Author Archive

New Chrimbo Ad

Posted: December 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

Just a quickie, 

My very clever Mrs has designed me a Christmas Ad for my book. You can take a  peep here  at 

http://stevenmacfarlane5.wix.com/ossiesxmasfiller

Enjoy, Ossie

 

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With the power cuts happening every day sometimes for a minimum of 2- 3 hours, and when we are resorting to keeping our milk in cold water in the sink! it was vital that we got something done. And this comes with the magic of an inverter . So we had a chat to the land lord, well more like a complaint really and he agreed that the power cuts were severe and it was not good for his clients, so being the good landlord that he is (he reads this blog!) he ordered the inverter.Now we have a 850 Watt battery sat in a cabinet waiting for the power to go off. Its brilliant when the power goes off it powers into life and keeps the TV on great for when I’m watching footie, four fans are still turning and we have three lights working.

There are a lot more people here now from all over Europe but mainly Russians they are expecting 200,000 this season and that out numbers the Brits that are coming here by a long way. The cost of a 6 months Visa to India (minimum) is just under £100 pounds(for us Brits) which is very expensive if you are only coming here for 3 weeks or for a month. The Russians get a Visa on arrival which is a lot less then what we pay, but the Indians are thinking about doing a Visa on arrival for the rest of Europe as well (Dont hold your breath).

All the shacks are up and running and the sun beds are getting more and more. They are only allowed 20 beds per shack but no one takes any notice of that. If the Police come onto the beach there are look outs everywhere and they make a quick phone call to the shacks and the beds miraculously vanish. The sea is still a bit rough but that does not deter the Indian tourists from getting really drunk (the drink is cheaper in the state of Goa than elsewhere in India) and floundering in the surf, its a nightmare for the life guards who are constantly telling them to get out, but it falls on deaf ears. I’ve pulled out a couple myself, alive thankfully!!

The cows are still roaming the beach much to the amazement of the tourists who are out there clicking away with their cameras, well its not every day you see a heard of cows having a paddle. There was one cow that took a shine to me and would not go away, it liked its picture being taken and loved me scratching his head. After a while I had to push it away from me because it was following me around!! well at least I have found a friend.

There is a lovely restaurant that we go to a couple of times a week, the food is good and its only about 50 yards from our house. Anyway we got invited to the wedding of the owners son last Saturday which was quite an honour. So with our best togs on we made our way to the church and waited for the Bride and Groom to turn up. It was a catholic wedding with full mass. So we got there a bit early to get some pics of the groom and then the bride arriving, only to discover them already there having a chat outside!!. Its done a little bit different over here as the Bride and Groom enter the church together. They have already had their photos taken outside separately, the groom with the best man and the Bride with her bridesmaids. But thats the way they do it here and I must admit it was worth while seeing even though it was roasting.(33 degrees!!)

With the temperature up in the 30s it is very hot during the day but it does drop off at night but only slightly. Anyway thats about it for the moment so I will trundle down to the beach get a sun bed and chill. Thank you to all of you that have purchased my book in the last couple of weeks and I hope you enjoyed the book. If anyone is interested in buying it then please go to http://www.steveosbornebritisharmy.com where you will find the different options for buying the book.

Take care Steve.

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What a chaotic last couple of weeks we have just had here in India, and it was all down to DIWALI.

Diwali basically means the (Row of Lights) and is a 5 day festival for all Hindus and is associated with Lakshmi  (the Goddess of Prosperity) and marks the beginning of the Indian financial year. For Hindus Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes.

So now you have some idea of what Diwali is and what it means to the Indians, but what does it mean to us, well let me try and explain.

Goa is a magnet for Indian tourists and they invade Candolim and Calangute which are the most popular seaside resorts in their thousands. Every hotel room is booked up, all private rental apartments are booked, and if they cannot get accommodation then they sleep in their car. It seems like every coach in India has brought people down to Goa for a week to Ten days.

The roads are bad enough to drive on during the season but during this period its suicidal. Everyone hires out a bike even if they can drive one or not and ventures onto the road. The one thing you learn very quickly when driving in India is that no one has any patience. We will sit and wait for a gap in the traffic before we will pull out, not here they just drive straight out from a side road and expect you to stop, nobody lets you out. Everybody is overtaking each other regardless if there is on coming traffic and they will nip in at the last second.

