So, where did you stay in Singapore?

February 14 1986, Melbourne, Australia

I shoved the Valentine’s card in my rucksack, hoping it wouldn’t get too screwed up, and in due course we boarded the ‘plane for Singapore.

We’d got flights back to the UK with Singapore Airlines and SAS. No, not the evil military Brits, but Scandinavian airlines, which unsurprisingly, went via Denmark. Flights to and from Australia took a long time in olden days.

This journey drew the line under my world trip. Finished. Over. The End.

Fifteen months earlier, a work colleague and I had chucked our jobs to set out on our adventure. No Operation Raleigh, or VSO, or any organisational help, just us spending our hard-earned money from journalism.

As the control freak of the duo, I planned everything meticulously. I could recite train times across Europe after spending days, not hours, in my local library with my nose glued to Thomas Cook’s railway timetable.

First up was our trip to Europe on the much-loved Inter-rail pass. A month’s travel on most trains for around a hundred quid back then.

I planned that part of the journey around my degree. I wanted to visit so many of the places I’d learned about in my archaeology lectures. I’d also arranged to visit Eduard in Amsterdam, Till in Munich, and Giancarlo in Rome. I’d met them all while I was rebuilding a medieval village in France and we’d done the usual exchange of addresses and ‘we’ll meet up’. Most times it doesn’t happen, sometimes it does.

After Europe, it was the heady and unknown step to Asia, and finally, Australia.

But the best laid plans … Because what I didn’t plan on, was meeting someone in a youth hostel in Sydney and marrying him a few months later.

My work colleague, on the other hand, had romantic dreams of being swept off her feet by an Australian sheep farmer and going to live in the outback. Not sure how she was going to meet one in a Sydney youth hostel in King’s Cross, best known for drugs, crime and sex work.

Last I heard of her, she was living in her home city in the UK with a married man and they were hoping to go to Malaysia. He worked for Emron … I’d be surprised if she ever got to Malaysia.

I’d left the UK as a single young woman with the big world wide open in front of me. I was returning with no job to go to, a husband I’d known for less than a year, and that indeflatable confidence of youth.

It was a memorable Valentine’s Day, not just for the card.

However, the UK was in the distance and we planned to enjoy ourselves en route.

First stop Singapore. Where does one stay there? Raffles. Where else? Complete with scruffy rucksacks we descended on the foyer of the beautiful colonial hotel to treat ourselves to a second honeymoon, on the grounds that a Saturday night in NSW’s Hunter Valley wasn’t sufficient.

And it was well worth it. Not even too expensive.

Welcome to Raffles. Please park your rucksack there. Yes. Over there

As for our room, well room, didn’t describe it. It was an apartment. At least twice the size of Gibflat.

I have very few memories of Singapore etched in my sepia-tinted memory, but the room, ie suite, is one. A large sitting room, a large bedroom, a large bathroom, and some sort of kitchen bit. One could live there for ages. As indeed did Somerset Maugham.

Maugham's short stories, €25 in Málaga some years ago
Maugham’s short stories, €25 in Málaga some years ago

While the detail of the rooms themselves has faded, for example, did I put up my Valentine’s card somewhere? What remains, is the verandah entrance. We went upstairs and along the long verandah to enter the room apartment/suite. It was beautiful. I could have stayed there forever.

Forever wasn’t to be though. Again I can’t remember. Did we stay one night or two? We had a drink in one of the bars. Gin and tonic I imagine, what else? But we never ate at Raffles.

We wandered around outside, exploring nearby Singapore. Gave the high-rise buildings a miss, but chose instead the cricket ground and an Arab street market where I remember eating delicious pancakes.

[I don’t understand cricket but in 1994, total: 231/6 v Gibraltar, 25 February 1994 at Ruaraka Sports Club Ground, Nairobi. This may mean something to someone. I think Gib didn’t do too well, otherwise I am lost.]

Cricket club. Pic courtesy of wiki
Cricket club. Pic courtesy of wiki

At some point in Singapore I felt sick. We blamed it on something I’d eaten, although we ate the same food. With many years’ hindsight, it was probably stress. That wonderful escape in life, from life, to be absolutely free to do what I wanted, was over.

And there endeth my memories of warm, balmy, exotic, evocative Singapore. I wonder if Raffles would let in backpackers these days? Just as well I went when I did.

