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Don’t Look Baht in Anger June 7, 2010

Posted by normanmonkey in Friends, Home, Travel.
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Wisley House, West Byfleet, England

It’s hard to believe it was only yesterday I had an exotic Sunday champagne brunch at the Twin Palms,  but now I’m in West Byfleet with jet lag and a tub of herring rollmops in the fridge to sustain me until I can face Waitrose. I reckon for the first time ever I will renege on my purchase of their Thai hot chillis in case I have a moment and have to be revived amongst my fellow vegetables.

The only face to face conversation I’ve had is with Iliana the cleaner and that’s coming back down to earth with a bump, I can assure you. The house had only been mine for a couple of hours and it had to be pointed to me that I’d left my suitcase, suit carrier and flight bag sitting on the driveway. There’s really no explaining that apart from, perhaps, depression.

Weary and run-down, conversation was always going to be a struggle. Discussing the subject of the customs at the Chinese wedding in Kuala Lumpur, Iliana asked me what we do at traditional British weddings. Apart from an interminable church service, rambling speeches, drunkenness and at least one woman locked in the karsi in tears, I was at a loss to think of anything we do that smacks of originality or invention.

Wanting to be all-inclusive I asked Iliana if there are any traditional customs at a Bulgarian wedding. Twenty minutes later and we’d still barely scratched the surface. There was something to do with the bride having a shoe that was too big, the groom having to stuff the shoe with money and then having to search the bride’s family home for another shoe. There was also something else to do with feet that I can’t even begin to recall, meaning it sounded less like a wedding and more like a team-bonding day at Clark’s. Around the stuffing the big shoes with money, I’d lost the thread to this other dimension completely and was seriously contemplating getting the first flight back to Phuket.

Why do we inflict holidays upon ourselves? They only serve to remind us of what life is like without responsibility and in my case with good company. I even include the ladyboys of the Bangla Road in that. Perhaps the best line I heard all holiday came from one and was an indignant: “Me no ladyboy! Me lady! Me just don’t know why I have cock!”. A question I’m sure many of us have asked on a lonely Saturday night in with the TV guide and a ready meal.

I’m back on my own now for the first time in a fortnight and, in the absence of conversation and the hazy days of reflection of our misspent nights, I have already started shuffling my to-do list around the coffee table in the hope that it will take pity upon me and sort itself out. She’ll be back on her podium by now and I’m back on the herring rollmops. Leon is probably up to no good in Sydney and as for Betty, god only knows. The dentist?

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