My husband and I were recently on the beautiful island of Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand for six weeks. He was there to attend a scuba diving training course and I planned to spend the time working on my next novel. But when my best forever friend Dina suggested coming out to Thailand from the UK for a couple of weeks to see us - I was beyond thrilled – the novel could wait!
Dina and I go way back. Our mothers were friends and neighbours and we were born in a town in northern England in houses right next door to each other. Growing up, Dina and I were inseparable, and her family always took me with them when they went away on their annual holiday to Devon or Cornwall. We went to different schools but during the school holidays, we would climb trees and ride horses and go camping - often just in the back garden. We went to brownies and youth club and discos and then, as teenagers, we both got mopeds before progressing on to motorbikes. We shared driving a battered old car and even shared the same job for a while too – doing shifts at a petrol station – and we both still agree that it was the most fun job we’ve ever had. What tales we have to tell from those times!
We even shared the same job for a while (top photos)
Dina and I went everywhere together for a long time and we were always up for an adventure. I’m happy to say that not much has changed in that department!
A couple of years ago, taking time out of our busy lives, we did something we had planned to do together for many years – the Edinburgh Festival. We spent a fabulous weekend staying in my son’s university flat in the centre of Edinburgh – Friday to Monday – having fun and seeing shows that included the famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo at the Castle. The Tattoo was always a favourite event of Dina’s late mum, Margaret, and so was a very special time for both of us. There are lots of photos of Dina and I together over the years and I’ve put some of them together here. Many of the earlier photos of us are real photos rather than digital ones and I don’t have them to hand. Well, I do have one (grins mischievously) but I know that she wouldn’t want me to post it here! So that’s how long we have been best friends – forever - and when Dina said she was coming out to Thailand I was super excited and I knew we were going to have a fabulous time together.
We have been best friends – forever!
On Koh Tao we once again caught up with each other’s busy lives
On Koh Tao, we had Thai massages (and groaned afterwards) and manicures and pedicures, we strolled together down the beach, we had cocktails and we had long lunches – while all the time chatting our heads off until eventually we were once again caught up with each other’s busy lives, families, and careers.
Then we got our heads together and decided to go on a little adventure.
Chiang Mai in northern Thailand is a city that has seen over seven hundred years of history – it has the most beautiful temples and Buddha statues and the kind of culture we longed to explore. So we left the island of Koh Tao by ferry for the island of Koh Samui where there is an airport and from there we flew straight to Chiang Mai. For the return journey however, we decided to add a little spice into the mix by taking the slow train back from Chiang Mai to Bangkok – a journey that would take over twelve hours through the Thai countryside - but would also allow for a little time in Bangkok before we flew back to Koh Samui and returned to Koh Tao for the last few days of Dina’s holiday.
Chiang Mai has the kind of culture we longed to explore
Trains, planes and tuk-tuks!
Back on Koh Tao, Dina rounded off her time in Thailand by doing something she had never tried before – scuba diving – and took a Discover Scuba Diving course.
Forever the adventurer!
If, like me, are you lucky enough to have a Best Forever Friend and you could take a trip together anywhere in the world - where would you go and what would you like to do there? Do tell!
Love, Janice xx