History lesson

Sir Stamford Raffles, known as the founder of Singapore, was born off the coast of Jamaica in 1781. His father, Capt Benjamin Raffles (d 1797) came from Yorkshire. I bet Stamford was gutted he couldn’t play cricket for Yorkshire because he was born outside the county.

Stamford Raffles, thanks again wiki
Stamford Raffles, thanks again wiki

[Note: In the past one could only play cricket for Yorkshire County Cricket Club if born within the county.]

Nice to know Stamford had Yorkshire ancestry though.

Singapore pix courtesy of wiki. I’d stopped taking photos by then.

Today’s Anglo-Asian food: Eggs curried, chutney, and pickle.

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84 comments on “So, where did you stay in Singapore?

  1. I’ve been to Raffles! Didn’t stay though, just had a pricey drink in the bar. Cannot remember what I had but I hope it was a Singapore Sling or something like that.. :-)
    Nice memoir. Are you still married to him?


  2. I’m glad you got into the posh hotel. The nearest I ever came to that was when our car broke down and the better half and I ended up in a four-poster bed.

    It seems meticulous plannig has both limits and advantages.


    • It was less posh then than now. It’s had a refurb. Back when we stayed you could feel the history. Looking at the photos now, it looks like a nicely done-up hotel, in keeping, but stripped of memories.

      We have a four-poster bed. Partner has always had delusions of grandeur, although I confess raffles was my choice.

      Planning is good, but I do build in the leeway factor ;)


      • I was at Raffles in 1998, even had a Singapore Sling in the Long Bar. Tradition seems to be that you drop the shells of the peanuts on the floor to be picked up by staff. Seems unusual and out of keeping with the sense of order and decorum prevalent in the rest if the city. Perhaps it’s part of a misguided sense of entitlement of the moneyed aristocracy used to being catered to by servants. When I visited, it had already received a major makeover was glamorous but probably far removed from the informality and understated excellence experienced by the likes of Somerset Maughan and Noel Coward in the thirties. That understated excellence became very understated to the point of decay and disrepair. When I worked at Claridge’s Hotel in 1970, we were instructed not to recommend Raffles to our guests. So it’s come a long way. Memories of a bygone era.


        • It was 86 when we were there so a lot happened in 12 years. Mostly in Spain people often throw their shells on the floor. Hardly entitlement in working class bars. Just how it is. Don’t know about Raffles as we didn’t have peanuts.
          Too long ago to remember well.
          I guess to looked nice to us as our ‘room’ was huge. I mean huge. We’d lived in a small one-bed flat/studio, and arrived in this grandiose ‘room’ with at least four rooms and a balcony/walkway!
          A bit of refurb and it would have been great. The ‘real’ colonial experience, I would have sold it as, but people don’t want that. They want bland and boring and pretentious. Shame really. Piece of history destroyed.


  3. Warm fuzzy feeling reading this post… romance is not dead for me apparently :) I’m pleased to read about your second honeymoon at Raffles, although I’m sure the Hunter Valley was very nice, and that just anyone can’t go to Raffles now is a little sad but a wonderful memory for you.
    It seems more likely to get sick on holidays. Maybe different water, food, environment. I’ve had memorable food poisoning (I assume) twice, both times on holidays. And a lovely that you can still say “I am”.


    • You are definitely a soppy romantic. I go out of my way to be objective and laugh at myself and you still find fuzziness! The posh country hotel in HV took one look at us in our hire car and was ‘full’ so we ended up in Singleton! Who, I mean who, has a honeymoon in Singleton?

      I daresay if you booked and turned up looking scruffy you could get in, but that’s not the point. I was too lazy to link to the website but if you haven’t, check it out.

      I’d travelled all the way through Europe, Asia and Aus. Food poisoning in Singapore? Doubt it. Total stress reaction. Still happens now, that’s why I’m looking back with hindsight.

      I am and he is because we’re too idle to change ;)


  4. I would like to have visited the hotel,, I learnt a bit about here and reminded me of the series ‘Raffles’ a cat burglar who stole from the rich and live in Raffles hotels… interesting .hmmm! I have only ever stayed in a top quality hotel once back in 2008 but did use to do fire alarms etc for a couple in the Forest…


    • The other one I always fancied was Reids in Madeira. A colleague at work went once, but he was the finance director so I guess he could afford it. I’ve stayed/eaten at some decent UK ones courtesy of my parents, and ate at The Ivy (I’d never heard of it) for university friend’s 40th. But Raffles was cool. If I looked out of place I never felt it.

