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No rest for the Noodle: Orangutans, families and German philosophers

1 Jun

Whizz, whizz, whizz and the last couple of months have flown by in a blur of all sorts of things other than writing blog posts. I have attempted to sit down and write this update post several times to no avail. There is just so much to include that I don’t know where to start and I don’t want to risk inducing a bout of narcolepsy in anyone reading it. So here’s a little taster of what has been going on in the House of Noodle…

House of Noodle, boutique hotel, opens for business

We knew April was going to be a busy month for family and visitors – ok, probably not as busy as it was for the Middleton/Windsor households, but still hectic by Noodle standards. Mister Noodle’s parents flew in from London, his brother popped over from China and one of his oldest school friends and their girlfriend came via Hong Kong. Having five visitors, all new to Singapore, and all with us at the same time has been a great way of looking at our adopted home afresh and also means that the House of Noodle now has an abundant supply of towels, bedding and champagne glasses (bookings always welcome). So, five visitors, two weeks and the little red dot to explore. What to do….

Checking in at Chinatown

Explore Singapore!

We went down some of the well-trodden tourist routes, like the night safari, Singapore Slings at Raffles, taking in the waterfront area at night.We also tried some things that were new to us Noodles as well as to the rest of our party. Our cycling trip to Pulau Ubin, the small island off Singapore, was one particular highlight. We cycled, we wildlife spotted, we laughed – and I brought all my previously acquired Brownie/Famous Five experience to the fore by remembering to pack a picnic…well, some cheese rolls and biscuits at least.

Boat to Pulau Ubin - state of the art health & safety signage

And beyond…

We also got to venture further afield…

Inspired by posts from the wonderful Notabilia and Flora we decided to take a trip on the old Malaysian train line from Tanjong Pagar station to Johor Bahru, across the causeway. It is an experience that is very time limited as the line, in its present form, will close in the summer.  My father-in-law loves anything with a whiff of diesel and the glimpse of an engine and getting the opportunity to nose around the abandoned trains at the old Johor Bahru station was quite an experience.

We also made a five-day visit to Sarawak, Borneo with Mister Noodle’s parents. I will post separately about this shortly as it was a quite incredible adventure – jungle trekking, river dolphin spotting, orangutan watching and blowpipe firing – and all only an hour’s flight from Singapore. I used to live an hour away from London, but never met anyone like this…

Or saw views like this…

Sunset, Damai Beach, Sarawak

And then there were none

Barely was there enough time to take in the eerie quiet or do the washing after all our visitors had left and Mister Noodle and I were packing our spotted handkerchiefs to head off on separate adventures – Mister Noodle on a trip to Tioman on the Malaysian east coast and me to England.

All I have heard from Mister Noodle about Tioman was that “It was fantastic. The snorkelling is out of this world. We must go back”. So, when we do, I will write a bit more.

As for me and England, I spent a wonderful, whistle-stop week catching up with some of my nearest and dearest and inhaling great lungfuls of cool air. The last few weeks in Singapore have been stifling for a Suffolk girl so I relished the chance to wear jeans and not feel like I was going to collapse in a heap like a melted ice cream. Suffolk in spring is really quite beautiful…

Darling buds of May

So there we have it. A busy two months that have been full of fun, laughter, family and friends. And as for the German philosopher – here’s a bit of Goethe for a rainy Wednesday afternoon: ‘There are two things children should get from their parents: roots and wings’. I came across this quote earlier in the week and it summed up a lot of what the last few weeks have been about and how important our families have been in all that we have done since moving out here. Both sets of parents have been wonderfully behind us with our move to Singapore and it has been great to be able to share some of it with Mister Noodle’s family. At the same time, spending time with them here, and then with my own side of the family back in England, is a reminder of how very important our roots are, wherever our wings may take us.

So, on that pondering note I shall sign off. As I think Mister Noodle’s father would agree, it has been a busy time…

Taking in the sights

Poodle Noodle reacts to the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud

24 May

Ever one to keep abreast of international developments, Poodle Noodle is taking preventative measures of his own against the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud.

"I want to be alone"

If I didn’t know him better I would be flattered to think it was a reaction to my departure from Suffolk last Friday. Given he takes no notice of me whatsoever on Skype, I doubt this to be the case.

The picture is also a good representation of how I feel about blogging at the moment. Not because I don’t have anything to write about, to the contrary – the last month has been so packed full of visits from family, new adventures and trips away that I don’t know where to start. Maybe just a couple more days with my head under the blanket…

Poodle Noodle on a mission

12 Apr

Whilst I was enjoying travels in Malaysia at the weekend, it appears that Poodle Noodle fancied a bit of a change of scene too. Saturday afternoon seems to have been spent soaking up the Suffolk sunshine whilst trying to dig his way to Singapore.

