Saturday, 6 February 2016

Week 5 - One Daily Positive and Project 366

Not a good week health wise, but a great week for the weather, sadly I've not been able to take advantage of the cooler days and evenings, but the garden is doing well and seeds are germinating. Hubby is away next week, he's taking back gifts for family and friends, birthdays, mother's and father's day, up until the end of June. I felt much better on Saturday and cycled to the Burj Al Arab for an ice-cream and to watch the Dubai Cycle Tour. I also made up some new curtains for the kitchen with material we bought from IKEA on Friday, we had our first row trying to get into the car park and walked around the store in silence.

Sunday Day 31 ‪#‎onedailypositive‬ ‪#‎project366‬ this is the only photo I've taken all day other than 'my month of mornings' which will have to wait till tomorrow now for posting. I've had a stinking cold all day and the threat of a migraine hanging over me. I've spent all evening on the internet which hasn't helped either. I decided it was a 'no work at home night' I've written blog posts, watched Harry Potter, read and commented on linkys and I painted my toe nails and had a soak in the bath. Safely tucked up in bed with tablets and a wheat pillow. My Sunday Photo was the World Record LED display on the Burj Khalifa.

Monday Day 32 ‪#‎onedailypositive‬ ‪#‎project366‬ late with posting but photos were taken on the day. Home from work early with a migraine, hubby cooked dinner, fetched me plenty of drink and looked after me.

Tuesday Day 33 ‪#‎onedailypositive‬ ‪#‎project366‬ the migraine and flu required a trip to the hospital in the evening to spend an hour or so hooked up on a drip as I was in severe pain and could no longer manage the pain. The cat seemed to know I was poorly and didn't leave my side all day. Animal Tales this week is about the advice we were given when camping in the wild in Canada on what to do if we saw a bear.

Wednesday Day 34 ‪#‎onedailypositive‬ ‪#‎project366‬ spent most of the morning sleeping before nipping into work for a couple of hours to get next weeks planning done, the cat was pleased to see me back home and lovely to have her want to be with me even after she'd been fed.

Thursday Day 35 ‪#‎onedailypositive‬ ‪#‎project366‬ feeling sad today, it's our daughters 28th birthday, our nieces 24th birthday, and there are various other family birthdays on the horizon, it's days like these that I regret our decision to leave the UK. The only positive I can get right now is that Peter is in the UK with work in 2 weeks and will get to visit the family on our behalf, today's photo is the Al Wasl Road, I'm grateful for the fact it's warm and safe here in Dubai to walk Bob, alone at night.
HDYGG? January in the garden, the seeds are germinating and bulbs finally peeking through the soil/sand. 

Friday Day 36 #onedailypositive #project366 the weather is perfect in Dubai right now to spend as much time as possible outdoors. I have coffee, bacon butty, a pile of magazines to read and a gardening book to consult. Later on we're off shopping to spend some of my first pay check on a garden table for outside the back door and some more plants for the garden. I blogged today but how it feels to have an adult child in care 1000's of miles away and the self imposed guilt, which Mumsnet featured as their blog of the day.

Saturday Day 37 #onedailypositive #project366 We visited a garden centre today to get some ideas and I've created a little corner of happiness with the gazebo, lights and scatter cushions, that we already had so I can sit outside in the late afternoon with some shelter from the sun.

Feel free to link up and join in with either a blog post or a selection of photo's from your week. I'll read, comment and send out a link to your post in exchange for you reading and commenting on at least 2 other posts.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Having an adult child in care

We left the UK in January 2011, we took 2 of our 5 children with us, one was living in Germany, the other in Reading and the eldest in a care home in Gloucestershire.

If you think putting a child into care is easy, think again about how difficult it is to move 1000's of miles away.

Our daughter is 28, she has been in care since she was 12. She is profoundly disabled and lives in a bungalow with one other woman and is staffed 24 hours a day, funded by Gloucestershire Social Services. She is profoundly disabled, wears nappies and needs 24/7 care as she is a risk to herself if left unattended. She can feed herself if the food is chopped up and she uses a spoon with a plate guard and can drink unaided out of a sippy cup. She has no form of communication, doesn't even make eye contact and recognises us only by our routines with her when we visit.

