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Circles

Just Do It

Ayr on a Shoestring

Oh Lonesome Me

Tipping Point

Movie Reviews

Putting Pen to Paper

A Year to Remember

A Year to Forget

10 Reasons I Cannot Go Home

China Girl

The State of Play

Veggies

Mind Your Language

New Horizons

Injustice

Honeymoon

Taxes and Death

Also-rans

Stinkhorns

Grey is the Colour

Beating Myself Up

Nothing More to Say

Better Late than Never

Staying Put

Musical Chairs

Wanderlust

A Dog's Life

A Sabbatical

A Welcome Diversion

A Guide to Business Ethics

Remembering the Austin Allegro

Our Lords and Masters

In Transit - Part 2

In Transit - Part 1

Nagging Doubts

While Bangkok Burns

An Evening to Remember

Thai Business Malpractice

The New and the Old

Christmas Lights

Groundhog Day

Singapura

Possessions

Adventure is Out There

Education

Grabbing it While You Can

A Few Ups and Many Downs

Limbo

Pack Up Your Old Kit Bag

Salmon

Bananas

Religion

Football

Grateful

Yummy

Ate Two Caesar

Swine Pie

The Thai Rollercoaster

Stuck in the Middle

There's no Regrets

Profit and Loss

Running on Empty

Getting it out Your System

National Mistrust

Bring in the Old, Out with the New

Humility

I am Reviewing, My Situation...

Wat Phrabhat Nam Poo

Today I will Mostly be Eating...

Mortality

The Thai Experience

Wat Khaowong

Reality Bites

Wat Simalais

Amazing Thailand

He Must have a Big Wand

Right Place, Wrong Time

Carousel

Tin

And it does go on

Mangos

Bring Him Home

Resurgence

Protege

Listening to my Reader.

 

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Diary Archive 2.

Diary Archive 1.

 

 

There's No Regrets

 

The project manager agreed to pay for the extra work involved but asked if I could join him and another engineer in a conference call next week. That other engineer works for NASA. Now he probably wasn't even close to the people that worked on the amazing Mars Curiosity explorer but it is just a little cool nonetheless. Sorry, I can't join you for dinner, I have a call with NASA. Yes, that sounds pretty cool.

It made me think about the other little events that have happened in my life that are equally just a little bit special. In no particular order:

  • Seeing the Grand Canyon. Yes, Niagara Falls was incredible, but the Grand Canyon was, to use the over-used work correctly, awesome. There is no other word for it. We were probably lucky in that we were almost the only people there and it is the stillness that I remember most.
  • Having my own company. Having failed with my first company in the UK (after 11 years admittedly) I didn't think I would be tempted to start again, despite spending large proportions of my day thinking of unmentionable things to do to managers and marketing of the companies I worked for. But circumstances - marrying Ploy who supports me no matter what and constructively too, our 'falling out' with Canada and moving to Thailand which is much more forgiving of mistakes, and we make a lot - meant we tried again, and after three years it looks like it is starting to bear fruit. Maybe lots of fruit. And there are no team building events.
  • Being head-hunted. It is all relative of course and it lasted less than six months before the bottom fell out and left us stranded in Canada. However for those few months I was earning over $200,000/yr plus bonuses, nearly as much as an average footballer earns in a week. I received regular payments as thank-you's for extra achievements. I was invited to a special board of engineers to set the roadmap for the future. I travelled business class, stayed in nice hotels, had patents filed and most important of all, was respected for my knowledge. It was only a few months but it meant a lot.
  • Watching the total eclipse of the sun in Cornwall. Yes, it was disappointedly cloudy, although the clouds were just thin enough to view the totality without seeing any prominences. But what I do remember was the approaching shadow and hush of the birds as it swept across the sea to the cliff where we were waiting.
  • Achieving senior membership of the IEEE. The IEEE is the foremost electronics society in the world - all of the standards we use for almost everything have come from it or it has at least contributed to. Now most engineers can join but as it said in my acceptance letter for senior membership, this grade is given to less than 7% of the membership. OK, it is not a fellowship, but it is nice none the less. And I have a brass plaque.
  • Going to the Metropolitan Opera house in New York. To be honest we couldn't really afford it but the trip had been booked months before and pulling out would mean losing most of the money we had already paid. And for one week we forgot all the problems with my first company. The performances were good, (and I got to see Pavarotti at Carnegie hall in a concert performance of Otello too), but the thing I remember most was going to get drinks at the interval and seeing the photographs and busts of the artists, now long dead, that are my favourites, like Martinelli and Rosa Ponselle.
  • Marrying an Asian woman. Now this may sound a rather strange achievement. After all, if I flashed enough money around certain areas of Asian countries, I could probably be married within the day. But ever since I first came to Thailand when I was, what, 22 or something, I have been smitten with the look and charm of the Asian woman. This is not to say I find Western women unattractive, it is just that there is something extra, something that appeals to my sense of adventure or my liking of strangeness, that a Western woman cannot satisfy. If only I had recognised that in myself before I married my first wife, but then it would be wrong to partner all that period of my life with unmitigated disaster, even though it almost exactly corresponded with having my first company. Without those experiences I don't think I would be here now.
  • Visiting Japan. Japan was the country I most wanted to visit yet I never seemed to get there. But then Philips kindly sent me there, many times, and so I got to see Kyoto, Ginza and Mount Fuji and travel the Shinkansen, but most of all experience what is probably the most foreign, the most exotic, place on earth.
  • Buying my Honda Prelude car. I had never had a new car before and neither had my father. The company was doing well and so were able to afford to be a little lavish. I still remember the smell of the new and I felt king of the road as I cautiously drove away from the garage for the first time. We gave the car away when we moved to Singapore, unable to sell it in such a short time. It had taken me from Land's End to John'o'Groats, literally, and had 335,000 miles on the clock. No car before or since has seemed the same.
  • My mother's death. It was not unexpected. My father had died the year before. I have a few regrets about things I didn't do or say and I so wish she could see how I changed once I met Ploy. But her death also was a sort of release for me too. Unfettered it spurred me on to do better in my job, to not stay in an unhappy relationship, to break out of routine and to do something with my life.
  • Seeing Halley's comet. I was lucky that my interest in astronomy was still at its height so putting on my alarm to get up and see the comet at some ungodly hour was quite normal for me. It wasn't as impressive as Bennett's comet but it had the history behind it, from 1066 on. And as it will next be visible in 2061 it was worth the effort to set my alarm.
  • My birthday, Sukhumvit road, near soi 71, Bangkok. The year 2001; I think. I had only recently met Ploy and I was visiting her in Bangkok for a whole 3 weeks. During that short time it became clear that this really was the girl of my dreams. And so it has proved.
  • Watching a performance of Turandot with my mother at the Royal Opera house in London. The performance was superb, the whole event just perfect, and the look of excitement on my mother's face will stay with me forever.

There are many more things, some when I was too young to properly remember them such as seeing my first colour television broadcast or appearing on Patrick Moore's television program, others that have momentarily receded from memory that will burst forth from the vaults the minute I post this. And, of course, there are still things to do like that trip to South America. But most of things above were not planned, or were planned at the last minute, so who is to know what that list may look like in ten year's time.

 

 

 

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