Saturday 31 March 2018

One Daily Positive - Week 13 Ill health and Visitors

It never rains it just pours. My mum is one of 8 siblings, her eldest brother died in 2016. I was in the UK for my father's youngest brothers funeral when he passed also on the day I flew home. One of my mums other siblings was admitted to hospital over the weekend also. The teen is also home after his op and apart from being in pain is ok. Poor mum doesn't know if she's coming or going at the moment. My fathers cousins wife died suddenly on Wednesday after a short battle with cancer also.

I've been on iron tablets for a month now as my red blood cell count was low and the oncologist suspected that because my body wasn't absorbing iron, my white blood cell count was elevated thinking I had an infection. Sadly the iron tablets have helped with the red cell count, but my WBC remains high and I will now need further investigation of my bone marrow to find out why. I've also been suffering with severe neck and pain for the past 2-3 months and have had 8 migraines lasting 2-3 days over a 9 week period, all of which isn't good.

84 Sunday I visited Dubai Mall to take some photos for this weeks My Sunday Photo, did some blogging in the afternoon and took Bob for a walk to take more pictures of the new metro station as it's being built.

85 Monday was spent doing a food shop at Carrefour and the ironing. I also spent some time at the pool over the road. Summer is officially here now in Dubai, low of 21c high of 37c this week and it's only going to get hotter.

86 Tuesday took Bob to the dog park, wrote some letters pool side after a swim which I can feel I'm really starting to benefit from. Spent the rest of the day sweeping sand from the balcony, cleaning windows and washing dog beds and sofa covers as well as stocking the mini fridge ready for child 4 and 4a's arrival on Thursday.

87 Wednesday dropped Bob at Paw Parking for a spa day, did some shopping and had coffee, met Heidi for a coffee got my nails done, had a swim and went to the pub quiz in the evening.

88 Thursday collected child 4 and 4a at 10am from the airport, drove home where they unpacked, showered and headed back out to Dubai Mall for their 2.30pm trip up the Burj Khalifa, followed by lunch, shopping and watching the fountains. Peter joined us for dinner and we watched the LED display before heading home at 10pm

89 Friday was spent at Brunch at Dusit Thani. Dan and Alanna had a lie in and walked Bob in the evening.

90 Saturday we packed a picnic and headed out to the beach, popping out to Ibn Battuta Mall later then having a BBQ once the sun goes down. Making the most of the weather before it gets too hot and we're forced indoors.

On the blog this week:

My Sunday Photo - Dubai Mall extension and the Burj Khalifa
Best Boot Forward and Tweens Teens Beyond - Injecting some colour in my life and trying new things
TriumphantTales - Avoiding the pitfalls of car hire

Tuesday 27 March 2018

How to avoid car hire pitfalls

When I travel to the UK I hire a car. I tend to use the same car hire search engine, mainly because it offers me air miles when I book through them, additional insurance at a competitive price which I can add at time of booking and guarantees if there is a problem when I return the car at the end of the hire that my deposit will be refunded to me in full. I've also found that even when I shop around, I really can't beat the prices that they offer and occasionally they have additional offers such as additional driver at no extra cost or free upgrades.

I've been more than satisfied using this company, however, I've been caught out a couple of times with the actual car hire company itself and here are some of the experiences I've had that can save you time and money if you know what you're doing.

Before you actually book, check the following:

Check the location on google maps of the car hire before booking and whether they run a shuttle service. After a 7+ hour flight from Dubai, I had to on one occasion travel quite some distance with a 30kg case to collect my vehicle as 'conveniently located near Birmingham Airport' was NOT the case.

It's worth paying a little extra for unlimited mileage. Most car hire is limited to 95 miles a day, they are not always clear about how much additional mileage costs, but average 25p inc vat per mile. The longer the period you book for the less likely you are to have limited mileage, so call or email and check first.

Additional drivers must be present with their licence at time of collection and it's not possible to add them just for a few days, so when my husband flies over to join me, it's often financial viable to return the car in my name and rebook for the duration of his stay. Additional drivers cost around £10 extra a day.

