Guest Post: Carol Ann Taylor
I am very pleased to feature British blogger and cookery writer Carol Taylor, who now lives in Thailand. This is her story of how she came to live there.
Carol is a great member of our blogging community, and is always fully engaged with blog posts.
Born in the Fifties which makes me?.mmm I will let you do the math. I was the eldest of three girls and the tomboy….my sisters loved dolls and pushing other peoples babies up and down the street…I still ask myself why?? I much preferred climbing trees, camping out and spending all my school holidays on my granddad’s farm…My grandmother taught me how to cook on her aga and I suppose that was where my love of cooking started…Singing in the church choir was also a passion of mine as is playing the piano.
I was an avid reader and writer even then, my school teachers must have really cringed as I used to write pages and pages…I sometimes wish I still had my school books but I think they must have just got thrown away at some point …As I grew older my aunt suggested I keep a diary and I still do to this day …Leaving school for college but I never really settled or found anything that I really wanted to do except write and my father did not consider that to be a job. He really just thought girls got married and had babies so I did.
In between bringing up our children my husband passed away and also some close family members and I lost two very dear friends who I still miss terribly, I completed a marathon all 26.2 miles with two of my daughters. Learning beckoned again and back to college I went to do Law…I just love learning and researching and of course, writing. I also met my second husband who humours me …He has always been very supportive of anything I have done and is a great dad to my kids. The children grew up and took their own very successful paths in life and now have families of their own…Life has a habit of just carrying on, doesn’t it?
Retirement then beckoned for my hubby and of course, I was getting pretty disillusioned with the rat race so decided I would take early retirement.
That was when we decided to not only think outside the box but throw it away and now we are enjoying life in the Land Of Smiles.
I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them. I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.
Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I am using have which may improve our health and well-being.
I am also very much into the environment and am concerned about our Oceans and fisheries and about all the preservatives and processed foods and am an advocate about cooking from scratch and growing our own food where or when we can even a few pots or a window box for herbs is a start.
Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!
Link to my Blog https://carolcooks2.com
And here is her unedited guest post.
Retired In Sunny Thailand.
How did I end up In sunny Thailand?…all my life I lived mainly in the same house in the same town and did what was expected of me working in a bank and then for local government…I was good at what I did we holidayed in some lovely places for quite a few years it was Spain until sadly my best friend passed away…we then spread our wings a little and travelled to a few far away climes all very nice but not home… We thought about retirement on and off but never made any great plans… Maybe a nice little cottage with roses around the door… My youngest son then announced he was off to Thailand…why Thailand it was all to do with the world cup…Football… He came back full of his trip and announced he would be returning as he had met a young lady… The photos he showed us were of beautiful beaches and golden Buddhas…It looked exotic and very beautiful.
The relationship progressed and visas sorted and out he went again with the aim of returning to England with his lady and to get married the next year…The Thai Embassy had other ideas and advised them it would be much easier to get a visa if they married…Which is exactly what they did …The visa followed… They returned to the UK and settled down it was then that I got my first taste of authentic Thai food and discovered how many Thai girls also lived locally …I was also taught how to cook Thai food and became very good at it…I also loved it!
It was that year we travelled to Thailand with our son and his wife, two of our young grandsons to meet the Thai family…It was love from the minute I landed on Thai soil…
We loved every minute …that holiday was followed by a few more and then Aston arrived…That changed everything as my son and his wife decided they were going to make their home in Thailand so that Aston could both learn the language and all of his heritage… It was then that we decided we would up sticks and also follow them…Hubby had just retired and I took early retirement… I went from being …well I can never say I was the quiet retiring type …haha…but a whole new world opened up and we have moved more times within Thailand than I have ever moved in my whole life and I daresay we will move again at some point.
I joined a writers group quite by chance…I have always been an avid reader and loved to write mainly letters and in my diaries…but blog and write …no…In the words of one of my new friends in the group “Oh my Buddha what have we released”
I started my blog as a way of recording our travels for family and friends and the writing followed on with some short stories in two anthologies…
Initially we lived in Phuket for 5 years and ran a restaurant and bar with my son…we met people from all over the world and made some friends for life…Phuket is beautiful we lived in three different houses around the island but it is a holiday destination. People come and go it is very transient and apart from immediate neighbours you are always treated like a tourist.
This was one of reasons why we decided to relocate to the North of Thailand also it is where our Thai family live…Of course I miss the beaches but we can pop on a plane and be on the beach in just over an hour… Here there are mountains and waterfalls lots of tradition and we are accepted as part of the community. The local tuk tuk drivers know where I live and know where I stop on my way back from the shops to get my fresh coconut juice and SomTam(papaya salad)…I feel safe and at home…
We all share the produce which we grow… it is a real community…They give me mangoes I make the mango jam …They love my bread pudding hot from the oven…They bring me food to try much of which I have never seen or heard of before…I make them Christmas cake we share our different food and culture it is lovely to see and feel the welcome.
I have always cooked from scratch taught by my mother and grandmother and now because of necessity, I also have more time and the fact I object to eating a cocktail of chemicals with every mouthful of food… I have been introduced to food I never dreamed I would eat or had never heard of it is definitely nose to tail eating here nothing is wasted…some even I do not have the stomach for …
I love the fierce tropical storms which blow out very quickly and then the sun shines but everything grows so quickly and is lush and green…Thais forage every day and I am amazed at how much they eat picked from the trees and the jungle…
Every time even after 8 years of living here I invariably find something I haven’t seen before at the local markets and the market traders are happy to let me try…so friendly just adorable people always smiling.
Down on the farm we have chooks and turkeys , grow rice and vegetables we have Durian, banana and other trees…I have learnt how to make charcoal, coconut cream, many of the houses have wooden looms underneath where the art of weaving is passed down through the generations. Family is strong here and many families live together in the same house or the same area…old people are cherished and looked after and willingly the families stay together.
If I had been asked when I was 30 to write about how I thought my life would be when we retired I would have been way off base…I never ever thought I would be lucky enough to live here…I doubt that I would be blogging and writing, I wouldn’t have friends from all the corners of the world and I most certainly wouldn’t have all the lovely recipes I have been taught and gifted with…Living the dream…
I cannot envisage living anywhere else , Thailand is my home…
Thank you, Pete for letting me tell my story of how I found myself here in Thailand.
Please visit Carol’s site to see photos of her new life, and some mouth-watering recipes too.
You will be glad that you connected with such a warm and friendly lady, living life her way in a new land.