A Sunday without a Monday

During the maelstrom of lesson prep, grading and report writing that is term time, Sundays provide a welcome respite. Time to put away the work of the week and focus on more important things. 

But as the sun begins its descent and the shadows lengthen, thoughts turn inevitably to tomorrow’s timetable, and what we’re teaching year seven.

Except on those blessed, delightful though infrequent afternoons when we glance grudgingly at the four o’clock, only to realise, “It’s a Sunday without a Monday! Huzzah!”

No school tomorrow :) 


Pizza NZ

Having spent two hours last night failing to order pizza delivery for Cath’s birthday last night, we were immensely happy to notice this new banner, 100m from our house, for ‘opening soon’ Pizza NZ, across from the park on street E.

 It ‘s a two-person team: Dimey looks after the customers whilst mum Maly makes mozzarella magic in the kitchen. Maly learnt her pizza-making in New Zealand, hence the name. Grand opening Monday – see you there!

Church Retreat at Bronze Lake

The majority of the congregations of ICF North and South headed to Bronze  Lake, an extremely well-appointed hotel about three hours from Phnom Penh. Activities included swimming & water slides, tennis, cycling and a zip line across the lake.

Both mind and body were well fed, with the theme ‘Wisdom’ being explored through Job and Ecclesiastes, whilst the Swiss-trained chef served up Western food the like of which I’ve not tasted in the Kingdom of Wonders.

Bonfire Night 2015

This year we celebrated November 5th on the land opposite the new HOPE North campus.

Staff and parents, British and ‘other’ brought a range of traditional winter foods to celebrate  the attempted annihilation of King and Parliament.

We had a great evening – massive thank you to everyone who helped make it a memorable evening.

The Walking Market

Every sunday, Chiang Mai will shut off several streets from traffic and transform the area into a huge colourful market. There’s cheap streetfood, incredible art and beautiful clothes all for sale, and prices range from 10 to 400 baht but little over. The food areas are seperate and easy to spot and access down the market, usually in temple courtyards and sell everything from sushi and thai spicy soups to the best fried chicken I’ve ever eaten for 15 baht and customisable smoothies at 30 baht.

The shops and café’s on the streets it runs down are still open, so if you feel the need to get a quick coffee somewhere quieter, there’s always the option to duck into one of those. There are also toilets for 15 baht a go at the fourway junction of the market near the centre, in the corner of a small courtyard of cafés.

My family loved it so much we went twice, both times finding real gems for ourselves and as gifts, including two rubber-band wooden pistols at 90 baht each for both the boys! It’s recommend to go from 4pm to 6pm, as that gives plenty of time to explore and leaves time to walk back to your hotel before it gets too dark, as the taxis will overcharge particularly highly if you come out the walking market.

Insect and Natural Wonders Museum

After a little while searching, Matthew, my dad and I found a small, tucked-away house that had been converted into an insect museum. My overflowing excitement at the trip could barely be contained and I was not disappointed.

The museum contains the life’s work of an elderly couple who still own  and possibly live in their converted home and specialised in mosquitos.  The collection is phenomenal, filled with beautiful insects, rocks, fossils, petrified wood in beautiful forms and shells. The walk around, which consisted of two levels, was full of new delights and curiosity whith each step, especially for myself. Some species displayed are now extinct, and the glass cases even include fossilised dinosaur eggs and shells bigger than a person’s head.

Srimankalajarn Road Soi 13 Muang Chiangmai, Thailand



On the Sunday Markets

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For the two Sundays we’ve been here, my family and I went to the Sunday Walking market, where a part of the city is sectioned off from vehicles  for a large market selling food, clothes, craft items and accessories of every kind, many handmade.

We went from around 4 to 6 both times and enjoyed ourselves throughly, though it’s a good idea to keep an eyes on all members of your party as the market is busy and generally quite full, which makes for a pleasant buzzing atmosphere that is easy to get lost in.

Prices are not always labelled and as always, haggling is often put into practice as the market is geared primarily towards tourists, and while most of the food sold is Thai, there is always a Western alternative to  be found. The waffles and fried chicken are particularly good.

Taxis in Chiang Mai are mostly tuk-tuks or red vans that look a little like small, old-fashioned fire engines. They too are expecting tourists and charge heavily, so make sure you have time to walk home before dark if you’d rather not pay 7 dollars, compared to the 3 dollars charged in Bangkok. However, for the individual,  taxis can be considered cheap as they charge 50 baht per person.



The Juniper Tree

In complete contrast to the busy streets of Bangkok, The Juniper Tree is a haven of lush greenery.

View from our bedroom

Delicious food is provided in the dining room 3 times a day and we are staying in a large wooden house in the beautifully tended gardens close to the pool. We hope to explore Chiang Mai while were here for 2 weeks but it may take some effort to leave our tranquil setting.

Tom rides an orca.