Sunday, 31 January 2010

Away for a few days

Off to Pattaya at lunchtime.  Not a lot we can do in town, and we want to look at some equipment for the resort, including a trawl of second hand shops as well.

Back in Udon on Wednesday.  Not sure whether I'll manage posts whilst we are away

Saturday, 30 January 2010

The Old Black Magic

This morning we had a ceremony at the Karaoke to bless the business.  We started too late so the Spirit Houses can't be installed until tomorrow morning.  The day started with a call at 6am from N.  It was supposed to be 4.30, which is why we ran out of time!


Black magic

Friday, 29 January 2010

Ordered timber today and cement so work can start on foundations.  but first need to build a small shelter to store the wood and for a couple of guys to sleep so no one makes off with the wood.

Wood unfortunately is an expensive material.  60,000 baht seemed to buy us not an awful lot.  However it did look as it had been sawn straight and true.

We tehn went to Nong Han to order a sign and buy flourescent tubes for the karaoke.

Thursday, 28 January 2010


They finished raising the land level last night.  Late.   The land guy was not best pleased when Uncle got out the plastic pipe to check the level, and demanded three additional truckloads of earth.  I think the clincher was that Uncle told him we'd only pay the land guy when he was happy with level.

The land now looks massive.  It is difficult to visualise until you can see the boundaries.

Karaoke Progress

Things are moving a pace.  Just the staff room, lights and a coat of paint to go.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Meanwhile work continues

Meanwhile, construction on the Karaoke continues and the roof should be completed today.  We have electricity and water.  the tables are stored in the room we rent in the village as no guests are expected in the next week.

The land fill is well under way and should also be completed today....


When we got back to the house last night, there was a party in the village. It seems the family of the person had died had arranged it to thank the village for their support. Bouncy castle, trampolines, and a film on a large screen erected across the street.

The farang is not always wrong...

Yesterday returning from town, I slowed, and indicated then turned right into the Karaoke.  Or rather I attempted to.  Almost across with the left carriageway clear a pick up slammed into the drivers door.  He had obviously been speeding and come over the brow of the hill.  And from the skid marks where he braked decided to steer towards me he was doing more than the 80kph he claimed, not to mention that he hit us broadside and we ended up 20 feet away, or the fact that he came to a halt when his front tyres dug into the earth on the roadside

And of course he had no insurance.

Our insurance assessor arrived, followed shortly by the police.  N had a quick word with the police (who just happens to be a friend of the family).  They took details from the pick up driver.  His, I presume Mother, spent a long time harassing the police trying to get them to say it was my fault.   The police eventually wandered over, asked to see my licence, wrote down my name and drove off.  They told the pick up owner that it was there fault, they had crossed a yellow line and had obviously been speeding.  It was up to my insurance company whether they wanted to pay anything to her.

The insurance company agreed to pay her half the parts costs provided it was done at a main dealer.    meanwhile the City is off to Honda for repairs today.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Back to routine

Back into the daily routine.  Except that the functions at the 'funeral' continue.  So Chanting and music again this morning over the loudspeakers, at least they started a bit later.  They were reading out a list of names and how much they had donated.  Time to check up on progress ont eh sites.  I'll post some photos later today.

Monday, 25 January 2010

I do worry

where Thailand is heading.  I don't mean politically etc., I simply means as a place where one can live a peaceable life.

The headlines become more and worrying

'Thaksin' to head a government in exile if there is a coup (Did not read any serious suggestions of a coup)

Police and Red Shirts clash in Chiang Mai

Thankfully the Reds have drawn back from the proposed Airport 'demonstration'

Border skirmish between Thailand and Cambodia

Coalition skirmishes over constitutional amendments

I think where I am heading is that if you are a UK citizen in Thailand, register online at

If you are a citizen elsewhere do the same,.


see the following reports...

Progress Is being Made

work has started with raising the level of the land.  Karaoke progresses.  The Electricity Authority have attached the meters.  Bought a couple of second hand motor bikes in Nong Han and the remaining required mobile phones.