If hiring with a British driving licence you need to register online and obtain a licence check code in advance by visiting the DVLA which is only valid for 21 days.

Most car hire companies charge extra or won't allow bookings online if you are under 25 or over 75.

You will need a credit card in the drivers name to collect the car hire. Average amount blocked on your card as a deposit is £400, which will be retained regardless of how small any damage is to your vehicle. I have had £1,200 held on one occasion.

The basic insurance does not cover windscreen, tyre or wheel damage, nor does it provide breakdown and recovery services in the majority of cases. It's worth paying for full protection. This is also available to purchase when you collect your hire car but in my experience it's more costly.

If you get a parking or speeding fine, there is up to £95 charge for processing these.

On collecting your car hire:

From experience most car hire companies will complete the paperwork with you, give you the keys, explain the fuel policy and tell you where your car is located. Often they will mark existing damage on the paperwork, but before you even get in the car, check the vehicle yourself, because when you return the car hire, the company will do a thorough inspection and will attempt to charge you for any minor bit of damage that wasn't recorded.
Mark the damage on the sheet and return to the car hire for them to agree and sign.

Don't let them talk you into doing you a favour by upgrading your car hire for a small fee, it's often due to the fact that the car size you've hired is not available due to being returned late, explain politely that they can use the late return fee to pay for your upgrade, they'll soon find you your vehicle.

Take up the offer of paying for the fuel in the tank and returning the vehicle empty, it's often cheaper. Petrol stations near airports are difficult to get to and add stress trying to fill up before returning the car.

Check the sills of the vehicle for stone chips.
Open the boot and check for damage where cases are put in and out the vehicle.
Make note of the general tidiness and cleanest of the interior and exterior.
Check for damage to wheels.
Check the mileage and the fuel levels match up.
Take photos.

On returning your car hire:

Queues for collecting car hire are often long so when you're returning yours, let them know rather than stand in line. Return the car at the agreed time or you'll be charged for late returns.

If there is damage to the vehicle that has occurred under your possession, make sure you take photo's, in case it is disputed. The full deposit WILL be taken regardless of the amount of damage caused. If you've taken Full Protection this will be refunded in 72 hours. If not then you will have to dispute the difference with the car hire company directly.

Always take a photo of the paper you and the car hire company sign when you hand the car back over.

If you are a smoker, don't ever smoke anywhere near the vehicle when you return it. The last car hire I returned, on seeing me smoking, declared they would have to charge me a £95 valeting fee to clean the car. I asked for another guy to come and check the car, he said there was no evidence of cigarette ash in the back seats or footwell or along the door trim. The first guy was just trying his luck.

Additional things to note/or in other words my ranting:

Nearly every time I collect car hire there is damage to it, in one case I had a wing mirror taped onto the vehicle and I've NEVER collected a vehicle that has been clean inside and/or outside, including on one occasion a carrier bag full of rubbish which I collected and returned to the car hire desk and wet mud in the foot wells. I'm assuming that the deposit has been retained and valeting fees charged and I'm incensed as to where this money is used as it certainly hasn't been used by the car hire companies to repair the damage or clean the vehicles.

I've not been paid nor am I affiliated with but I've received excellent service from them and can highly recommend them. The issues I've had have been with the car hire companies directly and rental, when asked, have resolved any issues immediately.

Monday 26 March 2018

Injecting some colour into my life and trying new things in Dubai

I joined the local leisure centre. By local I mean it takes me 3 minutes to walk there, by crossing the road at the end of our garden.
There's an outdoor pool and a gym (as yet unexplored) and a cafe (as yet open when I've been there) 
There are plenty of sun beds and umbrellas for shade and the pools temperature is controlled, perfect for the hot summer months.

