Readers' Submissions

Normal Service Is Resumed

  • Written by Phet
  • December 9th, 2013
  • 28 min read


Thai cooking class, Bangkok


The summer came to the UK and departed in the twinkling of an eye, it is now December and Christmas is looming. I have turned the thermostat up on the heating for my flat. To be honest I have not turned it up sufficient for the heating to actually come on as I cannot afford the gas but I have made the gesture.

You have not heard from me for some time. In fact the last time I posted one of my reports was back in May. It was just after the final game of the Premier League season and the Baggies had held Man United to a classic five-five draw. The new campaign currently sees us comfortably mid table and also seen us beat Man United at Old Trafford for the first time in 35 years. I should have reported also breaking the 35-year hoodoo at Chelsea but for being robbed by a highly disputed 94th minute penalty.

I have of course still been active on the site having recently submitted a Star Trek parody, which I must report did not generate much interest. I also posted a story during the last six months entitled the Mongering Philanthropist. It was a total fantasy about a boring old fart that won a few quid and found a new life in Thailand. There were no ladyboys, CIA agents, corrupt officials or shoot outs with AK47s so was unlikely to be published as a novel, thus I posted it on the site in 14 episodes. It was like my Brokenman Repaired series but without the poverty and self-deprecating humour. It was not particularly exciting but was generally well received. It had a large technical content about making bronze statues and I hope it will become required reading for students of casting technology (only joking). Now it is complete and out of my system normal service is resumed for those who enjoy the accounts of my dreary existence living in the UK.


xxx


I remain ambivalent about Thai women at present. I have previously mentioned my last few adventures with Thai women in the UK had not been very successful (which is British understatement for disaster). There was my wife Nat, and then there was Nata, Nee and Dee, all experiences indicating I should give Thai women an extremely wide berth. Whilst I can not escape the conclusion Thai women are somewhat of a poisoned chalice I continue to experience difficulty in shaking off my addiction.

I still frequent the restaurant run by my Thai friend, Annie. She opened it a few years ago in the rear of a town centre pub in a nearby town. Her business partner was a renowned Thai chef, he was gifted but I found him a bit precious and a definite prima donna. The business plan was sound; the pub had its limitations but offered low rent and low risk to a fledgling Thai restaurant. I was one of her first customers and introduced my middle class friends to the establishment. The mix of authentic food, reasonable prices and an unpretentious atmosphere proved successful. Annie is a charming lady and worked hard as hostess and waitress. It became popular, they quickly built a regular clientele and weekends saw the restaurant fully booked. Over two years they had developed a very good business. Then the propensity for self destruction that seems to be a fundamental part of the Thai psyche kicked in. The chef thought he was doing all the work whilst Annie was in his mind merely prancing about with customers. With the typical Thai myopia he had completely failed to comprehend the importance of customer service. He left the business to join another establishment leaving the place in crisis. Fortunately the friends I had introduced to the restaurant included a chartered accountant and a solicitor. With their intervention, professional advice and the engagement of a new chef they soon had the enterprise back on track.

Amongst her waitresses Annie employs two pretty teenage Thai girls who are the stepdaughters of English chaps who brought Thai wives back to the UK. These girls are intriguing, they each have lived in England for about five years so had some contact with the British school system. Both are now attending the local college (where I teach) and studying vocational subjects such as business studies or tourism. I find the adoring relationship and respect they have with their English stepfathers fascinating. It is to these fellows' credit that they are both strict and caring to their stepdaughters. The result is these delightful young ladies have not adopted the worst excesses of western teenagers and seem to have retained the sweet disposition of Thai country girls but with a western work ethic. It is both heart-warming and gratifying to see.

Annie also employs a few older Thai ladies who from a different generation have sadly adopted the mercenary attitudes prevalent in Thai women who have lived in the UK for a time. I have been informed that one of the older Thai ladies fancies me. As is to be expected she is the oldest and fattest Thai lady there. She is not unattractive but is so rotund she waddles when she walks. It prompts the question is there any advantage being with a fat elderly Thai lady or an equally fat elderly English lady?

