Take it away Frankie . . .

‘And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain’

 In other words, this is the last Toungethaid, because today we do everything backwards, except, hopefully, being marched off the Emirates flight. As far as that matter is concerned, we’ll fire the first mortars when we get home. Maybe our local member, Karen Phelps, will help us storm the Arab desert stronghold and carry off a few A380s. I feel duty bound to post dispatches from the trenches as the war develops. One of the benefits of being chucked off Emirates and having to rebook with Singapore is that we get to try out our first Dreamliner between Bangkok and Singapore.

The night before last, we walked across to a new shopping mall called Bluport – which turned out to be quite spectacular. It felt like being in a Westfield of the future, with offerings from hastily sewn cheap clothes to expensive designer, along with a massive, high class supermarket down one side. Uniqlo, the Japanese clothing and accessories store, was vigorously flogging furry and quilted jackets suitable for Antarctica. Apart from European tourists, and bear in mind that Hua Hin is not popular tourist destination, who will buy the stuff?

The restaurant selection was overwhelming. We wandered from one to another, trying to judge the quality of the food by the expressions on the diners’ faces inside. One must accept that the billboards and lavish books on the lecterns out the front of the restaurants are not a reliable guide to the food. They show pictures of dishes that only faintly resemble what is served inside. One restaurant that looked promising was rejected for its billboard:

Would you eat this?

 Yesterday afternoon we made a final visit to the massagery. I’ve grown quite fond of my auld boiler since she has brought such relief to my neck. She’s a no-nonsense woman and gets to work on me like a butcher would approach a bullock carcass. In case you’re wondering, the only things she is interested in pulling are my fingers and toes. She tuts with dismay when she fails to get a click out of my fingers, not realising that she is up against the adhesion of arthritis which has taken me years to accumulate. She doesn’t give up easily though, as she puts her considerable weight behind further attempts. My toes are more vulnerable, being small, distant and defenceless. She nearly broke a couple as she bent her back into the task and I had to tell her to stop. But I emerged with another incremental improvement on my neck. The massagery favours tiger balm oil as the rubbing solution. I suspect that is because it is cheap and covers up the rising smell of hirsute, less hygienic clients. But powerful! It makes your eyes water if you inhale its fumes. I remembered that, at home, if we wanted to keep the cats away from us for a while, we rubbed a bit of tiger balm on ourselves. But I didn’t want to smell like a football club dressing room in Hua Hin – which is why I paid a premium for an aroma therapy oil. That went well until it came to neck fixing time. The auld boiler reached for the tiger balm and slapped it on before I could stop her. I hope the pong has gone by the time I get home otherwise the cats will not be pleased to see Daddy.

I did a final check on the egg department mini-chart system at breakfast this morning and it seemed to be working well, except for final delivery by the waitresses. I saw one wandering around with four omelettes trying to find their owners. These are known, in the trade, as OOs: orphan omelettes. If no homes are found for them, they are fed to the jellfisss.