Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, January 22, 2009

With thanks to my friend Jenny who took the pics, here I am on Christmas Day in Thailand. I'd organised a minibus to take us to a steak restaurant, but in the end that grew to two minibuses and at least one car so it was a big group. The restaurant was a Texan steak house just inland from Bang Saen beach. There was a live band, of very indeifferent quality but one of our group had claimed he had a good voice so we dragooned him into singing and the band obliged. I turned out he had a much better voice than the band's vocalist. I'm not sure what the band felt of that but the rest of the diners were impressed and he was encouraged to do a couple of encores before he good get back to his steak.

It was a mixed group. The Thais among us weren't sure what to make of steak that came as well .. steaks, but once they cut into it they ate with gusto. They were however totally bemused by steak chips - potato that was both burrn and served with the skins which people were expected to eat. To a man and woman, the Thais chose mashed instead. Mixed meant we also had a couple of practising Jews. They got into the Christmas spirit by ordering beef steaks as well - although they probably wouldn't have appreciated my pork steak - which might add was beautiful. Mostly we spoke in English because most people could understand but we were a mixed language group. We'd circulated the invitations for the meal the evening before in English, French and Spanish according to people's natural tounge. I can just about still cope in basic French if I need to - which was useful at times as our friend from Brazil had limited English. Her native langauge was, of course, Portuguese, but she was pretty fluent in Spanish as well which, fortunately, our native French speaker was also fluent in.

The Iranian girls hadn't stayed around for Christmas otherwise the language difficulties would have been harder. One struggled in English but fortunately her friend was a translator. Their presence in the group led to one strange conversation. As with any group where there are lots of women, the talk turned to sex. We had one orthodox Jewish guy calming discussing what men prefer in bed with an Iranian girl whose Muslim modesty meant she was wearing a head scarf. Afterwards the guy said to me, "I'd never have believed that could happen."

Me? Well I'd by then picked up the title of "head girl". My friends don't seem surprised .... I swapped emails about it with one of the girls from Thailand after I got home as I said I hadn't felt like head girl as other people had done a lot of the organising. Her reply was very flattering and said I was a natural leader and people had stepped up and organised things because I'd created an environment where they felt comfortable doing that. That was interesting as it ties in with what people I've worked with have said. My natural leadership style isn't to dominate - although people have said on first impressions my confidence can be intimidating - but to encourage everybody to be themselves.

Anyway, enough of that imodest psychobabble, back to the dress. It does look better on doesn't it? Even better when I am stood up I think. I'm also wearing a silver necklace I picked up in Laos with matching bracelet. I also have a pink silk scarf which I was wearing as a wrap. I didn't really have a handbag which went well. I took a pale leather (calfskin colour) handbag for Christmas but it wasn't ideal. I do have a white one which I could use but it felt like I should have something better than that. The department store in Chonburi is a strange please - expensive for cheap items but cheap for expensive items like designer handbags ... and I believe they are genuine goods not fakes. I went across on Boxing Day to buy one (I know I should have got it before Christmas but it was only when I was dressed I decided I needed something better). I wanted a brown tote or clutch - or maybe a pink to go with the scarf. The pink ones were just nasty. The browns jut didn't go - the ones with chrome trim just looked wrong and the ones with silver trim (I wear silver jewelry, not gold) looked cheap and nasty. In the end I picked up a green one. *Shame* I can't recall the brand - shows I'm not really a brand shopper - Louis Vuitton I think but I'll check. I think green will go with the dress and scarf but it's either going to look brilliant - or dreadful.

I guess that's the drawback of having a textile designer for a father, and a mother who studied at the Royal College of Needlework. Design is in my blood and the trouble with that is - when I bother (which is admittedly rare) - I'm likely to either hit a home run or fall flat on my face. I do really like my dress though.

Looking at the first photo though, I just can't help thinking there's something missing. My left little finger is centre stage and it looks as though it should have a ring on it. I just need to find a man who will buy it for me. White gold I think, don't you?


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