Monday, 26 June 2017

My Sunday Photo - Week 130 O is for Outdoors

'Bring some of the sun with you Suzanne when you come to the UK please'

I was slightly disappointed to arrive at Birmingham Airport on Monday to a heat wave, I left Dubai to escape the summer, I did find it very hot this week, but it's a different kind of hot, one you can get a respite from when you stand in the shade, one that carries a cool breeze from time to time, one where cold water actually runs from the cold tap and one where the max temp of 32c that I experienced here in the UK is the minimum temp in Dubai right now.

I spent today in Stratford upon Avon. I had a picnic by the canal and a walk around the town. Something I can't do in the summer in Dubai. It's so nice to be able to be outdoors and actually enjoy it. I know a lot of people have found it too hot, but it's only been a week. I'm looking forward to the cooler weather forecast for the rest of this week, there was a bit of rain today and I was like a child in a sweet shop, it was exciting to actually have weather for a change rather than none stop oppressive heat and I intend to spend the rest of the UK summer outdoors as much as possible, come rain or shine.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

One Daily Positive - Week 25 In the UK

Anyone else spring clean their house before going away? I actually clean the house to spring clean standard every week, out of boredom. All the washing and ironing is done. I did a shop, wrote lists for Peter that he'll ignore then wake me up with a phone call at 4am forgetting the 3 hour time difference because he can't find the cat litter and he needs to go to work now, but it's what I do and I know when I come home, he'll have kept the house clean and tidy but I'll spend the first week, getting the house back into order, my order.

It's been a stressful few weeks dealing with several family and health issues, a bit of a scare this week, which needed me to register with a UK Doctor the day I arrived, a bit of drama with one of the kids and a few other things going on that I still can't blog about, not all bad though, just waiting for 2 of the kids to get around to sharing their news before I can share it.

169. Sunday. Dad. The teen bought a card and gifts when he was here over Whitsun but forgot to sign it, 2 boys sent a message on FB after a prompt and have sent cards but sadly they didn't arrive in time.

I had my BOGOF blow dry, so decided to take up the 'free' one in the morning before flying to the UK as well as a manicure, pedicure and new shellac polish. I then had lunch with a friend, finished packing my case. I got to the airport at midnight, ready for my 2 flight to the UK via Istanbul.

170. Monday. Celebrate. It's the little things. After her initial upset that Uncle Peter wasn't with me, my 6 year old niece was easily pleased with her Hello Kitty kitchen roll gift, last time it was Hello Kitty toilet paper, you wouldn't believe how much excitement loo roll can

Arrived on schedule at Birmingham. My sister collected me, the first time she's ever been able to do it due to her health, makes one hell of a difference not to have to catch a train/bus or pay for expensive car hire after such a long flight. Collected child 4 of 5's car to use for the summer as he's away with work until February, so it saves me quite a chunk of money this trip.

171. Tuesday. Colour. I brought the sun from Dubai with me, you can thank me later. It's been so nice being able to sit outside and enjoy it.

A lovely lie in, in the flat, so nice to have been able to unpack and have my own space. The afternoon was spent pottering around Tewkesbury and at the teens school, with his teachers trying to sort out his future once he leaves in 2 weeks time. I called in at my mums for a slice of her birthday cake, sadly it had all gone by the time I arrived.

172. Wednesday. The letter S.......The face of stress. I'm not sure how much more I can actually take.
I didn't sleep well, just couldn't get off and woke at 6am. There are a few bits and bobs of paperwork to sort on this trip, but no time limit as I don't have a return flight booked, so I taking one day at a time while I can. I met my sister in town for a coffee and spent the afternoon with my ex SIL and ex MIL before visiting child 2 and 2a for a fish and chip supper in their new home.

173. Thursday. Leaps. Feel like I'm constantly being forced to jump through hoops, but I'm not sure for whose entertainment.

