Guest Post: Carol Ann Taylor

I am very pleased to feature British blogger and cookery writer Carol Taylor, who now lives in Thailand. This is her story of how she came to live there.
Carol is a great member of our blogging community, and is always fully engaged with blog posts.

This is her own bio.

My Bio
Born in the Fifties which makes me?.mmm I will let you do the math. I was the eldest of three girls and the tomboy….my sisters loved dolls and pushing other peoples babies up and down the street…I still ask myself why?? I much preferred climbing trees, camping out and spending all my school holidays on my granddad’s farm…My grandmother taught me how to cook on her aga and I suppose that was where my love of cooking started…Singing in the church choir was also a passion of mine as is playing the piano.

I was an avid reader and writer even then, my school teachers must have really cringed as I used to write pages and pages…I sometimes wish I still had my school books but I think they must have just got thrown away at some point …As I grew older my aunt suggested I keep a diary and I still do to this day …Leaving school for college but I never really settled or found anything that I really wanted to do except write and my father did not consider that to be a job. He really just thought girls got married and had babies so I did.

In between bringing up our children my husband passed away and also some close family members and I lost two very dear friends who I still miss terribly, I completed a marathon all 26.2 miles with two of my daughters. Learning beckoned again and back to college I went to do Law…I just love learning and researching and of course, writing. I also met my second husband who humours me …He has always been very supportive of anything I have done and is a great dad to my kids. The children grew up and took their own very successful paths in life and now have families of their own…Life has a habit of just carrying on, doesn’t it?

Retirement then beckoned for my hubby and of course, I was getting pretty disillusioned with the rat race so decided I would take early retirement.
That was when we decided to not only think outside the box but throw it away and now we are enjoying life in the Land Of Smiles.

I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them. I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I am using have which may improve our health and well-being.

I am also very much into the environment and am concerned about our Oceans and fisheries and about all the preservatives and processed foods and am an advocate about cooking from scratch and growing our own food where or when we can even a few pots or a window box for herbs is a start.
Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Link to my Blog https://carolcooks2.com

And here is her unedited guest post.

Retired In Sunny Thailand.

How did I end up In sunny Thailand?…all my life I lived mainly in the same house in the same town and did what was expected of me working in a bank and then for local government…I was good at what I did we holidayed in some lovely places for quite a few years it was Spain until sadly my best friend passed away…we then spread our wings a little and travelled to a few far away climes all very nice but not home… We thought about retirement on and off but never made any great plans… Maybe a nice little cottage with roses around the door… My youngest son then announced he was off to Thailand…why Thailand it was all to do with the world cup…Football… He came back full of his trip and announced he would be returning as he had met a young lady… The photos he showed us were of beautiful beaches and golden Buddhas…It looked exotic and very beautiful.

The relationship progressed and visas sorted and out he went again with the aim of returning to England with his lady and to get married the next year…The Thai Embassy had other ideas and advised them it would be much easier to get a visa if they married…Which is exactly what they did …The visa followed… They returned to the UK and settled down it was then that I got my first taste of authentic Thai food and discovered how many Thai girls also lived locally …I was also taught how to cook Thai food and became very good at it…I also loved it!

It was that year we travelled to Thailand with our son and his wife, two of our young grandsons to meet the Thai family…It was love from the minute I landed on Thai soil…

We loved every minute …that holiday was followed by a few more and then Aston arrived…That changed everything as my son and his wife decided they were going to make their home in Thailand so that Aston could both learn the language and all of his heritage… It was then that we decided we would up sticks and also follow them…Hubby had just retired and I took early retirement… I went from being …well I can never say I was the quiet retiring type …haha…but a whole new world opened up and we have moved more times within Thailand than I have ever moved in my whole life and I daresay we will move again at some point.

