Saturday, 21 September 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 38 We became Grandparents

So this week we became grandparents for the first time to the most gorgeous baby girl. Couldn't be more proud of our DIL than we are now, oh yes best include our son.

So that's child 2 and 2a now parents and until we find a suitable blog name, it's 2b. She was born Monday night around 9pm, I sat outside the ward with 2a's sister who I'd only met twice before. 1st time at the wedding and second time last week at the baby shower. We had a blast watching the maternity room door for 3 hours, waiting for the announcement of a royal baby, instead we got a facebook message. I do hope 2a thinks it's funny that we messaged her throughout her delivery (unanswered of course) complaining about our waiting time and numb bums. I was allowed the briefest of sneaky visits before we all left the hospital, me, her mum and dad and sister, at midnight.

Apart from the fact I walked through town on Tuesday morning with the biggest pink helium balloon, everything was being kept quiet until they made their own public announcement after telling family and friends.

So here's what I told you I was doing this week, it's true. I've added in brackets the baby visits etc.

I'm now carrying a pack lunch with me, the most I can get when I'm out that's wheat free is a cake in Caffe Nero and Costa, can't grab a sandwich/wrap on the on go or fast food, so it's either supermarket sushi or hospital cheese and pickle packs and a yogurt with crisps for lunch most of this week.

258 Sunday Off to meet twitter friends of 10 years for coffee in Newport, Mum had a reaction to some new medication so I got her checked out at the local hospital. After dropping her home I popped into see child 2 and 2a (on the maternity ward)

£5.90 for this at Nevill Hall and I couldn't eat the bread or the sausage rolls, even if I had wanted to.

259 Monday Took mum to the doctors then headed off to Gloucester for a bit of shopping and visit child 1 at home, then called in to see child 2 and 2a (on the labour ward)

260 Tuesday Walked Thing 1 and Thing 2 to school, then took mum for an appointment in Usk, bit of shopping (giant helium balloon, pink of course) coffee, then off to visit child 2 and 2a.

261 Wednesday Walked Thing 1 and Thing 2 to school, they tried to con me with a trip to Greggs and Thing 2 didn't stop talking the whole way and hugged every tree and pole on route. Coffee shop visit and say bye to the lovely Manager, Stacey who was so kind to me when my father died 2 years ago. I spent the day tidying, food shopping, wrapping christmas gifts, a friend called in for a natter and I watched TV and had an early night.

Thing 3 wanted his photo taken, no pictures of Thing 4 the new baby as I didn't want to confuse people with them thinking she was 2b.

262 Thursday 2b home from hospital today. I met a friend for coffee in a nearby town, called into my old neighbourhood for a catch up and visited 2, 2a and 2b and then had dinner at a friends house.

263 Friday Took mum for a routine hospital appointment in Newport, called back in the old neighbourhood to catch up with another friend and then it was back to visit The 2's.

264 Saturday Up early and Peter and I finally got the video chat working again, it's been playing up all week and it's vital for us as a family to be able to communicate freely and for him to meet his granddaughter until he can fly over in person.
Photo to follow

Nothing on the blog this week, I've been a little busy. Next week Peter joins me in Northern Ireland for 4 and 4a's wedding.

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Saturday, 14 September 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 37 Dubai to Wales

Struggling with the 3 hour time difference and waking up at 4am, there's no wifi in the flat and the coffee shop doesn't open till 8am. I've spent the time writing #postcardsofkindness, parceling up nearly 1000 postcards to send off to various primary schools and groups around the UK for them to write. I inherited these postcards from my late father 2 years ago, along with his stamp collection. I'm carefully researching the unfranked stamps to make sure they're not worth more than their face value before using them to send the cards in the post.

Loving the weather here, been wearing a short sleeve dress and flip flops last 2 days, had the windows open in the flat at night and been outside as much as possible. You have no idea what it feels like to be able to wander around freely outdoors.

Catching up with my friends and family also. Everyone I visit lives in Monmouth or the Forest of Dean our former home from 1994-2002. Everyone I visit round here I've known since then, apart from the mum of the twins who I met the night my father died and was the most amazing support to me and child 5 that night and the months afterwards.

I'm so busy catching up with gossip and lives I forget to take photos.

251 Sunday Off to the dog park to meet up with a few friends that I won't see for the next 6-8 weeks, went for a swim in the afternoon and did the last washing and ironing before I left.

The road moved overnight, one lane to the left back where we started 2 years ago before they started to build the new metro system. At one point the road curved in front of the buildings on the right.

252 Monday Hairdressers for a cut and a gel mani and pedi, getting ready for the wedding on the 28th. Dropped some donations off with a friend to hand around her community, an early dinner and bed.

Sunset over Al Furjan, the scene in front of me was empty 2 years ago.

253 Tuesday Off to the airport for a 7am flight. Went straight to my niece's house to visit The Things and meet Thing 4 for the first time. Grabbed some food on the walk back to the flat and unpacked having an early night.

254 Wednesday A lazy morning and coffee shop visit, collected mum and off to Child 2 and 2a where child 1 came to visit with her carers, then off to 2's baby shower for the evening with family and friends. Baby due on the 20th.

255 Thursday Spent the morning with 2a, visited my nephew, partner and their 3 month old baby. Coffee out late afternoon, visited the Things and an early night.

