Mark Newman

Letter from Thailand

A bit of good old English nostalgia


New research by British scientists from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne suggests that drinking tea regularly could help improve your memory... but I can't remember the last time I had a cup of tea!

Well, reading that got me to thinking about other things that I had forgotten about since leaving my homeland permanently back in 1987. It was easier to come up with a list of things that I liked and missed. you know; Branston Pickle, Penguin bars and sausage rolls, etc. It was a bit harder to think of the things that I had forgotten about and no longer even cared for, but here are a few anyway:

First off, tea! That great British institution that cures everything from the bad news on TV to having your GIRO arrive two days later than it should!

Cricket and Beefy. When I lived in the UK cricket was played in white by every team and only a real fairy would wear a mask. Ian Botham was a hero to every schoolboy. Apart from being the most enigmatic cricketer the world has ever known he also managed to balance raising millions of pounds for leukemia patients with smoking cannabis in public!

My favourite wrestlers; Mick McManus, Billy Two-Rivers (and his 'Tomahawk chop'), Masambula (the African Witch Doctor!) and who can ever forget those tag teaming twits; The Royal Brothers who had different surnames - Bert Royal and Vic Faulkner!

I don't miss the freezing cold weather of Britain, nor the people living in it. Back in the sixties (before we had a fridge) we kids would put a few cups of water outside the back door at night and eat the ice the next day. No gameboy back then! Watching old people fight their way uphill with their two-wheeled tartan shopping baskets wearing fifty years of misery and icy drudgery carved into their faces was a depressing thing to grow up with. England is a gloomy grey country in every single way imaginable.

"Hands on your heads!" at school - for hours on end! Actually, school was cool. The smell of the lunch canteen was a mixture of hot paint from the overheated (and over painted) cast iron radiators to suet pudding! British Bulldog was played with pedantic fairness and the boys NEVER hit the girls. The matron had big tits and the girl that fancied me didn't have any!

It seemed that each season of the year had its own activities. There was cart-making, newspaper collecting, playing marbles and carol singing. We'd go down to the 'pitch and putt' course and offer to 'caddy' for sixpence, then spend the money on chocolate liquers to taste the rum inside them which we all said was fantastic, but which I suspect we all equally hated!

"Carry On" movies. Mention the names of Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Hattie Jacques and you need go no further. Everyone recognised the stars of those saucy Carry On films. From the first one (Carry On Sergeant, in 1958) the humour was unsubtle, slapstick and sometimes even a bit blue, but I remember when producer Peter Rogers said "We're vulgar, but never crude". Mum and Dad agreed, and the films were strangely a family institution.

Well, I didn't mean for this first essay to become maudlin or even nostalgic. I don't miss these things really. But I do miss the way that some of them made me feel... The uncontrollable laughter watching Norman Wisdom bark out orders to a troop of soldiers from his hole in the ground, driving the fuming and confused Sergeant Major crazy. I wet myself watching that! The anticipation of Christmas day when the Queen would blather on and on through the sound of my Scalextric set. The heartbreak of finding out that the girl who snogged me at lunchtime had chucked me at teatime for that cunt with the new Stevie Wonder LP, Innervisions! (of which at the time, I had none!) The frustration of walking to a pub, called 'The Bell in Tong', for an hour in the freezing cold to be refused service because we were just three years under the legal age for drinking and my mum had phoned them to let them know we were coming! Bastards!

In the sedate and more relaxed world that I am confined to in middle age, I don't get to feel these extremes of emotion too much anymore. Maybe the kids around me today have similar highs and lows, but I suspect that they don't. Life seems to be a numbed feeling of tedium for many kids. There was a period of time from the end of the second world war, when the welfare state was getting started, to about 1980, when the UK was really an 'island' and a 'treasure island' at that...

But what do I know. Maybe I should have had that cup of tea, eh?




Comments

No comments yet

Post your comment

Comments are moderated and will not appear instantly.

Featured Jobs

Corporate Trainers

฿600+ / hour

Bangkok


NES Head Teacher

฿50,000+ / month

Bangkok


Early Years and Elementary Teachers

฿60,000+ / month

Bangkok


History Teacher

฿40,000+ / month

Chiang Mai


English Teachers Coordinator

฿45,000+ / month

Chiang Mai


English Program Teachers for Immediate Start

฿34,000+ / month

Thailand


Featured Teachers

  • Jim


    American, 68 years old. Currently living in United States of America

  • Kesang


    Bhutanese, 22 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Murtaza


    Pakistani, 25 years old. Currently living in Pakistan

  • Barry


    Australian, 53 years old. Currently living in China

  • Marryjim


    Filipino, 25 years old. Currently living in Philippines

  • Marshawn


    American, 26 years old. Currently living in United States of America

The Hot Spot


The dreaded demo

The dreaded demo

Many schools ask for demo lessons before they hire. What should you the teacher be aware of?


Can you hear me OK?

Can you hear me OK?

In today's modern world, the on-line interview is becoming more and more popular. How do you prepare for it?


Teacher mistakes

Teacher mistakes

What are the most common mistakes that teachers make when they are about to embark on a teaching career in Thailand? We've got them all covered.


Contributions welcome

Contributions welcome

If you like visiting ajarn.com and reading the content, why not get involved yourself and keep us up to date?


Air your views

Air your views

Got something to say on the topic of teaching, working or living in Thailand? The Ajarn Postbox is the place. Send us your letters!


Renting an apartment?

Renting an apartment?

Before you go pounding the streets, check out our guide and know what to look out for.


Will I find work in Thailand?

Will I find work in Thailand?

It's one of the most common questions we get e-mailed to us. So find out exactly where you stand.