PLOUGHING ON THROUGH THE FAR EAST

We landed in Bangkok on 2nd February. Honestly their idea of a 3 star rating hotel would equal about 15 star in Europe, it was amazing. Once again we were upgraded to a deluxe suite, not sure why, but we were not going to complain.

Our guide took us to the following places and I’m not sure now which is which. Yes I’m ashamed to admit it but I didn’t want to spend all my time writing stuff down as I had in the past, but use my eyes to wonder, gape, drool and take it all in. There was so much to see, so many details, and we moved at such a fast pace to get it all in that it would be either the pictures or the script, and the photos won. We visited Wat Traimit, Wat Arun (Dawn Temple) and Wat Po.

Wat Traimit is the temple of the golden Buddha, famous for its 900 year old five and a half ton solid gold image of the Buddha. This week I am just going to post ONLY pictures of this as it just takes your breath away.

It was impossible to get it all in in one shot. I just love the one where they are working on the feet, using Mother of Pearl, as the man was showing us.

HISTORY NONSENSE

Now I could write a book about Queen Victoria, but I don’t like her enough and I would probably be very rude. Before Christmas I left her slobbering over Lord Melbourne, but her Uncle Leopold (the Belgium king who annexed the Belgian Congo as an extension to his back garden) and various other members of the family had other ideas. this is his photo.leopold-of-belgium

Of course they wanted to bring in a German suitor on the excuse that he would be Protestant and not a Catholic. (Frankly by now I’m sure Henry VIII wouldn’t have minded too much). Enter Albert (yeuk), the one with no sense of humour and every intention of being king.

This time he did the slobbering to get the young queen’s attention and it wasn’t too long before they were an item, frequently seen at the local bowling alley on a Friday night.

Till next week, stay safe.

THE BIG TRIP, THE TEMPLE COMPLEX ON THE HILL AND THE QUEEN I DON’T LIKE

I left off last time in northern Thailand at the top of the hill at Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. I’ve just noticed on the notes that visitors can climb the 309 steps for free to reach the pagoda. Free! Are they kidding! As I posted last time, we took the cable car up there and viewed the panoramic sight of Chang Mai city.  We watched lots of people ring bells, there were rows and rows of them. We weren’t sure of the ‘why’ for all this, and our guide had wandered off, but just in case, we also rang several of the bells. Some were really large and their tonality to my ears at any rate, was pitch perfect.

I think this is a delightful picture of DH finding the clapper on one of the larger ones. I know I posted the other one before, but I can’t help giggling.

The whole area housed several temples, and worshippers were performing different rites at each of them. I didn’t manage to get a full explanation as to what was happening.

I took so many pictures, I’ll have to show you the rest next time.

While Queen Elizabeth is my favourite queen – a Virgo like me, we share a name and my latest colouring product also turns me a slight shade of auburn –  my least favourite monarch either male or female, is the one I have reached now – Victoria, although that wasn’t her first name.vic-haema

I started out having some sympathy with her- also a mum who wasn’t kind, and she lost her father when young, but that is where the similarity ends.

I cheered when she got her own bedroom and practiced walking down the stairs all by herself, what an achievement!  But, as soon as she realized she was queen on one hand she started throwing her weight around and on the other, turned into a silly giggly girl over a man much older than herself. Find out who later. (That’s supposed to be a cliff hanger). Definition of cliff hanger … writer cleverly writes exciting bit without completing all the knowledge leaving the readers wanting to know more, so they eagerly wait for the next episode or chapter.  And no it’s NOT Prince Albert.

Have you joined my newsletter list yet? I forgot to mention last week that I will not share it with anyone else. Either pm me on Facebook or you can email me lucindaeclarke@gmail.com

Still shopping? Christmas is getting closer.

PLEASE RE-BLOG, PLEASE.

Please will you re-blog this post for me? Yes, I know you’ve not read it yet, but I really, really want to get the word out.

In January I plan to start a new monthly newsletter which will contain the back story to Amie before she went to Africa and the lives of other characters in the trilogy. The first one recounts a major event in Ben’s life which I think you will find both fascinating and interesting. This will only ever appear in my newsletter and never be posted anywhere else.

There will also be early notice of price drops and promos and I will feature and promote books by other authors – so, if you’d like to be included, please contact me.

