Sunday 31 March 2019

Dubai Water Canal - Tolerance bridge

 This is Tolerance Bridge at the Dubai Water Canal.

I spent a week in the UK in October 2016, before I left the supports were in place, on my return the bridge was up as it is now. 
The Bridge has a 180’ high arch supporting a 690’ long and 20’ wide meandering pedestrian and cycling path below. 
The bridge was inaugurated by Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak, Minister of State for Tolerance on International Day of Tolerance 2017, which falls on November 16th each year.

View of the area, from Safa Park, after the canal was dug, but before it was filled with water. Construction started in 2014.

Tolerance Bridge supports October 2016

View of Tolerance Bridge from Safa Park

Since the opening of the footbridges across the canal, work has then started on the building of new accommodation, restaurants and hotels along the newly created water ways.
November 2016

April 2017

March 2019

You can read/see more photos of construction projects in Dubai and around the world that I've been documenting by clicking on the links below:

 Dubai Bluewater Islands and Dubai Eye. Man made island a 210m high Big Wheel
 Dubai Dubai Marina - Reflections
 Dubai Dubai Frame. A window between the Old and New Dubai and a 150m high glass floor.
 Dubai New Metro Line for Expo 2020
USA Arizona and Nevada Hoover Dam 2002 - 2010
 Dubai Dubai Opera House What a difference a year makes
 Dubai Unfinished buildings. The Pentominium
UK Coventry Mixing the old and the new. Coventry Catherdral
 Dubai New Dubai Metro Station 
 Dubai The new extension of the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa 
 Dubai Hotel fire After the Address fire 
 Dubai Unusual designs The Opus Building
 Dubai District Cooling. Keeping the desert cool.
 Dubai Can I visit the Burj Al Arab
 Dubai The Almas Tower
 Dubai The Cayan Tower
Canada Toronto The CN Tower
USA Nevada The Paris Hotel 
 Dubai Ibn Battuta Gate
 Dubai The World's Tallest Tower
UK & UAE Dubai and Wales Al Fahidi Fort and Chepstow Castle 
 Dubai New Metro Station in Al Furjan 
 Dubai Ski Dubai
South Africa Life in a township
Austria Ski Jump 
 Dubai Green Plant Bio Dome 
 Dubai Update on the Metro Station
 Dubai My view from the balcony changed in 8 months
Greece Just how instagramable is it?
 Dubai Before and After. 3 months out of Dubai
 Dubai Building a boat in the sky
South Africa An African Sunset
South Africa Building with boxes Charity work in South Africa
 Dubai What are they building now? World Trade Centre
UK Monmouth Building work in South Wales
 Dubai The cladding is going on, on the metro station
 Dubai They're building on the beaches in Dubai
Hong Kong Building with Bamboo
Egypt Cairo Probably the largest construction project in the world. The Pyramids
South Africa Christmas gift giving in a South African township
South Africa A sense of community in South African Townships
 Dubai Al Furjan Construction Project

Saturday 30 March 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 13

One day I might write a whole weekly blog post that doesn't involve sand, blood tests, scans or dental surgery, who knows when, but it's not this week for sure.

Think it's time to get new tenants and agent, since the last agent left the company, things have run as smoothly. We found the building regulations sign off sheet after the loft conversion in 2004, to prove we had fire doors and an adequate escape route. When the tenants moved in in 2017 they removed the automatic door closers that form part of the regulation requirements, we had them put them back on, but they keep asking to have them removed which would mean replacing all doors with fire doors and now mysteriously 2 of the bedroom doors slammed shut in the wind the other week and need replacing

Also I had a new boiler installed last March and it's due a service, they've rearranged the appointment 3 times now and it will invalidate my warranty if it's not carried out soon, the agents failed to inform us the service wasn't carried out on Monday as arranged.

We had tenants from hell in 2012 and a rental agent who was scared of the tenants. Our current agents keep coming down on the tenants side, even telling me the tenants are conscientious and have always taken great pride in the properties. All I've ever had is complaints about the quality of repair work that some how is always at our expense and is arranged by the agents not us.

Alarm bells are ringing and it's time for a change, before we get into another mess that we've only just financially recovered from.

83 Sunday Swept through the downstairs and mopped after de shedding the cat and dog, then off to the gynaecologist to see if irregular bleeding is the cause of my anaemia or something more sinister. My stomach doesn't absorb iron or B12 and my levels can only be maintained by infusions and injections, I've never been anaemic when my iron levels were low. Spent the afternoon in bed, I'm so tired all the time and having cognitive difficulties processing what I'm thinking, saying and doing.

One minute it's raining then blowing a sand storm, then too hot. Guess I'll spend a lot of summer dreaming of the cold.

84 Monday Dental surgery bone grafts and implants for two teeth. 4 hours in the dental chair and £3,600 lighter in my wallet. I have a mouth full of stitches. This is phase 2 of 5. Phase 3 is next week, 2 hours and one implant and bone graft in my lower jaw. Slept most of the afternoon and didn't sleep much at night. Had some rice and fish for dinner.

