Just to prove that my Shirley jetted halfway round the world to be with her Yorkshire pud, here she is earlier today in the grounds of the lavish Grand Palace, Bangkok. It was here, in the 1860's, that the American governess, Anna Leonowens, allegedly sought to "civilise" the court of Siam's absolute monarch - King Monghut. Her story was transformed into a musical and film in 1956 - "The King and I" - which even today is still most offensive to Siamese patriots. After all, sophisticated "civilisation" existed in this part of the world when America still belonged to the buffalo.
We had professional Thai massages in the Wat Pho Temple complex then after some attempted shenanigans from uncharacteristically deceptive taxi drivers, we caught a cab with an honest driver all the way back to the Ratchayothin area of North Bangkok.
We needed to be back early for our dinner date with the owners of the Serene B&B. At five, we were duly driven to the district of Nonthaburi where they have a lovely little "river house". It has a wooden terrace on stilts right over the Chao Phraya River. Watching boats go by, we drank fine wines and ate a lovely homemade Thai meal. Very delicious. Followed by fresh pineapple and water melon.
The owners, "Staborn" and Thida, speak exceptionally good English and we chatted happily with them for three hours or so. Turns out that Staborn's father was once the king's royal dentist and played a leading role in developing dentistry as an academic subject in Thai universities
Shirley's gone to bed early. After all, she's still wrestling with jet lag. Tomorrow I'm taking her back to Elephant Island - Koh Chang - near the Cambodian border. We will need to be up at 5am for the bus departs at six thirty. I may have trouble blogging again before next Sunday but I'll try. Going back to the beach, the palm trees and the luke-warm waters of The Gulf of Thailand. As I said before - somebody's got to do it!
Mural detail - The Grand Palace