Posts Tagged ‘Scope’

Retiring To Thailand. Searching for Overwhelming Reasons Why.

Reflections On The Retirement Trip To Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand

(Typed in the Thai Royal Silk Upper Deck of a 747-400 on Flight TG916 bound for London. Sunday 15 April, 2012)

  • Am I ready to retire to Thailand?
  • Why should I retire to Thailand?
  • What is it that wants to make me to retire to Thailand? (If, in fact, that’s what I really want to do)

These are the questions that I went to Thailand on this discovery trip to try to answer.

I guess the key question is:-

Why Should I Retire To Thailand? Is there something special about Thailand that would make it, for me, a better place to retire to than the U.K.?

Yes, there is. But there are also special things about the U.K. that would make it a better place for me to retire to.

After spending two weeks in Thailand pondering the subject as I run a test trial of retiring in Thailand, I have come up with some basic answers.

Firstly, did I come across any single outstanding feature that stood out in big bold capital letters and said “I MUST RETIRE IN THAILAND BECAUSE ….“.

The answer to that is. No.

There was nothing spectacular about my trip that made retiring to Thailand a MUST for me.

Model Engineering In Thailand

Well, now I reflect on that there is one. It’s my model engineering workshop, and the size of the garden and land upon which to play with my steam engines. (When I have built them)

All that could be corrected, though, if I had enough money to buy the same sized house and land in the U.K. Which at the moment I don’t.

So that just comes down to one thing. Money.

Gradually, in Thailand, I am finding the shops and outlets that can supply me with the tools and materials I need for my model engineering hobby. But the scope of what is available is far, far, short of what I can buy in the U.K. Of course, I could order what I wanted from the online shops based in the U.K. from Thailand and pay for the shipping. There would be a time delay while the items were shipped and of course the shipping charges. Again, basically, it comes down to money.

Is The Weather In Thailand A Reason To Retire There?

The weather? Hot and humid, with frequent torrential rain. 32 + deg C in the daytime dropping to 26 ~ 20 deg C in the night. Always “close” until a thunderstorm comes along and clears the air. That’s fine – reduces the temperature – but there’s not much you can do in a tropical thunderstorm in Thailand except to sit and wait it out. That can take hours or days. See the movie I took during one of the hurricanes we had that blasted a ‘mini Tsunami’ wave of water through our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong).

Except before a rainstorm, very little wind. Often zero breeze to take away the overpowering heat.

In short, whether it was raining or not, it was mostly uncomfortable at best. The heat made me tired and lethargic. Could be down to loss of salts from the body. My legs in particular always felt tired. That is a phenomenon I recall from my ‘pioneering youth’ when I worked in Lagos, Nigeria. In those days I was tired and lethargic until I discovered the magic of salt tablets.

Weather not conducive to smart thinking whilst designing and making steam engines in my model engineering workshop. Do a bit, take a rest was the order of the day. I was wondering if I would become acclimatised over time and discussed that with Kanyah. It turn’s out that she (along with all the local Thais) suffer in the same way. It’s definitely the weather and not just me.

Weather in the U.K. In the winter not very nice I agree. But if I’m retired why the need to go outside? If that is necessary, I have a car so it’s not so bad.

My model engineering workshop in the U.K. is indoors and centrally heated, so no problem there.

Thailand – A Low-Cost Place To Retire To

The only problem really is that central heating in the U.K. is expensive and getting more so.

In Thailand heating is not needed and we don’t have air conditioning (yet) so fuel bills are absolutely zero.

So the U.K. will be considerably more expensive a place to retire to just because of the heating bills. Again it’s money that matters.

Thai Food. Is The Thai Food A Reason For Retiring In Thailand Or One Of The Reasons Why Not To?

Thai Food. Is it worth basing a decision on which country to retire to on the basis of what kind of food is available? Not in the case of Thailand. It used to be difficult a few years ago to find anything but local Thai food in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, but with the opening of the Tesco Lotus Supermarket and having our own house, all that has changed. Now I can have virtually any western style food I want if I get fed up of the Thai food. Apart from the occasional egg and bacon breakfast (with mugs of tea) I managed quite comfortably on the Thai food.

In the U.K. There are plenty of Thai food supermarkets and Kanyah has lived in the U.K. before for about 2 years and can eat most of the Thai food she is used too.

One big ‘food’ issue for me is beer. I love my English beer or “Real Ale” as it has become popularly called these days. Lager (and particularly Thai larger) I find hard to get on with. Too strong and lacking taste and absolutely disgusting if not absolutely icy cold. Worth making a retirement issue over? Carries a lot of weight for me.

Steam Traction Engine Rallies

What? What on earth has “traction engine rallies” have to do with retiring in Thailand and what the hell are they anyway?

Quintessentially British (probably English, actually), traction engine rallies are where weird eccentric Englishmen bring their old steam traction engines for a week-end’s play time. Steam fairs, steam organs and all things steam dating back to the glorious days when England was the power house of the Industrial Revolution that changed the world.

