Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Butterfly count!

This Sunday was Church gardening.
I am not a regular attendee at Church, 
just the occasional few births, deaths and marriages.

But I am always happy to lend an unskilled, youthful hand 
to this small and talented group of gardeners on my return to the UK.
Plus at 11 am we get McVities chocolate biscuits!

This month we took part in the nationwide Butterfly Count.
 We were out spotting how many butterflies we could see in 15-minutes.
 We were pleased to record 17 Butterflies on the recording sheet, 
from seven different species and a large toad apparently in the compost heap! 
Although, I was head down weeding the path at the time so I missed this.

The information is recorded centrally and we received a certificate.

Such a lovely activity on a sunny English summers day.
Thanks for having me on the team!

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Little Wandering Wren's Elevator Pitch

So today I'm supposed to be at Problogger's Evolve 17 conference in Melbourne, Australia, instead, my elevator pitch and I find ourselves unexpectedly in the United Kingdom...

Which is just as well, as I'm not sure it was as polished as it should have been. Maybe you can help?

Who are you and what do you do?

I'm Wren I share my slightly crazy Little Wandering Wren life with anyone who will listen.

See I would have failed at this point. Okay, try more giving, umm, more appeal?

British born Aussie Wren is currently grappling with reinventing herself as a Thai farang in Bangkok. Yay! Join her as she shares a light hearted view of her world whizzing between the three continents she now calls home.

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition London 2017

Who are your readers?

Hi, I'm Wren and I have an awesome group of readers, including my Mum, her friends in the village, a handful of my friends scattered around the world but mostly other bloggers who I have met on line, don't tell the kids, and we enjoy reading about each other's lives and adventures.

Okay, I know, try again: 

Hi, I'm Wren, lovely to have you here to join my readers, who like you think it's safer to follow my travel adventures from the safety of their own armchairs and computers!

What is your unfair advantage in life?

I have been on the move for the past twenty-five years, I travel more than most.

How about whilst my own kids may not think I'm cool, I have become really popular with my friends' backpacker kids since we moved to Bangkok! 

Why should readers visit your blog?

To Explore, Dream and Discover and to have a laugh.

What do you want readers to say about your blog?

That they never know what to expect, or where in the world that they'll find me wandering, and that the photos are always interesting!

What do you want your readers to do next?

Leave a comment, message or e-mail me at wrensrambles@gmail.com. 

Follow me for real-time daily updates via 
Twitter: @LWWren 
Instagram: @lwwren 
or on my Little Wren Facebook page and to make a return visit.

Coming soon! New WordPress blog! Watch this space!

What do you think? Why do you visit? Do let me know!

Wren xx

Saturday, 29 July 2017

My Wanderlust Roots!

Five Countries, two Kingdoms and a dog waiting in Melbourne.
Here's my week in a nutshell.

Cor Blimey, we've had it all this week weather-wise. All I can say is lucky that I am going on to an Aussie winter after this unscheduled visit to the United Kingdom. I have packed some winter woollies, so I'm fully equipped for a British Summer. 

The United Kingdom is, after arriving on a scorcher on last week, currently sitting at wet and rainy, whilst the Kingdom of Thailand is pretty much the same, except it's the rainy season with 95% humidity.

I love the weather reporters here with their cheery comments:
 "There is no such thing as bad weather
only inappropriate clothing!"

Ha I have just realised I have swapped one Kingdom for another... What am I on? Don't worry I'm not getting any airs and graces, but really is it any wonder if I'm getting rather delirious?

I met two ladies from Saudi Arabia waiting for the bus the other day. We did as all good Brits do, even those originating from Arabia and Old Siam, we exchanged pleasantries on the weather. 

Them telling me that despite six years of living in Oxford they still find it cold here. Me, agreeing that they must find it chilly, but adding how refreshing it is for me - no complaints. 

 Well, until I got off the bus in a Force 9 Gale...

Somehow we got onto the fact that I have a daughter, son, dog and a house in Australia, another daughter and more family here in England, and a husband in Thailand.

One translated for the other my complicated life. There were lots of oohs and arghs and a giggle over the husband in Bangkok bit, I couldn't tell whether these abaya dressed women were impressed at this point, or whether having a husband in Thailand was like really losing the plot! 

Is anyone else keeping up with my world?

I'm blessed with an innate sense of Wanderlust. It's lucky that I was born with the 'irresistible desire to travel and rove about', because it's inevitable, given all my roots in different continents.

However, this hectic schedule throws up all sorts of issues, especially concerning my roots.  

Hair and bank cards are particularly problematic! 

I won't even begin to tell you the dramas I have passing any security clearance for credit cards used once in a blue moon. Remembering old phone numbers from different countries is one thing, but one momentary blank on how old I am on my next birthday, and before I know it "the computer says no."

