I have a go…

I had a pork burger…

…for breakfast that morning.

In my blogpost the other day, I mentioned that my girl asked the mum to buy her some pork patties and I thought they looked kinda small, good for making sliders if we had some mini dinner rolls so even though we had some burger buns in the house that day, I did not bother to use them as I had the impression that they would be too big.

Then, the other day, my brother-in-law dropped by my house and passed us this loaf of bread…

His missus made some jam using the roselle that she grows at home and she gave us two bottles of that and my brother-in-law went and bought us the bread to eat it with. That was so nice and considerate of him – he probably knows that we hardly ever go out. I don’t know if the one from here is any good or not but I loved the butter bread from this bakery near my house and I used to buy it quite often but now that I am on a low carbs diet, I have not bought any from there for quite a while.

Anyway, I thought I could take a slice and cut it into two and that would be the right size for a mini-sandwich using one of my girl’s pork patties. I did not do that in the end because when I opened the fridge, I saw that there was still one of those buns that my missus bought that day so I decided to just use it and finish it off once and for all.

I cut the bun into two and toasted it in the oven, outside and inside and I buttered both parts generously before adding a slice of smoked cheddar cheese and putting them back in the oven to melt the cheese a bit. In the meantime, I fried the pork patty and once it was done…

…I placed it on the cheese on the bottom half of the bun. Blame it on my insecurity but I just had to cut the patty up to make sure it was perfectly cooked inside. I must say that the bun was not too big nor was the patty too small after all, just right!

I placed two tomato slices…

…on the patty and I fried an egg…

…and that went on top.

I cut the burger into halves so as to show its cross-section…

…and yes, I must say that it looked really good. I sure wouldn’t mind a bit of lettuce though – for the colour, if not for anything else.

Yes, finally, I had a go at my girl’s pork patty, my own pork burger…and yes, I would say it was very nice but personally, I think I prefer bacon.

AROMA BAKERY (2.311151, 111.831515) is located after the Maju Tyre shop at No. 36 (G/F), Taman Damai on the right along Jalan Dewan Suarah and WeLove Bakery, Pedada outlet (2.311098, 111.846125) is located at the corner shoplot, back to back with the Sugar Bun outlet in that area to the left of Delta Mall, Jalan Pedada (now Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai).

Two in one…

I did blog about this before, briefly, but never mind – I don’t think I included all the juicy bits then! LOL!!!

Back to my weekend in London, England, 1994, on my first day there, Friday, I was in the vicinity of the Piccadilly Circus when I spotted a booking agent’s office among the shops close by. I approached the guy there quickly and asked for a ticket to Miss Saigon, the matinee the following day, Saturday. I was not all that keen on venturing out alone at night in a strange land. He said that would not be a problem at all and he collected £25 from me after which he told me that I would have to go back there the next day to collect it.

I went back the next day but he said that he could not get the ticket for the matinee, only for the show that night but he was willing to refund me the money. No, my mind was made up – Miss Saigon, I wanted to see so Miss Saigon I would get to see! I took the ticket from him and walked away.

Then, I turned and went back to the booking agent and asked him if there was any other show that I could watch since I had the afternoon free.

What do you have on mind?” he asked.

Phantom?” I replied and he burst out laughing, so amused by my response.

Come back next year!” he said.

He told me he had a ticket for Grease at the Dominion Theatre, not far away from where we were. walking distance and the show was about to start. He would give it to me at face value, £28.50 and yes, I took the offer. The next minute, I was on my way to the theatre – the guy walked with me most of the way to make sure I would not get lost and would get there in time.

There I was, seated so near to the stage…

…when I started having second thoughts. What was I doing there? I had watched the movie so many times in the cinema and on video tape and I knew all the songs. The exchange rate was only RM3.50 to a £ at the time – still, that came up to RM99.75 for the ticket but as soon as the show started, whatever reservation I had disappeared into thin air.

It sure was a fun show – everyone was clapping, cheering, singing and dancing away and of course, I happily joined in. This was the first musical I had watched in my entire life and it sure was an unforgettable experience! What I did not know then – I found out much later while browsing online – was that Debbie Gibson was playing the part of Sandy! Those of you who are familiar of the pop songs of the 80’s would probably know her big hit, Lost in your eyes.

It was dark already when I came out of the theatre – it was late autumn, coming to winter so it got dark very quickly. I had to rush back to Malaysia House (where we were staying) to bathe and change and head to the Theatre Royal Drury Lane for Miss Saigon

…that same night.

