Many Thais – even hi-so ones – have a love of the kitsch. The insides of homes of the wealthy, as represented in Thai soap operas, usually look like a bizarre cross between a Louix XIV interior and a Chinese palace. I guess my moobaan is for the relatively affluent, and they display their kitsch tendencies on the gateposts.

Chickens are a popular theme, perhaps reminding people of their agrarian backgrounds:

The rooster, however, reminds us of King Naresuan the Great, who in the 16th century, as a boy, was held hostage by the Burmese to ensure that the Siamese did not rise up against them. He was famous for his love of cock fighting. He eventually escaped and led a successful uprising against the Burmese invaders.

Other animals such as elephants, cows and giraffes also make an appearance.

These cats appear to have arrived from Japan.

Human figures include monks:

and goodness knows what!

It appears that here they’ve fled, just leaving the glitter ball and a big pile of poo:

The biggest surprise, however, was this one:

It even moved and squawked. So life-like!


Took a stroll around the moobaan this morning. Snapped a few shots of what people have done to prepare.

The developer has installed some pumps to clear water from the drains. The land outside two sides of the moobaan is significantly lower, so if there’s heavy rain this should help.

Water pump

Water Pump 2

For many people a car is a prized possession. Cars have been wrapped

Wrapped cars

And put on blocks

Car on blocks

And put on ramps

Car on ramp

Or mega ramps

Mega ramps

Personally, I’d rather have this car swept away and claim on the insurance. But to each his own.

Car on blocks

And to protect their homes people have taken all sorts of measures.

Sandbags and a rather fetching striped sheet:

Sand bagged home

More stripy sheets

Sand bagged home 2

Floor tiles seems a little desperate, but if there are no sandbags available …

Floor tiles protect

A breeze block wall is seriously serious:

Breeze block flood defence

Will plastic sheeting hold back the flood?

Plastic sheet against the flood

Not sure how effective the guard dogs will be:

Sandbags with guard dogs

Nice bags. And I’m sure the water won’t even think of entering through the hedge.

Sandbag fail

Do they really expect the water to get this high?

High defences

Some serious sandbagging:

Serious sandbags

And it’s important to add a little kitsch to one’s bags

Sandbags with kitsch


As the flood waters begin to cover northern Bangkok I’ve been busy trying as best I can to protect my possessions.

The first point of entry for the water is likely to be through the shower room drain and downstairs toilet.

The toilet has been sandbagged and weighted down.

Sandbagged toilet

A pipe has been sealed to the shower drain to contain the rising water.

Sealed, piped shower drain

The outside of the house has been sealed with silicone and polycarbonate boards plus copious quantities of duct tape.

Patio doors sealed

And the sitting room air-conditioner has been wrapped with multiple layers of clingfilm and newspaper – not to keep it dry (that’s not possible), but to limit the amount of dirt that might get into its inner workings.

Wrapped air-con

Inside things have been lifted up. (Those things don’t include my spirits.)

The washing machine (formerly outside) is now on the kitchen counter. So convenient, not having to bend down to load it any more.

Washing machine on kitchen counter

Rather less conveniently, the fridge is now propped up on a couple of dining chairs.

Propped up fridge

And the dining table is out of commission for a while, and the dining room cabinets form a precarious tower.

Stacked furniture

I don’t know what the future holds. Will I have to flee in the face of advancing waters, abandoning my home to the flood? Will the waters come too fast and I’ll be trapped upstairs living on dry dried noodles and tinned fruit? Or will I be fortunate and the waters pass me by? Who knows? (And if the government does, they’re keeping schtum.)


It seems that I’ve misunderstood the problem here in Bangkok: it’s not the flood water, it’s migratory blue whales.



28 out of 76 provinces flooded
10,468 villages inundated
2,469,639 people affected
356 dead

10,687,143 rai [17,100 sq. km] of farmland flooded
12.6 million livestock affected

76 main highways (and hundreds of smaller roads) impassable
All northbound trains cancelled

Bhumibol dam at 99.8% of capacity
Sirikit dam at 99.6% of capacity
Pasak dam at 134% of capacity (!)

