Monday, 30 March 2020

Hearing the news on Social Media.

If you're like me with facebook you'll be a member of lots of local groups, blogger pages and news channels and you'll have online friends like me who post random photos throughout the day, clogging up people's timelines. I think they call it FOMO if you're not involved in everything.

I split my social media time between facebook, instagram and twitter and several blogging groups. I also spend (waste) hours watching facebook videos, they're just too addictive, aren't they?

As a consequence I miss an awful lot of actual real time news. Not opinions, not local/international news, but real news from real people such as moving house, weddings, pregnancy announcements and births.

I'm not a big fan of breaking news in a public forum. I post according to my audience so twitter is for random comments and observations. Instagram is for photos of things that make me laugh or puzzle me or I think other people might find interesting and face book is my life story, where I share our travels/holidays, house moves, photos of visitors and people we visit and pretty much over the 3 areas, along with my blog I share my life online with family, friends, acquaintances and random strangers.

But when I have news, like we're relocating, our health, the kids getting married, the birth of a grandchild, I actually make an effort to tell those who are important to me, either face to face, over the phone or a private message online, before the general riff raff get to hear about it. Sometimes if I want to ponder something I'll post in a secure group to get feedback from people with similar situations before I let people know about our decisions.

Recently we discovered news, that we thought the person sharing it, should have told us about personally, not for us to either miss or randomly discovered several days after their big announcement. It's not the first time and it won't be the last for sure. These people are no longer on my 'tell first before making public announcement' list.

When I see posts on the public timeline announcing a birth or a marriage or a house move etc and I'm not tagged, I assume that those who they want to know have been informed personally and private conversations, congratulations have been made and that really the only interaction they're looking for now is a like or a casual comment. I won't send a card, buy a gift or even make a big fuss over the public announcement as I assume I'm not part of the inner circle of friends or even count for much in terms of my place within a wider family. I certainly won't remember your child's birthday or your wedding anniversary.

And do you know that's ok with me. It's like hearing news about a celebrity, I'll think 'oh that's nice' but I don't send them a card or a personal message and I might not even click the 'like' button.

I'd be interested to know how you feel about sharing news over social media.

Does it bother you if people don't like or comment on your big announcement?

Do you prefer to tell people your news face to face where possible or do you post publicly?

If so, do you feel upset if you don't get the response you're looking for?

One Daily Positive - Week 13 Covid-19 and travel to the UK

I spent my last few days in Dubai sorting the furniture and our personal belongings out into 3 piles. What's staying in Dubai, moving to the UK and being disposed of/donated.

It's been a harder job done in a short space of time, due to the uncertainty of when I'll next be allowed back in Dubai. At the moment it is closed to everyone, my next flight  27th April till 27th May has been cancelled.

Peter will be out in Dubai until I can get back or he can leave to visit me. We have a wedding to attend in June, which has now been cancelled, we're not disappointed, we understand the seriousness of this virus, we just have plan a, b, c waiting to be implemented.

If I'm honest I'd rather have stayed in Dubai, where I'm at less risk of catching the virus, but my MIL has been house and pet sitting for the past 3 weeks, she is 82 and would rather be isolated in her own home. Also our eldest child is in care in the UK, she's not at risk physically, but requires 24/7 care and if the staff levels drop, then so does her care and there's always a slim chance I might need to have her home.

There's not much difference to my usual week, being in isolation. I guess I'm more likely to catch the virus from the travel and being back in the UK than I was in Dubai. I don't miss the going out, I miss the ability to just spend a couple of hours out walking Bob, I'm still walking him once a day, but varying the route and making them shorter in case we have to go into full lockdown at some point.

I've had more contact with friends this week than usual, because I'm back in the UK where I can access voice over internet, such as Skype, facebook and whatsapp calling.

82 Sunday More arranging and sorting ready for our move in May, however we will just extend the rental contract here for a few more months if necessary. Emirates have cancelled all flights and the border will close on Wednesday. Was called in for another blood test as white blood cell count had shot through the roof again.
To top it all off, we had more rain and some localised flooding.

83 Monday As above, all done. Did a food shop for Peter before I leave, as check in was open and my flight is still scheduled. Finished organising the house. WBC back inside the normal range, no idea why it went so high.

84 Tuesday Flight to Heathrow, the last British Airways flight out of Dubai. Both Dubai and Heathrow T5 were empty. I was collected by friend due to my time of arrival and stayed at her house over night, we maintained a safe distance. Who knows when we'll see one another again?

