Friday, 22 June 2018

Well Said

Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing.
Oscar Wilde
Irish dramatist, novelist, & poet (1854 - 1900)

Viz Bits

Letterbocks – By Royal Appointment

Bonus

Taking cash out at the bank for us is never a chore rather it is always a pleasant task.  You enter the air conditioned building, take (or usually get given) a queue number and take a seat if you get a chance as normally you are seen to very promptly.

Thereafter it's delightful smiles, fast and efficient service and you're out the door before you know it.

Yesterday's trip had an added bonus for checking the balance once the bank book had updated, we saw interest had been added to our bottom line.  Between all three bank accounts, we managed a more than healthy £100 for six months.

You couldn't get that with a UK bank in ten years at the moment...

Looking Good

Our pool has now been open for three days in a row and we have made the most of it by taking a daily dip.  I cannot understand why not many others don't use it more regularly as it is so nice to take a cooling wallow as we watch the local wildlife (we get a daily squirrel show, they are quite tame).

Those that do take to the water tend to be Farangs (foreigners) teaching their kids to swim and it is so nice to hear squeals of laughter form them as they get thrown literally into the deep end.

It's by far one of the better perks, unlike the private gym we have.  I have yet to set one foot into the room.

Keeping with Football

I don't do Schadenfreude really, The Arse being the exception to this rule of course, but I am glad Argentina are also struggling as it takes some of the publicity off Germany.

A 1 - 1 draw with Iceland and a shock 0 - 3 loss to Croatia last night (go Hvratska) means they too are teetering near to the edge of disqualification.

Let's hope we will not be in the same boat and can take all three points off our Scandinavian cousins.

My Dear Cousin, Jan

I think he was quite horrified at my (probable) decision to go out early tomorrow and drink until I was ready to drop, go home to bed and get the result of the Sweden/Germany game instantly off the web.  Below is his attempt at rallying me to the cause.

He makes a good point...  😁

What do you mean with "I am trying to keep my drinking levels down"  ????  

Do you drink now "ONLY" 10 CHANG BEER instead of 12 ......:-) :-) :-)

As I already told you, in Germany we say " man kann sich das Spiel auch schön trinken". ....😉

The German Match will start at 01:00 am ( BANGKOK TIME ) and as we know you are a NIGHT OWL.   

Come on, we have to wait 4 YEARS until the next WM......

Even if we will lose, you should get angry together with 80 Million Germans at the same time !

Never forget the GERMAN BLOOD in your veins !!!!

Licensed to Kill

Entertaining Facts 04

Excellent Post

Found this while trawling the net and cannot thank the author enough for his attention to detail and step by step guide on how to apply for a UK passport in Bangers.  Big hats off to Ajarn:

Today (4th October 2017) I applied for a new 10-year UK passport at the 'HM Passport Office' on Sukhumwit Soi 13 in Bangkok. Even though my current passport is valid for another year, I'm quickly running out of pages (sound familiar?) so it needs to be replaced.
As several readers have pointed out, it isn't actually an official HM Passport Office but outsourced to a company called VFS. However, this blog is all about what you need to do to renew a UK passport in Bangkok so please indulge me if I call it a UK Passport office or something similar. 
Applying for a new passport was actually a very straightforward procedure and I was in and out of the building within ten minutes. However, like many bureaucratic processes in Thailand, advance preparation is key. In terms of paperwork, it's all about getting your ducks in a row so that the actual application day goes as smoothly as possible.
There are a number of online blogs that outline the process involved but none of them really go into enough detail - and I'm a details man!
Before I start, let me just point out that I haven't picked up the new passport yet. Only when I have the new passport in my hand will it be a case of mission accomplished. So I'll keep this blog updated right to the end of the process (including picking up the new passport and transferring visa stamps from the old passport to the new passport at Thai immigration)
But for now, we are just concerned with the passport renewal.
OK, here's an overview of what you need to take to the passport office. Don't worry, I'll go into detail for each one later.
1) A completed application form
2) Two passport-size photographs
3) Proof of address (in English)
4) A completed credit card payment form
5) Photocopies of your current passport (every single page)
6) Your appointment letter

Location

The passport office, where you will make your application, is located on the 28th floor of The Trendy Building on Sukhumwit Soi 13. It's not a very busy office - at least it wasn't when I was there at nine in the morning.
Assuming you will go by sky-train, Sukhumwit soi 13 is about half-way between BTS Asoke and BTS Nana. The walk from BTS Asoke is far more pleasant - and if you're a little early for your appointment, there are a few decent coffee shops on the way.
Once you arrive at Soi 13, The Trendy Building is just a hundred metres or so up the soi, on the right-hand side. It's not a particularly pleasant or welcoming building. It's not a place where you'll want to linger and spend time.
Many of the businesses on the Trendy Building's ground floor are geared towards providing services for visa applicants (photocopying, translation services, etc)
Because a number of countries (including the UK) outsource their visa application services to offices in The Trendy Building, the lobby area can get a tad chaotic. There are always lots of visa agents milling around, providing a relatively inexpensive service to those Thais who are too busy to apply for foreign visas themselves. But none of those people concern us. 
Important! Straight in front of you (when you enter the lobby area) you will see a dedicated VFS information desk, manned by an English-speaking and very helpful Thai lady. She will be an eventual point of contact and we'll be coming back to her later.

