Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Bukit Brown Cemetery

Yesterday Tcina and I decided to forego our usual Thursday walk in favour of a Tuesday one mainly because of flights. Like I've said before, it is impossible to pin someone down at this time of year, and we've both got trips to the UK booked.
Tcina is a much better planner than me, so when she suggested a walk around Bukit Brown Cemetery I instantly jumped on board.  The cemetery is currently being dug up and bodies exhumed to make way for a larger road.  You can find out more about the cemetery here.  I hadn't read about it before going, but now wish I did as I would have understood the burn marks on the ground (where people would burn 'money' as a sign of respect or looked out for specific plots,) this is somewhere I think Mark would love to come with the good camera too.
Tcina suggested taking Monty, a dog she helps keep an eye on, and I jumped at the chance to go on a proper walk with a bigger dog. I love my Daisy dog, but she would not be able to cope with any of our walks and I just couldn't take her (serious Pet Mummy guilt). Tcina found a taxi that would take a dog and we set out, unfortunately I forgot Lornie Road can be terrible in rush hour so we wasted some time waiting about to get turned into Kheam Hock Road.
Once we arrived we walked past the construction works and along the road without looking at any maps, being hemmed in by busy roads on all sides makes you reckless like that! We walked back and forth and occasionally wondered into a dead end road, but we kept moving for 2 hours and didn't get bored. Whilst out the heavens opened and I got caught in yet another downpour, but at least it kept cool and there was no thunder or lightening.  The only other people was a couple we kept passing as we criss crossed our way around the place and three horses and 2 riders taking a leisurely stroll.
I'm so glad I got to see this before it was lost forever, as a westerner I'm so used to regimented straight lines in a grave yard and so to see memorials placed in no particular order (to my untrained eye) within a jungle setting was so interesting to me.
When the time came to get a taxi home we all looked down at our muddy feet/paws (yeah, I'm pretty sure Monty looked with shame at his sodden paws) and prayed we'd have a kindly  Uncle. Well the first one wasn't, though we never got to give him sad puppy dog/please take us home eyes as he said we were a no show aka he saw as and kept driving! The second guy must have been in a good mood as we took us all to our respective homes where as soon as I got in I dived in a warm bath.
The tolerance I have for the cold i.e. the temperature drop to 26 with a slight breeze fills me with fear for the upcoming UK trip. Keep me in your thoughts!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

New Newbies

Sally was the first person to take me out when I was brand new to Singapore so it should be no shock at all that she spotted a new person that nobody knew of.  With our liaison officer on holiday we had no idea that another family had moved in.  Sally happened to be out and about when she saw Christine and invited her out from there.  When Sally caught me walking Daisy after book club the other night she invited me out so I could say hello too.  
Christine and her husband had arrived in Singapore a couple of weeks ago, but because they didn't have a car or a freight delivered yet there home continued to be unassuming so nobody popped round.  When we did meet up I jumped right into expat overdrive, which is known to anybody else as totally overstepping the mark, and started to plan other meet ups.  The only going which saved a Christine from being whisked away then and there is the fact she's having a little one.
I can't wait to try and get to know another new person, I'm sure she'll naturally move into a new Mummy group (although she's more than welcome to come walking too), but in those first couple of months I hope I can be a friendly face.  
Sally put on a perfect spread (seriously she was made to be a perfect housewife whereas I muddle around the house never finishing any jobs). There was home made yogurt and fresh fruit all cut up perfectly, it made me think that choosing to spend the last two days sunbathing and reading all day was not a good idea.
Hmmm, best get started on those welcome cookies, I do always need a few batches to perfect it.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