      I remember the series :)


    • There is a fine line between run-down and just needs a lick of paint. This was so opulent even needing a lick of paint that it was nowhere near run-down. It’s slight shabbiness at the time made it all the more comfortable. It looks very nice now, but too pristine and bright shiny new.

      I looked up the Jefferson. Looks gorgeous. I decided we’d have Sunday brunch, but the menu was not very veg-friendly, and! They have tables in the foyer and mezzanine! Eek! That is tasteless. Open space is meant to be empty. So I’ll settle for a G&T with you after all, presumably they have a cocktail bar. I looked no further after seeing tables where they shouldn’t be. In fact I needed a G&T but we don’t have any in the house, the only spirit is vodka, used purely for toothache.

      The good thing about reading blogs is learning so much. I have really enjoyed reading up about American history on some blogs. Have you read the history tourist? I think she’s somewhere up your way, waves hand vaguely in direction of top corner of America. We started off with a dog connection, but she does great posts about historical places in the US. Sorry, I digress.


      • Must you be so difficult, Kate? OK, we will forego Sunday brunch and make our appearance any other time of the week when offending tables and chairs are in their proper spots. And there is more than one cocktail bar. We are civilized in this corner of America. No, I do not know The History Tourist. But I am fairly mad about the subject so will wander over to her blog. Cheers!


        • ‘Twas I who suggested brunch, noticed the champagne, so totally my fault. But be honest, those tables and chairs don’t sit there well. They are not meant to be there. I have wandered in enough grand hotels to know where space should be space. Maybe I’ll send them an email:D

          Have to say cocktail bars are so chic. I have wonderful memories of them before dinner.

          History Tourist is a fine person, and she does a good mix of personal and factual. I miss Ralph bigdog, but these things happen in life. Tell her I say hi, but I’m sure you will connect anyway :)


          • I can picture management of the Jefferson snapping to the instant they receive your email. Can you imagine the most popular Sunday morning tradition in Richmond being upended by one email from Gibraltar? :) Back to looking for HIstory Tourist.


          • I try and check people out from time to time. I don’t worry too much about Helen cos she’s tough and I know she’ll always reappear :D but, yes, the odd what’s happened, doesn’t go amiss. It’s very annoying. There are blogs I follow that I read occasionally and I would really like the interesting ones to appear, please wordpress, thank you very much.

            You are so tempting me to write to the Jefferson!

            Liked by 1 person

  5. You always paint a wonderful picture with your words Kate. Not that everything is wonderful, just the descriptions, as I’m sure your food poisoning wasn’t all that great. For a meticulous planner you took a almighty chance on getting married but judging by the fact you’re still together I’m sure you’re glad you did. I’m sure the Welshman is still blessing his luck.
    Wishing you Massive Hugs for Saturday xxxxxxxx


    • Thank you David. Nah, I just felt/was a bit sick. I’m also a calculated risk taker. By the time I’ve made the calculations, the risks are 0.0000000001%. Alternatively I’m just spontaneous. Take your pick. (Like Hughie Green).

      The Welshman seems to think he is stuck with me as there doesn’t seem to be much out there as an alternative.

      Of course, it’s a Saturday, calls for a Valentine’s weekend. And the special Valentine song too :) thank you, and hugs back to you.


  6. The first time in Singapore was around 1963/64 on my way to Europe and back to Holland. Somerset Maugham was still alive and living at his Villa ‘Mauresque’. Singapore was still Singapore and the harbour filled with Junks. I stayed overnigh on board a Flotta Lauro liner and remember having a drink at Raffles. No romance though but that soon changed when I met my lovely H skiing in Austria which was romantic. even though I had broken my glasses on an icy slope, was reduced to wearing my optical sun- glasses making me look somewhat sinister..


