First things first: I am really sorry that I haven’t posted for so long. There are three reasons for this.
The first is that, with the move back to London which is imminent (this weekend) we have both been horrendously busy. At times there was so many different tasks to juggle, I felt like an Octopus.
The second is that I have actually been a bit unwell.
I felt rather horrible last week, and it got to the point where I was unable to eat for three days – for someone who loves their food, this was fairly hellish. I got myself down to the wonderful Bangkok International Hospital sharpish, and turned out I had a mild case of Dengue Fever. Fricking mosquitos.
My final reason is simple – a nasty old case of Blogger’s Block.
I shan’t call it writer’s block, because unlike my friend Kat, Times journalist extraordinaire, I am not actually a writer, merely a scribbler of crappy pictures and strange garbled, frequently over-excited text.
You know when you try to write about things but it feels that so much has happened in such a short space of time you just don’t know where to begin? Well, that’s been the case over the last couple of weeks.
I shall, however, attempt to remedy that now.
So – whizz back in time to a few weeks ago. After formally accepting Alex’s company’s offer to move back to London, everything started to happen very quickly.
We got a shipping date – the date when the packers would arrive at our apartment to pick up all our poor battered possessions and put them back on the ship back to England – and it seemed to be not far away at all! The next week was a frenzy of packing boxes, wrapping up all our possessions, and sticking myself to rolls of bubble wrap with masking tape.
I don’t mind telling you, I was pretty grumpy.
Finally the big day arrived and the packers came – two hours early, which as I am sure you will understand was highly inconvenient. I dealt with it in an admirably unflappable, calm way, by calling Kitty on the phone and bursting into a storm of toddler-like tears.
She calmed me down admirably, readjusted my wavering British stiff upper lip, and I managed to get everything packed and out of the door with the shippers roughly on time.
With that done, I breathed a sigh of relief, and turned my attention to the next most important matter in hand: finding something to wear for our leaving party!
The wonderful TV Girl and Banker’s Wife, along with a host of other friends including the lovely PR Bunny (a very sweet friend of mine who is a whizz at PR and so tiny and enthusiastic that she reminds me a little of my adored Jessica Rabbit) very sweetly threw a goodbye party with the kind assistance of the ever-present Wine Connection at Robertson Quay, as our formal goodbye to Singapore.
As I was a little frazzled from the packing, my sartorial senses were dampened slightly and I ended up choosing a strange flowered mini-dress with a tutu, but as I got out of the taxi at the Wine Connection I couldn’t have cared less what I was wearing, because I was completely overwhelmed.
The lovely girls had gone to so much trouble I nearly cried. Lots of our friends were there, the long tables were beautifully decorated with banners, balloons and glittery stars, and I was so incredibly touched.
After a glass of fizz or two to steady my nerves, I was starting to feel better – until Alex and I were ambushed by TV Girl, Banker’s Wife and the PR Bunny brandishing a huge wrapped present!
Starting to feel a bit weepy again, Alex and I opened the wrapping – and that was when I promptly burst into tears, because inside was the most beautiful frame, filled with pictures of Alex and I and all our friends during our time in Singapore. Around the frame in the mount were written messages of good luck from everyone, and in short it was one of the loveliest things I have ever received, and a totally unexpected gift.
I felt really honoured to have made such wonderful friends during our time here, and I can’t wait to come back in September for the Grand Prix and see them all again. I am a very, very lucky girl.
My last picture with Bankers’s Wife, TV Girl and PR Bunny – and I develop an appalling case of perv-face. Damnation!!
The rest of the week was spent finishing our packing and spending time with as many people as we could, until Friday rolled around far too quickly and we had to hand over the keys to our apartment.
Leaving the place for the last time was such a wrench – it made it all feel a lot more real, somehow – and even though I knew that we weren’t heading home just yet (Alex was given two weeks holiday, so we decided to go and spend it in Phuket before heading to England on the 9th of May). As we left Changi, it still felt like a big part of our life was finishing.
I’ll even miss good old Changi airport!
However, despite mixed emotions, the last week or so has been lovely.
It has been great for Alex to have a chance to truly relax, and Coconut Island has been as beautiful and perfect as always.
Our good friends Disco Boy and Party Girl, a very sweet couple, flew out from England to spend a week’s holiday with us before we return home. Alex’s Godfather is on the island at the moment, as well, with his family, which has been really fabulous.
Also, in a last minute surprise, Alex’s friend the German Banker got a bit of massively rare time off and so at short notice flew over to join us for a few days from England too – having lots of familiar faces from home around us has been fantastic, and much sunbathing and pool antics has been taking place*
*NB: Please forgive the Stars & Stripes bikini. I tried to buy a British one to watch the Royal Wedding in, but they were all sold out – it was either that or the French flag and, as I told The Frenchman, i’d rather be a Yank than a Frog 🙂
In addition, it was also Alex’s birthday last week! He was really sad not to be at home with his brothers and Mother, but it was lovely to be out here with his Daddy.
