Thursday 31 January 2019

Do you get to enjoy your garden?

Do you ever just sit in your garden and relax? Or like me, find there is always something that needs doing and by the time you've finished, you realise you've spent all day in the garden but working, not relaxing.

This is the garden at the end of summer. it's very humid in Dubai and the plants, tree's and grass just grow and grow.

We've installed an irrigation system to allow us to water next summer without standing out in the heat

The climbing plants are taking hold now providing some privacy in the garden from people walking past

Upstairs balcony is set up, but cushions etc have to come inside every night or they get covered in sand and there has been some rain here this winter.

Seeds planted in November are now producing fruit, veg and flowers. They germinate really quickly in this climate.

4 days later.


The lawn has been reseeded, twice, it doesn't help that we have a dog who likes to dig.

Whilst the garden looks relaxing and inviting, it takes time and effort every day to set it up, especially having to sweep the sand and clean the table and chairs daily.

The balconies get covered with sand, the windows too and I seem to spend all my time cleaning and setting up just to be able to sit outside for 5 minutes to drink my now cold cup of tea.

So this is what I use most of the time, this balcony area off our bedroom, you can see the sand on the floor, swept only 3 days ago, it gets in the bedroom.

I can't be bothered with taking the pod cushions outside unless I'm spending the day at home and only put the chair cushions out when we have guests in the garden and we BBQ.

 The garden today after sweeping and hosing the patio down.

When the summer comes everything gets put away and covered to protect it from the sun. I can't be bothered to spend the time setting the garden up just to show you what it can look like, just for a photo.

The idea of a lovely garden with cushions, umbrellas and decorations is nothing but hard work and therefore it rarely happens. A lot of our neighbours have maids whose job it is to set it all up and put it all away at the end of the day on their behalf.

Do you spend much time in your garden? When you do are you just relaxing or working in it to create a relaxing environment that you rarely use?

Tuesday 29 January 2019

Daughter in laws first visit to our home.

Over the past 6 years child 2 has known 2a, she has never been to our home. Nothing wierd about that as we live abroad and it's not been practical for them to visit us. I spend half the year in the UK and Peter joins me often and as they live the closet to where we are based we see more of them than the other children.

Over the past 6 years we've met up with 2 and 2a in a pub, her parents home, my parents, gone shopping and more recently in their home and in the 1 bed flat we own in the UK near to where they live.

We've been visitors in their lives in a similar way to all the family members over the past 8 years since moving abroad.

I never gave much thought to 2a's visit with us in regards to her seeing the real us, until she arrived and saw 2 sitting on the same sofa with the same lounge furniture we had when he was a child. His childhood home looked very similar to the one in which we live in now, but for 2a this was her first time of seeing us in our environment, seeing our tastes in furniture, experiencing our lifestyle and being with us in our comfort zone, our home.

Six years is a long time to know someone for and never to have had them visit. Would she have expectations based on the way my mum and dad lived? or the way we'd decorated the flat? which is minimal with few personal possessions.

Were Peter and I good cooks? (Peter is) would she like the food we ate, would she feel comfortable in the guest room? Would she be OK for 10 days? Or feel like she's stuck with us and just being polite?

As we've seen 2a in her environment, her home with 2 and her family home and  eaten out with her in the pub, we had an advantage over preparing for her stay.

Usually our visits last a couple of hours at a time or when we go out for the day it's been to the shops, a kind of neutral territory for us all.

But 24/7? Obviously they've been to the beach and wandered around the mall on their own, as they're doing right now, but the rest of the time when we're at home we're doing our own thing, watching the football (which she enjoys), helping us prepare for dinner and clearing up, chatting while 2 and hubby sit outside.

2a` has the confidence to say to us 'no thank you' or 'can I come to the dog park with you' she's decisive when asked what she'd like to do during the day or eat and drink. She'll happily sit around and is patient while I sort things in the home and offers to help. She's confident when we go to the souks and can handle herself with the sales pressure.