Confession: I've become a bit of a hairdressing floosie. 

Along with useless old credit cards that I can no longer use, I'm also collecting hairdressers like nobody's business. Being constantly on the move I now have three hairdressers; one in Europe, one in Asia and one in Australia. Like you do! Oh my golly gosh, listen to me. 

Can you imagine what sorts of issues are thrown up by having three different hairdressers? You know how super sensitive this profession is? They get very sensitive if you stray. 

Plus we're not only talking about different colours, different cuts, but also who knows what! 

I mean they know, or they will know, if you've been somewhere else :)

Luckily I seem to have established a very open relationship with all three. But the new kid on the block is a young London hairdresser from Cyprus who has been trying to change my style! I was just going to say two little words "humidity hair" but whoops it was too late.

So I was introduced to him, through the Italian Company Lisap Milano, who produce the gorgeous organic hair colour, used by my Melbourne hairdresser. Told you my life was complicated. We're back to roots of a different kind here, and I'm not yet about to succumb to my greys.

The hairdresser they recommend is in Golders Green, which is a fantastic multicultural suburb of North London and convenient'ish if I am visiting my daughter in London, but a long way from my parents in out in the shires.

Cypriot Guy has persuaded me to "go for it" last time. He was clearly chuffed to see me back again last week but was demob happy. I dashed up to London for his last day before his holiday Cyprus to visit his Grandparents. Ohh Bless, he really has a heart of gold but I think he got a bit cocky, knowing that:

1. I returned after his last "let's do something different haircut!"  
2. He loves having an International fly-in client base of one.
3. AND this time I'd I travelled all the way into London for it. 

... Well in my defence, it was closer than the hair appointment 
I had booked in Melbourne!

He went for it. A new all over colour to remove the brassy look, his words not mine, and ultra short. 'Whoa' I said as he was whizzing up the back of my head with an electric razor, 'that's a bit short'.

'It's ok', he said 'you can afford to go shorter - it's summer'
'But I'm going to an Australian winter next', I said
'Oh Dear', he replied.

Friday, 21 July 2017

The Homecoming.

I had planned to be in Melbourne, Australia this week, our first return visit 
after leaving two of our adult kids in charge of the house and our beloved dog.

The move to Bangkok, was not going to suit our adorable Crazy Poodle,
he does not like change at the best of times.
The climate and humidity of Thailand, plus our on-the-road lifestyle
meant he was going to be best left, even if slightly bored, 
in his home environment.

So the kids have lucked out and have ended up remaining in our family home
when logic would say move them into a smaller apartment...
Mostly because I wanted the dog to be happy!

Bless, here he is!



Do you think there might have been a little bit of clean-up going on 
for our return? I mean if the dog's transformation is anything to go by, 
just think what could have been done spring cleaning the house?!

POSTSCRIPT: Things did not quite work out as planned.  
I am now with family in the UK, not Australia following my Grand Mother's recent passing.
Love you all Down Under! Keep that Crazy Poodle and the house clean
 I will be with you as soon as I can.
Wren xx


Thursday, 13 July 2017

Pad Thai Eyes In Bangkok

When you are new in a place, or in my case a country, you see things for the first time and they are wondrous and amazing. Mostly. But what if you couldn't see any of it? 

In the past few months, I have got to know some of the awesome team at People Eye Care Foundation. The PECF hold monthly eye care camps in rural areas and have helped restore eyesight in 37,000 people over the past 27 years in Thailand.

I know you are thinking how in the dickens did you go from refugees to the blind in the blink of an eye? Well, let me save that for another day, except to say that when I see an organisation that is all Heart with a capital H, I am happy to do my bit...

Mr Nicholas Bear serves up Pad Thai at his Press Conference with a little help from his friends at the British Club, Bangkok.
So today my bit is to share their story with my friends and readers around the world. It would be hard to live in Thailand with no vision. Just take walking around for a start. This country must be a world leader in uneven pavements and trip hazards, there is more than one of us ladies walking around with broken bones and bruises caused by not seeing what was ahead.

Oh, how sad if you were unable to see the vibrancy of life in Thailand, the smiles of its beautiful people, or the blue waters of its amazing beaches.
Talking of beautiful smiles, have you met my new Bear friend? He's called Mr Nicholas Bear and we can relate, he's been displaced too. He was born in China, but educated and worked as a fundraiser in England, before moving to Thailand.  He was one of many stars at the recent Pad Thai Eyes press conference where he launched his fundraising video.

Thai Capital TV presenter Raine Grady and to the right Khun Fox
Just to give you a visual on him here he is above with Khun Fox who brought him alive by stepping into his body. He said it was a sweaty and suffocating role, so on this day, Mr. Nicholas Bear sat quietly amongst us. His video shows however that given the chance he's quite the Bear about Bangkok in his new role as the chief fundraiser for The People Eye Care Foundation!

