Sunday, 29 November 2015

My Sunday Photo - Week 48

My plan for today's photo was of my view, feet up on the sofa, a glass of wine, a movie on the TV and the Christmas tree.

The reality is this

On my way home from school I popped into ACE DIY to purchase some potting compost and cat food.

I then spent the evening assembling this flat pack dressing table. It's almost 10pm, I've not had dinner, showered, made the bed or watched my movie, but I did have a glass of wine just now. 

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Week 48 - Project 365

I am exhausted and thankful that next week is only a 2 day working week for me. It'll only be my 2nd week in my new job, which is the first job I've had since December 2010. I leave home every morning at 6.30am and return at 4.45pm, depending on traffic. it's normally a 30 minute drive but it rained on Tuesday and it took me 2 hours to get home.

Sunday I started work, bright and early, had a row with the car parking attendant, who told where I couldn't park and I ended up on some waste land, a 10 minute walk from the school. In the evening I cleaned a bathroom and our bedroom. My Sunday Photo was from Saturdays trip to the golf and The Race to Dubai that we saw the start of in South Africa last year.

Day 326 #onedailypositive #composition #fmsphotoaday #work#snaphappybritmums #project365 Composition, written discourse, to include visuals. I start my first day at work today at a school in Dubai. I have my lunch box, I am wearing suitable clothing, loose change in case I have to contribute to the tea/coffee fund or there is a cafe near by at break time, note pad and pen and a pack of tissues as I know the air con will give me the sniffles.

Monday I'm informed that I can't on any waste ground, just certain bits of waste ground. In the evening I cleaned the conservatory, kitchen and dining room.

Day 327 #onedailypositive #cut #fmsphotoaday #pink #snaphappybritmums #project365

Tuesday I'm informed that I can't actually park where I was told to park yesterday by the same guy. In the evening I cleaned the lounge, study and hall way. This weeks Animal Tales is Birds in the Garden in South Africa.

Day 328 #onedailypositive #go #fmsphotoaday #favourite #snaphappybritmums #project365 after 5 years of being a SAHM then a SAH expat I've finally re entered the world of work. Day 3 of the new job and I just haven't stopped. So this evening after being on the go all day, I stopped at my local coffee shop for my favourite drink, a latte, and to buy dinner for one as hubby is out late this evening.

Wednesday I ignored the parking attendant and parked on the first bit of waste ground where I started the week. In the evening I did some washing and went to oasis Mall for a coffee and some shopping as hubby was on conference calls till 9pm.

Day 329 #onedailypositive #stop #fmsphotoaday #FillTheFrame #snaphappybritmums #project365 one of the many learning aids I've been using in my new job this week.

Thursday was national day celebrations in school, I dressed in the colours of the UAE flag and had painted my nails. In the evening I fell asleep, fully dressed for 2 hours, before eating beans on toast for dinner and going back to bed. For #HDYGG I wrote about Gardening in Townships in South Africa. 

Day 330 #onedailypositive #threethingsimgratefulfor #fmsphotoaday #weather #snaphappybritmums #project365 it's winter in Dubai,
And I'm grateful for 1. The rain 2. The cooler temps and 3. Sleeping in silence without the noise of the air con.

Friday and it's the weekend so off into the dessert and the rest of the day to be spent sleeping, but hubby had other ideas that involved going out for lunch and on the beach, when we finally got home at 5pm, we discovered another burst water pipe in the kitchen, so my plans for an aryl night were ruined.

Day 331 #onedailypositive #ThisHappened #fmsphotoaday #Pets #snaphappybritmums #project365 the cat and dog just about tolerate each other's existence but when I travel and hubby is working they spend a lot of time together with no human interaction. I started work this week and this is how hubby found them when he got home before me yesterday.

Saturday and hubby wanted to charge around Dubai Mall while the National Day Parades are in full force, me? I went to the post office, bank and picked up coffee on the way home and had a bacon butty and went back to bed, hubby never made it out as we have to wait in for the plumber and we have no idea what time he's coming. hubby did the ironing and packed for his trip to South Africa tomorrow and I tidied and put up the Christmas decorations.