She's a joy to have in her lives, she's aware and carefree that I'm blogging about her and most importantly is great company to be with.

So I think in summary, she likes our home, she feels happy to be with us and hopefully now we can share a few more experiences when we chat about day to day life when we next visit the UK for shopping, meals out and visits to hers and 2's home.

Saturday 26 January 2019

One Daily Positive Week 4 - Visitors and Golf

It was a cold weekend, I was physically shivering outside and inside it was fleecy pj's and socks in bed and sitting under a blanket on the sofa to watch the TV. It was still 22c outside but with a strong wind, sand swirling and a low sun, I just couldn't get warm. Everyone says it's cold here in Dubai at the moment.

20 Sunday I did sod all, all day apart from watch movies and sleep in the chair in the lounge. I had the cat and dog for company until Peter came home.

21 Monday Gave Bob a proper bath, washed all his bedding, swept sand off the balconies and the patio and tidied the garden. Took Peter to the train for his flight to Saudi, did the food shop and had a meeting ahead of the golf this weekend.

22 Tuesday Off to the dog park, always nice to catch up with a few people over a coffee while the dogs run around. IKEA delivery and assembly in the afternoon and I swept through the house after setting up the upstairs TV on the new unit. Peter arrived back from Saudi late.

23 Wednesday Airport run to collect 2 and 2a, after they unpacked and rested I took them to the Marina for a walk round and we had dinner out at the pub quiz.

24 Thursday Dropped 2 and 2a at Dubai Mall for their trip up the Burj Khalifa, I stayed for a coffee then I went off to marshal the golf at the Omega desert Classic for the day, before meeting up with them and Peter for dinner and to watch the light show.

25 Friday We caught the ferry from the Marina to Dubai Creek to explore the museums, souks and a trip on the abra, we got a taxi back to the home and had a bbq in the evening.

26 Saturday Peter took 2 and 2a off to Abu Dhabi and I worked at the golf for the day. Finished the afternoon with a beer sitting on the 15th green.

Sunday 20 January 2019

How to be a spotter on the European Tour

The European Tour was in Abu Dhabi last week. I worked as a volunteer marshal. I had no idea what my role would involve, but I did have some experience from the Race to Dubai tournament back in November, where I worked as a travelling marshal in the Pro Am, escorting players around the course and managed the 1st tee.

In Abu Dhabi this week I took on a new role as a spotter as well as working as a crossing marshal and on the 16th and 18th tee.

A spotter's role is to move ahead of the players and estimate where the golfers ball may land, based on the average hitting distance and keeping a close eye on the tee marshal who indicates whether the ball has gone in a straight line or gone wide.

This means standing in the line of fire, in sight of the tee so the golfer can see where their ball has landed and marking the ball if it's gone out of play or in the water hazards. It's important to note where the ball hit the water and whether it bounced on the ground first and rolled in or not.

 Often the ball lands directly in the longer grass around the fairway and is difficult to find.

And if it lands in the undergrowth it can be impossible to find, in which case a referee is called for.

The group of golfers I walked round with spent a lot of time in the bunkers and the water hazards. I felt mean pointing to where their ball had landed, in bunkers, undergrowth, out of bounds and under cacti.

Play was slow on Wednesday and Thursday and instead of spotting I had to do 'listening' as the sun was low and I couldn't see the ball in the air, let alone know where it had landed and it was pot luck for one golfer that I guessed his ball had landed in the water.

I didn't actually see much golf being played, but I did see all the golfers either play through from the fairway or walk onto the tee. I was there to manage the crowd so had my back to the golfers during each shot.

I did meet some amazing people from around the world and met up with marshals who I recognised from Dubai.

