Archive for October, 2011

Kanyah Now Has The Thai House Papers – And We Have The Baan Lek Tee (House Address)

A Time To Celebrate – At Last Kanyah Has Her Name Registered On Her Own House Papers And I Have An Address In Thailand!

Wow! What an exciting moment for Kanyah. She phoned me just a few minutes ago to tell me that she now has the Thai house papers with he name registered on them.

Then an hour later a tearful Kanyah phoned me again to tell me, guess what, that “she now has the Thai house papers with her name registered on them!”.

(She loves to repeat things as I’ve said before)

This Is A Lifetime’s Dream Come True For Kanyah

Now Kanyah is so, so happy, that her dream of owning her own house and having her own house papers with her name on them has now actually come true. In her phone calls she thanks me profusely in English and Thai.

Yes, we had a house in England but she never really assimilated (anybody go the correct word?) to that as being ‘hers’.

Kanyah Is No Longer The Tramp With No Place To Call Home

Now she truly does have a house and a place that she can call home – after 30 years of following me around the world like a tramp. (Not a poor one but a tramp nevertheless)

It’s not surprising that she is jubilant, happy and at last fulfilled. Not surprising then that she thanked me so much.

In Thailand The House Papers Are A Passport To All Official Business

What I mean is (and people familiar with Thailand will know this) that to do any just about official business in Thailand a Thai must show the house papers with their name registered on them. Without the house papers (and their name on them) a Thai person is basically non-existent – a gipsy for want of a better word.

Here are some of the things you need the house papers for:-

  • To obtain a Thai ID card
  • To obtain a thai passport
  • To obtain a driving license
  • To open a bank account
  • To get married
  • To obtain a British visitor’s (or any other) Visa

(If you know of any more, please post a comment or send me an email)

It seems that my words are getting through to Kanyah

If you have read my other posts then you will no that I’m pretty direct with Kanyah and let her know in no uncertain terms what I want her to do. I have for months and weeks been pushing her to get these house papers.

At last my harassment seems to have bourn fruit. Just as my ranting and raving back in May of 2011 about the standard of workmanship and the failure of Jalan to supervise the construction led eventually to Kanyah giving the previous builder and Jalan the push. (Pushed out i.e. she sacked them). There is a Post about those ‘dark days’ at “Thai Retirement House Building Project From Hell – And I’m Sick Of It” and related Posts.

So those of you who ask me to ‘go gentle’ on Kanyah take note. Pushing her brings results!

It might be painful but that’s life. If you don’t push for what you want in life you’ll get what they give you.

Image of Baan Lek Tee

About The Thai House Address – Baan Lek Tee In The Thai Language – And The House Papers

Well I’ve just about said what I want to say on this subject – that is until Kanyah send me a copy of the house papers.

I’ll then post a copy here and get them translated into English and put the translation up here also. And then I’ll know Kanyah’s (and my) address in Thailand so I’ll send her a letter.

Here Is A Copy Of The Thai House Papers

Placeholder for the Thai House Papers

This Email Will Rattle Most People – It’s How I Felt (And Have Been Feeling For A Long Time)

I actually sent this email to my lovely wife, Kanyah. Apart from intending to explain my frustration and discomfort with what she is doing out there in Pakchong, it was also intended to have an effect – to change what seh was doing.

I Deleted The Email From Her Email Account After She Phoned Me

The she called me. Yes she was eventually getting round to doing what I had been imploring her to do for months – basically to stop living in the hotel and to move into the house.

She told me that…

  • The house itself would be finished and ready to move into in three days time
  • The drive (for the car) would be finished in three days time
  • The local Sherrif had been to see her about getting her house papers and getting her name registered on them
  • She would be leaving the hotel at the end of the month (one week away) and moving on to stay with our neighbour
  • Tomorrow she will go with our neighbour to see the monk to get the date for blessing the house so that she can move in
  • and… please send more money!
  • She also said that when I push her and we end up arguing, she feels “down” and loses her motivation to push things forward.

Kanyah Is building This Retirement House in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, For Me Not Just For Herself

But what really  prompted me to delete the email was when she said the “when you see how wonderful the the house is you will be proud of what I have done”. Then the penny dropped with me. She was doing all this not just for herself but also to please me. She wanted me to be proud of her. That’s why she was doing it – for me – not just for herself.

Anyway, here is the email. It’s still in her gmail account in the deleted folder – I can undelete it at any time.

Message from Your Husband

Date: 24 October 2011

Dear Kanyah, I have always sent you money when you have asked for it and I have done it again today.

But this is the last time. There are three reasons why I say this:-

1. I Am Not Saving for Retirement to ThailandI am supposed to be saving for my retirement, but I’m saving nothing – all my income goes to you.