85 Tuesday woke early and felt absolutely fine, face swollen but no pain other than irritation with the stitches. Dentist phoned to see how I was, I was at the dog park drinking coffee, he was surprised I was out and about and was eating and drinking as normal. Had a sleep in the afternoon after doing the ironing and sewing the lining of my winter coat, then Peter came home early and we went out for coffee, had dinner, watched TV and bed.

Meet Bob, Boris, Harvey, Jade and Geoff. Some of the regulars.

86 Wednesday Peter was at a meeting all day then out for dinner with clients, so I dropped him at the hotel and I headed off to the beach for a walk, a paddle and coffee, breakfast and blogging. I forgot my purse, it was raining so I returned home, made soup and dog biscuits and watched TV. I popped out for coffee, collected Peter and had an early night while Peter went out with colleagues.

The face of dental surgery, bruised, swollen and lopsided.

87 Thursday Woke to torrential rain again, roads flooded. Dog wanted to go out then come straight back in he's not used to this rain anymore. Took myself off to the local mall for coffee, blogging and pick up a few bits and pieces. Finally it stopped raining so Bob and I went out for the afternoon.

88 Friday Took Bob for a long walk, we stopped for coffee on route and then spent the rest of the morning watching TV back in bed. Got ready around midday and headed off to Brunch, spent the evening recovering on the sofa. The stitches in my gums are really aggravating me now and making the gum sore.

89 Saturday A lovely lie in, followed by a dog walk, weather is getting quite humid and these day time walks will end soon. Watched movies all day and persuaded Peter to pop out for a McDonald's  for the cat's birthday party.

On the blog this week:

After 16 years of owning teenagers, the last one turns 20 next month. I did however stop day to day parenting almost 7 years ago, when the almost 20 year went to boarding school. So empty nest is well and truly over

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Monday 25 March 2019

Goodbye to the teenage years.


My youngest child turns 20 next month.

I will no longer own a teenager.

I've owned a teenager since 2003.

That's 16 years of my life held hostage.

Or is it?

I stopped being a full time mum in 2013, when the youngest child left home, aged 13 and entrusted his teenage years to his boarding school.

They did a good job, there were issues, of course there were, long distance parenting of 6000 miles and a 2 hour time difference with limited access to the internet for us both (me with constant power cuts and him with living in a 17th century house with thick stone walls) wasn't easy. Holidays and visits weren't the same as living under the same roof 24/7.

Each teenager was different, One needed a lot of support from external influences in his life, another was fairly self sufficient from the age of 14 and both these left home at 18. The second youngest was almost 20 when he left home, the early teens were traumatic for us both, the later teens were very pleasant.

Every stage of parenting has been just that.

I can no longer write about my experiences as a mum of teens, than I can write about my birth experiences, it is all a distant memory now.

I can recall events in life, strops and tantrums on holidays, disagreements about days out and the endless fights amongst the 4 brothers. But I can't recall my feelings, I can't recall who did what and when.

I'm not traumatised by raising 4 teenage boys, it just doesn't matter anymore in that respect. Heck I have no idea what day of the week or time any of the kids were born. I need to consult their red books for that.

Each stage of parenting is different and with 4 boys and a girl with profound disabilities, life was never going to be straight forward, merging two sets of children together as a full time family was never going to be easy, but we did it. We all survived and we all enjoy spending time together, not as a family of 7, there are too many issues for that, too much distance and family commitments, but in small groups, visiting us in Dubai or us seeing them on our trips to the UK.

The teenage years went a long time ago in our household, the empty nest has been managed and it's no longer an issue I'm having to adapt to.

It'll be grandchildren next, but I won't be starting over again, I won't be parenting, times have changed on how that is all done and there's still the distance to consider.

That won't change my life anymore than the youngest child turning 20 has.

Saturday 23 March 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 12 More rain and some stunning views

It's heating up here in Dubai, not all sunshine though a couple of cloudy days and it's windy so the sand is blowing around.

Been spending as much time as a can outdoors, but in the shade after getting badly sunburnt on my back when I was doing some gardening.

We've been eating a lot more fish recently and I've been experimenting with different flavours and methods of cooking.

Blood tests show my iron levels are still stable, but my haemoglobin has dropped and I'm in danger of needing a blood transfusion by Sunday if it doesn't sort itself out and I'm now anaemic. Been headachy, body aching, very tired and getting confused easily.

76 Sunday Dentist for a 3D scan ready for bone grafts and dental implant posts next week, stopped at the hairdressers for a cut and to get my nails done then called in to see a friend for coffee.

77 Monday Back to the Doctors for more blood tests, been feeling very tired again and getting breathless doing simple activities. I think it's my iron levels dropping again. Spent the rest of the day sweeping sand out the house.
Lemon and herb foil wrapped with sweet potato.

78 Tuesday Took Bob to the dog park, met up with a few women for a chat over coffee while the dogs play, then spent the rest of the day gardening. Didn't realise how sunburnt I was until I had a shower before bed.

79 Wednesday Washer water pump on car replaced first thing then off to a friend's house for a walk along the canal and spent the afternoon ironing and catching up with blog commenting. Pub quiz with a friend and dinner out. Peter was out for the evening with colleagues.