Next up, the Omega Desert Classic this weekend, then I'm taking a break from the golf as it leaves the UAE until November. I may volunteer at the Nedbank Challenge in Sun City South Africa if I can time my travels. In the meantime I'm applying to the Rugby 7's and the Abu Dhabi grand prix as well as the special olympics and Expo 2020

Saturday 19 January 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 3. European Tour - Golf, Abu Dhabi

I started the week with flu like symptoms and wanted to spend the week in bed. It's been full on since September with 2 trips to the UK, 2 trips to South Africa, a long weekend in Cairo followed by my mum arriving for a month, she left last week.

I was told many years ago I had bone disease in my mouth, hence why I had loose teeth. I've finally got round to doing something about it after a post snapped before Christmas and I risk losing a front tooth. A plan with the dentist is in place. It involves the extraction of 5 teeth, a bone graft and 5 implants. It's not going to be cheap, coming in at £21,000 But with child 4 getting married in September and me existing on a liquid diet for over a month, it's got to be done.

13 Sunday Collected the pets tags from the vets for 2019, called in Starbucks for a coffee and an impromptu nail appointment, before spending 2 hours at the dentist. We had dinner, watched 2 movies, soaked in the bath and watched the football.

The hospital where the dentist was located was huge, the whole area is called Health Care City.

14 Monday I re registered the car last week, insurance and road worthy test, had the car serviced and new front brake pads and discs and the courier delivered my new registration card today. I cleaned the upstairs of the house and had to pop to the local mall to buy beige shorts for the golf on the weekend.

Soup and liquid diet for me till my teeth are fixed.

15 Tuesday We were shunted from behind on the way to the dog park, all ok, no damage just a bit shaken and annoyed. Had my hair cut, did some batch cooking and cleaned the downstairs of the house.

I've loved my bed this week.

16 Wednesday I was in Abu Dhabi at 7.30am ready for marshalling the HSBC Golf part of the European Tour. Pub Quiz and dinner out.

It's a beautiful course to walk.

17 Thursday I spent the day as a spotter, lurking in the bushes in the line of fire and letting the golfers know where their ball went, mostly in bunkers, water hazards and under a cacti.

Sunset in Abu Dhabi, spotting balls was tricky oin this light.

18 Friday The day was spent marshalling the 16th green, keeping the spectators behind the ropes and quiet. It's amazing how many people ignored me, thinking the rules don't apply to them.

The weather has been cold over the weekend but perfect for my nasturtium to flower.

19 Saturday Final day of the golf and it was spent transitioning players from the 13th green to the 14th tee in front of the 18th tee and keeping spectators back. Once the last pair came through I then marshalled the crowds on the 18th tee and followed the golfers down the fairway to the green to see Shane Lowry win, we had a party afterwards for all the volunteers, got home at 9pm, bath, foot pack on and into bed.

On the blog this week:

Tuesday 15 January 2019

Why is doing nothing such hard work?

I spent 2 days cleaning the house, top to bottom, sparkly tiles and windows I can see out of.

But it's not done, there's always something else to be done. I'd caught up with the washing and ironing, yet found another 2 loads to go in the machine today.

How does that happen? It's just me, hubby, the cat and dog. Peter is out all day at work and apart from cooking dinner or blogging, or watching TV I don't generate that much mess surely.

I've not been well, I was planning on resting the last two days ahead of the golf in Abu Dhabi tomorrow, instead I've been hoovering, dusting and mopping all day.

We bought 2 large rugs as I'm fed up of walking on hard tiles all the time. I've created work for myself hoovering up the dog and cat hairs out of the carpet, I can't lift the coffee table back on the rug on my own (I tried)

I batched cooked several meals ahead of child 2 and 2a's arrival next week, so after the golf I can just chill out for a few days after running the hoover round and catching up with the ironing again.

But I've gone and ordered a unit from IKEA that arrives the day before they do so I can't sort out their room until then.

The new sofa we ordered won't arrive until 4 days later. my timing for ordering online sucks.

I generated a pile of charity donations that now decorate the kitchen units also.