There's a theme going on here. Another restless night and up early. I'm not hungry at all, but I'm forcing myself to eat, but I'm drinking plenty. More Coffee with my sister and out for lunch to meet her boyfriend, we had a nice afternoon. I was in my PJs by 6pm, watching trashy tv and reading trashy tv mags, trying to switch my brain off.

174. Friday. Doors. Enough with this weather now. I will confess I have found it hot, but not Dubai hot, but now the temps have dropped back to normal UK summer, equivalent to winter in Dubai, I'm finding it cold, everyone has all the doors and windows open and I'm now shivering.

Grrrrr still no sleep, been getting plenty of exercise, going for walks every day. Off to Hereford with my sister for a spot of retail therapy, called in to see my parents in the evening and attempted another early night.

175. Saturday. Cool. Early morning walk around town and coffee shop visit at 8am, so lovely to be able to sit outside. Did I mention that?

Pool party at my sisters with my 6 year old niece, and my older niece and her 3 year old, 18 month old and 2 month old boys. My first meeting with the new great nephew, he was born the day I left the UK on my last trip.

On the blog this week:

P is for ..... - My Sunday Photo
My Top 10 places to visit and view wildlife in South Africa - PoCoLo and Animal Tales
Things I wish I'd done differently now my kids have left home - TweensTeensBeyond and TriuphantTales

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

My top 10 places to view Wildlife in South Africa

We lived in Centurion, Pretoria for 4 years and welcomed numerous visitors every year to South Africa, including family, friends and work colleagues. We were regular visitors to the first 6 places and enjoyed annual trips to 7-10.
In no particular order, other than closest to our home at the time, are the following places to view game, wildlife and birds.

1. Reitvlei Nature Reserve just off the R21. Fantastic for picnics, bird watching and viewing Rhino.

2. Groenkloof on the outskirts of Pretoria where the M18 and the R21 join. Get out your car and take a walk with Giraffes, Zebras and Gnu’s. Hire bikes, ride horses or experience the awesome 4x4 route. Picnic, camp and experience authentic African food at Moyo’s restaurant.

3. Walter Sisulu Gardens in Johannesburg. Enjoy a picnic, a stroll through the gardens, view the nesting Eagles and walk to view the waterfalls.

4. Krugersdorp Lion Reserve, best to visit on a Sunday and experience the feeding habits of the Lions in a semi wild habitat. Picnic site and camp site with restaurant.

5. Pilanesburg Game Reserve. The closest place to view the Big 5. A two hour drive from Pretoria or stay over in a lodge, Sun City or camp site. Take a picnic or eat at Pilanesberg Centre. View Lion, Elephant, Rhino, Cape Buffalo and a Leopard if you’re lucky. Self drive or game drives available.

6. Kruger National Park. Nearest entrance is Malelane, nr Leopards Leap Golf Course, stay inside or outside the park in a lodge or camping. Drive along Crocodile River and take a walk with a ranger to view the hippos. Visit one of numerous restaurants in the park or take a picnic and braai.

7. Take a road trip to Cape Town via Port Elizabeth and visit the Addo Elephant National Park, there’s a variety of lodges nearby at reasonable prices. Spend the day viewing Elephants and other game.

8. Port Elizabeth Light house and visit the SAMREC Penguin Sanctuary. Learn about the plight of the penguin and the good work they do to rehabilitate penguins and return them to the wild. Take a walk on the beach to the light house and view the Oyster Catchers in their natural habitat.

9. Visit Oudtshoorn, inland of Mossel Beach and George. There is a great restaurant and gift shop and take a guided tour of the Ostrich farm and learn about their environment and the trade in feathers. Finish the day off with an Ostrich ride.

10. Finally visit the Cape of Good Hope, where the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean meet. Take a walk on the beaches with the free roaming antelope.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

My Sunday Photo Week 129 P is for......

........Packing, Penguins, Presents and Polish.

I dragged Peter round Dubai Aquarium yesterday for my birthday treat. I'll be in the UK next week for my actual birthday. He bought me a cuddly Penguin as a gift.

