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Chiang Mai - Throught the Looking Glass


Chapter 1 – The Migration
‘Mum’
Sometimes in life, you experience great concern over a forthcoming event, and when it comes to
the day – well…..
Mum had been ‘uming and ahing’ about coming out to Thailand for some time. Both my brother
and I had encouraged her, knowing that we could provide loving family support rather than the
isolation that would increase, if she remained. Life in England had changed dramatically and
Mum had experienced a few hiccups with her health. Over the years Mum had welcomed Thais
in the family with open arms, and had much experience of Thai customs, culture and food. – She
loved it all. Finally she decided to join us, and it was quite a brave decision for a lady eighty
years old.
I had been clearing the family home, at Kew near London, for some months of many, many
years of clutter and this had become tantamount to an archeological dig. One of Mum’s joys in
life was visiting the car boot sale on Sunday mornings and she had become some what of a
hoarder. Many times I had to suspend work after uncovering what appeared to be a treasure trove
at the bottom of the dig. Deciding what to jettison, what to give to charity and what to pack-up to
bring with us – this was the challenge. It reached the point when the charity shops and also the
local church would place a ‘Closed for Lunch’ sign when they saw me coming, (time and time
again), with arms stacked full of boxes. The boxes were full of books, trinkets, artifacts, swords,
prints and, frankly a lot of rubbish.
Cassie, the family dog, was one of the last things to be sorted and packed. I had dropped her off
at the airport’s local kennels to be housed in her travel box, for the flight the next morning.
On the morning of our departure, all of the neighbours gathered to say goodbye. Mum had lived
at the family home, on and off all of her life – so knew everyone, and despite what she may have
been feeling inside, she appeared cheerful. That couldn’t be said for the neighbours. One Irish
lady was inconsolable. She had been to Mass the evening before and had asked for Mum to be
remembered in many masses to come. She presented Mum with a religious medal which ‘would
keep her safe from the natives and heathens in the jungle’.
Come Fly With Me
Mum was the wife of a military man, so she was no stranger to flying and travelling. Still, when
we considered her problems with high blood pressure and the risk of deep vein thrombosis, we
decided that the cost of traveling in business class, was a good investment. In fact, due to the
good nature of my brother we managed to do a quick shuffle with the boarding passes and he
sacrificed his Business Class seat for Mum.
The business class cabins on the Thai Airways B-747, are on two levels. The cabin on the upper
level -‘The Bubble’ seems to be more popular, so Mum and I had the entire downstairs cabin to
ourselves. Wanlapa, an old friend and work mate from Thai Airways International, had walked
Mum down the air bridge and escorted to her to her seat. Pom, another old friend who worked in
ground operations, came up to assure Mum that Cassie was secure in the hold of the aircraft and
quite happy.
Mum sat there drinking a glass of champagne and was thrilled looking out of the window at all
of the activity around the aircraft.
Once we were airbourne, I showed Mum how to work the entertainment system and she was
fascinated by the dynamic map representing the aircraft’s position. In the downstairs cabin of
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