Monthly Archives: May 2018

Travel Thailand…Koh Samui…A Secret Garden.

Koh Samui The Secret Garden

 

Koh Samui…The Secret Garden.

On our very first visit to Thailand in 2002 many years ago now with our two young grandsons, we visited this lovely Island of Koh Samui. A beautiful island where I first fell in love with Thailand. At that time, never in my wildest dreams did I think that one day I would be living that dream.

Here I am in 2018 and living that dream…

Out exploring the island one day we saw a sign which said: ” Secret Garden” It piqued my curiosity as a few years ago while driving in England we saw a similar sign which said, ” Secret Bunker”… so seeing this made me smile at that memory as that also was a day to remember and not what we expected.

Would this ” Secret Garden” be the same?

An unexpected delight?…

At the sign, we took the turning and was it a steep hill…we slowly made our way upwards, the uneven road presented us with sheer drops either side and the road was barely one car wide…

Yikes if we meet anything coming the other way and thank goodness the only vehicle we did meet was a motorcycle and luckily it was able to edge its way past us and away it went.

My son was driving and does not like heights at the best of times and was a tad nervous. I think we were all relieved when we spied a restaurant and were able to pull into its small car park…we were presented with the most amazing views and then came the food which was awesome…just delicious.

Enquiring about the “Secret Garden” the restaurant staff pointed upwards with a big smile… Really?…at that point, it was unanimous to leave the truck and walk!

We walked and walked and all we saw was the occasional bike which passed us going the other way…Down!

The noises which we heard coming from the jungle as we walked up the steep track were quite magnified and sounded like a chainsaw…well that was the story I told my open-mouthed grandsons it did make them walk a little quicker though …haha. It was only later that I discovered they were Cicadas and due to the acoustics on the mountain when they rubbed their wings together in unison they did sound like a chainsaw.

Suddenly the road plateaued out…We were at the top…

A group of children thailand-471700_1280

Thirsty and worn out…Our first view was a small shop selling water and a group of bemused local children were watching us and laughing probably thinking  ” mad Farangs” walking in this heat up the mountain. At that point, I was happy to agree with them…

Looking around we spied a lone kiosk

No secret garden?…

I had this mental picture of pretty flowers…orchids and a statue or two… There was nothing like that in sight!

Walking over to the kiosk we paid for our tickets…well, we were here so we may as well have a look…

Where is this garden? The smiling woman pointed to some steps…from where I was standing they looked wooden and slightly rickety…Oh No! My legs could not take any more…

Down and down we went… That first glimpse of this “Secret Garden” was amazing..statues carved out of stone, a tiny house, little streams and miniature waterfalls trickling and running through the middle of this garden, a small amphitheatre, all among the trees which were growing on the mountainside…Not a flower in sight…

 

Did it matter? Not at all…This was magical and a memory which has stayed with me over the years…

My research since then has told me that an old Durian Fruit Farmer in 1976 at the grand old age of 77 started to fulfil his life’s ambition and carved all these wonderful statues which he had seen in his dreams and he created them to honour Buddha.

The statues depict a number of animals, deities and humans in various poses, including one of the man himself Khun Nim in a relaxed position sitting on a rock. Khun Nim continued to work developing his garden until his death at the age of 91.

The garden is now cared for by his relatives.

This also reinforces to me that…

You can dare to dream” and that dreams do come true…albeit you have to work hard and you must have that will and determination to make it happen just like this old Durian farmer called Uncle(Khun) Nim did.

We visited this magical place which was way off the beaten track back in 2002 so a few years ago now and the road is no longer open to the public but only to experienced 4 x 4 drivers. But, local tour firms offer day trips up the mountain.

The new road lies directly opposite the temple Wat Khunaram near Lamai and the road leads you through some very steep hills to the Secret Garden. It is also now known locally as the Magic or Buddha garden and magical it certainly was for me.

A beautiful magical garden which I hope to revisit one day… I have never forgotten my visit to the Secret Garden and it has been the subject of a presentation I did for work. A short story I wrote in the Phuket Writers Anthology and a lovely memory for me which I am now sharing with you… If you ever get the chance to visit I am sure it will not disappoint. I hope you are left with that same magical feeling which I experienced.

