15 – 21 November 2014. My posts on Week 1 and 2 can be found HERE and HERE. Another steady week of progress. Writing these weekly updates is good for me because construction seems to edge along at a Thai pace of progress, and that’s true to some extent, but reviewing the changes from the Saturday to Friday shows that I have more of a house now than I did at the beginning of the week. As I reported before, work on the land itself had been delayed waiting for the official blessing ceremony, which happened last Sunday. Ming, the builder, was like a Thai greyhound after the ceremony, off the leash and in full building mode at the land rather than pottering at the edges filling in time, which he’s been doing up to that point. Day 15 Saturday, with the building ceremony scheduled for tomorrow not a lot was happening on-site. However there were indications that Ming was keen to get going once the starter’s pistol went off. Using string lines this guy was finding the centre of each hole using a plumb line. Once marked a piece of rebar was drilled into the concrete to indicate the positioning for the column reinforcement when installed. Once this was done the rebar base was placed in each hole. Back at the house Gaun’s mama was preparing for the next day’s ceremony. A old spinning wheel was brought out and a roll of cotton thread spun onto it. This would form the center piece that would be installed at the top of one of the columns. Day 16 Sunday, Gaun and her sister Yuan were up at 3.30 am to get to the markets to buy food and cook before the start of the ceremony at 7.00 am. I decided that my presence wasn’t required and sensibly stayed in bed. Up and about early all the ceremonial items were transported to the site. The ceremony itself was “organised” by one of the village elders and a guy I call the “Spiritman”. I am sure there may be an official title for him. He’s the man who decided that the 16th was the most auspicious day of the month for the blessing and is the main contact point to any spirits, Gaun calls them ghosts!, that may be inhabiting the land. I have put “organised” in quotes because organisation isn’t often in evidence in any ceremony I have been witness to in Thailand, including my wedding! Semi-planned chaos is probably a better description as generally maybe someone has an idea of what should be happening but hasn’t passed that onto the helpers who then run around madly assembling the missing items, all usually in very good humour. Frustrating to some farang I know but I love the community involvement, the spontaneity and laughter that goes with it all. If you bring your organised western mind to Thailand you will be constantly disappointed with how things are done here. Read any of the on-line forums and you’ll find cranky guys complaining about Thai processes. Get with reality or go home! I was expecting some sort of official speech, chanting or moment of great significance but it was not to be. The main focus of the blessing is the raising of two ceremonial columns, one which has attached to it the cotton spinning bob the photo of which I showed you above, and the second a beautifully made fishing basket. I only include the photos below because the basket is a lovely piece of handmade work by an old bloke who brought it round. Bought for 250 THB or A$8.00. How many hours went into making it? Of course NO ceremony would be complete without food and lots of it. The Spiritman had headed off to do another blessing having pocketed 500 THB for his efforts from me. Thanks for reading.
Building in Thailand eBook
When my wife and I bought some land in Isaan, which is a region in the north east of Thailand, and then started to build our house I started to record the daily events of construction life. For twenty six weeks I wrote a weekly blog update about all the aspects of the build and included as much detail as possible for others who might be thinking of going down the same path. I was surprised by the number of readers I attracted as a result of writing on this subject, many of whom followed the entire build from beginning to end.
Based on this continued interest I thought I would revisit my original words and bring them all together under the one heading in the form of an eBook. Included in this process has been some extensive updating and expansion of many of the original posts and the addition of the many COMMENTS, which are designed to expand your knowledge and save you time or money or both!
Read more HERE and find out how to obtain the eBook.
I am loving your book – just on my second read at the moment, to make sure that I didn’t miss anything first time around (which actually it turns out I did!).
Just a note of thanks at this point ……. I am a fairly methodical sort of bloke, but there are many issues which your book highlights which I just wouldn’t have thought about – or if I had, I may well have assumed they were “standard” building practice [U-bends, drain positioning, barge-board alignment] – if it hadn’t been for your excellent descriptions!! I will probably still “miss” something – that’s the nature of building/design – but thanks to you, it shouldn’t be anything too mission-critical.
The income from my eBook pays for the upkeep of this blog, which is otherwise commercially free unlike so many others.