I spent the weekend at Khao Yai National Park north of Bangkok, Thailand. We were not lucky enough to see any gibbons on this trip. Instead we saw a troop of macaque monkeys and we did walk through the spectacular pristine forest and we could hear the gibbons whooping in the tree tops quite nearby. Some of the magnificent tall trees that rise way above the forest canopy are hundreds of years old and are the height of a 10 storey building, something which I find hard to imagine even standing right next to one.
The forest felt damp, was alive with bird calls and the floor was covered with leaves, some enormous. I was surprised to learn that although the rain is seasonal, the forest floor remains damp all the time.
At the end of our forest trail was this huge strangler fig tree. It is 300 years old, so it was around in the 1700's! Strangler figs are parasites. The seed grows in the hollow of a mature forest tree and gets all its nourishment from it, eventually killing the host tree. The fig drops its own roots to the ground as it grows and strangles its host, often forming a hollow in the centre where the original tree stood. We didn't hang around here too long because I founded a dreaded leech crawling up my shoe and I was off...
Back in Bangkok, I have started on my little project for Liam's birthday next week. Before I left Cape Town, I cut out the felt segments I need to make a felt ball - about the size of a tennis ball. The pattern comes from an old toy-making book passed on to me by Pam Lightfoot. Thanks Pam!
I am using a tiny, really tiny, stab stitch on the inside seam to join the pieces. To make sure the stitching is almost invisible on the outside I pull each stitch down firmly into the felt until it is almost hidden. Then when I open up the seam and look at it on the outside, the thread hardly shows at all - I hope.
We are off again tomorrow, this time down south to the beach. More about the ball next week. Also, I'll pass on a tip I found useful, a tip about joining those eight pieces so that they meet up neatly at the top and bottom of the ball.