Day 178: A Home Away From Home

Yes. Yes. Yes. YEEEEEES! Today was the day Sarah and I finally got our fix. When we finally got around to leaving our resort, we located a traditional English pub with all the trimmings, and most importantly, Roast Dinners. We couldn’t believe our luck, we were both missing English food, and on the island of Phangan we were able to get some. That was the highlight of the day, but for blog purposes, here is what happened during the rest of the day.

• As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, because I lost half my work, I spent 4 hours of my morning retyping. It was midday by the time I’d finished, and I went upstairs to join the girls in the restaurant.

• Because they’d gone on ahead, leaving the mad writer to continue his servitude to his work, they’d already eaten breakfast. I sat down beside them and enjoyed a bowl of porridge and a banana fruit shake. The whole time, Anna was watching a movie on her phone, and Sarah and I watched funny videos on the tablet, very social I think you’ll agree.

• It was raining the whole time we sat there, but the second the sun came out Sarah ran to the beach. I don’t know what word you’d use to describe the complete opposite of a vampire, but whatever it is, that should be Sarah’s title. The second there is the slightest sign of sunlight, she has a towel, kindle, and suntan lotion in hand, and is immediately making her way towards it.

• Anna and I remained in the restaurant for around 2 hours after Sarah left. We were abusing the wifi, Anna so she could sort out her Australian visa, and I used it to download tv shows. We were eventually diverted from the the Internet superhighway when the router ceased to work. It was no use, we couldn’t connect to it at all. The pair of us agreed we’d spent too long on our devices already, and should go out somewhere for the day. Sarah was elated with this news, and we had one rule: “LEAVE THE DEVICES IN THE ROOM!”

• We each had a quick shower, followed by Anna hiring a bike for herself. We made a slight change to our one rule, we could take the tablet, as we wanted the downloads of our favourite tv shows to continue. But under no circumstance was anyone to use it for social networking, there were three of us, and we should respect the art of conversation. If we couldn’t entertain ourselves without the use of technology, then society would be doomed to failure. There would be a whole generation of people unable to interact with each other face to face. Ok, so maybe that was a little extreme, but you get my point.

• Anna and I both needed fuel for our bikes, so for another 50 baht we purchased a whole bottle of gasoline. Before setting off, there was one thing we needed… directions.
Sarah and I asked the jolly receptionist once again to help us out. Apparently I had to go the same way as the day before, only this time I better understood her. There had clearly been a miscommunication last time. Instead of going left opposite the 7Eleven, what she actually meant to say was continue “straight” past the 7Eleven until we found some crossroads. It was there that I’d have to take a left, and basically, stay on that round for a long time. Sarah sat on the back of my bike, and I led the way.

• All of this worked out perfectly, I even passed the gasoline stations she told me about the day before. All we had to do was look out for signs to the English pub and we’d be golden. It didn’t take any more than 20 minutes riding, before we were parking our bikes outside a very familiar looking building. If you didn’t know you were in Thailand, and somebody blindfolded you, and walked you to the front doors of this building, you’d swear you were in England. Everything about this place screamed home to us. The tall white walls of the building, the black tiled roof, the wooden doors, even it’s name was traditional… “The Masons Arms”. First things first, we needed a photo to commemorate this moment. Good job we’d brought the tablet along, else we’d have been kicking ourselves. We then approached the front doors.

• Unlike England, it wasn’t filled with locals that give non regulars the silent stare as they walk through the door. Instead there were a few people enjoying their meals. The interior was just as traditional as the outside. The floor was comprised of wooden boards, the tables and chairs were made of a thick treated wood, with an upholstered cushion riveted to the long bench seats. From the ceiling hung decorative glass light shades, and the bar was just like any from home, long and wooden, with several draught pumps erected from it. Looking like long lost illuminated friends. The whole place was a sight for sore eyes, but it didn’t stop there. It wasn’t just a visual pleaser, there was a fragrance in the air which took me straight back home in an instant.

• The smell of a Sunday roast lingered on everything it touched, and as the aroma floated so evocatively around the room, it tickled the hairs in my nose until I couldn’t think straight. All I then wanted was a Sunday Roast. When the lady came over with the menus, I completely blanked everything else on it, I thumbed through the pages until I found the holy grail. A roast dinner cost 290 baht (£6-7) depending on what meat you wanted. I chose chicken because it was the cheapest, but there was the option of beef or pork.

