I fully intended to go back to sleep for a while on Saturday 2nd January, after Captain Caveman had got up at 5am, drove his motorbike to Oxalis Home (about 12km away) to get the staff bus to Dung’s wedding, south of Hue (a few hours drive away). He had packed a bag and decided not to get the bus back the same day and would stay a couple of days in Hue for a short break. It was 12°C again and I stayed in bed but didn’t get back to sleep at all. On the news the first case of the new Corona virus variant had arrived in Vietnam from the UK, the 45 year old repatriating Vietnamese woman had already gone straight in to the compulsory 14 day quarantine upon arrival.
I had buttered toast for breakfast and then got an invite to go to The Villas with Bich and Veronika in the afternoon where Ben would be with the yoga retreat group for a late lunch. I was grateful for the lift over and to enjoy a trip out for a nice change. I had an oolong tea and treated myself to a sticky date pudding with vanilla ice cream which is absolutely delicious. Back home, Veronika and I had time to get ready for dinner and we had a very civilised meal at Phong Nha Farmstay, our home from home. Veronika had pumpkin soup with garlic bread and I had beef in bamboo with steamed rice and vegetables and only 1 glass of red wine.
Matty returned from East Hill, where he had been to celebrate his birthday, they do an amazing BBQ chicken with sticky rice. The Phong Nha Farmstay surprised him with a birthday cake and so we all had to have a piece of that to finish off the night – my diet was going well and I decided to try not to eat until dinner tomorrow!

Sunday 3rd January was a quiet day, Captain Caveman was still in Hue and was planning to pick up some sausages to bring back. I stuck to my not eating a meal until dinner and, instead, got on with my massively increasing To Do List and catching up on Vietnamese language learning. One of the fantastic things about where we are is that the Phong Nha Farmstay is like our ‘local’ and so it feels good to have the opportunity to go for the Sunday roast dinner each week. It’s strange really that I have started to eat, and look forward to, more of the western traditional foods now that it’s colder and I think it’s a sign I’m missing home – I hardly ever ate a Sunday dinner in the UK, though.
To keep me from getting too hungry I had plain popcorn as a snack but then I was so hungry for my Sunday dinner that I could hardly wait to order it. Veronika ordered her meal without all the extra gubbins whereas Matty and I ordered it as it comes; pork (with crackling), lamb, roast potatoes, vegetables, smoked duck and veggie pasta bake, bread and gravy! The carrot cake was fresh, moist and delicious, as always – enjoyed by the fire. Veronika had a cup of tea but I shared a bottle of red wine with Matty before getting a lift back home.

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