Requirements

OK, let's get back to the six requirements mentioned in the overview and take each one in turn.
1) A completed application form
OK, let's get this form filled in! You can download and print off the application form (a four-page pdf file) at this link.
There are TEN sections to the application form and it can appear daunting at first glance, but don't get stressed out. A number of the sections you don't even need to bother with if it's a straightforward renewal for a UK adult passport.
Work your way through the application form (don't forget to use black biro ink ONLY)
A couple of important points to bear in mind
In section one of the form, you need to check the box if you want the sooper-dooper 48-page passport or just stick to the standard 32-page one.
The 32-page passport is £106.01
The 48-page passport is £114.01
Both prices include a courier fee (the cost of delivering your passport from the UK to Thailand)
In section 10 of the form, you have a decision to make - whether or not you need a counter-signatory. This is when someone - a friend, a doctor or a retired army colonel (if you're lucky enough to know one) signs the back of one of your passport photos with the following;
‘I certify that this is a true likeness of [title and full name of adult or child who is getting the passport].'
Then they sign and date the photograph.
The counter-signatory also needs to fill in section 10 of the application form for you.
You can get all the information about who qualifies as a counter-signatory at this link.
What's interesting - and I researched this - is if you do not feel that your appearance has changed much in the last ten years (when you got your current passport) then you are free to skip section ten completely and not bother with a counter-signature. That's certainly what it says on the official UK Government website.
Personally, I didn't want to take the risk. So I invited a good friend for lunch (a guy who has known me for well over five years) and got him to sign one of my passport photos and complete section 10 of the application form.
2) Two passport-sized photographs
The photos must measure 45 millimetres high by 35 millimetres wide (the standard size used in photo booths in the UK)
As we covered in the previous point, one of your photos will be signed by a counter-signatory, the other will be blank.
I got my passport photos from the photography shop in The Emporium Shopping Mall (BTS Prompong) It's on the third floor (not 100% sure of that) but just a couple of doors away from Boots. They were very professional in there and knew exactly what I needed. It took five minutes. 
3) Proof of address (in English)
For many applicants, this part is the real pain in the ass - and I'm no exception. For example, all the utility bills to our house are addressed to my wife and the address is always in Thai.
In the end, I decided to submit three bank statements with my address clearly shown in English as part of my application, and the receiving officer was more than happy. Three bank statements was probably overkill though. I'm sure I would have got away with just one.
Other acceptable forms of ID could include a work permit, a driving licence, a utility bill or an employment letter but be aware that anything in Thai has to be translated into English, giving you yet another hoop to jump through.
There are numerous offices on the ground floor of The Trendy Building offering translation services and I noticed one them was quoting 150 baht a page on their window, but I really have no idea how long it would take them. Personally, I wouldn't risk fannying around with getting translations done on your appointment day unless you have plenty of time to spare.
4) A credit card payment form
Cash is NOT accepted at the passport office. You will need to download and fill in the credit card payment form. It can either be your credit card or someone else's. I used my wife's card so she had to provide her signature on the form. It's pretty self-explanatory. Download the form here.
Chris, an ajarn reader from Bangkok, also went through this UK passport renewal process a few months ago and he says "just want to point out that you can also pay by debit card (even one for a Thai bank account) if you don't have, or don't want to use a credit card" Thanks Chris.
5) Photocopies of your current passport (every page)
Now this is where things start to get expensive. You need to photocopy - in colour - EVERY single page of your existing passport. For me that was a whopping 30 pages at 20 baht a copy.  600 baht! Ouch!
Once again, it's all about getting your ducks in a row. I had done my color photocopying a couple of weeks beforehand when I happened to be in the Sukhumwit area and I decided to use one of the photocopy shops in The Trendy Building. I figured at least these guys would know what they are doing.
That said, perhaps you can find somewhere that does colour photocopying cheaper than 20 baht a page. Good luck!
6) Your appointment letter
You have to make an appointment with the passport office in advance. You can't just turn up uninvited. Here's how you do it.
Send a short e-mail to BangkokHMPO@vfshelpline.com and explain that you are looking to renew a UK adult passport. Then request THREE dates.
I requested either the 4th, 5th or 6th October and I cheekily asked for a morning slot if possible (if you don't ask, you don't get)
I got an e-mail reply within half an hour asking me to come on 4th October at 8.50 am. The service really is excellent!
The e-mail not only confirms your appointment but gives you a lot of background information that thanks to reading this blog, you will already know.
Print off the appointment e-mail because you will need to take that with you on your application day.
Application Day
Time things so you arrive at The Trendy Building about 15-20 minutes before your scheduled appointment (there's really no point arriving any earlier) 
You've already got all your colour photocopies, application form, proof of address etc, etc arranged in a nice folder (you have, haven't you? Good)
Go and see the nice lady at the VFS information desk on the ground floor (remember her?) and she will be expecting you Mr Bond. She will tick your name off her appointment list anyway and direct you towards the elevator.
Take the elevator up to the 28th floor. Go through security. Take a queue number at the desk. Finally, file your application when your number is called.
The officer checks all your application documents and gives you a ‘collection document' (we could even refer to this as a 'receipt') 
The officer told me that my new passport would arrive in three to four weeks, possibly even sooner. Plus of course he would give me a letter for Thai immigration to help facilitate any transfer of visa stamps.
To reiterate, the whole application process took me less than ten minutes and everything was handled courteously and professionally. I couldn't have been more impressed and many of my friends on social media echoed the same thoughts. How rare it is in Thailand to undertake a bureaucratic process and end up thinking ‘shit, what am I going to do with the rest of the day?'
Job done. Go and have a well-earned cup of coffee.
Finally, this is the actual UK Government website where you can click through the process and go over the information again.