Answers on a post card to…

Both would be like hugging a sofa although there is the alleged advantage of a common culture with the English woman. The mutual understanding of a literary allusion or culture reference is often cited as a reason for a relationship with a Western woman. However I am finding most English women’s idea of a cultural reference are merely to soap operas or banal TV reality shows.


xxx


I often joke that I lost 5 years to cheap whisky… but fortunately the years I lost were the late eighties so no harm was done. I seem to have also lost the last six months or spent most of it in a daze. In an interesting little essay recently posted by a guy named Verlorman he suggested that Stick publish a series of books based on the readers' submissions. One book would be entitled “Trials and Tribulations of Phet; One man’s quest for survival in a world that doesn’t want him anymore”. I thought this was a very perceptive observation of my situation.

I haven’t been with a woman for quite some time (I hope this is wax in my ears) and even my aged mother commented she had noticed I hadn’t had a date recently and she has Alzheimer’s so cannot remember anything. I tell her the same joke four or five times but she will always laugh and wonders how I remember them all. It is a sobering thought that the last woman to sleep in the bed at my flat was my errant ex Thai wife some four years ago.

I have not been a hermit however and have still been out and about to my regular haunts. I seem to have become a magnet for little fat arsed women who think I am cute. I experienced something similar a couple of years ago with old women. You may recall my pals referred to me as the number 74 bus in that it was only pensioners who wanted to climb aboard me.

It has been an unusual experience. I have noticed even though my drinking pals are a similar age and in truth are better looking than me, it is me who the little lard tubs make a beeline for. Now I am well aware a man in my situation can not afford to be too fussy but I know if I give in to my base desires I would never get rid off them after. I have visions of infamous bunny boilers and being stalked by a scorned lard jihad. I recall the fatwa the local Morris dancers put on me because of a sleight they had perceived I had made against them. The memory of receiving a severed hobby horse head in my bed still strikes fear in my heart.

Talking of older women I was recently introduced to one lady at a choir concert. She was slim, well-dressed, cultured and elegant. I thought she was about my age and she told me she had never been married. It transpired she was actually 82 which is older than my mother. I met another lady in my local last week. She approached me due to some confusion about a cleaning job (a long uninteresting story I won’t relate). Again she was slim well presented and made it clear she was interested in me. I was tempted for about 5 seconds until she informed she was 70. I suddenly saw the rest of my life spent running her about to the Bingo and endless hospital appointments.

I am not sure what this means other than some people are fortunate with their genes. I must confess these genetic rarities were certainly more appetising than the majority of 50 year olds I see. The problem with the majority of available English women in their 50s is that they have failed to take care of themselves and seem to be unconcerned about their appearance. They have no discernible waistlines, unkempt hair and skin like parchment. They make no effort in their dress and have forgotten that anoraks and sweat pants are not appropriate evening wear. But the biggest problem is one of attitude. Although I do meet some cultured, charming ladies and some less cultured but no less entertaining examples, I encounter more than my fair share of uncouth creatures with a miserable demeanour who feel it is their duty to make gratuitously nasty putdowns to any men they meet. Many of them seem unnaturally mean spirited and devoid of any humour or joy. It is all quite sad and probably a symptom of our dysfunctional society.

In my current reduced circumstances I am reconciled to not being able to afford a trip to Thailand for the foreseeable future. I have always felt my future soulmate is currently working as a teacher or similar in an Isaan village waiting to meet me. I am resigned that I have now missed the boat and left it too late to find a Thai lady to engage in a long term relationship and ultimately bring back to the UK. The immigration rules specify one must be able to prove you have known the lady for three years before they would consider granting a visa. I would now be starting again from scratch.

With this in mind and disillusioned with Thai women resident in the UK, I resolved to give the English dating sites one more try. Within the first five minutes of engaging with one of the major sites I realise I am wasting my time. When I see photos and profiles of women with a modicum of attractiveness I know they will perceive their orifices are lined with gold and just know I will not get a reply. This was confirmed when from 10 notes I sent I received nil replies.