House Rules

I've been wondering about what to write for a while, not because we've not been up to anything, and not because we've been too busy, but because there's a bit of an elephant in the room.  You see we've just waved off our fourth visitor, and it didn't go well.  I sat down to write the meanest most negative thing I could as soon as she left. I was about to call her out on every single teeny tiny thing she did....and then I deleted the post.  It was good to get it out, but instead I will point out all of my failings and hopefully help anyone that might ever come across this post, or indeed read it back when I get a dumb idea in the future.
  • This sounds pretty basic, but make sure you don't offer all and sundry an invitation to your new home.  I did this and accidentally invited someone I didn't actually have much in common with.  Yes they were fun sometimes to be with, but this friendship wouldn't really have survived if they didn't have a holiday riding on it-and I was trying to not renege on a promise. 
  • Find out what is expected of you as host or be clear on what you can offer.  I always say come over, stay with us and we'll feed you.  With family I made lists of things to see and wanted to take them everywhere.  However, with a friend staying upward of three weeks I had assumed they'd know what they wanted to do and also be comfortable if I got on with my own thing.  I didn't say any of this, and so when they arrived and asked what they were doing that evening they were a little put out that I had no definite answer. 
  • On the same vein, when guests don't appreciate everything you show them don't take it personally.  I felt like an awful tour guide when my guests didn't care to see a Orchard Road, Marina Bay or the Botanic Gardens.  When they asked what a Merlion was I felt like a failure, however it's not my job-as someone offering free board-to ensure their enjoyment.  (And not to toot my own horn or anything, but they loved Universal Studios and I was the one who suggested it....just saying)
  • Be very clear on 'house rules'. I never really thought we had any, but I now feel like we must be super strict in this house. I like a table set properly and there should be no phones at the table and the tv has to be off or at the very least not watched/listened to. Those are rules.  I like it when everyone talks to each other and there's no sulking or interrupting, and after 1 in the morning is quiet time in my book, also guests get brownie points for not leaving stinky food on the sofa (or clearing up their own pee on the floor), I said none of this to our guest but seethed when they probably did as I requested and treated this place like home (no hosting brownie points awarded to me then).
Oprah has a part in each magezine called What I Know For Sure which I love to read, I don't have my own What I Know For Sure, but I like to read others and try to see what I agree with.  The positives from this experience are that I have a few more items I'd put on my list.  I know for sure I'm all about manners.  I know for sure I'm all about trying to be a better Christian and I know for sure I'm all about education.  I just didn't know I was all about such an early bedtime!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

My New Bike......

When we packed up all our stuff for the big push to Singapore last Novemeber, we decided to take our bike with us. They were not in the greatest condition and some readers will remeber that Sheila go her new PINK bike a few months back.

My bike was okay and I had used it a few times. I did however notice a crack within the gears and investigated having this repaired. This was mistake number two. Mistake number one was probably bringing the bike over in the first place!

So, back to mistake number two. I went online to source some repair shops and was not overly surprised to find loads. I emailed about six of them to see if they could assist. I recieved only two replies to the six emails sent out. Of the two replies one offered to adjuste my brakes and gears for $15 per adjustment. The other offered me the chance to invest $100 for a full bike inspection followed by $15 to adjust the brakes and $15 to adjust the gears. They were unsure if they could fix the problem but could replace the gears at a cost of between $70 (for used parts) and $150 for new.

The thought of investing around $300 on my old bike was not overly tempting so the decision was made to buy a new bike. There are loads of places to buy a bike, however I'm not a professional nor sports rider. I just need something to use in the park and to ride occasionally to the office.

This is where Giant comes in (Not a huge person but the Hyperstore) We bought Sheilas bike from them and I really liked the choice, service and cost. So I bought my new bike from there. I selected about six or seven, bunny hopped them around the store and then settled on the Gold & Black Dream Machine! It has everything I need, two wheels, pedals & chain!  It also has a really light frame, carbon seat, 24 gears etc etc.

I was just a tad over the $300 it would have cost to repair old bessie but I think this one will serve me till I decide tohang up my yellow top!

Even has a bike stand, ooooh fancy...........

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

A Goodbye Lunch

After our RDA session today a group of the volunteers went out to say goodbye to our good friend Karin.  This is the first goodbye I've done and I didn't think it'd be so difficult to send someone on their way.  Karin was only here for a short while as her husband Ivan was on sabbatical and after a month out for travelling they are going to pack up and head back to New Jersey.
Karin has been so much fun at RDA and our walking group, so we all signed a RDA book for her then took her out for lunch at Cedele on the top of Wheelock Place.  It's the first time I've been there but is a pretty location for a lunch. The other women had amazing looking salads or sandwiches, but I went for the roasted pepper and tomato soup.  It's a bakery/cafe that looked like you get get a few healthy options out of the mains menu.  It also looked like there were good vegetarian options too.  There were bread and chutneys on sale at the front door but I was too busy getting group shots of our post RDA lunch group.
Good luck in your future travels Karin, we'll miss you lots!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014