Having prepared the ground start digging

Although he ran out of energy before he had successfully tunneled his way here I have been reliably informed that the hole he did manage to dig is big enough for someone to fall in. Ah, the ever-helpful westie! I shall be seeing him in a month’s time (not because he will have successfully completed his great escape tunnel, but because I am UK-bound for a week) and may have to have a few words about how to constructively use his time. Blogging, maybe?

You’ve got (expat) mail!

1 Mar

Every so often an article will appear in the media bemoaning the death of the handwritten, posted letter, at the hands of the evil interweb. However, one of the joys of being an expat is an increase in lovely letters. Along with the usual utility and phone bills, we now receive in the post little cards and parcels from back home that, along with the Skyping and the emailing, make the 7,000 miles shrink that little bit more.

My lovely Auntie Mad, for example, has sent us a postcard or note to mark every 24th of the month ever since we got married on that day last July. There have been postcards of our beloved Suffolk and even a card written and signed whilst we all mucked in and stuffed the turkey on Christmas Eve. Mister Noodle’s mum has sent articles including one from a national UK paper about Mister N’s favourite real ale pub (The Fat Cat, Ipswich*) which was slightly to Mister N’s horror as he feared national media exposure may mean he will never get a seat again in the already quite ‘cosy’ establishment.

Anyway, I got home from work this afternoon to find a parcel from my mum that, alongside the required contact lens prescription, included a selection of articles from Sunday supplements. Whilst Mister N. can download the main papers to his whizzy Kindle, the magazines remain beyond our sticky little noodley grasps so are also a welcome sight.

A little light reading

I particularly love the fact that my mum makes clear where she has sent an incomplete article that backs on to the ones she has meant to send. I think the big crosses look like parental censorship although I know this isn’t her intention. So, this week, whilst I shall be reading about David Hockney and Sebastian Faulks’ views of characters in fiction I will NOT be reading about American feminism.

Censorship Mum-style

*For anyone looking for really good ale, homemade scotch eggs and the occasional Tractor Boy with a 6ft pitch fork propping up the bar it is the place to go (just don’t tell anyone else).

Looking back and saying thank you

30 Dec

What a difference five months makes! Almost five months ago to the day, my parents’ sleepy Suffolk garden was hosting what I am guessing has been the biggest party of its 150 year history…mine and Mister Noodle’s wedding reception. With a marquee covering every square inch of grass in the orchard and all our nearest and dearest getting ready to eat, drink, dance and laugh the night away, the scene looked something like this…

A Suffolk Summer wedding...in the back garden

Since arriving in Singapore the constant equatorial weather means we have been permanently suspended in mid-August. Not so Suffolk! This is the snowy Suffolk scene that greeted us when we eventually returned home for our first family Christmas as a married couple.

Our journey back proved suitably epic for Christmas and involved an unexpected mini-break at the Frankfurt Christmas markets, courtesy of London Heathrow and our airline. Finally, 72 hours later and little bit more full of gluhwein than we had anticipated we made it home to Suffolk and Poodle Noodle could end his window-side vigil…

"Where are they? I've made Christmas pudding and everything!"

Our July wedding was a perfect way to celebrate with family and friends before embarking on our new life in Singapore and five months on there is no other way I would have wanted to mark Christmas than back in Suffolk. I have been able to curl up with Poodle Noodle in front of the log fire, eat my own weight in mince pies and cover up the evidence under layers of jumpers and scarves. The television has been almost permanently set to quality British costume drama – Poirot, Miss Marple and Upstairs, Downstairs and Mister Noodle has rediscovered the joy of buying pints of ale and getting change from a £10 note. Most importantly we have enjoyed time with family and friends and laughed and laughed and laughed.

With one more week before we return to the sunnier climes of Singapore there is still loads to fit in…London shopping trips, lunches and dinners and catching ups, new year’s eve with my BFFs, trips to the seaside and more nodding off in front of the fire. The last twelve months have been sometimes frantic but always fun and it seems apt that we will be finishing the year on the same note.

In thinking back over the incredible experiences, challenges and adventures of 2010 there is one person above all that I have to thank for making them possible. Mister Noodle, this post is for you and comes with a very big thank you. You have managed to get the girl who would never spend the night away from home to move half way across the world and have looked after her every step of the way. The first five months of being Mrs Noodle have been wonderful and I can’t wait for what 2011 will bring.

On that note, Happy New Year everyone and see you again in Singapore!

Credit where credit is most definitely due – Our beautiful wedding images were captured by the wonderful Sara Thomas of Sara Thomas Photography