Saturday, 20 October 2018

One Daily Positive - Week 42

My last full week in the UK before I fly home on Monday. I had the benefit of car hire for the rest of my trip so spent it catching up and saying goodbyes, dropping off Christmas, Birthday gifts and cards as I won't be back until mid February.

287 Sunday Spent the morning shopping for food for Thing 1's birthday on Monday. Finished wrapping gifts and writing cards. Popped into say bye to my niece Mini Me as I won't see her again until February. Child 2 and 2a came for dinner and we popped into the pub to see child 3.

288 Monday Off to visit child 1 and onto meet Sarah (Mumof3World) for a coffee and catch up. Visited Thing 1 for his 5th birthday for tea and cake.

289 Tuesday Coffee in Ross-on-Wye with instagram friend Alison (rubbishwife) posted a couple of parcels and complained to the local specsavers about them using the private car park as their own.

290 Wednesday Spent the afternoon with child 5 in Cirencester. Had to return the car hire to Birmingham and collect a new one. It was £127 for 2 weeks, but they wanted to charge me £524 to extend for an extra 5 days. So I booked new car hire for £71 plus the cost of fuel to get up and down from Monmouth. Popped into a friends in the evening on the way home.

291 Thursday Took mum to Newport for the morning, had dinner with a friend at her home in the evening.

292 Friday Visited child 2 and 2a's friends in a near by town as they invited me over for a cuppa. Lunch with child 3. Afternoon spent cleaning the flat preparing it for winter.

293 Saturday Spent the morning cleaning the flat some more and after a coffee called in to see ex MIL and niece, then headed off to the local coffee shop to blog and called into see child 2 and 2a who live nearby also. Child 5 flew out to the US this morning for a week with work. I'm so proud of all the children, their achievements, places they've visited and their future ahead.

On the blog this week:

A walk round the Forest of Dean in search of the stain glass window on the Sculpture Trail
A book review with Clever Tykes
What are they building now in Dubai?






Wednesday, 17 October 2018

The Sculpture Trail, Forest of Dean

We used to live in the Forest of Dean from 1994-2002. We did make the most of woodland walks, activities and facilities while the children were growing up and we love to revisit when we're in the area.

One of our favourite areas when the kids were small was Beechenhurst and the Sculpture Trail. Unfortunately the kids weren't too intereseted in walking around the trail, prefer the play areas and cafe instead, so on our last trip Peter and I decided to walk the whole route. Sadly there are very few sculptures left, so we gave up looking for them and concentrated on the walk and foraging for chestnuts, that were falling with speed from great heights, meaning we spent most of our time looking up at the sky to avoid injury.

It was a bright sunny autumnal day and crunchy underfoot.










Reading with Clever Tykes inspirational story books for kids

I was asked by Clever Tykes if I wanted to read these Inspirational books for kids with my great nephews. I refer to them as The Things. 1, 2 and 3. They are 5, 3 and 18 months.

When I visit the UK, we do a lot of reading and Thing 1 often has a book or two waiting for me to read with him, his brothers also love to snuggle up on the sofa to join in.

Although these books are aimed at slightly older children aged 7+ they were perfect for reading with younger children also, as they do relate to day to day activities, such as healthy eating, making changes, taking responsibility, problem solving and realising one's potential and having a go. The books also promote important values through morals and role models.

We started with 'Change it Cho' and by the 3rd chapter I had Dragon fruit on my shopping list, we'd discussed why fruit and vegetables are good for us and how too many sweeties damage our teeth and took to google to find out what calcium was and where we get it from.

As a teacher also, I would use these books in my lesson planning if I wanted to promote a change in thinking and encourage class discussions. There are teacher packs available to support the books as well as activity packs for the children available online to support learning.


Sunday, 14 October 2018

What are they building now in Dubai? My Sunday Photo.

Help needed.

Just what are they building now in Dubai?

Located by the World Trade Centre, if anyone knows what it is, please let me know.

April 2018

September 2018

For all the other construction photography photos i've been taking over the year, please click on the links below.

