Sunday, 30 April 2017

My Sunday Photo Week 122 H is for Holiday

I'm not actually on holiday, despite the photo of the Burj Al Arab, a holiday destination, where I'm currently sitting, drinking coffee, only 3 miles down the road from where I live.

I've travelled 23,000+ miles since March 27th from Dubai to the UK, back to Dubai, to Hong Kong, back to Dubai, the UK and finally reaching home in Dubai on Friday morning.

Child 3/5 and his girlfriend are visiting for a week and I've decided I'm not going to get anything done while they're here so I'm treating this week as a holiday, staying in one place, chilling out and relaxing.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

One Daily Positive - Week 17 Back home but still on holiday

I arrived back in Dubai on Friday morning, my son and his girlfriend arrived a couple of hours before me and are here until next weekend. It's nice to be home and know I'm going to be in one place for a few weeks, before I return to the UK in 8 weeks on an open ticket to sort my son, child 5/5 out when he finishes school in July.

I'm just switching my brain off for a few days, catch up with blogging, join in on a few days out and make the most of not having to get back to the real world of job hunting and housework and being on my own.

113 Sunday. Nature. A coffee with friends in the morning and then I took my son back to school for his last ever term, mixed emotions for me a) for saying goodbye b) for my days as a school mum coming to an end. I called in on a friend on the way home.

 114 Monday. Relax. Spent the morning rearranging the flat and getting some washing done before heading over to Malvern to meet a friend for a coffee and another friend for dinner.

 115 Tuesday. Sun. A visit to the Ross on Wye in the morning to drop a gift with a friend and over to the Forest of Dean to see my ex SIL and child 2/5.

116 Wednesday. Stripes. Today's photo prompt doesn't fit. I went to visit child 1/5 over lunch time and then met Sarah, a fellow 365'er

117 Thursday. Moon. An early start at 5am as I dropped my Nephew in law to Abgergavenny hospital  where was niece was booked for a C section, ready for the birth of their 3 child. I then cleaned and tidied the flat and packed and headed off to Birmingham airport for my flight home.

118 Friday. Red. I arrived home at 7am. Child 3/5 was already here. I grabbed a couple of hours sleep before we headed off to the beach, dinner out and a walk along the canal, calling in at the pub on route.

119 Saturday. Spirit(ual) I've given up on trying to get anything done during the coming week.

On the blog this week:

Animal Tales - A visit to Nagshead Nature Reserve
My Sunday Photo and PoCoLo - B is for boarding school
Triumphant Tales - When did holidays become all about entertaining children?
Gardening - A visit to the flower market, Kowloon

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Woodland walk in the Forest of Dean with Animal Tales

There are no photo's of birds in this post because the 2 men in the hide with their massive cameras were occupying the available space and made it quite clear they were not tolerating amateurs, with a camera and lens that could fit into an over sized coat pocket. However I worked my way onto to the bench and to the open window and sat for a few minutes, just to wind them up.

I'm really hoping that we can back to the UK with Bob while he can still enjoy life. We adopted him in South Africa and he now lives with us in Dubai. I'd love him to experience the freedom of woodland walks, something he never does in Dubai and in South Africa, they were infrequent due to personal safety and snakes etc.

This must be the noisiest door in the world, no wonder the twitchers/birders/photographers weren't happy with my arrival.

My question is what do you do if the bat comes home when you want to leave the hide?

We lived in the Forest of Dean for 8 years and I've never stopped off at The Nagshead Reserve, although I have visited most other places and I plan to spend more time in this area when I'm back in the summer. Maybe you could join me for a walk, picnic or coffee.

Monday, 24 April 2017

My Sunday Photo Week 121 B is for Boarding School

I've tried several times to write how I feel about taking my son back to boarding school this afternoon for his last ever term and my last term as a school mum, but I'm struggling to put how I feel in words, so I'll just leave you with this photo of his school instead.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

One Daily Positive Week 16 - A whole week in the UK and lots of goodbyes.

So I've managed to spend a whole week in one place, our flat in South Wales, however it's a 1 bed flat and I've been sharing it with 2 other adults. Peter, who flew back to Dubai on Friday and child 5 of 5 now 18, who returns to school on Sunday afternoon.

We finally assembled the last few pieces of furniture Friday night, but I need to contact Argos and ask them what they are playing at? The table and chairs are wonky and the coffee table came pre-scratched.

