Thai Days: Glue and pets and the restoration of a Chinese treasure.


Hugh Paxton’s Blog has had a gluey sort of morning.

Pets started it.

The cat’s busy at night but seems to find the house a little cluttered. So it sweeps things to their destruction trying to harass geckoes. This has soured relations.

I like my things, I am very fond of geckoes – they eat mozzies – and I woke last night with a smile and a feeling of satisfaction.

For a befuddled moment I wondered why. Then the dream came back. I’d just punted the cat over two hedges and into the shrine pond and brained our beagle, Buggly with a hammer. Something had happened to our rabbit involving sage and onion in Vietnam and our rat, something to do with our rat…our pea snails…but you know what dreams do. They unravel. You forget the really good bits.

But our pets have spurred the local economy.

Chang and I have been glueing things back together all morning. We started with the simple – a wooden tiger from Bhutan with a broken tail, we moved on to the more complex – a komodo dragon sculpture from Bali, also with a broken tail. Broken tails became a constant theme and all the tails (and in some cases feet) were back in place after an hour and a half.

The stuff that had been chewed into oblivion by the dog was binned.

We took a brief tea break and heard an “Eek!.

T’was Khun Mee, our beloved maid. Our dog had just destroyed her flip flops. Grabbed, gnashed, tustled with and torn. Her fifth pair this year. Chang explained he’d lost four pairs. I didn’t dare to think of how many of my daughters friends had lost shoes to the hound of the Paxtonvilles. Lots. The trouble is every stupid git who comes here wants to train the dog and shouts, “Stand up!” then offers it treats.

Result? The beagle has learned to stand up and can now access dining tables, shoes placed cautiously on high places and can screw up my house. Then eat my visitor’s shoes. Encounters with Buggly are like having a brief interview with Hannibal “the Cannibal” . Fun in a foul way. Both share voracious and peculiar appetites. But Hannibal only wanted to eat people. My vile dog wants to eat everything.

Anyhow anybody with a beagle knows how this goes. We repaired what we could.

Then the morning became interesting. We turned our eyes and glue in the direction of the antique porcelain sent to us by beloved brother Charles who had bought it in Borneo after the piece had made a rather dodgy journey through six hundred years, rescue from the bottom of the sea after a shipwreck, to the Manila National Museum, then to Sulawesi. Then to Borneo. Then to Japan. Then England . Then to Thailand.

Some Thai hephalump down at the docks had sat on it. It was in recognizable but in rather poor shape.

Chang spent a long time working on this migratory art theft and eventually resorted to the gentle application of sandpaper to insert the smaller fragments. I spent long minutes thinking “He’s going to smash it!”

An hour or more later… By God, he’d done it! Every piece back in its place. It isn’t as it was, if one applies a magnifying glass (I’ll have to glue mine back together before I try that!) but it’s a slick piece of work! It looks as if no hepfalump had ever sat on it! A lovely thing. Subtle and with at least nine lives!

It has been locked in a secure display cabinet to avoid dog, cat, children, maid, and myself.

It has endured! I respect it for that as much as I respect it it for its beauty and the skill of the long dead artist.

Definitely a museum piece!


From: Ade Long []
Sent: Thursday, November 13, 2014 11:28 PM
Subject: Hundreds of important sites for nature threatened with destruction

STRICTLY EMBARGOED: Not for publication or broadcast until 00.01 GMT on Saturday 15 November, 2014

Hundreds of important sites for nature threatened with destruction

More than 350 of the planet’s most important sites for nature are threatened with being lost forever according to a new report by BirdLife International.

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) are places of international significance for the conservation of the world’s birds and other nature, with over twelve thousand identified worldwide. IBAs are the largest and most comprehensive global network of important sites for nature conservation. Now, 356 of these – known as ‘IBAs in Danger’ – have been identified in 122 countries and territories as being in imminent danger of being lost. About half of these are legally protected, which highlights the importance of improving the management effectiveness of protected areas.

“‘IBAs in Danger’ provides an essential focus for governments, development agencies, the international environmental and conservation conventions, business and wider civil society to act to prevent the further damage or loss of these sites of international significance”, said Melanie Heath, BirdLife’s Director of Science, Policy and Information.

“Collectively we must work together to mitigate these threats, strengthen the implementation of national and local laws and policies ensuring environmental safeguards are implemented at the earliest stages of development, as well as enhancing the management of these sites”.

Examples of ‘IBAs in Danger’ include the lowland forests of the island of São Tomé – which are threatened by industrial scale plantations, hydroelectric dam building as well as illegal hunting, and the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand – a key feeding area for many globally threatened seabirds and marine mammals. Unfortunately, the ingestion of plastic debris is estimated to be higher at this site than any other worldwide.

The new report – Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas: a global network for conserving nature and benefiting people – details aspects of the work of the IBA programme over the last four decades. IBAs have proven extremely influential, by helping to target conservation effort at priority sites, by stimulating the designation of formal protected areas for many sites and by inspiring similar approaches for other taxa.

‘IBAs in Danger’ overlap with no fewer than 56 Wetlands of International Importance. The main threats to these sites are inappropriate water management, recreation and agriculture. Yet, these areas variously provide free water treatment and flood defences and also support the livelihoods for people living around them.

Since the IBA programme’s inception in the late 1970s, BirdLife International, through its 120 National Partners, has applied this influential approach to site conservation in virtually all of the world’s countries and territories, both on land and at sea. As such, in addition to the programme’s significant direct contribution to bird and wider biodiversity conservation, many hundreds of protected areas have been designated as a direct consequence of their recognition as IBAs. IBAs have also had considerable and, indeed, increasing relevance in developing responses to a number of wider environmental issues, such as habitat loss, ecosystem degradation, sustainable resource use and climate change.

For more information or interviews please contact:

Martin Fowlie: martin.fowlie – tel +44 (0)1223 279813.

Images and copies of the report can be downloaded from

Notes for Editors

1. BirdLife International is the world’s largest nature conservation Partnership. Together we are 120 BirdLife Partners worldwide – one per country – and growing, with almost 11 million supporters, 7000 local conservation groups and 7400 staff. Find out more at /

2. Over 12,000 have been identified globally. Find out more at

3. Explore the interactive map at

4. The new report Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas: a global network for conserving nature and benefiting people is being launched by BirdLife at the World Parks Congress, Sydney, Australia.