As I was walking, a car pulled up by the side of the road right beside me. I saw a lady at the wheel and I thought it was one of those in our group. Probably she had been to see her relatives or friends residing in London and had borrowed a car and wanted to give me a lift. I approached the car, passenger side and the lady screened down the window. She was not very young, definitely no spring chicken, all dressed up in a fur coat.

I need company!” she cooed, seductively.

No, thank you!” I fumbled with my reply and quickly turned and went on my way as fast as I could. In my panic, I took the wrong turning at the junction ahead but luckily, I realised it soon enough so I went back the way I came and finally, got to Malaysia House, safe and sound. Phew!!!

In no time at all, I was on my way to the theatre and yes, I made it in ample time before the show started. There I was, perched high up in the gallery – we were given binoculars but I did not bother to use them and yes, I enjoyed it tremendously!

It was an epic drama…

…and I loved every minute of it right from the moment it started. I loved all the songs and luckily, I did not know them at the time so I was not singing my heart out – I would probably have done that if I had gone to see The Phantom. No, it wasn’t Lea Salonga anymore, playing the part of Kim but if I am not wrong, John Barrowman was Chris at the time. Anyway, I wouldn’t know him even if I knew it was him then. I only got to know him much later via Youtube.

When it came to the part when Kim had to say goodbye to her son, suddenly I missed my little girl back home in Sibu and the dam burst and I cried buckets!!! The young girl sitting beside me must be wondering why but at that parting scene where Kim shot herself and Chris came back into the house and they said their last goodbye, I saw the girl crying her eyeballs out! My friend in Auckland, New Zealand went to watch when the musical opened there and after she saw it, she grumbled that I did not tell her it was so so so sad. I guess she too cried her heart out! LOL!!!

It was already past 11 after the show ended and this “Cinderella” had to rush back to Malaysia House before they locked the door at midnight. Luckily, the couple behind me helped me and got me my ticket for the London Underground (I paid them, of course) – the machine rejected all the British currency I had with me! Yes, I made it just in time (many could not believe I had never been to London before seeing how I could get around without any problem whatsoever) and that was indeed a truly memorable day, one that I will never ever forget – TWO musicals in ONE day, believe it or not!

Incidentally, if anyone is interested in watching Miss Saigon, you can try these links in two parts, Part One and Part Two, on Youtube or you can try this link, for the better and clearer production than any you can find on Youtube, with Eva Noblezada as Kim and Rachelle Ann Go as Gigi in the 25th Anniversary Gala Performance at the Prince Edward Theatre, London. Do make sure you have a box of tissue paper beside you and don’t say I did not warn you!

The coast is clear…

Despite the pandemic and the extended lockdown and restrictions on all kinds of movements, I would say that we are getting on all right all these months with all the stuff that we have in the house.

Of course, there are a lot of things that for various reasons, we have not eaten for a long time. Maybe it is because we want to avoid any crowd or we just do not want to go out to eat or the place is closed or dining in is not allowed and I am not crazy about ordering and getting food delivered to the house. However, sometimes, we may see photos of those things and that may trigger a craving in us and make us wish we can go and feast on them.

Not too long ago, I was browsing through my old blogposts and I stumbled upon this one with this photograph

…with all those to-die-for roast meats hanging in the display cabinet at the stall. It looked so good and I could not resist sharing the link to the post on Facebook…and my friends started scolding and grumbling away as that made them all lao nua (salivate).

This stall is located at a coffee shop round the corner from my house, the brother of the guy whose immensely popular stall selling the same is located right across the road from the Public Bank, Tunku Osman branch and on days when we have nothing much to eat in the house, I would drive over and buy some of what they still have. I like going at around 3 in the afternoon as the coast is clear – all the other stalls would be closed and there would not be a single living soul around. Of course, on days when I am not lucky, they would not have much left or worse, they would be closed having sold out everything for the day.

Well, the other day, my blogger-friend published this post in her blog and that was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. So to appease the craving, that afternoon, I made my way to the stall and bought one chicken thigh (RM7.00)…

…and RM10 worth of roast duck, breast meat…

When it comes to duck, I do not like the drumstick as it tends to be a bit on the tough side.

That was quite enough for the three of us for one meal so I saved the char siew (RM10.00)…

…for another day.