2. You Are Wasting Money

You are spending money on things not necessary and what I did not agree to. A lot of the money you spend is wasted on things not necessary.

3. You Won’t Finish The House First

You are supposed to finish the house so that you and I can stay there.

________________________________________________________________________________

DETAILS

1. I Am Not Saving for Retirement to Thailand

Look how much money I have been sending you:-

Description

Sent £

Sent Baht

TOTAL House and Land

94,517

4,651,335

Land Cost

20,000

1,000,000

TOTAL House Only 2011

74,517

3,651,335

Nearly £100,000 and 5 million Baht!

That is crazy money.

When we started this project you said you could get the house and land for £20,000. Now you have spent nearly £100,000 (3.6 million Baht) and it’s still not finished.

Pongsak’s price to build the house was 1.7 million Baht. You are over double that!

Look how much money I have sent you in the last four months:-

Month

£

Baht

July

11,000

539,000

August

6,000

294,000

September

7,000

343,000

October

6,000

294,000

That is all my income – before TAX.

I didn’t pay tax yet. I have to go back and pay tax on my income. That means I have to work a month or more just to pay my tax.

And I’m not saving anything for my retirement to Thailand.

You are selfish and thinking only about yourself and the house. Spending money without thinking about our plans for the future.

I think of you like Jalan and Pongsak – sucking money from the rich farang.

Not very nice is it?

2. You Are Wasting Money

First the toilet.

Look at the toilet:-

Image of Toilet Block 03

Rendering The Blockwork On The Right Hand Side Of The Toilet Block

I was thinking about 1.5 by 1.5 meters. This toilet block is about 10 meters by 3 meters. It’s big enough to be a house.

You never asked me about the size and you never tell me how much things cost or what you want to spend.

The toilet is so big you can’t even take a photo showing all of it!

Not fair and a waste of precious money.

Next, the concrete.

Look at this photo:-

Image of the Utility Block Front Concrete

Toilet Block and Mass Concrete

This is just the concrete in the front of the house. You have it all round.

What’s it for? In the photo above exactly what is that concrete for?

How much did it cost?

Did I agree to it?

Did you ever ask me? Did you tell me the price before you did it?

In this case you are eating into the land where you want to grow plants. Does not make sense to me.

Now the marble floors.

Look at the photo.

Image of Terrazzo Marble Floor 01 Workshop 01

Reflections Of The Windows On The Shiny Surface Of The Highly Polished Terrazzo Marble Floor In The Workshop

This is my workshop.

A workshop is a dirty place. My machinces will scratch the marble and spoil it in weeks.

The black colour is wrong. When I drop tiny pieces on the floor I won’t be able to find them.

This marble floor is not necessary for a workshop. 100% waste of money.

Next picture:-

This is the car park!

Whoever had marble floors in the car park?

A car park gets dirty from the cars. The wheels make a mark and the oil drops down.

You keep it clean then.

3. You Won’t Finish The House First

I keep asking you to move out of the hotel and into the house. But you don’t do it.

In a few weeks I’ll be coming there for Christmas.

If you haven’t moved in where do you think I’m going to stay?

In The Mansion?

Forget it. If I can’t stay in my house that has taken 2 years and 5 million Baht to build just give me my car back and I’ll go stay somewhere else, without you.

________________________________________________________________________________

Guesss What?

Can you guess? Do you know what I am thinking?

In case you can’t let me make it easy for you, my Darling.

I AM NOT HAPPY!

  • I feel cheated.
  • I have been ripped off.
  • I have no money.
  • I have been too soft.
  • I’m p****d off and angry.

See you at Christmas (Maybe)

Love, Dad.

The Next Day Everything Was Different

The next day I was glad I deleted the email before Kanyah saw it because she phoned me with some great news as you can read on the  “Thai House Address – Baan Lek Tee In Thai Language” Post. Go there right now to be cheered up!

 

Who’s In Control Of Cost And Programme On This Retirement House Build Project In Thailand? Clearly Not Me!

Mission Creep – The Nightmare Scenario Feared Of Armed Conflict Comes To Roost In Pakchong (Pak Chong)

A bit dramatic? Maybe wouldn’t make the front page of the daily newspapers but when I’m told the house is finished and I am still sending vast sums of money out to Thailand month after month after month, it’s a nightmare scenario for me.

The Return Of The Bad Old Days?

If you have been reading this blog for a long time you’ll recall the Bad Old Days when I was writing posts like “Thailand Retirement House Build Plans Dashed” when the Thailand retirement house-build project was really getting me down and I seemed to have hit an all-time low.

Are those days back again after we lifted ourselves back up with a new builder?

Not quite. The new builder is terrific. Excellent quality and easy for Kanyah to work with, helpful, considerable, knowledgeable, and as far as I can tell – honest.