Most important of all, I will be giving you updates on the full story of the court case as Amie sues me with the intention of preventing me from writing about her any further. Plus she is asking for damages for what I have put her through already. She intends to have all Amie books withdrawn from the marketplace. (Unknown to her, I’m currently writing book 4, and do I have plans for her! Even I feel a little sorry for her sometimes.)courtroom2

Competitions and chances to win free books will also be a feature several times a year, but I will not overburden your inbox as I only plan to send out 12 issues annually.

I posted news of this on Facebook and one blog follower said she was already signed up as she received notification of my blogs in her inbox. WordPress does not give me your email addresses when you follow. They do all that stuff somewhere in some faceless building somewhere in the United States – or maybe some robot algorhythmically programmed robot does it – so I have no idea how to contact you.

So, to take advantage of this exciting opportunity (who am I kidding?)  you can either pm me on my FB page, or drop me a ‘yes’ to lucindaeclarke@gmail.com. I do hope you will.

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I’m posting the link to the opening of Amie African Adventure – book 1 with news that the audio book should be ready by the beginning of February – so exciting!

Another piece of news is that Amie is going to have a brand new cover – more in line with the third in the series. I am sad in many ways as I love her original cover, but I need to tell people what to expect in the story. One poor reader bought it thinking it was a cosy tourist trip to Africa and got quite a shock.

A last thought. If you haven’t an idea what to buy for a particular person this Christmas, the trilogy in paperback might be suitable? Ignore Amazon’s pronouncement that it’s not available – no ideFeatured Image -- 4372a why they put that up – all three books are for sale.

I’m scribbling this quickly while DH is out buying more Christmas lights. As we unpacked them we remembered he sniffed loudly and asked me last year what I was cooking, it smelt appetizing. “Nothing,” I told him. It was the lights. One string was about to burst into flames and burn the house down. Then I must decorate the tree, won’t take long, it’s only 80 cm high!!

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Uh, yeah you can tell tree decorating does not come high on my skills list either!! Well I tried.

Till next week, when I’m back in the Far East, at least here on the blog. Happy shopping.

 

BIG TRIP CHANG MAI – ENTER THE QUEEN EVERYONE KNOWS

The last place we were taken to in northern Thailand was at Doi Suthep to visit Wat Umong and Wat Phrathat Doi. We had driven up into the forested foothills and stopped in a busy street.

and then whisked up in a cable car to the top of the hill

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Which gave us amazing views over Chang Mai

and a vast temple complex.

More pics next week.

APPALLING HISTORY LESSON

By the time Victoria ascended the throne – yes, it’s Victoria, did you guess right? – royalty did not have a terribly good name. George III had been mad, all the fathers and sons had been at each other’s throats and all those extraneous children sired by William did not impress the public either.

She began with flirting with her new Prime Minister Melbourne who was dashing, romantic and dropped compliments like leaves in autumn. No wonder she insisted on seeing him every single day.

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Till next week.

THE BIG TRIP AND TEMPLES – ENTER NEXT MONARCH

The morning continued visiting more temples and my head was spinning from all the images. They were just amazing. All that gold!!

I admit to breathing a sigh of relief when I saw the tape at the bottom of these steps. I don’t do steps too well.

Everything moves with the times, and these waxwork images of elderly enlightened men are remembered with great respect.

Everywhere we went, we didn’t know which way to look, they were all so lavish, yet the people who cared for them owned almost nothing at all.

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As I visited so many of these shrines in quick succession, it was almost as if my brain refused to process it all. It was sensory overload.

 

AWFUL HISTORY LESSON

Now the next monarch coming up had a pretty terrible childhood. Mummy was a bit of a monster if we are to believe the history books. She’d worked out that her daughter just might inherit the throne one day and thought what fun it would be to be regent. So she and her boyfriend (let me hastily add here she was now a widow for the second time), cooked up all the schemes they could while waiting for the fateful day. In the meantime it was very important to look after the daughter. This was taken to extremes – for example she was not allowed to sleep in her own bedroom, or walk down the stairs by herself. She was wrapped in cotton wool and oppressed beyond belief. She wasn’t even allowed to go out and hang around the mall with the boys.

The race was on – would William go to meet his maker before she turned 18? Watch this space!

And have a great week.

THE BIG TRIP NEXT EPISODE AND BYE BYE WILLIAM

The next morning I was hobbling around – with weight and volume in mind – I’d only packed one pair of sandals and all this walking was just too much for them. The soles parted company from the uppers. Our friendly guide whisked us through a Chang Mai market (I ignored the live frogs for sale) to a cobbler on the side of the road, who repaired them in a matter of moments. Now, living in Europe I miss this kind of instant, friendly and very cheap service seen frequently in Africa as well.