I must say that I sure bought quite a lot that day, RM27.00 altogether…

I guess that would be enough for a while, no need for me to go over and buy some more again in the not-too-distant future…I think! LOL!!!

MEI LE CAFE (2.313147, 111.846968) is located along Jalan Gambir, a stone’s throw away from the Delta Mall, straight ahead from the first turning to your left as soon as you turn into that road from Jalan Pedada, now Jalan Datuk Wong Soon Kai.

Not going out…

It has been way over a week since we have gone into Phase 2 here in Sarawak. Unfortunately, we still see cases here, there and everywhere, a lot at some places, so of course, as far as I am concerned, nothing has changed – I am not going out unless absolutely necessary and even though they allow dining in at the eateries these days, don’t expect to see me sitting in a coffee shop, casting caution to the wind and eating away. I am quite happy to stay at home and enjoy my own-cooked breakfast in the early morning.

My girl asked the mum to buy her these made-in-Singapore purple wheat noodles

…sometime ago and I did help myself to a packet, served with thinly sliced pan-grilled smoked duck breast plus an egg and tomatoes by the side. We prefer the chili and lime flavour but my missus said that it was out of stock and there was only this one, take it or leave it.

This is also made in Singapore, the Myojo mee pok dry and my girl still has a few packets in the house so on another morning, I took one…

..for my breakfast and had it with a few slices of scallop tofu and two poached eggs.

Of course I am well-stocked with our Sibu’s own Mee Daddy, chicken flavour

I had it dry, served with deep fried sotong rings and one fried egg and I made sure that I had a bowl of its most delightful soup by the side.

It is pretty obvious that I do not need to go out at all as I have a whole lot of things to pick and choose to eat first thing in the morning. This was my Bovril spaghetti with corned beef and potatoes plus sliced tomato by the side…

I thought it was nice but I would very much prefer the texture of our own mee sua

…or mee kua/mee pok

…with Bovril to that of the Italian pasta…

…al dente.

There was some leftover rice that day so I cooked my kampung-style belacan and ikan bilis egg fried rice

…something I had not had for a while and I even had a bacon & egg burger

…once.

My missus made these sausage buns…

…one night so we could have them for breakfast. I had two and two half-boiled eggs but I wouldn’t say that they swept me off my feet. There was too little sausage, mostly bread and they were so overwhelmingly strong on the garlic, not in the recipe, she said and that was not entirely to my liking. I toasted them in the oven till nice and crusty and buttered them generously to eat – they were quite all right, after that.

So what am I going to eat today? That is the question I will ask myself every morning when I wake up and of course, I shall have to prepare and cook everything myself. However, all things considered, this is a very small price to pay to #staysafe and #staywell and as far as the enjoyment and satisfaction go, I can say that generally, these are as nice or perhaps, even nicer than anything I can get at a coffee shop outside.

Streets of London…

In my blogpost the other day on that time in 1994 when I went to Plymouth, England, I did mention that one weekend when we were there, we managed to make a short trip to London. I don’t know about the rest but I sure had a great time and did a whole lot of interesting things there – I’m sure if I were to talk about all of them, it would stretch over a number of posts. Therefore, so as not to bore everyone to death, I shall do it a little at a time, in small doses and if there is some show of interest, I shall blog about some other things that happened during my brief weekend there.

This was on the morning of our final day in London, Sunday. We had the whole morning to ourselves before we boarded the coach to make our way back to Plymouth and everyone in the group wanted to walk from Malaysia House (where we were staying) to Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guards. I did not want to go as I was not really into things touristy and besides, it was already towards the end of November and the weather was getting cold so the guards would be dressed in their long and dull grey trench coats over their striking red uniforms so I did not think it would be a sight to behold.

Another guy in our group, Su, from Pahang did not want to go either so we went strolling along the streets of London together. I think it was somewhere along Regent or Oxford Street that we saw a caravan parked right in the middle of the road…

…and much to our delight, ooooopsss…I mean, surprise, a beautiful, curvaceous, sexy model dressed only in her lingerie emerged from it!

Some people were having a photoshoot that morning and the caravan was used by the model as her changing room. Very soon, a crowd gathered all around and I was rather amused to hear them trying to guess the colour of the lingerie the model would be wearing each time she came out of the caravan…

…and of course, there were people taking photographs of the model as well.

Those were the days before the smartphone so not that many people had a camera with them for them to do that. Luckily, Su and I had ours with us and of course, we happily clicked away…

As they say, if you can’t beat them, join them!