It takes an hour out of my day to go for a swim and is already after a week benefiting my health, I can feel I have a lot more movement in my neck and shoulders already.
I used to belong to a gym in South Africa and used it most days and we had a decent sized pool in the garden, but gym membership in Dubai is very expensive and as I now spend half the year in the UK, it hasn't been worth it. This gym costs £400 a year and for a small fee I can take visitors with me.
I've also inquired about attending some sewing classes and have finally got round to taking my sewing machine and over locker in for service and minor repairs. I did a lot of sewing in South Africa, making bags and bunting that I sold for charity to raise funds for educational supplies, but since moving to Dubai, there's a ban on fundraising and even advertising charities unless they're registered with the UAE Government, so all my stuff has been gathering dust, but my plan now is to get back into the swing of making things to sell over in the UK when I'm there.
Having spent most of 2017 in the UK I was living in Jeans and t-shirts, I was in the UK in February and March for a month also during the snow and wore so many layers I could hardly move. It's nice to be back in Dubai for some warmer weather, sadly it will be too hot soon to enjoy the outside (other than using the pool over the road) but by the time the heat kicks in at 45c I'll be back in the UK for summer and I've decided I need to revamp my wardrobe.
Peter and I have 3 weddings this year in the UK. Our eldest son is getting married, Peter is best man at another, both in the summer and Peter's niece is getting married in the autumn which is going to be a casual affair.
I must say the last wedding excites me the most. No pressure on what we wear, attending as guests only with no responsibilities. For the first two weddings Peter is wearing suit hire and forms part of the Groom party with formal wear, it's not stressing me out what I'm wearing but I do feel a little out on my own when it comes to my choice of outfit, particularly with our son's wedding as I have to avoid the brides colours (red and yellow) and avoid clashing with the Bride's Mother (still don't know what she's wearing either)
Due to ill health over the past year, I've lost a bit of weight, as in I'm now back to the weight I was a few years ago, which means I've been able to wear so many more of my favourite dresses I've hung onto and I've had fun buying new outfits for the upcoming weddings, all of which are suitable for the occasions and for day to day wear in Dubai for popping to the malls, out for brunch or dinner.
I do need to invest in some new underwear and sort through my accessories
Dresses I've been wearing around Dubai and upping my expat game. It's so much easier to wear dresses in Dubai, teamed with a pair of sandals and I'm good to go. No need for jackets, coats or sensible shoes in case it rains over here.
Dress - Jasper Conran

Dress - Mr Price, South Africa


Dresses I've purchased for the weddings, as yet undecided what I'll wear for which yet and I'll need jackets and a hat and possible water proofs although the first two are summer weddings, they are both in the UK. Shoes are already sorted.
Jacques Vert

The Collection at Debenhams


M & Co

Dress Sea Salt, Jacket Quiz for the Autumn Wedding, need shoes but have yellow Hunter wellies should it be wet as the reception is in a barn.

However the dress I'm looking forward to wearing the most is this one, but I'm not sure for what occasion it is best suited, but we do have brunch this Friday.

Cheryl Arthur - South Africa

Sunday 25 March 2018

Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall and Fountains 2014-2018

 Both photos taken from the same spot on the bridge between the Dubai Mall and Souk Al Bahar, 4 years apart but with different cameras. The curved building bottom right on the first photo is now almost obscured by the new mall extension and you can see a couple of additional buildings behind.

January 2014

March 2018

Week 158 Bluewater Islands and Dubai Eye. Man made island a 210m high Big Wheel
Week 159 Dubai Marina - Reflections
Week 160 Dubai Frame. A window between the Old and New Dubai and a 150m high glass floor.
Week 163 New Metro Line for Expo 2020
Week 164 Hoover Dam 2002 - 2010
Week 165 Dubai Opera House What a difference a year makes
Week 166 Unfinished buildings. The Pentominium
Week 167 Mixing the old and the new. Coventry Catherdral
Week 168 New Dubai Metro Station 

Saturday 24 March 2018

One daily Positive - Week 12 Perfect weather for outdoors

First full week back in Dubai and feeling bored and lonely again......grrrrrrr. I decided to join the local leisure centre where I can use the pool, which will help with my neck pain, there's a gym I'll pluck up the courage to use, coffee shop and a beauty salon. I have to cross the road only to get there, which means I can still go there in the middle of summer, although I'll be spending most of it in the UK.