The Problem Is With Kanyah. Not The Builder

On the “Our Retirement House In Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, Inches Towards Completion With One Wooden Wall Finished” post dated 28 June Kanyah was talking about 3 to 6 weeks to complete the house construction. She originally (20 June) said it would take 3 months as advised by the new Thai builder.

Now it’s 5 October, and it’s still not finished. The builder has stopped work on the house (original scope) to do all these add-ons (mission creep) instructed by Kanyah.

I implore with Kanyah to get the house finished so that she can take residence there and cease renting the hotel room at The Mansion.

I’m completely mystified why she doesn’t do this. Surely, I think, she would be more relaxed and happier living in her own house, in her own space, with her own belongings unpacked and with the facilities at last to cook real food for herself instead of eating takeaways from the few roadside food stalls there are in Pakchong.

But she is waiting until “everything is finished” before moving in.

What does “everything is finished” mean? Here are some of these mission-creep projects Kanyah has started or is planning that are over and above the original house build scope:-

  • Utility Building – Massively oversized and over-specified. (Work commenced)
  • Concrete slabs about 2m wide all round the house – not necessary. (Work commenced)
  • Marble Terrazzo floors to all ground floor areas – Grossly expensive, extravagant, out of place and unnecessary. (Work commenced)
  • Stone driveway. (Work planned)
  • And then there’s the landscaping of the garden…

Yet all the house needs to make it habitable (so she says) is to put up the light fittings, install the power outlets, switch on the electricity and the final house clean.

Oh! And she says there are no kitchen cabinets, cooker etc.

Never mind that Kanyah! What do you have in The Mansion? A rice cooker that’s all. Get yourself a fridge and a bottled gas cooking ring or two and you’re sorted! Why aren’t you getting that fixed instead of concentrating on all of the additional  external works?

You’ll be more relaxed and comfortable and I’ll be able to stop paying for the hotel bills and water and electricity on two locations.

Now Let’s Look At The Latest Photographs Showing The Progress On Building The Retirement House In Pakchong (Pak Chong)

But before we get into that let me ask you a question…

When you look at these photos what are you actually looking at? Or looking for?

  • Construction techniques and materials in Thailand?
  • The weird and wonderful way the Thais do things?
  • How beautiful (or otherwise) our retirement house looks?
  • Problems building a house in Thailand?
  • And other things you may not know you are looking at or for.

When I look at the photos I am looking for:-

  • When will it be finished?
  • Is it another waste of money?
  • When can I stop sending sack-loads of money out to Thailand?

In the beginning I wasn’t looking for answers to those questions.

No I am because every 100 Baht spent on unnecessary building works can buy me a meal in Thailand when I retire.

And every cubit metre of concrete and every 10m2 of terazzo marble flooring can keep both of us in food and drink for  month when I retire to Thailand. (No calculations done to prove this – it’s the concept that matters)

In other words, I am working in UK and sending all my spare money to Thailand for Kanyah to waste on unnecessary luxuries. That money should be going into the bank to spend on living in Thailand when I retire. We could probably both live your a year or several on the amount of money she has spent just on the stuff you are about to see on this web page.

O.K. On to The Photos – How To Waste Money On Building A Retirement House In Thailand

Image of Concrete Patio Slab Rear 01

Pouring The Concrete To Form The Patio At The Rear Of The House

Kanyah has decided to have a concrete strip about 2 m wide cast all around the house and you can see one of the strips being poured in the photo above. This is the road side of the house which is normally called the front of the house, but we have built our house so that the front – where the balcony is – is at the back, so to speak.

When I asked her what it was for she said “It looks beautiful” and that it was to stop the dirt from your feet coming into the house. Sorry, Kanyah, I thought that’s what the ground floor patio was for – before you covered it with marble-finish terrazzo.

Sure, I can see the benefit of this concrete buffer zone – but the advantages far outweigh the cost in my book. We could live for a year in Pakchong (Pak Chong) on the amount of money that concrete has cost me.

Image of Concrete Patio Slab Rear 02

Pouring More Concrete To Form The Patio At The Rear Of The House

Another pour of concrete going on whilst the first is still being trowelled smooth.

The guy in the foreground is trowelling the concrete smooth while another concrete pour is going ahead in a different position at the rear of the photo.

I know from my considerable construction industry experience URL that the correct way to pour concrete is to pour the next load right alongside the previous one so that the pour appears as one homogenous mass of concrete.

The objective is to ensure that the concrete does not dry out between different pour batches because that creats a wet-to-dry conrete joint which is no where near as strong as contigous concrete that you get pouring wet next to wet concrete.

Even a non-builder will understand this.

But look at the photo. They are making a second pour well away from the first and still wet pour. Why?