Update - Monday 16th October
Received a very nice e-mail from the passport office this morning to say that my new UK passport is now ready for collection. So from the day of application, the process of getting a replacement passport has taken just 12 days. Wow! I'm impressed.
They also called my wife on her mobile phone to tell her that her husband's new passport was ready for collection (I always give out my wife's mobile number as my contact because I often don't answer my own phone or even hear it ringing. I hate phones!) 
The e-mail says that there is no need to make an appointment for a collection. I can go anytime from Monday to Friday between 9.00 am and 3.00 pm.
I need to take the receipt (which was given to me on the day of application), a copy of the e-mail letter informing me the new passport has arrived and thirdly, my old passport (which presumably they want to cut up) 
If you can't go in person, you can send a third party along to collect it on your behalf. They need to show 1) your old passport 2) their own form of ID and 3) an authority letter signed by you giving the third party authorization from you, stating his/her name and that you are permitting him/her to collect the passport on your behalf. 
I plan to pick the passport up on Thursday 19th.

Update - Thursday 19th October (picking up the new UK passport)
I went along to the UK passport office at around midday and collecting the passport was a very simple 10-minute procedure.
I was served by the same kind and helpful young man who took care of my original application. He cut a corner off the old passport in that time-honored fashion and also gave me a request letter to show to Thai immigration in order to facilitate the transfer of my visa extension and re-entry permit from my old passport to the new one.
Initially I was quite surprised (and a tad disappointed perhaps) at how unofficial-looking and plain the request letter was, but on further inspection it does have a proper signature and an embossed stamp as well as the British Embassy crest. The actual body text of the letter contains blank spaces that you have to fill in yourself.
So the next stop is Thai immigration, which I plan to do on Tuesday the 31st October. Surprisingly, there is very little information on-line about transferring visas, etc from one passport to another. There are the usual expat forum threads which quickly descend into argument and disagreement (I really don't know why I bother) but there is virtually nothing written on the topic within the last three years. But as I often say, the best way to find out is to go through it yourself.
So let's see how easy or how difficult Thai immigration can make this. Fingers crossed.

Update - Tuesday 31st October (transferring extension of stay stamp and re-entry permit from old passport to new passport)
Well, that was about as easy as it gets when you make a trip to Thai immigration.
I needed to transfer two things from my old UK passport to the new one - firstly, a one-year extension of stay stamp and secondly, a multiple-entry re-entry permit.
Both of these things were issued to me in July 2017 so both were only a few months old.
The whole process once I had handed over my two UK passports (and a few photocopies) was LESS than fifteen minutes. You can't grumble at that. Plus there was NO charge for this service. I have read on several forum threads of people being charged a 500 baht service fee but that wasn't the case for me today. It was freemans. Whether that applies to all Thai immigration offices, I couldn't tell you.  
There is very little information on-line (until now) about transferring Thai stamps from one UK passport to another and it took me a good while to find the official form to download. I eventually found one on a blog belonging to an American guy in Chiang Mai. The blog was written over three years ago but here is the downloadable form and I can now assure you that the form hasn't changed at all. It's still the same fairly basic form.
OK, here's a checklist of what you need to take to immigration.
1) The official form mentioned above (filled in of course)
2) The official letter that was given to you by VFS / UK Passport office when you picked up your new passport (filled in)
3) A copy of your TM6 departure card
4) A copy of the photo page from your OLD passport
5) A copy of the photo page from your NEW passport
6) A copy of the page or pages showing your extension of stay stamp, re-entry permit, etc - in other words, the stuff that you want transferred to the new passport
7) A copy of your last entry stamp into Thailand
On a final note - and again this is only stuff that I've got from various expat discussion forums - you ONLY need to go to immigration if you want an extension of stay stamp transferred to a new passport (as in my case)
If you are here in Thailand on an actual visa that you obtained from a Thai embassy or consulate abroad - perhaps a tourist visa or a single entry non-immigrant B, etc - you do NOT need to go to immigration to transfer the visa to your new passport. Thai immigration can't do that anyway.
You can simply show BOTH of your passports to the immigration officer when you exit Thailand. Your old passport will have your visa in it (and it's still valid despite the passport being cancelled) and your new passport is your identification.
Please don't shoot the messenger. That final bit of info is only what I gleaned from expat forums and as we know, they are not always the most reliable source of info. As I tell everyone - if in doubt, go and speak to your local immigration office.