Typical phrases you see on many of the profiles include :

Are you worthy of me?
My friends all say I am attractive.
Sorry guys over weight is not my turn on and I like my guys to be tall and fit.
There has to be a mutual attraction from the start.
You must be trendy & stylish, handsome, over 6 ft kind with a sense of humour.
I am an ex model.
Everyone says I don’t look my age.
No one night stands, time wasters, tattoos or Albert Steptoe lookalikes.
All I expect is to be treated how I feel I deserve to be treated.


Remember these are not young, slim beauties but women in their 50s and well past the first bloom of youth. When you see the long list of their requirements you know these women are at the early stages of the dating game and still entertain the delusion that Colin Firth or George Clooney is waiting for them. However I have seen the same photos on one site for 8 years. They clearly haven’t woken up that their ideal man is not out there. They have not yet learnt that some compromise is required in their aspirations and remain in denial for a time. However when they do finally start to compromise they will hate you because they had to compromise. By the time they have gone through the delusional stage and are willing to compromise they are too old and dried up to be of interest even to the Albert Steptoe lookalikes they earlier disdained.

Most dating site activity confirms Einstein’s assertion that insanity is continually doing the same thing but expecting different results. To maintain my sanity I have finally given up on dating sites.


xxx


I appreciate that everyone is bored of the saga of my Thai ex wife Nat. In a previous submission (The Never Ending Story) I related how she met up with an old flame in London and conceived a child with him whilst she was still married to me. The intriguing part of the tale was when out of the blue my psychic pal Norman had declared she was with the bloke she used to work for. That incident was three years ago.

There is a fascinating postscript to this incident. I recently bumped into Norman at the casino we use as a Working men’s club. I hadn’t seen him for some time as he had not been enjoying the best of health. I shook his hand which he seemed to hold for an inordinate amount of time before asking, “Have you heard from your Thai bride lately?”

I was surprised at this greeting and replied “Bloody hell, Norm, where did that come from? We usually talk about the Albion, work or shagging. It has been over three years since she left me”.

He looked at me and explained “As I held your hand I got a flash that you were thinking about something I had said to you a few years ago I had completely forgotten about.” He paused for a moment then continued “I don’t know what it is but for some reason I also got an image of your Thai bride standing here at the bar”.

“Bugger me, Norm” I exclaimed. “You are scary at times”.

He didn’t laugh but quickly remarked “Scary? You ought to be on this end of the images."

He thought for a moment before speaking “When people know I have this gift they are inquisitive but they really only want to hear good things which is why I don’t tell anybody the things I see, but as you are a pal I will tell you.”

He got himself comfortable on a bar stool and began “You used to bring her in here every Saturday night. She was lovely and everyone was charmed by her”.

He took a sip of his beer and continued “Now as you know I am a miserable git and I thought she was too good to be true. So one evening as she was talking to me I held her arm. I immediately got an image of her with a tall, young white guy and the feeling that they had colluded for her to get to England. I got an overriding sensation his British wife had found out about them and put a stop to their relationship in Thailand.”

I had the realisation he was uncomfortably accurate. It was all the more disturbing as I had never mentioned her history to Norman or anyone (if you don’t count the handful of people who read my tales on the Stickman site).

Warming to the theme he continued “I never said anything to you at the time as I could see you were besotted with her. It was only on that day some months later you said she had gone down to London that I blurted out she is with that bloke she used to work for. I realised what I had done and if you recall I quickly tried to retract it.”

I was disturbed by the revelation but resolved to make light of it. “Ah well it is all water under the bridge now”.

Norman paused for a moment and said “Listen, pal, I think I should warn you she isn’t finished with you yet.“

Taking a swig of his beer he went on, “I sense that she will make another attempt to embroil you, something to do with her son or even her new daughter… take it from me she will continue to persecute you if you are not vigilant.”

A cold shiver went down my spine, I had told no-one about the birth of her daughter.

