party coalition ( LNP) won the election. At the close of counting last night the NLP had won 88 seats, Labor 55, Greens 1, and undecided 3.

Tony Abbott claimed the win last night. The new prime minister says ‘Australia is again open for business’ and promises to govern for all as Kevin Rudd conceded defeat.

Apart from policy matters, voters became disenchanted with Labor because of leadership squabbles over their last term. As one commentator said ” if Labor can’t govern themselves, how can they govern Australia”. Voters punished the outgoing Labor government for years of turbulent rule. Because of a hung government at the last election, Labor was forced to rule in association with the Greens, who also lost a lot of support.

Tony Abbott with his Wife and Three Daughters


Dining Out Group – Pickles

Pickles is located at 18/3 Ku Tao Soi 3, Chang Phuek. It is a little difficult to find and not much parking is available close by. It is more a deli than a restaurant. There are only four tables!

Pickles is owned by an American guy who lives in Thailand, with a Thai lady and is permanently settled in Chiang Mai. Gary, the owner said that when he first moved here ten years ago he couldn’t find corned beef (well, fresh corned beef anyway, you can buy the canned stuff), so one day he made some, and pastrami as well, and let his friends try them. They liked them so much they started buying them off him. Now he sells in bulk as well.

Pickles is one of Chiang Mai’s best kept secrets. The restaurant, sells outrageously large, incredibly delicious sandwiches, along with many other dishes including pork chops, ribs, pizzas, and salads.

The food was great but expensive. I ordered a 300 g corned beef sandwich B300 (A$ 10.40), 2 glasses of red wine B400 (A$ 13.85), mango cheesecake B100 (A$3.45). The sandwich came with a dill pickle and potato salad. Seven of us enjoyed a pleasant evening. Service was very friendly and attentive.

Paul and Nop are going on holiday to the USA. The next Dining Out Group Dinner will be October 24, 2013.

Happy Campers

The Kitchen






Corn Beef Sandwich

Nop Clowning Around with his Ribs


4 in 1 Concert

Last  night at the Kad Theatre, the Chiang Mai Youth Philarmonic Band and Symphony Orchestra Foundation in association with Voice Studio Music Academy and Dance Zone presented a conert called 15th Anniversary “The Musical Concert 4 in 1”.

It featured songs from Broadway Musicals including “Phantom of the Opera”, “Miss Siagon”,  “Les Miserables” and “Mamma Mia”.

Kad Theatre - Mask & Lanna Instruments Display

The Kad Theatre is a sadly underused facility at Kad Suan Kaew. It proved once again to be an ideal venue for a large scale event. The huge stage is great for big production numbers. Unfortunalely the space between the seating  rows is very tight.



The show was very slick and well rehearsed and was a credit to the local talent.

I have enclosed a photo from each musical. We were sitting in the fourth row of the circle, and while we had excellent vision , it was too far away to take decent photos.

The finale of Dancing Queen from Mamma Mia was exciting, toe tapping, energetic theatre.

Kad Theatre - Foyer Display

I have embedded a video of a rehearsal of “One Day More” from “Les Miserables”

Phantom of the Opera


Miss Saigon

Les Misérables


Mamma Mia