A pat on the back for VFS

Most or at least many of the foreign embassies in Bangkok now outsource their visa and passport services to the VFS company and VFS probably have several locations in the city.
Last year (2017) when my wife applied for a UK visa, she had to go to the VFS office at The Trendy Building in Sukhumwit 13 (the office we've been talking about above) Just a few weeks ago, she needed to apply for a Schengen visa to visit Austria. This time we needed to go to the VFS office in Silom Complex on Silom Road. It's here where they handle visa applications for Austria, Spain, Italy and probably one or two more.  
Going back to the VFS Silom office brought back painful memories. About six years ago, my wife applied for a Schengen visa to visit Spain. The VFS system was a mess! No one had to make an appointment. You just turned up. The reception area was chaos as dozens of visa applicants and visa agents frantically waved bits of paper at a young girl on the front desk who looked like she was about to burst into tears.
It took us an unbelievable EIGHT hours to apply for a visa that day! We returned home physically and mentally exhausted.
But thankfully those days are long gone. VFS has become a very professional, well-run and well-oiled machine. No one gets over the threshold unless they have an appointment and this of course means VFS controls the number of people in the office at any one time, making for an infinitely better experience.
Staff are always polite, e-mails are answered in a timely manner, and the whole system works well. My wife received her Schengen visa for Austria in less than a week!
I realise I've gone off on a bit of a tangent in this last section, but I wanted to heap some praise on VFS for running their operation so professionally. Well done!   

Update 21st February 2018

Terry, a reader from Pattaya, said that he very recently went through this UK passport renewal process. When VFS sent him an e-mail to collect the new passport, he had to give them a specific time and collection date. That was not my experience at all. VFS said I could come any time. Terry also went on to say that on his application day, he waited for an hour before he was called in to file his application. I waited about five to ten minutes.
This of course is the problem with blogs of this nature. They are merely snapshots in time. They are one man's experience of what happened on a specific day. On another day with different dynamics, the experience might be vastly different. And of course rules and requirements can change.    

Boy Scouts

Their motto is to always be prepared, which is exactly like we try and be, so I was looking at how we can re-new our UK passport while away from the country.

The last time we did it from Bangkok we had to send off our application to Hong Kong and then collect at the British Embassy.  It was drawn out, error strewn (at our wonderful embassy's end) and fraught with difficulty- seriously, which idiot decided it was a safe idea to send passports to China?

Anyway, speaking to Ray about this recently, he advised that it's much simpler and outsourced to a company called VFS in Asok.  Fill in the forms, make an appointment to drop it off at their offices and wait a few weeks.

Most significant change to procedure is that you no longer have to give up your passport until the new one is ready for collection.  This has always been a major problem for us as by law one is required to carry official identification on your person at all times- so if you have sent off your passport (and only officially accepted ID in Thailand) you are screwed.

Happily, that now seems to a thing of the past.

Murder One

We watched this when it came out on Sky back in the UK around 1997 (?) and from the very first episode we were hooked.  It was fast paced, well acted, excellent dialogue/plot and the fact it was 23 shows long was, at the time, mind boggling.

I manged to get hold of the box set and surprised wifey by putting it on yesterday and she was more than pleased- but how would it hold up against the latest cop/trial shows that have since become popular?

No contest.  It readily stands its own and already we are 20 years younger.  Loving it and if you get a chance to watch this classic, you will not be disappointed.

C & H

December 10, 1991

Thursday, 21 June 2018

DYK?

Japanese football fans always clean up their stadium after their World Cup Finals games, a tradition stemming back to the 1998 World Cup.

Article

Clever As

A man from China bought a first class ticket which came with access to a VIP lounge and flyers could get a free meal. He rescheduled over 300 times over a year to enjoy (presumably) over 300 meals. When investigated, he canceled the ticket and got a full refund. (article)

  • The ticket was basically the most expensive one possible to buy: first class nonstop from there to LAX, with lounge access and all the perks, FULLY REFUNDABLE and no rescheduling fee. Those things cost thousands of dollars.
  • The guy was a retired Chinese gentleman. Dressing up, grabbing a carryon bag, riding the bus to the airport, and being waited on in the executive, first class VIP restaurant was the highlight of his day. Afterwards, he’d reschedule to the next day and head back home.
  • The airline only caught on because the electronic reservation system started having problems handling his ticket. The agent’s terminal would time out while waiting for the whole thing to load, parts of the system couldn’t handle loading that many records, and so on. Most airline agents just assumed the booking system was running slow, but finally one agent realized the rest of the system was fine and it was only having problems with his ticket in particular. So the guy looks at the history and finds page after page of updates — “Sir, have you really rescheduled over 300 times?” The agent went to get a supervisor and the man, realizing the gig was up, took his ticket to another counter in the airport and finally cancelled instead of rescheduling. He had his money back before the first agent and his supervisor could stop it.