I joined a writers group quite by chance…I have always been an avid reader and loved to write mainly letters and in my diaries…but blog and write …no…In the words of one of my new friends in the group “Oh my Buddha what have we released”

I started my blog as a way of recording our travels for family and friends and the writing followed on with some short stories in two anthologies…
Initially we lived in Phuket for 5 years and ran a restaurant and bar with my son…we met people from all over the world and made some friends for life…Phuket is beautiful we lived in three different houses around the island but it is a holiday destination. People come and go it is very transient and apart from immediate neighbours you are always treated like a tourist.

This was one of reasons why we decided to relocate to the North of Thailand also it is where our Thai family live…Of course I miss the beaches but we can pop on a plane and be on the beach in just over an hour… Here there are mountains and waterfalls lots of tradition and we are accepted as part of the community. The local tuk tuk drivers know where I live and know where I stop on my way back from the shops to get my fresh coconut juice and SomTam(papaya salad)…I feel safe and at home…

We all share the produce which we grow… it is a real community…They give me mangoes I make the mango jam …They love my bread pudding hot from the oven…They bring me food to try much of which I have never seen or heard of before…I make them Christmas cake we share our different food and culture it is lovely to see and feel the welcome.

I have always cooked from scratch taught by my mother and grandmother and now because of necessity, I also have more time and the fact I object to eating a cocktail of chemicals with every mouthful of food… I have been introduced to food I never dreamed I would eat or had never heard of it is definitely nose to tail eating here nothing is wasted…some even I do not have the stomach for …

I love the fierce tropical storms which blow out very quickly and then the sun shines but everything grows so quickly and is lush and green…Thais forage every day and I am amazed at how much they eat picked from the trees and the jungle…

Every time even after 8 years of living here I invariably find something I haven’t seen before at the local markets and the market traders are happy to let me try…so friendly just adorable people always smiling.

Down on the farm we have chooks and turkeys , grow rice and vegetables we have Durian, banana and other trees…I have learnt how to make charcoal, coconut cream, many of the houses have wooden looms underneath where the art of weaving is passed down through the generations. Family is strong here and many families live together in the same house or the same area…old people are cherished and looked after and willingly the families stay together.

If I had been asked when I was 30 to write about how I thought my life would be when we retired I would have been way off base…I never ever thought I would be lucky enough to live here…I doubt that I would be blogging and writing, I wouldn’t have friends from all the corners of the world and I most certainly wouldn’t have all the lovely recipes I have been taught and gifted with…Living the dream…

I cannot envisage living anywhere else , Thailand is my home…
Thank you, Pete for letting me tell my story of how I found myself here in Thailand.

Please visit Carol’s site to see photos of her new life, and some mouth-watering recipes too.
You will be glad that you connected with such a warm and friendly lady, living life her way in a new land.

Guest Post: Lucinda Clarke

Lucinda is a writer and blogger, as well as a published author who currently resides in Spain. She is a great follower of blogs, and is always fully engaged with every post I publish, especially fiction.

I am very pleased to present her guest post, and to feature some of her books, including her latest novel. That’s her, in the middle. 🙂

Here is her unedited guest post, which includes a short bio too.

Thank you, Pete, for giving me this opportunity to appear on your blog. I am one of your most avid followers and especially enjoy your stories.

I hate writing about myself, but if I go to the big library desk in the sky tomorrow, I shall have no regrets, life has been a roller coaster ride. Born in Dublin, dragged up in the Cotswolds (a pretty part of England), and finished off in Liverpool (not as pretty). Taught in Bath (children), crofted in Scotland (disaster, bred small animals and Cairn Terriers), survived in Kenya (abandoned in the bush with 9 week old baby, no resources and tear gas riots), Libya (teaching, witness to public hanging, radio announcer, husband imprisoned, crawled through a hail of bullets to save dogs, deported), Botswana (teaching, ran very worst riding school in the world), South Africa (made legal history, teaching – fired – scriptwriter of the year award, wrote dramas and some acting, scribbled thousands of radio and TV scripts, all other forms of writing, set up own video production company, plus major concerts planning, lecturing on scriptwriting). Eventual retirement in Spain. I lie, I’m only pretending to be retired. Since 2013 independently (by choice) published 14 books.

