The Lola Boys Go To Pearl Island!

Paul had implored Andrew not to touch the oyster curry. It sounded to him both unappealing and dangerous.

It turned out to be both!

On the long train journey down from Prachuap Khiri Khan, heading for the jungle of Khao Sok, Andrew suddenly became violently ill in carriage 8, on seat 29.

The passenger in seat 30 was not amused.

Andrew suddenly developed the pallor of a stale Brussel sprout, and had already started to emit the putrid wind that is associated with that most unpopular of vegetables. After another of the countless food hawkers passed through the aisle offering fried something on a stick, Andrew decided to fill a plastic carrier bag with what was left of the crustacean curry. Paul had a rapid word in his partner’s shell-like and advised his husband very firmly to make for the nearest public convenience. Which happened to be inconveniently located at the other end of the railway car.

There was trouble brewing in seat 29.

As Andrew made for the lavatory with his ‘Seven Eleven’  bag still attached to his gob, Paul could only pray that he wouldn’t trip on the Buddhist monk who was lolling quite unmindfully near to the exit. He knew that oyster and saffron were considered quite appealing in the culinary world, but doubted the monk would agree were Andrew to shellfishly saturate his religious robes!

Thankfully his partner made no such contribution and managed to get to the ‘little boys room’ just in time to make a noise little boys generally didn’t usually make! The roar reverberated through the train like a Chinese dragon on steroids. The Thais, never a race to engage in unnecessary confrontation, acted as though nothing had occurred. Probably putting it down to the churlish nature of carriage number eight, which was nothing if not rickety.

There were a group of Europeans,however, who made it quite clear they did not approve of Andrew’s fishy Brexit, as they glanced disdainfully towards the temporary oyster shack Andrew had made his home. Paul returned their approbation with one of his very hard stares, a talent he’d learnt from reading Paddington Bear in his early youth.

After all, it wasn’t Andrew’s fault his seafood was resurfacing. Plus, had these Teutonic bullies stuffed themselves with something other than Snitzel and Sausage whilst in the charming Thai seaside town of Prachuap, they too may have suffered a little sea sickness!

Paul didn’t voice this opinion of course. He was more than aware that the British were very capable of the same blinkered choices when it came to eating and drinking abroad.

He knew people who had lived on the Costa Del Sol for twenty years, and only frequented English bars, ate bangers and mash, and couldn’t count to three in Spanish! But he wasn’t going to name and shame. What was the point?

Most of those types couldn’t read anyway!

After what seemed like a night’s fishing expedition Andrew returned to his seat. Quite exhausted and terribly clammy. Paul knew there was no way they were going to make it to their intended destination of the prehistoric forest of Khao Sok. If they persevered with their itinerary there could be an altogether different rumble in the jungle. So when they hit the very ordinary city of Surat Thani in southern Thailand, they alighted the train and made for the nearest hotel.

The establishment in which they found themselves was situated on a dark backstreet on the wrong side of the rail tracks. The over made up woman who welcomed them rather severely, wanted to see no passport, just payment up front.

She assured them it was a nice room. A fact, which after they climbed the multitude of concrete steps to the third floor, they concurred with. It was a pleasant room, were it on a wing at wormwood Scrubs!

Still it had beds, and strip lighting, so they could at least see as they stripped and fell onto the oyster grey bedsheets of what was quite obviously a knocking shop!

On waking from his sick-bed Andrew felt much better and had begun to come out of his shell once more. Paul persuaded him that to hang around in the gritty Surat Thani was not a good idea, perhaps they should head further south, to the Trang Islands.

There was a train leaving at awful ‘O’Clock, and they should be on it.

Andrew agreed, still appearing a trifle pistachio.

Paul was aware that his partner really didn’t have the muscle to argue. And he knew it was him who had warned against the mollusc Massaman. So now his partner was literally jellyfish in his hands.

