Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Last Chapter

Today was the last full day of the holiday. The weather was in the high 20s but it was overcast. Not a bad thing as it will help get us acclimatised to the grey winter skies of Europe. The Gorse Fox did his session in the gym and had a swim. Then we settled down to await Cousteau-cub.

We had thought of going to Lanta Old Town, but Cousteau-cub had loads of work emails to clear and wouldn't be able to join us so we decided to stay put, that way she could work here at the hotel and we could all be together.

We wandered down to Kantiang for lunch. 

There is a little thatched shack that does super meals and we managed to eat our fill for 300 Baht (£6) for te three of us. Cousteau-cub and the Silver Vixen then embarked on a tour of the shops (there are only about 4 or 5) so the Gorse Fox headed back to the hotel, leaving them to it.

The Coventry Hobbit turned up late afternoon and we had nice couple of hours chatting about all and sundry whilst watching the sun go down and before deciding to head for Otto's for dinner. 

As usual the food was excellent and Otto seemed completely stoned (but that is pretty normal). The Coventry Hobbit managed to get sucked into a game of pool and whilst managing to sink 4 balls off the break, his partner, the eponymous Otto, managed to hit the wrong ball and handed the advantage and eventually the game to the other pair. There's never a dull moment at Otto's.

Managed to get a Skype session with Urban-cub before she headed into work for an interview... we all have our fingers crossed.

Noon Image: 1 Dec 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015

Pool time

Last night's deluge continued until dawn. The rain was epic, but everything was drying up by the time we wandered out for breakfast. The Gorse Fox was feeling lazy and skipped the gym today. At least he was feeling lazy, physically, but mentally he was charged up. He wishes he had brought one of the Raspberry Pis with him as he spent several hours on the web looking for ideas and answers to some of the outstanding aspects of his Pi Blog project back home.

Meanwhile it was getting hotter and hotter. The cool 27C worked its way up to 31C by lunchtime. By early afternoon it started to cloud over a bit. This held the heat in and threatened a drop of rain, but nothing really came of it. It did make for a fairly angry looking sunset, though.

Cousteau-cub joined us early evening and we decided to eat at Cookai. Again, a restaurant we had visited on a previous trip, and one we had liked. We were not disappointed, all three of us having whole deep fried white snapper in various herbs and spices. Absolutely delicious, and good value for money.

Noon Image: 30 Nov 2015

Sunday, November 29, 2015


Another hot day, though there was some cloud by mid-afternoon and a brief shower. We had spent the day by the pool. Books don't read theselves, you know. Cousteau-cub joined us as she wasn't required on the boat or in the shop and the emails could be handled from anywhere. (Obtusely the internet link at the hotel dropped, but she had a 3G and just paired with her phone).

The Gorse Fox spent some time crafting Tripadvisor reviews during the morning and got those sent off before strolling down into Kantiang to raid the ATM and pick up some odds and ends at the 7-11.

As he writes, the internet is still down, frustratingly. No doubt it will soon be sorted, but it does become part of the fabric of general communication when roaming charges and text messages are so extortionate here. The gf did put a Thai SIM in his spare Android phone, but the phone seems to have died. 

We settled on a restaurant for dinner, then Cousteau-cub booked a table and headed off home before the next downpour. The Gorse Fox suspects that she didn't make it and got thorough soaked. The rain didn't last for long, it didn't seem to lower the temperature, but it was very, very heavy. We remained on our verandah throughout (not something we would have done back home). As the internet is still down, the Gorse Fox can't check the temperature but would guess it's about 28c... maybe even as cold as 27! We suspect that our return to the UK this coming week may be quite a shock.

Come evening we drove through the rain to Cousteau-cub and Coventry Hobbit's house and we all went up towards SalaDan for dinner at Red Snapper. It is a restaurant we have visited before and is always excellent quality and an interesting menu. Lovely evening had by all... followed by a slow drive back through the heavy rain.

Noon Image: 29 Nov 2015

Saturday, November 28, 2015


It was another cracking day. Wall to wall blue sky with a few puffy punctuation marks of white cloud. Temperature well up into the low 30s again. The Gorse Fox did his session in the gym; he really wasn't in the mood, but it had to be done. He was delighted, however, that the owner of the hotel came and sought him out to say goodbye. He is off to Phuket for a few days and unlikley to return before we leave... so he came to say goodbye and wish us a safe trip. The Gorse Fox must say that this is a fabulous hotel and we really feel like part of the family.