Caveman Circus

U Turn

And for once I am not going to knock the Government for going back on its initial decision. 

After much public outcry, it would seem common sense and compassion has won as the Home Secretary has granted a licence to the parents of the young boy stricken with epilepsy, so that his life-threatening seizures can be treated with cannabis oil.

Well done but why did it take so long to reach this obvious conclusion?

Metro

News Thump

Following calls by William Hague to review Britain’s drug laws, the government has insisted that it will rely instead on the plight of Samuel ‘Zammo’ Maguire from Grange Hill to inform policy.
A report by the UK Drug Policy Commission (UKDPC) says possession of small amounts of controlled drugs should no longer be a criminal offence. However, the government insists it has no plans to change its policy based solely on Zammo’s descent into drug abuse.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs he considered cannabis as a drug that could be a gateway to addiction.
He said, “You only have to watch the opening credits of Grange Hill to see the kind of terrifying hallucinations that some drugs can induce.
“One second they are sat having what they think is a great time, they next they are being attacked by a flying sausage.
“It may start off with marijuana, but all the evidence that I’ve made up suggests it will inevitably lead to other things like sniffing crack, regardless of what William Hague tells you.”
Highlighting the government’s current drug policy, he added, “You don’t have to be part of the crowd, just be who you are and stand up proud.”
“Say no, no just say no, just say no, no just say no.”
Mr Javid also pointed to Brookside’s Jimmy Corkhill as a prime example of the devastation that drugs can cause.
“Jimmy Corkhill’s addiction to drugs not only destroyed him, but also the people around him,” he said.
“Lyn Matthews – Dead! Tony Dixon – Dead!
“You can speak to your so-called experts who spend years carrying out studies into the effects of drugs on individuals and communities, but if you want the facts then you should look no further than Grange Hill and Brookside.
“If you want to get advice from Police officers and scientists then that’s fine, but I’ll be talking to Phil Redmond.”
NT

Well Said

Wisdom is what's left after we've run out of personal opinions.
Cullen Hightower

Yip

Twot

For some reason the Americans use this instead of the correct "twat".

Every time I hear this mentioned I shudder- not because of its meaning but it sounds utterly ridiculous and childish.

Then again, what should one expect from people who say "aluminum"...

Scruffy's and Onwards

We'd been to see Khun Alix who is settling in very nicely in his new pub and after a few Tigers (pint is THB 99 during "Happy Hour", thank you very much) we headed for home.

Just we got out we saw the beaming face of Tommy who was off to see the manager (Owen) for a birthday beer at another bar further down the road. Jellyfish rules applied and so we accepted his kind invitation and ended up at the Cross Bar where quite a number of people were enjoying a few beers.

Turned into a very fun evening and we even had "one for the road" back in Scruffy's, just about getting the last train back home.

Today my head hurts...

Viz Bits

Letterbocks – M&S

By Royal Appointment

There is a picture doing the rounds on social media showing one of the royal family wearing a Germany shirt.  I truly hope their support will get us through against Sweden- we really need all the help we can get.  😎

Mark That Up

As part of her treatment, the hospital prescribed insoles which set us back THB 1 400 (not covered by the insurance).  Close by to the hospital is a well stocked pharmacy and identical soles were on the shelf.

For THB 700... 😀

Physio Day Two

Wifey had her second physio/traction session yesterday and while there is no sign of improvement in relieving pain in her foot, she is loving the back massages.  At THB 1 800/hour, she jolly well ought to- but as the insurance is covering that, my wallet remains happy.

C & H

December 10, 1992

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Well Said


It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.
William G McAdoo
US industrialist, lawyer, & politician (1863 - 1941)

Welcome to England

The Cannabis Act has passed its final hurdle recently (yesterday, 19th June) making Canada the first country in the G7 to legalise the drug's recreational use.

The bill controls and regulates how the drug can be grown, distributed, and sold, enabling Canadians to be able to buy and consume cannabis legally as early as this September.

Contrast this with the UK's approach which denies medical cannabis to a six year old boy suffering with epilepsy:

A six-year-old boy whose rare form of epilepsy dramatically improved after using cannabis has been denied a request for a medical cannabis licence by the Government.
The boy has a childhood epilepsy (PCDH19) that causes multiple seizures and he experiences up to 30 fits a day and once had 3 000 seizures and 48 hospital visits in the space of just a year.
He saw his seizures considerably reduce when he travelled to the Netherlands to take a cannabis-based medication prescribed by a paediatric neurologist last September.  It is estimated that with the Dutch cannabis medication he would have about 20 seizures a year.
But the Home Office has denied the family’s request for medical cannabis oil, which remains illegal in the UK*.

