Not been blogging for a while (sorry readers) but was recently inspired by my friend Kelli’s rather brilliant blog in which she invites us to join her as she travels ‘several flights and seat-classes behind different rock and roll bands, before standing at the side of the stage in everyone’s way’ do check it out it’s hilarious!

I wasn’t always a wag. I used to be on the other side and work as a sound engineer. But Kelli looked like she was having so much fun I thought I would give it a crack, so I went out and found myself a black t-shirt clad boy with a sharpie and a penchant for knob twiddling and here we are!

My first trip as a wag was to the exotic location of Thailand. I was super excited – finally I would get to live the dream!
Then a few days before we left my boy casually mentioned that the gigs he was doing were actually for his ex-girlfriend. There is nothing like having a z-list Bollywood singer, budget Indian shampoo brand ambassador, bendy, better at yoga than me and definitely thinner ex to compare yourself to (note to self, don’t ever google your new boy’s ex girlfriends even under the pretence of ‘research’ for your blog). So I decided I would give watching her prance about on stage at some rich Indian’s 25th wedding anniversary (all the best gigs babe) a miss and swap sitting on a flight case behind a mixing desk for heading straight to the hotel. Except boy told me he was sharing a room with the keyboard player so I couldn’t. Luckily boy isn’t a complete twat and promised to book us a room elsewhere… wait for it Kelli… with a bathtub!

But this is jumping ahead. Let me tell you about the flight, which I took separately and several days later to boy, singer and her hairdresser because, well that would have been awkward and I had to go to work anyway that day.
I cashed in my old Jetairways miles (now Intermiles) and got myself on Thai Lion Air. I didn’t have quite enough miles for a direct flight so I opted for getting up at an ungodly hour and a change at Bangkok.
Except I didn’t get up because I didn’t go to bed. The day before I was a judge at The Indian Consumer Wine Awards (will save the full story for my next blog) and consequently hung around afterwards, picked up some partners in crime and half drunk bottles of wine, went back to mine and it escalated into some kind of weird drunken living room Bollywood party, then a local club and much dancing and some ‘kamikaze’’ shots. By the time I got to the airport I was quite frankly smashed which put a serious spanner in my last minute shopping for a birthday present for boy plans. Still I achieved some kind of gift with the help of a bemused shop assistant and somehow managed to catch my flight.

Sorry to say, on Thai Lion Airways there is no such thing as first class but I did get to sit in seat 1A with all the leg room and the flight was pretty empty, so after forcing down some vegetarian duck whatever the hell that was (not very pleasant I can tell you) I slept across three empty seats. I must have been looking rough because when I got off the flight the air hostess told me ‘get well soon dear.’

Bangkok airport is big and long with large sections that smell of pee and I had to walk really far to find a bar, but find one I did and was very happy to find airport beer doesn’t cost the earth like every other airport ever. Two bottles of Chang (local Thai beer) did a damn good job at staying my hangover, which was just as well as my flight was delayed.

948AFD51-23B2-43B4-AFE4-722BF75D0090 One flight and one much better meal of tom yum shrimps and more unconsciousness which loosely resembled sleep later, I was in Phuket. Where my luggage had been lost.
I found my luggage after yet more epic walking and met a nice man called Toe who sorted me a decently priced taxi which actually turned out to be a minibus. I then had a fairly painless journey to the hotel where I was reunited briefly with boy before he went off to his gig. The good news was no room sharing with keyboard player but sadly no bathtub. Boy did have the foresight to get me cold beer and there was ample small bottles of hotel toiletries (a little fetish of mine and also fellow wag Kelli) and a lovely pool so I was a pretty happy bunny and set about amusing myself while he did his work.

By amusing myself, I basically mean drinking one beer and then passing out from sleep depravation. I woke up with make-up smeared across my face which was rectified by a shower and my transformation back into a normal person was completed by the time boy got back from his gig. That night we hung around by the pool with the band and crew (minus the singer who was drinking chamomile tea alone or something) who were all really lovely and stayed up until 5am – our new default bedtime for the rest of the holiday.
Next morning 8am and zing! My body clock was truly screwed as was wide awake. Boy was snoring and half on the floor so I rolled him back into bed and went for a really good swim and felt all healthy and pleased with myself. Here’s a picture of the view from our balcony:

anenglishwomaninmumbai thailand hotel

Post-swim boy emerged from his slumber and we went for breakfast, ate a mountain of dragon fruit and popped next door to the spa for a massage and a pedicure which was lush. My friend Dave was very kindly picking us up and running a little late so obviously we went to the bar. A beer and some very oily tempura later we were on our way down to Rawai via picking Dave’s extremely cute kids up from school.