Later we popped in to see Cousteau-cub. She was manning dive shop at Narima. She was still pretty sore from yesterday's rather brutal toe-nail removal. After checking on her we headed north and stopped at a supermarket for a few bits Cousteau-cub had requested, then headed on round to the east of the island.

This time we found the road down to the village by the mangrove swamp. We left the car and after decline a trip through the swamp on a longtail, we paid a few baht to wander around the paths that had be laid. 

After several hundred yards, it becomes clear that if you've seen one bit of mangrove forest, you've seen it all. It was an homogenouscollection of tortured and twisted mangroves for as far as the eye could see.

Back at the car, and very grateful for the air conditioning, we headed back through Klong Nin and again met up with Cousteau-cub to give her the shopping and grab some lunch. AFter that, a quiet afternoon was spent with the books before heading down to Drunken Sailor for dinner after today's dramatic sunset.

Noon Image: 28 Nov 2015

Friday, November 27, 2015

Toe-ing the line

It was another glorious start to the day. It was clearly going to be hot again, having not dropped below 26c overnight. We had breakfast and then went to the gym. The Gorse Fox is determined to be fit for football when he returns.

We dropped off some laundry with Tukta, then popped in to see Cousteau-cub at Narima. She was cracking through some emails after her yoga class, first thing. At lunch time she had to go to the hospital. She had dropped a scuba tank on her foot last weekend and though the bruise had come out, she looked as if a toe was broken and the nail was damaged and infected. We offered to take her, but she was convinced she'd be ok.

We carried on to SalaDan to, again, visit the market we had seen before and was closed on ur last visit. Guess what? It was closed agian today! Oh Well, we parked up and walked through another mark area, giving the Silver Vixen a chance to rummage and select the odd bits and pieces.

We looped (as is our habit, now) back round the east coast of the Island. We we intending to see a local village set among the mangrove and banyans... that didn't work either. We clearly missed the turning somewhere and ended up headed down toward Old Town.

We turned back westwards and headed over the mountain, stopping a View Point restaurant for some lunch. This is and excellent spot near the top of the mountain with views over the whole of the east coast of the Island. As we ate we sta and watched a sea eagle soaring on the thermals and lazily keeping eye on his domain.

We returned to the hotel where we heard from Cousteau-cub. It seems that the Thai hospital decided the toe nail had to come off. Unlike the UK, however, they don't provide a local anaesthetic. They just tug it out. By the time Cousteau-cub was calling us she was self-anaesthetising with several glasses of red wine at a friend's bar.

Not much of a sunset today as heavy clouds obscured the setting sun and lightning played back and forth through the clouds for several hours. Despite the amount of lightning, there was no thunder and no rain.... just the light show!

Noon Image: 27 Nov 2015

Thursday, November 26, 2015


As the Gorse Fox reflects on the day, the Internet is down - not clear when it will be restored, so the Gorse Fox is writing this with the intention of retro-blogging when everything returns to normal.

The weather was far more settled today - very little cloud and a peak of about 32c, very pleasant. The Gorse Fox skipped the gym this morning as his knee was a little sore and he didn't want to stir things up. The morning, therefore, was consumed by reading and catching up on the news. The Gorse Fox left messages for Urban-cub to see how she was getting on hoping to catch up with her later.

After lunch (taken by the pool) Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit joined us for a while. The Coventry Hobbit had to leave to look after the dogs, but Cousteau-cub stayed on into the evening.

Late afternoon the ringer went to tell the Gorse Fox he had a Skype call. He didn't get there quickly enough but saw it was from Urban-cub.  He video-called her back on what he though was her Skype address. It turned out to be the Skype for her smart TV at home. Skype rang, and rang... then suddenly it was answered and the Gorse Fox was staring into her living room at Jake who went into blind panic as the TV said "Hello, Jake" and he ran out the room. At this point the Gorse Fox hung up, realising the mistake, and re-dialled Urban-cub. Even now, several hours later the Gorse Fox is chuckling at Jake's reaction. Anyway, all seems well with Urban-cub and Pistol Pete - his knee is obviously settling down, and despite the problems they have had a nice break.

