I have a new pet

I’ve been worrying a bit lately about leaving Mr Toad on his own for so long, while I’m at work.  I think he’s lonely, and he spends far too much time watching trashy TV –   So when I saw the advertisement, I just couldn’t resist …     And so far it seems to…

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What’s in a name?

Hopefully not too much … as this was the name plaque on my door at Parents’ Meeting this weekend –   At the other end of the name spectrum – I now have my own meme, which makes me feel totes ahead of the curve .  I arrived at school on Wednesday to find it…

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Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about leeches

I went on a guided forest hike today, and before we set out the guide gathered us together for the briefing, which included instructions on dealing with leeches. ‘Rule number one,’ he said sternly, ‘is don’t become hysterical.’ A mere five minutes later we had all forgotten this instruction, and there was general hysteria from…

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Crustacean Fixation

Is this a recognised obsession, or am I the only sufferer? It’s only really surfaced since my arrival in Malaysia.  I spent the previous decade living a mere 10 miles from the home of the Cromer Crab without developing any symptoms at all … apart from a totally understandable urge to snigger at the crab-shaped…

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Mr Toad becomes a luvvie

We’ve just had Dress Up As Your Favourite Book Character Weekend at school, and we all took it extremely seriously. I had my Professor McGonagall costume imported from England (thank you, Anthony) and then spent hours in front of the mirror working on my role. The stance was very important – But the facial expressions…

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Cockroach in a coma

  What do you do when you suddenly realise that a cockroach the size of a fist has materialised from the cloth you’re carrying and is crawling across your decolletage? Well, if you’re anything like me, you scream, drop the cloth and jump around like a demented dervish until the creature flaps its wings –…

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Hurrah for the Rotating King!

Today is yet another holiday in Malaysia … I think they have more public holidays than any other country in the world. Today’s holiday is in honour of the Installation of the Rotating King.  I’m just hoping he can stand still long enough for them to put the crown on his head. The installation of…

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I’m no purist, but …

… tulips in Singapore? I’ve always wanted to go to Holland to see the tulips, so it seems ironic that the place I get to see them is in a specially cooled biosphere in Singapore. But the crowds loved them – and some people dressed up specially for the occasion. Or tried to have an intimate…

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Singapore Botanic Gardens … so much more than a collection of plants

I have never been to a garden before where every plant was screaming – ‘Take my picture!’ ‘No mine!’ ‘No mine!’ it has the National Orchid Collection With little orchids Medium-sized orchids And orchids as tall as a house. And this is as close to a selfie as I’ll ever get Me in the orchid…

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You either love it or you hate it

Did you know that Marmite is very popular in Malaysia? It’s used in Chinese Malay cooking, where they make  Marmite chicken or even better – Marmite prawns –   I’m sure that even Marmite haters would be converted by just one of these luscious little mouthfuls … it’s practically an umami-overdose, if such a thing…

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How to get away with murder

Have visited the Tropical Spice Garden in Penang.     It’s set in an idyllic location on the coast with tantalising glimpses of the sea through the greenery.     Our guide showed us all sorts of exotic plants –     plus bats –     snakes –     and even the cat’s…

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Pottering around Penang

Spending a few days in George Town, capital of Penang. It’s full of cutesy architecture – – and wacky street art. The most famous piece is Children on a Bicycle, which is a photo-must for the cutesy and the humorous. Hunk on a Honda is pretty popular too. There’s also a series of cartoons made…

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Hitting the tourist trail

A week’s holiday from school – hooray! Anthony has arrived from the UK for a visit.  He attempted to cut his costs by disapparating – but unfortuntely couldn’t manage it without splinching, so had to resort to a more mainstream form of travel. We visited the Batu Caves today – a holy Hindu site guarded…

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A bad dose of the wordsh*ts

The dreaded ‘pupil reflections’ bandwagon has reached KL, and my school has leapt enthusiastically on board. Just like in the UK, the children have no idea what to write apart from stating-the-bleedin’-obvious comments about working harder, trying harder etc. But I could certainly empathise with this girl and her issues with wordsh*ts – And it…

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