We have new neighbours and it's not got off to a good start, with them parking on my drive then not happy when I asked them to move so I could go out, when I got back the wheelie bin had been moved onto the driveway and they've constructed a huge gazebo in the garden which blocks our view, but on a positive, it will provide additional shade for our garden in the summer.

The cat and dog haven't left my side since I got back, I'm constantly tripping over them both. The cat is moulting everywhere. I bought a glove to brush her with, she keeps attacking me, but purring at the same time, there's so much fur coming off her, I could knit a blanket.

The weather is absolutely perfect at the moment, still haven't put the air con on since we moved here December 5th, which is a winter record, although it will soon be too hot to be outside, so we're making the most of it while we can.

77 Sunday I met up with Rachel from @silvernlilac who was visiting Dubai and we went to the Miracle Gardens and had a drink and a walk on the beach. I spent the afternoon in bed, I'm still adjusting to the heat.

78 Monday after a late start to the day, I caught up with some gardening and put the solar panel lights up I bought in the UK. Took the car for a wash and collected Rachel before heading off to Dubai Garden Glow, visited the new Ice Park, which at -8c was freezing, despite being given a coat to wear I had 3/4 trousers on and sandals. We had dinner at Reem Al Bawadi and sat in the garden.

79 Tuesday I headed off to Ibn Battuta Mall for a coffee and a walk around. I lack motivation now I'm back in Dubai, I can find things to do, but I get bored and I'm lonely.

80 Wednesday Met up with Heidi at La Mer, the new beach area in Jumeriah, we paid 60 AED/£12 for a coffee and a tea, thankfully parking was free. Headed over to Mercato Mall for lunch and some shopping. Spent the evening at the pub quiz with Peter, we came 2nd, would've been first if I'd not gone to the loo as it started, I knew the answer to the first question, blast.

81 Thursday spent the day cleaning the house, top to bottom. Bob had been sick during the night. Popped out for coffee and joined the leisure centre over the road, looking forward to getting back swimming again. Peter and I went out for coffee in the evening and a long walk with Bob.

82 Friday We headed off to the beach with a breakfast picnic, a swim and took our books. In the afternoon i went for a swim at the pool over the road, almost as good as having one in our back yard like we did in South Africa. Had a horrendous migraine and went to bed early but neighbours were having work done till 9pm, then I got a call from a family member to say they were having an emergency operation, which went well.

83 Saturday A relaxing day, migraine still present. I went for an early morning swim and Peter and I went out for coffee which helped and we spent the evening with friends for a BBQ.

On the blog this week:

My Sunday Photo - The new metro station at Discovery Gardens
Best Boot Forward and PoCoLo - I have the confidence to fail
Animal Tales - Gifts for the cat and dog. Easter eggs for pets
TweensTeensBeyond and TriumphantTales - Life after parenting

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Life after parenting

Hi there PR marketing and advertising companies. Just thought I’d drop you a line and let you know that there is life after parenting and we’re not all ready for Saga holidays, funeral plans and bath aids.

I get endless emails for the above, I also get endless emails inviting me to mums and tums groups and  to try new restaurants with play areas for my kids while I eat/drink in peace. I also get endless emails about 2 for 1 offers, discounts on group bookings in restaurants and at events, opportunities to review days out, kids books, toys, clothing and prams that are always a perfect fit with my blog, as there is an assumption that as I write about kids, they must all be small.

I don’t fit into either of these catagories and I feel the world of marketing is missing out on an untapped market.

I’m 46, my kids have left home and I have a disposable income. I don’t want spa days, brunches or experiences, as I'm not one of those people who has a large social network of friends that live in the same town as me. I don't work, therefore I'm not interested in discounts for 10 or more at certain times of the year and I'm not into joining gyms and other leisure activities.

I'm not really sure what I want if I'm honest from PR companies advertising and marketing agencies other than an offer of something that is fun.

I'd like 2 for 1 offers that I can use over two different dates, not have to bring someone with me on the day to benefit. I'd like to review your fancy bath products not anti wrinkle creams. I'd like to be sent a book to review that isn't in the self help/improvement category. Clothes that are fashionable not practical, bags that are fun and not for travel, stationery for keeping in touch with my pen pals.