Got permission to build from the sub district office in Phang Ngu

Anyway some progress photos

Sunday, 24 January 2010

The day started early

followed by a leisurely breakfast at teh Clock.  Then a quick trip to Central plaza to buy a couple of staff phones, one for bodygusrd, and one to be located at the Karaoke.

The Karaoke work is progressing with roof trusses in place.  I'll post some updated pictures tomorrow.Our friendly electric guy came to sort out connecting the meter.  Bought the tables and chairs for karaoke, or rather ordered for delivery Tuesday.

Snooker took 400baht last night.  Hope it continues to prosper!

Saturday, 23 January 2010


thought I'd better post this in case a reader thought things were easy.  Certain things are happening outside regulations because that's how things can happen.  For example, in theory you can't get electricity without a blue book.  So if you are following the blog intent on replicating..... not all is possible even if I did it.


was a day for catching up with outstanding jobs.  First up was to replace the pick up tyres and change the oil on the pickup, both overdue.  Then a shopping trip to Udon as there was little we could do around the various work sites.  The guy from the Electricity authority was however working on electricity installation and the guys were working on the construction of the karaoke... good job it's outside the village.

Whilst in Udon got a rear step and front bull bars fitted to the pick up.... should reduce damage!

I'd like to think we'd have had a quiet night, but the music from the funeral three doors away was belting out when we got back.  We made it back for the Thailand-Denmark football match. which had to compete with the monks chanting.

Of to Udon again in the morning to pick a friend up from the Pattaya bus.  8.25 in the Irish Clock for breakfast is the plan, so about a 7.45 departure for me.


Slept in until 9am today!  It is Saturday and there is very little we can do.  Need to replace tyres on the pick up which we'll probably do later.  It looks like the rain will stay off, but we can't start building up the land today because there is a funeral in the village and the land is within the village.  At least karaoke is outside the village so we can work on it.

First day of the snooker made 175 baht.  It's a good start

Friday, 22 January 2010

Busy doing nothing........

Set off just after 7 for Honda arriving shortly before they opened.  The salees guy arrived shortly after 8 and I handed over the keys... and waited.. and waited.

Just after noon they came to say that it was finished but needed checking, so it would be another hour as it was lunch time.  My stomach already knew that.

Anyway sales guy turns up, inspects the car and gets on the phone then signals for me to come and check.

The spoiler is the wrong shade of white he declares.  We are too busy to change it today, but bring it back one morning and they'll change it.

I looked closely.  yes the spoiler was slightly whiter. I decided not to ask why if they had the correct colour in stock they had fitted the wrong colour, but decided there was little point in asking the obvious.  to be honest the difference is so slight that they'd probably tell you in the UK that you could never get a good match between a plastic part and a metal part, had you noticed.  Of course now it's been pointed out, I notice.  So another trip back to Honda next week.  We just need to call the day before to avoid a waster trip.

Still teh promised discount was applied and the parts I had requested were fitted, and in fact a new grill was also fitted which i had not requested as I could not see the point, but it was included in the 'Premium Sports Pack'.  This being Thailand the removed grill was of course placed in the boot.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, nothing was achieved due to rain with more forecast although tomorrow is forecast to be humid but dry.  In fact it rained so much that i was trapped inside the Honda showroom.  At least if it had been dry I could have gone for a walk.

Well almost nothing.  Once I got back we paid for the snooker table, with permission to operate it where it is until the resort is built.  N is sorting out the manning of it and book for recording games.  10 baht a game.

Oh and I found the reason it was for sale.  The guy who 'operates' it at the moment works for Thai Air and is being transferred to Bangkok when Thai transfer the Udon route.

We've moved.. and it all seems stable

Well sort of.....

You'll notice a new plainer look to the blog, but this is because it is now part of a new fully integrated site which is now live.  It should also mean the blog itself loads quicker.

