Archive for Jul, 2007

3rd blogg from China

Posted in Uncategorized on Jul 29, 2007 by David Palmer
The other day we had a Treek into the interior of the island to explore a rainforest. It was an organised tour of about 20 other Brits and a guide. The bus was on its last legs and the journey seemed to take an age, but at least I managed to have a kip between the bone crunching wrenches caused by the non-existent suspension and inferior road surface, which was all concrete (probably because tarmac would melt).  The trek itself was interesting because  we appeared to start at the top of a mountain, but kept on walking uphill! The path itself was all along  wooden walkways off the forest floor (it was a protected area). The creatures and plant life were not new to Jamie and Sarah so they quickly got bored and raced on a head, eventually goading a Scittish Celtic supporter into a a race up into the forest. The Scot lost, and looked like he was in need of a cardiac resuscitator afterwards. Of course there were big spiders and and the sounds of exaotic birds and large  (which we didn’t see). Though there was a lot of sweat produced and a very poor packed lunch consumed it turned out to be an interesting enough day. Even though the tour guides (Chinese) thought they could sing and treated us to several Chinese Folk songs on the return journey, luckily it was a polite bunch of Brits (no lager louts) and we cheered appropriately (I think in the right places).
We have been doing quite a lot of shgopping. It really is the best place I have been to go shopping in. There are such bargains, and you CAN buy anything you could wish. I bought another pair of trousers, Sarah some clothers and swim costrume, Sue some nice things as presents, and Jamie would have bought something bright and shiny, but he preferred to stay with the new found love of his life; Chantelle.
Today, Sarah and I sepnt a couple of hours in my favourite bar watching an elaborate Chinese wedding on the beach. The poses that were taken for the album were quite unusual/inspiring/romantic/naff. The groom and bride were dressed all in white and did make a very pretty picture. There must have been many a Yuan spent on this wedding. Sue contented herself reading her book on a sun-bed on the beach and Jamie was with Chantelle, somwhere, not sure, don’t want to go there. I may have to share a plane seat with her parents!!!!
We fly back tomorrow and are due in rainy Manchester at 1.10am on Tuesday. The weather forecast is not good and we just hope that the country has not sunk, well not the bit that is around Heathrow,  as we fly from there on Saturday.