Week 158 Dubai Bluewater Islands and Dubai Eye. Man made island a 210m high Big Wheel
Week 159 Dubai Dubai Marina - Reflections
Week 160 Dubai Dubai Frame. A window between the Old and New Dubai and a 150m high glass floor.
Week 161 Dubai Dubai Marina 3 years apart.
Week 163 Dubai New Metro Line for Expo 2020
Week 164 Arizona and Nevada Hoover Dam 2002 - 2010
Week 165 Dubai Dubai Opera House What a difference a year makes
Week 166 Dubai Unfinished buildings. The Pentominium
Week 167 Coventry Mixing the old and the new. Coventry Catherdral
Week 168 Dubai New Dubai Metro Station 
Week 169 Dubai The new extension of the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa 
Week 170 Dubai Hotel fire After the Address fire 
Week 171 Dubai Unusual designs The Opus Building
Week 172 Dubai District Cooling. Keeping the desert cool.
Week 173 Dubai Can I visit the Burj Al Arab
Week 174 Dubai The Almas Tower
Week 175 Dubai The Cayan Tower
Week 176 Toronto The CN Tower
Week 177 Nevada The Paris Hotel 
Week 178 Dubai Ibn Battuta Gate
Week 179 A Wedding Our first child got married
Week 180 Dubai The World's Tallest Tower
Week 181 Dubai and Wales Al Fahidi Fort and Chepstow Castle 
Week 182 Dubai New Metro Station in Al Furjan 
Week 183 Dubai Ski Dubai
Week 184 Another Wedding
Week 185 South Africa Life in a township
Week 186 Austria Ski Jump 
Week 187 Dubai Green Plant Bio Dome 
Week 188 Dubai Update on the Metro Station
Week 189 Dubai My view from the balcony changed in 8 months
Week 190 Greece Just how instagramable is it?
Week 191-192 Dubai Before and After. 3 months out of Dubai
Week 193 Dubai Building a boat in the sky
Week 194 An African Sunset
Week 195 Building with boxes Charity work in South Africa
Week 196 UK wedding and a year of travel

Saturday, 13 October 2018

One daily Positive - Week 41

Busy week, lots of walking, driving and spending time with family and friends. Finding the weather cold, but enjoying wrapping up and wearing jumpers and jeans for a change, not enjoying the rain and the wind that nice.

I'm still getting pains in my thigh, I can only describe it as cramp in my bone. I had a migraine on Thursday and fell over in Gloucester after twisting my ankle on a loose drain cover, my ankle is badly bruised and swollen.

280 Sunday Drove home after the wedding via visiting child 5 in Cirencester, went to the pub in the evening.

281 Monday Collected child 2 and visited child 1 in Gloucester for the day.

282 Tuesday Met friends for coffee and had a wedding invite for June 2020, took ourselves for a walk around the sculpture trail in the Forest of Dean, met child 2 for coffee and my nephew joined us. Out for a meal with friends in the evening and saw child 3 for a drink.

283 Wednesday Off to Bath for the day, then visited MIL, met friends for a takeaway on the way home.

284 Thursday Meeting with child 1's carers, then took child 1 for lunch, called into visit friends in their new home and had a couple of drinks.

285 Friday Took mum, Peter and child 3 to Trago Mills for the day, visited the Things in the afternoon and saw child 2 and 2a in the evening.

286 Saturday Took Peter to the airport and spent the afternoon with Mary before heading home.

On the blog this week:

A visit to Cullinan Diamond Mine in South Africa.
Our last wedding of 2018


Wednesday, 10 October 2018

A visit to Cullinan Diamond Mine, South Africa.

Cullinan Diamond Mine is situated 25 miles east of Pretoria. It was founded in 1902 and in 1905 the largest rough diamond ever found, was discovered there. 
The Cullinan Diamond produced stones of various cuts and sizes, which are now form part of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. The largest of which is the Star of Africa, the largest clear cut diamond in the world which is mounted in the Sceptre, the other diamond cut, which is the 2nd largest diamond in the world is mounted in the Crown. 
The mine had produced over 750 stones greater than 100 carats and more than a quarter of the world's diamonds over 400 carats. it is also the only significant source of blue diamonds in the world.
The town of Cullinan is now a big tourist attraction where you can visit the mine for either a surface or underground tour. Restaurants, shops and open space line the street to the mine and it's very popular on weekends with bikers. There's a micro brewery there as well as a variety of art and craft shops. As well as being very photogenic.
I visited in Spring time, the flowers were coming into bloom, it was warm enough to sit outside in the sun, but still a little chilly in the shade, blankets were supplied if needed. 















Sunday, 7 October 2018

A UK Family Wedding and a year of travel.

Apart from a week in September and a stop over this Wednesday, I've not been back in Dubai since May, so I've been taking a break from the construction photography, although Peter has been taking weekly photo's of the metro stations for me, the glass panels are going on now.