Judging (from the photo) by the area that one pour of concrete covers there are at least two more pours to go in betweeen the two you can in the photo before they meet up. Plenty of time for the previous concrete pour to dry out!

Image of Concrete Patio Slab Rear 03

Septic Tank And Soak-Away Covers

The third concrete pour at the rear of the house. At least this pour is next to the previous pour. Perhaps thay have been listening to me!

But the reason I am showing this photo is to highlight the manholes.

The circular hole is the top of the septic tank I don’t know what the square brick hole is for. I could guess and say it’s the top of a soakaway tank but heh! let’s not conjecture – I’ll save this mystery as something to be discovered when I go out there next Christmas.

My little Christmas treat!

Is Kanyah Building The House Of Babel?

Or Eschers Ascending Descending Stairs?

Image of The Tower of Babel

Is Kanyah Building Another Tower Of Babel?

Bâbel, a Hebrew word means Confusion and the The House Of Babel or more often The Tower Of Babel is a storey found in the Biblical book of Genesis, and is one of the most famous and beloved legends of mankind. It’s a story where all the people building the huge tower that would reach the heavens spoke a common language and the Lord changed all that so that everbody spoke a different language and stopped building.

This picture of  The Tower Of Babel is  similar to the famous “Escher’s Ascending Descending Stairs” where the steps around the building rise and fall in an impossible fashion like this:-

Image of Eschers Ascending Descending Stairs

Escher's Ascending Descending Stairs

The pictures of the The Tower Of Babel and Escher’s Ascending Descending Stairs above are what I want you to remember when you look at the next couple of photos of the retirement house that Kanyah is building in Pakchong (Pak Chong).

Image of Concrete Patio Slab Rear 04

Close-Up Of Poured Concrete To Form The Patio At The Rear Of The House

Notice in the photo above that the top of the new concrete slab and the patio are on the same level

Image of Concrete Patio Slab Side 01

Poured Concrete Slab To The Side Of The House To Carry The Water Tanks

In the photo above the concrete side slab runs down the side of the house between the house and the fenceline to the neighbours land.

This is a complete waste of money!

That area is where we plan to put a couple of huge water tanks to store water from the roof collected by the huge gutters we have had put up.

But water tanks don’t need a flat concrete slab to sit on. If anything they need a slab of concrete independent of the house to allow for differential settlement. Put big water tanks on this slab and I guarantee the slab will crack.

The tower of Bâbel story continues…

Look at the photo below which is a close up of the photo you have just been looking at – the concrete side slab:-

Image of Step Up From Side Concrete Patio Slab To Patio

Notice the 150 mm Step Up From the Side Concrete Slab To Patio

Above, notice the 150 mm step up from the concrete side slab to the patio slab itself (which is a good thing to keep rainwater from the patio). Now compare this the ring of concrete with the rising ramps that spiral around the Tower of Babel in the Tower of Babel photo above.

And remember that in the “Close-Up Of Poured Concrete To Form The Patio At The Rear Of The House” photo above, the top of the new concrete slab and the patio are on the same level.

So where does the level change if it’s not a “Babel Ramp”?

Image of Concrete Patio Slab Side 01

Poured Concrete Slab To The Side Of The House To Carry The Water Tanks

I added the picture above to show the thickness of the concrete side slab. It’s a massive piece of concrete!

My next question is whether Kanyah will continue this concrete slab around the front of the house where the steps are?

OK enough of concrete. lets now look at some of the …

Photos Of The Terrazzo Marble Floors

Image of Terrazzo Marble Floor 01 Workshop 01

Two Floor Grinding Machines At Work Polishing The Terrazzo Marble Floor In My Workshop

Terrazzo is an all natural material only consisting of stones or aggregate (commonly marble, quartz, granite, glass or other suitable chips) mixed with cement. As such, after the concrete/stone mix has been poured and allowed to cure hard the stones (e.g. marble granules) are embedded in the concrete and not visible. The floor just looks like concrete until it has been ground.

Next the grinding machines are put to work to literally grind the concrete and cut into the marble granules leaving a lovely shiny finish.

Image of Terrazzo Marble Floor 01 Workshop 01

Reflections Of The Windows On The Shiny Surface Of The Highly Polished Terrazzo Marble Floor In The Workshop

Above, the result of grinding the marble terrazzo floor in the workshop.

At the risk of booring you to death with my mantra let me say that this is…

… This Marble Terrazzo Flooring Is A Complete Waste Of Money

Here’s why:-

Three Reasons Why Marble Terrazzo Flooring Is A Complete Waste Of Money For The Retirement House IN Pakchong (Pak Chong)

1. I’ll be Ruining That lovely Shiny Finish In A Few Weeks Of Moving In

This will be my workshop. My hobby is making model steam engines and I’ll be retiring to Thailand to do my hobby full time.