256 Friday Picked my friend up and off to her daughters and granddaughter for the day, dropped her at work in the afternoon and had a walk round the town where I went to school in Ross-on-Wye. Popped into to friend, her husband and the twins who live in Monmouth, then spent an hour nattering to a mate on the phone.

Palma violet gin £6.99 in Home Bargains

257 Saturday Off to the Onion Fair in Newent to meet up with some friends, then off to visit 2 and 2a, then calling in at another friends on the way back.

Never tire of this view of Monmouth Castle from the flat.

On the blog this week:
The final part of my road trip to Australia with child 3

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Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Creating a Garden in the Desert in Summer in Dubai

Summer in Dubai is hot, don't let this fool you. It was 30c at 7am and the fog means you can't actually see more than 500ms.

1pm in the desert and car temp on leaving the dog park. it took 20 mins to get home with air con on and the temp dropped only to 48c, it was actually 44c outside.

And don't forget the humidity

So this all means we don't sit outside in the garden day or night, we go outside only for short periods of time and we shower and change clothes after most trips out.

The garden suffers, surprisingly due to the humidity it means there is lots of moisture in the air and we water late at night.

 Midday sun, in fact most the day there is very little shade

Some shade in the afternoon briefly when the sun is blocked by the house for a few hours

Early morning shade

Despite us living in the desert out cactus does need watering still and we do so with a slow drip feed

I bring the chair pod in for the summer to protect it from the sun and so I can use it

I brought these flowers back with me from the UK, they were from family and friends for my birthday. This is after the flight, sadly the air con in the house meant they didn't make it through the night

Surprise sunflower in the garden on my return

Climbing plants have faired well

Our cactus had a baby

Some rare time outside, but the dog will insist on going out so to ensure he doesn't over heat and I don't forget him, I sit out there with him.

Local date trees. Did you know these palms need 40ltrs of water a day to fruit

The occasional clouds, very rarely does it rain during summer

Been away for 3 weeks, the grass has grown

The sand sweeping is back on again, it's the bane of my life, gets in the house also

Climbing plants need more water than Peter was giving them

The outside/communal areas really need tidying up, but they do provide additional shade for the garden and the house

A thunder storm over head, looked promising but came to nothing, 5km further inland it chucked it down

So there's our garden for the summer, I'm back in the UK now and Peter will join me for the last 3 weeks, there's no one to water the garden so it'll be interesting to see what survives with the humidity levels dropping also

Monday, 9 September 2019

Australia 2019

I spent 3 weeks in Australia in July and August 2019 visiting my son who has lived there for 2 years. He was based in Sydney where I flew into from my home in Dubai, but was moving to Finley to work on a farm as part of his visa conditions, north of Melbourne.

We spent A long weekend in Sydney exploring the beaches and the mountains, before driving the coast road on Our trip from Sydney to Phillip Island stopping at Jervis Bay for a night then onto Phillip Island for 2 nights.

Next up we drove from Phillips Island to Port Fairy, stopping over night in Lorne and Warrnambool then from Port Fairy to Melbourne via the Grampians staying at Lake Fyans before ending up with A week in Melbourne.

Driving is on the left, so the wrong side of the road for me, but it didn't take long to work it out. I noticed that lanes merged a lot at junctions and the speed limit was slow, dropping to 50km in towns and villages and 40km during school hours. Whilst this is good as we were avoiding the toll routes, the planned journeys took longer than anticipated and we had to change our schedule more than once.

Combined we drove 3421km/2125 miles, walked 61km/37 miles and climbed the equivalent of 
346 stair cases.

The Accommodation in Australia couldn't be faulted. The country side and Flora and Fauna in Australia was stunning.

Road Kill, kangaroo, it was over a week before I saw a live one

These Ibis are nicknamed Bin Chickens

There was a turkey scavenging on the beach

Here are a selection of random photos that caught my eye, that amused or puzzled me.

A boulder company making them look attractive

Whenever I parked I needed to google what I was to actually do

traffic lights had a fancy countdown on them although most of the road works were actually manned

Looking for a food/fuel/rest/overnight stop on route then I suggest you enter McDonalds into the GPS as they were found in all the bigger towns

Love some of the advertising, theres a store called Boating, camping and fishing. Their jingle is BC F'ing Good.

This slogan works well, I say little waste on my travels and there were plenty of recycling and waste opportunities

Love a drive through Bottle-O

Apparently cats are banned. My son informed me that many people actually take their cats as well as their dogs when they go on road trips. 

We didn't see any snakes, but once you were outside the city there were lots of warnings

Winter so fire rating low

Didn't manage to catch any photos/video of kangaroo on the roads, but saw plenty and they don't half move

Didn't see any koala outside of parks

There had been a shark spotted at Manly only a few weeks earlier

Information about do's and dont's and what wildlife to expect

Animals and birds become aggressive towards humans if you feed them and it actually endangers their lives

The coast line was stunning, you're reminder just how powerful the ocean is

A lot of British names and twinning, but the geography of it confused me

Found this little souviener all the way from Tintern Abbey in Wales, just down the road from where we stay when we visit the UK

Of course no trip to Australia is complete without a visit to Bondi Beach to catch the surf

And a visit to Ramsey Street to see Neighbours