Well, it’s been a busy and eventful few weeks. It’s going to take a few blog posts to catch up… When we last left off Gav and I had just been on an unsuccessful trip to Bangkok to try to get our visas for Myanmar. While we were there, I exchanged a few (hundred) texts with Gav’s brother and sister in law, Simon and Paula.

Thailand had recently come off of the “Red List” for the UK (meaning people would not have to facility quarantine when they returned AND Thailand dropped all but a 1 night mandatory hotel stay for people coming in as of November 1st. Gav’s 50th birthday was November 3rd. Simon and Paula had a secret plan…

In the space of about 4 days, they returned to the UK from a holiday in France, packed up for Thailand, and landed in Phuket early Halloween morning! Meanwhile, Gav was oblivious to the machinations going on behind the scenes. The surprise was very nearly spoiled when Si and Paula’s car from the airport drove up behind us as we were going for our morning walk and dropped them at the hotel right behind our backs! When they got the phone call that their tests on arrival were negative, I enlisted the help of a friend to summon Gav to a gross local bar where the surprise lurked.

I’d say it worked!

Once the shock wore off, we all traipsed off to have some lunch and show them around our little temporary home. They stayed for 2 weeks and we had quite a lot of fun.

First we introduced them to the Thai Bordello, which meant in true Ailes fashion the boys made a contest out of absolutely everything, even floating on pool toys.

Then we put Simon to work cooking all kinds of creatures we bought at the seafood market. On Gav’s actual birthday we headed down to the beach for a sundowner, then back to the seafood market to buy things to make OTHER people cook. We got some lobsters and had to take the basket of those poor little guys to their fate. Sorry! We had a massive feast and celebrated the birthday boy accordingly. I only called him old about 20 times that day.

The day after we miraculously had a day off of school, so we chartered a boat with a bunch of friends and went snorkeling on a nearby island. It was a beautiful day, capped off with seeing an Eagle Ray at the end of our snorkle!

We had to work for the rest of the time, but Si and Paula got out and about. They went to see the elephants, did more snorkeling, played “rate the tattoo” on the beach, and Si took a cooking class. We finally also went to see the Big Buddha, apparently the largest marble Buddha in the world! He’s not quite done yet but still looks rather impressive towering over Phuket, reading to protect the island from another tsunami.

And then the visit was over, just like that. One last drink on the beach and they had to fly back to London. We will miss them a lot, as will CatFace! Maybe they need a new furry friend at home with them in Devon?

I may never forgive Simon for not allowing Paula to “borrow” some champagne glasses from the airline lounge! All in all, a memorable birthday for Gavin. Simon and Paula now have the distinction of having visited us in all the places we have lived, having braved a Myanmar holiday during our first Christmas vacation-thanks guys!

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