Warren, an englishman who spent many years in South Africa had asked us out to his farm about an hour to the north-east of Chiang Mai, so we headed out yesterday for lunch.
Warren had bought a former rice paddy in a pleasantly remote area with a very old teak worker's cottage consisting of 5 consecutive 3x3 rooms all in a straight line. The rennovations Warren has performed are sensational. It reminds me of the Glen Murcatt/Crackenback Farm
Warren loves animals; he has them everywhere! You swing up the beautiful tree-planted driveway past several lotus-filled ponds fed by natural springs; the ponds filled with geese, ducks of every kind & large fish (taptim). You ride through pigs & cattle, past dogs & ever more varieties of bird.
We were greated by Warren & his 'team', many adopted & educated by warren & is wife. We were welcomed with a glass of lemon tea freshly brewed from leaves on the farm, mixed with honey (yes, from the farm). We then tried the home-made roselle which was so good i had 3.....Warren had told me it was good for the health & it slipped down giving a certain feeling of goodness!
We went for a tour of the farm - EVERY animal had a name!!!! We released 100 guinnea fowls from their barn (held there in the laying/mating season as their eggs are destroyed by water (its rainy sseason here). They follow Warren wherever he 'calls'. When the eggs are laid he picks them up & places them under a multitude of hens that he has nesting alongside! Great stuff!
We stroll out through banana, mango, avocado & orange orchards past the coffee plantation - yep Warren has the BEST coffee - out past the squirrel cage, currently occupied by fan-tail doves as he wants the eggs for offspring, past the incubation area for the 100s of chicks of all speciees already born, down to the kennels - (pedigree) labradours, one of which had 10 puppies (9 boys) 2 days earlier. All the pigs & piglets lob up to say g'day - one of them - Maggie - lies down next to Warren when he lies down in the grass! As I say EVERY animal has a name, even the fish (!) & yes Warren is the total vegetarian.
Into the house, Maggie the pig happy to join us; one of the squirrels is there (chews at pieces of the teak in the house though).... this place is incredible (I can see W/S; what a chance we were there on her b/d). By the way, there are staff everywhere so the place is 'nickel'!
Its virgin country with springs, rivers, waterfalls & surrounded by dence jungle - only 2 years ago tigers took 2 cows at little over a kilometre from the house!
Back to a massive lunch & more roselle....... I'd missed the hint when Warren said it was 'good for you'.......boy oh boy, did the diahrea hit, so much so I had to cancel going to dinner that evening!
I thought we'd had an eccentric day until I arrived home to find an email from Michael wishing me a happy birthday! Being 26th June it was exactly 1 month early! Mate, the vino in Portugal must be good!