    • Hey, don’t go upstaging my raffles story! I was only 4/5 then. Had no idea where Singapore was or who Maugham was. Seems everyone likes to have one drink at raffles, but seriously, when I checked out their website, only residents allowed? Maybe I got that wrong? :(

      I don’t know that we had romance in Singapore (or anywhere else) especially when I started feeling sick :D love on the ski slopes? Very clichéed Gerard :D


  7. You were really lucky. I spent quite some time in Singapore between 1991 and 1995 and on my first trip after years of not having been there, I also wanted to stay at Raffles and I made a reservation. Arriving from my work place in Johor /Malaysia just across the straights slightly in disarray from the trip ( by bus, taxi and ferry and then by taxi to the hotel ) and the ungodly heat the doorman would not let me in, because I was ” unaccompanied “. Mind you, I was 44 at the time and have never been the type of person who could be considered being able to work a hotel bar.
    Insisting on having made a reservation and paid for it weeks earlier and showing my papers as an employee of the WHO I was finally let go to the reception area. When I saw several discrete signs of ” No backpackers, please ! ” and several other hints on how to dress ( it seemed that even in 1991 women in skirts were favored and which I wore) I cancelled my reservation and ever since stayed at the Phoenix Hotel on Orchard Road when visiting Singapore. The hotel is undergoing a major renovation right now; a sad things since through modernization and renovation some of the best parts of Singapore ( Chinatown, Little India on Selangor Road and quite a few other places ) have lost their typical charm.
    Anyways, as I said, you were lucky…..I have never been further than the reception area, but made up for it by staying at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel ( same owners and architects as Raffles ) in Penang/Malaysia several times.


    • Wow! That is some story. My mouth dropped open reading that (a rare occurrence). I suppose I was 26, accompanied and tall, slim and blonde. I might have been wearing shorts though. At the best trousers. Strictly no skirts for travelling. Can’t remember the last time I wore one. Evil contraptions. Maybe we inspired their ‘No backpackers’ sign? How utterly classist and very very infuriating that is. I wouldn’t stay there on principal now because of that. Not that I have any plans to, but still.

      You probably know the food market area I was talking about, really not very far from raffles. Places like that make a city, not tedious bland new-build. And what happens to the people who make their living there when everything is destroyed for more corporate bucks?

      Thanks for your comment, hope things are good with you.


  8. The travel thing. Something I had dreams of doing but never really got past two visits to France and the settling in South Africa. It seems one either does it in ones youth or once retired ( assuming you’ve saved the bucks)
    This was a nice post to read; thoroughly enjoyed it.


    • Yeah. The travel thing. Some people did it before university. Some people did it after. Me, I waited until I’d got a working qualification and some experience (ie journalism) before I did it. Actually, I don’t think I’d thought about it until I met a couple of teachers when I was doing voluntary work for the national trust. When I heard they’d been to Australia the seed was sown. Hey, I could do that too. Plus, I’d always wanted to do the interrail thing. I’d love to do it again, no bucks though. Best to do it when you’re young. Much more fun. One of the very best things I’ve ever done in my life.
      Thanks, romantic stone god (why WILL WP keep capitalising god?)


  9. After graduation and a year of work to bank money, I took off to travel. Best plan ever. Being young, confident, and smiling gets past a lot of stuffy rules sometimes. Ah the old grad hotels – that sounds like a winner – the slightly shabby makes it better somehow – I couldn’t afford the top rungs, be the slightly shabby grande dames were a luxury worth every penny and memory.
    Lovely story. What adventures
    (and I don’t get cricket, but it looks/sounds posh from over here on the frontier.)
    (Working for the National Trust must have been fascinating. Bound to be some posts about that?)


    • In reverse order, as they say:

      I’ve never got cricket either. Although it is odd seeing immaculate cricket grounds in Singapore, Mumbai/Bombay, Corfu.

      The adventures were good. Very good. But, we still have them now. Differently, but still adventures.

      Mostly I stayed in shared dorms. Raffles was pretty up market. But, what the hell. Once in a lifetime? Worth it. Pro rata it wouldn’t be worth it now, nor would it have that undefinable shabby chic. Ah, I’m turning into an old person. Things were better then huh? Sadly, I believe that.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Great tales of the unexpected. Raffles sounds great – having not been to Singapore but having heard of it obviously it’s definitely the place to visit, even if only for a gin fizz, but to stay, there’s posh for you!
    We didn’t ever have a gap year (did any one back then?) but we managed to travel quite extensively through India, Nepal and China between work commitments and before Son arrived. Working provided the means – no bottomless handouts from parents in those days. Glad we went when we did – now it seems like everyone’s rite of passage. We hardly saw another westerner on our travels.


    • Not quite as spooky as Tales of the Unexpected – used to enjoy watching that, liked the music too. Given that my whole year plus away had been staying in hostels and shared accommodation, and the ‘honeymoon’ was a night in a basic motel, I figured a night or two at raffles was acceptable.