Alcohol plays a big part in the celebrations especially with the younger ones and because it is a lot cheaper here in Goa then in other states in India the majority are permanently wasted. They go onto the beach lay in the sun then drink more and decide its time for a swim, but they forget they cannot swim so the life guards are continuously telling them to get out of the water.

But saying all that it is great to see them all enjoying themselves especially the families with the kids. You need to remember a lot of these people would have saved up all year round so they can enjoy the festival with their families. Hotels inflate their prices 100 to 200% because they know the people will pay. And of course we have the power cuts more people means more power used and the antiquated system they have here cannot deal with it, so we are plunged into darkness. Last Wednesday we had a power cut for 10 hours, then the other day we had one for 5 hours but thats India.

But this week it is back to normal all the Indian tourists have gone home, and that means a safer drive ??? and less power cuts.

Majority of the beach shacks are up and running now which is great to see and the European tourists are starting to arrive.

You have heard the saying (its a small world) well we were walking on the beach yesterday afternoon when the better half heard her name being called out. On looking around we saw a couple who we knew when we lived in Portugal and they were on holiday with another couple who own a restaurant in Albufeira (Portugal). So after lots of hugs we sat down for a couple of beers and chatted for about 3 hours. It just goes to show you never know who you are going to bump into, but brilliant to see them all.

Time for some gardening work and sadly the Mango Tree had to go as it was rotten, so one man with a very old axe turns up and proceeds to cut it down. It was not until after the tree was down that we realised we had another problem ANTS. There was millions of them everywhere, carrying their eggs so mass murder was the order of the day. Did we win ? no chance!, they have just moved on and infested another tree ha ha.

I see the locals most days take a coconut and open it up for the tourists to eat. Just a couple of hits with their machete on the top and bobs your uncle. Well I thought I would try it surely its not that difficult, so armed with a machete I attacked this coconut. After a good 5 minutes I was no nearer to getting inside this coconut then when I had started. So it was time for brute force and ignorance and I won. Ok I never got any of the milk and the inside was literally destroyed but I got into it.

Time to sharpen the machete I think !!, I managed to grab a couple of guys who sharpen knives for a living and they were only to happy to pose for their picture along with their medieval equipment, we laugh but it works.

And finally have been doing a bit of burning in the garden have not set the trees alight yet but there is still time, anyway we get peace from the mosquitoes for a couple of days after a good fire.

Here are  a few more pictures to keep you busy.

Thanks to all those that have brought my book recently if you have not and your interested then please go to my web site which is http://www.steveosbornebritisharmy.com and have a nosey. Cheers Steve.

The Shacks Are Appearing

Posted: October 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

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With the Shack holders getting their licences last week that was the start of the shack invasion on the beach. The owners were out on the beach measuring their plot and making sure they got every inch which they were entitled too. In went the corner posts and that was telling their neighbours this is our land. I wonder if it was like that in the days of digging for gold (my plot).

Anyway so the beach will be a hive of activity for the next 10 days with these little and some not so little huts popping up all over the place. They are allowed to have 10 sun beds per shack but everyone has more. They are all in touch with each other and when the police arrive on the beach the word spreads like wild fire. They will ask you politely to jump of your bed (which is not a problem as you do not want the shack to be fined) and it is taken away. The police only see 10 beds but there are 30 people standing in the shack just milling around. The police get a drink then its slaps on the back a shake of hands something is passed i.e. a bit of money, and the owner has his certificate saying he only has 10 beds, and thats him for another month, its great being here.!

The weather has been good still warm up around the low 30s but now and then a little rain. Next month should see the temperature  drop a little bit but who knows ??.

More and more tourists are arriving mainly Russian they come for a 2 or 3 weeks holiday and they love it. I can only compare it to the Brits when we started to go to Spain, you know the Costa Del Sol’s of this world. Sunning themselves  all day, eating all different kinds of food, and getting wasted at night well thats what the Russians do. And why Not ?

Apart from that I am well hitting the gym 5 days a week ,the power cuts are getting less frequent which is good, but the roads are still chaotic and dangerous.

So if I survive the mayhem on the roads I should be back here doing an update in about a weeks time or earlier if anything important happens.