I've been travelling a lot over the summer, Northern Ireland, Germany, Greece and South Africa visiting family and friends and it's lovely to be back in the UK for our 3rd and final wedding of the year. Sadly we've also had 3 funerals this year, my SIL, my uncle and Peter's uncle also, but 2018 will be remembered for the weddings as well. Our eldest son got married in June, best friends in July and our niece yesterday.

Whilst I'm looking forward to returning to Dubai in a week or two, I'm really going to miss the UK as my next visit isn't until March 2019. My mother is joining us in Dubai for Christmas also, but that's not the end of my travels for this year, we're going to Cairo in November and back to South Africa in December.

Prepared for all weathers and the reception was in a field. If you look closely at the dress, it's covered with umbrellas.

My Sunday Photo's for 2018.

Week 158 Dubai Bluewater Islands and Dubai Eye. Man made island a 210m high Big Wheel
Week 159 Dubai Dubai Marina - Reflections
Week 160 Dubai Dubai Frame. A window between the Old and New Dubai and a 150m high glass floor.
Week 161 Dubai Dubai Marina 3 years apart.
Week 163 Dubai New Metro Line for Expo 2020
Week 164 Arizona and Nevada Hoover Dam 2002 - 2010
Week 165 Dubai Dubai Opera House What a difference a year makes
Week 166 Dubai Unfinished buildings. The Pentominium
Week 167 Coventry Mixing the old and the new. Coventry Catherdral
Week 168 Dubai New Dubai Metro Station 
Week 169 Dubai The new extension of the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa 
Week 170 Dubai Hotel fire After the Address fire 
Week 171 Dubai Unusual designs The Opus Building
Week 172 Dubai District Cooling. Keeping the desert cool.
Week 173 Dubai Can I visit the Burj Al Arab
Week 174 Dubai The Almas Tower
Week 175 Dubai The Cayan Tower
Week 176 Toronto The CN Tower
Week 177 Nevada The Paris Hotel 
Week 178 Dubai Ibn Battuta Gate
Week 179 A Wedding Our first child got married
Week 180 Dubai The World's Tallest Tower
Week 181 Dubai and Wales Al Fahidi Fort and Chepstow Castle 
Week 182 Dubai New Metro Station in Al Furjan 
Week 183 Dubai Ski Dubai
Week 184 Another Wedding
Week 185 South Africa Life in a township
Week 186 Austria Ski Jump 
Week 187 Dubai Green Plant Bio Dome 
Week 188 Dubai Update on the Metro Station
Week 189 Dubai My view from the balcony changed in 8 months
Week 190 Greece Just how instagramable is it?
Week 191-192 Dubai Before and After. 3 months out of Dubai
Week 193 Dubai Building a boat in the sky
Week 194 An African Sunset
Week 195 Building with boxes Charity work in South Africa

Saturday, 6 October 2018

One Daily Positive - Week 40 South Africa, Dubai and the UK.

After a huge hail storm on Saturday night, everywhere was dry and with a friend we visited Cullinan Diamond mine. Home of the world's largest rough diamond which now adorns the the UK crown jewels.

I counted up all the boxes I packed and I'd done 470 all from donations. This weekend the Pretoria team are collecting and processing 9000 boxes in total, so while my amount seems huge, in the grand scheme of things, it's not a lot. The rest of the boxes are brought in by members of the public. I started working with this project back in 2011.

Back in Dubai for 36 hours then off to the UK till the end of October. I've driven on 3 continents in one week, right and left hand drive and 3 sets of driving rules.

As I unpacked and repacked my case in the lounge, I didn't go in the cupboard under the stairs where I would've seen the stuff I wanted to take to the UK with me, which I only remembered about after we'd checked in. UK bank cards, keys for the flat (friend has a spare) Christmas gifts for 2a, 3a and 4a and some gifts for the Things, by the weekend I'd stopped stressing out over it. I drove Peter up the wall as I recalled what I'd left behind.

273 Sunday Breakfast with a friend and back to where I was staying to pack more boxes.

274 Monday I packed and popped to the shops as I was short of 18 toothpastes, 11 face clothes and 12 tooth brushes to finish packing my boxes. My friend collected me at 3pm and I stayed at hers for the evening. We drank champagne, a gift from another friend and made plans for my next trip in November.