Today I finished packing my suitcase and had a manicure and pedicure and new polish, then had to reopen my case to add my birthday present and card Peter bought for me after work.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

One Daily Positive - Week 24

I got my results from my blood tests and MRI back on Sunday. I have a high white blood count, which indicates a virus or infection so had to have them repeated, they came back My MRI shows I have protruding discs on C5, 6 & 7 which are pressing onto the nerves and the spinal fluid. I also have no curve to my spine, all of which causes me pain, can aggrevate the migraines, gives me pins and needles in my thumbs and index finger and can cause me to drop things without warning. Surgery isn't an option and there is no long term damage. I did however point out to the Dr, that I've had this chronic pain and problems since 1994 and therefore I already consider it long term. The good thing being there was little change since the last MRI scan in 2000. Physio over the years and nerve regeneration and nerve blocks have helped but only short term, so basically this is just how it is, which I knew already.

My brain scan results were a little worrying but again there's nothing that can be done, I have a lesion on my frontal lobe either a cause of, or caused by my migraines, apparently nothing needs doing, they are fairly common.

I'm trying a new medication to prevent the migraines and have more physio booked to try and get me back to a better place for me to maintain the pain. This is a process I repeat every 2 years.

I also had an eye test on Wednesday which involved dilating the pupils and I couldn't see anything for a couple of hours. There's nothing wrong there either, other than directly linked to the migraines. It's just migraines......mmmmmm just? They cripple me for several days, at least once a month

I haven't been taking many photos recently, I haven't been doing anything of interest and when I do it just seems to be of the same things. It's rather boring in Dubai at the moment now it's summer. When I do go out it's for as shorter time as possible in this heat and besides my phone keeps switching itself off with the heat. I'm off to the UK tomorrow night for a couple of months, so I'll have something to interest me for a while.

162 Sunday. Calm. MRI results back.

After getting my results I spent the middle of day with a friend for coffee and cake and then ran the hoover round, spending the late afternoon and evening watching you tube and blogging.

163 Monday. Contract. Geez medical aid doesn't need to be this complicated.

Waited in all day for the aircon repair man, he didn't show. Cleaned the bathrooms and bedroom and spent the rest of the day sorting out the medical aid and sons school. I'm so frustrated, at several points I actually cried and threw things.

164 Tuesday. I'm doing.

Bob had his injections ready for kennels when I'm away and Peter is travelling with work next month. Everywhere has changed their opening hours for Ramadan and not everywhere has updated their website, so I bought myself flowers and coffee and read my book. Bob and I visited the vets for his annual jabs.

165 Wednesday. Cake. I opted for beer rather than dessert.

After the shock discovery of being weighed at the Doctors almost 3 weeks ago, I've cut sugar and bread out of my diet and have lost 1kg. I had physio, blood tests and my eye exam and in the evening I went out for dinner with a friend for the pub quiz. We came third, it was just the 2 of us and we really need to polish up on our geography.

166 Thursday. Spots.

I stayed over the night before and after walking the dogs early morning, I enjoyed a swim in the communal pool, by 10am the sun was too hot and I could feel the sun burning my skin, so my swim was cut short. I took a walk in the afternoon for a coffee, the temps hit 46c, I was physically sick on the way back.

167 Friday. Nature.

We went out for coffee in the morning, Peter had his haircut and we did some shopping. We've both been playing word cookies and are rather addicted to it, we watched TV and did little else, it's just too hot for being outdoors and everything else involves spending money just to be entertained.

168 Saturday. Song. When you walk past these tubes and touch them they play tunes, at Dubai Mall.

Up early to walk Bob, bathe him and wash his bedding ready for me going away on Sunday. It's my birthday next week, so I dragged Peter to the aquarium and we went out for lunch, food shopping in the afternoon, stocking up on dog and cat food etc whilst I'm away.

On the blog this week:

Disability - Spectrum Sunday - Disability in South Africa
What's bugging me this week - My Sunday Photo - K is for Khalas
Parenting - Triumphant Tales and Tweens Teens Beyond - Parenting from abroad
Travel - PoCoLo - What to pack for a UK holiday