Finally a big Thank  You to all those that have bought my book in the last 2 weeks THANKS.

http://www.steveosbornebritisharmy.com

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Well that is nearly a month we have been here and overall it has been good. We have had a few problems which eventually got sorted out but as they say thats India for you . The washing machine gets loaded up with better half’s whites and when we took them out they were Brown.

So myself and the landlord who is very embarrassed goes and checks the well. The water seems to be ok ish next stop the water tank on top of the house, My word it was like a sand pit inside. This had to be cleaned and the only way to do it was climb inside the tank. The landlord told me he knows a very skinny man who will fit in the tank, so he phoned him. This skeleton appeared and proceeded to get himself through the top of the tank and vanish. We threw some brushes and rags into the hole and let him get on with it.

After a few moments he asked us to turn the water on so all the crap could get flushed away. Now the water comes in from the top pipe on the tank but the skeleton of a man was happy and said he was ok. Water poured into the tank at some force I might add, and yes all the muck came flying out the bottom of the tank. Then this drowned rat emerged with a huge grin on his face saying everything ok now. (Thats India)

We have adopted a dog as you do when you live in these countries, she is very friendly and very quiet. She knows where the good life is. Chicken for dinner sometimes meat and rice, Pedigree dog Biscuits, she gets well spoilt. But now and then we have noticed that she goes into a little world of her own, mouth half open and tongue hanging out. Then she comes back to earth and she is fine. I think we have found the reason for this behaviour I believe she is HIGH,  you know wasted, out of it.

I watched her the other day eating her way through our neighbours garden which is full of flowers and plants. She goes up to the flowers has a sniff and when she finds the one she likes she woofs it down. I know dogs will eat grass and then throw up but madam does not, and after about 10-15 samples of different leaves and flower heads she comes wandering back.  Her face is grinning and she is slightly staggering when she comes up onto the porch she then finds herself a corner and flakes out for an hour! (Only In India)

There are so many power cuts at the moment it seems like every day the electric will go of for at least 2 hours and this can happen a couple of times a day. When I am watching football on a Saturday the game just starts and BANG power of for maybe 30 mins. Then back on for a bit then off again. But it will get better as the season picks up (I hope).

Apart from that, the beach is still empty at the moment another week and the shacks will start appearing. The weather is good, now and then a bit of rain but this is welcomed by everyone.

As I have said before the roads are absolutely terrible there are holes and I mean holes some 9-12 inches deep everywhere, and the traffic is chaotic. I saw an accident the other day a man and women plus a young child came of their bike. As they laid in the road dazed nobody went to help them and all the other drivers started beeping them to move! then driving around them, even a bus went around them. Myself and another man went and helped them up they were ok a few scratches a bit embarrassed, but they got back onto the bike said “thank you” and away they went. (Only in India).

Hope you like the pictures and all being well I will be back on here in about 2 weeks time unless something important happens like the electric stays on for a day ha ha.

Arrived In India

Posted: October 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

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Well here we are again back in India and the house has survived the monsoons well impressed. We left Phuket and arrived in Bangkok without any problems at all, and after a quick bus ride to Don Mueang airport (1 hour) we checked in. The flight to Chennai was delayed by 2.5 hours. So it was a case of find a chair sit back and chill out.

The Plane finally arrived and away we went and oh my word what a bouncy flight. The rain and wind pounded us all the way and the better half was nearly in tears for most of the journey. I myself just sat there calm and just read the in flight magazine but inside I was thinking this is not good.

We finally arrived at Chennai at midnight and was very surprised to see my name being held up on a piece of paper, I was sure there would be no one there but how wrong I was. The hotel was clean and we got a good nights sleep.

Back to the airport that morning to catch the flight to Goa and that was delayed by an hour but it happens and we just sit back and wait. Our friend was at the airport to meet us and after the initial hugs we were on our way to the house.

During the drive we noticed nothing had changed at all. They still drive like lunatics, and they just love overtaking on a bend. A car will overtake a bike but the bus wants to overtake the car because he is bigger, so on coming traffic just pulls over if there is room or mounts the path if there is not. Everybody drives with their hand on the horn, thats if they are not texting. Welcome back to India thats the way they do things here and you just go with the flow.