Day 332 #onedailypositive #fence #fmsphotoaday #somethingfabulous snaphappybritmums #project365

Friday, 27 November 2015

Township gardening in South Africa with #HDYGG?

Update on my visit to Soshanguve in November last year.

I was introduced to this project by the lovely Lee-Anne who I met after I asked for people on social media to let me know if they knew of any deserving children that would benefit from receiving a christmas gift.

Lee-Anne has been involved with Ikaya Lami for a long time supporting them with donations, arranging for long drops to be dug and housed........the list is endless. This week, through a plant forum on face book she received 1200 plants, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Kale, Rape and Mustard which she and a team of volunteers helped to plant, May 2016. I'm hoping to get back to South Africa in July this year for a week and look forward to visiting this project and many others like it.

Original post

Access to water in many townships is not available with adults and children walking up to 4kms each way to get water for drinking and washing, so having a garden in a township for many is a luxury, although it does rain regularly during summer, but South Africa has been having a drought over recent months with the rains arriving late and water is being rationed.

Many people in the townships try to be self sufficient and grow their own fruit and vegetables and they are able to do is if they have a bore hole, they are usually community projects who run after school care, take in orphans, run the local church and support the locals.

The cost of a bore hole starts from around R25,000/£1,100/AED 6,450 depending on the ground being dug and the depth required to get fresh water and the casing needed. These costs are met with donations from individuals and sponsors, but they are few and far between and many communities who try to be self sufficient have to give up early on in the project so many just don't invest the money in seeds or the time for projects they know will fail due to lack of water.

However some are successful like this community project in Soshanguve, North of Pretoria.

They have built an irrigation system and are successfully growing fruit trees and a variety of vegetables to supplement a very meagre income with 18 children from age birth to 18 to feed, plus the adults who live there and run the project.

I've spotted a variety of fruits and vegetables growing but wasn't able to put a name to everything, I think a lot of the gardening here is 'plant it and see'

Peach tree



 One of the projects in desperate need of a bore hole is in Mpumalanga. Access to water would make a huge difference to the communities lives.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Garden Birds in South Africa with #AnimalTales

These are the nests built by the Weaver bird of which there are 57 different varieties and they are related to the Finch. Constructed by the male who hangs down from the bottom fluffing his feathers to attract a female for breeding. males have several different partners and typically build up to 25 nests over the breeding season from September to January. The design of the nests prevents invaders, such as the cuckoo, from leaving their eggs there for the female to hatch.

They are common in most South African gardens that I've lived in or visited.

 Southern masked weaver bird

While I was visiting a friend over a weekend we just sat in her garden and listened to the variety of birds and attempted to identify them with an app on my iPhone, we weren't too successful and I didn't have the right lens on me to capture too many photos I could use on here, but I did manage to capture these photos of a Brown Headed Kingfisher and an Eastern yellow-billed Hornbill.

Monday, 23 November 2015

My Bucket/Bragging List

When I wrote my Ultimate Bucket List  I realised there were so many things and places I'd already achieved and visited. I'd never really thought much about travel when I was growing up, my Father travelled the world with his job and brought back amazing souvenirs, photos and stories of his time abroad, but I never thought in a million years that one day I'd be visiting some of the same places he has, yet alone live in them, and other new and just as exciting places.

When I look back I realise I've had some amazing opportunities in my life, met some amazing people and travelled far wider than I ever thought.

So I thought I'd write my Bucket List in reverse, share with you my adventures to date. Most of them I'd love to do again, some I'm glad I've experienced but won't be revisiting.

I suppose you could call this my bragging list, but who cares.

