A stroll around the grounds of Toad Hall

Malaysians are not fond of swimming; in fact they don’t seem fond of exercise at all.  I walk to school every day, which only takes about 30 minutes, but any locals who discover this are appalled.

‘Is so far!  Why you no take bus?  Why you no take taxi?’

If you imagine telling a Londoner that you swim up the Thames every morning from Canvey Island to get to work, then you’ll have some idea of the strength of their reaction.

They exercise by strolling around the grounds of the condo in the evening when it’s cooler – many in full lycra outfits and trainers as they amble past the flower beds or stand and raise their arms above their head on the porch.

This is great news for me, because it means that the two pools are nearly always empty and I can decided whether I want to use the second floor pool –

slightly cooler, but with a lovely view of the sunset (notice the cleaners … will come to them later) –

or the ground floor pool –

warmer, but slightly further to walk … I’m beginning to sound Malaysian already.

Everything is kept immaculately clean, with cleaners working all day washing, wiping, scrubbing, and even picking every single leaf out of the water by hand.

There are some very exotic flowers around

and even a lotus-filled pond

and plenty of tropical greenery.

Plus more than enough bougainvillea to shake a stick at –

– if shaking sticks at shrubs happens to be your thing.

I love this orange flower growing across the poolside pergola, and I asked a local lady what its name is.

‘Oh, it’s just a weed,’ she said.  ‘I don’t think it’s got a name.’

The new gym, next to the cool pool, opened last Monday.  It’s very splendid with lots of shiny, new equipment.

See cleaner in the background, ensuring continued shininess of all equipment.

Mr Toad – hugely excited at the thought of a potential new enthusiasm

– was gutted to discover that his feet wouldn’t reach the pedals.

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