The reports of my ill health have been greatly exaggerated

A few months back I wrote a piece which broadly outlined my thoughts on the pros and cons of leaving Thailand to return to the UK.

Part of the reasoning for the move was to do with health.

It would seem that my thoughts lacked clarity.

Why do I say this?

Well, recently I was contacted by Charlie, a friend from my days in Pattaya who is currently in the UK on a temporary assignment. “How are you?” he asked with some concern in his voice. This was not the usual throw-away opening gambit many calls start with.

“I’m fine thanks,” I replied trying to conceal my reaction to the perceived concern in his voice.

“That’s good news,” he replied. “Last I heard, you were unwell.”

Quite why he had heard this slightly bemused me but, on reflection, after the call was over I think I worked it out.

Tell one person a story and when it gets back to you via two or three others it rarely sounds the same.

You know the sort of thing. Inform someone you found a fiver on the street and by the time it is retold you either won 50 quid in the lottery or lost 20 when it slipped out of your pocket in a taxi.

So, I want to make it clear for those (few) of you who might give a damn… I’m okay, thanks.





I don’t wish to harp on about it too much in case Murphy’s Law intervenes. But, yeah, all things considered, I’m not too bad.

I did not return to the UK because I thought I was close to popping my clogs, turning up my toes or whatever other euphemism you might wish to apply to a visit from the Grim Reaper.

I was simply finding the cost of my healthcare in Thailand was in danger of spiraling out of control.

Before I left Pattaya I had been prescribed a new type of insulin. Insulin with attitude. In fairness, it seemed to be doing the trick on my blood sugars but the price of it was about three times that I had spent previously.

Given everything else that was going on with my diminishing income I felt I could not sustain this course of treatment.

So I was sat there with fairly uncomfortable thoughts running through my mind.

Should I risk my health based on price when in the UK I would pay nothing for the same, enhanced treatment?

Regular readers of this column will know the outcome. But, if you are locking horns with me for the first time, I’ll spell it out: I went back to the UK.



Health was just one of reasons I made the decision and most of them can be summed up by one word: Money – or the lack of it!

Had this magazine been doing well I could have afforded the increased cost of medication and stayed. But it wasn’t and I couldn’t.

By the way, at this point maybe I should own up to stealing the headline from Mark Twain and tweaking it for my own purposes.

My previous article can be found under


Nice short link, don’t you think?

In it I touched upon a few subjects that might benefit from an update.

For example, I was moaning about how long it was taking for my wife to get a UK residency visa.

Within a month of writing the article she got it okay. I don’t think the two incidents are linked. She joined me in the UK six months to the day after we applied for the visa.

We never did get to see the Jethro Tull concert just before Christmas. I couldn’t book in advance due to uncertainty about whether she would be in the UK.

Another reason for getting her to the UK was so she could find a job paying much more money that she would get in Thailand.

To date, that ploy hasn’t worked. I thought that, given she was/is seeking unskilled work that spoilt Brits would be unwilling to undertake, it would be a breeze. Not so, but we’ll crack it, I’m sure. After all, it took me a full three months to gain employment.

I forgot to mention last time that when I went back to the UK it was in the hope that a publishing venture involving tourism would come off for me. It didn’t after one of the chief protagonists fell ill.

I seem to have gone full circle back to the health thing again!


By Dave Buckley