Above, some photos of the model steam engine I’m building at the moment. (Part finished) And below some photos of the individual parts.

Image of Making A Model Steam Engine Steam Engine

Some Components Of A Model Steam Engine

I will be putting heavy metalworking machinery in there like a lathe milling and drilling machines, a hacksaw machine and welding equipment.

Image of Workshop Machine Tool Lathe

My Lathe in the Workshop

Image of Workshop Machine Tool Drill

Another Workshop Machine- A Pillar Drill

Image of Workshop Machine Tool Bandsaw

Workshop Machine Tool Bandsaw

I’ll be dropping heavy steel parts on the floor (always happens) which will chip the beautiful shiny floor finish and the metal cuttings (swarf) from the machines will form an ideal grinding paste to wreck the marble finish.

Image of Workshop Equipment Dirty Swarf on Lathe

Dirty Swarf on the Lathe

Here’s a picture of a typical workshop floor to give you an idea of what a workshop looks like (not my workshop by the way):-

2. I Won’t Be Able To find Anything I Drop On The Floor

My models incorporate some very small pieces about the size of a matchstick or smaller. These are often screws, washers etc and as you’ll see in the photo below the marble terrazzo floor makes a perfect camouflage for such tiny pieces of metal.

Making A Model Steam Engine Steam Engine Small Bits

Image of Making A Model Steam Engine Steam Engine Small Bits

Image of Terrazzo Marble Floor 01 Workshop 02

Brass Construction Joint In The Highly Polished Terrazzo Marble Floor In The Workshop

Above, try to find a black steel nut the size of a rice grain on this floor!

Note also the brass strip put in to act as a construction joint to control cracking between different sections of the flooring arising from thermal expansion of the terrazzo flooring.

The next photo of the workshop is more to do with the sink than the marble terrazzo flooring:-

Image of Terrazzo Marble Floor 01 Workshop 02

Kitchen Sink In The Workshop

In the photo of my workshop above in the distance you can see what looks like a kitchen cabinet. It’s probably my kitchen sink that I asked Kanyah to have put in. I just wanted a stainless steel sink to wash my oily hands and to wash oily pieces of models etc, like this one:-

Image of a Stainless Steel Workshop Sink

The Stainless Steel Workshop Sink I Envisaged

Obviously, Kanyah is trying to please me, God (whoever that is) bless her.

Next is another close-up picture of the marble terrazzo flooring. This looks like a step to me, probably the step up from the patio to the workshop:-

Image of Terrazzo Marble Floor Detail 01

Detail Of The Brass Expansion Joint At The Step Down From The Workshop To The Patio

And talking of the patio, here it is:-

Image of Terrazzo Marble Floor Patio 01

Terrazzo Marble Floor To The Rear Patio

Lovely terrazzo marble floor finish on the patio, above.

Turn the corner and we see the car port:-

Image of Terrazzo Marble Floor Patio Car Port 01

Terrazzo Marble Floor To The Car Port Patio

Above the marble terrazzo floor finish in the car port.

3. You Don’t Need Expensive Marble Floors For A Car Park!

If you haven’t worked it out this is the third reason why This marble terrazzo flooring is a complete waste of money.

What do you commonly see in a car park?

  • Oil. Dripping from the cars.
  • Dirt. Dirty soil brought in on the tires.
  • Tyre marks. Big black tires scuff the surface and scratch it whilst also leaving behind tire rubber marks.

In short- marble finish terrazzo flooring is the last thing you want for a car port!

Meet Our Second Thai Builder

Image of Our New Thai Builder 01

Our New Thai Builder Seems To Enjoying Himself

If you want a retirement house built in the Pakchong (Pak Chong) area then do your best to get this Thai builder to do it for you. He is very pleasant to deal with and does  superb job as you have seen on this blog.

The Largest Utility Building In Pakchong (Pak Chong)!

When we signed up with our first builder was asked him also build a toilet downstairs for the use of guests and anyone in the garden. It would also be handy for myself whn working in the workshop.

That fell through when Kanyah sacked the builder. So when she told me she had asked the new builder to build a downstairs toilet I said “That’s fine but can you also put a shower in it?”. Useful, I thought to cool off on a hot day.

Now look what she’s having built:-

Image of Toilet Block 01

Right Hand Side Of The Toilet Block Showing 4 Of The Six Posts

Above, the toilet block is so big Kanyah can only fit half of it in the camera frame. It’s a six-post building and in the photo above you can see four of them.

The left hand side of the building is shown in the photo below:-

Image of Toilet Block 02

Left Hand Side Of The Toilet Block Showing The Other Posts

Above, note that the ridge of the roof is directly over one row of three posts. that means that the entire front half of the roof is unsopported by the posts but is cantilevered out. Strange design.