In no particular order:
  1. Been caving
  2. Had a helicopter ride
  3. Visited the Grand Canyon
  4. Played the slots in Las Vegas
  5. Been on a Safari
  6. Camped in a township in South Africa
  7. Been on a film set - Intolerable Cruelty and Harry Potter
  8. Visited Luxor
  9. Visited the Valley of the Kings
  10. Lived abroad
  11. Been up Table Mountain
  12. Driven the Garden Route
  13. Rode the Big Shot in Vegas
  14. Visited Death Valley
  15. Been to the Hoover Dam
  16. Watched England play at Wembley
  17. Went to the Olympic Games in Barcelona
  18. Went up the worlds tallest building The Burj Khalifa
  19. Seen the Niagara Falls
  20. Camped in the wild
  21. Walked down Downing Street, prior to the gates being installed
  22. Seen the Montjuic fountains
  23. Stayed at the Bellagio
  24. Seen Cher perform at Caesars Palace
  25. Eloped
  26. Seen an African sunset
  27. Seen an African sunrise
  28. Dined up the Eiffel Tower
  29. Drove round the Champs Elysees
  30. Been Whale Watching
  31. Driven across Europe
  32. Seen a Giant Panda
  33. Seen a Leopard hunt
  34. Ridden an ostrich
  35. Visited the tulip fields in Holland
  36. Seen the Namaqua flowers
  37. Visited Alcatraz
  38. Walked across the Golden Gate Bridge
  39. Been to Hollywood
  40. Been up Crater lake
  41. Swam in the Nile
  42. Visited the Temple of Karnac
  43. Performed on stage
  44. Met a Witch Doctor
  45. Taught in a township in South Africa
  46. Camped in Kruger
  47. Got a Blue Peter badge
  48. Was interviewed on Radio 5
  49. Been to a FA cup final
  50. Play the Clarinet

Saturday, 21 November 2015

My Sunday Photo - Week 47 The Race to Dubai

Last year during all the stress and chaos of relocating from South Africa to Dubai, hubby and I took some time out to go to Sun City to watch The Race to Dubai Golf Tournament.

This year we went to Jumeriah Golf Estate to watch 'The Race Ends Here' Sadly we aren't able to watch the last day on Sunday as it's the first day of the working week and another life change for me as I start my first job today after 5 years.

Week 47 - Project 365

Well I'm back in Dubai, those 5 weeks in South Africa just flew by and very sadly, after 5 years my Santa Shoebox Story comes to an end. As from next Sunday I will be back in the world of paid work after a 5 year absence and won't be able to take the time off I need to visit SA at this time of year again, who knows what may happen though between now and then? never say never. 

Sunday was spent at the Tshwane Place of Safety Christmas Party, the afternoon saying good bye to friends.

Day 319 #onedailypositive #flying #fmsphotoaday#coat #snaphappybritmums #project365 Sunday was very windy, lots of debris flying around, but no sign of the rain.

Monday was meant to be my day of rest and R&R. I had my hair dyed in the morning and my nails painted in the afternoon, in between I visited the sports shop to buy myself some new swim wear and the early evening at Peas in a Pod, a home for abused children where I delivered their Christmas presents purchased from individual donations online.

Day 320 #onedailypositive #bottle #fmsphotoaday #me #snaphappybritmums #project365

Tuesday was fly to Dubai day. Some of my closest friends joined me for lunch at the airport before some very emotional goodbyes. I had 3 seats to myself for the flight from Joburg and I managed to get a fair amount of sleep. In Doha, I carelessly dropped my passport and a young man came and found me to return it. As soon as I get home the Christmas decorations are coming out the garage after the flood and I will be getting them ready with all the new bits and pieces I bought on my travels ready to decorate the house December 1st. Today's blog post was about the Rhino dehorning project at Rietvlei.

Day 321 #onedailypositive #triangle #fmsphotoaday#wood #snaphappybritmums #project365

Wednesday was a loooong day. I landed at 4.15am and it was 2 hours before I cleared passport control and customs as I needed to get my new residency visa stamped on entry to Dubai. I got a taxi home and by 7.30am I was fast asleep in bed having dispatched hubby to work and the put the cat and dog outside. After unpacking and putting everything away we headed off to Dubai Marina and The Beach for dinner at The Real Madrid Cafe with colleagues of hubbies who are visiting from the States, UK and South Africa.

