, , , ,

Apologies for my absence over the past few days but I’ve been concentrating on other things. It’s the old story, there’s only so many balls a juggler can keep in the air at one time!

Like many people I’ve spent several days in awe at what the weather’s been throwing at us. It’s been bleeding ‘Baltic’ up here in the Pennines as the Mercury has dropped below freezing and we’ve been gifted with alternating show and hailstorms or bright sunshine. There’s certainly been some spectacular weather patterns but I’m hoping we can now have temperatures back in double figures – especially as we’re no longer in ‘Lockdown’ and the country is slowly returning to normal. To be honest, it’s made little difference to me as I’ve stayed away from those initial crowds as people queue to get back into shops or pub beer-gardens. I’m happy to wait a bit longer and let the novelty wear off again. I’ve still plenty to keep me occupied at home.

That said, I’m looking forward to being able to get out and about when the time’s right but in the meantime I’ve still several things to tick off my lists and until commissions start coming in I doubt I’ll be going far. Instead I’m still wading through work at home and trying to get another juggling ball in the air by beginning to scan old slides again and get as many done as I can before the summer months.

Here’s one from the latest batch of scans from my 1991-92 trip to Australia via SE Asia. I took this in the Khao San Rd in Bangkok, Thailand on the 12th April 1992 which was during the Thai festival of Songkran (Thai New Year) which is also a water festival.

Traditionally, Thai’s would pour water pouring on Buddha statues and the young and elderly is a traditional ritual, representing purification and the washing away of one’s sins and bad luck. But that’s been broadened out to Songkran being one glorious, nationwide water fight!

In the picture a couple on foot are unaware of what’s heading their way from a hotel balcony!

Back in 1992 the Khao San Rd wasn’t as big, bold and brash a tourist area. Many of the little hotels like this have given way to much bigger complexes as tourism to Thailand has grown massively in the intervening 30 years. Back then it was a real backpacker hub as Bangkok was a crossroads for people criss-crossing Asia. It still is, but now there’s many more less adventurous tourists too. I’d just flown in from Nepal and spent the first 48 hours as sick as a dog as I’d contracting food poisoning just before I left Kathmandu. I hadn’t known about Songkran (I didn’t buy a Thailand Lonely Planet guide till I arrived and could sell my Nepal copy) so it was quite an unexpected but welcome surprise and a real pick-me-up. To add to the fun, the local hoteliers association had set up strategic water dumps along the street – groups of 40 gallon oil drums that they kept filling up with a water tanker that sucked water up from the nearby Chao Praya river. People would hang around them with whatever water container they could find, waiting for victims. Tuk-Tuk drivers were especially prized as a way of getting your own back on people who’d been charging you extortionate fares, tio their credit, they took it in good spirit! For two days we had an absolute ball! Bangkok is so hot and sticky that time of the year it was bliss to be so wet. Mind you, the fun came at a price for me. I’d carried my camera around in a couple of plastic bags so that I could get shots of the fun without taking too many risks – or so I though. Sadly, I got caught in the same way as this and on the 2nd day my Nikon F801s (nice camera, not very waterproof) caught the full force of a soaking. Despite taking it into the Nikon dealers a couple of days later it was a right-off (the electronics were fused) and a new one cost me £358. Even so, I couldn’t be upset as the fun was worth it. You can find my other Songkran pictures here. I’ve always promised myself I’d get back to Thailand for Songkran – only with a proper waterproof housing for my camera. Of course, it’s Songkran in Thailand right now, so I hope my Thai friends are enjoying it, even if the atmosphere will be subdued because of Covid. Maybe next year…

I’ve a favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this blog, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course (although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab!), but the revenue from them helps to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site – and right now (because of Covid), us freelances need all the help that we can get. Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Thank you!