Dave and Trix have a lovely villa five mins from the beach where we headed straight away to catch the sunset and have a swim. I braved wearing a bikini (a rare sight) and was happy to find none of the lecherous stares I’m used to receiving on my usual Goa beach haunts. Rawai beaches are really clean, not too crowded and a much more family chilled out vibe than the more northern Phuket beaches like Patong so I’m told. Equally the nightlife in the south consists more of nice little restaurants and bars as compared to the Patong ping pong shows and street hustle as experienced by boy several nights previous (there is a story here involving a live chicken and some razor blades which is far too disturbing to recount).

57fce382-81ad-4693-b02a-c35f9321ac1bThat evening we went for a delicious meal in Dave and Trix’s local restaurant and I managed to procure some cake from the seven 11, ready to see in boy’s birthday at midnight, which we did, complete with candles, terrible singing and some amount of beer. Boy seemed pretty happy with this – winning!

The next day Dave drove us up along a winding road with incredible views to the big Buddha. The Buddha is still being made and you can give a donation in return for a tile which you can write on to become part of the structure. In the absence of being able to think of anything profound to write we wrote our names and my daughter’s name and the date. Here are some pictures of the Buddha and the awesome view:IMG_0904

anenglishwomaninmumbai buddha view rawai

That afternoon we went to see Trix’s studio and gallery in Phuket Art Village. Trix is a fantastic painter and tattoo artist – here is a picture of her with some of her work:

The Art Village is a ramshackle collection of quirky structures built largely out of recycled bits of wood and flip-flops and other random stuff, housing some incredibly talented artists and a soon to open bar. It is tucked out the way but well worth a visit – highly recommend!

A delicious lunch, yet more beer and a massage later (where boy promptly fell asleep snoring, causing much giggling from the Thai masseuse ladies) we went back to the villa to find Trix and Dave had rustled up an amazing BBQ and a small mountain of prawns and fish and ribs and papaya salad (my fave!)
After we had stuffed our faces to the max me and boy went out to go find the reggae bar and Dave fell asleep on a chair.
Time seems to go by extra fast in Thailand so it was super late by the time we had walked to the bar and it was pretty empty and we were pretty drunk so didn’t stay long. Did like the bar (also recommend). Did drink tequila. Did end up on a very empty beach for romantic moonlit walk. Bliss!
Walking was a theme that night and the walk home felt twice as long. We made a doing friend who followed us all the way home and upset Dave and Trix’s cats. When we reached home at 4am we found the kids had got up and were happily eating breakfast like it was the actual morning. Dave woke up from his chair slumber and packed them back off to bed as it was clearly still the middle of the night. Me and boy finally collapsed into bed tired and happy with big beach plans for our last day.

All plans of getting up early went out the window however and we woke up technically in the afternoon (whoops!). We headed straight out to check out one of the smaller beaches, armed with snorkels and random snacks from the seven 11. There are a ridiculous number of seven 11s in Phuket which is just fine by me as I love buying strange things and also beer and both can be found in abundance in these brightly lit, wondrous stores of convenience. I bought a pile of stuff which seemed to be largely seaweed, snail, centipede or squid based.


Anyway, beach was lush and snorkelling was just beautiful – I saw about 20 different varieties of fish – rainbow shimmering massive ones and electric blue tiny ones and striped angel fish and ones that look like sand on the bottom of the ocean until you nearly step on them and they move and freak you out. On the rocks were pink fronds and blue frills and black spikey balls and corals the size of a hula hoop, winding their way up in spirals.
I swam a lot, got sunburnt and sandy and took pictures of boy looking all cool and handsome chilling under a parasol. I wish we could have stayed there for days, just doing nothing, but our flight was the next day so after one more massage (during which boy fell asleep snoring again), we thanked and hugged goodbye our fantastic hosts with the most and took a taxi back north and checked into a hotel near the airport to make the morning less early and painful.
Here are some beach pictures and pictures of our food:


The airport hotel was boutique and amusingly British themed – rather lovely wallpaper and a great picture of Big Ben on the wall but still no bathtub. Actually boy was going to get me a bathtub room, which amassed him a ton of gold stars, but it was expensive and pointless for only a few hours of stay, so I used self-discipline and said ‘don’t worry about it’ because I am not a total princess.

We went out and ate a mountain of food and reached that point where you are so nicely tired and stuffed you can’t even finish your beer and just have to go to bed.
After the best three hours of sleep ever, we said goodbye- see you soon to beautiful Phuket and got on a plane home. Boy took his revenge on the plane for me laughing at him for falling asleep and snoring all over the place, by taking pictures of me looking extremely attractive, asleep with my mouth open while he waved a beer under my nose. I’m not putting a picture of that. I did manage to sleep the entire flight which was great as when we landed I went straight to office and boy went straight to a soundcheck. Work hard, play hard (or something) – bring on the next adventure!


Animal Rescue


Meet Pie the kitten. My daughter rescued her from a pile of rubbish outside a hospital. The vet said she was only about ten days old. Our beautiful Russian friend had spotted her hanging around with a mama cat and litter of kittens who were several months older and rescued her out of the traffic a few times, where disorientated she had wandered into a busy road.