I'm available during the day, like I said I don't work and I don't have small kids, surely I'm not exempt from using your facilities and visiting you during the day.

I might like to try your new menu and dine alone, take a good book with me to read, or does that make your establishment feel uncomfortable? I might like a free glass of wine with my meal for one as an incentive to get me to come and try your new menu, on my own. I might want to take advantage of that spare seat at a concert or a show and actually attend on my own.

I'm also more than happy to pay for all the above, but I feel that I don't get offered the same discounts, level of attention as others who turn up in groups, use 2 for 1 offers, or fit the niche of your establishment.

While there will always be people with kids, people who fit your targeted audience, there will always be people without kids, without a network of friends, people who don't want to join large groups or take part in activities. There will always be people who just want to be. Be on their own, experience new things, visit new places, that don't want to be ignored when they get there, don't want to be sat in a corner or away from everyone else. People who want to be in the thick of things. People with nothing else to spend their money on, except themselves, so why not let that be with you, why not offer them the same experiences as others?

Monday 19 March 2018

I have the confidence to fail

Failure, although painful is a great learning tool, without it, I fear my life would be boring, I certainly wouldn't have achieved half the things I have done without it.

What other people often see as failure to them isn't actual failure to me.

Without a failed relationship and marriage I certainly wouldn't have had my 3 kids, my husband now, 2 step kids and a life abroad.

Our marriage hasn't been easy with 5 kids, living abroad has also been challenging and at many points on our journey we could have been perceived to have failed, but we didn't pack it all in and return home, that would have brought with it a whole new set of things we could've failed at, work, finances, our relationship.

Failure means lack of success. Who determines what success is? If I attempt something and I fail, is it really a failure? I did my best with what ever knowledge and resources that were available to me, maybe I just wasn't prepared properly, I'll learn from it, re group and try again.

Failure means the neglect or omission of expected or required action. If I do nothing, then by default I have failed right from the start.

I amaze myself often, people say they have no idea how I cope with some of the stuff I deal with. I don't choose to deal with most of this stuff, it just happens and I guess I just get on with it.

I do things because a) they have to be done, b) I have the time and resources to do things and c) I quite like a challenge.

I don't choose to make things difficult, people just love to drag stuff out of me, they want to hear the drama, add to it, make the task sounds 10 times worse and if I quietly get on with things, they think I'm keeping stuff from them, hiding things, when the reality is I really just don't have time to go through the details with them, with people who can't actually help, don't want to help and are not so secretly just waiting for me to fall flat on my face.

So I've decided I really don't have time for that anymore, I'll just do what I have to do, when I have to do it, if they think I'm being evasive, so what? If they think I'm hiding things? I'll ask them exactly what they think I'm hiding and what they think I'm gaining by giving up my time and energy to help others in the way I do.

I find by trying things, by tackling difficult issues I end up inspiring people in one of two ways:

  • inspire confidence in others
  • to inspire a person with distrust
I don't set out to inspire confidence in others, I set out to complete a task. However it appears that by completing the task, however difficult or time consuming, I often inspire distrust in others. That I'm only doing something for personal gains, that I'm receiving some kind of financial reward for my efforts. That I make others feel inferior because they see the task as too difficult, too time consuming and are overwhelmed.

I wasn't born with problem solving skills and knowledge. I didn't reach 46 years of age without learning a few things along the way. I've also made myself ill, caused myself unnecessary stress, taken on too much and attempted to do things without the correct tools and the right preparation. But I learn from it all. I'm starting to ask for help, say when I get over whelmed and need a break, realise my own limits and am now sticking up to fingers to those who wait for me to fail, at least I'm trying.

Holiday gifts for the cat and dog

I've been off on my travels to the UK for a month, leaving Bob and Pushkins in Dubai.

Peter joined me for the last week and he put them both into boarding.

Needless to say on our return they were very excited to us both. 

Since our return, Peter has returned to work and the cat and dog are never more than a few meters from my side.

There are a few things that Peter and I can't get in Dubai 'our taste of home' so the suitcase always contains our favourite food items. It also always contains something for the cat and dog, usually novelty items.

