I am here in Thailand through a 'twist of fate'. My wife and mother both died in the same month some years ago. My brother had lived (and still does) in Thailand for 28 years and he persuaded me to holiday here to help with the 'healing' after the two deaths.
Pattaya was my first port of call after arriving at Swampy; shock! I have come to terms with the decadence of the city as I have with other aspects of 'Thainess'. Although after 10 years or so I still can't suss 'Thainess' out. I am constantly surprised by the happenings, and lack of them, in LOS.
Went back to UK; after my initial Thai visit, but changed direction. Finished with being a Maths lecturer/teacher at Civil Engineering University and became a wine dealer/seller. Didn't know anything about wine at the start and still don't. I also resumed writing and sold a bit of work; mostly comedy scripts - some might call them nonsense; even rubbish - my sister does anyway.
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In my younger days, I wrote for a number of years for a UK Sports Mag'. This position opened a few doors and allowed me access to a lot of football training, talks, and discussions. I also reported on live games for a daily newspaper.
I've seen a Premier team train all week - in mid-season - where no ball was to be seen. Conversely, I've seen teams - one team in particular - practice their style of play over and over all week.
I visited Holland to glean info'. WHAT an eye opener!!! This would be around 1988. Kids there become affiliated with a club as 7/8-year-olds. I watched these Dutch youngsters train. Each had their own ball (smaller than the regulation size) and it never left their side. The pitches they played on were smaller too. It was all about skill acquisition.
A club in Wales I went to shocked me. All the youngsters did was exercise and run. I spoke to the coach as to why these 11/12-year-olds were not practicing with a ball. His reply "Results!! We are the fittest team in the Glamorgan Junior League. We just out-fitness the opposition every match. We steamroll them!" He was right about that; the U13s went the whole season undefeated. The U15s were not quite that successful and the older youngsters were quite ordinary. By the time the boys got to 16, their fitness was not advantageous and their lack of ball skills was evident. There was a big drop out rate with hardly any making it through to youth level.
I reckon the above paragraph is the reason for England's failure at International level. Simply lack of ball skills.
My interest in Maths has led me down the road of football systems and methods of play. I did have a comprehensive log of all top European football from the 1960s to 2007; unfortunately lost after the passing of my wife. I'm not in a rush to reproduce it; life's just too short! And the internet is here with everything one could want.
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Returned to Thailand 11 years ago. Now retired and living way out in the sticks in Isaan (nearest town 15k away). Not very close to, but near the Mekong. My wife is Thai and we have a lovely daughter. I am trying to get her to tread a delicate path between my atheism and the wife's version of the Thai version of Buddhism. I tell the daughter to treat others as you would like to be treated and I am proud to see that she has taken that on board.
We run a large farm (70 rai) and that keeps me active. I have a koi carp lake with some 200 fish. And also run a cat home for unwanted moggies. At present time we have about 30 but have had as many as 45. If we hear that a family or temple need a cat we are happy to let them pick one. Some time ago now we were approached by the monks at Kham Chanod for some cats and we were happy to deliver 10 to them. I went there on 21-07-2017 and one of the cats recognised me. Gave him a big 'hi there' stroke.
Sport; football, cricket, swimming. I played semi-pro at my peak and at a reasonable level after that until retiring at 42.
Favourite football teams; purs, Man City, Enfield Town, Liverpool, WHU
Footy heroes; Danny Blanchflower, John White, Kenny Dalglish, Colin Bell, Trevor Brooking, Jimmy Greaves, Gary Lineker, Brian Clough, Mark Lazarus.
Relaxation; Listen to music, I like to write essays, work on math problems, play chess, help my daughter with her activities and go fishing; but not for koi carp!
Comedy; Bill Bailey, Rowan Atkinson, Steve Coogan, Harry Hill, Jim Jefferies, Sacha Baron Cohen.
Music; jazz, classical and any good quality R&Blues. My faves are Gershwin, Django Reinhardt, Yao Si Ting, Ramsey Lewis and more recently anything by Jools Holland, Future Islands, Caravan Palace, and Sebastian Daws.
Desert Island disks (Thailand ex-pat recordings) top 18.
01 Rhapsody in Blue (full jazz version 1924) -- Gershwin
02 Thieving magpie -- Rossini
03 Piano Concerto 21 -- Mozart
04 Wade in the water -- Ramsey Lewis (Marlene Shaw singing)
05 Get it right next time -- Gerry Rafferty
06 Whoopsy Daisy -- Sebastian Daws
07 Everyone needs someone sometimes -- REM
08 Wanna get next to you -- Rose Royce
09 Madame Butterfly - Puccini (window scene) -- Ying Huang
10 Rhythm stick -- Ian Drury
11 Take 5 -- Dave Brubeck
12 Touch of magic -- Queen
13 Back in the tall grass -- Future Islands
14 Black Betty -- Caravan Palace
15 Love is the sweetest thing -- Peter Skellern
16 Jerusalem -- England Philharmonic Orchestra
17 Theme from Pink Panther -- Any decent jazz rendition.
18 Blue Rondo a-la-Turk -- Dave Brubeck
Favourite opera; Madame Butterfly.
Favourite films; Watching the detectives, Sublime, Wicker man (UK original). Marathon Man. Alien.
Favourite actors(esses); Oliver Reed, Lucy Liu, Tim Roth.
Favourite live music performances Roy Orbison (black and white night) Pretty woman. Django ReinHardt (NYC), More recent Black Betty (UK)
Industry; I worked in water management designing civil engineering projects for many years and I have not left my work roots completely behind here. I designed an irrigation filter; which is now popular in our Thai area. No money involved; just helping out and to keep my hand in!
Politics; left of centre. My political heroes; James Keir Hardie, Tony Benn, Ken Livingstone, George Galloway. In US; Ron Paul. I am a republican/democrat. (Americans would not understand this but UK's would.)
Life heroes; Charles Darwin, Alfred Wallace, John Lennon, Christopher Hitchens and more recently, Eddie Woo, Richard Dawkins, Douglas Murray and Max Keiser. Benjamin Zephaniah, David Icke, Peter Hitchens, John Rogers. And not to neglect the ladies; Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Alice Walker and Julia Hartley-Brewer.
Religion: 'Religion poisons everything' (C. Hitchens). Anyone asks me for my religion I say Jedi or Darwinist or Atheist.
Dislikes; All organised religions, flags, anthems, borders, FED, IMF, Bk-of-Eg, House of Lords, EU, Royalty (UK - I quickly add). Cheating in sport.
I am in the throes of writing a book about life in South Bucks 15/20 years ago and have promised myself that I'll finish it when the English football season finishes (2017/18). No more progress yet; as of 17-06-2019.
Wrote a book on bio-mechanics some years ago that was reasonably well received (did everything myself; printing, publishing, selling etc.).
Also, I'm writing a series of essays entitled "Diary of a Priest".
Values; can be summed up in a few words; love, freedom, truth, integrity, humour. Each can be severely tested in Thailand, but I'm giving it a go.