For almost 4 decades I scribbled hundreds of diverse topics for the media eg climbing ladders; health; tourism for international conferences; educational programmes; banks; insurance companies; police and fire departments; city councils; international corporates; mayoral speechwriter; ads for radio and TV; – I could go on but I’d bore you to tears (I’m starting to yawn). I had my own newspaper column and still write for a local publication here in Spain.

I am was a freelance prostitute who wrote for anyone who would pay me and I excelled in propaganda and was wildly successful. I still don’t believe this, but the awards looked good on my study walls – when I had a study. They are now in a box under the bed. I’ve received lots more for my books, but shrank them down to fit in a couple of picture frames.

So, what genre am I unknown for? I began with memoirs, then an action-adventure series set in Africa – I was there for 35 years – a satire set in Fairyland and now I’m into psychological thrillers.

Can I scream about my latest masterpiece book, please? It’s the second in the “A Year in the Life of …” series. The first starring Leah Brand is a psychological thriller as a second time around housewife with a prosthetic leg, driven to the edge of madness by the irrational behaviour of everyday objects in the house.

mybook.to/LeahBrand

Book 2 “A Year in the Life of Andrea Coe” follows on – the nightmare is not over, as life for Leah escalates into chaos. The only person she can cling to is her best friend Andrea. But everyone has secrets and what was the attraction between a quiet, insecure housewife and an outrageous, confident, outspoken woman who lived life to the full. Was she all she seemed to be?

mybook.to/AndCoe

If the lockdown has depleted your cash reserves, you can grab a free book here – the true account of my very Worst Riding School in the World.

https://amzn.to/2TKwL55

You can find me at all these places and I’m very good at replying to virtual friends who contact me if you don’t mind chatting to an ancient wrinkly who has never grown up and who spends days torturing, killing, amputating, scaring and committing all kinds of nefarious deeds on paper. The most wonderful career in the world and I cried when I sold the company, left my team behind, and boarded the plane to fly to retirement in Spain. I love it here now but I’m just as busy.

Web page – https://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com

Blog link https://lucindaeclarke.wordpress.com

Amazon author page author.to/Lucinda

twitter @LucindaEClarke https://twitter.com/LucindaEClarke

Facebook Readers page https://www.facebook.com/groups/226303738779560/

sign up URL for mailing list for my exciting monthly newsletter http://eepurl.com/cz-Mpv

Please check out her blog, and her books. Lucinda is a great part of this community, so please show her you care. Share on any social media platform you are a part of, and feel free to reblog this post if you are so inclined.

Guest Post: Mary Smith

I am delighted to feature Mary, a published writer, local historian, and fully-engaged blogger who resides in Scotland. Mary has lived and worked in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, and her travels and experiences are fascinating to read about. She has special offers available on one of her her books from today, and I urge you to check it out.

**Please share this post on any social media you use, to help Mary**

Here is her own short bio.

Mary Smith has always loved writing. As a child she wrote stories in homemade books made from wallpaper trimmings – but she never thought people could grow up and become real writers. She spent a year working in a bank, which she hated – all numbers, very few words – ten years with Oxfam in the UK, followed by ten years working in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She wanted others to share her amazing, life-changing experiences so she wrote about them – fiction, non-fiction, poetry and journalism. And she discovered the little girl who wrote stories had become a real writer after all.

And this is her unedited guest post.

I love blogging. I love the conversations and the connections it generates. My first blog, My Dad’s a Goldfish (https://marysmith57.wordpress.com), was about caring for my father when he had dementia in the last couple of years of his life. I started MarySmith’sPlace because I wanted to be able to post on non-dementia related topics – anything from walks in the Scottish countryside to the books I write, from local history to travel abroad.