When the group came back from Buckingham Palace, we told them what we saw – the changing of the guards, a different kind of “guards”, not the ones at the palace that they saw and of course, when we had the film developed and the photographs printed, we could not wait to show them to the guys so they could see what they missed.

Now, anybody wants to hear about that evening when a lady dressed in a fur coat stopped her car by the side of the road while I was walking back to Malaysia House and tried to pick me up? LOL!!!

Burger…

My missus went out last Friday. She did not have to even though the last time she went out was two weeks ago as we still had a lot of stuff in the fridge and the freezer, the pantry and the cabinets and all over our spare room downstairs.

Well, she wanted to go out as we had gone into Phase 2 already, here in the state of Sarawak, and the hair salons would be open so she wanted to go and get her hair done, not that anybody would see or we had plans to go anywhere. LOL!!! But frankly, I do feel that we need to pamper ourselves a bit sometimes – that would do a whole lot of good for our sanity. Mine is an absolute mess, going north, south, east and west but no, I’m not bothered to do anything about it just yet.

Anyway, since she was out that day, she dropped by that supermarket in town that imports stuff from countries all over the world and yes, she came home with a whole lot of purchases including these imported from Australia beef patty, Wagyu no less…

…and another one, Angus (both a little over RM10.00 each) and of course, she had to buy some burger buns to eat those with.

The last time she went out, my girl asked her to buy these pork patties…

…four in a pack and she bought two. We did not have any bread or buns in the house so my girl just pan-grilled them and ate just like that with whatever else she had on the side. It would be nice if she had those mini dinner rolls plus all the other ingredients so she could make some nice sliders to enjoy. She still has a pack left, still in the freezer.

In the meantime, she already tried the Angus beef patty that the mum bought and she did cut a section of the burger for me to try. She did not have much else in the burger, other than the patty and a slice of cheese but I would say it was very nice. The patty was juicy and very delicious…unlike the double cheese burger that I had from the outlet of that franchise we have here to appease my craving at one time. That was sometime ago and perhaps, I caught them on a bad day but the patty was dry and hard – I never wanted to buy any from there since. Perhaps one of these days, I can stop by a bakery and buy some mini-buns for the pork patties.

Well, in case you’re wondering, no, I did not want to eat that Wagyu patty – I would want to leave that for my girl to enjoy but since we had a lot of burger buns in the house, I decided to make my own using whatever I could find…

I took one of the buns and toasted it lightly, inside and outside and buttered it generously and I pan-grilled some slices of the smoked back bacon that I had in the freezer to put in the burger, along with a slice of cheddar cheese, two slices of tomato, topped with one fried egg.

This was what the cross-section was like…

It sure looked great, don’t you think? Well, I must say that it tasted really good too but of course, I must not indulge in it too much – too many of those big buns would do a whole lot of damage to my low-carbs diet, I’m sure but I guess once in a long while should be fine.

TA KIONG EMPORIUM (2.2933,111.82713,783) is located at No. 42-46, Jalan Tuanku Osman and DELTA – THE MARKETPLACE (2.311968, 111.847043) is located in the basement of the Delta Mall, Taman Seduan 8, Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai (formerly Jalan Pedada).

Wild…

I have not been to the Sibu Central Market since the outbreak of the pandemic last year so it has been way over a year since I last bought our giant udang galah (freshwater prawns).

They are very strict with the SOPs if you want to go into the place but once you are inside, it is a free-for-all – you can go anywhere you please, stand wherever you like, no marks on the floor to indicate where you must stand or queue…and when there were reports of cases involving the sellers and the customers, they closed down the place for sanitisation but it did not seem to help much as cases kept recurring. Other than that, I heard that not all stalls would be open each day, either by choice or by order from the authorities – they are asked to take turns.

I definitely would not want to go near the jungle produce section as records have shown that most of the clusters involve the longhouses including the one at Pasai Siong that brought the whole state of Sarawak to its knees. For this reason, all this time, we hardly eat anything that grows wild in the jungle including our favourite jungle ferns – the midin and the paku because we do not usually get these at the neighbourhood shops and vegetable stalls.

Well, the other day, I had to go out to change the batteries in my car’s remote control and on the way back, I decided to stop by those in the next lane to see if they had anything I would want to buy. To keep my distance from the few customers around at the time, I did not go near the stalls on the five-foot-way and instead, I just stayed on the main road and looked from afar.