If You loved this please hit the share button x

If you really want to see even more from me???? There are many strings to my bow…If you really still want to find out more… Although I do come with a warning…LOL

I am a crazy English lady with a quirky sense of humour…  But I do look forward to meeting you x

Connect to Carol( Moi)

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest ( 1): https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

hidden gem (2nd)

Until next time….When it will be weekly roundup time…xxx

 

 

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Cookery and Food Column with Carol Taylor – A veritable feast of Chicken

Chicken…Who has said… Oh no! Not chicken again ???? Try these and you will want to eat chicken for every meal…simple to do but delicious to eat 🙂 Enjoy!

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Carol Cooks! Chicken…

Welcome back to my cookery column I do hope that you enjoyed getting to know me better last week and although I have sung in public I will not be singing any chicken songs today…lol

No… I will be sharing with you some of my favourite chicken recipes most of which can also be made with Pork or Beef…

Chicken is the preferred meat of many people as it is a white meat and depending on how it is cooked low in calories… It is the sauces, the skin and the method of cooking which bumps up its calories and can take it into the unhealthy zone…

They all fight and hover here to see who I am going to bequeath my crispy chicken skin to…lol

I will start by giving you my recipe for chicken stock as I always make my own and freeze in ice…

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Healthy Eating…No More Diets…Obesity around the world… Australia!

No more Lamington

Welcome back to Carol’s Bootcamp…I can’t think why I called it that as this is not about being on a diet but Healthy Eating and I know some people like structure but at some point you will either get fed up with the restrictions of the said diet and then pile the pounds back on or spend the rest of your life eating foods which you don’t really enjoy but they are supposed to be good for you… Well, to hell with all that!

Life is for living…Food is for enjoying…

So what I have decided to do is some comparisons …It started with a headline about obesity …Country by country and percentages and then I got to thinking about the difference in lifestyles and options or just what we have always eaten..But then those stats began to make sense to me…

Today I am looking at the eating habits of the Aussie’s who are at numero 31 with a percentage of 28.60%.

I absolutely love what I have seen of Australia so far and their cuisine is very heavily influenced by the English and the Irish obviously going back to the days when the English and the Irish first stepped foot on Aussie soil.

Beautiful fresh seafood is one of the foods Australia is famous for, Lamington, Pavlova and Anzac biscuits are very much symbolic of Oz…

Sausage rolls, meat pies, Burgers and huge like the American burgers the difference being Ozzie’s love beetroot in their burgers …In actual fact, I first came across Beetroot chutney which was a request from an Aussie customer when he ordered a burger from our bar…

A new one on me at the time and now a family favourite.

Like the Brits, a cooked breakfast is typical in Oz…

Fried Breakfast

Meat pies are eaten with tomato ketchup or as a pie floater on top of a bowl of pea soup… It is also a long-held tradition with the Aussies that meat pies are eaten on AFL Grand Final Day.

BBQ with the emphasis on plenty of meat is again a way of life…

A diet laden with preservatives, salt, fat is why Cancer has overtaken Cardiovascular disease and is now Australia’s biggest killer which is why the Australian government are pushing a number of initiatives and promoting healthier diets which are lower in salt and fat…

A beautiful country with plenty of natural fruits and sympathetically raised cattle the Australians should be much healthier but as with anything if your intake is higher than your output the result will be preventable diseases and higher mortality rates.

It seems such a shame but the whole western world needs to be getting a handle on their nations eating habits or preventable diseases will just escalate.

Next weeks post is the last in this series which I do hope you have enjoyed when I will be comparing the top and the bottom of this table …I haven’t done any research on either yet so I wonder what the difference is apart from the obvious.

As you know I don’t advocate diets as in cutting out food groups but feel that you should eat a varied diet with some foods being eaten in moderation or as an occasional treat. My fellow blogger Sally has written an excellent post on how to lose pounds without resorting to harmful crash diets.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/05/23/smorgasbord-health-column-forget-crash-diets-ease-your-body-into-that-swimsuit-this-summer-2/

Thank you for reading and I do hope you are enjoying this little series if so please hit the share button.

If you really want to see even more from me???? There are many strings to my bow…If you still want to find out more…

I am a crazy English lady with a quirky sense of humour…  I look forward to meeting you x

Connect to Carol( Moi)

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest ( 1): https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

hidden gem (2nd)

Until  next time xxx

The Charade – Chapter 20

The plot thickens…

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S C Richmond

Chapter 20

By Carol Taylor

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The girl was angry, angrier than she had been for a long time… Carl’s eyes had given him away she had seen the real him. Instead of being scared though she was angry it seemed like everyone she knew was keeping things from her or trying to get something from her…Why?