In September last 2019 I came across old diaries, letters and a draft of a book I’d written about my first trip to work in Afghanistan way back in 1989. Reading them, I could feel again my excitement and wonder at almost everything and everyone I encountered and thought I’d share on my blog. Ever since then I have put up a post once a week on my Afghan Adventures.

I didn’t for one moment imagine where this would lead. I’ve said how much I love blogging’s conversations and connections and this series of posts has led to some astonishing connections – and re-connections. At first it was mainly regular followers who commented (favourably, I’m glad to say) and have continued to follow, comment and several reblog on a regular basis so I felt I was writing something people enjoyed reading.

One day I noticed a tweet saying they were reading Mary Smith’s blog about Afghanistan. I thanked the person, Atiq Lotan. The following week it happened again. This time after my thank you, Atiq Lotan commented on my blog saying, ‘Your writings will be a reliable source for young Hazaras in Jaghori and all over Hazaristan (Central Afghanistan) to better understand their past.’

Apart from making me feel rather old, I was incredibly touched and pleased by this comment for several reasons, not least because people I am writing about approve of what I’m writing. I’d have hated it if Hazara people were upset or angry with what I wrote. I also learned two things, which I subconsciously knew – Hazara Jat is actually Hazaristan (I won’t go into the politics here) and Jaghoray is Jaghori.

My visitor numbers soared although that didn’t translate into as many new followers. However, many of those visitors contacted me through Facebook either with friend requests or private messaging to say they had read my blog posts. One even said I lived forever in the hearts of Hazara people! Two brothers contacted me separately who are the sons of Gul Agha, the landlord from whom we rented our first clinic in Jaghori. One is in Germany, one in the UAE. I sent photos, including one of their father holding a baby – not either of them but their sister, who lives in London. One said he had spoken to his father who remembers me and said to pass on his hello.

My head still spins at the thought of someone in the UAE reading my blog, emailing me to say it is his father I write about, requesting any family photos I had and telling me he had spoken to his father back at home. When I write my posts, I feel like it was only last year I was living through the experiences I write about – but it was over thirty years ago. There were no mobile phones. No internet. Many of the Hazara people reading my blog were not even born then and now they live in a world in which there is instant communication.

Oh, an on the subject of communication. I wasn’t entirely sure if the emails asking for photos were genuine so I emailed my friend in Kabul. He comes from Jaghori. He asked another friend but he didn’t know so he called the person in charge of the Jaghori clinic who asked around and replied to say, yes, Gul Agha’s sons lived in Germany and UAE. In my day such a query would have taken weeks, if not months to get a reply.

Another friend request came from a young woman, whose name I didn’t recognise though I saw she was friends with another of my Afghan friends. I accepted and it turns out she is the daughter of one of the students in the mother and child care classes I taught in 1995/96. She wasn’t born then. She sent me photos of a group of students with me. So touched her mother had kept them and talked to her daughter about me.

See what I mean about loving the connections and conversations! This post is probably becoming too long already – though I could tell you about lots more people who have re-joined my life because of my blog – and I really ought to do a wee bit of the horrible self-promotion stuff.

If this post has piqued your interest in my blog you can find it at: https://marysmithsplace.wordpress.com I’d love to see you there. Also, I have written a memoir, Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni, about my later time in Afghanistan in which you can meet my students and the women who became my friend.

And saving the best ’til last – my novel, No More Mulberries, also set in Afghanistan is on Kindle Countdown for the bargain price of 99p (and $ equivalent) from Thursday 14 to Monday 18 May.

In No More Mulberries we meet Scottish-born midwife, Miriam. She loves her work at a health clinic in rural Afghanistan, but she can’t ignore the cracks appearing in her marriage. Her doctor husband has changed from the loving, easy-going man she married and she fears he regrets taking on a widow with a young son. When Miriam acts as translator at a medical teaching camp she hopes time apart might help her understand the cause of their problems. An old friend appears, urging her to visit the village where she and her first husband had been so happy. Miriam finds herself travelling on a journey into her past, searching for answers to why her marriage is going wrong.

