Posts Tagged ‘Last Time’

Today I Re-Take The Thai Driving License Practical Test To Get My Thai Driving License

Post Written on Thursday 29th August In Pak Chong, Thailand

I’m up at 0600 AM and at 0645 AM I am out practicing the parallel reversing test.

Already the sun is flaming and I’m hot exhausted and frustrated.

My pass rate has not increased since yesterday (2 out of 8 tries) that’s only 25% even though I re-measured the sticks and the lines and managed to find an extra 50 mm!

I was driving in my sleep last night and woke up with a couple of new tactics to try. They don’t work.

I adjusted one wing mirror down a fraction just to give me a better view of the wheel but then I couldn’t see long distance.

The test is at 1300. It’s 0735 now and I’ll go and do another batch of 5 tests.

0810 AM and It’s 5 / 5!

It really takes it out of you these reversing tests.

I’ll take break now and resume later.

0915 AM and It’s 5 / 5 Again!

My confidence is building as I wait for the re-test at 1300.

I have been marking down my test results on a piece of paper. Here is a scanned image of it:-

Image of First Private Test Track Test Sheet 130828

First Private Test Track Test Sheet 130828

1500 PM And It’s All Over – Failed Again – Kind Of

Back home after the re-test.

I failed on 2 out of three exercises. So I have to re-take the other 2 next Wednesday 4th September.

The three tests you have to complete to pass the Thai practical car Driving License test are:-

Test 1. Straight Reversing

Driving up a very narrow lane of poles and then reversing back down it again.

Here is the official photo of the manouver being undertaken properly. It is a poster on the Thai Driving License Instruction Board at the Thai Driving License Test Center at Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand.

Note the big red blob at the top left of the photo and the number “2″.

That means that this is officially known as Test 2 even though it’s the first one you do.

Photo of Photo Successful Thai Driving License Test 2 - Reversing

Photo Successful Thai Driving License Test 2 – Reversing

I passed this test this time. I failed last time simply because I had driven only to the end of the poles before starting to reverse. you have to drive to the end of the white lines which stretch beyond the poles before starting to return.

Why don’t they have poles all the way? My guess is that once they did but people keep braking them with their cars and they have run out of spares. There are heaps of broken poles everywhere.

Shame that on the first test nobody told me you had to go past the poles and even passed the end of the white lines before beginning your reverse.

Test 2. Parallel Parking

This is where you have to reverse into a box made from poles and drive out again without hitting any pole or pole base. The entry and exit is from the narrow reversing lane in Test 1.

Here is the official photo of the manouver being undertaken properly.

Note the big red blob at the top left of the photo and the number “3″.

That means that this is officially known as Test 3 even though it’s the second one you do.

Photo of Photo Successful Thai Driving License Test 3 - Reversing

Photo Successful Thai Driving License Test 3 – Reversing

I almost made this one this time. I was concentrating on getting the wheels straight having manouvered into the box and forgot to look behind me and clipped a pole.

My reversing was beautiful though having practiced the manouver so many times on my test track back home.

Just the excitement got to me and I was not slow and careful enough.

Test 2. Stopping on the Yellow and White Lines

You have to pull up at the kerbside travelling forward and stop with both nearside wheels on a white line parallel to the kerb and 100 mm away from it and with both your front wheels on a yellow stop line.

It’s not easy because A) the yellow line is about a metre under the car when you stop and B) the kerb is immediately after a 90 turn and is quite short so it’s difficult to get the rear wheel close to the kerb without hitting the kerb with your front wheels which is a fail.

Here is the official photo of the manouver being undertaken properly.

Note the big red blob at the top left of the photo and the number “1″.

That means that this is officially known as Test 1 even though it’s the last one you do.

Photo of Photo Successful Thai Driving License Test 1 - Stopping

Photo Successful Thai Driving License Test 1 – Stopping

I put the front wheels exactly on the yellow line and the white line but the rear wheel was a few cm off the white line. Fail!