      I knew a couple of people who took the year off after school, one I met at university, and she’d basically worked for a year to get some money together, the other from school was actually a year younger than the class age, ie she left age 17 and wasn’t 18 until the November. No idea what she did although she might have been going to travel, her dad was a medic so they weren’t short of cash. I’d worked for nearly three years in journalism plus a spell as a researcher at the county council, and a sec in hospital, oh and an au pair in Italy before I went travelling.

      What I’m pleased about is that I did it pre-Internet/mobile phones. When you were gone, you were on your own. Contacting home meant going into the big phone exchange in Bombay or Bangkok for an operator to connect you. Assuming the lines were working. And when you got through it actually sounded as though you were thousands of miles away. I sent postcards. Remember those? 😀 I was gutted the one from Nepal never arrived. We met a few Brits in India, not loads though considering the size of the place! There were loads in Aus, the hostel was full of them. I’d like to have gone to Burma but it was in the days of the seven day visa and it was a tight squeeze to do the Rangoon Mandalay trip. So we didn’t. But still, it was def a great experience.


      • Yes, postcards – I remember those. Most never arrived back. And no phones – absolute freedom. They really were the days. I for one wouldn’t swap them. I liked working, anyway. Travelling was a bonus.


        • Most of mine did arrive. Just wish my mother had saved them instead of one I sent her from Northumberland …

          I think the no phones was a mega plus. Can you imagine posting: ‘Me in front of Annapurna’? either to Facebook or blasting it to 300000 people on email? I can’t. Totally destroys the experience.

          I feel like setting up a challenge. Clear off around the world without a mobile and without using an Internet cafe. Wonder how many people could do it? Not even sure I could these days!


  11. Singapore, cricket and Nairobi – what a combination. My father’s first position, in Africa, was with the Park’s Department in Nairobi; in the late 50’s. He and my mum were couch cricketers and I love cricket; don’t get to watch as often as I’d like. Funnily enough, I have cricket “buddies” from school. We “watch” together, although we are in very different parts of the world – Melbourne and two different towns in South Africa. We keep each other updated on what’s happening when the others can’t watch. And, given that you don’t “get” cricket, I won’t mention that the World Cup is under way and that the Barmy Army will be in South Africa later this year ;)

    Singapore, I’d love to go back, properly. Had a few hours’ stopover there on a business trip and en route from Japan. We walked past Raffles and my abiding memory was fascinating market, at about one in the morning. It was a rabbit warren across about two blocks, including across at least one street and a few alleys and the wares…from the most exotic to the less than mundane. The only way one knew that, one was in a street or alley was because one was walking on cobbles. There were tarpaulins and all sorts of other creative roofs, and the heat and humidity were equally stifling wherever one was. Wonder if it’s still there? I certainly wouldn’t be able to find it again.

    Happy day with your Valentine.


    • I managed to cram a few continents into that post! Left from Australia, arrived in Asia, and mentioned Europe (Gib) and Africa with the cricket. I think cricket grounds are nice, but they might as well remain empty for all the interest I have in cricket, there’s not much more action when there’s a match on.

      The market sounds like the one I ate at. Loads of street food vendors. Similar to India. I doubt I’d recognise very much from my travels of so long ago.

      Thanks, you too.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Always wanted to go to Singapore and stay at Raffles. I guess I’d better start saving my pennies.

    Grant lost his ability to smell and taste a couple of years ago. We (and the docs) have no idea why. But just a couple of nights ago, we went to an Indian restaurant and discovered that he can smell and taste Indian food. So it’s going to be lots and lots of curry for us from now on.


    • Ha, won’t be the same now. Very sanitised.

      Indian food smells sublime. As soon as I start cooking ‘oh that smells wonderful’ says hungry partner. If you haven’t already, build up that store cupboard: mustard seeds, fenugreek, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds. Plus ground cumin and coriander, and turmeric.


  13. Lucky you, having experienced the luxury of Raffles. We tried to get a booking last time we were in Singapore, but it was fully booked for some conference. I was so disappointed. Maybe one day in the future. :)


  14. Now an antipathy to cricket? Hmm, not sure I approve. If you look to Kipling’s The Island, he asks if men who play cricket are gods or flannelled fools. I’m in the gods category, a sport supreme that embodies pleasure postponed like no other past time. It has rhythms , not crass haste; it is an orchestration of athleticism not a clashing symbol of brute force. And the score you quote? Tat is but one innings so it is impossible to know whether it is good or bad, past of that stretched pleasure that reveals its secrets in pulses of action. And a sport that stops for meal breaks? What is not to like?!!


