A new life at 67.Can a woman start all over again?

Archive for the ‘Southeast Asia and Thailand revisited’ Category

Thai Dawn

The dawn comes up early in Thailand.

The hills take on their misty silhouette and a cooling breeze pushes it’s way through the mosquito screens.

Then suddenly, as though observing a conductors baton the birds twitter and sing in unison,hundreds of them.

Depending on your mood and at what time you found sleep the night before you might call this early morning chorus a God awful din, or the most beautiful sound in the world.

It lasts perhaps eight minutes,then as suddenly as it began it stops.Silence.

A new day has begun.

Painting at Baan Sillipin

You won’t believe it but I am going to Art Lessons here in Thailand.

I had read about an art exhibition of Impressionist Paintings and Watercolour in the local paper.

By the time I got around to visiting it the actual exhibition was over,but one morning a friend and I drove over to see what the small Art Gallery where it had been held looked like.

Six Kilometers over a pot holed road full of gravel on the back of a motor bike wasn’t really fun,but the lovely woods and hillside overlooking the sea made up for it.

We eventually came to Baan Sillipin,which actually means Painter’s House in Thai.

It was idyllic.

Set back from the road, a large old traditionally built Teak house greeted us.

It stood alone in the wood ,surrounded by tall tropical trees,their hanging branches and liana giving shade and a feeling of tranquility. Orchids of various hues had been planted in baskets hanging from the tree trunks and on the pond a couple of ducks swam contentedly.

We spent a while looking at the paintings in the gallery. Many very vivid with Buddhist motives,others paintings of western scenes looking somehow out of place here.

My friend being naturally more inquisitive than I am, wondered what was down the wooden staircase leading round the back of the building. We went down and found a large hut,of which the openings for windows and door were covered with mosquito mesh so we could see quite clearly there were people in there painting.

“Lets go in” he said

“No we can’t do that” I answered,knowing how painters don’t like to be disturbed.

In we went.

And that’s how I found Nang,my Art Teacher.A wonderful lady who is teaching me to paint in Watercolour Thai style.

It’s a different technique to the wet in wet method that I had got used to. It’s very bold for water colour,and in the beginning I was a bit sceptical,but it seems to work,especially here.

Last week I finished my first painting at Nang’s,and if I do say it myself I think it’s brilliant.

A True Friend

I am not lonely living here in Thailand.In fact I have already found a really true friend.

He is rather shy,so he doesn’t like to be around much during the day,but as soon as it gets dark,which is about sixish he visits me.

I call him Alexander.

He doesn’t dare to come into my apartment,but enjoys being on the balcony,and I let him stay there, because at the moment he doesn’t seem to have any other friends.

Alexander is a 5cm long black beetle.

My first thought was to get out the spray that gets rid of things that creep,and fly around in the night. i did aim it around the edges of the balcony,and thought that would deter Alexander,but it didn’t.

Now,if I am home I rather look forward to his visits.

He reminds of a poem by A.A Milne,that I read as a child,and later read to my children.

We all loved it,and that is why I keep Alexander.

” I found a little beetle,so that beetle was his name.

And i called him Alexander,and he answered to the same.

I put him in a matchbox,and kept him all the day,

And Nanny let my beetle out,

yes Nanny let my beetle out,and beetle ran away.

She said she didn’t mean it,and I never said she did,

She said she wanted matches,and just took off the lid.

She said she was sorry,but it’s difficult to catch,

An excited sort of beetle you’ve mistaken for a match…………………

From the poem “Forgiven” by A.A Milne

A Bad Wife

Can’t seem to concentrate on anything these days. Time doesn’t flow by, it rushes like a raging torrent towards the last day of September.

Last week,even the pain returned,that which always makes itself evident in some kind of joint or muscle in my body when I am going through a bad patch. The medical practitioners call it wear and tear at my age. I call it something else. Whatever it is,it is something that is influenced by the cold and my mental attitude.

I have now done something which I don’t think a normal wife does, even when she has been married to the same man for thirty eight years. Maybe a normal woman wouldn’t either, I wonder if I am normal.