At that point Norman’s wife and daughters came in hot from a shopping trip and joined us. The greetings and kisses of welcome deflected the discussion and our conversation returned to normal subjects, his numerous ailments and the Eastern European invasion of the town.


xxx


One of the annoying things about living in the UK is the incessant number of unsolicited phone calls from Indian call centres. They usually begin with some Indian guy calling himself Kevin wanting to do a quick survey that will only take 2 minutes of your time. An hour later you have finally got rid of him but are subjected to further phone calls from the companies sponsoring the survey. The other irritation is the calls from firms of solicitors trying to get you claim for mis-sold PPI (Payment protection insurance) or injury lawyers exhorting you to make claims for non-existent accidents. You are just settling down to enjoy yourself in a gentlemanly manner when the bloody phone rings.

One of the largest news stories of the year has been the Jimmy Saville affair. There is no doubt he was an obnoxious twat, an odious individual who abused his influence and thought himself above the law. However it all got carried to excess and there was barely a celebrity from the 70s who did not get embroiled in the press feeding frenzy that ensued. Then the thought struck me I imagine we may all start getting phone calls from the same firms of solicitors asking if Jimmy Saville had fiddled with you in the 70s and would you like to make a claim.

I do detect a faint whiff of double standards if not hypocrisy amongst western womanhood regarding the whole affair. I recall stories being paraded about rock stars admitting to drug and sex parties with underage girls. I remember seeing the account of numerous women now in their 50’s and 60’s bragging about attending such parties as young teenagers. I never heard any complaints from these women about being abused by a rock sex god; it was rock and roll after all. There is clearly great kudos for an ageing woman to admit to being ravaged by a rock and roll hero whilst underage after a concert. However it appears there is very little prestige in a women admitting at a dinner party she was shagged by that old bloke from “It’s a Knockout” or enjoying a horizontal Mambo with Ken Barlow from “Coronation Street”.

The other big story of the summer was the birth of the royal baby. Apparently the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a 6 lb 6 oz baby and there was much discussion about the birth weight. I had never understood this obsession about birth weight until I heard a group of women talking about it. They seemed to take a perverse pleasure in the damage it had probably done to her birth canal. The observations included “That would have ripped her open, I bet that made her wince, she would have had a few stitches for that, William won't be filling that again, be like throwing a chip down an entry”. I am sure a pyschiatrist would have difficulty understanding this mean spirited discussion. I had a vision of revolutionary Paris and those macabre women who sat knitting whilst watching victims being led to the guillotine.

Maybe I should get out more often or be more vigilant with my medication?

xxx

I often make reference to music and my singing, I feel I must clarify a few things to those who have heard me sing in the past and have been less than impressed. I received training in classical music as a boy, sung in a well-regarded church choir and at Lichfield Cathedral. When my voice broke I sang tenor in choral societies, oratorio ensembles and Male voice choirs. I developed a “bel canto” style and sung operatic arias at music festivals. I was well aware although I was a decent musician my voice was never better than second rate. For years when asked to sing at casual occasions or a karaoke I could not get away from employing the projection techniques necessary for singing from a stage in a large hall without an amplifier. On reflection I can imagine the effect was not pleasing. I recall on my visits to Bangkok going to karaokes with my pal Union Hill when none of his other pals would go with him. However I also recall I was just this side of crap because I was still singing in the totally unsuitable bel canto style.

Then about four years ago I was diagnosed with COPD I realised I no longer had the lung power to sing operatic material. I still loved music and began singing light operetta and part songs. I had an epiphany that for over 30 years I had been employing completely the wrong technique for my voice and so I developed a relaxed laid back style of delivery. I found I was making a good job of this lighter repertoire and quickly became a regular soloist with my male voice choir when previously I was only very rarely asked to perform solos.

At this time I had also realised I was somewhat Billy no-mates in my own town. I saw the numerous karaoke evenings as a source of sociable interaction. I had never been particularly interested as I was handicapped by my singing technique and there was only a couple of karaoke numbers I could actually sing. With my new comfortable singing style I started participating and found I was making friends. Within a short time my repertoire has increased to about 40 songs I find I can comfortably sing a variety of music like the Drifters, Commodores, Reggae and romantic ballads as well as old favourites from the classic crooners’.