Much to my delight, I saw some paku at the vegetable stall so I waited till the customer there at that point in time was done and had left. She bought a whole lot of kua chai (mustard green) to make salted/preserved vegetables and the seller was telling her what to do. I overheard her saying that she must take out the vegetables after 7 days, otherwise she would have to wait till 30 days before she could do so. Hmmm…I don’t think I’ve heard anything to this effect before.

Once the coast was clear, I approached the stall and asked for the paku. The chatty lady said it was very fresh and very green because it rained the whole day the day before. It did not look like a lot so I asked her how much it was and she said RM4.00. I said I would take it all and she put it on the weighing scale and said, “RM5.40!” I suppose what she told me initially was the price per kilo and she had more than one kilo.

I took it home and that day, we had paku fried with sambal hay bee/udang kering (dried prawns)…

…for lunch and dinner.

That was so good and the very next day, we had it masak lemak (cooked in santan/coconut milk)…

…with thinly sliced scallop tofu and a whole lot of the little prawns…

…that I bought sometime ago and yes, we sure enjoyed that to the max.

There is still a bundle left – my missus has wrapped it nicely using cling wrap and kept it in the fridge. I don’t know how we will cook it next – perhaps we shall use it for our simple but very nice kampung-style sayur rebus

…minus the giant freshwater prawns, of course. No matter what, I am staying far far away from the central market – #staysafe #staywell

Only RM5 something for so much enjoyment and satisfaction – I must say that is a whole lot of value for money compared to those vegetables that may cost and arm or a leg and burn a big hole in your pocket.

Happy for a while…

No, I was not expecting it that day, not in the least as there were still a considerable number of cases at some places here, Kuching, for example but out of the blue, they announced that Sarawak would be going into Phase 2 on Wednesday, 14th July and dining in would be allowed.

Of course, I was taken by surprise but I was kind of happy that I would be able to go for my haircut – my hair had grown rather long now, making me feel rather uncomfortable and the batteries in my car’s remote controls…

…were running very low. One no longer functioned and the spare wasn’t very much better. I called the service centre but they said they did not have stock – because of the pandemic, there is this problem with the shipping and delivery of things. Now that we would be going into Phase 2, I could go to one car accessories shop to get the batteries replaced. Those shops are classified under non-essentials and were not allowed to open during Phase 1.

I can’t say I was dying to go some place to dine but I sure would not mind that and I was thinking that perhaps, I could go for a nice plate of kampua mee the next morning. Unfortunately, on the evening of the 13th, they announced a shocking piece of news and that there had been a change of plans – dining in would not be allowed as there were at that point in time 17 cases of the super-infectious, super-contagious Delta variant in Kuching…but only dining in would not be allowed, it seemed. I wonder if those cases of the Delta variant got infected while they were dining in somewhere and that was why they decided not to allow it? Ok to go marketing, shopping and do everything else?

Anyway, upon hearing that the highly contagious variant had made it into the state, I sure would not want to go anywhere anymore and besides, the next morning, it was raining heavily here – I wouldn’t have gone out even if I could. I was quite happy to cook my own Bovril mee sua

…for my breakfast. I still had the real beef Bovril that I bought the other day but I had run out of the mee pok/mee kua. That wasn’t a problem, of course, as I had my stock of mee sua and if I chose to, I could use the noodles from all the packets of instant noodles that we had in the house.

I had a few slices of smoked duck with it…

The previous time I had that, I just heated up the whole chunk in the oven, sliced and ate. The skin was like rubber, impossible to chew and eat so I had to remove it and throw it away. I asked my blogger-friend, Rose, about it – she had it not too long ago and she said I would have to pan-fry it to make it crispy so that was exactly what I did. The skin turned out very nice, very crispy and I sure enjoyed it.

Never mind that my happiness was short-lived, at least, we are well-stocked with everything we need in the house, no need to go out to buy this and that all the time. Whatever phase it is, at a time like this, it will be best to just #staysafe #staywell #stayhome and pray hard that things will eventually get better.

Mine…

The other day, I commented on my blogger-friend’s post on the different varieties of hibiscus that she has. This was what I said: “Your flowers are so beautiful. I only have one variety of hibiscus, with blooms as big as a dinner plate except that mine is not so fertile, just the size of saucers or side plates for buns – I got it from my girl’s school in the jungle and for reasons unknown, it is flowering like crazy. Maybe I’ll take some photos and blog about it.” In response to her reply, “Yes, please show your flowers!“, that is exactly what I shall be doing today.

