Thursday, September 17, 2015

The great hunt: Digital Piano and a Violin

Practice PianoDear Matt and Mar,

The time has come, Matt finally needs a better piano, so far you have been practicing at home on a very simple keyboard, really nothing more than a glorified toy. You have progressed so far and soon you’ll will be using the paddles. I still find it amazing that you can read the notes now, to me it’s nothing but a bunch of tadpoles wriggling on a piece of paper.


The same for Mar, it was also time for you to have a violin of your own to practice at home, not sure if the violin will come with earplugs though, haa haa haa, only kidding :-) Actually the teacher has been quite impressed with your progress.

I have as much knowledge of music and of musical instruments as much as Mussolini knows about being humble. Of course I don’t want to let you two down so begins my journey into the unknown (literally).

20150917_095500Choosing Mar’s violin was a bit simpler, as this was your first violin, so we popped over to a pretty good music store, the guy there was excellent, he took one of the smaller violin off the rack and started measuring your arm against it, it was a size 10... Ka Ching... done… haa haa haa.

Now, Matt’s piano was a totally different story. When we had decided to get you a proper piano (88 keys, touch and tone), your mother called up her friends who were music teachers, and got a pretty good deal on a vertical acoustic piano. But after I did some research, having an acoustic piano in the apartment could pose some issues with the neighbours, lol. 

So I have decided to go with a digital piano and really didn’t even know where to begin. Googling seems a pretty good start, so I began to read and read and read, jumping from link to link. After about a week, it was all down to Yamaha, Roland and Kawai.

K or RThen it was all between Roland and Kawai, for me it was no different than in choosing a car, lets say BMW Vs Mercedes; 3 Series Vs C-Class, 5 Series Vs E-Class and so on. So for Roland I was looking at F140r/F130r and I am assuming that would be in the same class as Kawai’s CN series (of course I could completely be absolutely and utterly wrong).

Time to see the real thing, on a quiet Sunday afternoon, all of us visited a Kawai shop (@ Central World), and the staff there was great and very helpful, whilst I talked Matt was having a go at all of the pianos, of course the one that he liked the most, was 1.6 million, haa haa haa, time to leave.

Even after a week of on and off research, it still felt like I was going into this half blind. So back to more googling I went, best decision everrrr... wow, found this web site,, it was absolutely superb! Exactly what I was looking for, no nonsense opinions and insights from someone who knows.

At the end of the day, the main variable for me was the ‘Touch’... everything else comes second, and after reading all of his (Tim Praskins) reviews, I have now set my mind on a Roland HP504 :-) finally I have a target.

After looking at the price on the net, it was a little high, but still within budget :-) Now lets see if one can find a good retailer :-)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Matt is cycling :-)

Cycling Matt-01978Dear Matt and Mar,

Finally Matt is able to feel the freedom and the fun time on a bicycle, lol, we were able to remove the training wheels during his summer holiday. All credits must go to your aunt (auntie Tip), looking after the both of you can already be quite tiring... and she had somehow managed to find the time to teach Matt to ride a bicycle as well :-)

I was over the moon to see Matt’s smiling face when he showed me that he could ride the bike. During one afternoon when I was home a little early Matt kept mentioning that he wanted to show me his cycling skills, and finally we were down on the activity floor, you were so proud, and you should be :-) well done :-)

Now he wants to ride the bike everywhere, only yesterday he wanted to ride the bike to the driving range, haa haa haa haa haa. Mar on the other hand is really good on the scooter now, in fact she is probably the best in the house on the scooter, lol.





Scooting Mar-01982We are now thinking of getting Matt a better bike, the one that he has now is like riding on a prehistoric toy, the breaks doesn’t work, the handle bar and the front wheel don’t really align and is quite loose, so if one turns quickly the handle bar turns more than the front wheel, haa haa haa.

Monday, September 7, 2015

New School Year 2015


New School Year 15Dear Matt and Mar,

Finally the new school year had begun, and it's all quite a change for everyone :-) Matt has now moved up to Year 3 and Mar will be now starting her Early Year 1 (EY1), more importantly both of you will be attending the same school, meaning a totally new routine for all of us.

Previously when Mar was at Noddy and Matt at SHB, you two would be up around 06:30, your mother would prepare breakfast and packed it ready for Matt, who would eat it in the car (with me driving). Then Mar would have breakfast at home before your mother drives her to Noddy. Purely because Matt's school starts at 07:40 while Mar's starts at 08:15 (I think).

Now having both of you at SHB, starting time is now 07:40, so instead of us waking up at 06:15, it is now 05:45 (when you are older you'll realised that those few minutes different are like the Grand Canyon, haa haa haa haa haa haa.