Lost in her thoughts she realised she was standing in front of the door where she was staying and a kind looking man was smiling at her.

“Did you have nice walk? The weather is lovely isn’t it? Come in, Come in you must be hungry.” She followed the man into the dining room where there was a lovely table set with a beautiful white cloth and some very pretty flowers. “Sit down my dear …I will ring Jenny to bring in breakfast…”

Within a few minutes a smiling girl appeared carrying a beautiful…

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Travel Thailand… Street Food and Markets…

street food and markets

The one thing which I hope will not change for a very long time is the street food stalls and the markets.

As a child, I remember the thriving markets my mum used to take me to and now they are all gone disappeared…Yes, cities like London, York and others still have thriving Markets with organic produce and speciality goods but proper local markets seem to have all but disappeared.

It is different here wherever I have lived or visited in Asia there is a market or two…every single day no matter where you live. We can drive from one town to another through local villages and there are markets, not just the odd one but many they are the heart and soul of Asia to me..wonderful street food and beautiful fresh produce…They range from a small group of 10 stalls just selling meat or vegetables to huge markets selling everything.

Small local market

They keep the soul of the place going there are real communities which care not just an estate of houses where no one even sees their neighbours and shop online… A place where there are real friendships and community…Where people share and I have been overwhelmed with that…people I don’t know …people who do not speak a word of English who come to my gate with Mangoes, bananas, little delicacies for us to try and we, in turn, share our produce and when I cook I give them a little plate to try, a jar of pickles… A real community…

bangkok floating market

There are floating markets where you are hauled over to the floating boat to check the wares with a boat hook ..beautiful handmade goods, wonderful fresh fruit and freshly cooked food… If you haven’t experienced the wonders of a floating market then you haven’t lived.

floating market thailand-502480_1280

The vibrant fruit and vegetable market where I  shop open as early as 3 am in the morning...

I normally arrive around 6 am -7 am …they are still bustling with people and shops buying their fresh wares…People on their way to work or coming home from work getting their breakfast…All freshly cooked to order…

Tessabaan fresh vegetables and lady

The markets are generally held right in the middle of a community or on the outskirts… You can buy anything …One stop shopping..food, clothes, household items, bedding, electrical goods, a puppy or a kitten… Fresh fish, dried fish, still alive and wriggling fish, frogs which here in the North are a staple, rats…yes rats…tasty I am told by the stall holders and they feed on rice they say, so clean not like the sewer rats …But they have them here in the city where I live..where do they come from I wonder…I will not be enquiring or be eating…This I draw the line at…A big black line..nada, No, I am not even going there…

Bugs and insects, so many varieties all piled high,

Crispy Fried Insects

Deep fried and crispy, ant eggs, soy eggs, 100-year-old eggs the list is endless… If you would like to create an authentic Thai recipe in your own kitchen then here is the authentic recipe for ANT EGG salad…I hope you enjoy!

Pigs heads…and trotters…My father used to love a bowl of Pigs Trotters… So we were not so very different back then…

Pigs & Chickens

Stalls piled high with Pork, Beef, Fish…

It is a virtual treasure trove of new discoveries for me …I think every single market I have visited holds more new delights and things I haven’t seen or tasted before…Some I recognise…Much I don’t… Much of what is sold is localised from one area to another so always a surprise or a find…I love it!

Do I have a favourite…No!

There are so many and they are so varied that I would be hard-pressed to do so…

I am quite used to seeing stall holders fast asleep on their stall, under their stall, I suppose with having such long trading hours you have to catch a nap when you can…Some even live and sleep behind their stalls ..you will see evidence of this..clothes drying, a telly, sleeping children and babies for some it is a fact and a way of life…

market-3233394_1280

A way to earn a living, some more successful than others…some only sitting on the pavement surrounded by a few wares to sell…All the produce..generally very fresh, picked that morning…

I suspect many people here live from day to day…hand to mouth… depending on what they sell…

Some quite young but many very old… their only income..here there is no cushion, no social handouts, if you have nothing to eat …That, is exactly what it means … Nothing to eat!