Support Messages From Visitors Helping My Recovery

The last time I did anything on this Retiring In Thailand website was the last Post

Why I Can’t Retire To Thailand – Looks Like My Dream Fell Through Post and that was four months ago on 15 February, 2013!

 174 Email Messages In My Inbox To Get Through

Since then I have not even bothered to check my email account until yesterday. I did that because I am just about to buy my air ticket for my trip to Thailand next Christmas and I had used my email address when registering for Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus Membership and I had a log-in problem.

So I was sent them a message and looked in my email account and saw all these messages sent from the contact Us Form on the website.

Image showing 174 Messages from the Contact Us Form
174 Messages from the Contact Us Form

Looking through them I was amazed at the level of support there was.

Many were from people who had experienced the same doubts that I have. Some were from people who knew why I felt like I did.

I was blown away.

Proper Conduct, Please – My Apology

Now I know it’s my website, my blog, and I don’t have to write on it or update it if I don’t feel like it.

But what I shouldn’t do is to invite people to post comments on the site, or to sent me messages through the Contact Form and then just ignore them.

That’s not the proper way to treat people and I can understand people who have sent me a message or a question feeling let down.

To those people I offer my apology.

In future I will check the inbox frequently and reply to messages. Meanwhile I still have those 174 messages to read and respond to.

Some Messages from Website Visitors about Retiring in Thailand

Some of the messages from the Contact Us Form are personal, others are questions and some are visitors explaining their thoughts and experiences on retiring in Thailand.

Some of these thoughts and experiences on retiring in Thailand are very interesting and I’m sure that other visitors would like to read them and perhaps respond to them.

So with the writers permission i’m going to start to post them here on the website for all to see. I’ll be adding my own notes where I can but obviously since these people are already retired to Thailand it is their comments that will be most interesting.



Today Is The Official Completion Of Our Retirement House In Packchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, As Kanyah Moves In

7th November 2011 – Another Difficult-to-Forget 7/11 Date

Today’s the date that as I reported in the Move-In Date Fixed – Thailand Retirement House Build Project Finished… ? Post the monks will come to bless the house and Kanyah will move in to reside there.

The retirement house build project is officially finished.

Silence From Kanyah In Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand

Kanyah phoned me yesterday to tell me (again) about the monk’s visit today. But she was very subdued and didn’t sound at all excited. “Send me more money” was the theme of her call.

But she did mention that two water tanks to collect water from the roof had been delivered – each tank 4 m3 capacity. She also said that she had bought a kitchen for 50,000 Baht and had to pay more for the builder to fit it. When I pressed her for details of what was in this kitchen she had bought she said that it was a cooker and kitchen cabinets like in the West. So much for my theory of a Thai kitchen on the Move-In Date Fixed – Thailand Retirement House Build Project Finished… ? Post

I’m not surprised that she hasn’t phoned today – it’s Kanyah’s way. No phone call, no photos, nothing.

Kanyah received for house address (Baan Lek Tee ) on 29th October 2011 as I reported on the
Thai House Address – Baan Lek Tee In Thai Language Post and promised to send me a scan of it to put on the website. That was well over a week ago and nothing arrived so far.

Fine when she wants money and I send it to her immediately. But she can’t even be bothered to send me a scan of the house address or any progress photos. That last time she sent me photos from our retirement house build project in Thailand was on Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 3:15 PM and that is just two weeks ago.

Thinking Of Marrying A Thai Woman And Building A Retirement House In Thailand?

My advice? Read this Post and all the other Posts on this website, read the Dont Retire To Thailand page and think carefully. Above all don’t rush in.

What Next in The Retiring In Thailand Story?

Well, “all” we have done so far is to buy a car in Thailand (Toyota Hilux Pickup), bought some land and built a retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand.

I haven’t done any retiring at all so there’s that to look forward (?) to…

But let’s get practical.