We left a lot of our stuff in the house and it was still there but had grown a nice overcoat of mould, damp call it what ever but it stunk, so the washing machine was busy for 3 days. The house was nice and clean which was a bonus and had been repainted by the owner. After 2 days the satellite was installed, a new TV had been brought and all the sports channels were there perfect, oh and of course the movie channels and 100s of others.

The season has nt started yet mid November is when it really kicks in, so its great to wander around and watching the locals get ready. The shacks on the beach will start appearing end of October and its impressive to watch how they get built, no health and safety over here.

It is great to be back I did not think I would miss the Dust that envelopes you on the road when you are on the moped. The huge holes you have to negotiate that litter the road while watching out for buses. And the beeb beeb that everyone does even me, but I did miss it and the people of course.

Took a few pictures on our way over to here, and had a few deleted by security staff at airports boring sods ha ha. Will update the blog in a week or so Cheers.

Days To Do Are Getting Few

Posted: September 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

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So its been a couple of weeks since I last posted something on my blog and the reason for that is , that nothing has really happened. Going to the gym 6 mornings a week and then maybe popping to the beach in the afternoon with the better half and thats been my day.

All our travel arrangements were completed ie flights , transport , hotel etc and then up pops an email from orient Thai saying that the flight from Phuket to Bangkok has been cancelled with no reason given. So back onto the web and searched for another flight to get us there on time so we can get the connection to Chenni (India) on the same day. And yes we will get our money back for the cancelled flight 6 – 8 weeks.

The better half has already packed I think she is trying to tell me something, I will pack on Saturday or Sunday. It does not take long to pack 1 holdall with about 20 kgs. Today is Thursday and we are away on Monday morning 0930 hrs. One of the lads from the gym are taking us to the airport with a couple of others to see us off.

So how has our 6 months been in Thailand this time. Well to be very honest its been so so, we picked the wrong location Bangtoa north of Patong. The village is a Muslim village which we did not no about, but do not get the wrong Idea the people have been great and made us more then welcome. The problem is that there are no bars to visit and eating out is very limited and there is no night life. If we had gone down to Patong then it would have been different, also the beach is nowhere near as good and clean as Patong beach.

Also we will not miss being woken up at 0500 hrs every morning with their early morning prayers. But I have to say living in a Muslim community has been no problem at all, so don t stereo type them all as being bad.

India here we come again for 5 months and we are so looking forward to it. Where will we go after India who knows but I think we will be heading back to Europe, in fact the better half is saying we WILL be of to Europe. We have been travelling around Asia for the last 5 years and a change is called for we think.

Will blog again when we get to India and show and tell you how the journey went fingers x it goes to plan but we shall see.

Finally the book is still selling well so a big thank you to those that have brought it. See you next week Steve.

Not Much Happening

Posted: August 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

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Hi everyone

Well as the title says not much has been happening here apart from it being bloody hot and humid so much for the rainy season in Thailand. When we left India at the end of March we thought and had read that Thailand gets a big wet season, well here we are at the end of August and yes we are still waiting.

Popped down to Patong last Saturday for a few hours and saw for myself the problem they have with the Pollution on Patong beach. The sea is very dirty and there are not many swimmers if any at all.

There is a lot of tourists about which surprised me as this is meant to be the quite season, but the people that are making the money are the Para ascending guys on the beach. It will cost you £30 for a 2 minute fly and believe me people are queuing up for a ride. At one time I saw 6 in the air at once so a lot of money around.

Have to go to Phuket town today and send away my visa forms for India less then 4 weeks before we are back in Goa, and I have to admit I am looking forward to it, so is the other half.

With nothing to report I have found a few pictures of myself during my early army days hope you enjoy them.

And finally thanks to everyone who has brought my book and Im glad you all enjoyed it. http://www.steveosbornebritisharmy.com

Book Reviews

Posted: August 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

Just thought I would share a couple of book reviews that I have received from people that have read my book.

There are to many to display which is a nice fact but im glad people have commented on it. 

I very much enjoyed reading this fantastic Book . Day to day life of a very down to Earth Soldier .
 