85 Wednesday A lift to Watford then 3 trains and a short walk home. MIL had left by the time I got back and had left milk in the fridge, after unpacking I took my shopping trolley to Lidl and stocked up on fresh fruit, vegetables and meat. The toilet overflow is broken so I had a go at fixing it, it'll do for now but the downstairs loo is now out of action until I can get a plumber in or purchase a new ball valve. My oldest twitter buddy to the rescue.

86 Thursday The weather was glorious so I spent the day in the garden after taking Bob out for a walk. I then cleaned out and tidied both the sheds, borrowed the neighbours mower and cut the lawn, reclaiming back the patio and a path. Dug out all the Ivy growing over from next doors garden that had caused my fence to collapse back in December.

87 Friday Another day spent in the garden, more digging, weeding and tidying up. I have 4 large concrete pots I'd like to move, but even if I empty them of the soil, I still won't be able to shift them. Managed to move them just enough to get them off the edge of the lawn. Dialled in to a zoom call with my friends in South Africa to keep up to date with what is going on in their part of the world,  only allowed out with a permit if you are essential staff. My very own cat cafe.

88 Saturday Attempted to dig a new border, but it was cold and windy out, so I collected up all the bricks and laid them out, marking the new border. I fixed some loose panels on the shed. Sorted out the parcels I intended to post to family for Easter and birthdays. I condensed the contents to letter box style as I don't believe a trip to the post office is essential and I have enough stamps for the postage. Afternoon spent baking, watching TV and blogging. Found a new route to walk. In the 8 years we lived here I never knew there were allotments 200ms from our house.

On the blog this week:

I'm running out of things to blog about

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Friday, 27 March 2020

Post Comment Love 27th - 29th March 2020

Morning all. I'm back in the UK after a 48 hour journey to get back from Dubai on Tuesday. I was on the last flight out with British Airways, collected by my friend and spent the night in St Albans. On Wednesday I made a 3 hour journey home via a short car trip, 3 trains and a short walk. I unpacked and went out for a food shop stocking up for the next 2-3 weeks.

We had reclaimed our family home back in December and I'd spent January sorting out jobs and thankfully have everything I need to continue redecorating and getting things fixed. I've already turned my hand to plumbing to sort the toilet overflow and I borrowed the neighbours lawn mower and started to reclaim the path and sort the borders out.

Before I left to Dubai in February, I'd put together Easter boxes for a couple of friends kids and family. I won't be posting them as it's not essential, but the boxes contained bath bombs, easter eggs, seeds and craft activities, so they're all mine now and will give me more things to do.

I hope everyone is keeping well during these difficult times and do feel free to message me if you want to chat or offload as we're all in the same boat together.

Stephanie and I would love to hear about what you've been up to this week.

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Monday, 23 March 2020

I'm running out of things to blog about

I started blogging in October 2009 as a way to tweet longer. You can read my first post  when I spent the week dressed as a Dalek after winning #FDF Fancy Dress Friday that used to run on twitter.

Since then I've blogged about almost everything. Kids, family life, travel, teenagers, grandparenting, life as an expat in South Africa and Dubai, disability, boarding school parents, depression, repatriation, dealing with loneliness, charity work and volunteering and many many rants.

I've written a few sponsored posts over the years, but don't consider myself a blogger as an occupation. It's more of an online diary, previous to setting up the blog online, I was keeping a basic diary of day to day events.

These days I only write 3 posts a week. My One daily Positive that I set up in January 2015 when we moved to Dubai and I link with #project365. The other two posts are a linky I co host with Stephanie @lifeat139a Post Comment Love #PoCoLo and a post I write each week to link up to it, as I've done with this post.

I used to join in with several other linkies, but I found I was repeating myself with parenting and travel posts. I would write a weekly Animal Tales and HDYGG? How Does Your Garden Grow posts but the hosts stopped blogging and the linkys just died and My Sunday Photo for which I wrote a weekly photography post about the construction projects in Dubai and ones I'd visited around the world.

I could carry on writing these posts, but for what? I'm not blogging for hits or numbers, although I have a healthy DA score and I've left all the groups as they became more pods than for interaction, which is what I prefer on Social Media.

I've got plenty of things to tweet about, photos to load on Instagram, but I'm struggling to write about day to day stuff anymore as I feel like I'm stuck in a loop and have covered all the subjects I know anything about.

I tried fashion blogging, lifestyle posts, but I struggled for content and had to go looking for things to write about.