2nd blogg from China

Posted in Uncategorized on Jul 26, 2007 by David Palmer
Now that the computer seems to understand I am English, I am inspired to add a bit more to our bloggs.
Today we had quite a quiet day, we all just slobbed around the hotel and beach. Sarah and I did a bit of snorkelling, but you couldn’t see as the water was surprisingly murky. Jamie satisfied himself with hunting for crabs and Sue enjoyed watching us (I think). Last week I discovered a bar down the beach, it is just the type of bar that I adore. Right on the beach, tucked out of the way, very quiet and a table where youy can sit and admire the view. I have taken to peering through my binoculars at the passing ships and wildlife while sipping Tsing Toa (local beer, not very nice and always too warm). Jamie found me there and now the family know where I disappear too, so, now I have company and of course they have to be fed and watered as well. The bar does do a nice BBQ and the owners are very friendly, even if their English is non existant we still smile at each other and I think they look forward to seeing me coming.
We had a slide down a mountain yesterday, Sue enjoyed it mostly, but the rest of us thought it a bit tame as we had to follow a lead sledge who wouldn’t let us go fast!!!!! However, Sarah and Jamie did like feeding some very friendly pigeons (at a cost of 15 yuan, mine of course!) despite Su’e warning of bird flu. They haven’t started coughing yet. Later we went into Sanya City for lunch and a bit more shopping, it really is a very vibrant city with lots going on, it even has a MacDonald’s. When Sarah and Jamie went shopping the other day they ate there (makes you wonder why we took them on holiday).
We were chatting to another British couple and they told us that they went to the fish nibbling place yesterday, but the taxi driver, who had promised to wait for them, didn’t. Of course they had paid up front, and it was 8 hours later before they managed to get back to the hotel. One lesson learnt the hard way! Some of the Brits have gone on trips to Beijing and Hongkong while they are here, it seems a good idea. You might as well do it if you haven’t been before, but the itinerary is a bit gruelling as they do pack a lot of the sights in. They seem to do in a day what we took nearly a week to do.
Your can’t deny that Sanya is a lovely place, and that the island (it is big!) is at present unspoilt. There are relatively few tourists, and apart from the Russians, there are only the 160 Brits that came on the plane from Manchester here. The flight comes in fortnightly and that is it as far as Europeans go. No doubt after the 2008 Olympics, China will open its borders more and places like Sanya will see a massive increase in European tourists. The local people are very nice people, and it is still a novelty to see you. You get used to the Chinese watching when you eat,  and they are plaesed when you attempt to use chopsticks, though they will offer you a knife and fork. We are enjoying ourselves here but I think we are looking forward to Thailand next week. The Thai’s have less restrictions on adventurous sports/activities etc. and I am sure it will be less relaxing, but more fun. The Chinese of course are restricted to only one child, and of course they lavish all sorts of luxuries on them and I think they are growing up quite spoilt and used to having their way. I wonder how this will pan out for Chinese society in the future? You can always tell a Chinese family, they all dress exactly the same, they move around in groups of 10-12, and if one does something, they all do it, and very loudly. At meal times, all the tables have 10-12 chairs around them and it seems that the waiters bring around a thousand dishes of food, which are then tucked into ravenously with the clicking of chopsticks. Afterwards, the table is splattered with uneaten remnants of food and is the messiest table you will ever see. Of course when we order food, we order for ourselves and what comes is enough on each dish to satisfy a table of 10-12!!! I wonder what the chinese think when we don’t share our dishes, can’t eat everything and leave the table clean? Last night we were eating and we had some rats for company. Sue pointed them out to the waitress who I think said "Oh yes, they are mice, aren’t they sweet?" The rats kept us company through out the meal and I must admit they did have sweet little faces. They had probably come to say goodbye to their friends who were probably making up most of the courses on our table. Later in the evening, while at a bar we heard some screaming, yes it was from some squeamish Brits who had just spotted some rats who had probably decided to joins us for a drink afte our meal together!

Ist Blogg From China

Posted in Uncategorized on Jul 24, 2007 by David Palmer
 Well I have written this three times!!!!! The screen is mostly in Chinese and so I have had to guess how to publish this blogg. Then suddenly it appeared in English and of course the blogg disappeared!!! Si I write again. If it disappears I shall give up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I cannot access my emails as embc appears to be down (it usually happens during the summer hols), but I can’t be sure as the error message is in Chinese. So luckily or not I haven’t a clue if any body is emailing me about work, life, adverts or flooded towns.
We had a 15hr flight here, via Bahrain. To Sarah and I it went very quickly (we slept most of the way), but it was toruously long for Jamie and Sue as Jamie had a cough and he kept detonating at regular intervals. Now you know who sat next to who!
The hotel is very good, right on the beach and central to the resort, very few Brits here, mostly Chinese and Russian. In fact the British have only been coming here for the last 6 weeks. There are no other Nationalities. The Chinese mostly appear to live in bathrobes, and swim in the very warm swimming pool unti 2am. Many of the eating places are for the Russians who appear to own most of the property around Sanya. Howver, the food is very good, much better than in Beijing or Hongkong. Everything is exceptionall cheap as you would expect. Around 8 to 10 pound for a meal for 4 with drinks. We use the taxis top get around as there are a million of them and we hired one for most of the day for around 20 pounds. The weather is great: sunny, hot and humid. At last it is nice to hear that back home it is rain, rain and more rain for once. Usuall the weather turns fantastic when we leave for our holiday.
I will try to remember what we have been up to:
* Shopping and more shopping (Jaqmie has bought a new phone, loads of trainers and some Jack Daniels. Sarah bought clothes, clothes and more clothes. Sue has bought some pearls and I bought a pair of trousers and a battery for my camera. Because, now that we are about as far away as possible,the camera has decided to stop charging up. It did this two yearsago in Beijing!!!!!
* Eaten an awful lot (but I go to the Gymn every morning to keep my figure nice and trim, for the beach of course.)
* Snorkelled and walked a lot. Though there are several dive centres here, none of them are English speaking, so I don’t een get as far as "Can we dive here?" before the blank faces appear when they realise we are not Russian.
* We have had a foot massage (twice), the whole family love them, it is like being in heaven, but with a bit of pain at times. We shall have more before we go.
* We have had our bodies nibbled by fish, that eat your dead skin. That was also heaven (once you get used to be chewed by a flock of fish with tiny teeth). We then had baths in hotpools that were filled with coconhut milk etc. My favourite was the coffee pool.
* We visited a monkey sanctury on and islan that was preceded by an amazing cable car ride with excetional view (took loads of photos). The monkey shows that we saw were very good, but you can’t help feeling how they are treated when we are not there.
* Seen Sanya by night from up a nearby mountain, not quite as nice as Hongkong, but still impressive. The Chinese do like their neon!
* Risked death, daily,in an assortment of taxis that are driven by lunatics who have totally no road sense (they are easily the worst drivers I have ever seen). Oh yes, they spit a lot, mostly on bends while fiddling with a mobile phone and pressing the horn.
* There is loads of other things  we’ve done, but I can’t remember (It’s my age and also the fact that I dare not use review on my camera in case I flatten the battery quicker).
Well, it is 7.30pm and must go for food. I shall press PUBLISH in a second. If you read this you will know it worked. And if it doesn’t you will be none the wiser and I will have wasted another hour, again!!!!!!