    • I don’t understand it, and it’s slow and boring. Pretty much like golf. Plus childhood indoctrination works one way or the other. The quoted score, whatever it means, was something that earned someone a cup or prize or something. Nah, give me rugby league any day. Or even union.

      Liked by 1 person

      • yes well I love them as well; and I agree that childhood indoctrination can scar; never again do I want to go inside Canterbury cathedral; never again will I eat winkles or cockles or similar shellfish; never again on pain of me murdering someone ask me to sit through opera or ballet or a musical or anything where the story is interrupted by random and irrelevant music. We all carry those burdens I guess.


        • That’s an interesting one. If I wasn’t vegetarian I’d probably still eat cockles and winkles. And mussels and oysters and prawns and potted shrimps. I can’t imagine being sick of going to York Minster, or even my local childhood cathedral, although I went to neither very often. Opera yes, ballet 50:50, but musicals bore the pants off me. Apart from Evita and the Mozart one, they were both good. But actually none of your childhood burdens were mine, mine were later choices and there, as you intimate, is the difference.

          Liked by 1 person

  15. It’s always great reading someone else’s travel stories and I do like yours very much. I don’t do the ‘travel thingy’ unless it’s virtual. LOL! What a lovely hotel that was. Love the architecture and colours. :D

    Thanks for sharing these lovely moments Kate. ♥


      • Same here hon. If my little man can’t go with, I stay at home. :D

        Take care and please give your boys lots of hugs and kisses from me. ♥


          • The only holidays I have are at home. Once I went with hubby to the Flyfishing Festival they have every year and I worried more about Simba than anything else. Never again. :D

            LOL! Thanks and my boys won’t mind the kisses either. hahaha


          • Since we left the UK we’ve not gone on hol. No need when we have two places. We’re both happy to go and spend a week or two at the finca with our boys although he still dreams of visiting South Africa. Thirty years since he first asked me to go there with him and we’ve still not made it!

            Liked by 1 person

          • I totally agree and if you want to come and visit, you do know you will have lots of places to stay for free for sure. Between me and Ark I think there will be fist fight. hahahah


          • I’m not sure about the fighting! In fact we first mentioned it on a Land Rover forum and a couple of people were really keen to have us stay. Trouble is, we don’t like poncing off people, it goes against the grain. A bit of ground to put up the tent would be ok though, and we always leave a clean and tidy camp site.

            Liked by 1 person

          • We are the same, but you are more than welcome at any time. The yard is big enough for a tent and we have an army tent as well, if that is how you want to do it. Here are 2 bathrooms and we have borehole water as well as municipal water and of course, there’s the pool at the back and I will keep you company. But you are not allowed to come and stay here if you don’t bring Pippa and Snowy along. :)

            Liked by 1 person

  16. Great post. It makes me want to travel again. But what with work and trying to get days off and school for the kids (although I have one in University and one in High School) and getting our passports renewed and going through the craziness of the airports, its all too overwhelming.
    I keep on promising my kids I am going to take them to some of the places I went to when I was younger. First on my list, is back to Australia ( I was born in Sydney). Although I have resided in the United States on and off since 1968, Australia is really where I feel like my roots are. Maybe someday I will get back there.


    • Thanks sp. Craziness of airports sounds a nightmare. I haven’t flown in years. My last travel was overland/sea which was much more fun, and much more expensive too. Born in Sydney? Where? It’s always got a place in my heart after getting married there. Plus it is beautiful.


  17. Lovely memory. Mrs.Monkey has stayed at Raffles a few years ago, but she does work in finance (!). And by a stroke of luck we’re off to Madeira in September – maybe I’ll get treated at Reid’s ( we’re not staying there, though).


    • It was one of my lovely memories, I’ll be honest. Faded but lovely.

      Interestingly you mention finance and Reids. One of my colleagues – finance director! – went to Madeira and stayed where? I always fancied Madeira, and Reids, a bit like Raffles. In the end, my colleague said it was a bit of a let-down. And don’t even start me on The Rock Hotel in Gib …

      Is Madeira your reward for the vuelta?


  18. I enjoyed your tale of Raffles….I fear that as i have a knack of arriving from a journey looking as though I had been pulled through a hedge backwards I would have been given the bum’s rush.