For the blog you can go directly to

Of course you can continue to just use the old URL on blogger.  It still exists and will not change 

It has taken me some time preparing it, and making sure I am happy before I launch but blogger did not support what I wanted to develop, so I returned to Moonfruit as the platform for the site, especially as it allows me to embed functionality like the hotel reservations and the blog.

The photo posts now have their own pages on the new site, and the information links that used to be on the blog header are also there, so I have removed them from the blog.

Similarly almost all the information and links that used to be in the sidebars is now on the main site.  This should also make the blog quicker to load for those who only want to follow it.

Please update your bookmarks and links.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Welcome to Inspiring Isaan at 

The blog can also be found at

The transfer was a lot smoother than I expected!

The Move - Phase 1

Completed... it seems stable


Don't worry, the same URL will still work, but the blog may look a bit strange whilst I do the transfer over the next two days to a new integrated site.  It gives me more flexibility with photos etc. and using Blogger as my main tool just was not working.

All the posts will remain available, but other functionality may be temporarily unavailable until the transfer is complete....  And it may not look pretty during the transition.

Daily posts will continue here as well.  I try and post first thing, but with the building work that may not always be possible.

Full Speed Ahead

Well it's full steam ahead.  picked up the titles this morning.

Went to the electricity authority to arrange for power to be supplied.  The guy came at noon, worked out how much cable was needed and quoted a price for connection.  We discussed and agreed on the more expensive 30 Amp metre to service everything.  Should be operational by Monday.

Went to the local admin office to check what they need for 'approval' of the plans.  This will be done Monday as the 'big boss' isn't there until then.

It's rained today so they can't start bringing the earth to raise the land, but will start tomorrow.

Arranged for the water guys to come and drill a bore hole once the land has been raised.

The guys have finished their pre fabricating, so today are cutting timber for the karaoke.

Agreed a price on a second hand snooker table for the bar.

Honda rang to say the parts are ready for the car, they can do it first thing tomorrow.

It's only 3pm and I am shattered.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

A Pause

there was a death in the village today which means in Isaan tradition there will be no work done in the village tomorrow.  I sort of like that.

From our perspective it means a chance to regroup and sort out the plans.  We are still left with a long to do list.

We'll go and pay our respects sometime in the morning.

Buying Land

We arrived at Tesco Nong Han, as agreed at 10am.  (Bangkok Bank has a branch and they decided it was better then travelling to Sakon to come back).

We paid the balance of the money.  The title documents appeared as did the boss from Udon and we went to the Land Office at 10:45 and took our number.  '22'.  I remember that from somewhere.

Anyway Big Boss gave up at 1pm and went home ( Not sure why he was needed).

At 4.15 our number came up and we handed over the papers, N signed everything as did the bank.  We paid the tax.  They suggested we picked the papers up in the morning as he still had customers to deal with and wanted to get home to see the football.  Seems I am fated to get the 'I need to get home approach.'

Our New Logo

The first of a number of changes coming for Inspiring Isaan in 2010

Meanwhile back at the house

it turned into a late night building the new wall.....

Work Started On The Karaoke

Well work has started on clearing the Karaoke land with the help of N's friends and a tractor.


Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Outlet Mall For Udon

On top of UD Town, Central plans for the complex, now it's confirmed that Outlet Mall will open in Udon.  Just wonder where all the people with money to spend are coming from!!!!  Or is there something we don't know!

Outlet Mall plans B500m Udon Thani mall

Perfect timing

these two stories hit the Bangkok Post today....

UDD may protest at Suvarnabhumi

Graphic identity to boost image of Suvarnabhumi Airport

Oh well TiT

Fuel Charges Must be included on Domestic Flight fares

At last.  There is nothing more annoying than finding a flight at a good price to be hit by surcharges...

But how about saying the first price you see is the total you will pay including all charges.


Went to the Honda dealer the other day to get a price for front spoiler and fog lights.  Yes I know but having driven around at night I'd like more illumination in front of me on the country roads.  Anyway to fit them needs the front spoiler.  Now the car would then look stupid without side and rear trim.  And while I am at it may as well get the boot spoiler.  I was quoted a price.  Against published prices it seemed fair, so I ordered it.