On this trip I found:
Dog Beer
Pawsecco Wine
Chocolate Easter Eggs 
The usual cat milk treat.

It's all designed for cats and dogs, contains no alcohol or actual chocolate, of which are dangerous to dogs. They're just novelty items and why not?

Sunday 18 March 2018

New Dubai Metro Station Discovery Gardens

I posted a photo of the new Metro Line for Expo 2020 for Week 163, showing the progress of the line between October 2017 and 11th February 2018. Well I travelled to the UK for 4 weeks and I returned home to discover the new station is well underway and thankfully not that far from where I live.

I'll photograph it's progress weekly between now and May 31st when I next leave Dubai to see how far it's come along.

Week 158 Bluewater Islands and Dubai Eye. Man made island a 210m high Big Wheel
Week 159 Dubai Marina - Reflections
Week 160 Dubai Frame. A window between the Old and New Dubai and a 150m high glass floor.
Week 163 New Metro Line for Expo 2020
Week 164 Hoover Dam 2002 - 2010
Week 165 Dubai Opera House What a difference a year makes
Week 166 Unfinished buildings. The Pentominium
Week 167 Mixing the old and the new. Coventry Catherdral

Saturday 17 March 2018

One daily Positive - Week 11. Nicholas Parsons and home to Dubai

Both a sad start and end to this UK trip, arriving for my SIL's funeral and leaving 2 days after the death of my Uncle. This happened in 2016 also, when I came over for my father's youngest brothers funeral and my mother's eldest brother died the day I left. I finished the week back home in Dubai. Fell back into local time straight away, tired and had no milk, the garden had survived, one house plant was a bit worse for wear and it felt strange not being met by the cat and dog.

70 Sunday Our Easy Jet flight from Belfast was delayed by an hour, said our goodbyes to child 4 and 4a, who we'll see again in Dubai at the end of the month. Collected car hire and then the teen from Stratford and dropped him off at my mum's where he's staying till the end of the week. Mother's Day gifts from child 4, 4a and 5.

71 Monday Collected child 1 from Gloucester and hubby suggested we visit Bicester village for a day out, the roads were really misty. I took Mary's (over40andamumtoone) birthday gift with us and called her on route and she joined us for a coffee or two. I must say both Peter and I were impressed with how she handled Stephanie and dodged flying drink bottles.

72 Tuesday Collected MIL from Keynsham and headed off to Street for the day for shopping and lunch. Had the start of a migraine. I know I'm over doing it, but our remaining time in the UK is limited and I lost 4 days to the snow. I took Peter to me local pub to meet Geoff, the landlord, who bought my fathers car. I tend to treat the pub as an extension of my living room as the teen is still living in the flat.

73 Wednesday Woke to the sad news that Uncle Tim died last night. It was something we were expecting and it hit me really hard. Tim was my father's best friend from birth and I can't recall any event over my lifetime of 46 years that he and his wife, Aunty Pat who died in 2012, hadn't been part of. I had a horrendous migraine and really didn't want to go anywhere, but child 2 had his suit fitting appointment for his wedding in June and I was dragged to Gloucester, called in to see ex MIL on our way back and went straight to bed. Peter went to see my sister, mini me and Thing 1, 2 & 3. Managed to get out in the evening to see Nicholas Parsons at the local theatre, it was very good, despite the migraine.

74 Thursday Took mum to visit my cousin, Tim's son, I hadn't seen him during the hospital visits and as I won't be able to attend the funeral, we drove to Aberdare for the day. On the way back we stopped at the crematorium to order my father's memorial plaque. It was a sad time for both mum and I, first time back at the crematorium and we saw where my father's ashes were buried. In the evening Peter and I did a whistle stop tour of saying goodbyes and met friends in the pub for a quiet drink and replied to 2 of the 3 wedding invites we have to look forward to this year.

75 Friday It's not often Peter and I fly together, we joke we're like royalty. We sat together upstairs on the Airbus A380. I require a window seat when I fly so I have something to lean against. Peter was pleased with the extra legroom and storage but I was disappointed as I may as well have been sitting in an aisle seat, I had nothing to lean against and spent most of the flight in pain and tears.