 

The enigmatic Trang Islands,  deep down in the Andaman Sea, had enthralled Paul since he’d first read about them years ago.  They lay, like a strand of wild pearls, in the Indian Ocean, close to the border of Malaysia. They were home to the equally mystifying Chao Lair, The nomadic sea gypsies of Malay descent, who moved effortlessly with the tide. Making their home wherever the weather was set fairest – much like The Lola Boys!

 

Following another interminable journey on a local train, which just happened to follow the track of the famous ‘Orient Express’, minus the luxury and the murder, the boys arrived in Trang. A mainly Muslim town in the deep south of Thailand, but one that was not prey to the Islamic terrorism that Paul knew stalked the west.

The Lola Boys were not even that adventurous!

There had been some recent bombings around Yala, and the train that had chugged innocently along that line had been blown up a couple of times in the recent past killing many.

The Boys avoided this region and took a minibus due west from Trang, along with a surly French couple and a smiling Thai teenager. Soon they reached the pier, more than an hour away hidden amid the mangroves.

The young driver, who was high on natural energy and quaffing copious unnatural potions which had the same effect, crashed twice on route. Once into a petrol pump, and then again into a scooter that was obviously not so obvious to him. Paul caught his face in the rear view mirror. They both laughed. The tight-arsed couple in the front seats did not share their amusement.

They quite obviously feared for their lives!

Paul wondered how they would cope with the erratic Thai ferry network once they began travelling the islands. De-ipodded and deep in despair. Some of these so-called ‘gappers’ really shouldn’t travel, he thought.  At least not until they’ve had their gaps filled.

In every way!

Then perhaps they’d pack a little experience to bring along with them.

But he knew he was probably being bitter, having put a little too much of that into his own ruck sack for the journey.

Wasn’t it Oscar Wilde who said youth is wasted on the young? Paul knew, as he climbed clumsily aboard the boat to join the miserable duo, that the Irish genius was correct.  The greenness which came with the inexperienced so often kept them clammed up within their shells. Paul was fairly certain he had never been like that, but he couldn’t be quite sure.

When they arrived on the tiny island of Koh Muk, the nomenclature of which Paul had deemed most appropriate, he and Andrew were both knackered. The latter even more so as he had been vomiting Oyster for over twenty-four hours.

They hit the only resort which had a vacant bed in their price range and collapsed into the reception.

They were shown to their hut, which was just about big enough for a hobbit, and both realised independently, it was to be for one night only.

Or divorce could swiftly follow!

The expansive space outside, however, was more than enchanting. The rugged coast of Trang province, with it’s magical limestone karst scenery, cast it’s spell magnificently.

The boys had arrived in paradise.

Koh Muk wasn’t mucky at all. Not at first sight. What a gem!

Paul was aware that in Thai ‘Muk’ was translated as pearl.

Therefore, The Lola Boys had arrived on Pearl Island. An incredible place, home to Thailand’s famous Emerald Cave.

But as his partner still posessed a tinge of something very green he thought he’d better not mention it.

Andrew, after all, had quite clearly had enough oyster to last a lifetime.

Under the weather!

Despite Andrew and I sensibly moving our show forward a day to miss an oncoming storm that had widely been predicted, the storm arrived late. Well, the one that was forecast. Another tempest, a mercurial moment that was not on the horizon, made itself felt instead, as temperatures rose sharply during our act and extremely high pressure dominated the scene!

oliver-reedAndrew, who had decided to sup as much ale as Oliver Reed on an Irish stag do, decided to ‘tap’ me on the head with the microphone stand, during one of our numbers. ‘Cry Me A River.’ He neglected to consider that the chunk of metal was rather heavy, and so the chunk went clunk!

I thought I’d gone on with the show with complete dignity, considering my head could have been bleeding a river. Or a least a rivulet.   I thought Ethel Merman would have been proud.  Until my partner informed me later, backstage, in the style of an incandescent Jack Nicholson in ‘The Shining’, that I had actually acted like a soccer player.

“You’re like a fucking, poofy, fucking footballer’,  were his exact words.