There's too much stuff online these days and it's all being repeated as the next generation leave school, uni, leave home, have kids, marriage, divorce, go on holiday, move house, lose a loved one.

I've been there, done that, bought the t shirt......maybe it's time now to write the book....oh hang on, that's been done already, my life experiences, difficulties and celebrations are already recorded in this blog. I could write about writing, but I think that's pretty well covered also.

Where do you get your inspiration from when you blog? I'd love to hear to get some more ideas for content.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

One Daily Positive - Week 12 How we're managing in Dubai with the Covid-19 virus

Wasn't sure how this week would pan out with the spread of the Virus. All schools were closed on March 8th for 4 weeks. Over the weekend, all theme parks and cinemas were closed and twitter informed me, that after Tuesday there would be no further visas issued. Malls reduced their opening hours, bars and nightclubs closed, restaurants remain open as do supermarkets. I've never seen Dubai so empty.

The roads at rush hour are empty as people are now encouraged to work from home, I've never seen it so quiet even at 2am on an airport run, there's usually a lot of traffic, I never venture into the Marina or onto the Palm by car outside of 10am- 2pm as it's chaotic and a 15 minute trip can often take over an hour at peak times. As all the tourist spots are closed or closing down, I'm taking our visitors for a drive around Dubai to show them the size of the City and the various building projects that are going on.

Airports are empty and I've been able to park right by the door at the malls. My flight was cancelled but rebooked for the afternoon flight on the same day at no charge. They're condensing flights from 3 to 1 a day, makes sense not to fly half empty planes. All flights into Dubai are now cancelled.

Spirits are high from the people I meet out, but the workers are worried about their jobs if the few remaining places left open were to close and after dinner out on Tuesday we received a text message from the restaurant to say a big Thank you for our custom at this difficult time.

Thankfully we're still in winter so spending a lot of time outside, walking, sitting in the garden and enjoying the peace and quiet, whilst still enjoying the views and maintaining social distancing.

Our son phoned from Australia, his visa expires in April. He's decided to stay put as he's already applied for a new one and his home is there, the shops are advertising for staff to help keep up with the demands for goods and he works were a transport company which will guarantee an income during this time. If the government advise foreign nationals are to leave, he will take this advice.

75 Sunday Stayed in bed till midday then a food shop, no one is panic buying and shelves are fully stocked, hand sanitisers every where for the pubic and workers and not chained down. Home to finish the cleaning and washing ready for Peter's sister and her friends arrival tomorrow morning. The weather is warming up and storms are forecast.

76 Monday An early start to the airport, we went out to the Marina and beach area for coffee, walk and lunch and had a BBQ in the garden in the evening. T1 Dubai.

77 Tuesday Peter with his sister and friend took the Ferry to the Creek, I drove up to meet them as I'd done the trip last week and after lunch on the waterfront we explored the souks. home to change then out to the Souk Madinat for dinner, it was like a ghost town. The Burj Al Arab was lit up green for St Patricks Day but the Irish bar was closed, so no celebrating. I finished the evening with a migraine, probably sun exposure and lack of fluids, I don't normally spend this much time outdoors.

78 Wednesday The medication killed the migraine, but I opted to go to the coffee shop while our visitors spent the morning on the beach, we then went off to Dubai Mall, Peter joined us in the evening for dinner. All our coffee shop and restaurant visits have been outdoors with no other customers.

79 Thursday Was supposed to be visiting the Burj Khalifa today but it's closed until the end of March, so we drove out to the markets in Masafi, Fujeriah and had lunch at the Radisson Blu, home for a quick shower and change then out for dinner on the Palm.

80 Friday Up early to take Peter's sister and her friend to the airport, flight took off on time. I rebooked my flight. Home to sort paperwork, plan for move in May, just in case I can't get back and pack my suitcase. Until these places close, or we develop any symptoms, we will continue to visit, however we are choosing places with outdoor seating, using contactless to pay and if there are too many people were walking away.

81 Saturday Spent the day rearranging the house, deciding what stays in Dubai, what is going to the UK and what we are disposing of. We went to the Marina for a walk outside and chose a coffee shop with outdoor seating that was empty. There is far more work than I thought to sort the house so will be doing downstairs tomorrow.

On the blog this week:

Why is no one applying logic to wearing masks and gloves when out? They're still spreading the virus unless they're changing their gloves as often as we are advised to wash our hands.

How complicated is your life? As an expat it is complicated by it's very nature, the Covid-19 virus has slowed us down and still have no idea if I'll be able to travel to the UK next week or not.

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