Contact and communication with her is impossible. We write regularly, send the staff emails, send gifts and when we visit the UK we take her out to see her siblings and other family members. Sadly we can't have her out over night any more as we don't have a base in the UK or anywhere suitable to take her. Family homes aren't appropriate, there's hardly enough room for us to stay and hotel rooms are too small, as she is rather active and needs a lot of space to wander in.

She is too old for ball pools and children's play areas, not mentally but physically and she does grab out at people passing by and small children, she has a particular fondness for long hair. If we go to cafe's or restaurants she swipes everything off the table and we often find the lack of disabled changing facilities difficult to go to other places, so we tend to stick to supermarkets where the ground is even, they have good changing facilities and a cafe without fancy table cloths for her to pull off.

Prior to us leaving the UK, we had her home every weekend and visited her in her own home 30 miles from ours once a week. When we left the UK, we didn't abandon her or our other adult children. She is unable to visit us abroad like the other children can, a car journey is difficult with her and she needs to wear a harness, to stop her climbing out of her seat, so a flight is impossible and not fair on her to pin her in a seat for 7 plus hours, let alone the other passengers.

It was her 28th birthday yesterday. We last saw her in September, my mum calls her once a month, but that's the end of family involvement with her, the boys only visit when they're with us, but to be fair, we can't expect them to take her out and change her in the toilets. It's also difficult to visit her in her own home due to the turn over of staff. Every time we visit there are new staff, new management, new contact people. When I write or email, it's to the staff not to our daughter, she has photos of us on her wall, but we truly don't believe she knows what she is looking at.

I called her last night to wish her a happy birthday, it wasn't a pleasant call, the woman who answered the phone just said 'hello' I said who I was and was phoning from Dubai to wish her a happy birthday and to enquire as to how she was. I came off the phone very upset that the member of staff had no patience for me, I even asked her if she could make an effort to tell me our daughter was ok and reassure us that everything was alright. But I could hear in her voice and her lack of interest in the call that she thinks we've abandoned our daughter, that we don't care, that she knows our daughter better than us as she works 5 x 8 hour shifts with her a week, she probably isn't the person who answers the emails. or is on shift when the post arrives or my mother calls. She has only been in the job since mid September as I didn't recognise her name. The management have made no effort again to fill the care staff in on her history and family background, they probably look at the pictures on the wall and see a forgotten family, a family they don't see, a family the care staff know nothing about and assume we've just dumped and run.

I started my working life with SCOPE, I've worked in care for many years, I've heard the staff gossip, I've heard the assumptions they've made as to why the family don't visit. I've heard the staff moaning about how the family, when they do visit just interfere and they're the ones who are looking after their children whether they're minors or adults and heard them say how the family know nothing about their own child and how on earth could anyone just give their child away.

I'm fed of explaining to people why our daughter is in care, it's no one else's business at the end of the day. I can tell you for sure that if Gloucester Social Services didn't think she needed that level of care they certainly wouldn't be funding her full time.

Yes we feel the guilt, which is self imposed, but there's no need for anyone else, however well meaning or just thoughtless they are to add to it.

We also have a child in boarding school in the UK and no we haven't abandoned him either.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

January in the garden with HDYGG?

I've not been up to much in the garden, in fact I've done very little in January compared to previous months as I've returned to work full time.

Everything seems to be growing nicely though, I water the garden at 5.15am every morning while I wait for the kettle to boil and as it's winter the sand isn't drying out that quickly.

I've identified my 2 mystery seedlings, it would appear they are tomato plants.

The birds have taken a fancy to the tomatoes, we have so many, I don't mind them snaffling up the odd one or two.

I've lost the packaging these seeds came from, so I have no idea what they will look like when they flower, they've now been transferred to the sandpit also.

 I've over watered the lavender, I've now transferred it to the sand with some compost dug in, in the hope it will recover.

Despite regular watering, the leaves are dying on the plants, the sun doesn't stay on this part of the garden for long, maybe that's the issue.

Despite it being winter, the temps still reach the high 20's during the day and weeding the sandpit was very hot and tiring work, those roots go down a long way and had to be dug out.

I transferred some seedlings, the labels had worn off so it is 'pot luck' gardening here.

 No sign of the daffodil, that has been sitting in this pot since April. 