Image of Toilet Block 03

Rendering The Blockwork On The Right Hand Side Of The Toilet Block

Above the lightweight concrete block walls are up and are receiving the cement rendering finish.

Image of Toilet Block 04

Three Quarter View Of The Toilet Block

In the photo above you can see the cement rendering on the end of the building is quite smooth, that on the front is clearly not finished yet. it looks like this side of the building will be the toilet given the lack of windows.

Image of Toilet Block 05

Rear View Of The Toilet Block

The rear view of the utility building showing on the left a small window for the toilet and on the right you can see a larger window. this is likely to be a Utility Room. i.e. Washing and ironing.

Image of Toilet Block 06

Front View Of The Toilet Block Showing The Concrete Slab Thickness

I have added this view to display the thickness of the concrete floor slab. Should be strong enough and high enough to keep the rain water out.

Thailand Retirement House Photos Page 3

Just a few more photos of our retirement house at it edges towards completion in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand

More photos from Pakchong (Pak Chong), in Thailand, where Kanyah is gallantly managing the construction of our retirement house.

In the foreground you can see a huge pile of sand and some stones. What are these for I wonder, they weren’t there on any previous photos…

… all is revealed later…

Photo Of The Retirement House In Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand Showing The Balcony
Photo Of The Retirement House In Pakchong Showing The Balcony

Next a close-up of the front of the house, shown in the photo below.

This is where we will be spending most of our time, on the first floor balcony and suitably protected from tumbling to the ground by strong stainless steel handrails.

When Kanyah first asked me to agree to these I said “no because I think they will be out of place on a rustic style wooden Thai house”. I wanted tradditional wooden balustrades and handrails.

Always the saleswoman, Kanyah trotted out some powerful reasons to support her proposition:-

  • Stainless steel doesn’t need painting. Wood will need annual maintenance. (Good point, Kanyah, when I retire to Thailand I’ll be far to busy in the workshop to be doing house maintenance)
  • Stainless steel handrails won’t rot. If not looked after carefully wood is likely to rot and become unsafe. (Another good point – I like the idea of not falling 3 meters and landing on my head on the floor – an early end to my retiring in Thailand plans)
  • By the way notice Kanyah’s optimism here.  How long would it take good quality Thai hardwood to rot? 10 years?, 20 years? That’s at least how long she expects me to be living in that house when I retire to Thailand!
  • Stainless steel handrails are cheaper than wood. Now she’s really got my interest. Of course I doubt that and there is no way for her to prove it either way.
Image of Front View Of The Retirement House In Pakchong (Pak Chong)
Front View Of The House

Galvanised Steel Rain Water Gutters

Next some shots of the galvanised steel rain water gutters gutters.

Why galvanised steel? At first we looked at plastic which were rerasonable cost if in white colour. The white colour ones are made in Thailand.

Image of White Plastic Rain Gutter
White Plastic Rain Gutter

But I wanted dark brown colour so that they would be camouflaged as you can see in the picture below – and plastic rain gutters  in this colour are made in Japan hence a huge import duty is imposed making them rediculously expensive.

Also if you look at the photo of the plastic rain gutter above you will see that the down-pipe is rather small. that surprised me for a country that has such heavy downpours of rain. I would therefore expect that several down-pipes would be needed and we wanted just one at the end of the house to send the roof run-off water to the water storage tanks. We plan on using this stored water for the garden in the dry season.

Below is a photo of the brown plastic rainwater gutter and in addition to all the other disadvantages I have mentioned above, ot looks too angular and modern for the rustic appearance I want our house to have.

Image of Windsor PVC Rain Gutter Brown Colour
Windsor PVC Rain Gutter Brown Colour From Catalogue

Below is the complete plastic rain water brochure from the company Windsor of Japan:-

Below, this is sort of galvanised steel rainwater gutter that I wanted, but I would have painted it. And I don’t like the idea of sending the water from one gutter to another as shown in the photo – could overload the second gutter. The photo again is from a brochure:-

Image of Galvanised Steel Roof Gutter Unpainted
Galvanised Steel Roof Gutter Unpainted

Anyway, Kanyah found someone who could supply rainwater gutters made from galvanised steel and she bought them. Below is one of the gutters delivered to site before painting:-

Image of Galvanised Steel Gutter Before Painting
Galvanised Steel Gutter Before Painting

When the gutters were painted, according to the photo below, it seems they did not use a primer, but just painted the top coat straight onto the galvanised steel. No that’s OK if they used a special paint designed to pe applied directly yo galvanised steel.

With normal paints it is necessary to apply a special primer to the galvanised steel before painting the finish coat.