  • She (we) need furniture for the house.
  • I need to buy my machine tools and hand tools for the workshop.
  • I want a big freezer stocked up with farang food and a bigger fridge stocked up with cool beer.
  • I need an Internet connection, my work desk and executive chair…

And my next trip to Thailand is for Christmas and New Year coinciding with the Pakchong (Pak Chong) Cowboy City festival.

I thoroughly enjoyed last year’s festival as recorded (complete with movies) on the Pakchong Cowboy City Countdown 2011 – Happy New Year 1 page and this year it can only be better.

My Model Engineering Workshop In Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand

Maybe I’ll send some money to Kanyah for her to buy the furniture so that I can spend my visit looking for machine tools. Steve W tells me that there are streets in Bangkok selling second-hand lathes and milling machines at reasonable prices.

Here are some photos of machine tools for sale in Bangkok that I have found on various Thai websites:-

Image of Second-hand lathe for sale in Bangkok 003

Second-Hand Lathe for Sale in Bangkok 003

Above, this second-hand lathe for sale in Bangkok, Thailand is advertised on the website.

Below is a half-decent milling machine for sale on the same website.

Image of Second Hand Milling Machine for Sale in Bangkok 003

Second Hand Milling Machine for Sale in Bangkok 003

My ‘Beautiful’ Workshop Floor Will Be Messed Up In No Time !

Above, these machine tools do a messy job of machining metal. A lot of oil is spalshed on the metal cutters to lubricate it an keep them cool. The metal cuttings (swarf) fly in all directions making an oily dirty mess everywhere.

The ‘beautiful’ marble terrazzo floor that Kanyah has put into my workshop See the (Mission Creep – Costs Escalate – Time Overruns – Photos Show Why) Post will be completly ruind as soon as one of these heavy machines is dragged into position.

Here’s another website selling machine tools in Bangkok:-

To save you leaving this page I have posted a photo of a typical machine tool of the type I’m likely to be putting in my workshop below:-

Image of Second Hand Lathe for Sale in Bangkok 001

Another Second Hand Lathe for Sale in Bangkok

I must admit that these machine tools are a bit bigger and older (worn out) than I really want. It’ll take me some time in Bangkok to find small machines in good conditions with lots of accessories.

So, I have my goal set for this forthcoming visit – to set up my model engineering workshop in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand.

After that, it’s back to the UK to earn more money to replenish my depleted pension pot so that I can eventually retire in Thailand.

I expect that Kanyah will stay on in Pakchong (Pak Chong) until the (UK) spring or summer to give her time to make the Pakchong (Pak Chong) house garden ‘beautiful’.

About Steve W

Steve is very knowledgeable (in general but also about Thailand). Some photos of Steve’s houses on these pages:-

I met Steve out in Pakchong last Christmas and we have kept in touch ever since. His Thai wife is now expecting twins.

Steve (unlike Kanyah) just sent me some photos showing the progress on his retirement house build project in Si Khiu Korat near to Pakchong (Pak Chong) and I’ll upload those to the website in the next few days.

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.



1. I Am Not Saving for Retirement to Thailand

Look how much money I have been sending you:-


Sent £

Sent Baht

TOTAL House and Land



Land Cost



TOTAL House Only 2011



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:-
















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 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!


Construction Cost Control When Building A Retirement House In Thailand

How I Attempt To Get Some Construction Cost Control Into Our Retirement House Build Project In Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand

Background – Change Of Contract Strategy Demands New Construction Cost Control Approach

We changed the format of the construction contract under which we engaged our new builder after Kanyah terminated the previous builder for poor quality work, tardiness and general poor quality of project management and delivery.

The previous construction contract was a fixed-price contract to build the retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, to the Thai Architect’s construction drawings (house plans to the layman) including provision of all labor and supply of all construction materials.

The total contract sum (price) was broken down into staged payments summing (adding up to) the contract value. we paid the builder these staged payments according to his progress. (Actually we paid him in advance which is why we lost so much money when his contract was terminated).