We see Mr Nicholas Bear in a Tuk Tuk, at The British Embassy and eating Pad Thai at The Blue Elephant Restaurant, Bangkok. Where his friends suggest that if everyone donated a small amount of money each time they ate Pad Thai, this would result in money to Pad Thai Eyes after each operation. 

The People Eye Care Foundation place a pad over the eyes to protect them whilst healing - clever hey?

It's hard not get caught up in the excitement of the #PadThaiEyes especially when we are introduced to some of the individuals whose lives have been changed by very little money really.

Thai Celebrities, TV Presenters Andrew Biggs and Miss Universe 2005 Natalie Glebova
So without further ado, let me introduce Mr Nicholas Bear's video. What do you think? Feel free to share it too with your local communities. 

You can join me on my Little Wren Facebook page 
and share directly from here too.

Linking with Our World Tuesday

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Good, Random, Fun from Thailand!

Welcome, Sawasdee Kha!  

We've just returned from a long weekend away, and I need to lighten up after being immersed in the grueling history of the River Kwai, Death Railway and Hellfire Pass. It was a moving trip especially wandering amongst the thousands of war graves in the cemeteries, but I'll save this for another more solemn day.

The Good

So let me take you back to วัดสมานรัตนาราม จ.ฉะเชิงเทรา Wat Saman Rattanaram in Chachoengsao, about one hour out of Bangkok where we saw the incredible pink reclining Ganesha elephant in the last post.

This Wat, or temple has been referred by some as a religious theme park. It's bright and perhaps gaudy temple complex is designed to appeal to the masses and is stuffed full of every conceivable religious and spiritual shrine going, plus a few Superheroes. It is one of many ingenious ways to attract donations to fund the construction of a hospital for the local community.

Other than finding the largest Ganesha in Thailand, certainly one with the most attitude, you will be amazed to see a huge lotus flower rising from the river, Pokemon, Power Rangers, a skeleton, some freakily realistic monk statues and of course the biggest Naga (snake) statue in the world! No, I made that bit up, but seriously everything here is really over the top.

There was shopping galore here too. You can donate or purchase at every opportunity, whether it is to feed the fish in the river or buy children's toys, or how about a fried banana, some taro or anyone want a broom? 

The word bazaar springs to mind, in more ways than one. 

Love it or hate it, it is religious abundance with a philanthropic twist and the links with the hospital make it special and therefore good in my book.

The Random

Talking of brooms, I think I'm becoming a broom bore! I can't stop taking pictures of these brightly coloured beauties. They can't have changed so much over the years, the winning combination of bamboo handle and dry grasses make them especially good on wooden floors.

The Fun

Now as I said it's been a holiday weekend, Buddhists celebrate Asahna Bucha Day held at the first full moon of the eighth lunar month. It is the start of Buddhist Lent and when many Thai people return to their ancestral homes to donate offerings to temples. It also means this...

Yes, you read right! A full moon with zero alcohol. We went away for two nights in a smart hotel and on neither evening, nor in any restaurant anywhere in Thailand, was alcohol permitted for sale. 

'What do you call that?' I said to Mr Wren? 
'Poor planning' was his reply!

Thanks to Tamar, Maggie And Ruth

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Bangkok looking pretty in pink!

Bangkok life is certainly bright and cheery.
Here are five of my best feel good photos from the week!

1. Take these little plastic cups of roses which I bought from a lady on the street for 40 Baht (just over a $1 USD or just under 1GBP.) What a bargain! 

I found that much as I love having fresh flowers in the house, the humidity turns the water really smelly, rather quickly. So I am happy with these roses, they only last a day or two but that's fine. Even if I have a slight fear that I should be taking them to a shrine or placing on someone's tomb? If you know the answer to this do let me know!

2. Our local shopping centre had a Thai flower garland demonstration, just look at all the work involved in these beautiful creations. My life here in Bangkok is still so new, even though I have now been out of Australia for twenty weeks, only eight have been spent in Thailand, I am still at that stage of "wow" at some of the things I see - long may it continue!

These colourful garlands are all hand crafted from petals and leaves sewn together with thread and ribbon - aren't they exquisite? We can often see ladies sitting on the street pavements, often with a baby close by, making these garlands for sale. 

You will spot these amazing exotic flower creations draped over statues and shrines. In some hotel's holidaymakers are given jasmine garlands on arrival, I wish you could smell them, they are very fragrant.

Life in Bangkok is full of contrasts, let's move from the serene to a day in the life of a Pink VIP Tuk Tuk driver! That sure would be rather manic, between the traffic and the pollution.