If a special paint is not used on the galvanised steel then the paint will not adhere tot he galvanising and will soon flake and drop off.

Image of Galvanised Steel Gutter Painting
Painting The Galvanised Steel Gutters On Site

Below is a picture of the end of the gutter showing the d0wnpipe spigot which again looks too small to me.

Image of Galvanised Steel Gutter Downpipe
Galvanised Steel Gutter Downpipe After Painting

The next photo is in fact the same photo as the first one at the top of this page – and I bet you didn’t notice the gutter on that photo. It’s even difficult to see on this one. That blue plastic is a temporary down-pipe and will be replaced by a permanent brown pipe once the water storage tanks have been delivered. Rainwater storage is something Kanyah is really keen on. She wants to have massive water storage tanks to keep the garden green and watered in the hot season when there is no rain.

Image of House Showing Rain Gutter Downpipe
House Showing Rain Gutter Downpipe

Below is a photo of our new builder – seems like he’s doing a bit of cement rendering himself.

Photo Of Our Second Thai Builder
Photo Of Our Second Thai Builder

Terrazzo Marble Flooring

If you remember on the Cleaning Up That Terrible Thai Builder’s Mess Post the previous builder had made such a mess of the workshop floor by letting cement from the rendering process fall onto it that Kanyah had to do something to hide the cement droppings. Here is a photo from that previous Post:-

Image of Pakchong House Workshop Concrete Floor Spoilt 02

Pakchong House Workshop Concrete Floor Spoilt 02

I thought that the floor could be “simply” ground to a smooth finish and left at that. After all this is a workshop not a living room. I had already paid for a hard finish to be applied to the floor to prevent cement dust  from being created – cement dust is the last thing you want in a machining workshop which this will be.

Here is a photo of the floor when it was originally cast:-

Image of Building Thai House Workshop Floor Slab
Ground Floor Conrete Workshop Floor Slab

That red colour is what’s called “Dry Shake” – it’s a special floor hardener for new concrete floors and it provides a highly abrasion resistant surface to fresh concrete floors and prevents dust from forming.

Back to the story… anyway, when Kanyah sent me these next couple of photos and talked about “Hin On”  Image of "Hin-On" the Thai language word for "marble" - the stone I had a good idea that she was referring to marble. (I knew that “Hin” means “stone”)

And when I saw these photos I thought that they had poured a levelling compound to accept marble tiling – something like this is what I imagined the end result would look like:-

Image of Marble Tiled Floor
A Marble Tiled Floor (Not Our House)

Below, the first photo that Kanyah sent me, it looks like a levelling compound to make the rough concrete surface smooth enough to lay marble tiles on:-

Image of Preparing The Concrete Floor Slab To Take Marble Tiles
Preparing The Concrete Floor Slab To Take Marble Tiles

Below, more of that messy floor levelling compound.

Image of The Marble Terrazzo Floor Finish Applied To The Patio Area
The Marble Terrazzo Floor Finish Applied To The Patio Area

Above, I had to change the story here when a couple of weeks later I received another set of photos of the floor from Kanyah. Then I realised that she did not mean to put marble floor tiles down. What you can see in the photos above is the first stage of laying a marble terrazzo floor. Terrazzo is basically a concrete floor that is ground down after laying to expose the aggregate (stones then). There are many kinds of aggregate to use in terrazzo flooring – Kanyah chose to use marble chips – hence we have marble terrazzo floors.

Remember I mentioned in the beginning of this Post about a huge pile of sand and some stones? They could be the materials used for the terrazzo flooring. Here is the picture again:-

Image of Materials for Marble Terrazzo Flooring?
Materials for Marble Terrazzo Flooring?

You can see the marble terrazzo flooring grinding process and the finished floors in the next Post.

Road Side View Of The House

Image Showing The Rear View Of The Pakchong (Pak Chong) Retirement House
Rear View Of The Pakchong (Pak Chong) Retirement House

Above, this is a view of the house from the road side, or front garden. Our house is ‘back-to-front’ with the rear of the house at the front, facing the road. We built it this way so that we could have the balcony facing the countryside at the rear and to give ourselves some privacy from the road side.

Image of Another Rear View Of The Retirement House in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand
Another Rear View Of The Retirement House

Above, another view of the house from the roadside.

Image of The Service Shafts To Hide The Water And Drainage Pipes
Service Shafts To Hide The Water And Drainage Pipes

Above, the two columns of wet cement you can see here are the services risers. This is where the water pipes and electrical cables rise into the house. Those two white rectangles that you see are in fact plastic access doors.

The Next Post

The next Post will be called “Mission Creep – Costs Escalate – Time Overruns – Photos Show Why” and is a monster of a web page filled with all the latest photos from Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, along with my usual running commentary.