In a long winded way I am telling my pal Union Hill that next time I visit Bangkok he need not be embarrassed to go to a karaoke with me any more.


xxx


I have changed my local watering hole. I stopped using the “Welded wallet” when the management company that run the pub on behalf of the brewery dismissed the eighth landlord in two years. It seemed every time the place began to thrive the unspeakable oaf who ran the management company either stopped the entertainment budget or dismissed the current incumbent. As these illogical actions suggested ulterior motives or nefarious intentions I began writing to the chairman of the brewery. I penned these missives in the style of a pompous old colonel writing to the Times, I did not expect to achieve anything but it was good fun. The Brewery eventually curbed the worst excesses of this incompetent buffoon but the effects of his leaden hand had already driven away all the customers. The pub was like an undertaker’s carnival and all the promise of improvements made by the new incumbent and the brewery would count for naught. Their actions were at least eighteen months too late.

I have taken to frequenting the “Pisshead and ponytail” as my local, it does not have the ambience the Welded Wallet used to have but it is lively and always has some entertainment. It has a very mixed clientele, some nights it is like the waiting room for the Jeremy Kyle show and occasionally full of young kids who look like extras from the film “Deliverance”. It has its fair share of fat wenches and Neanderthal men whose knuckles scrape the ground but it is generally friendly and there is never a dull moment. It has become the base for a local biker club who police the establishment and there has never been any trouble since their arrival. Last week they had a lesbian engagement party and only served tongue sandwiches and fish fingers on the buffet. They have a comedy night on Thursday and a variety of bands playing on Saturday evenings but the highlight for me is the Friday night karaoke.

It is always busy but as the girl who runs the karaoke is a pleasant little lard arse with a soft spot for me I usually get to sing 3 or 4 times however busy it is. I am never short of company and there are some interesting and unusual characters to observe. My one mate John is a confirmed bachelor whose principle aim in life is to sing 1000 different songs on the karaoke, after five years he is currently on 956. John is a scruffy little bugger and I often introduce us to women as Compo and Clegg (from the Last of the summer wine). Many find this amusing and it has been a good ice breaker until one cheeky bugger asked which one was which?

I have become pals with a young gay chap named Stephan. Now before you all speculate I have finally come out of the closet and become good with colours I must assure you I have certainly not reverted to the dark side and have no interest in being reamed by a stoker with the faraway gleam in his eye. I have avoided contact with shirt lifters in the past not because I am particularly homophobic but I always found them generally unpleasant having all the worst excesses of women without the redeeming physical attributes. Stephan is the first sausage jockey I have found to be an entertaining fellow and he has introduced me to the phenomenon of the “fag hag”. These are women who are ostensibly straight but appreciate socialising with gay men. He has introduced me to his entourage of “fruit flies” with the theory they want the interesting gay company but at the end of the night they want shagging by a straight guy. It hasn’t worked for me yet but there is time.

I even have female company some Fridays when I have a few young girls sit with me. They include Jess a pretty unmarried mother, Chloe a bubbly little chubby girl and Sharon a vivacious 40 year old who is one of Stephan’s fag hags. I know I am in the dreaded “friend zone” with them but their fragrant company is appreciated. The most interesting of my Friday ladies is Jess’s mother Deb a widow in her 40s whose husband died serving in the British army in Bosnia a few years ago. Jess has indicated that her mother would not be averse to my advances but I have not acted upon it. She is a pleasant and interesting lady but in my current reduced circumstances I feel I do not have the wherewithal to develop a relationship.


xxx


When summer finally arrived for a couple of days it brought out all the young darlings in short skirts and shorts showing off their long coltish legs. In some ways it was a good thing the summer was short or I would have wanked myself into a coma by autumn. Some of the most wonderful displays of young flesh were at the college I teach two days a week. A fellow lecturer remarked that many of his colleagues who come from a school background claim they never look at them which he can not understand as he comes from a similar industry background to me. I outlined my theory that if these young ladies have made the effort to look so provocative it would be criminal not to ogle them. In fact I assert it is not about being a lecher it is the cosmic law. If they are not looked at a rift in the time space continuum begins to open in the universe and all life as we know it will be consumed in a celestial black hole. You can not just rely on me and Dr Who alone to save humanity.