Your aunt has to be up even earlier, because she is in our kitchen making your breakfast at 05:30, my job is to wake you up around 06:00 and prepare you two for school, usually all washed, teeth brushed and dressed no later than 06:20, then it's breakfast. All this time your mother would be making herself presentable... haa haa haa haa haa.

The latest time we should leave the house would be just a little before 07:00 (the key word is should, lol), then a short drive to school (more breakfast would be taken in the car)... In a perfect world we should have arrived no later than 07:30, ready for the line up, haa haa haa haa haa haa, the perfect world rarely happens.

For Matt moving to Year 3 is a big move, no more short shorts and polo shirt, it's time for proper short sleeves shirt, tie and proper shorts. Mar in her school dress makes me smile every single day.

A little worried… lol


Make up-01875

Dear Matt and Mar,

I have no idea on when Mar started to notice about make up, I do not recall her watching your mother putting on make up, and I definitely don’t see it on all of the media that comes her way (of course I am not with her 24/7).

I don’t think applying things to one face to ‘apparently’ makes one looks better is etched into our DNA, so there must be some other media channels that I am missing, and that worries me (a little), lol.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

One last fun :-) (for now)


Dear Matt and Mar,

Your summer holiday is coming to a close, and we have just realised that Mar hasn’t been anywhere yet. So for the final weekend of the holiday, we’d decided on a whim to spend a weekend in Pattaya. Frantically we looked for a hotel, and finally we had come to a conclusion that the best variable in choose a hotel, is the pool, lol.

Going back to Pattaya has always been Mar’s consistent request, for several weeks she kept mentioning ‘I want to go to Jungle house’ of course that meant Villa Wanida (loads of trees), but your mother and I needed a change. After looking at the pool (mini water park) there was no other choice, and I knew that you two would love it, so off we went to Mercure Pattaya Ocean Resort.

Pattaya 0815-0181321.08.2015

Setting off on the Friday afternoon was a bit of an affair, we were supposed to have been on the road by 16:00, but your mother didn’t turn up until 17:00... lol. Anyway, to be honest I was a little annoyed, but she had work to do, what could you do :-) Luckily I’d bought some BBQ pork and sticky rice for the journey, then realised I hadn’t bought anything for your mother and I.

It was lucky that you two woke up as soon as we’d pulled up at the hotel, if you remained asleep it would have been one boring night for us, haa haa haa. We threw the bags in the room and headed off to the nearest bar/restaurant :-) Let’s say it was a rather good night, lol, and you two were full of energy.


Nothing else was on the agenda apart from the pool, pool and more pool. The tiny water park was perfect, there was also another conventional pool on another floor, meaning all the children can be as noisy as they want without disturbing the other guests.


I think the water park is good for kids up to the age of around 13 or 14, the 4 metres diving spot was great fun. I was surprise that Matt had jumped off without an ounce of hesitation... Me on the other hand took a little longer, lol. The thing is, looking up to the diving spot, it really didn't look that high. Actually it looked rather 'pedestrian', haa haa haa, until I was on top looking down onto a 3 metres deep pool... One might as well be jumping off mount Everest, lol.

The first jump of many…

The single real water slide was crazy, it wasn't long, but somehow they have managed to get rid of friction. Coming down the slide, the speed for a portly person like myself was definitely breaking the sound barrier, the sonic boom was coming left right and centre.

Such fun…

The 'toddler' slide was the same thing, it was around 3 metre in length, bright blinding yellow and set with a very shallow incline... I mean really shallow... But Mar was whizzing down it like a bullet train on a free fall, haa haa haa.

Just too much, lol.

Unfortunately we were witnessed to an accident, a young mother was carrying a toddler (probably around 2 years old) on her shoulder whilst standing on the toddler slide. As she took her first step, she had lost her footing and had fallen backwards, her boy’s head must have banged against either the floor or the side of the slide. She looked in shock and the boy was bleeding from his left eye brows.

The rest of their family very quickly gathered around, as they were Chinese your mother jumped in and helped to call the lifeguard to quickly come with first-aid, later I saw them all smiling in the lobby, so nothing worse happened.



Matt kept asking me to jump over and over and over again from the platform, you would think it would become easier after a few jump, but it didn't, the 25th jump was as belly bending as the first, haa haa haa haa haa.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALunch time couldn't come fast enough, lol.

Lunch was taken not too far from the hotel (Sanctuary of Truth, I was so glad to be out of the pool away from all the jumping and the sliding, lol. We had to come here because of Mar wanted to feed the rabbits and the goats, haa haa haa.

There was no surprise that by the time we got back to the hotel, both of you were out of it and so were we, lol, climbing onto the bed with a full stomach was an absolute bliss, lol. I had no idea how long had past, when I suddenly jolted up only to be met by Matt, staring intensely at me (perhaps that was why I had jumped, lol.). All I could say was ‘another swim’, the answer came in the way of a huge smile... So off we went, leaving Mar and your mother in dreamland.