Pie’s rescue was her not-so-evil plan; she already has so many rescued animals in her house that her husband has basically banned her from getting any more. She was babysitting my daughter while I was at Hindi class and happened to ‘show’ her the kittens. When I picked up my daughter we went for ice-cream which inevitably led us past the pile of rubbish and kittens. Looking down at the little lost kitten and my daughter’s trembling lip, pleading ‘we can’t just leave him here – he will die’ I knew there was only one thing to do. Thus kitten had the rickshaw journey of his life and my housemate had a phone call that started ‘please don’t be cross but…..’

After a long night picking around fifty fleas off the poor kitten and trying to get some milk in via a kid’s medicine syringe, the next day was a rollercoaster. We took Pie to the vet who confirmed he was in fact a she and needed kitten formula milk. We dropped her home and set off on the scooter to buy some. By the time we returned the kitten was limp and floppy, her tongue hanging out and eyes rolled back. We rushed her back to the vet’s and there followed a feline version of a scene from Casualty. Pie was put on a drip and given oxygen whilst being injected with all kinds of medicines and warmed up with a hair dryer.

Several hours later the head vet came in and was told “chances bahut come.’ I understood the hindi (chances are very less) and tried to prepare my daughter for the worst. I think the severity of the situation was somewhat lost on my four year old who was apparently ‘getting bored.’ Still, I thought I would spare her the trauma of seeing her new pet die and took her out for chaat and ice-cream. When we came back we were very pleasantly surprised – Pie was awake and staggering around like a tiny furry drunk. We took her home and I spent the night giving her rehydration salts every two hours and refilling the hot water bottle she was sleeping on.

The vets were wonderful – they were so shocked that our little street urchin Pie had survived that they treated her for free. It is wonderful to see such genuine compassion and dedication and now they are our vets for life!

A few months later we have a naughty, mischievous and very cute new member in the family. She has even stolen the heart of my cat-hating housemate and spends most of the time wrestling with her my little pony fluffy toy and viciously attacking shoes or flat on her back on my lap.

Pie is the second animal we rescued, the first was a dog I found half dead outside Matunga Road station. As I sat with his head in my lap, waiting for the animal ambulance to come and take him to the animal hospital in Dadar I had some varied reactions from the public. Many stopped to ask me what on earth I was doing and when I explained ‘animal rescue’ many commended me, but more than half thought it was hilarious and some even tutted and gave me disgusted looks. The heroes of the hour were some school kids who helped guide the ambulance men who couldn’t understand my accent and terrible Hindi.

I named the dog Matunga after the station and paid for his treatment and went back to visit him and take him for walks with my family. I vowed to find him a home. I was then struck down with fever and illness (so much for karma!) and missed the call from the hospital saying he was fit and they were releasing him back in the same spot I found him. He’s still there outside the station – I see him often and always bring him food and water, always getting the same bemused looks from passers by. Sometimes he follows me to the train and it breaks my heart. Now his fur has grown back and he is fussy about what brand of biscuits he eats so I guess he is not doing too bad.

Pie is soon to get neutered – she had her first heat and spent the nights howling out the window ‘come and get me boys!’ During this episode new neighbours moved into the flat next door. They left the very same night claiming the house was haunted! I did wonder if it was Pie’s cries for a mate that they mistook for a ghoul!

Everyday I see so many stray animals. It seems the people who are most kind to them are the humans who are also sleeping on the streets and the building watchmen – in return the cats chase away the rats and the dogs stand guard at night.

However, there are also some wonderful organisations in Mumbai who are making a difference. If you are still unpersuaded by my cute ball of feline fluff to adopt a stray then take a look at some of the links below – you can always donate or even go walk a dog or two at a weekend (be warned though – I bear no responsibility if you fall in love!)

plus a great list of helpline numbers in this blog:

A New Kidney for my Friend in India -HAPPY UPDATE!


It has been 32 weeks since I started my fundraising campaign to help my friend in India get a new kidney. After on operation that could not happen due to a problem with her back and a lot of praying and waiting, yesterday Filu had her operation. It was a very long ten hours but thankfully it was a success and she now has a new kidney!

You can read her story and view details of my campaign in my original post here:

She is still unconscious – her sister messaged me this morning and said she will be in ICU for 3-4 days. I hope to go and visit her next week with my daughter or whenever they allow visitors. Please keep your thoughts and prayers with her and her family for a fast recovery.

I would like to extend a huge thanks to everyone who donated and supported this campaign and helped to make this possible. I am still collecting donations towards the post-operation medicine and a great big bunch of flowers which I hope to deliver to her when I visit so please share this update and if you can then any last donations will of course be appreciated!

Please click on the link below to get to the fundrazr campaign where you can still donate and see how much we have raised so far.