BBC & TInd




*Cannabis possession first became a crime in Canada in 1923 but medical use has been legal since 2001.

German Efficiency...

Funny German Language

News Thump

Cinema small
Are you in the cinema or your living room? Here’s a handy guide for people who don’t know how to behave.
Some people apparently get confused about where they’re watching a film and what behaviour is acceptable. There are two broad options:
– A public cinema: please shut up for the duration of the broadcast.
– The privacy of your own home: feel free to chat and ask stupid questions about the plot.
If you’re not sure where you are, here’s a convenient checklist. You’re probably in the cinema if most of the following apply:
Environment
– There appears to be a power cut but that can’t be right because the telly’s still on.
– You can’t remember having this much furniture.
– You’re puzzled as to why your partner seems to have installed a glowing fire exit sign above the hallway door.
Sound and vision
– The screen is like, really, really big.
– It’s incredibly loud but you can’t work out how to turn the volume down (disregard this point if you’re over seventy when this is normal).
– The film hasn’t buffered once and you feel pleased that BT has finally got its act together.
Food and drink
– You’re eating your own body weight in popcorn (this only happens in the cinema as it’s actually pretty weird).
– Someone tuts every time you eat a Pringle.
– You had to hand over the best part of a fiver for that share bag of Revels you’re eating all by yourself (disregard this point if your flatmate is a tight northerner).
Other people
– You find yourself thinking, ‘Whose kids are these and how did they get in?’
– Loads of strangers keep using your loo.
– Big burly men are asking you to leave the premises (disregard this point if you’re hopelessly behind with the rent).
NT

England on High

With their football team winning their first and well on the way to the knockout stages of the WC, the cricket eleven are also pulling their weight with an all time record breaking thrashing of Australia in the one dayers.

England scored 481 - 6 in fifty overs, beating their previous record of 444 - 3 (against Pakistan in 2016.

Looks like Trent Bridge is a favourite venue as both enormous wins took place there.

Record-breaking England
  • Highest men's one-day international total.
  • England's biggest ODI win and Australia's heaviest defeat in terms of runs.
  • The record for most boundaries hit in an ODI with 62. The previous mark of 59 was held by England and Sri Lanka.
  • Morgan become the first batsman to score 3,000 ODI runs in England and Wales
  • Bairstow is only the eighth player to score four centuries in six ODI innings, after Virat Kohli, David Warner, Quinton de Kock, Kumar Sangakkara, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Zaheer Abbas.
  • Bairstow has hit four ODI centuries in 2018, equalling David Gower's record in a calendar year (1983).
  • Bairstow & Roy recorded their fourth century opening stand, equalling the England record shared by Nick Knight and Marcus Trescothick.
BBC



PS:  England win the series against their old enemy which cheers me up somewhat after the Germany result.

Bad Feeling

With Germany's disastrous result still haunting my thoughts and slowly sinking in, we only have one option; beat Sweden on Saturday.

My only fear?  We won't do it. 

And based on what I saw last Sunday, I really think we will lose.  We don't seem to have confidence or self belief, I can't see us scoring, we are carrying too many passengers (Mesut Özi and Sammi Khedira hardly featured for me), we are unable to retain possession (usually a German strength) and I think the nation's expectations are brutal, adding to the already intense pressure.

But I do believe in Löw and he has the experience to get the tactics right, so if the players can respond as they should with a couple of new faces, I am keeping all fingers crossed that my least favourite shirt in God knows how many years will get an extended run.

I would be thrilled to wear it against South Korea (Wednesday, 27th) knowing a win for us would get us through into the knockouts.

Hospital Trip

We left the pad at 10:30 and were seated in the waiting room by 10:45.  At 11:00 wifey and I were shown into see the consultant and she had a very thorough check over with the doctor not convinced wifey's problem was a tendon or ligament problem at all.  Rather, a back/spine problem causing nerve damage which was manifesting itself in her foot.

An X-ray confirmed his suspicions and wifey was given further options of an MRI check leading to surgery to rectify the protruding disc.  He suggested neither, instead offering medical shoe inserts to aid walking (plus pain killers) along with physiotherapy, laser and traction treatment.

We had no idea if our medical insurance would cover any of this but he sent a nurse out to contact our company and she returned to explain everything was include bar the inserts (THB 1 400 for the pair), which was really good news.

Wifey was then taken away to begin her first session there and then, she is back today for her second and has been booked into next week to complete her course to see how she responds to treatment before a second consultation.

Seriously, off the street into see the doctor, an X-ray and treatment all in under two hours- and her physio lasted an hour.  Cost came to under THB 6 000 (so about £140) but with the insurance taking the brunt, you just have to be impressed at the medical profession here in Bangkok.

Eh?