From China

Posted in Uncategorized on Jul 24, 2007 by David Palmer
Test Blogg 

sixth blogg

Posted in Uncategorized on Jul 14, 2007 by David Palmer
 We have cracked another year!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Having navigated our way through a busy last week I think we are all ready for a a nice long break, we all seem to be exhausted, even Jamie is getting to bed at a reasonable hour these days. On Tuesday, Sarah went with me to Sea-Life in Birmingham to help me with my class trip. Very enjoyable.  Having visited quite a few of these places now, they certainly are built to a formula, but it keeps the interest and is quite amazing if you are visiting for the first time. Thursday saw Sue eating out at Rockingham Castle with St Joseph’s School staff, it sounded very nice as they had a conducted tour of the grounds after the meal. I had organised a retirement bash at a local Italian restuarant for Joan (Head). It went well and I managed to get a few laughs with my speech. Sarah had a day trip to Alton Towers and the weather stayed fine. Jamie went skate boarding and came back on crutches!!! (Yes, he was supposed to be taking his driving test on Friday!) Anyway, a letter had arrived that day saying that his test had been cancelled and we would need to ring to re-schedule it. As we are about to be away for quite a while, this was quite annoying. However, when I rang the cenrtre and pointed out our problem, they suggested this Friday (I didn’t say anything). Jamie thought that he would be ok to drive (It was a sprain), so we booked it.
Friday arrived, we said goodbye to the Year6 ( a miserable bunch of kids that wore their teacher out, by their inability to get on with each other and could only see life from their own perspectives, but I suppose that is the way society is going in general). Another goodbye bash for Joan, and an introduction to a new teacher for next year. Seemed a pleasant guy, lots of teaching experience abroad (Gulf States etc.) and he seemed to hit it off with the children. Sue took Jamie for his driving test and he failed. Test time 3.30pm in Leicester, last day of the school year, in rain (good time eh?). Sue said that Jamie was very nervous and failed on two points. He overtook a cyclist on the brow of a hill and got into the wrong lane in a one way system when about to turn right. I think we have all done that at one time or another. We have re-booked his test for when we come back off holiday.
On Friday I went to play golf with some friends at a course in Kettering. As it was staright after school I grabbed my golf bag from out of the loft without checking. Misteake. Several clubs missing (including putter) and my glove (Jamie was the last person to use it). Having not played for quite e number of years now, I didn’t expect to be brilliant. Golf is certainly a game  of skill but there is also a lot of psychology involved. A stressful exhausting end of the year does not prepare onself adequately to do oneself justice on the the golf course. I think it would have been better to have not further added to my stress levels by playing. I found it annoyingly difficult to focus on hitting that little white ball straight, when ones brain is totally empty and incapable of holding any thought long enough to swing the club. I did resaonably well, but I didn’t win a single hole (though I didn’t come last either, and as my partners play regularly, I suppose it is some consolation).
Today I have to take the guinea pigs to look after Roger (yes, I got that the right way round). Sort out the garden and pack ready for tomorrow. We leave at around 4.00am for Manchester airport. Jamie is getting one last day of work in. Sarah says she is just packing all day. Sue will probably just panic about everything.
Must go.

