Will the rain never stop? It seems a deep depression has decided to land squarely on this little island for the next few days so I guess I'll have to buy yet another umbrella if I'm to get out at all. The Singapore Airlines flight from Bangkok on Monday was very smooth and comfortable. Both Bangkok and Singapore airports are vast and beautiful. What a contrast to Heathrow in England. No queues. Great efficiency and although distances are long you walk in great comfort on carpeted floors. Here's a couple of photographs of one of the edifices that greet you in Bangkok as you pass through into the departure lounge.
Recently a five storey Sports Centre was added. Later in the week I'll be playing a game of snooker with my old friend Jack Bygrave there, and if possible maybe I can do a bit of bowling. On the third floor of the sports centre they've somehow made a full- size outdoor bowling green. Soon after I arrived yesterday evening I zipped down to my tailors to order a few trousers and a couple of shirts and then went on to a lovely home-cooked dinner at Eileen and Jack's apartment. Singapore is such a progressive place, for example every drop of waste water is recycled - the country will soon cease to rely on water from Malaysia and Indonesia as in the past, and they won't be using desalination plants either.
Today is Tuesday and I started it off with a very leisurely and lengthy breakfast in the Wheelhouse. When the rain stopped I took a taxi to the Raffles Hotel to check on the whereabouts of my 'Raffles Remembered' painting, and to buy a few Christmas presents in the shop. Every time I enter the Raffles Hotel I pick a frangipani flower from the tree growing by the entrance and put it in my top pocket as I adore the scent.
I must be flavour of the month as I was given the staff discount on my purchases. One day, when my ship comes in, I'd like to stay at the Raffles Hotel - it's got so much history. You may be able to glimpse some of the rooms peeping out from behind this greenery.
I know I go on about food in my blogs (even though I'm not an addict) but I did stay for a satay lunch in the famous Long Bar at the Raffles.
But it's not the same as the old days when the bar was on the ground floor and the story goes that one day a tiger was found under the bar only to be shot by an expatriate planter as he was sipping his Singapore Sling! More shopping on the way back to the club where I bought a very smart leather case for the iPad. Still only 3 in the afternoon and as the rain had eased off a bit and the day was cool I decided to pay a visit to the Singapore Botanic Gardens. I love it there and know it well so I'll add a few of the many pictures I took during my stroll.
This musical looking couple must be a new addition as I don't remember seeing them before. The life-size bronze (I think) carving is situated just above the outdoor concert hall so they probably depict a famous pair of people.
On the way home I stopped off at the shoemaker where I'd left a pair of shoes yesterday to be re-soled and heeled. All ready. That's what I like about Singapore - they get on with things. Later I walked down to the C.K.Tang complex at the corner of Orchard Road. Most of Singapore's Christmas decorations and street lights are up already - I hope they turn them on before I leave as they are usually quite spectacular. I was meeting my very old friends, Jayanti and Nira who were taking me out for dinner in the Marriott. I've known Jay for just over 50 years when she joined my art studio at Papineau Advertising in Singapore in 1960. The other day I received an email from her together with this picture taken one Christmas at her parents apartment in Hong Kong - the Villa Monte Rosa. I was living there at the time. Jay is on the left and I am slightly behind her. Note the change of hair colour!