Before I could stop my hand from moving, it had slapped him in the kisser.

Goal!

I turned dramatically and made for the front table, full of revellers, still buzzing post show. As I reached the melee and began conversing, Andrew, as a demented ‘Bill Sykes’, came striding intently towards me.

He then chinned me!

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I kept my composure. As any proper Nancy would.

One all!

Still channelling Oliver Reed,  Andrew broodily skulked back to the bar.

Most impressive.

It was a proper backstage drama – only front stage!

The two swedish pensioners sitting close-by absolutely loved it, chortling away as if it were all part of the show.

In a way they were right.

There is  always  a bit of a twist somewhere during  our performances.  Admittedly, not always called Oliver!

Things cooled down a bit later, after Andrew/Olly, had, metaphorically, slapped a few more revellers hard in the face. Some, more than once.

And explained rather forcefully to the proprietor, what he might like to go and do with himself, were he lost for time!

The night went well.

The following day the inclement weather still didn’t show itself – it was most frustrating.        I spent most of it doing a rain dance in the garden, attempting to magic up some precipitation, so as not to feel too wet, should our decision to re-arrange the show prove unnecessary.

It didn’t come.

The next day – the skies opened.

Too late!

We have still not found a reliable meteorological source here. It seems just as effective to lick one’s finger and hold it in the air to establish whether the weather will do as you’d like it to.

As a result of these nebulous clouds, my mother and my aunty carole, were recently stranded in a restaurant during the starter, as a river burst it’s banks.

At least it was a good establishment and they were able to partake of the owner’s hospitality until the waters abated.

They were well tanked up by the time they were ferried home.

Not the only disastrous gastronomic incident this week though, as the poor family had to suffer yet more food related stress when I was sick during a lunch in Marbella.

I vommed my carbs all over ‘Marbs’. Very Essex!

Actually, Andrew and I have both been struck down with a sick, buggery bug, sodding, thing!

After all the weather,  we’re now under the weather.

He seems to have been suffering with a pneumonia/gastroenteritis kinda thing and I seem to have contracted Ebola.  Which I know cannot be the case – unless it’s rife in Manilva? One can never be too sure.   Whatever, it is it is most unpleasant.

A Dickensian type affair.

Ghastly.

Of course,  Andrew is now better.

Always a little more resilient than I – thanks, no doubt, to his inner Olly Reed. He has bounced back onto his feet looking and feeling like a youthful Clarke Gable.

Whilst I look like a poor extra from an adaptation of ‘David Copperfield’.  Wan and fetid.

Everyone has gone out to take the air – and the dog has gone too.

I am not surprised. I resemble a very grey member of the Les Miserable cast!

Whilst outside the sky is blue.

Andrew couldn’t wait.

Oliver

‘Come on Bullseye, I mean, Lola.   We’re off out.’

The Roaring Forties!

Four shows in five days in our forties in the forties!

red

Good God!

As Noel Coward once wrote.  Only mad dogs and Lola Boys! Well, almost!

Our fiercest gigging week combines with this furnace friggin heat.

Certainly not for the weak!

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Were we hot hot hot or what?

It was a scorcher of a semana here on the Iberian Peninsula and we sincerely sizzled folks! Like two old bangers who hadn’t been pricked.

I turned to Andrew during one of our performances and could have sworn I was appearing  in an old Esther Williams movie.

Starring alongside – Andrew Kennedy – Million Dollar Merman!  Only cheaper.

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Even I have never quite witnessed Andrew covered in so much secretion – literally blood, sweat and even more sweat!  Quite excreatiating!

He was as wet as a sailor’s slipknot. Or is it an otter’s pocket ? Or a beaver’s beaver ? Anyway – Saturated!

Less ‘The Man From Atlantis’ more ‘The Man From Del Monte’ – Squeezed and wrung dry to the point of taking the pith!

I am very glad that I could not also see myself during this excessively perspirational  turn.    At some particularly, humid moments, I must have resembled Heath Ledger’s Joker in Batman.