Whilst there I inquired on progressed on number plates.

"we are waiting for you to get paper from Provincial Land Office, Take car, they check and give you paper'

I decided it was not worth the 'WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME THIS WHEN I BOUGHT THE CAR!'

So Monday we go there.  They take a copy of the VIN and write onto the form the engine number and we are away.  Although it took 30 minutes because of teh queue.  And it's not exactly 'in town'.

Dropped it off at Honda on the way home.

However before we head off we get a call from Honda about the 'bodykit'.  As we had paid cash for the car, not on credit they would give me a 10% discount on the price we had previously agreed.  Of course suspicious me is think it's not going to be what I ordered!  So when we go to get it fitted I shall insist on seeing the parts before they start.

A Busy Day All Round

Sunday was a free listing day on Ebay UK so I spent the day setting up items for my Brother, who is away skiing, which will close after his return.  It is mainly things from father's house which we are gradually selling off.  At least if the 'local pickup only' items sell he can reclaim his house as everything else fits into the loft.  There were many more items I could have listed but gave up after 5 hours.  Still there is enough to keep Bro busy on his return.

Meanwhile N spent the day checking out a site and the costs of construction to build a Karaoke establishment just outside the village, and far enough away from the resort not to be a disturbance.  It's 1,000 baht a month to rent the land and 20,000 to get it up and running as it already has some basic structures.  It's really for Mama to run as I have insisted that she has to work to earn some cash, because once I move out I am not covering the household bills, as I'll have my own!  I also insisted that business and family don't mix so she can't work at the resort.  I have made it clear it's last chance for her to make a go of something.   Pa2 and Bodyguard will do all the construction, we just need a tractor for a couple of hours to clear the overgrowth.  They can start as soon as they finish a bit of kitchen modification at the house which starts today.

If it doesn't work out then either we'll take over managing it, or we'll move the huts, tables etc to the resort and use outside the bar and restaurant.  All but about 4,000 baht of the expenditure can be moved.

Monday, 18 January 2010


IT'S REPORTED TO BE A HOT YEAR. And not just climatically. The next 6 weeks are going to be hard with the Thaksin Asset case coming up. I know where I stand on the case, but that is irrelevant. I am a farang. However I have chosen to live here and I hope it can all be solved peacefully. Now it seems that some groups want to 'to quote the local press' 'wage war' to protect a man, without worrying whether the other millions of Thais agree. Without worrying whether there is any truth in the case. The PM has taken some perilous steps enforcing his standards on current ministers. Let's hope it does not come to haunt him. There is Talk of Thaksin in a 'do or die' mode. That is worrying for the country. His supporters are up tight over the pardon, even though established Thai protocol requires the 'individual' to start serving their sentence before a pardon can be given. As the day to buy land grows closer I become less and less sure about the future. Please let common sense be seen and we pass through the next two months and Thailand emerges at peace with itself. Anyway rant over.... The press are no better, we get reports of '200 Red shirts' protesting'. Multiply by 1,000 and it might be news. But come on guys. Unless you make the headline 'Only 200" what's the big news value. Next will it be 20 villages arrange a meeting over the village street lights? OK rant over

A Surprising Dinner

N went into the kitchen to cook about 7.  Five minutes later he returns with a bag of potatoes.. How do I cook these.  I explain and help him get them boiling, tell him how long to boil. I inquire what else he is cooking.  He show me the Pork Steak and Cumberland Sausage from the freezer.  I explain the defrost settings on the microwave, and when to start frying the sausages and steak.  He has watched me many times.

About 20 minutes later Pork Steak, Cumberland Sausage and Boiled Potatoes with fried onions is served.  And I was expecting Thai food.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

A Computer Day

I've been putting off a new system install on the netbook for some time, but finally decided to bite the bullet and upgrade to Windows 7.

The only issue that came up when I ran the Windows 7 upgrade advisor was that the Edge modem might not work.