3. We don't yet have a Tuk Tuk Driver that can whizz us around the Bangkok Streets but if we did, I reckon this pink and green seated VIP would be the place to start don't you? Really is there anything more synonymous with Thailand than the three-wheeled Tuk Tuk taxi? 

It would be good to have a Tuk Tuk driver that we knew and trusted, one that didn't charge you an exorbitant tourist rate. I need to learn enough Thai to say I'm a local! Until that time, maybe I'll just use the excellent SkyTrain public transport.

4. Thai Flowers. I have had the chance to admire some amazing flower displays recently in some of our local hotels. You can't really see it but this arrangement is huge and can be found in the foyer of the St Regis hotel. I bet they don't have problems with smelly water!

Finally here is a humungous Ganesha pink elephant with attitude!  I have joined the British Women's Group, which has been a lovely way to connect with others living in Thailand. The organised activity this week was an excursion to amongst other things this Temple Wat Samen Rathhanaram, which was an hour out of Bangkok.  

The temple site was really interesting as it was full of larger than life characters including Pokemon and Power Rangers alongside all the more traditional religious and spiritual shrines. A strange mixture perhaps, but quite ingenious when you realise that they are hoping to attract donations to fund the construction of a new hospital for the local community.

I hope you have enjoyed some of the things which have caught my eye this week?  Have a lovely week ahead, I look forward to seeing what the week brings!

Linking with thanks to Beverley's at Pink Saturday  
and Maggie at Mosaic Monday 

Saturday, 24 June 2017

The HeART Project

Hello to you all and welcome back to Bangkok!
I have been looking forward to introducing you to the HeART Project.

Photo One: HeART by Helen Boyd
What do you see here?
I see a crazy Little Wandering Wren, sitting on a branch, under a shady tree...
Anyone see anything different? Do let me know!

Photo Two: Framed with other HeART examples 
The HeART project is the brainchild of Hong Kong artist and friend
Helen Bronte Boyd. 

I have long admired the growth of Helen's business and took the opportunity to pop in and see her in her Sai Kung H Studio Gallery, on my recent Hong Kong visit. This artists hub is home to art classes, workshops, and exhibitions. 

You can click here for more info on H Studio Gallery.

Photo Three: My HeART with Thai Art backdrop

The HeART Project is:

"a yearly project dedicated to creating original heARTs, 
posting them daily on social media to generate more kindness and joy!

Photo Four: HeART by the pool
Helen's HeARTS have gone all over the world, 
and I am very happy to be the first recipient of a HeART in Thailand. 
My HeART is number 143 and I just love it!

Just as soon as I got off the plane back in Bangkok, 
I headed straight to IKEA to grab a perfectly fitting frame. 
It was getting dark for my photo shoot, 
but I wanted to show my HeART amongst Thai artwork and elephants.
My 5th & final photo is nestled amongst the orchids in our apartment gardens.

Photo Five: HeART amongst Orchids
Oopsie, I seem to have got a little carried away with my photo editing borders
it must be all that mention of the word arty!

If you would like some HeART you can contact Helen and she will post internationally for free. Just tell her a little bird sent you!

Such a lovely and generous thing to do, don't you agree?
The world needs more kindness and joy, and more people like you, Helen :)

Here's wishing you all a HeARTily lovely week.

Love Wren x

Joining with Mosaic Monday thanks to Maggie at Normandy Life
Tricky and Carly at FASTblog for Five On Friday.  
Thank you for hosting!


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Escape To The Country ... well sort of!!

If you are a regular follower of my blog you would know how much I was looking forward to a return to my homeland to catch up with family and friends. 

White Horse Hill, Uffington - return to my childhood

With temperatures in Bangkok a scorching 34 degrees and humidity in the nineties, it was due to be a welcome change from my sweaty Betty Thailand life.


Imagine my surprise to find myself in the middle of a heatwave here in Great Britain, with temperatures, if not the humidity, matching Bangkok. Woo hoo, Great Britain! 

As you will remember last week we were huddled round log fires and barbequing in the rain, sheltering under umbrellas.  All change this week and the Gardens of Britain are looking glorious after a drop of rain and some sunshine. Here are some of my favourite Homes and Gardens pictures from my time here.

Celebrating its 100th year, this charming property with an unusual moat feature is worth a visit. The English Cream Teas were a hit too!

This old Hunting Lodge has magnificent views from the roof
excellent National Trust guides.

3. Buscot Park - Oxfordshire Country House 
This National Trust house currently is open for business as usual during the roof restoration project. Lavish house and beautiful gardens.

I hope you have enjoyed a little glimpse into my British Summer.
Thank you for your visit!

Sharing with thanks to all the hosts at Our World Tuesday

and Pam, for hosting the Gardens Galore Link-Up Party.