When did I miss Mohamed Salah buying Egypt and it becoming his property?

I've lost count of I have read "Mohamed Salah's Egypt" in the press and sports' pages.

You could start a right good drinking game with that phrase and to start you off, here're two pints from the BBC and TG- and that is just today:

Russia moved to the brink of qualifying for the last 16 of the World Cup after the host nation beat Mohamed Salah's Egypt in St Petersburg.

Russia all but qualify for knockout stage with win over Mo Salah’s Egypt

And while we're at it, I understand the man has been out with a dislocated shoulder- for quite a number of weeks.  Showing once again just how dainty footballers are (nowt personal, just using the guy to illustrate my point) we have MotoGP riders come off their bikes and dislocate shoulders during practise and yet they get back on in the afternoon and race- at over 200 mph for nearly 45 minutes, lap after lap.

No fairy puffs there.

Viz Bits

Letterbocks – Women’s shower habits

Ashes to Ashes

Thank God.  We are on the final, last ever episode and I can't recall being so happy.  One more shit awful hour of this toss and we're free.  I have just checked out the rating on the usually reliable IMDb and they score it and I just cannot see how.  8.2?  I would even give it 2.8.

Gene Hunt has become a bullying, sexist moron incapable of delivering any dialogue without sneering or shouting.  He is unable to drive his chav mobile anywhere sober, within the speed limits or without wheel spinning and he has become a predictable bore.

Alex Drake spends more time with furrowed brows looking into the past/present/future with not one single reference to her daughter, her entire raison d'être to go back to her time.  She bleats on about doing things "by the book" and happily aids and abets every bending of the law when it suits.

You have the two dippy on/off lovebirds who are so wet you would see damp rising if they strayed too close to the walls.  They are so retarded one wonders how they got past recruitment and spend most of the time simpering to one another looking like extras from a Spandau Ballet concert.

Then there is the good old wing man who has a perm akin to a shedding poodle on his head who chain smokes his way through some classic chauvinism, sexism, racism and thinks he is God's gift to mankind.

And to cap it all, these macho Plod like nothing more to go to an Italian restaurant every day to drink wine and eat "foreign".  What, no East end boozer, no pie and mash and not even a sniff of fish and chips?  My arse.

And where in the mighty world of fuck would a chief inspector being transferred from Manchester end up with two of his henchmen going with him?

Woeful "plots" often on re-run loops so they appear every second episode watered down by inane retrospective asides and one dimensional characters who often look like they are hating every minute of their time on screen.  And if that's how they feel, have a guess how the audience must think?

OK, the first one (Mars) was different and watchable, but Ashes is a travesty and I wonder how this got past the first series.  Thankfully it will soon be over.

I Doubt It

While mixing up a batch of egg mayo I wondered if it could be considered to be some kind of vegetarian cannibalism?

New, But Not so Good

I like new, but not at the expense of losing previous user friendliness or features.  So while I like the new look of Gmail, I don't like the fact I can't seem to edit or add new contacts nor that I am unable to change my default font size setting from "minuscule" to "normal".

And while we're at it, how about letting us decide font style and size and not be given a restrictive drop down menu with feck all choices?

C & H

December 10, 1993

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Well Said

The man who has confidence in himself gains the confidence of others.
Hasidic Saying

News Thump

Pedestrian crossing red light
The red man at a pedestrian crossing is beginning to wonder just why the hell he bothers telling people not to cross the road when they obviously don’t listen to him.
“I’m here to say ‘don’t cross!’” he said rather angrily. “I’m RED for fuck’s sake! Does red mean ‘go’? Well, does it?!
“Look at my legs – look at how all together and not walking they are. What does that tell you?
“I’m not just here to remind you to look left and right before dashing over the road. I’m here to tell you NOT TO FUCKING CROSS.”
At this point, the little red man became quite forlorn.
He went on, “Nobody’s ever pleased to see me. If I suddenly pop up to say hello people tend to respond with ‘dammit’ or ‘for fuck’s sake.’ And then they effectively blank me by scooting across the road anyway.
“Frankly, it’s demoralising.”
Pedestrian Simon Williams said, “Look, I’m a busy man. I’m not going to just stand there like a lemon if there’s nothing coming.
“Little red and green men are very useful for unaccompanied minors but adults should be quite capable of crossing the road without being told what to do by lightbulbs.”
“Well that’s just typical!” fumed the little red man. “After all I’ve done to keep you safe!
“Maybe I should just piss off leaving you in the care of Mr ‘spreads his legs for a living’ Green. Let’s see how effectively he stops you being wiped out by a reckless twat on a moped.”
NT

**NOTE:  Not for German Blog readers**

English vs German Meanings

Funny German Language

Not Only Football

There was also the Spanish MotoGP this weekend from Catalunya and although not the most exciting of races, we did see Lorenzo take second win of the season after his first place at Mugello last time.

Ducati must be kicking themselves as they decided not to renew his contract on their factory bike as he has since scored maximum points and stepped onto the top rung of the podium twice in a row.