76 Saturday I didn't get much sleep, woke early and fetched milk, caught up with some blogging while Peter slept as it's back to work for him tomorrow, unpacked, collected the cat and dog and had a manicure, pedicure and new gel polish while Peter did some food shopping, a relaxing day and an early night ahead.

On the blog this week:

My Sunday Photo - Coventry Cathedral - Mixing the old and the new
Triumphant Tales, Tweens Teens Beyond, Best Boot Forward and PoCoLo linky
What it's like being a woman living in Dubai.

Tuesday 13 March 2018

What’s it like being a woman living in the Middle East?

I live in Dubai in the UAE, not Saudi Arabia.

Please stop confusing the two countries. I can’t talk about what it’s like to live in any other country in the Middle East, other than the UAE and Dubai in particular.

But I can talk about living as an expat spouse in another country, in South Africa, different to my country of birth, the UK and where I live now.

Living as a none working expat, as in I'm only living abroad to support my husband while he works in another country for a set period of time, means that my visa reads 'not entitled to work' and therefore I am unable to obtain things such as bank, phone accounts and have utility bills in my own name. This is because I do not have an income, my husband sponsors me as in he is taking full financial responsibility for me being in the country with him, including my emotional, mental and physical well being.

It means I have to have a letter of consent from him to work, which makes me more desirable to employers as they are not financially responsible for me in regards to paying a housing allowance and  providing medical cover and I need a letter for me to drive, meaning my husband will take full responsibility to ensure I am insured, my vehicle is road worthy and I have the means to pay any fines.

The above applied to life in South Africa also, but strangely enough I didn't meet the requirements under BEE Black Economic Empowerment law to work there regardless of whether my husband sponsored me or not as I didn't meet the skills shortage requirements.

If I were the one with the visa to work and he was accompanying me, then the same rules would apply to him also.

It does not mean that because I am a woman I am a 2nd class citizen, in any way shape or form.

I did work for a year in Dubai as a Teacher, I made a decision to stop working as realistically one of us needs to be able to travel to and from the UK to support our families living there and as a Teacher I cannot earn the salary to maintain our standard of living and fund my husband to do the same level of travel.

I was also offered a job with a sponsored visa by the UAE Government for another teaching post, which I had to decline when my father died last year.

Now that part is all cleared up, let me tell you what it's like living as a woman in Dubai.

I can drive a car.

I don't have to wear an abaya or cover my head or face. I have to ensure my shoulders are covered if I go to a government building and wear a head scarf if I visit one of the two mosques that offer tours to none Muslims.

I can drink alcohol. Everyone needs a licence to purchase alcohol from a liquor store, all one has to do is provide proof they are not a Muslim to do this by filling in a form and paying a small fee. I don't have a licence, there's no need to pay for two and besides with all the travel we do, we purchase what we want at duty free.

I can buy pork products in the local supermarket.

I can wear a swimming costume or bikini on a public beach.

I can go out on my own.

I can buy myself a glass of wine at a bar without my husband being present.

I actually have my own bank account, car and insurance and mobile phone contract, in my own name, from when I was working that I don't have to change now I'm not.

I can hold my husband's hand in public, I can hug him and give him a kiss when I greet him at the airport or say goodbye.

I can go out for a meal or a drink or get in a car with a man who is not my husband, father, brother or son.

My Doctor is male.

I can celebrate Christmas, Easter, Halloween and purchase everything I need/want from the local stores and Malls. I can attend a Christian church.

And if I choose to, on public transport I can sit/stand in the woman and children only section of a bus/train.

All in all life in Dubai isn't that different from living in the UK, other than the fact that Dubai is a much safer country for me to live in, regardless of whether I'm male or female. I've yet to encounter groups of drunks on a weekend, I don't come across people fighting, swearing or throwing up in the street. I have no issues travelling across the city late at night on public transport or in my car. I have no fear when I go out alone at night walking the dog, taking a short cut through a park regardless of the time of day and have absolutely no worries about my personal safety in regards to my belongings. If I leave my bag at a table in a restaurant while I go to the toilet or on the beach while I go for a swim. I can guarantee it will still be there on my return.