I swept the garden of sand and cleaned the balcony furniture and covered it so hopefully that won't need doing again before they arrive.

I've a pile of paperwork I've been 'sorting' since before Christmas. i.e. just moving it from room to room.

In between I've had all my hair lopped off, been to the dentist, had a minor car accident, repotted a cactus and started planning new furniture for the spare bedroom.

Child 2 and 2a arrive on the 23rd January till February the 2nd and I fly back to the UK on the 20th. After they leave I have the dentist to remove several teeth and have implants fitted, so I'll probably leave the new office furniture until after I get back (I won't)

Apart from the dog park, daily walks, pub quiz and coffee with a friend and upcoming visitors as well as a book to finish, a bike to ride and swimming and 4 days marshalling on the European Golf Tour, I've actually got nothing to do.

Just remember before you say I lead a full and busy life, please take into account I have no kids or a job and I'm awake for 16 hours a day and on my own 5 days a week while Peter is in work. So for now at 10pm I'll have a soak in the bath, read some of my book and wait for Peter to come home. I've been on my own since 7am. That's 15 hours to have done 'nothing in'

I'm hoping by next week I can find something to blog about, as blogging for no reason is pretty boring. 

What did you do this week?

Saturday 12 January 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 2 Still ill

Bloody toothache and a loose front tooth, give me strength. I am quite literally falling apart. The post snapped mid 2017 and the tooth fell out, it cannot be put back in again, and with bone disease, I need grafts before I can have implants, which would mean no top front teeth for 12 weeks while the bone graft heals, but I'm now at the stage where I just have to 'grin and bare it' pun intended. Dentist this week for a plan to be made and it's not going to be cheap. Medical aid won't cover this.

I've been struggling to find interesting things to blog about, despite having a varied life, it's just normal to me to have visitors and travel etc. In between life is just the same as it has been for the past 8 years.

I've started reading a bit more and have 2 books on the go. one on the balcony upstairs and one in the garden, just chick lit style,  but it gets me off the laptop, but slightly confusing as I move between the two books.

6 Sunday Had a lazy morning and popped out for a coffee and a walk along the beach, spent the evening at Global Village a huge outdoor complex with shops, restaurants, lights, entertainment, funfair and so much more. It's only open during the winter months but I did see they're constructing a huge mall.

7 Monday Went to Festival City Mall and met a friend, ordered a new TV unit for upstairs from IKEA and had some lunch, packed mum's suitcase in the afternoon, she over shopped as in I've inherited a 3ft tall reindeer and 4 cushion covers.

8 Tuesday Took mum to the airport for 5am, home, had breakfast and Peter went to work while Bob and I went to the dog park for the morning. Caught up with all the washing after changing the beds and moved all the books out the hallway which involved moving furniture. Peter thought I was mad just buying one carrot and one onion from the shop, but it was all we needed.

9 Wednesday Did a bit of cleaning and moved the furniture and contents into place on the mezzanine. Had a bath at midday, went out for coffee, food shop and to blog. Dentist at 5pm and pub quiz and dinner out in the evening. In between I was back in bed.

10 Thursday Dropped car at garage and spent 7 hours with my friend walking round the World's largest mall. I bought a tea tool. My life is complete.

11 Friday off to Abu Dhabi to collect my uniform and instructions for marshalling on the HSBC European Tour (yes the Golf again). I'll be escorting players from the 9th Green to the 10th Tee on the Friday and from the 17th Green to the 18th Tee on the final day, Saturday. This means I can walk down the course behind the final pairing.I've also been accepted at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic the following week, but child 2 and 2a will be visiting that time, so I may just do the one morning shift. In the evening we visited friends.

12 Saturday Collected sewing machine and overlocker that can't be fixed, collected car that was fixed, cooked a roast dinner and then went to bed. I've ended the week with a sore throat, nasty cough and a blocked nose.

On the blog this week:
Going Green and recycling in Dubai
I've got nothing to blog about, so I blogged about it