Hence forth I shall be bringing you this regular column packed with rapier wit and incisive observation about the quirks and conundrums of life in Phuket.
But first, who am I and how did I get here?
As a retired, overweight expat I’m here mainly because I cherish the company of attractive young women while sitting in bars surrounded by beautiful weather and scenery.
Now you may say that is a pretty shallow outlook on existence on this island that offers visitors and residents so many opportunities to do new and exciting things.
But you have to remember that I grew up in the north of England in the 1950s where not only was the weather foul and the beer warm and soapy, but the nearest thing you’d ever see to an attractive young woman was an underwear model in your mum’s black-and-white printed Christmas shopping catalogue.
Then James Bond arrived on the scene to put all this right.
I can still clearly recall the day I went to my first Bond film, it was Dr. No starring Sean Connery and Ursula Andress as the delectable Honey Ryder and filmed in Ian Fleming’s spiritual home – Jamaica.
As per normal it was a miserable chilly day with the icy rain flying in horizontally from the Irish Sea.
As an audience made up almost entirely of pimply schoolboys like myself trudged into the darkened interior of the cinema, the air of excited anticipation was palpable.
News of James Bond’s exploits with sumptuous young women had travelled around our school like wildfire and now we were going to witness it for ourselves.
When the pneumatic shape of Ursula Andress waded out of the Caribbean waves in her white bikini, with a dagger in her belt, a collective sigh of semi-orgasmic longing echoed around the theatre.
Upon leaving the cinema I was in a trancelike state….I had just seen the life I wanted to lead and now I had to work out how on Earth I was going to get out of England and land myself a job as a super-spy working – mainly on sun-drenched beaches with bikini-clad young beauties, while sipping martinis and driving my Aston Martin. No easy task for an 11-year-old.
Needless to say my life didn’t pan out quite that way. In actual fact the number of Aston Martins, bikini-clad nymphomaniacs and exotic spying assignments that came my way as I forged my career in Britain’s thrusting carpet and linoleum sector was disappointing to say the least.
Suffice to say that my work life was much like the typical English weather forecast – light drizzle turning into a steady downpour, with the chance of a thunder storm later in the day.
In fact, come to think of it, that’s a fair summation of how my married life went as well.
So, having survived the various disappointments of adult life, saved a small amount of dosh and become a statistic that proves that “optimism always triumphs over experience” by getting married and divorced three times, I arrived at the age of retirement and started to think about where I would like to spend my “Golden Years”.
Naturally my mind drifted back to my early dreams of Bondian romance and I hit upon Phuket as a place that seemed to offer a number of the essential ingredients at bargain basement rates.
Phuket even had a connection to the great super-spy in that Phang Nga Bay featured in 1974 Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun.
This Bond epic starred Roger Moore’s dancing eyebrows, Christopher Lee as the dastardly villain Scaramanga, a very silly dwarf named Nick Nack and of course Britt Eckland’s wondrous bottom wiggling about in various bikinis.
Time wipe to 2017... back in the deep south of Phuket, in the Loser’s Bar, on the Rawai beachfront. As I settle into my usual corner seat and sip my first drink of the day (more likely a cold bottle of suds than a martini shaken and not stirred) I reflect on the fact that my current life is not that far removed from the Bondian fantasy of my boyhood.
I do live on a sun-drenched tropical island where the palm trees and girly hips sway in the ocean breezes. I can spend my time inventing spying assignments for myself as I ponder the lives of the other lay-abouts and reprobates who populate this corner of Phuket.
And if I fancy a dalliance with a bit of shapely stroodle, well even that can be arranged in these benign parts.
The strange thing is that now that the Bondian lifestyle is actually available to me, it seems to have less appeal.
Maybe these sorts of things are meant to live only in our imaginations. And maybe understanding that is what is loosely described as “wisdom”.
And dear old Ursula is now 81 years old, bless her white cotton bikini. So, bartender I’ll have another please… shaken and not stirred and offer up a toast to ‘Bond… Basil Bond.’