Sunset was a cracker tonight.

We strolled down to the Bay and had dinner at Baan Lanta. Fresh White Snapper for the Silver Vixen, 500g of tiger prawns for Cousteau-cub, and a tuna for the Gorse Fox. The food was exquisite. (It seems to the Gorse Fox that it is very hard not to eat well in this part of Thailand - wherever you go, the food is just wonderful). While we ate, the manager of the bar went down onto the beach and performed a fire dance with flailing bowls of burning oil spinning and looping round him on the sand. Very atmospheric... and not something we see often in The Crescent!

Noon Image: 26 Nov 2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Loy Krathong

It is a public holiday in Thailand and is held over a couple of days to celebrate the 12th full moon of the year. 

The Thai women (not sure whether men do it also) make these little vessels from banana leaves and flowers. These Krathons are delightful. The Silver Vixen sat down with several of the hotel staff and spent several hours work on her Krathongs. 

The hotel is planning a special meal this evening and then will launch the Krathongs across the infinity pool. We will miss this as Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit have suggested we all go across to Lanta Old Town where the biggest festival takes place. Resorts compete with each other to make the best offering, and all the street food vendors and restaurants are open. It sounds like fun, so we headed across there after sunset.

The drive across was a bit of a nightmare as every motorbike, taxi, and vehicle on the Island seemed to heading for the Old Town. The Gorse Fox needs eyes in the back of his head, and both sides of his head just to have a chance to see where the next nutcase is coming from. Despite everything, we arrived without incident. Not only that, we got the last parking space in the parking lot.

We met up with some of Cousteau-cub's friends and had a drink then moved on through the street vendors and past the shops and restaurants to the main square where there was a a night market, a stage with Thai dancing, and displays of the Krathongs from all of the big resorts. 

After wandering through the square we made our way to the beach where Cousteau-cub launched the Silver Vixen's Krathong into the sea. (Strictly, this should be done at high tide - but as that is not until midnight we - and hundreds of others - decided to launch early).

We strolled around and watched the world go by for a while then went to meet up with the Coventry Hobbit and grab a meal. As usual, the food was delicious and it was nice that the Silver Vixen and the Gorse Fox actually introduced Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit to a new restaurant.

Super day.

Noon Image: 25 Nov 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


The thing is, you see, that this is Thailand's high season. This is so defined because the Europeans find the temperature most comfortable - it being Thailand's winter. So it is that today we have had a wintery day. It has been a bit overcast, it has rained, it has been windy and the temperature has plummeted to 27C. The locals are wearing coats and everyone is commenting on the cold. Pah! Wimps.

We have had a gentle day - breakfast, gym, swim, and then a drive up to SalaDan and back round the Island. The whole point of the trip to SalaDan was to visit a market we had seen yesterday. Didn't quite work out... market was closed today for the Loy Kratong holiday/festival (more of which tomorrow). So we circled back round the Island towards Old Town then back to Klong Nin and headed south. We stopped at Diamond Cliff for lunch then stopped off to see Cousteau-cub on our way back to the hotel.

A quiet afternoon was spent with our books and knitting and then we grabbed supper at the hotel, where Cousteau-cub joined us for a glass of wine and some Belgian fries.

Another very relaxing day.

Noon Image: 24 Nov 2015

Monday, November 23, 2015


It was humid and overcast this morning - a steady 30c, but little sun. Breakfast was followed by about an hour in the gym, then we headed up the island to meet with Cousteau-cub at Narima. She and the Coventry Hobbit had concluded that their dog Tyson had gone blind and she was, clearly, concerned. We offered to provide transport to the vet, but she concluded that he would be more comfortable with them on the bike as he didn't know our car.

We headed on up to SalaDan at the northern tip of the Island. It's not exactly a thriving metropolis, but it is the closest that Koh Lanta has to to a shopping mecca (and given that the Island is 95% Muslim, that's probably the correct comparative adjective).

As we started to roam the streets, a gentle, warm rain started. This seemed like a cue for us to find a restaurant and shelter. We spotted a place and headed out back. Like Old Town, the restaurants sit on stilts to keep them clear of the channel between Koh Lanta Noi and Kog Lanta Yai... and all the while, ferry boats head out along or across that channel to keep the Islands connected with the rest of the country.
The Gorse Fox showed, several days ago, that a pineapple salad got served in a pineapple... well it is also clear that a coconut shake gets served in a coconut. (It is absolutely delicious and the Gorse Fox doesn't thingk he could ever eat a Bounty Bar again, now he has tried the real thing).