Of course the netbook comes without a DVD drive so I copied the Windows 7 DVD to a thumb drive, and changed the boot order on the netbook to it would boot from DVD.

I then downloaded Windows easy transfer and used it to move files and settings to a second thumb drive.  As few files were stored on it a relatively quick process.

I then attached the thumbdrive with Windows 7 and rebooted and commenced install.using custom option as it was running XP.

A smooth process followed which took less than an hour, I ran easy transfer to transfer back the files and settings.

My other software was all backed up on the desktop so I now copied this to the thumbdrive and reinstalled Openoffice, Thunderbird and Firefox together with Picasa which is all we ever use on the netbook.

Moment of truth, I attached the Edge modem.  It didn't auto install as it does in XP, but Windows 7 recognised it as a CD Drive and I was able to run the setup file to install the modem, which Windows 7 recognised.  I clicked on connect and was online.

So after a couple of hours we have a functioning netbook again.  I'll let it run a few days before upgrading the desktop.

Meanwhile I also bought a dual 1 terrabyte external drive with RAID.  So I am now busy transferring files from various legacy drives over.  I'll complete this process before the upgrade.  However with RAID installed I feel much more comfortable about file security.  However I think a few days will be needed to transfer files and sort them on the new drive.  I'll then use one of the legacy devices to back up the desktop when I do the Windows 7 Upgrade.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Started On The Land

Took the plunge and set about clearing the site yesterday afternoon.  At least we feel we are making progress.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Land On Land

Received a quote today for bringing in earth to raise the level of the plots.  It's at the top end of the range of what iw as expecting, but when I think we are talking about raising 1,200sq metres of land by about half a metre.....

Anyway accepted the quote and told him to start Thursday, unless he gets a phone call because there is a last minute hitch with the bank.

Meanwhile the workers are busy pre-fabricating the reinforcement for the foundations so at least they are not say around doing nothing.

Went through the overall layout plans this evening and re jigged a bit.  Also decided to stop looking at adjoining land.  They all want too much or need time to decide.  Those who can't decide will be told when they do that sorry we don't want the land anymore, not at that price, but if they need money we'll buy it from them at 20% over what we paid the bank.

At least developing the new website has kept me busy, but I am about as far as I can go until we have the land.

Thursday, 14 January 2010


The bank has finally confirmed when the boss from Udon can make time to come to Nong Han to sign the transfer papers.....  next Wednesday which will make it a month from the date we paid the deposit.

There is only so much we can do before then.  Another week.  Argggghhhhhhhhhhhh

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


The new pump is installed.  We've added an outside tap and plumbed the washing machine it.  We have mains pressure water from the drill hole... And I mean the sort of pressure I was used to in Europe.

Still sitting around

The papers for the land have not arrived in town yet.  So much for the estimate of a week, it's now three weeks.

The work crew arrive today.  We have some small jobs around Mama's house to keep them busy, but the last thing I need is them sitting around.  If we had not agreed to bring them today the risk was they'd go and work for someone else.

Unsurprisingly found out yesterday when he actually produced Chanote that the guy we thought had to neighbouring plots which would be useful, actually had one that would be no good to us... especially at 6 times the price of what we are buying.  N was less than pleased.

At least water supply has been resumed.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Yes I know...

12C is not 'cold'.  But it's not the 'cold' that gets me.  Just reviewed teh 15 day forecast, looking at 'Real Feel' temperatures.  Tonight we are expecting 12C.  By the 24th we are told to expecta 'Real Feel' temperature of 46C!... No wonder we are all suffering with colds.

Response from Thai Airways on the future of the Udon Thani - Bangkok Route

I finally got a response from Thai on my email as to the rumours that they will stop operating the Bangkok - Udon Route...

Regarding your query about the flight Bangkok-Udon Thani-Bangkok, we would advise you to check the company publish announcement as we cannot confirm at this moment when we will stop operating this route."

Water day 2

Well we have made some progress.  The pump is now installed and is producing water... although a horrible brown colour at the moment!  Still we are a step closer.