    • Thanks Helen. I look like I’ve been pulled through the proverbial hedge without stepping out of the door. I am not one of life’s beauties in travelling mode. I have no idea why they let us in? Short of punters probably. The comment above by Doelma was interesting in that respect about admission.


  19. Interesting how parallels can happen. Clearly there’s a fair bit of introspection happening in your life right now. As I reply, off to my right I have a VCR running into a dongle connected to a PC also on the desk. It’s digitizing old VHS-C tapes that I took back in the 1990’s. Presently it’s doing Christmas, 1997 and I’m trying (mostly unsuccessfully) not to keep looking at the preview window. It’s cloudy and windy outside. not too cold (around -4 but the wind makes it more like -15), but it’s very quiet here in my space. The students are on mid-year “study” break and most have elected to just go home. At any rate they’re not here right now. When the mind is not fettered by the thoughts and concerns that normally happen in the moments, what does it do? In my case it often revisits times past and sometimes even wonders what may have happened had I made different choices. Mo sadness or happiness, mind, you; just idle curiosity.
    Happy pancake day :-) Hope the leg’s well on the way to “healed” (please ignore the potential pun–not intended).


    • Introspection? Or wanting to write slightly different blog posts? I felt the original Valentine one merited the follow-up, and they were both timely. I think other peoples’ visits to the pasts posts are interesting so I thought I’d add one of my own. Plus, wiki had plenty of pix for me to use :)

      Thank you. It’s okish. I’m still limping :(

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sad to hear the last part. I see it thusly (for what it’s worth). Progress is slow and we tend not to see the changes from day to day. There will come a time, though, when you will look back and say, “yes, better than it was.” Here’s to that time. Right now freezing rain is lashing against the window behind me and I’m grateful for modern building materials. ☺ In all Honesty, right now I admit to wishing myself and Josephine were in warmer climes.


        • It is what it is. I don’t have time – or inclination – to exercise regularly, so I’m my own worst enemy. And, it is indeed better than it was. I’m just not exactly steady on my feet after ten months :(

          We had a day’s rain last week. Most helpful, saved me watering the garden. Temps in high teens although single figures at night. Here, less variation but put it this way, we haven’t dragged the heater out of storage. I did wear a hat last week outside because the sun was so hot. 🌞


  20. It’s hard to plan for everything. I’ve hit some roadblocks, but never one that involved a marriage. I haven’t been to Singapore, but I have been to Malaysia. I don’t think your friend made it there either.


    • My poor mother went to her grave still not knowing why I got married. Hell, I don’t know. I couldn’t tell her because I didn’t (and don’t) have the answer. Malaysia was on our world trip travel list, but got crossed off in our rush to get to Australia.

      She wanted a conventional life, four kids, two of each. Somehow living on the quiet with a bloke working for a firm that went pop, doesn’t sound like she got her dream. Just like she never got the Australian sheep farmer. Who knows where she is now?


  21. Wow! What a lovely post. I really enjoyed reading about your little adventure. Nice to learn a little bit more about you too… Rucksack Roughseas living on the edge of roughdom! :D We likes it don’t we precious? Lots of sneakses we thinks. :D


  22. Lovely story, and interesting to read a little about your life. Raffles has been an old dream of mine, since I read …. some book [can’t remember which one]. I doubt I’ll ever get there.

    A friend of mine, back home, decided to go an visit her sister in Australia. She’s very well educated and well read in many areas. She had a stop-over in Singapore, so I said to her “Wow, Singapore! You just have to go to Raffles and have a Singapore Sling!” Now she really surprised me, because she didn’t know what it was. She read up on that I guess, and she did go there … and has thanked me many times afterwards for that experience :)


    • Thanks Reb. Not sure whether I first heard about it in a book or reading magazines, or even travel books like South East Asia on a Shoestring. The reason I liked it at the time was because it was slightly shabby chic. It looks nice now and it’s obviously been restored in keeping, but one posh hotel is like another.

      That’s a good story. I’m not really into cocktails which is why I don’t remember having one. But it was nice to say there.


  23. And the romance still flourishes! :) :) I would have voted for romance in your poll, wherever it was.
    I tend to play ‘eeny meeny’ between your headings and opt for the most interesting one, which is often a tough call. Hence I have already read ‘Valentine’s Day’.


    • I wouldn’t exactly say romance … it’s not quite our nature.

      My headings don’t always reflect what’s in the post either 😀 it’s just whatever quirky one that I can come up with that reflects *some* of the post topic.


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