After SalaDan we headed clockwise round the top of the Island and back over the Elephant Road (so named because there is place at the top of the mountain where Elephant treks begin and there are several elephants by the side of the road - it is a great shame that they seem to be kept chained by one leg - but the Gorse Fox supposes it is better than them roaming into the road and getting hit).

The Gorse Fox should mention that the roads are awash with Thais and tourists on their motobikes. We are the exception, having a car. The problem is that it is like the Battle of Britain, traversing the roads. Fighters (scooters) come in from the left, from the right, from behind, and from straight ahead, They may have a single pilot, but he may have his mother, his aunt, his nan, his brother, his sister, his baby brother, his father and two uncles on the bike with him. If he's a tourist, he probably has a girlfriend or boyfriend on the back (or both). Whoever they are, they will have no protective clothing nor head gear. So it was that, as we headed back south, there head clearly been a nasty accident with a chap being attended to by locals and tourists. One suspects his holiday is at an end. It is such a shame that people take so few pecautions.

We spent a quiet afternoon back at the hotel. The clouds finally parted briefly to alow a sunset picture, but whereas some last for 30-45 minutes, this was quite fleeting.

We have now heard from Cousteau-cub and the dog, Tyson, is having some blood tests, but being treated on the assumption that he has some parasite in his blood. Let's hope thate he gets better soon.

We have also heard from Urban-cub and it seems that Pistol Pete is laid up. He has fluid on the knee and needs to keep it rested and elevated to see if it will settle. Here's wishing him the best.

Noon Image: 23 Nov 2015

Sunday, November 22, 2015


It was a lovely bright morning spent by (and in) the pool. We are both making significant progress in our books. We were sorry to see, ovrnight, that Pistol Pete has hurt his knee and may need a trip to A&E if it doesn't settle over night. This on the first full day of their holiday in the Lake District. The news was originally on Facebook, but Urban-cub phoned us with an update. Sleep, ice packs, pills, and so forth have not helped - trip the hospital is on the morning agenda. We now wait to hear the outcome.

We spent several hours chatting with the Belgian chap that owns the hotel. He spends several months at a time here, then goes back to Europe for a while and so forth. It appears his return trips are set to coincide with significant footbal matches in his team's season. We had a lot of common ground and he was charming.... he even introduced the Gorse Fox to a Trappist beer that had a kick like a mule!

Early afternoon, the clouds rolled in and it got very stormy. Still very hot, but the rain was heavy. We retreated under cover and continued our quiet time with our books. The Gorse Fox remembers when he would go on vacation with 10-14 books and work his way through the lot; now, all he needs is the Kindle and has an, almost, unlimited supply of reading material.... and that's to say nothig of the 30-odd audio books he still has untouched.

Those that know the Gorse Fox may wonder why no comments about diving. The fact is that he has a problem with one of his ears and it won't seem to clear up. This situation is untenable for diving - if you cannot equalise the pressure in your ears you just cannot dive. 

The storms of the day have obviously caused some problems somewhere as the electricity keeps cutting out. The Silver Vixen is in the shower with a torch in case the lights go out again.

Noon Image: 22 Nov 2015

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Special Day

It's been quite a day. So it should be, it's the Silver Vixen's birthday. We started with a quick coffee at the hotel before meeting up with Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit. Whilst having our coffee the hotel staff had made up our room (as usual) but had decorated the foot of the bed with two little elephants fashioned from towels and a red cloth background to the words Happy Birthday, picked out in 148 white flowers picked from the garden. It was delightful. It was also unexpected as the Gorse Fox had only mention the Silver Vixen's birthday in passing, at the beginning of the week.

