Calliandra haematocephala in our garden


Up Fotoboek Laura Plakboek English


Dear Friends, 2014 has, in many ways, been a continuation of 2013.

Minke has signed for another year as a teacher at an international school in Thailand and poses in this photo with her direct colleagues in front of the classrooms.

Every day we continue to enjoy our nice home in Jomtien and the good care of our helper, however keeping the pool algae-free is an ongoing fight without a pool-boy. We welcomed many visitors this year as well. Obviously regulars Laura and Minke’s mother Paula came, and in the spring Jan & Thea and Gert-Jan & Marion, but also Richard, who recently ended up in the same UN-retirees boat as me. This spring, we organized the annual car rally of the Dutch community in Pattaya. There is no road in the area we haven’t explored, and it was a fun experience.

But for Laura, there were major changes. After obtaining her Bachelors in Maastricht in January, she immediately went to Australia in February to begin with her two-year Research Masters in Public Health there. She is enjoying living with her boyfriend in an apartment in the center of Canberra, and has found that Canberra defies its reputation. During her current 3-month break she is doing an internship at the Regional Research Office of the WHO in Manila, after which she will start her final research year in Canberra in February 2015. Kees and Minke visited Laura in the Philippines for Christmas and New Year, which was good to be together again for some time.

Over the summer Kees enjoyed his free time in Spain and in the Netherlands with his new Jaguar Mark IV project, which is currently still in its disassembling-phase. The dreaded disaster is as of yet limited, with most mechanical parts in a surprisingly good condition. Only one outlet valve, some piston rings and a grudgeonpin bearing need to be replaced. Car parts are hard to get, but with the able Jim and his lathe here in Thailand at hand, parts I cannot get can be made. The sheet metal with old cars is as I feared it would be, and just as with old people: the wounds below the knee don’t heal well. However, Kees is experiencing a steep learning curve in panelbeating and welding, and is confident he can make it work!

Kees did some sailing on a different yacht this year, the "Souay" (Thai for 'beautiful woman') which in many ways has been an opposite experience compared with the "Siren". The captain is a French-speaking Canadian, there is no smoking on board, and also alcohol is consumed very sparingly. The yacht itself has classic lines with sails that are past their expiry date, and has such a modest handicap that we win regularly within our class, we even won the Top of the Gulf Regatta! This was also due to the strengthening of our team with some really good sailors, but we did win! On this picture you see the captain sitting down, Marco, our highly experienced Dutch sailor at the helm, and me on the left pulling at the jib.

In the Netherlands we do what we feel we will enjoy. We took the caravan for a visit to Hetty and Nico in Ermelo, followed by the National Oldtimer Rally including a few closing laps at the Circuit Zandvoort, (for which we did decide to disconnect the BIOD caravan. Fellow racers were friendly, and enthusiastically came with a Dauphientje, Ugly Duck or R4 which have combined less engine displacement than our Jaguar 3.8 alone, but thought were competitive anyway.

In late September Kees, Anton and two other friends went sailing on the ‘wadden’ of the Netherlands. Here you can see us; belly on the sand, waiting for the water to leave and sand to surface so we can take a walk across the mudflats, which is a very special experience. The return of the flood is also quite spectacular.

Thailand is still going through turbulent times: the military has seized power again, but this is not necessarily bad for the people of Thailand. Democracy is suspended and the press is restricted, however it also seems that corruption is being addressed and more laws are being enforced. The killings by Muslims in the south are continuing, the counter is now over 6,000 deaths.

Tense days in Alkmaar for Minke’s sister Dorine who, young as she is, suffered a heart attack but is now luckily stable and resting with a dose of medication. Tragically our good friend Christa passed away a few weeks after we had seen her, at much too young an age.

We wish all our friends and family all the best for 2015 and we hope you will come for a swim in our pool some time.