I'm also struggling with internet access and EE has been down Friday and Saturday in my area, so I'm moving from pub to coffee shop to access the internet.

We've managed to visit almost everyone this week, there's a few family members and some friends who only get in touch when we're in the UK and then expect us to juggle our time to fit in around them, our attitude now is unless we have contact via Social Media or email during the rest of the year, then if they want to see us, they can come to where we're staying. We never seem to get to rest on our UK travels.

I said Goodbye to child 4 on Wednesday night, I may not see him again until February/March next year, I'm hopeful I can get to Northern Ireland in July to see him before he goes off on tour.

Sunday 106 Eggs - We forgot that everywhere was shut Easter Sunday and ended up driving to Newport for coffee, followed by a walk around Abergavenny before cooking a full roast then a visit to family for the evening.

Monday 107 Children - Child 4 of 5 took me to watch Birmingham City lose, it was that bad that as well as the chants of Zola Out, I even joined in with the away fans chants of 'you couldn't score in a brothel'

Tuesday 108 New - a day out with children 1, 4 & 5 to Gloucester to buy the last few bits and pieces we needed for the flat. I wanted a chicken door stop, but Mr Pug caught my eye and he does a fine job.

Wednesday 109 Green - a chilled morning, chippy lunch by the river and the afternoon spent walking with friends and their dogs in the countryside. The evening was spent with different friends and children 4 & 5.

Thursday 110 Happy - a full day out with child 2 and 2a (the girlfriend) to visit MIL across the bridge and off to Street for the menfolk to do some shopping. We called in at my parents on the way home for Peter to say goodbye.

Friday 111 Chocolate - Our 6 year old niece joined us to take Peter airport, we played i spy and after helping Peter navigate to the airport by reading the signs and at check in, We ended up waiting 3 hours for the car hire to be ready, we explored the airport, watched the planes take off and land and did loads of colouring in. In the evening child 5/5 assembled the table and chairs.

Saturday 112 Creation - a day of coffee shops, pubs and hanging out the window to get phone reception and 3G, a visit to a car boot sale with my parents and then shopping in town, before spending the evening with my niece and playing in the park.

On the blog this week:

My Sunday Photo, PoCoLo Triumphant Tales - First family photo since 2007

Sunday, 16 April 2017

One Daily Positive Week 15 Hong Kong to Dubai to South Wales and the teen turns 18.

In the past 18 days I've flown almost 18000 miles, spent 44 hours in the air and 24 hours in airports. That's the equivalent to a return trip to Aberdeen from London every day. I started the week with Peter in Hong Kong at the Rugby 7's on an all expenses paid trip. I didn't find out till Tuesday night who had actually paid for this trip. It was a raffle with Emirates Leisure Retail, which I'd entered at Mr Toad's on our regular Wednesday night pub quiz we go to with friends.
Sunday was spent at the Rugby 7s finals, there was a fair amount of beer drunk and cheering for South Africa against Fiji in the finals.

Monday we explored Kowloon on the mainland and all the markets. 

We arrived back in Dubai late on Tuesday evening. 

On Wednesday Peter was in work. I visited the cat, who clawed, purred and moulted and walked back to her cage, unpacked and repacked cases, did a couple of loads of washing, ran the hoover round and went off to see Bob, who was very pleased to see me, but when I left after the pub quiz (which we won) and dinner, he took himself off to bed, with just a quick backward glance in my direction.

Thursday we flew to the UK, Peter had to go into the office in the morning and I went out to a mall for coffee, before arriving at the airport at midday. A stress free flight and straight through passport only to wait 90 minutes for the ground crew to unload the Airbus A380. Birmingham airport may be able to accept the Airbus for landing but it is not equipped to deal with that many passengers at one time. We collected car hire and drove to South Wales.

Friday was the teens 18th birthday and we celebrated in a local restaurant with all our family and close friends who have been involved in the children's lives since they were born.

Saturday we collected various kids and all met up in Cheltenham for an hour or so. This is the first time we've all been together as a family of 7 since 2007. It is also the first time in 10 years that we've all been in the same country at the same time.

99/365 Yellow. Hong Kong Rugby 7's.

100 Dance. Hong Kong viewed from Kowloon.

 101 Wide Angle. Hong Kong viewed from Victoria Peak.

 102 (throw my) HAT (in the ring) Back at quiz night in Dubai which we won (again) and the pub where I entered the raffle for the Hong Kong trip.