275 Tuesday Off to the airport, bag wrapped in cling film to stop items being stolen from my case inside the airport. Have never had to do this at any other airport. Arrived home at midnight and straight to bed.

276 Wednesday Such a busy day, unpacked, washed clothes, repacked, took cat and dog to kennels, went to Doctors for blood test results and met a friend for coffee. Pub quiz in the evening and off to bed at 11pm.

277 Thursday Had a lie in, got to airport at 11am and flew to the UK arriving at 8pm, collected car hire and back to the flat. I had the most horrendous leg pains I've ever experienced which resulted in me standing for the 7 hour flight, was offered the chance to lie down, but it was too much. The crew phoned a Doctor on land for permission to administer strong pain killers, they helped a little but I was sick from the pain and the meds.

278 Friday Went to church to see Thing 1's harvest festival then spent the afternoon with child 3, we've not seen him for 15 months. He's working in the area till December when he travels up north to spend Christmas with 3a and family before they both return to Australia. Leg pains gone, have been walking a lot today and after visiting the Things for tea, I popped to the pub and was left in charge for half an hour.

279 Saturday Woke up to rain, packed several outfits for the wedding, had coffee and headed off to Keynsham for our 3rd and final wedding of the year.

On the blog this week:

Why I don't want my experience of Dubai enhanced
Replicating the Burj Khalifa with shoe boxes




Friday, 5 October 2018

I don't want my experience of Dubai enhanced.

 I don’t want my experience of Dubai enhanced.
 

It's been almost 4 years since we moved to Dubai and so much has changed. New roads, buildings, a canal, investment. Everything to encourage new people to move here, preparation for 2020, new airport, new tallest building in the world under construction. You can see the changes over on #mysundayphoto tag.

Talking to other people who have been living here much longer than I have, they say similar ‘Dubai is growing’ but the response to it from the expats and locals I’ve met is ‘we don’t like it’

I feel the same way, when we first moved here, prices for tourist attractions were considerably lower, life was a lot cheaper and more simple. Now there are very few places offering resident discount or preferences. We can no longer take our dog to the beach, out into the desert, our nearest park was been reduced by 50% due to the new water canal and the facilities inside have gone down hill. Other parks charges high entrance fees and are over crowded on weekends and in the evenings.

What’s annoying me the most however is the reduction of access to public beaches. We lived 1km from the nearest beach, currently NOT on the tour bus route and apart from 1 cafĂ©, showers and toilets and a life guard tower. The beaches either side of us now have food shacks, allow jet skiing and kite surfing, have umbrellas and chairs for hire and hold regular events.


The free beach, already slightly reduced in size and a new harbour wall is being built.

With the creation of the new canal and land being built to accommodate hotels, malls, restaurants etc, it won’t be long before our local beach is full on weekends as local residents get edged of their bit of beach and then due to the numbers using the beach, there will be more facilities and amenities, trouble parking, crowded beaches and tour buses stopping.


All this of course is great for tourism and the economy, but it’s not great for us locals, the people who get edged out for the tourists on the weekends and evenings. More and more rules are put in place and sanctioned. I can’t cycle along the beachfront or walk my dog. I can chose to drive out into the desert to cycle on the established cycle track now complete with restaurants and visitors who aren’t visiting for recreational purposes. More people come out to the lakes with the introduction of new facilities, but then there is more mess, more traffic and weekend events. 

But to encourage more visitors out the lakes they are now being stocked with birds and wildlife, which means dogs are now banned from the area and we’re being forced to spend money on entrance fees into private owned dog exercise companies, that already exist, and I use, but when the demand outstrips the space, that will be limited also. Dog friendly public spaces are limited, there are a handful of cafes that allow you to sit outide with your dog, more and more of the developers are banning dogs from areas such as Dubai Marina, forcing people to either give up their dog or move to more expensive areas.

I’m sure I’d have similar experiences living in other cities around the world. I no longer have kids at home, so I’m not interested in child friendly play areas, of which there seems to be plenty of in Dubai. Dubai seems to invest substantiality into families, education, child discounts, which is good for encouraging new families to move here, but for those of us here without kids, or whose children have grown up, all that leaves us with is nail bars, gyms, sports clubs and brunches.

None of which I’m particularly interested in. What I’d like to see is more public open spaces, a park I can take my dog to. More cycle tracks in the city and being allowed to take my bike on the metro so I can reach the quieter areas of Dubai to explore, away from the none stop tourism I get caught up in daily.

Have you noticed changes around the area you live in? 



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