Anyway, the point is this. The project cost control in the construction phase was simple. We had a schedule of payments against progress which we monitored as we paid the builder. Simple.

After Kanyah kicked him off site, she engaged another builder on a fixed price labour-only basis, whereby Kanyah would purchase all the construction materials.

The Labor Content Of the New Contract Is easy To Monitor (But See “Specialist Subcontractors” Below)

This made project cost control in the construction a bit more complicated.

Firstly there is the labor cost, which is monitored in a similar manner to the contract with the previous builder – agreed staged payments measured against progress. As it happens the figure (price) Kanyah agreed with the new builder for the labour only contract was just about the same as the labour only portion left in the previous contract when the builder was terminated.

Secondly there is the materials cost. And Kanyah will be purchasing the materials. This is where I get nervous. Kanyah is not good at record keeping. And…

… We Want To Complete The Build Within The Original Budget (Fat Chance!)

The idea is that since we are now purchasing all the materials we will save the mark-up on materials that existed in the previous builder’s price. If that saving comes somewhere near the money we lost when Kanyah fired the previous builder then we can still complete the house within the original budget.

To achieve this we (we = I) have to closely monitor the amount spent on materials against the amount left in the previous cost.

Kanyah calls me almost daily and gives me a brief progress report and a verbal summary of what she has spent.

Then follows a plea for me to send her more money so that she can buy the materials for the next stage of the works and avoid holding up the builder. The builder has told her that if the materials re not on site when he wants them he will not wait around but will go off to work on another project.

So I intended to A) calculate how much was left in the previous budget to spend on materials and then B) to regularly monitor Kanyah’s spending against that figure.

My Request To Kanyah To Get The Construction Cost Under Control

As I mentioned above, Kanyah is not good at paperwork. (Understatement – she hates it). So I knew I had a job on my plate to persuade her to get together some form of organisation and reporting of the money she is spending. There is no way she can do it. The only way is if i can get her to send me all the receipts and i will organise them and produce the reports.

Look. When I simply ask for photos to be sent to me of the build progress she sometimes ‘hits the roof’ complaining to me that I am putting her under too much pressure and as she puts it ‘pushing her in a corner’.

So I know I am going to have a difficult time to get her to send me the financial data I need to monitor the building costs.

Anyway, I made an example (simply wrote it by hand in a notebook) of the kind of reporting format that I wanted and sent it out to Kanyah. you can see that below, together with a narrative of what happened next.

Are The Costs Of Specialist Subcontractors Included In The Main Builders Fixed Price Labour Cost?

The specialist subcontractor are subcontractor brought in by the main builder and it seems he does not hire them directly, instead Kanyah has to pay them. They are typically the electrical and plumbing specialists.

When Kanyah tells me she has paid a specialist sub contractor – she seems to pay them in lumps of 20,000 Baht (£400 or $600) – I’m not sure if that is in addition to the fixed price agreed with the main builder or it is included in his price.

Seems to me like the main builder has pulled a fast one and the subcontractors costs are in addition to the price Kanyah agreed with him. But I will put the question to Kanyah and hold judgement for the moment. I may be pleasantly surprised. (What do you think?)

The Email I Sent To Kanyah To Attempt To Get Some Form Of Cost Control In Our Retirement House Construction Project

Here is an exact copy of the email I sent to Kanyah to explain what I wanted her to do:-

*26* Control The Money

From: Alan Brown alan(at) via

To: Thongplay Brown <Kanyah’s>

Date: Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 8:12 AM

Subject: *26* Control The Money



We have to control the money.

Last time with Pongsak we didn’t do that and we lost 355,000 Baht (about £7,000). I can’t afford to lose money like that.

Don’t forget why we are building the house – it’s to retire to. The 355,000 would have given us 30,000 Baht for a year income to spend when I have retired. Now I lost that and I’m sad and angry.

So in future we have to control the money.

