Sixth form in the UK

Like most things in the UK the schooling system is supposed to be very organised, if not regimented. Which is a bit intimating if you do not fit strictly within the parameters they work to.

Jono was seventeen without GCSE. Eventually we got him into a course for repeat students at Chichester College which is graded as Outstanding. But a year later I do have many questions. Not just about Chichester College, or the grading system, its the system.

Fortunately we ended getting locked down due to the coronavirus pandemic and he managed to scrape through with straight fours and a single five.

The rains

The creek rose significantly higher after raining most nights for a week or so. But we have had a few dry days and the mushroom stalls have started popping up at the intersection at traffic lights.

But it has been a funny wet season. Sporadic showers after an early start. Thereafter mostly rumbling thunder, a bit of lightening and then little to show for it.

The termite mushrooms aren’t that exciting either.

Smaller, scappy and the ones I have seen have already opened. Hopefully more to come.

Despite this cars are now beginning to line up. Hopefully with more to come.

 

Thai Festival

I haven’t seen much evidence of a Thai community in Chichester  and was expecting to be reminded that I am ten thousand kilometres away.

Thai food in Chichester

But I ate myself to a standstill at the Chichester Thai Festival.

Still no dry curry.

But there was papaya salad, logan juice and the coconut desserts you get wrapped in banana leaf. Mu ping, fried banana and crispy pork.

Thai food West Sussex

Khanom krok, nam isan, sai krok isan, and the Chiangmai sausage.

Thai street food Sussex

Thai community festivals UK

Thai dancing and a young male vocalists who switched easily between between Thai and English who sang exceptionally well.

Thai dancers in the UK

Stalls selling Thai food products including bamboo shoots, durian and sataw. Others displaying clothes and other typically Thai goods.

Carved Thai soap bathroom accessories UK

Thai straw bags in the UK

Traditional Thai clothing in the UK

Traditional Thai massage

Traditional Thai massage Sussex

And plenty to keep the kids occupied whilst Mum and Dad relax with an ice cold Singha beer.

Thai community festivals in the UK

Singha beer in the UK

Termite mushrooms

Every year stalls pop up on the 3086 from Kanchanaburi selling termite mushrooms which the local villagers collect from the mountain forests.

Termite mushroom sellers Nong Prue Kanchanaburi

The het khone termite mushroom is regarded by Thais as the king of them all. And at the height of the mushroom madness cars from Bangkok and even further afield can be seen queuing up to buy this expensive and much sought after delicacy.

Termite mushroom madness Nong Prue Kanchanaburi

They appear when the weather starts to change at the end of the rains. After the termites have swarmed from their nests to establish new colonies. Giving the mushroom spores in the organic matter the ants have gathered, the chance to germinate and sprout.

In the central region het khone are found in the Phetchaburi, Kanchanaburi provinces as well as the mountainous part of Suphan Buri. But the sweetest, tastiest mushroom are to be found in Nong Prue in Kanchanaburi.

This small farming town has a well established reputation as the mushroom capital of Thailand. And the stalls pop up every year at the intersection with the road into the town, transforming it into a bustling market as the customers arrive in search of the freshest and the best mushrooms on offer.

These are special days for the local people who wait patently for the first mushrooms to appear. And just before the rains cease completely there will be extreme hot and oppressive weather which they refer to rawn het or “mushroom heat”.

There is another variety of het khone grows in Isan. They are called het pluak by the locals and can be found at the beginning of the rainy season, from late May through early June. And the villagers gather them for eating rather than to sell. But when the price goes up they find their way to the markets in Bangkok.