Another snapshot.....still waiting on the laptop to get its act together.....
My New Years resolution was to read the Bible end to end. I've probably read it through a few times and read most parts of the NT loads, but I've never went all the way through.  It was only when I tried to understand something from the NT by checking back on the OT that I thought there's probably so much I'm missing. I keep marking stuff off so I am trying to get myself into the habit of writing what I want to go look at down and coming back to it later! (Need to get into meditating, it's on the to do list)

Listening to
I'm listening to loads of Coldplay at the moment since I finished my HP.  I got really bored for two days then started playing about with music on YouTube.  When I heard Magic from their recent album I remember how much I lived Parachutes when it came out (oh my gosh, I was about 14 when that happened!). So right now I'm getting fill of Everything's Not Lost and Warning Sign.

Everything that's in the freezer so I can get all our stored stuff out of there and get some space!  Also trying not to snack as much after all that junk food from all our visitors! Urge, I ate way yo much.

I am still obsessed with the exploits of The Duggars,  somebody help me...

The vitamin D I'm getting right now with the walking group. Every so often someone will turn to me and strike up a conversation in Dutch, but my blank stares are enough for them to say "oh, so YOU'RE the new girl!" I love visiting all these new places, getting out and exploring, as well as the plentiful cake opportunities that go hand in hand with the walking group.

Waiting in for the workmen so they can fix up the cracks in the floor tiles, there are so many more things I'd rather get out and DO!

Fun things for when Holly comes over!

How to use my new kitchen aid. I'm reading up, as I don't have the converter yet, but when it arrives I'll be ready.

Saturday, 3 May 2014


Another snapshot of life at Daisy Towers whilst I wait for the laptop to decide it wants to come out and play.
Im currently reading Divergent by Veronica Roth which I'd started a while ago before our visitors came along.  When I love a book I go through it whiteout stopping, but with people coming out and wanting to chat with them and show them about all the time I just couldn't grit into it and sometimes found I didn't have the energy for it at the end of the day.  I also only picked it when I'd read it was a bit like The Hunger Games but I shouldn't have picked it for that reason as I didn't appreciate it for its own story.  However, Mark and I went to the cinema the other day and seeing as it was my turn to pick the film I picked this which made me want to give it another go.

Listening to
I love listening to talking books and originally picked The Hunger Games thinking it would be a nice easy to listen to YA. However, I absolutely fell in love with the books and the characters so when I'd finished it I was deep in Book Mourning.  I felt I needed something which I knew I'd love so I went back to Harry Potter. Of course it was easy and nice to listen to whilst I pottered (see what I did there?) around the house, I knew these stories and it was easy. Right now I'm on the last book and I'm back to how it was whilst going through THG.  Oh my gosh, I totally forgot how much I love these characters and hadn't read the last book since I waited up until midnight to buy it and read it in 15 hours without putting it down once. Please remind me I am trying to pick easy to listen to (which means easily forgettable) books that I can have on in a quiet house whilst I do the dishes..

Erm not very much! Weeks and weeks of visitors eating what people do when they are on holiday has made me put on a few lbs, so I am eating healthily, not picking up snacks at the supermarket and walking more. 


19 kids and counting.  Totally trashy tv, but I love it.  It's pretty much what the title says and is about a right wing American family who have loads of kids.  Enough said.

I am loving walking Daisy in the park right now.  I love letting her off the lead and letting her play and run.  It's what I felt so bad about when I got here and I'm grateful that we were able to find a place foe her to run about in.


All the people coming over all the time to investigate the house and those cracks...all......the.....time.

Holly comes over in only a couple of weeks and I need to keep her entertained. I am mostly excited to just hang out and do the things we normally did ( read eat cake and talk rubbish). But it's going to be so much fun to do that whilst at Universal Studios, Mount Faber or Marina Bay.


I'm learning to get back in the habit of having the house to myself.  This is great that I get to strip all the beds and toss everything downstairs to drag through the house to the laundry room which pretty much means make a mess before I get things in order...... But it's also really weird to have an empty house again.  I am taking full advantage of the chance to read in the afternoon or perhaps watch some more of that trashy tv.....