The contract with Pongsak wa for 1,697,900 (say 1.7 million Baht) and I’m not spending more than that.

Every time you get a receipt I want you to put the date and a number on every receipt. Keep all the receipts together in a file.

Then, at the same time, write the details of the receipt in a notebook. You can the calculate how much you have left to spend.

Every two weeks work out how much money you have in the bank and cash and send to me:-

1. Copy of your Bank Book

2. How much cash you have in your pocket

3. The list of receipts.

Do this now, for all the receipts you have, then do it on the same day every two weeks.

Kanyah, you have to do this.

See attached.



The Three  Steps To Effective House Construction Cost Control

I considered the following steps necessary to be able to get some form of control over the costs of building our house.

(Remember that I am in the U.K. and Kanyah is in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, where the retirement house is under construction. Also, please bear in mind that Kanyah hates paperwork, writing and any form of book keeping.)

1. Find out how much money (cash) Kanyah has ready access to, to spend.

2. Find out what Kanyah has spent already on money and labor with the new builder.

3. Find out how much of our original budget is left to spend with the new builder.

And below are the exact attachments to the email – the way I wanted Kanyah to record and report the money she is spending and how I intended her to calculate the comparison with our original budget.

Image of Building Cost Control - Commencing Account Balance Statement

Building Cost Control - Commencing Account Balance Statement

Above, is the calculation to find out how much cash Kanyah has access to immediately. If I then know on a regular basis how much she is spending I will know when and by how much to top up her funds.

Next is the sample list of invoices showing how much Kanyah has spent to date with the new builder.

Image of Building Cost Control - Example of List of Invoices

Building Cost Control - Example of List of Invoices

Above, I had a struggle to get Kanyah to make this list.

On the phone to her I explained that she personally doesn’t have to do the work. I suggested that she give the invoices to one of the daughters of the owners of The Mansion (the apartment hotel where she is staying) and get the girl to do it for pocket money.

Also I told her that there is no need to translate the invoice list from Thai into English, I would have that done by a translation company over the internet. All the girl ahd to d was to write down the list of invoices bay neat handwriting, in the Thai language. Not to difficult I thought.

I could hear the relief from Kanyah when I made that suggestion. It fitted Kanyah’s outlook on life perfectly. Kanyah like to get others to do the difficult stuff for her. Not that she shies away from difficulties I need to add, but that there are certain things she hates doing and if someone else can do them for her then she’s OK with that.

Next comes the calculation to understand how much we have left from the original budget to spend to get the house finished taking into account what we paid both builders. This of course needs regular updating as Kanyah buys materails and pays for the labour. minus

At the time when I made this calculation, we had 359,500 left in the budget.

Image of Building Cost Control - Example of Two-Weekly Balance Sheet

Building Cost Control - Example of Two-Weekly Balance Sheet

Received, The Invoice List Essential To My Construction Cost Control Strategy

Below is the invoice list I received from Kanyah a couple of days later. She had done what I suggested and paid the girl in the hotel 400 Baht to make the list. It’s neatly typewritten in Thai and from the pencil tick marks it looks as though someone has checked it. There is also a handwritten total at the bottom of 169,078 Baht.

Image of Building Cost Control - Actual Invoice List From Thailand (Thai Language) Page 1

Actual Invoice List From Thailand (Thai Language) Page 1

Above page 1 of the invoice list and page 2 below.

Image of Building Cost Control - Actual Invoice List From Thailand (Thai Language) Page 2

Actual Invoice List From Thailand (Thai Language) Page 2

Above, notice the hand written Total of 169,078 Baht.

From the 359,500 left in the budget less the 169,078 Baht spent, there is 190,422 Baht left to spend without busting our original budget.

Kanyah included this invoice which she obtained after the list was completed by the girl:-

Image of Building Cost Control - Typical Invoice From Thailand (Thai Language)

Typical Invoice From Thailand (Thai Language)

Now it’s time to send off the invoice list to the tranlation company.

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