An extra hour tonight

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Cristo Rei

I love this picture. This huge statue and view are very near my home. That’s Lisbon City across the river. This morning Portugal put back the clocks one hour which meant an extra hour sleep. Well I tried to sleep for an extra hour but it didn’t work and here I am battering my poor keyboard at 3:48 am (aka 4:48 am). I went to the kitchen fifteen minutes ago to make a mug of tea and I could hear Kumar snoring in his room. Glad to know that I’m not the only one who snores.

Summer is still lingering on in this part of the world and the past few days have seen temperatures above 30c. I think (and hope) we will start to cool down from today. I still haven’t bought an airconditioner but possibly today I will. I love all the sunshine but that’s all we get here from April to the end of October. Winter is coming soon and we should get far more cloud and wonderful rain.

I’m working as hard as usual. Sometimes I think I can’t stand the pace for much longer but I always do. I actually enjoy work but there’s just too much of it. Today is Sunday so Kumar will be at home and will give me lots of help. This morning I have already replied to several messages and done some printing.

Yesterday on the way to the supermarket I dropped in to see Pedro who owns a very successful local restaurant. Pedro works incredibly hard and I realised that I am not the only one who has to work hard. Also yesterday I encountered the most amazing rudeness from a member of Pingo Doce’s staff. Pingo Doce is a local supermarket and sometimes the people there are very kind and friendly but sometimes shockingly rude and unreasonable. I wish I knew how to complain to a director because I would do it.




Mixed thoughts from Dai at 6 am

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Bhai Tikka 2017

Just look at that spread. It was the Bhai Tikka day, part of the huge Tihar festival in Nepal.  More popularly known by the Indian name ‘Diwali’  Russ sent me lots of Tihar pictures today so I will go through them all in full size, later. Usually I post pictures of Russ so today here is a picture of Rekha and Raju. Raju is home from Doha, Qatar, for the Tihar festival.


I don’t know who else does this but I always love to browse through my old blogs and see how my life changes. What has happened to blogging anyway?  I guess it was just another passing phase. Now everything seems to be Tweets and whatsapp but I don’t have apps and don’t even use a smartphone. I’ve resisted the temptation to carry one so far although a few years ago I went to Castlepoint and spent a lot of money on a new smartphone. I hadn’t realised how often we need to recharge the things and once home in Kathmandu, I quickly lost all interest in spite of all the efforts from the family. My smartphone spent most of the time with a flat battery in a drawer somewhere.  Kumar resurrected it and still uses it to this day. He needs two for his daily life.  I am using a cheap but good Alcatel mobile with a large clear monitor which is great for checking the time when I wake up during the night. I have to sleep and wake up at all weird times these days because of  business. This morning is exceptional for me because I have no urgent work to do and I just love the feeling of having so much free time. Well that’s why I’m here in WordPress instead of rushing around from laptop to laptop.  Well I was busier earlier when I first woke up and found myself replying to messages from Brazil, Italy and Morocco but that didn’t take me long and now I have an hour or so to do as I want.

Throughout my life I’ve always been terrified of death but these days I am coming to terms with the fact that everybody must die. Death is just a part of life.  When we get to my age we never know how many days we have left on this earth. The most difficult thing is trying to discuss death with our close ones. There are so many things to do in preparation and people don’t seem able to discuss the matter but just say things like ‘you have many years left in you yet’ or maybe ‘shut up and don’t be so depressing’.  But there are many things to do, knowledge to pass on, wills to update, legalities to take care of.  For sure I am far from ready to pass into the unknown but I do believe that people should straighten out their affairs so their heirs should not be left in chaos when the time comes. I find this a terribly difficult subject to discuss with people but it needs to be discussed.

This morning I was remembering an old friend of mine called Paddy.  Paddy was quite a character. I was actually his boss but you would never know it.  We were great friends. Paddy was quite gone over a French au pair called Marie-Therese but she already had somebody back in France and Paddy had to give up his aspirations about her.  I drove over to Ascot several times with Paddy where we met Marie-Therese and Stephanie and had good times.  I also remembered a time when I rented a boat for the day on the River Thames. It was a hot sunny day and we played Cilla Black’s  ‘You’re My World’ on my transistor radio. We were joined by one of my friends from San Sebastian or Bilbao or somewhere like that. I met her in Tenerife many years later but she had changed into a bitter old lady with a sharp tongue. I’d upset her somehow so she wasn’t talking to me by the time I left Tenerife.  I was trying to remember her name this morning. Something like Anita or Annie. It’s a long time and my memory isn’t what it was.  I remembered going to France with my old friend Martin,  my girlfriend at the time (Georgina) and a frigid girl called Terry.  Martin liked her but she was not interested.  I think there were just four of us. That day we all had hangovers after an all night party. I was the driver. We had a great day but it was marred by too much alcohol the night before. I sure couldn’t keep that pace these days.  I remembered my cousin Frank and when we waited on Gambir Station in Jakarta, for the train to Bandung. I grew up with Frank around and he is superb company and a perfect easygoing travelling companion. We backpacked to the UAE, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Bali, Malaysia and Thailand together. I was young and fit then. I hate growing old. He retired to Thailand and married Darunee, a property developer in Chiang Rai.  We are in frequent contact.  I must look up Paddy to see how he’s doing these days. I have no idea how we managed to lose contact but it shouldn’t have happened. Sometimes it’s great fun to sit with free time and reminisce.

I think I’ll take a siesta for a couple of hours. It’s now mid afternoon and I dug my blog out of drafts before it got forgotten. I have two friends from Cheltenham Spa in the UK arriving by car after midnight tonight.  I need a siesta so I won’t fall asleep late tonight. I’ll probably have a glass of wine with Kumar about midnight, when he gets back from work

Yes, time goes by.  And by.  Endless wonderful memories

Feeling happy and sad this morning

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Flocky Kukur Tihar 2017

Today is Kukur Tikka when all dogs get worshipped in Kathmandu. They also have a super meal which most humans would love to have. I’ve just received several pictures of Flocky from Russ in Kathmandu. Well I’ve been hoping to get some for the past few days. It’s terrific to get the pictures but at the same time I’m sad because I cannot be there. I’m missing all the family and Flocky terribly.

I’m well but very busy as usual. Business is booming and it keeps me busy from early morning till evening and sometimes even till after two o’clock in the morning.

Best one of Flocky. Kukur Tihar 2017

Happy Tihar to anybody and everybody and especially to all the family and Pooja in Lodz.

World Travel Awards in St Petersburg. Portugal gets ‘Oscar’ for best destination in Europe

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Downtown Lisbon with Cacilhas across the river

You see the brightly lit port across the river  (in the left of the picture) ? That’s where I live. Not right in the port of course but just ten minutes walk from the riverside.  Can you see the huge shining white statue near the beautiful red bridge ? That is the famous Cristo Rei statue from where we can have the best views in the Lisbon area.

So in the prestigious World Travel awards in Leningrad, Portugal has won the title of Best European Destination. I guess it’s because I live here. But people just love this country and I’m no exception. The people, the food, the culture, the cost of living; it is a terrific country. It’s a shame they put onions in everything though.

The days are zooming past and I’m really busy almost all the time.  I don’t know where my time goes. Our business is incredible and I had no idea we would be so successful. I’m trying to repaint the entrance hall but each time I start, something happens and I have to stop my work. Maybe I will try again tomorrow when Kumar will be home all day to cook lunch and help me out generally.

I hope all my readers will have a pleasant weekend.