Amazon Verified Purchase
This is a cracking read for all those who have, like me, experienced very similar occasions whilst in the RCT. A well written book that is highly recommended. Squaddie humour at its very best but I feel you would have to have been that soldier to understand and appreciate the book. Well done Ossie, a very good read. Graham
 
By threlf
Bored with all the military books about bravery beyond belief I’ve been waiting for the book about day to day life in the British army and the most comical person on the planet, the British squaddie. Our paths crossed about half way through the book but I had a content smile on my face from start to finish interrupted only by laughing. Great memories brought to the front and there’s some gaps that could be filled with another book. Nice 1 Ossie “they’ll never make you pregnant!”
 
By Bishy
Amazon Verified Purchase
Having served in The RCT myself, I wanted to read this book as soon as I saw it, once I purchased it I couldn’t put it down! It bought back so many memories of my short life in the army! Well done Ossie great book!! 😉
 
What a great read! A real story of a young lad starting out the rest of his life in the army! Royal Corps of Transport to be precise, a band of men brought together through experiences which no civilian could ever understand! But admire? Yes!
I would recommend this to anybody wondering what it’s like to live life in the army in the 70’s and 80’s or anyone who served to reminisce old times!
 
Stephen Hignett Brilliant read Ossie — still can,t get my head round you being a RSM after seeing what you was like in the wild 38 days lol
 
Jim Hicks There is no problem what so ever. Having served with you a couple of times and reading the good and the bad brought back memories. Especially one, that I won’t spoil for others. You lot get on line and buy. Steve has done something we thought about and once you read you can relate. Well done me ole mate
 

Gary Bishop
46 minutes ago ·
I just want to plug this book, no matter if you have served in the RCT or even the Army or neither this book is a riveting read! It follows one man’s life from being a 17 year old with not many prospects, through to serving 22 years in The British Army in The Royal Corps of Transport. Go on give it a read…

Tony Smith Hey Ossie-Great Book Mate-Could not put the Ipad down !!

 

Sorry couldn’t wait ,chapter 10 it takes me back all those years ago,I have laughed out load and also a tear in the eye,I didn’t have a good start in life but not half as bad as you why don’t you get your book into print it would be a best seller mate. charlie dennis linthwaite

Finished the book fantastic get in print and would be a great keepsake,an honor knowing you Ozzie ,have a good life my friend and remember they can’t make you pregnant ha ha Charlie dennis linthwaite

So there are a few reviews guys check out my web site if you want a great read. http://www.steveosbornebritisharmy.com 

Surin beach Phuket

Posted: August 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

We went out the other night with a couple and their daughter for a Thai BBQ the occasion was to celebrate her birthday. A Thai BBQ  is a bit different from how we do a BBQ. Firstly you go up to a very long table and choose from a great selection, want you want to cook, i.e. different meats/fish and veg and take it back to your table.

Then the waiter brings you your own personal BBQ for the table, it is filled with red hot coals, and all you do is put your food on top of the lid that has holes in and away you go, get cooking. I must admit it was different but really enjoyable and the place was packed, and very hot what with all those different BBQ

 

going all at once.   We had a great night in great company.

I thought I would take a trip down to the beach today, so after going to the gym for an hour and a bit, and having lunch I jumped onto the bike and drove the short distance of 3 ks to the beach.

Even though this is the quite season for Thailand I was still surprised to see so many on the beach and in the beach restaurants. The sea was a bit rough and the usual die hards where in there trying to beat the waves.

As I sat on the rocks gazing out to sea I couldn’t help thinking am I getting board with Thailand. Having lived here a number of times now over the years I am starting to think I have done it, seen it, got the t- shirt. Please, do not get me wrong its a lovely country but over the last couple of years its starting to loose its appeal.

Once, this was known as the land of the smiles, but not any more especially down in the tourist areas. Tourism is down as it is everywhere but the Thais still think we are a walking ATM. A couple of years ago if you bought something from a shop the assistant would be smiling and grateful that you shopped in their store. Now they don’t even bother to acknowledge you, it seems to be a effort for them. They have had it good for to long and are not impressed that other countries like Cambodia, or Vietnam are on the up.

I am looking forward to going back to India at the end of September for 6 months and I am not sure if I will return to Thailand or Asia. Who knows I may return to Europe NO not England but maybe Zagreb again or Bulgaria.