When we say we have nothing to eat… What we mean is ..nothing we fancy ..we want to buy more food to put in our fridges, our store cupboard…

It is a whole different world and one which many have not seen or experienced…But hey…it is out there and we don’t know how lucky we are…

Thank you for reading and I do hope you enjoy these glimpses that I give you of my travels if you do please share on your favourite social media channels…Thank you…

If you really want to see even more from me???? There are many strings to my bow…If you still want to find out more…

I am a crazy English lady with a quirky sense of humour…  I look forward to meeting you x

Connect to Carol( Moi)

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest ( 1): https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

Until  next time xxx

Travel Malaysia…Penang.

Retired No One Told Me! Travel Malaysia

This weekend I am taking you to Penang, Malaysia …

My first trip was a whistle-stop visit as I had to fulfil the terms of my first visa application but I loved my short stopover in Penang and will certainly be returning to explore Penang at leisure.

The capital Georgetown is a UNESCO World Heritage City.

“The islands’ capital” and Malaysia’s second largest city behind Kuala Lumpa.

With such a multicultural population as expected, it is a foodies heaven, there is a wonderfully eclectic variety of culinary delights ready for you to sample and I did I sampled as much as I could in the short time I was there…

I chose to visit The Penang road which is famous for its Teochew Chendul stall, there is always a perpetual queue of locals as well as excited tourists it dates back to 1936 when it founder Tan Teik Fuang began selling these frozen desserts on Penang Road.

My favoured mode of transport is one of these… A rickshaw…

penang-1298828_1280 rickshaw

My driver was a chatty little man who spoke quite good English and pointed out all the things he thought I would like to see a most enjoyable ride.

I was in foodies heaven that is after delighting at the beautiful architecture which consists of both new and old and they marry together delightfully.

penang-street-view-2883947_1280

I much prefer using local transport rather than a taxi so off we set to get my cendol…At first, the bright neon green of the jelly noodles put me off slightly… If you read my 5 questions over at Sally’s and the greengage jam and gravy saga you will know why…lol

cendol-837368_1280

Chendul also is known as Cendol and is a mixture of shaved ice, coconut milk, palm sugar, red beans and green jelly noodles made from Pandam once I knew this I put any reservations I had to one side.

Each bowl is made to order and what makes this dish..this delicious dessert so very special is that it is not overwhelmingly sweet but has just a touch a very light touch of sweetness and many go back for a second bowl… I was very tempted as having tried it I was a convert but I was saving myself for my visit to the night market and looking forward to sampling an Oyster omelette and I couldn’t leave without also having my favourite Nasi Lemak.

Nasi lemak food-658715_1280

Served on a banana leaf as is most of the food here..it comprises of rice, meat, nuts and a spicy sambal always slightly different and you can choose your preferred meat but always delicious.

The Oyster omelette is made with an egg and rice flour batter which creates a balance between crispness and fluffiness. The briny Oysters are mixed with green onions, chilli and garlic and then fried in the batter and served with a hot chilli dip…Foodie Heaven once again and another dish for which Penang is famous for.

This bustling and vibrant night market which is situated in the New Lane Hawker Centre, Lorong Baru George Town and opens @ 4 pm every day.

During my stay, I stayed at The Banana Boutique which is a lovely little boutique hotel with friendly staff. It is also fairly close to all the amenities that I wanted to visit.

All in all a lovely short stay but next time I will go in search of the beautiful beaches which I am told are well worth a visit surrounded by palm trees and some of the most stunning beaches and only about a 30 minute trip to the North from George Town.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and if you have please share with your favourite social media…Thank you.

Retired no one told me! penang

If you really want to see even more from me???? There are many strings to my bow…If you still want to find out more…

I am a crazy English lady with a quirky sense of humour…  I look forward to meeting you x

Connect to Carol( Moi)

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest ( 1): https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

Until  next time xxx

The Charade…Chapter 19

 

 

 

The plot thickens… Who is she? This girl…

Carl is he really the only villain ???

via The Charade – Chapter 19

Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed this post please share… Thank you x

If you really want to see even more from me???? There are many strings to my bow…If you still want to find out more…

I am a crazy English lady with a quirky sense of humour…  Look forward to meeting with you x

Connect to Carol( Moi)

Blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/carol.taylor.1422

Pinterest ( 1): https://www.pinterest.com/caroltaylor56/pins/

Until  next time xxx