I was thrilled with the repairs for we were about to cram in 4 temples in a morning – so you will understand I’m now not sure which is which. According to the itinerary, I’ve seen the Wat Chedi Luang, the Wat Phra Sing including the city pillar in a temple complex.

I was not allowed into the City Pillar because I’m female, as a very embarrassed guide explained to me. In Buddhism? I was quite taken aback. Back to that doctrine of women being unclean part of the time. I was still trying to work out even the most basic principles of this religion, and to be honest I left the Far East none the wiser. Sad, because I’d hoped to learn so much more.

I lent my iPad to the guide and he fired off these shots for me.

In one of the temples I got a blessing from a monk and then his female assistant tied a piece of white cotton on my wrist. I was told the monk was not allowed to actually touch me.img_3872

In the bizarre history lesson today we wave goodbye to William. Remember he was 63 when he climbed up on the throne, so he only reigned for 7 years – honestly, after waiting all that time poor guy and he was 71 when he popped his clogs. Now despite siring or begetting, whichever you prefer, at least eleven illegitimate children we know about, he couldn’t just hand the throne to any of them – simply not allowed under British law. So the nearest relative was the daughter of a woman he particularly disliked. They even had a stand up row in the middle of a royal banquet. Her name was Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, a widowed German princess with two children who had been rushed into a marriage with the fourth and youngest of George III’s sons, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Streathearn, when it was suddenly noticed there wasn’t anyone to come after William.

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Standing up at the dinner table William said, in a very loud voice:- “I trust to God that my life maybe spared for nine months longer … I should then have the satisfaction of leaving the exercise of the Royal authority to the personal authority of that young lady, heiress presumptive to the Crown, and not in the hands of a person now near me, who is surrounded by evil advisers and is herself incompetent to act with propriety in the situation in which she would be placed.”

This is a pic of Mummy

There are absolutely no prizes for guessing who was coming next.

THE BIG TRIP FURTHER ON

Sadly I waved goodbye to the ellies, counting my fingers and toes in the car on the way down the hill to make sure I wasn’t a missing a bit. (Yes, I know elephants are vegetarian). We’d heard some horrific stories about the bad treatment some of them had suffered at the hands of their owners and one poor beast was hobbling around on three legs after stepping on a landmine. I was, however, only suffering from a sore toe. I’d watched the handlers smashing those large watermelons on the ground before feeding them to the elephants. That looks easy I thought what fun, and tried it as well – result, a bruised foot. I guess it takes practice and some spare feet.

We returned to our very posh hotel in Chiang Mai through the rush hour traffic which was quite horrendous

and the largest suite we’d stayed in for a long time. We could have hired a courier to pass messages from one end to the other. Don’t you just love the condoms on offer?

Just across the road we investigated this market with all kinds of interesting food on sale.

But wimpishly, we saw an Irish tavern and treated ourselves to some very European steak and potatoes, which was a change from the rice and vegetable diet more typical of the Far East.

Some beautiful, tall women came and greeted us, gorgeously dressed. I could have kicked myself later when DGH explained (in rather pompous tones I thought) they were examples of the transvestites who are common in the city. I didn’t take pictures! They hovered for a while and perhaps they were hoping to earn a few dollars by posing for the diners. I think we were the only diners there who weren’t local residents.

Now William probably didn’t notice the industrial revolution. He was too busy in his palace siring 10 illegitimate children. He attempted to sire at least 1 legitimate heir, but that didn’t work out too well. Mind, by the time he became king at the age of 64, he was probably getting a bit past it. Two of his children born on the wrong side of the blanket had died. He had them all with his mistress an actress (still a rather scandalous occupation in those days) Dorothea Jordan (born Dora Bland) with whom he lived with for twenty years.

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I get a hint here that he wasn’t terribly fond of his wife. To begin with it was an arranged marriage to begat an heir, and even before the union William had written to his eldest son, “She is doomed, poor dear innocent young creature, to be my wife.”

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I think she must have been quite easy going to accept the marriage – it came with a hefty sum of money from parliament but since William was 27 years older than her, Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen spent many happy hours in Marks and Spencers spending most of it. On good days she popped into Harrods, especially at sale time.

Have a great week, a safe Halloween and don’t forget my new book comes out on Thursday the 3rd in the Amie series – Stolen Future, which is on pre-order right now.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M67NRG4  But another blog about that nearer the time.

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