So what? Well, my single goal in life is to build myself a steam model traction engine and drive it on the road from our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, to the local “pub”. (Which would be a local roadside shack-type restaurant).

That’s fine as an ambition but what will I do with the thing the rest of the year? In the U.K. I can take it to the traction engine rallies and show it off to the public and other steam enthusiasts. But in Thailand? It will most likely be the only steam traction engine in the country and apart from George in Pattaya who has a model steam engine (locomotive) as far as I know it would be the only steam engine of any kind in the LOS.

Who to show it off to? Who to talk to about these lovely machines? A reason to retire to England rather than Thailand? Possibly. It carries weight. But wait a moment. I haven’t built the thing yet.

I don’t know the average time to build an engine of the size I am planning ( 1/3 full size i.e. 4″ scale) but the time is probably measured in decades rather then years. I plan to make it within three years, but if you read my piece about the model engineering workshop debacle on this trip you’ll probably be thinking in terms of three decades instead of three years.

Is Your Mental Health Likely To Improve If You Retire To Thailand?

What about mental well-being?

I must admit to an uncomfortable feeling when I was first in Thailand even on this trip. This I put down to a feeling of vulnerability and generally being away from familiar surroundings and people. Towards the end of the trip I became more comfortable as I assimilated into the country and started to talk more Thai with the locals.

Long term I don’t think that would be a problem for me. After all I have worked overseas for some 20 years and I know from experience that it takes a full year to adjust to living in a strange country.

But what about Kanyah? I know she is soon bored when living in the U.K. and that has lead to some severe problems we have had in the past.

Long-term living in the U.K. (i.e. as in retiring to the U.K.) would be a complete disaster for her. She simply couldn’t cope with it.

So there’s one good solid reason to retire to Thailand – the metal well-being of my Thai wife, Kanyah.

And as I have mentioned above several times, your money goes further in Thailand. That is another big reason for retiring there.

The other issues, the weather, the food, the beer (there is a way around the Beer/Lager issue but I’ll not mention it here), are all minor issues that probably balance each other out.

Has The Retireometer Swung Any Closer To The Yes Vote?

I’ve borrowed the electioneering concept of the swingometer (Steve from The Plough’s idea) and created the Retireometer to measure how comfortable I think i am about retiring to Thailand.

After this trip I feel the Retireometer has notched up a couple of percentage points towards the Yes vote.

But not for the reasons you’d expect.

Reading the above you may be thinking that there are plusses and minuses and you’d be right. In fact you might be thinking there are probably more minuses than plusses. And I guess you’d be right there, too.

The experience of this trip to test out my readiness to retire to Thailand logically cranks the Retireometer over to the No vote.

If I could go back a few years and plan my retirement a bit more carefully with the knowledge and money I have now which I did not have a few short years ago I would I would possibly be planning to retire to England.

England, the Home of Real Ale, Model Engineering and Steam Rallies.

But time has passed by. And I have invested more and more money into our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand. I am emotionally committed to delivering a Thailand-based retirement life to my dear wife, Kanyah.

My Get out Of Jail Card

But there’s a get-out clause in that last sentence if you read it carefully.

Can’t spot it? I’ll quote:-

a Thailand-based retirement life

To get all the benefits of retiring in Thailand (mainly low-cost) and to get all the benefits of retiring in England (Real Ales, Model Engineering and Steam rallies) all I need is….

More Money!

Now there’s an idea to think about.

Lets see how that works out over the next couple of years.

Gardening Contract For Our Retirement House In Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand

Thailand Landscaping And Garden Design Contract For Our Retirement House In Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand

Thoughts, ideas and a plan to make a beautiful Thailand garden design based on other Thailand gardens.

As I write this the house itself (except for the second floor kitchen) is finished but the Thai garden is still rough and needs landscaping and planting after.

My  15,000 Baht Landscaping And Gardening Budget.

I agreed with Kanyah that I would pay for a Thai gardener to produce the Thai garden design and undertake the gardening etc, thinking it would cost a few hundred £. (£= Great British Pounds – Sterling), say maximum £500 = 15,000 Baht. I was prepared to pay for a professional Thai landscape design rather than let Kanyah struggle with the Thailand garden design.

When I retire to Thailand I want a nice cool and beautiful Thailand garden, somewhere to really relax after a morning in the workshop making my models.

One thing we wanted was a “covered terrace” for want of a better word – an area with some wooden posts that climbing plants grow over it and make a shady and cool place to sit in the hot weather.

The main areas of the land, front and back to be lawn (grassed) and planted with trees. Small climbing plants to go around the perimeter fence to hide it. I did not want any water features because they need a lot of maintenance.

Enter The Thai Gardener

Our neighbour, Noi, introduced us to a Thai gardener and he came to visit us.

The scope of the gardening work was discussed and I caught hold of a few pieces of the conversation which was taking place in the Thai language like ‘clearing the land’ is not included and ‘putting the new soil is not included’. When I heard a price of 200,000 Baht I said we would do the Thai gardening ourselves.

I just couldn’t understand why Kanyah can’t hire the labour and organise them to do the Thai gardening work.