(Statistics from

It will take about 40 days for the 12 billion cubic meters of water, enough to cover Connecticut a meter deep, to drain into the Gulf of Thailand

(Royal Irrigation Department, 19 October, via Bloomberg)


“Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.”
– Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, 1797-8

Things here are beginning to get difficult. One of the most pressing concerns is drinking water. I was due a delivery of three carboys today, but learned yesterday that the company’s facilities have been flooded, and though they have stock, they can’t get it out. I therefore, more in hope than expectation, decided to visit Tesco-Lotus on the perchance they might have a few bottles in stock.

The first obvious sign that things weren’t normal in Bangkok was the sight of thousands of cars, pick-ups, minivans and even buses parked on every stretch of elevated roadway, blocking all but a single lane in each direction. There was barely a gap between them; every available scrap of space was occupied. The chaos that will be caused by such selfish behaviour if there’s a need quickly to evacuate part of Bangkok is unthinkable; and a single broken down vehicle or crash could paralyse the whole area. Particularly disconcerting is the cars parked on overhead U-turns: the roads are now too narrow for larger vehicles to pass.

Traffic was relatively light. In a few places klongs has overflowed onto the roadway, limiting traffic to the outside lanes, but nothing too serious, until I got close to Tesco-Lotus. The U-turn which leads to the store was full of water, perhaps to a depth of 2-3 metres. I had to proceed straight and find somewhere else to U-turn. Then I hit a terrible traffic jam. Four lanes of traffic were funnelled into a single lane approaching an elevated section reduced to a single lane by parked cars. Traffic was barely moving. Fortunately, there was a U-turn gap in the central reservation just a couple of hundred metres ahead, though it took me a good half hour to reach it. The returning carriageway was badly flooded, with cars restricted to the outer lane with water perhaps a foot deep. Pick-ups and trucks happily plunged through the deeper inner lanes sending great plumes of foul water into the air.

As I approached Tesco-Lotus I heard on the wireless that Tesco-Lotus had announced that it was closing its stores because of supply difficulties. There was a certain trepidation as I approached the store entrance: would it be locked? If not, would the shelves be bare?

It wasn’t locked, though there were plenty of empty stretches on the shelves. Unsurprisingly, there were no bottles of water to be had. Dried noodles had also disappeared. Vegetables were in very short supply, apart from the crazy ones like celery which only mad foreigners eat. In fact, most of the vegetables that remained had been marked down – presumably in preparation for the store’s imminent closing. Rather to my surprise, the supply of meat and fish was pretty much as normal.

I stocked up on tinned fruit, tinned nuts, bottles of fizzy pop, packets of crisps. I can do “the healthy thing” after the threat of flooding subsides.


The whole uncertainty of the current situation is pretty unbearable. Estimates for my area range from flooding to a depth of 10-20 cm (which would barely lap at my driveway) to 1 to 1½ metres. “Peak Water” has changed from the middle of last week, to last weekend, to tomorrow, to next weekend. The worst affected areas were expected to be to the east and west of Bangkok, but the north and the areas next to the Chao Phraya river now seem to be the critical areas. Who to believe? What to expect? STC captured the feeling rather well in the same poem:

“Like one that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round walks on,
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.”


“Sun is shinin’ in the sky
There ain’t a cloud in sight
It’s stopped rainin’ ev’rybody’s in a play
And don’t you know
It’s a beautiful new day hey, hey.”

It is indeed a glorious day in Bangkok here today. The sun is shining, the sky is bright azure blue, there’s a gentle breeze taking the edge off the heat. Hard to believe that a wall of water is heading towards us, promising to inundate the entire city (according to Prime Minister Yingluck – she’s such a ray of sunshine) to a depth of one metre or more for the next four or so weeks.

Rather than relaxing and taking in the gorgeous weather I’ve been rather busy today. I’ve taken more furniture upstairs. I’ve cut large polycarbonate sheets to put over the doorways. I’ve done my final loads of washing in preparation for the washing machine to be moved indoors and placed on the kitchen countertop. (I’ve hired some burly men for that job. They’re coming in an hour or so.) I’ve wrapped the large air-conditioner for the sitting room in multiple layers of clingfilm and newspaper, the thinking being that the newspaper will filter out most of the dirt in the water – though that may just be wishful thinking. Now I rely on the small air-conditioner for the study to cool the whole of the downstairs. Much as I’d like to think it’s “the little engine that could”, I rather expect to be disappointed (and overly sweaty).

Still to do: put some pipes in the floor drains in the downstairs shower room and seal them in; put a sandbag in the downstairs toilet; seal the polycarbonate sheets to the doors with silicone mastic and tape over the joins.