Once Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit had arrived we headed up to the Pimalai Resort for breakfast. It is a fantastic place with breathtaking views across Kantiang Bay and across the vast grounds of the resort itself. We had a long and leisurely breakfast just chatting and consuming every sort of delicacy you could imagine.
The Seven Seasons at Pimalai

Across Kantiang Bay

That was only part of the Silver Vixen's treat. Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit had also arranged for a Spa treatment. The Gorse Fox should point out that the Pimalai Spa is regarded as one of the best in whole world... so this was something special. The Gorse Fox dropped her off and went back several hours later to collect her. She had had a wonderful time with oils and wraps, jacuzzis and massage.
The Spa grounds

Once back at the hotel, Cousteau-cub met up with us again for the afternoon and as the day drew on, Urban-cub called from her holiday in the Lake District. There it was 3C and there was snow on the hills. Quite a contrast to here. 

Dinner tonight was with Tukta, Cousteau-cub's friend who cooked so beautifully for us on our last visit. Fabulous day and certainly one that we will remember.

Noon Image: 21 Nov 2015

Friday, November 20, 2015

Noon Image: 20 Nov 2015

Pool day

There's no doubt about it, one has to pace oneself. With this in mind we started the day with the usual breakfast and gym session. Then we spent the rest of the day by the pool. The Gorse Fox caught up on some TripAdvisor reviews and did some reading and swimming. The Silver Vixen concentrated on her knitting and then reading.

Cousteau-cub dropped in at lunchtime but was en-route to the print shop, so didn't stay for long. She dropped by at the end of the day, too, but again it was but a fleeting visit. With the Silver Vixen's birthday tomorrow, we should both Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit as they have a day off.

Not much of a sunset tonight; well actually it set quite adequately, it just forgot to give us a show.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Old Town

After breakfast, the gym, and a swim, the Gorse Fox spent a pleasant 30 minutes chatting with some fellow guests in the pool. As they were New Yorkers we had plenty of common ground and Gorse Fox was in a position to give them some hints and tips about the Island.

We headed off to Lanta Old Town. It's only about 15km across the spine of the Island. It's a charming little town and reminds the Gorse Fox of a TV set for a western! (Well, with the exception of the power cables and the motor scooters).
 We strolled through the main street examining all the shops and restaurants. It is much more alive this trip (being high season) than it was on our previous trips. All of the shops on the right side of the photo back on to the bay and stand partly on stilts. As you pass along the street there are teasing glimpses of the bay beyond.

There is also a Bhuddist shrine which quite draws the eye to the bay and the islands beyond.
After our lengthy exploration (ok, let's be honest, it took about 20 minutes), we stopped off at nice restaurant for a snack and to sit and admire the view across the bay. It turns out that the owners have another place on our side of the island, and we have been there; not only that but they know Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit. It was clear that, to the South, a storm was brewing  though it was still bright and sunny where we were. We decided to get back before the storm caught us if, indeed it was going to).

As we opened the door to our room, there was a clap of thunder and the heavens opened. We had timed it to perfection. We spent the afternoon reading and later Cousteau-cub came round. She had some errands to run, so the Gorse Fox took here round the island in the car, rather than her using the motorbike in this weather. Whilst the Gorse Fox ad Cousteau-cub were galivanting, the Silver Vixen managed to make contact with Urban-cub over Skype so we caught up on all the news.

This evening we went to a lovely restaurant called Yang (the Thai word for grill). The food was exquisite and demands a return trip at some point. The Gorse Fox had a wonderful piece of tuna, the Silver Vixen had ribs, the Coventry Hobbit had some steak, and Cousteau-cub had duck.

Sorry  no sunset photos today - the Gorse Fox was out running errands and the sunset wouldn't wait!

Noon Image: 19 Nov 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Round and About

The morning started in the familiar fashion. Breakfast, gym, and a swim. It was a bit overcast and whilst the Gorse Fox was swimming it did start to rain. He stayed in the pool for a few more minutes and then came in  after all he didn't want to get wet.

The rest of the morning was spent with our books, until Cousteau-cub arrived. We grabbed some lunch then helpd her take some yoga mats and other supplies up to Round House where they have built her a deck on which she will teach yoga in the mornings.
It should be lovely with the outlook straight over the beach, and the sound of the waves lapping against the shore. She's just waiting for her work permit to be updated and she should be able to start.

We stayed on for the rest of afternoon and met up with a number of Cousteau-cub's friends, chatting with them as the sun put on its farewell show for the day. Today it pulled out all the stops and gave us quite a show.
Finally as the last rays exploded into the sky, we wandered next door to Otto's Bar for dinner.

Noon Image: 18 Nov 2015