The jumping and the sliding didn’t get any easier...

After an eternity, I’d looked up from the pool to see your mother and Mar waving madly at us, great an excuse to be out of the pool, haa haa haa. As usual we were going to have supper at uncle Chat’s house, Mar couldn’t wait to see Gun and Jan, as well as the dogs again.



Pattaya 0815-01847Pattaya 0815-01845

Pattaya 0815-01868Pattaya 0815-01864

All in all the first day went far better than I had hoped, the mini water park really hit the spot with Matt and Mar, and that was all we had cared about, this weekend was purely for you two after all. Forgot to mention about the kids’ room, a rather small room, but full with toy and a couple of computers... another great way to keep you two busy.


Can’t believe it was time to go home, after an early breakfast, just have a guess where we ended up? Don't know if it was me, but the pool felt especially cold, which made it even worse, haa haa haa haa haa.



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt noon, checking out was uneventful (which was a good thing). The plan was to visit one of the local zoo after lunch, but it didn't work as plan only because you two decided to sleep all the way back to Bangkok.

We are definitely doing these type of weekend trip again, you two had a great time, and so did your mother and I, lol.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

She ain’t heavy…

She ain't heavy 2-01944Dear Matt and Mar,

All I can say is, ‘She ain’t heavy, she’s my sister’… lol.

Your mother now insists whenever you leave the house in the morning, there must be a quick photo opps. Of course Mar absolutely loves it… but Matt, now that he is ‘old’ at 7, finds it a little annoying… haa haa haa.

P.S. Love this pic, shame about the background though, lol.

Mother’s day 2015

Dear Matt and Mar,

Mother’s day in Thailand falls on the 12th of August, to coincide with the Queen’s birthday, and it is a huge celebration in Thailand, this year’s theme is ‘Bike for Mom’, the crown prince came out and lead around 40,000 bikers in Bangkok alone (a Guinness World Record).

Mother's day-01730Of course this is a public holiday, but your mother had to work so it was up to me to entertain you for the day… I took the easiest way out and took you two to see your grandparents, haa haa haa.

Also decided to take you two to one of my favourite temple, Wat Suthat, parking near the temple would have been impossible. I’d decided to take a tuk-tuk instead, so you can imagine all the laugh we had.


Mother's day-01745Mother's day-01741Mother's day-01752

The main temple was full to the brim, being the Queen’s Birthday as well as a public holiday, the best we could do is to pay our homage from the door, :-)

Mother's day-01755


Mother's day-01760Mother's day-01764Mother's day-01761

By the way this was the best Tuk-Tuk ever!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Final swim for a while…


Dear Matt and Mar,

Finally the pool is going to get some TLC, but I’d never thought they were going to totally re-tiled the whole pool… haa haa haa.

So that is why the pool will be closed for 2 months :-) It really does need some maintenance, the small tiles were coming off more and more each day, so here is to the final swim, see you again in 2 months :-)

Such fun :-)

Dreadful event

Dear Matt and Mar,

Sorry baby, it has been a while since my last post, there are so many things to write and post but not enough time :-)

I promise to catch up on the posts, but first of all I have to mention this to you, it is a weary time to be living in Bangkok at the moment, on the 17th of August a bomb went off in one of the most well known tourist destination in Bangkok (especially popular with tourists coming from the Asian countries), Erawan Shrine at Ratchaprasong Intersection.

Ratchaprasong was also one of the most heated spot during the riot several years back, there is an iconic photo of a statue (huge golden head) with Central World burning in the background.

AftermathIt was devastated to hear that there are someone with such hatred that they would kill innocent people. Many seems to think this bomb was strategically placed at the shrine to destroy Thailand’s tourist industry. There could have been so many more deaths and injured but the bomb exploded on Monday night, luckily due to the date and time, many of the street vendors were not there, and it was off peak for the worshipers.  

The second bombing was a hand grenade that was thrown from a bridge onto one of the very busy pier on the Chao Phraya river, what shook me to the core was that, this is the pier that you two and your aunt take almost daily during term time.

After a few weeks, it seems like the police is getting on top of things, (I am not going to go into detail, you can always google it). 2 suspects has been detained, the reason behind the bombing seems to have stemmed from a few months back when the Thai government decided to deport a group (around 100) of Uighurs back to China rather than allowing them to move to Turkey (apparently this was done after verifying their citizenship, China had asked for all 300 back, and even earlier 170 Uighurs were allowed to move on to Turkey, again after verifying their citizenship).

So the bombing was to punish Thailand for sending those Uighurs back to China rather than letting them move to Turkey, do they think this bombing is going to help those remaining Uighurs that are still in Thailand?

For me, you should let people go where they wanted to go, unless they had done something terrible and were just trying to escape from it, for that I have no idea, but again China isn’t gleaming in their human rights department.