Day 322 #onedailypositive #flora #fmsphotoaday#cuddle #snaphappybritmums #project365 back in Dubai and there's nothing more native to the UAE than a Date Palm

Thursday was a rush around the medical centre for blood tests and chest X-rays for the new residency visa, as soon as this arrives I can make the application for my labour card so I can work, I've no idea how long this process will take, but I seem to be getting the hang of what and how to do things here in Dubai. I spent the afternoon snoozing, sorting photo's, blogging and just enjoying the cooler air. Today's #HDYGG plans are all on hold.

Day 323 #onedailypositive #fauna #fmsphotoaday #eat#snaphappybritmums #project365 despite camels being the fauna of the desert they're difficult to find. This camel can be found @thebeachdubai but I don't suspect he eats much other than electricity

On Friday we took Bob into the desert for a run around, after his bath back at home hubby and I headed off to the golf to watch the Race to Dubai. We were at Sun City last year where the tournament started and we saw Danny Willet win the Nedbank Trophy. 

Day 324 #onedailypositive #me #fmsphotoaday #MyView #snaphappybritmums #project365 My View is much better than Rory Mcilroy's view from the bunker on the9th #RaceToDubai #DPWorld #Golf#europeantour #Emirates #jumeirah @7daysuae #Rolex #dubai #mydubai#DPWTC

Saturday was get 'ready for work day' I'm neither excited or nervous about returning to work after so long. the volunteer work I did in South Africa for 5 years was full time and a little stressful on occasions, I just didn't receive an income from it. I guess this is just another change in routine and my lifestyle that I may take a while to adapt to. We went out for brunch, did a food shop, I ironed and blogged in the afternoon and had a nice long soak in the bath before going to bed early.

Day 325 #onedailypositive #OldAndNew#fmsphotoaday #toys #snaphappybritmums#project365 there are another 7 large storage containers packed full of Lego we've dragged from the UK to South Africa and the UAE most of it is new(er) Lego from when the kids were small and some of it is 40 years old(er) from when I was a child. We are saving it now for when we have grandkids.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Back in Dubai for winter with #HDYGG?

After 5 weeks in South Africa, and there is more to come on that over the next few weeks, I was surprised to see how well the garden was doing without me. While there is a drought in South Africa and the temperatures hotter than Dubai, it was raining here last week. Only a few drops, but along with the cooler weather and the gardener visiting everyday, you can see how much the grass has grown and how the bougainvillaea has returned to it's original white cooler now the ground temps have cooled.

The golf estate where we used to live in South Africa

Sowing grass seed

Two months later

The bougainvillaea  started to turn pink as the ground temperature heated up

Returned to white now summer is over

Everything is covered in a layer of dust. I will be repotting the cups and tea posts with succulents and moving the existing plants back into the sand pit.

I had intended on really throwing myself into developing the garden over the winter, but I start work on Sunday for the first time in 5 years and I really don't think I'm going to have the time or energy for the big plans and ideas I had in mind. I will attempt to grow some tomatoes and herbs and plant the remaining seeds, but I think it will be more of chuck it all in together and quite literally see what comes up.

In the meantime now the weather has cooled I'm enjoying the evenings outside with the doors open to let some of the cool air into the house.

I am going to have a go at getting some grass seed to grow in this patch, it will cost AED2000/£350 to have turf laid but much less to grow my own grass from seed.

The next few weeks posts for #HDYGG? are from South Africa as I have so many photos to show you, hopefully by the time I've finished with those there will be further development in the garden here, I will have settled down into the new job and the Miracle Gardens will have reopened so I can show case the delights of real gardening in Dubai.

Does anyone know what this is called? It's a new flower that has come out since I've been away.