• I must’ve looked like the Cheshire Cat when I heard the bell ring (which signified the food was cooked) and I saw the lady carrying my plate of food over. There it was, after being away for nearly 7 months, and eating nothing but noodles and rice, I had the mother of all English meals in front of me. It was a hefty portion too. I took a photo, before picking up my knife and fork to dig in. I didn’t know where to begin, I stabbed at the roast potatoes, then the chicken, immediately followed by the vegetables, and as for the Yorkshire pudding, well, that couldn’t get in my mouth quick enough. At the end, I even used the straw from my coke to sip some gravy, disgusting I know, but you don’t understand how much I’d missed a roast. Never had I been so happy to eat a little taste of home. It reminded me of everything, Sundays around Sarah’s house when her family would come to visit, times that I’d visit my mum and enjoy a roast with my family, it even took me as far back as my childhood when I’d stay with my grandparents. It was an emotional moment, it wasn’t until then that I realised how powerful our senses truly are. I didn’t realise a single meal could make you miss so much.

• At one point, I even said to Sarah how I’d taken it all for granted back home. I don’t want to get sentimental and patriotic right now, but as I looked around the room, enjoying a piece of heaven, I truly am grateful to be British. As a child, and even as I grew older, I always wanted to live any place but there (and I always felt a strange desire for that place to be America) but in that very moment, I realised how good I had it back home. England truly is a great country, it’s just a shame that politics and the newspapers constantly magnifying and misconstrue any piece of information they can, which in turn causes a grey cloud over the nation. It’s no wonder we Brits have such a great sense of humour, we spend our whole lives laughing in the face of adversity.

• Anna captured our happy faces on the tablet as we ate, then we cast it into the backpack, leaving it to download tv shows. After our meals, we enjoyed another weekend favourite of mine and Sarah’s, we sat in the beer garden. We each paid just over a pound for a glass of draught beer, then sat on a bench playing card games. When we grew tired of that, we moved inside to play a game of pool. I played against both Anna and Sarah at the same time, and Jamie Bliss will be pleased to know, I beat them. We only played the one game, before moving on to darts. Although, I have to admit, when I threw my darts at the board I felt like Robin Hood, as I somehow managed to get one dart stuck in the flight of another. Just as Robin Hood had split the arrow during archery practise (according to the Kevin Costner movie at least). Anna was the victor as we attempted to play “around the clock”. She hit numbers 1,2,3. Leaving Sarah and I to struggle on number 1. It was during that game that our second meals of the day arrived.

• Time was getting on by now, and we had spent the best part of the late afternoon at the pub (something I can safely say I didn’t do at home). Now that it was early evening we were getting peckish again, hence the second meal. This time around I had a steak and ale pie. It too was delicious, but I think I had spoiled myself by being greedy, a small sandwich would have sufficed. The delicious pastry based meal came with everything you could ask for, vegetables, mashed potato, gravy, and a large pie, all causing an oral sensation in my mouth. But because I wasn’t ravenous like early on, it didn’t taste as good. Sweating as I struggled to finish it.

• After paying for the meal, we got back on the bikes and began riding back to our resort. When we got to Hut Sun resort we spent an hour or so using the wifi in the restaurant. This gave the tablet more time to download tv shows, and we were also joined by the friendly dogs. All three of them waddled over and sat beneath the table at our feet. At one point, the biggest of the three wandered around with one of Anna’s flip flops in its mouth, which looked funnier than it sounds, I guess you had to be there. At 10pm the staff closed up for the night, and we returned to our room.

• We watched some tv shows, before I started to work on the blog. I never seem to start these until around midnight, I find there’s something more creative about writing as the rest of the world sleeps, I don’t know what it is, but it works for me. Perhaps it’s the silence, I don’t know, all I know is I do my best work in the early hours. The only downside is I don’t get to bed until around 1-1:30am, sometimes it can even be as late as 3am. See what I go through to write these, I’m my own worst enemy. And when the work gets deleted, like last night, grrrrrr, does it make my blood boil. This time I’ll be sure to hit the save button. Would you look at that, it’s now 1:43am. It’s about time I got some sleep. Goodnight folks.

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