I've transferred the Geraniums into the freshly weeded sand pit and planted a variety of seeds in the compost.

 This photo was taken today and you can see the bulb pushing through the soil.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

If the bear is brown, lie down, if it's black, fight back and if it's white, goodnight.

This is a phrase used many times on social media when I said I was going camping in the wildness of Algonquin in Canada last summer.

On arrival at the canoe launch we were warned of a heighten risk of bears around the campsites and portages. 

We were given information leaflets on the storage of food and to remove all garbage and food from the campsite on departure. 

We gathered up a discarded black bag full of beer cans and other rubbish that some selfish visitors to the area had discarded in the area where a bear sighting had been reported.

I'm very grateful not to have seen a bear on our visit, however we believe we had a close encounter with one at the camp site when we found bear poo within 100 meters of the tent, officially answering the question 'does a bear shit in the woods?'

We didn't go anywhere without a can of bear spray, even the short distance between the camp fire and the tent.

So what do you do if you encounter a bear? There are 4 types of bear encounters you could experience.

A fleeing bear.

Enjoy the sight of it running away.

An habituated bear.

If the bear is fishing or foraging for berries, calmly leave the area.
If the bear is approaching you, stand still, face it, yell, throw sticks and rocks, use a whistle, make yourself as big as possible, wave your arms and use the bear spray.
If that fails, depending on how you reached your campsite either get into you car or a building on into your canoe and paddle away.

A defensive bear may see you as a threat to it's food source and it will huff and blow air through it's nostrils and swat the ground and make mock charges. Talk to the bear and back away and leave the area.

A predatory bear will silently stalk you, leave the area by canoe or car but DO NOT TURN AND RUN. DO NOT CLIMB A TREE.

If you cannot leave, do EVERYTHING you can to fight back. DO NOT PLAY DEAD. Fighting back with noise, sticks and rocks is the only way to halt the attack.

I'm glad I didn't see a bear, I'm not sure I'd react all that calmly faced with a situation like that.

One thing to remember is to camp in in groups, there have been no reports of bear attacks on groups of 6 or more people, most attacks occur when there are only 1 or 2 people.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

My Sunday Photo - Week 57 January 2016

When you live in Dubai, it's impossible not to notice the Burj Khalifa, the World's Tallest Building. Hubby says I have enough photographs without taking any more, but how could I resist this one.
From January 1st till February1st every year in Dubai is the DSF or Dubai Shopping Festival, with upto 70% off almost everything. There are some pretty good sales throughout the year, but the DSF is a big tourist attraction in it's own right, with an estimated 3 million visitors every year.

So with all those visitors here for the shopping it only seems fair that they get to see the best of Dubai.

The Burj Khalifa is currently covered in 70,000 LED's to set a world record for the biggest LED show ever. It covers 32,467 sq metres, which is equivalent to four and a half football pitches.

I've decided not to set myself any challenges or tasks this week as this was the only one I managed to achieve was to visit the Burj Khalifa to see this display. I never got round to the ironing or visiting the beach last week. My only challenge is to get some sleep during the week and not spend the weekend in bed, nursing a heavy cold.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Week 4 - One Daily Positive and Project 366

All of a sudden it was Wednesday, it was only one day till the weekend and one more night till hubby returned from Turkey and the only thing I'd achieved this week was to still be alive. I was also convinced there was another week in January, as it's passed by in a blur.

I'm so tired since returning to work, despite getting around 7 hours of undisturbed sleep every night and no other commitments apart from walking the dog. I've been eating healthily, salad and fruit during the day and a meal every evening, either home cooked or stopping off somewhere on my way back from work. I wrote a list for My Sunday Photo of things I wanted to do, but just didn't achieve, as I've still been battling with a heavy cold all week and ended up in bed by 6pm on Thursday.

I also forgot to post day 24 and 25, I found them in the saved folder. I really need to get myself better organised, I can't carry on like this, it's driving me mad.

Day 24 #onedailypositive #project366 there goes hubby for the week to Turkey with work. I hate being on my own but at least now I'm working and it's only the evenings and I have plenty of things to occupy my time.