 103 Flower. In my garden in Dubai.

 104. Road Trip. Me, Hubby, the teen on his 18th Birthday, child 3 of 5 who travelled down from Leeds to South Wales.

105. Bunny. The first time in 10 years we've all managed to be in the same country at the same time, let alone all meet up, it was a logistical nightmare and who cares it was only for 30 minutes and in a supermarket car park. It made me very happy, yet equally sad as we all went our separate ways. 

On the blog this week:

My Sunday Photo - H is for Hong Kong 
HDYGG and PoCoLo - A visit to the flower market in Kowloon
Animal Tales -
Monday Escapes - Viewing the Big 5 at Kruger National Park
Triumphant Tales - Marriage after the kids leave home

My Sunday Photo Week 120 K is for Kids

We could've chosen a better setting for this photo, but it was all about timing.

Back L-R
Peter, Alex child 5, Jamie child 3.
Front L-R
Stephanie child 1, Andrew child 2, Me, Dan child 4.
We had a professional photographer take this picture as in 'Steve (my nephew) here's my phone take a few pics would you please' while a row broke out over who had the best camera phone iPhone 7+ v Samsung S7 Edge.

The last time we were all together as a family of 7 was in 2007, that year, child 2 moved to Germany with the army. He now lives in the Forest of Dean. In 2010, child 3 left home and moved to Reading, he now lives in Leeds after a brief spell in Cheltenham. In 2011 Peter and I moved with child 4 & 5 to South Africa. Child 5 moved to Tewkesbury in 2013 to attend boarding school and child 4 moved to Yorkshire in 2014 with the army and is now based in Northern Ireland. Child 5 lives in a care home in Gloucester. Peter and I moved to Dubai the end of 2014 where we still live now.

Peter and I have managed to got various combinations of children together over the years, but we've often made separate visits to the UK and on the occasions we've travelled together, one or another of the kids has been away, most recently child 4 who was in the Falklands.  

It's been a logistical nightmare organising this photo. The teen turned 18 on Friday so we booked a family dinner with close friends. We decided not to include Stephanie as she wouldn't have coped with the environment and we wouldn't have been able to switch off and relax. Everyone else made it, family with small kids, my nephew and his girlfriend who booked a day off work to come, child 3 came down from Leeds. But child 4 couldn't get over from Belfast until Saturday morning.

So we all arranged to meet in a car park in Cheltenham, they all managed to spare half an hour of their time, they all understood my need to meet up and get this photo.

This is the most precious photo I own, as a mum whose kids left home and lived 1000's of miles away. I have no idea when we'll all get together again. Child 3 is out in Dubai at the end of the month and the rest of our visit here will be spent with 1, 2, 4 & 5.

I'm back in the UK the end of June for the summer, but Peter won't be with me and child 4 is being posted abroad for 6 months. We'll try and arrange a home coming gathering in spring next year, lets hope that doesn't take another 10 years to put into place.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

The Flower Market - Hong Kong with HDYGG

Catching the train from Admiralty station in Hong Kong over to to Prince Edward station in Kowloon on the mainland, it's a short walk to the flower market, clearly signposted and one street back from the main road.

With limited land space and the cost of housing in Hong Kong, only the very rich can afford properties with gardens and there was a distinct lack of balconies on buildings due to typhoons.

Although there are public parks, with no smoking/music rules, which were beautifully laid out with stunning plants and flowers, I would be lost without a garden and outdoor space, so if the move to Hong Kong was ever on the cards, I'd be a regular visitor to the flower market for both fresh cut flowers and potted plants to create an indoor garden.

Please ask before taking photographs, especially inside the shops and close ups, most people said yes, but a few said no, especially when taking photo's of bouquets, I suppose to stop you making your own, using their ideas.

The flowers and plants ranged in price but you could buy a substantial bunch of flowers of the same kind for a under $100HK or £10.

Bird market in Hong Kong with Animal Tales

Catching the train from Admiralty station in Hong Kong over to to Prince Edward station in Kowloon  on the mainland, it's a short walk to the Bird market, set inside a small park next to Hong Kong Stadium.

My expectations of the market were that I wasn't going to like being there and on entering my thoughts were confirmed, there were lots of tourists purchasing the lovely handcrafted wooden cages, empty of course, but as lovely as they were I didn't want to support the trade, so after taking a few photo's (with permission) we left.

Afterwards we briefly visited the fish market, and decided to give the animal market a miss, I didn't feel the need to cause myself any further distress.