My car means I have a new freedom, so I went to Rangsit last weekend to see the Simpsons movie. Most performances were in Thai, but there were three performances a day on the smallest of the 16 screens at the cineplex there. There was just a handful of people in the audience. I just hope the management don’t think that showing films in English is an unprofitable activity.

The movie itself was a bit of a disappointment; it lacked the complexity of the small screen cartoons – that is, not enough references to old movies and obscure cultural phenomena. Still, it passed the time.

I remember when I was a child film presentations in England would start with the National Anthem, and everyone would stand to attention. I’m not quite sure when that tradition was abandoned in the UK, but it still lives in Thailand. Actually, it’s not the National Anthem that is played, but a song about the King – and film of scenes from the King’s life, mostly showing him doing good works, is shown at the same time.

Last Sunday was the Queen’s birthday. This day also serves as Mother’s Day, so the restaurants were packed with families taking their mother out for a special meal. The temples were busy, too, with people making merit (i.e. bringing gifts for the monks) on behalf of their mother or grandmothers. However, that temple of commerce, Tesco-Lotus, was busiest of the lot. The enormous basement car park was full, and cars were parking on a piece of rough ground a little way from the store. Tesco-Lotus had a little shrine to her at the entrance, with her photograph in an elaborate gold frame, pots of flowers and lots of shiny blue cloth (blue being the colour of her birth day). People paid their respects as they entered.

Normally I avoid going to Tesco-Lotus on Bank Holiday weekends., but both fans in my sitting room had died. Still, upon seeing the seething throng, I decided it would be better to swelter at home than face the mêlée.

Fortunately, the weather isn’t too hot at the moment; it’s only getting up to 33 or 34ºC most days. Less fortunately, it’s also raining every day, albeit fairly briefly. The gardeners haven’t called for at least a couple of months, which means that the grass is getting rather long around the edges of the lawn. If it gets much worse I’m going to have to tackle it myself.


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