Day 25 #onedailypositive #project366 I almost had a melt down at work today, I felt overloaded with things to do. I'm managing the teaching, planning, students, classroom, behaviour, paperwork and other staff rather well, individually, but when everything demands my attention within a short space of time, I'm finding it tough. It's only my 4th week back in work in 5 years, so I guess I should go easy on myself. I lost my car key, which someone handed into security which I'm grateful for, I had a sleep, recovered and finished all the laminating. New day tomorrow.

Day 26 #onedailypositive #project366 I took Bob out for a walk searching for inspiration for my daily photo and realised that if I turn right out the gate and crossed the road I could see the @burjalarab 3.5 miles away usually I turn left and see the @burjkhalifa 5.5 miles away. This week's Animal Tales post answers the question 'Does a bear shit in the woods?'

Day 27 #onedailypositive #project366 I set myself a 10.30pm bedtime. I got home from work at 4.30pm wrote letters and filled paperwork for the UK, went to the post office, shopped, had dinner out, did next weeks planning, walked the dog, had a bath, went to bed on time. However it's 11pm now, hubby arrives home at 4am from Turkey and I have work tomorrow, so putting book down, finish tea, clean teeth and sleep.

Day 28 #onedailypositive #project366 I was so tired at the end of the week I had to use old photos for the 2 photo prompts and like this post, it's a day late. The 3 other pics I took were of the car temp at 22c at 6.30am and it's supposed to be winter and the morning shot of the sky outside my front door. The cat and dog are now spending sun-thurs on their own since I returned to work and they're not too impressed. At the moment we leave Bob outside while the weather is cooler and the cat decides daily if she wants to be in or out. The positive is that the cat is choosing to spend more time with us rather than just being there. She did make us laugh when she demanded stroking and promptly deciding hubby should stop by hissing and clawing at him. This week's HDYGG post was from last summers trip to Canada and The Gardens of Casa Loma, Toronto.

Day 29 #onedailypositive #project366 despite feeling really ill since yesterday evening I'm really glad I made the effort to get to @thedubaimall to see the World Record 70,000 LED display on the @burjkhalifa

Day 30 ‪#‎onedailypositive‬ ‪#‎project366‬ I woke at 5am coughing and spluttering and a blocked nose, we ran out of gas for the stove and had to use the camp stove, attempted to return the car hire but the car wouldn't start, tried several times to get up and do something but was unable to get out of bed for too long. On a positive, Peter cleaned the house and cooked dinner, which removed a lot of stress and helped me to rest.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Casa Loma, Toronto, Canada with City Pass

I spent 3 weeks in Canada last year, in Hamilton and had only 3 days in Toronto before flying home to Dubai, with so much to see and do I opted to purchase the Toronto City Pass, which gave me entry to 5 locations around the city, sadly the Zoo was too far out of the City in the limited time I had to visit, but I did manage to get to visit Casa Loma once I'd navigated the transport system from near the airport, where I was staying, by bus and train, I found Casa Loma easily, the directions in the City Pass were very helpful. Although it did involve a medium length walk up hill from the subway.

Casa Loma is North America's only full sized castle and a premier historical site in Toronto. Designed by architect E J Lennow in 1911 by Sir Henry Pellatt. It is an Edwardian Castle that took 300 men, 3 years to build. It covers 200,000 square feet and cost $3,500,000 to build and sits in 5 acres of land.

On arrival at Casa Loma you are directed down the stairs to collect an audio guide and a map, passing a cafe and well stocked gift shop, where you start the tour. Everything was well sign posted and there was lots of information available in several languages.

The tunnel that leads to the garage, stables and potting shed.

Dining room where many a function has taken place both then and now and there was a wedding photo shoot taking place the day I visited.

Originally designed as an indoor, heated pool, but never finished due to the Pellatt's financial difficulties.

The staircases were numerous, these are the ones leading to the servants quarters.

The Pellatt's had separate bedrooms.

The plumbing for the bathrooms looked quite modern.

Third floor full of military memorabilia.

Inside the tower.

I love a good mezzanine and this one was huge, can't help think about the heating bills though.

An exact replica of the Queen's Coronation Chair that sits in Westminster Abbey, carved by the choirboys in the 18th century.

You can see the Gardens of Casa Loma in a separate post with HDYGG? How does your garden grow?