HeathJoker

Only with less zest!

And this, despite our recent addiction to juicing!

Singing, with the pool to our rears, and drowned in our sodden attire, we could have been mistaken by our audience to be a superannuated synchronised swimming team.

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0nly without the speedos!

Oh, and the synchronisation!

But we were in deep and just as damp.

This torrid weather does absolutely nothing for one’s glamour credentials.
Make up seems to develop a life of it’s own and hair just seems intent on suicide.performance
I have been guilty of a gross follicular felony on more than one occasion during this stuporous spell

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Andrew, on the other head, has hair that naturally just,  stays!

It’s most annoying. Whatever the weather, he stills resembles an idol in their fifties, I mean, an idol FROM The Fifties!  Glamorous always.

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IMG_0026_FotorHe’s always been a complete perspiration to me!

I can’t concentrate. This darned heat has made me go all Tenessee Williams – well that, or the mint Julep I’ve just had forced down my neck.

I’m feeling like a tin on a hot cat’s roof.

I do not complain though.

Even during this latest spell it may have been sultry enough to fry eggs, (not just expose them), but it is definitely preferable to anything inclement that mother nature may choose to toss our way.

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If not a little persistent.

Much like an old friend who stays just that one day too long …. a trifle stifling…

Yet, with our work done, and no unwelcome house-guests, Andrew and I now have time to chill – literally.

I sit amid my ‘past it’s best’  Agapanthus, rudely late for the afternoon sun and relapse, or rather,  relax.

Breathe in – something I probably shouldn’t ….. and exhale.

mint

Take a sip of something that doesn’t come from the bloody ‘Nutribullet’ – and lay back.

That darned ‘Nutribullet’ shooting off it’s rotor speed again. As if two blogs weren’t enough. Rearing it’s ugly mug and dissecting my cocktail of exotic reverie, not to mention my latest scribblings!.

I realised recently that our ‘bullet’ is fast becoming a bulletin!

All of it’s own!

This little machine is getting a little too big for it’s blades!

O.K. It may extract nutrients you never even knew you lacked, from expensive fruit you’d never ever heard of – but it also takes quite a lot of energy out of  it’s user.

There have been moments, pre 9am, after the second spinach or kale extraction, after several minutes of background noise equivalent to a logging station in northern Canada, or a dodgy ride at Alton Towers, God forbid! During these moments I have been tempted to push the nearest hand, whether it be mine or not, directly into the blending jug of the blasted thing and end it all.

The life of the machine that is….. although….

There’s only one thing for it!

Off with it’s choppers!

Let’s face it – It already has a bullet with it’s name on it.

This little gadget will just have to learn it’s place – for a day or two at least – and that place is a corner at the back of the kitchen cupboard.

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Just for a brief respite. To cool off. Let the motor wind down a little.

It’s been working far too hard lately, especially given the searing climate. Some would say there’s a distinct danger of overheating. One should never allow oneself to over-extract. Oscar Wilde possibly?

A little pause is probably in order, not to mention a little ante meridian silence.

Morning hardly breaks in our house, no, not with the aural assault that our healthy metal mickey emanates – it literally shatters.

Some time spent in shady solitude for this little pet. Just a short while until it’s faddy owner’s hankering for vegetable juice revives itself.

And now with those swirling, sweltry days behind us, we too can revive.

A brief sojourn in the sheds for our engines to release some of their accumulated showbiz smog.

A moment to climb down from the cab and take a pause in the waiting room before reboarding those crazy tracks .  A short delay before stepping out onto that heady platform once again.

A fleeting interval to kick back, instead of kick off, and recharge the theatrical batteries.

They’ll need to be at full pelt as we head for gay Paris later in the week.  Ooh la la!

But for now, for once, just, now.

more

Time to read.

Write.

Wrong….

Still feeling hot hot hot….

Temperature’s rising…

I got ……. pshhhhhhhhhhhhh…… Steam Heat! …..