I have been informed I have to include diversity and equality into my lectures. I explained I was basically teaching young men how to throw molten metal into a mould and failed to see how I could integrate the concepts of diversity and equality into such a basic activity. However the PC obsessed college management insisted I do so. So I tested out a potential presentation on one my colleagues. I referred to the discrimination shown to middle aged men. When they go to Thailand they are derided as degenerate sex tourists. However when middle aged white women go to Gambia or the Caribbean and pay a young black guy to knock the back out of them for a week they are merely having a holiday romance. This is not equitable and is a good example of inequality. My colleague agreed but suggested this was not what the PC management directive had in mind. This obsession with Political correctness has now pervaded educational establishments and has replaced education as its primary purpose.

This PC culture has sneaked up on us like Charles Handy’s boiling frog. I fear it is all part of a conspiracy by the feminist media and certain factions in government to keep men subservient. By keeping us working long hours, paying taxes and alimony we have no time to notice our freedoms being eroded. However I have heard of an alternative in the form of a movement called MGTOW (Men going their own way). It is not a political organisation but a men’s liberation movement. It does not advocate demonstrations or militant action but proposes a form of passive resistance similar to Mahatma Ghandi’s campaign against British rule in the 1940s. It suggests various levels of disengagement from our perverse society. One example is to stop working so hard or change jobs so we don’t pay as much tax to support the feminist socialist agenda. The one avenue suggested is fiscal neutrality, not claiming benefits but not paying tax which rather appeals to a bloke like me in my current situation. I quite like the idea of a Ghandi style passive resistance but I will be buggered if I will wear sandals like him.


xxx


The 6 month training project in Cumbria was a success and I completed the final week in June. My routine involved driving up on Sunday afternoon booking into the hotel and making my way to the pub opposite. There appears a tradition in the town every Sunday; it begins with a joint christening/wedding being celebrated in the pub. At 8.30 a disco starts up and a group of Amazonian women commence dancing. On cue at 9.30 a fight breaks out (usually over one of these Amazonian females). The fracas continues in the street outside and can involve up to twenty participants. The police turn up and the disturbance is good humouredly resolved. By 9.45 the streets are completely empty of revellers. At 10.15 everything starts up again the pub fills and the music recommences. I usually get up and sing a few numbers on the karaoke until I am pleasantly inebriated and return to the hotel.

I will miss it now the project is complete.

I will also miss the money as it was my main income for a time. I struggled during July and August and had just enough money to “eat salt with rice” as the Thais say until September. I have realised initiatives in the field of education are very much like elephants mating…it is done at high level with lots of trumpeting and noise but nothing is actually produced for almost two years. There was talk of a consultancy project at a foundry in Chennai India which did not transpire. I was slightly relieved as I did not want to compromise the education initiatives I had worked so hard to develop, and didn’t fancy losing my life through my anal orifice in India.

In September the colleges started again and at least I had two days work a week. Since then the Diploma programme is developing, we have a new intake of students and last years intake are now doing the second year. We have an adult class meet every month and in the New Year Diploma courses start in South London and in Scotland. There is a Certificate course planned for Wales after Easter and a couple of short courses on the South coast similar to the programme in Cumbria. If all goes to plan I will have about 16 days work a month. I have been just surviving on 10 days work a month so with the additional 6 days income I could save a few quid. On an optimistic note maybe a trip to the kingdom of Thailand could be on the cards next year (be still my quivering heart)

I have found life is all about finding a niche but I do occasionally wonder if the “Hokey cokey” IS what it’s all about.


xxx