There was also some discussion that there was currently no “Malaysian Grass” available. The gardener got on the phone to “head office” and that was confirmed. Also he said that “Malaysian Grass” cost 30 Baht per square metre. We had about 1,200 m2 to be covered by lawn so that would amount to 36,000 Baht. I wondered what the other 164,000 Baht would be spent on.

It seemed that the grass would be put down in pre-grown roll form. I suggested that Kanyah could simply get the labourers to place grass seed and that would be far cheaper. The gardener said that “They won’t sell you grass seed in Thailand”. I replied that I would send it to Kanyah by mail. That started a whole lot of conversation about send parcels by mail, import duty and so on.

Exit The Thai Gardener

I had heard enough and walked away. There was no way I was interested in that kind of rip-off.

After about an hour or so of noisy discussion between Kanyah, the Thai gardener and Noi, Kanyah explained that the Thai gardener would include the land clearing and put the soil for 120,000 Baht all-in price.

I Demand A Thai Landscape Gardening Contract

I kind of agreed to the revised offer for the gardening design and work but said I wanted everything written down into a contract. Having been stung by our first builder I was not prepared to agree to a deal based on a noisy conversation in the Thai language with a 120,000 Baht price tag attached to it and nothing written down.

The Thai gardener went away and said he would come back another day with the contract.

He did come back a couple of days later but without a contract. After much discussion between Kanyah, the Thai gardener and our neighbour, Noi, he went off and return an hour later with a pre-written “Form of Contract” such as you can buy in stationery shops and places like Tesco Lotus here in Thailand.

From what I gathered the intention was to simply enter the names of the two parties (the Thai gardener and Kanyah), put the date and the cost and bingo! You have a contract.

Not The Kind Of Thai Landscape Gardening Contract I Had In Mind

That was not at all what I had in mind. I wanted a proper description of what was to be provided for the Thailand garden. If possible with sketches and the type and quantity of plants itemised. I wanted to know – in written form – exactly what kind of Thailand garden design was being provided for my money.

Kanyah kind of understood what I was driving at – particularly when I said a wanted to see a list – she knows what a list is – and she took out an exercise book and got the Thai gardener to write a list of what he was to provide. The list came to me for agreement and I sent it back to have more details added. After this repeated itself a few times Kanyah complained that I was making her (and presumably the Thai gardener and Noi) do “hard work”.

In no kindly manner (you’ll understand what I mean) I explained that it was I who had to do a thousand times more hard work back in the U.K. to earn the money to pay for the garden than she was doing in Thailand to make the list.

Eventually the list was agreed and signed by the Thai gardener.

There were still some omissions to which Kanyah said something like “Never mind he has to do that”.

Below is a copy of the list from the exercise book and a rough English translation made by Kanyah as I sit typing this out. Click here or on the image to see the full size version as a .pdf file.

Image of Pakchong Retirement House Gardening Contract

Pakchong Retirement House Gardening Contract

Gardening List English Translation

Below is the rough translation into English of the gardening contract written in Thai in the exercise book

Date: 30/12/2011

1. Put the soil 5 trucks in front

2. Put the soil 8 trucks in the back

3. Put the sand 3 trucks in front

4. Put the sand 6 trucks in the back

5. Grass – Japanese 350 Talang metre in front

6. Grass Malaysia – 16 Talang metre

7. Grass Malaysia – 500 Talang metre in the back

8. “Mai Brob” Growing the tree 50 “ton” (50 trees about 3 m high).

9. “Tiang Tong 1,000 ton”. Small tree plants 1,000.

10. Little and small plants grow around all the fence.

11. Put in the pot “Daily Ga-Tang” (Plants)

12. Four Post “covered terrace” to grow the plants. The posts to be hard wood. He will put the plants.

Everything 120,000 Baht. (£2,500 or $3,750)

Take time 3 months.

Start 10 Jan 2012

Finish 10 March 2012

Signed: Surapon Chua Ngang

Warranty people: Jalan Mea Na Lu Ji (Noi – our neighbour)

Payment Schedule:-
10 Jan 20,000 Baht
10 Mar 40,000 Baht
10 Apr 60,000 Baht
Total 120,000 Baht

Included but not written down is:-

Clearing the ground.

3 Months guarantee. i.e. after 3 months all the plants have to be healthy or the Thai gardener has to replace them. The Thai gardener is responsible for looking after the plants in this period.

What Do You Think?

Our land is 80m X 20m = 1,600 m2 (one Rai). About 600 m2 is taken up with the house and Terrace and about 200 m2 by the drive leaving around 800 m2 to be landscaped. The total in the Contract is 850 m2 – see above)

So 120,000 Baht / 800 m2 = 150 Baht/m2. Is that a fair price?

Before giving your opinion in the Comment Box below, please quickly review the Scope of Work (i.e. The Contract) above which includes 22 trucks of sand/soil, 850 m2 of turf, 50 trees about 3 m high and 1,000 small tree plants, little and small plants grow around all the fence plus the Terrace.

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.

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