Here are some of the topics covered:-

  • Latest Photographs Showing The Progress On Building The Retirement House In Pakchong (Pak Chong)
  • Is Kanyah Building The House Of Babel?
  • Or Eschers Ascending Descending Stairs?
  • How To Waste Money On Building A Retirement House In Thailand
  • Photos Of The Terrazzo Marble Floors
  • Three Reasons Why Marble Terrazzo Flooring Is A Complete Waste Of Money
  • The Largest Utility Building In Pakchong (Pak Chong)!

As The Retirement House Build Project In Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand Is Reported “Finished”, Alan Delves Into Electric Fishing Machines, SEO School, And Others

From Alan
Tuesday 11 October 2011: 0630 AM

I came in to the office especially early this morning to send you a very quick update with the news about our retiring in Thailand plan and the retirement house we are building in Pakchong but the email I typed became too rambling so I’ve posted it here online instead.

The House Is “Finished”

This is the latest news by phone from Kanyah in Pakchong. According to her the house is “finished”.

After much cajoling by me she even eventually got all the light fittings put up and has had the lights switched on. “It’s beautiful” she says and “I’ll send you some photographs”…

That was a few weeks ago and guess what? No photos.

I used to love coming in early to work and excitedly switch on the PC to see what new photos I have from Thailand. Not any more. I don’t raise my expectations so high – then I don’t get disappointed when I see nothing in the inbox.

She’s Still Not Moving In

Although the house is “finished” Kanyah still refuses to move in and occupy it. She’s having other works done like some massive concrete slabs around the house and an outside toilet built.

And before she can move in all that has to be finished, the builder’s debris removed from the garden and there has to be a special ‘house blessing’ ceremony on a date set by the monk according to her birthday.

The Next Set of Photos

I did upload a set of photos to the website and added the commentary – that took me about 2 weeks to do – and I was just about to push the publish button when a creeping doubt came over me.

As I was uploading the photos I kept being niggled by a thought that there was something missing. Checking the previous two Posts told me what I was thinking.

There was another set of photos on my PC earlier than the set I had just uploaded!

So in order to keep the story in the right sequence, I’m afraid I’ll have to upload the previous set before I can publish the current set.

Getting Websites Ranked High in The Search Engines

I really seem to make a meal out of posting photos on the website. But a large part of this is because I am careful to make sure that when the Post goes live it is going to help get the website ranked highly in the search engines.

I could just throw a bunch of pictures up here and it would only take a few minutes but that doesn’t give the reader any narrative and add any value to the photos, nor would it help the search engine results.

It’s the text that takes the time. Just to satisfy the Search Engines, each photo needs a descriptive Filename, a Title, an Alternative Title, a Caption and a Description.

After I have done that for the dozen or so pictures I want to upload, I then have to write the narrative around the photos to explain what is going on out there in Pakchong.

Anyone interested in getting websites ranked highly in the Search Engines could do worse than see how I do it by watching the movies in the free SEO School on my other website. Here are some examples:-

Workaholic?

Yes, I probably am. And it does get in the way of doing the things I like, like building my steam engine, updating this website, communicating with my fellow online Thailand friends.

But look – I’m planning to retire in Thailand soon. To do that I need to get my hands on all the money I can and at the moment – in this recession – I’m not turning down any opportunity to earn it. Building up this nest egg is made more difficult by the fact that as soon as the money comes in out it goes again the Thailand. Oh boy! Will I be glad when the house is really finished and the spending has stopped!

So I’m working 12 – 14 hours a day including weekends and tying to fit in a bit of updating the website and steam engine building just to keep my sanity.

As you may know, I work in the construction industry and I have just posted a few photo of some of my projects on the website here:-

http://retiringinthailand.net/more/about/construction-industry-bio

I did that in response to a question from a website visitor, Dr Wortley, about what I do who is an expert in the field of electric fishing machines!

Electric Fishing Machines

Apparently these machines momentarily stun the fish in a river or pond and they can be selectively collected for e.g. research, transfer to a better waterway, or just for eating.

The remaining fish soon recover and swim away unharmed.

So, a question to anyone reading this. Have you any idea about using electric fishing machines in Thailand? If so, please leave your comment below or wend me an email via the Contact Us form. I’m sure Dr Wortley and our other reader – plus myself of course – would be very interested in what you have to say.

An Apology To My Followers

Thank to everyone who has contacted me and/or posted a comment on the RetiringInThailand website. I appreciate all of your observations and I’m acutely aware that I owe a response to many of you.

So please accept my apologies for not getting in touch already and be assured that I’ll get round to it – time permitting – as soon as possible.

I’ve rambled on for far too long so I’ll leave off now and speak to you later.

Thank you for visiting

Alan

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