From 14-18 May; only 99p – you can’t buy a coffee for so little, even if you were allowed to during lockdown.

Here are some ways to connect with Mary, and to see more of her writing.

http://www.marysmith.co.uk
Blog: https://marysmithsplace.wordpress.com/
Blog: https://marysmith57.wordpress.com/

She has also published a poetry collection.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1907401911/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i7

Please visit her blogs, and treat yourself to a copy of her book to read during lockdown, for just 99p!

Blogger’s Books: Marc Sander

I am happy to promote this new book from blogger Marc Sander. Here is his introduction.

The Driveway Rules is my book of memoirs. It focuses on my struggles when it comes to dating but also has fun entries about various adventures in my life. I am introspective and have learned a lot about my struggles through the years. The point of our struggles is to use them as an opportunity for growth and perhaps to help others later in life. This book is poignant, philosophical and humorous. Next to penicillin laughter is the best medicine.

And here is a link to where you can purchase the paperback.
https://store.bookbaby.com/book/The-Driveway-Rules

Featured Blogger: Lorenz Omondi

I have been asked by Lorenz to make you aware of his blog.

As you can see from the logo, it is all about Kenya. He seeks to promote cultural tourism in that country, with many photos and features.

There is also a lot of very interesting tribal, political, and cultural information that may well be new to you.

If you would like to see and learn more about that picturesque African country, or just give Lorenz some encouragement, here’s a link to his blog.

https://ke1tribe.wordpress.com/

Featured Blogger: Shaily Agrawal

I am once again very happy to feature some poetry from Indian blogger, Shaily Agrawal.

Autumn Leaves

Autumn leaves adorn you.
Sleep deep, my love.

Sleep without regrets to fill every
Waking moment lying on the bed.

Sleep without nightmares to haunt
On cold, long, lonely nights.

Sleep without waking on a pillow
Wet with tears shed for lost love.

Sleep so memories can’t reach you
Deep under the ground.

I will see you there someday too.

I love you. I still do.

This is her short personal bio.

About me: Shaily Agrawal is an Instructional Designer, a mother, and a small town woman. She is notorious for her skewed perspective.

If you would like to read more from Shaily, or give her some encouragement in these troubled times, here’s a link.
https://fishinthetrees.home.blog/

Featured Blogger: Jon Risdon

I am very pleased to help to promote the book of one of our community bloggers, Jon Risdon. It is a biography of his great-uncle, Wilfred Risdon.

Here is Jon’s information about the book.

Black Shirt and Smoking Beagles is the biography of my grand uncle, Wilfred Risdon, who reached the pinnacle of his career as Secretary of the National Anti-Vivisection Society in London, England. He had worked tirelessly to educate people of the fallacious and unnecessary nature of animal experimentation since just before the second world war, using his well-honed talents as a political organiser, a career that was interrupted in 1940 by his incarceration for three months under the hastily-enacted and politically motivated Defence Regulation 18B, a blunt instrument intended to prevent potential ‘fifth columnists’ presenting a danger to an embattled country apparently facing invasion by bloodthirsty Nazi hordes. Despite his close association with Sir Oswald Mosley, which began as far back as 1924, he was a lifelong socialist, but because he was also a deeply religious patriot, he saw no conflict in also supporting a nationalist cause. This book describes Wilfred Risdon’s life & career with a wealth of supporting reference material, and examines a political ethos that all too often is simply whitewashed out of existence or brushed under the carpet: the fundamental underlying economic imperative is especially important today.

This is a link to where you can buy the book.
(Please note, that this is a safe site, despite browser warnings you may see)
http://www.wilfredbooks.co.uk/buy1.html?LMCL=HKHf3g

If you don’t think this is your kind of book, then why not visit Jon’s main blog, and show him some encouragement.
Here’s a link to that.
https://wilfredbooks.wordpress.com/