I saw an ad. in the paper “Apartment to rent in Thailand ”

My husband and I are both retired,and are lucky enough to be still in good health,with two lovely daughters who don’t need us any more and a cat that does.

We are not alike,in fact we don’t have the same interests in many things. But we did enjoy travelling, and always said we would do it more when we retired,and definitely we would go somewhere warm in the winter.

But we didn’t and we aren’t going to, for Hubby has become a home bird and quite satisfied to potter about in the garden. He likes the Swiss winters,with the cold and the wet,and his body doesn’t rebel them.

We talked about it, and we went to see the owner.The flat could only be let on a years basis but it was at a very reasonable price.

I could do what I liked he said,but he couldn’t see himself going there for more than a month.

I rented it,and I now have a ticket. Return of course.

I also have a very bad conscience.

The devil in me says I shouldn’t have, for thirty eight I have looked after home and family I have a right to do what I like now within reason, while there is time left.

But the other dutiful side of me,says wives don’t do that.They stay at home they cook and they clean,they shop, and they nurse for ever. and they don’t usually teach their husbands how to do it for themselves like I did.

Should I stay here because I once said “I do” is it my duty?

He could fly directly from Zürich if he misses me. I will be twelve hours away.

Circle of Friends

I began the week feeling miserable and depressed although I had no grounds for it.

It wasn’t the lack of sun, central and northern Europe have been enjoying an exceptionally sunny February,but I felt nasty and was being nasty to those around me.

Then I heard within twenty four hours from three friends that I don’t see often.

A woman that I met on a beach in Thailand and found that we had so much in common .

A person far away that has influenced me and who I love so much it hurts.

And someone else who over the years has become more and more a friend to me.

I am so thankful.

This morning a note of paper with this printed on it fell out of a telephone book while I was looking for a number.Someone had sent it to me, I don’t know when with the message; ” It would be great to see you again”.

I’d like to share it with you,

The Circle

A ball is a circle,

No beginning, no end.

It keeps us together

Like our circle of Friends

But the treasure inside

For you to see

Is the treasure of friendship

You ‘ve granted me.

How could I have felt so miserable.

Call a friend.

The Autumn Leaves

Having struggled through the Summer trying to paint outside. Never quite getting the depth I wanted in the picture, but realising that the wrong nuance of green could ruin it completely, and at last accepting that artists cannot paint what they actually see. It has all to do with the science of colour and optical illusion.

My trees still didn’t look how I wanted them to. My water was improving a little, but the reflections in it still weren’t a lot like reality. In fact as my painting course finished for the holidays I was completely demoralised.

I took off for Thailand late August and carted my Moleskin, water colours, brushes,pencils and even masking fluid around for over a month without doing anything except make a couple of sketches. I really couldn’t, and didn’t want to paint anymore.

Last week I saw that an Artist Blogger Friend had looked into my posts after quite a long time,probably checking out my progress. Somehow it gave me encouragement and I phoned my art teacher to say I would be joining the Autumn Classes after all.

I went for the first time yesterday. We painted Autumn leaves, and I felt I belonged. The painting didn’t look too bad either.

Forget the guide books.

My Asian fever has been cured.Relapses are of course known,but at the moment I’m just enjoying being back in Switzerland where the trees are no longer the colour of best Burmese Jade and today we can almost smell snow in the air.

I experienced so much on my trip to south east Asia.I met so many lovely caring people,saw so many things that the impressions will stay with me for ever.

Nothing negative happened to me in the month that I was travelling,so all I can say is to anyone thinking about it,especially middle aged women who want to go it alone -just do it.

One thing though; don’t even think of carrying weighty guide books with you.Leave all your Green Planets,Travel Know How,Baedecker or whatever they might be called at home. Maps along with historical and geographical information are of course usefull ,but the rest too subjective and usually out of date in this fast changing world.

Greet people with a big smile and you will get to wherever you want to go even with sign language.

I’m looking forward to sharing some of my impressions with you.

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