Like what I said in my comment, I only have one variety…

…with very big flowers. That was what attracted me to it when I saw it at my girl’s school in the jungle.

They have a very wide range of varieties there including these small ones…

…and these yellow ones…

…and they also have these two-in-one ones…

…that come in different colours…

Unfortunately, I was not into flowers at the time – I was only interested in planting things that I can use in my cooking, herbs and stuff like that.

But because of the size of the blooms…

…I could not resist taking a few cuttings home and simply poking them into the ground.

They grew and grew and other than dutifully watering them faithfully, I also did the weeding regularly but for reasons unknown, the flowers were not very big and few and far between. On a good day, I probably would get to see 5 or 6 of them only.

Lately, because of the pandemic, I do not like going out into the open and hanging around in my garden so much so I may not water the plants so often and the weeds are going out of control. Much to my surprise, my hibiscus began to flower with a vengeance…

Once, there were so many that it looked like a Christmas tree with red baubles from top to bottom. It sure was a sight to behold!

My sister, at one time, was into growing hibiscus – all the different varieties that she could lay her hands on. You can see some of them here. I don’t think she is so into it anymore these days but I believe she still has a few in her garden. These hibiscus plants are easy to grow and they last till like…forever!

1994…

In September that year, I was sent by the ministry on a 3-month “Management in TESL” course in the UK, the representative from Sarawak, together with the rest, one from each state, and an officer from the ministry

Upon arrival at Heathrow, we boarded a coach that took us all the way to Marjons, now the University College of St Mark & St John, Plymouth where we were put up in this very nice and comfortable accommodation in what they called a house…

…in the campus proper, five of us in each unit and we had a room each.

No, it wasn’t an all-paid-for holiday – there were lectures to attend, lots of assignments to do and a major one to be submitted and accessed at the end, presentations and what have you. They even had an external examiner come in from the University of Exeter and I was immensely delighted to receive his commendation of excellence out of so many of us in the group.

We did sneak off to London one weekend; imagine going all the way to the UK and coming home without even stepping in the city. I’m quite sure I did blog about it but I can’t seem to find the post now. Never mind! Perhaps I shall do another one some other day.

Other than that, on some of the weekends there, my coursemates and I would board a bus or rent a car to go to places close by, like Bristol and Bath…

…for instance, Warwick, Birmingham, St Ives, Land’s End and yes, I was glad we did make it to Stratford-Upon-Avon…

…especially when I was not just an English Language teacher but I also taught English Literature before I retired and yes, I did manage to drop by Oxford too.

Some weeks, on Fridays, after we were through with the lectures or whatever we had for the day, one of the lecturers or a member of the staff would pack us all into the college coaster to take us to some places of interest close by. Of course, the highlight was the one when we were taken to Sheepstor in Devon where the resting places of the White Rajahs of Sarawak are…

…and needless to say, I wasted no time at all in leaving my “footprint”…

…there.

As they say, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” and yes, we did have a bit of fun dancing on a Saturday night at the Students’ Union and we organised a gathering where some of us cooked a few Malaysian dishes for everybody to enjoy – I proudly presented our Sarawak’s own daging masak hitam that everyone praised to the skies but I had to use the halal chicken from the continental shop in the city instead of beef (there were Indians with us) and I boiled a few eggs and threw them in (like those stewed eggs in stewed pork leg) to make sure there would be enough to go round and we had a sing-along session, with the lecturers playing their guitars, after that and yes, I had so much fun and such great memories with the mobile karaoke guys and the regulars at the pubs in the city on some nights. I bet they never had anybody like me coming their way since.

Towards the end of the course, around December, there was an International Night, a Christmas party that was a whole lot of fun and prior to leaving the UK, just before the temperatures dipped below 0°C, we invited our lecturers to lunch…

…at a lovely Indian restaurant in the city.

I had always wanted to go back to the UK again, if possible to Plymouth specifically, but after I retired in 2007, I had to be around and help take care of my bedridden mum and later, my dad too and of course, I had my chauffeur duties, driving my girl up and down when she was at her jungle school and it was not until the middle of 2019 that she got her transfer to a school in town and I thought that finally, at long last, I would be able to make the trip.

Unfortunately, the pandemic broke out in early 2020 and it is still raging on and on like it is never going to end – sad to say, it sure looks like this is one dream of mine that will never ever come true.