Fionnula urges Frankie to wake up and smell the coffee

WHEN two friends in their 30s realise their lives are going nowhere, they initiate a strange challenge to transform their lives by Christmas Day. Can they do it?

Over 10 weeks, we'll find out as this column charts the highs and lows of Fi and Frankie's hilarious quest.

Catch up on the series: 

Fionnula and Frankie's Christmas Countdown - Week 1

Spontaneity gets in the way of friends' good intentions

Jim the hot gym instructor has Fionnula a little breathless



I'M writing this from an internet café on Sukhumvit Rd, Bangkok. Frankie's on the computer beside me. Of course Lynnie freaked out when I told her Frankie was in Thailand.

"Don't shoot the messenger, Lynnie!" I'd said when she gave me a furious look. She'd immediately wanted me to down tools and bring Frankie back, but I had two weddings booked in for the Friday, and so I finished the working week, and flew over today.

Truth be known, the salon could have managed without me, but I'd mustered up the courage to ask Jim from the gym out for coffee, and not even Frankie absconding to Bangkok could dissuade me.

I was so proud of myself. On the Wednesday just gone, I gritted my teeth, crossed the bridge to the northside, and headed to Silhouettes, where I found Jim rolling out our yoga mats for the 6pm Abs, Butts and Thighs class.

A group of girls were standing around him, stretching and laughing, and I almost chickened out, but then he turned and saw me and I went straight up to him and said, "Jim from the gym, my friend Frankie has run away to Thailand and I need to bring her back this weekend, but would you like to have coffee with me on my return next Monday at Michel's Patisserie on the southside?"

He smiled and said, "Jim from the gym? No one's called me that before."

I heard some of the girls giggle behind their 10kg weights and could feel myself turning scarlet. But then, just as I was about to leave he said, "I'd love to come, I'll lock in coffee with you next Monday."

Then he smiled at me again as if he really meant what he said, and I went so weak at the knees I may as well have done 1000 squat jumps.

By this stage I was too flustered to exercise, so I made some excuse about having to pack for Bangkok, and haven't seen him since.

So, now you can appreciate the urgency of my quest to bring Frankie back... not only did Lynnie challenge me to do so (I sensed she would have banished me if I'd refused) but I need to get back for my coffee date with Jim!


I FREAKING love Bangkok. I'm never coming home. I regret that mum and dad were so worried about me, but I'm fine. I have honestly had the best week of my life.

I checked into a hostel on Sukhumvit Rd, and immediately joined forces with Margie and Jess, the two Canadians I found loitering in the foyer.

They were booking a tour of the Patpong area with the hostel's limousine driver, Chai, and asked if I'd like to come along.

Of course I said yes, and the next thing I knew Chai and Margie and Jess and I were whizzing around the red light district in Chai's "limousine", which turned out to be a Hyundai Excel.

I felt such an exhilarating sense of freedom. It was like I was 25 again. And don't think I didn't remember mum's challenge to me last week to get a job.

I'm happy to report I've been in and out of all the bars along Sukhumvit Rd this week, and some of the staff even mentioned there could be work.

I know Fionnula came all this way to get me, and that she has a hot date to get back for with Jim from the gym on Monday, but I honestly think Bangkok could be the answer.

This column is brought to you by the travel experts at Flight Centre. Follow Frankie to Bangkok for four nights' accommodation at the Sawasdee Sukhumvit Soi 8 hotel including return airfares from Brisbane from $795pp. Call 133 133 or visit for more details.




KEN and I married when we were both 24. We'll have been together 40 years in January. We have three beautiful children and are now able to plan our trip around Australia. I'd dearly love for Frankie to settle down.

I know she's felt the lows of loss, but she's got to get her confidence up again, and jump back into life. Is jumping on a jet to Bangkok the solution?

I suppose only she can answer that.

Clearly she doesn't want to be here, at home with Ken and I, but to be honest, thank God she has this option. Upon reflection, perhaps the fact that she does know this support's there is part of the problem.

Maybe if Ken and I weren't here, she'd be forced to fend for herself and take responsibility for her circumstances. I'd never change the locks of course, but believe me it's definitely an option if all else fails.

I suppose, if I didn't have all these dogs (Poppy included, mind you) I might take off on a whim to Thailand too. At least it would get me away from those noisy removal trucks next door.

Next week: Will Fionnula make it back in time for her date with Jim from the gym? And will Frankie ever return from Bangkok? Find out next Saturday. PS You can always catch up online if you've missed a week.

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