But even more of a surprise is where the Spanish rider will be heading off to next. Rumours were that he would be getting a factory Yamaha but as  satellite rider yet it was confirmed he will go to Honda in 2019.

Marquez and Lorenzo both on Hondas?  Yes please, that will be fun to see how they get on.

Rossi also got his second successive podium with another hard fought third behind Marcquez in second but best ride of the race was by Brit boy Crutchlow who went from 10th on the grid to fourth and didn't chuck his bike up the road.

Catalunya Grand Prix result:

1 Jorge Lorenzo (Spa/Ducati) 40mins 13.566secs

2 Marc Marquez (Spa/Honda) +4.479secs

3 Valentino Rossi (Ita/Yamaha) +6.098secs

4 Cal Crutchlow (GB/LCR Honda) +9.805secs

5. Dani Pedrosa (Spa/Honda) +10.640secs

6. Maverick Vinales (Spa/Yamaha) +10.798secs

7. Johann Zarco (Fra/Yamaha Tech3) +13.432secs

8. Danilo Petrucci (Ita/Ducati Pramac) +15.055secs

9 Alvaro Bautista (Spa/Ducati) +22.057secs

10. Andrea Iannone (Ita/Suzuki) +24.141secs

Championship standings (after seven of 19 races):

1 Marc Marquez (Spa/Honda) 115 points

2 Valentino Rossi (Ita/Yamaha) 88

3 Maverick Vinales (Spa/Yamaha) 77

4 Johann Zarco (Fra/Yamaha Tech3) 73

5 Danilo Petrucci (Ita/Ducati Pramac) 71

6 Cal Crutchlow (GB/LCR Honda) 69

7 Jorge Lorenzo (Spa/Ducati) 66

8 Andrea Dovizioso (Ita/Ducati) 66

9 Andrea Iannone (Ita/Suzuki) 66

10 Jack Miller (Aus/Ducati Pramac) 49

Off to the Hospital

With Khun Ayr due shortly we always like to go out and leave her to it.  Mostly we go to one of the big malls and spend a few hours window shopping but today it's a less pleasant task.  We're off to the Sukhumvit Hospital.

Wifey's foot has become worse and she can barely walk without heavy strapping, so we need to see a professional to find out exactly what is wrong and what our options are.

We suspect a tendon has either come adrift or stretched and it will need an op to re secure.  Hopefully it will be a quick procedure but I am sure it will keep her off her feet for a few days at least, so she will need to decide when to get it done.

Our nephew and his girlfriend arrive in under a month and she needs to be mobile for that.

But Some Good News

After our swimming pool was closed once again (only two days; last time that rolled into three weeks), wifey got a little peeved and had a chat with the manageress in the office who is very helpful and can speak good English.

She was told that apparently the "pH of the pool was wrong" and it could be another fortnight until it was rectified.  Wifey gave her a start Paddington would have been proud of and said it just wasn't good enough.  No information, no action and certainly no forewarning. 

It seems she must have got her message through- the pool was open again yesterday, the water has never been cleaner and it was so good to be in the pool again after a long lay off.

Let's hope there will be no more closures for the rest of the summer.

Viz Bits

Letterbocks – poxy dole

Just Perfect

So not only am I grumpy following the Germany match, I also have to put up with a jammy Team Eng-er-land win, with good old Harry boy scoring the winner in injury time.  Good grief, is it coming home already?

I would love nothing more to see England lift the trophy (if it can't be Germany, of course) as it would be a major boost for the entire country, B-U-T, we'd never hear the end of it.

The tabloids will be headlining with "V" signs to all Johnny Foreigners, quoting Churchill soundbites about fighting on the beaches and plenty more but even more of a ghastly thought will be the MPs peacocking about as if it were all down to them.

Can you imagine?  Theresa May in a Team Eng-er-land scarf holding up a pint of bitter and guffing on about how she put the great back into Great Britain?

*shudder*

Never Again

I wore my green "away" shirt for the game and will not be making the same mistake again.  The majority of the Thais watching the game thought it was the Mexican shirt (same colour) and were giving me the thumbs up and smiling as if the game was going my way.

I didn't have the heart to point out that I was in fact firmly pro-Germany but I suspect my profound profanities should have given them a hint my loyalties lay in the other camp.

Yes, Yes, I Know

I watched the "game" and was disgusted with the way Germany played- but full credit to the Mexicans, who thoroughly deserved their victory.

I have been watching Die Mannschaft's run-in to the world cup and it has not filled me with confidence and while everyone has been banging on about "favourites", "tournament mentality", "experience" and many more mundane sound bites, I have been more than concerned at our inability to score.

Sadly my pessimistic predictions have been proven correct and now we look in danger of doing "an England" and going out of the competition after just two games.

For make no mistake, if we don't beat Sweden (convincingly) on Saturday, we will be out and it will be exactly what we deserve.

C & H

December 10, 1994

Saturday, 16 June 2018