Fifth blogg

Posted in Uncategorized on Jul 8, 2007 by David Palmer
The rain sowly petered out during the week, but we still didn’t manage to have a sports day at school (rice growing well though). I did decide to empty the pool and get rid of the rather green water. It took two days to empty it into the river and then 3 days to fill it back up again (26 000 gallons or litres, I can’t remember which!) Because the pressure had been relaesed when it was empty, the top lining began to come away, disaster (very depressing!!!!!!!!!!). However, I decided to continue filling, and it pushed everything back , but I had to clip things together.  I won’t be emptying it again in a hurry. Any way it is now clear and working properly, shame the weather is too cold to use it and we go away  next week for 6 weeks.
Sarah and I went to see Nan and Charlotte at the week end. We didn’t go until Saturday morning as Sarah had a party Friday night and I had a governors meeting then a PTA school disco. The journey up to Yorkshire went really quickly as we talked all the way up (over an hour), it was like Grumpy Old Men, we put all the world’s troubles to right. We took Nan to Ulley for lunch (the place in the news where the dam is threatening to burst and drown Rotherham). The water level had been dropped right down and they think they might have to drain it all together. A shame, as I used to sail on it when I taught in Rawmarsh.
Charlotte rang when we were on the way back and told us that she was on her way to see Nan. The flying lesson she was having was cancelled because the weather was too windy so they were going to see Nan instead. Suraj and Lucas came as well.  In the evening we had a meal at Firbeck, the place where they have meals on the the rock. We all enjoyed cooking our own meats. Suraj tried the Ostrich and gobbled it all down!!! (was that suppose to be turkey?) They drove home after the meal.
On Sunday I weeded Nan’s garden in the early morning and at 10.00am we set off to Charlottes. It was the Newark Carnival and we had arranged to go and see it. We had a BBQ at Charlottes before we drove in to town (it was nice). We really enjoyed seeing the floats and all the stalls. Charlotte and I hade a very nice bowl of Paella and Suraj and Sarah had doughnuts, Lucas had a bottle of milk.
Jamie had a driving lesson with a friend of mine who is a Test examiner on Sunday afternoon. He said that he should pass. We will find out on Friday if he is right.
Sue had a quiet week, she had a reaction to the malaria tablets that we are taking and she seems to have had the benefit of all the side effects. Lucky her, the rest of us seem to be unaffected.

Fourth Blogg

Posted in Uncategorized on Jul 1, 2007 by David Palmer
A very quiet week. Lots of rain. River up and down. School sports day had to be cancelled, the only event that was feasible was the 50m speed rice planting race. I did manage to play 2hrs of tennis in the drizzle on Thursday, it’s amazing how pedestrian the games are now, yet I still feel as shattered as I did when much younger and zipped about the court.
Sarah was in a swimming gala on Saturday, the Harborough Club came 5th. I don’t think she got a personal best, as I wasn’t reminded that PB’s mean money???? I gave Jamie a driving lesson in the driving rain through Leicester, he does surprisingly well, particularly as there is so much traffic works going on, we have to keep deviating form the test routes. I often am heard to say, "I think we should have gone down that one back there, I think."
I spoke to Charlotte today and the family, for once, all appear to be fit and well. Even Suraj has got over the Man Flu (mostly).
I saw an otter in the river last week, Sarah said that she has been seeing it for ages. I haven’t seen it since (perhaps it’s drowned!)