Alex’s Daddy and I cooked up an outrageous plan to throw him a huge surprise party – a plan which I regretted heavily last week, as I had forgotten just how much planning went into these things. Last week was full of frantic last-minute preparations, all of which I conducted feeling rather ill.
When Saturday morning came round, the morning of the party, I excused myself from the Island, telling Alex that I was going shopping and then for a massage in Phuket Town, and that I would meet him at his father’s house that evening (his daddy had told him that he had booked a table at a restaurant for a few friends to celebrate his birthday that night).
I borrowed a lot of plates and cooking things from a very helpful Chef Lee at The Village, as there were quite a few people coming, and dragged myself up to Central, the shopping centre in Phuket, to get the food. By this point, I was feeling really horrendous – pouring with sweat, and very dizzy and sick. I assumed it was the heat, and because I was stressed, so after a very unenjoyable shopping trip we lugged all the food home and got cooking.
We spent the entire afternoon cooking food that was as British as possible, to make Alex feel at home – mini Yorkshire puddings with rare roast beef and horseradish cream; homemade sausage rolls with English mustard; English cheddar, parmesan and puff pastry twists – Alex’s mummy even sent me her secret Crab Dip recipe as it is one of Alex’s favourites!
Alex’s Daddy’s girlfriend and the kind maid did an absolutely sterling job of decorating the house with mountains of balloons, swathes of fairy lights and lots and lots of candles. I tied up some balloons and just generally tried not to get in the way.
By the time seven o’clock came we were all exhausted, and I was feeling progressively sicker and sicker. But we had to carry on – all the surprise guests were arriving at 7.30pm, and Alex was arriving at 8.00pm, he thought for a drink before we went out for a quiet dinner.
A cold shower and a change of clothes didn’t make me feel much better, and by the time our thirty or so guests had arrived, I was feeling decidedly rough. But as 8.00pm drew near, we all turned the lights out and crept to the front of the house, to surprise Alex as he arrived.
After a few nail-biting minutes, he finally pulled up in the taxi. As the front doors creaked open, there was a momentary hush – then someone flicked the lights on and we all screamed ‘SURPRISE!’ at the top of our voices.
Alex looked like he was going to have an actual heart attack – he went white with shock and it was probably the first time in all the time I have known him that he was lost for words. He recovered quickly, however, and made a lovely speech and then we all went to eat the food and attack a lot of cases of Veuve Clicqot, and give him his birthday cake.
At around 10.30, in a carefully orchestrated set-up, one of our guests Michael Ma, who has a chain of bars and clubs called Indochine, suggested a few drinks at the Indochine at Surin Beach. Dutifully we are murmured that it sounded like a nice idea, and so we all piled into cars and headed over to Surin.
As we walked down the steps to the beach and into Indochine, we were immediately confronted by a large seating area surrounded with balloons, with a huge projector showing a selection of Alex’s childhood photo’s! (hee hee hee). He was mortified by the pictures but very happy with the extra surprise – and when at midnight a sudden burst of fireworks lit up the beach to mark the end of his birthday, it felt like the perfect end to a good surprise party.
By this point I was feeling very strange indeed, sort of floaty and achey, and very feverish and sick.
Upon getting home I fell into bed and spent the next few days feeling awful and not being able to eat anything without being very sick. A couple of days at Bangkok International Hospital found the source of the problem – a thankfully mild case of Dengue Fever which I had caught from a mosquito bite on another island.
Thankfully as I write this I am feeling much better – it is a week later, and we are on Chrysalis anchored just off Phi Phi island.
I’m using The Frenchman’s internet dongle – it’s simply amazing that you can get internet in the middle of the sea! (and before you think; ‘oh, how rubbish, why is she on the internet when she’s on a lovely boat’ – I stupidly got rather sunburnt yesterday so I am taking some time out to do some work and write to you all).
Anyway – so that’s what has been happening.
We have managed to get some good boating time in before we leave for England, and I have a message for all of you who, like me, have had some driving test issues in the past. Drive a boat instead, much more forgiving and between this and luging, who needs a car?!
It is now Friday – we are leaving Phuket on Sunday afternoon and flying to Singapore, where we will pick up our suitcases from Alex’s office, have a last afternoon in Singapore saying our goodbyes, and then we will take the overnight flight from Changi to Heathrow.
On Monday morning we land at about 5.30am. Alex is going straight to the office whilst I will go to our hotel in South Ken – we will be living there until we can find an apartment. I plan on going to see my Daddy for brunch and then Kitty and I will have a reunion dinner in the evening, and on Friday we will hopefully have a little party and see all of our friends who we have missed so very much.
I hope that everyone is well, and I’d also like to wish everyone a very happy belated Easter!
Lots and lots of love,
PS: Congratulations to my little sister Abs who is moving from Cambridge to London as she has been offered a place for a Masters at UCL. All three sisters in London this year – woohoo!
PPS: Watched the Royal Wedding on BBC World from the Island – wasn’t it wonderful? Tried not to cry….very nearly succeeded 🙂