If the floods don’t rise too fast I’ll wrap the study air-conditioner. I also plan on raising the fridge on four chairs and similarly raising the dining table. There’s nothing I can do about the sofa. If the waters come it will be ruined. My vast bookcase is in a similar situation.

The emergency pack is ready to go, with clothes for a few days, my passport, my medicines and my notebook. The plan is to head south – perhaps to Hua Hin or Cha Am. Put Whisky in a kennel and find an affordable guesthouse or hotel. Of course, getting out of the city could be a problem: idiots seeking to protect their vehicles have parked their cars, pickups, minivans and even buses on the inner lanes of all the elevated express ways, often three lanes deep, leaving but a single lane for anyone trying to flee Bangkok. And a single broken down vehicle will cause gridlock.

On the plus side, if Kevin Costner is planning on making Water World 2, he can probably do it much more cheaply in Bangkok over the next few weeks.


here s a picture of a shoe i ve just planted.

Another shoe tree

after all a dog can never have to many shoe trees



The various arms of the Thai authorities have been doing an excellent job of keeping the people of Bangkok informed about the flood risk.

14/Sep The Irrigation Department “remains confident the capital is safe”
12/Oct “Bangkok should be safe” – Prime Minister Yingluck
14/Oct “The floods threatening Bangkok are now under control and water levels are starting to fall” – Prime Minister Yingluck
17/Oct “Bangkok is safe, with the much-feared mass of water runoff from the North having moved past the capital, flood prevention agencies say”
17/Oct “Bangkok is not yet safe from the flooding” – Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra
18/Oct “Bangkok residents should not panic as the capital will not be flooded” – Director of the Flood Relief Operation Centre
18/Oct “The capital could be hit by floods tomorrow, as a large volume of northern runoff has been flowing into Khlong Rangsit” – Bangkok Governor

(All quotations taken from The Bangkok Post.)

Then there was the false alarm fiasco. On 14 October the Science and Technology Minister issued a flood evacuation alert for northern Bangkok saying that runoff from the north had burst through a sluice gate saying:

“Rush to Don Meuang immediately. The government can’t tell how many hours are left.” Panic ensued. Except the sluice gate was actually fine.

He later said:

“Don’t panic, Bangkok residents. Bangkok is 100% safe.”

With such inconsistent information, who knows where the truth lies?

Personally, I was feeling fairly confident of keeping my feet dry until yesterday. I live inside the protective barrier surrounding central Bangkok – a network of elevated roads, barriers rivers and canals that is intended to keep the capital safe. Areas to the north and east of Bangkok, outside the barrier are already flooded. Then came the announcement of seven out of 50 Bangkok districts are “at high risk of flooding”. Seven out of 50 doesn’t sound too bad until you realised they represent 40% of Bangkok’s area. It sounds particularly bad when you realise that you live in one of them. The prediction for here is flooding to a depth of 1 to 1.2 metres. It seems that some of the flood water coming from the north is to be diverted via a canal which runs close to my house, into the protected zone, right across Bangkok and into the Chao Phraya River which will take it out to sea. The logic of this rather escapes me: what is the purpose of the protective barrier if not to protect?

One is left with a feeling that the powers that be aren’t incompetent or lying – they’re both.


my master has been cheating on meWhisky Portrait
seeing another dog behind my back

it all started a few days ago
when my master saw a dog
living at the side of the road
it was raining
and the dog was just standing there
no shelter
soaking wet
that s when master decided to betray me

a couple of days later
it was raining again
as master was passing
and master stopped and
gave the dog some of my food
what was he thinking
and now he keeps
a bag of dog food
or whisky food as i call it
in the car
he thinks i don t know
but i do

yesterday i went to the vet
and had a great time
running around
sniffing people
jumping on the sofa
but things started to go bad
when master picked me up
and put me on the scales

20 kg

oh those stinky bones
a moment on your lips
a lifetime on your hips

then things got worse
when my master held me very tightly
and an evil woman
stuck a needle in me
i m not a pincushion you know

things hit rock bottom when
on the way back home
my master slowed the car
and then i saw her
the whore who s taken
both my master s heart
and my whisky food

but she was with someone else
a passing workman was giving her
some of his bag of rice to eat
master drove on

so i told master she s a shallow tramp
not worthy of his affection
or my whisky food

but can master be faithful only to me