Sunday 11 March 2018

Mixing the old and the new - Coventry Cathedral

I've not visited Coventry since the mid 80s and from memory it's not changed at all. When I mentioned this on social media there was an assumption that my comment was negative, it wasn't. I meant there had been no development, the city remained unchanged in terms of architecture, yes a lot of the shops were empty, but that is typical of most towns and cities up and down the UK these days.

Coventry Cathedral was bombed during the blitz in 1940, which destroyed most of the city centre, which was rebuilt in the 1950s and 60s. Only the tower, spire and outer wall and the bronze effigy and tomb of the first bishop of St Michael's Cathedral was left standing, originally built in the late 14th and early 15th century.

The current St Michael's Cathedral was built alongside the ruins joining them to form one church in the early 1960's. My access for photos was restricted when I visited due to filming of Nativity 4 in the Cathedral grounds.

I always enjoy visiting churches and cathedrals when I'm in the UK, mainly because the buildings are old and full of character, something I don't see in Dubai, where everything is modern and new.

You can see the other building projects in Dubai and around the World, I've been following below:

Week 158 Bluewater Islands and Dubai Eye. Man made island a 210m high Big Wheel
Week 159 Dubai Marina - Reflections
Week 160 Dubai Frame. A window between the Old and New Dubai and a 150m high glass floor.
Week 163 New Metro Line for Expo 2020
Week 164 Hoover Dam 2002 - 2010
Week 165 Dubai Opera House What a difference a year makes
Week 166 Unfinished buildings. The Pentominium

Saturday 10 March 2018

One Daily Positive Week 10

Another busy week, catching up with all the things missed from last weeks snow. Peter arrived and I flew to Belfast to visit child 4 and 4a. Friday was a tough day for me. Although it was a proud day as a mum watching my son march through Lisburn on his return from Iraq, I was very aware all day that Christine, my SIL, was no longer with us as several times I started to message her and tag her in posts for her share the day with me. Her name also pops up daily on nearly every Facebook memory with a like or a comment and it hurts. Strangely it was only the following day when I realized I’d not once thought about sharing the day with my dad and realized time does truly march on in many ways.

63 Sunday A lazy morning, a hot bath and a coffee in town, some blogging, a bit of cleaning, then I took 3 nights of dinner up to Mum's before seeing Miles Jump and friends at the Savoy Theatre in town. I sat front row, on my own.

64 Monday An early start to Malvern to meet British Gas to get a price for a new boiler to be fitted tomorrow, encountered 6ft snow drifts on the journey, drove the teen down to Abergavenny then went to visit a friend in the Forest of Dean in the evening. Snow pyraminds in the car park.

65 Tuesday popped up to see Mum in the morning, then back to bed with a headache, stiff neck and shoulder pain and foul metallic taste in my mouth, back up to mums in the evening, a hot bath and an early night. The flood plain for the river is the opposite sided thankfully.


66 Wednesday Felt much better this morning, still stiff and have taste in mouth, but no headache. Took the teen to Stratford, drove onto Warwick with the rest of Dad's cigarette and post card collection, spent a couple of hours wandering around Coventry where they were filming Nativity 4, hence the Christmas tree, before collecting Peter from Birmingham airport.

67 Thursday Back to Birmingham, returned the car hire and caught a flight to Belfast, child 4 collected us from the airport, we checked into the B&B then walked to 4a's house to introduce Peter to the parents.

68 Friday Child 4's medal parade in Lisburn today followed by lunch with Prince Edward and the evening with 4, 4a and her parents.

69 Saturday spent the morning with 4 and 4a in Belfast with a visit to the Titanic Museum and a walk around the City, the afternoon in front of the telly watching the rugby and this evening we're all off out for a meal.

On the blog this week:

My Sunday Photo - Unfinished buildings in Dubai. The Pentominium 
Triumphant Tales, Tweens Teens Beyond, Best Boot Forward, PoCoLo Linkys
Crossing Boundaries, both physically and mentally.