80 Thursday Off to the Souk Madinat for the morning for coffee and blogging. Caught up with the washing in the afternoon and ran the hoover round. Cleaned the sand from the balcony and washed the patio down.

81 Friday Peter and I went to the Marina for breakfast, followed by a walk. Back home, I spent the rest of the day in bed while Peter hunted for the building regulations for a loft conversion we had 14 years ago.

82 Saturday Woke up to a thunder storm and heavy rain, I'm fed up cleaning up the sand. Off to the local mall for a coffee and a food shop and a sort out of the cupboard under the stairs.

On the blog this week:

Do your adult kids still need their mum?

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Wednesday 20 March 2019

Do our adult kids still need their mum?

I'd like to think so, but then I examine my relationship with my mother and realise I don't actually need her, I actually want her in my life.

I left home at 17, I've not been parented since, our lives are very different from each others. I now live abroad, but I've always had the need to spread my wings and as much as I think my mother would've liked me as a 'home bird' it was never going to happen. She also moved away from her family at a young age and has remained close with them if not geographically but through visits, letters and regular phone calls.

Around the time I left home, her mother went to live with her for a few years. it wasn't the most successful of stays, but it made her realise that when her time came for being looked after, it wasn't going to be done by her children.

But we're nearing that time, not in the next few years, but in the future for certain. It won't be me needing my mother, it will be her needing her us.

Over the last 2 years the roles have been changing slightly since my father died in 2017. I don't do my mother's finances, I just help and advice her with them. I have no access to her money and every telephone call I make on her behalf she has to verify she's happy for them to talk with me.

I now get to spend time with my mother doing nice things, lunch, coffee's, shopping, short breaks and her visiting us in Dubai. There's no definitive role. She no longer has a say or input in my life in regards to decisions I make, she is not the first person I consult, that is my husband, but she is informed of our decisions, our future moves, our choices and it's been like that for almost 20 years now.

My parents never consulted me after I reached adulthood about moving house or going on holiday, they just informed me. I do the same now. But I still inform her and the children of what is going on, travel plans, my health, friendships and what I bought when I went out shopping.

I'm hoping the same can be said by my children. So far so good. We've been involved in all the major decisions in their lives, they consult us about things, they tell us their travel plans, their plans for the future, if they've bought a new car, but they don't ask us to help them anymore. They'll run their ideas past us, but usually at that point they've made their decision. They'll ask for financial advice, but not for money, with planning their futures, renting a flat, buying a house, planning for their wedding.

They'll ask to stay in our flat and treat it with respect, it's always clean and tidy when I want to use it, we don't charge them rent for living there for periods of time in between jobs or travels. They respect us as adults as we do them.

They are all adults now, they are all financially responsible for themselves, they have other people to consult with before us as parents, which is how it should be.

We've done our job, raised them with minimum hassles, to be strong and independent individuals, with their own views and opinions, but do they still need their mum?

Who knows? We've really not been tested yet as parents to adult children, the 4 boys range in age from 19 - 29. They've all needed guidance at some point since leaving home, help sorting out finances, support making decisions to move abroad and change jobs. We live 3000 miles away from them, we're not there for the day to day stuff, although they do tell us about their normal lives.

We're not there to help with the driving lessons, or take them out for dinner to check in, we have to rely on them contacting us if they need support, we don't see the changes and aren't around to pick up on hints and clues, that they might need us. We rely on them to tell us.

They are all adults now with the youngest turning 20 next month.

Do they need their mum though? No I don't think they do anymore, I'm not and shouldn't be the first person they turn to for help, support and guidance, but they do keep me informed of their life decisions, they know I'm here if they need anything, they know they have a home to go to whether it's using our UK flat or coming to visit us in Dubai. They know they can ask for financial help, but they rarely do, if ever. They know they can tell me anything and I'll support them.

They choose to have a mum as adults, I'm not their friend. That's my husbands

Saturday 16 March 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 11 UK to Dubai and it's raining here also.

I left the UK in a storm and arrived home to one in Dubai. The big difference though was it was warm with a high of 24c and a low of 18c.

I arrived home wearing jeans, jumper, boots and carrying my jacket. I was a little warm, but I need my winter gear for my next trip to South Africa in May.

I've also struggled with the 4 hour time difference and still on UK time over the weekend.

69 Sunday Up early to Gloucester to meet Mary and Sarah, it was bloody freezing and blowing a gale. Had a lovely day then drove over to Cirencester to take child 5 out for dinner and then returned to South Wales in a snow storm.

70 Monday Lazy morning, coffee and blogging and spent the rest of the day cleaning the flat and packing. Child 3 is moving in until after his driving test and his return to Australia. Collected spare key from a friend, visited the Things. So happy to report Thing 4 is going to be a girl, due in August. Called in to say bye to friend who flat sits for me, printed flight ticket and TV licence.

71 Tuesday Woke to cold, wet and windy weather. Collected mum and drove north to Blackpool, stopping along the way for coffee and snacks. Cousin and Aunt met us in the afternoon. We started a walk to the beach, got beaten back by the wind after 100yds and retreated to the pub for the evening.

72 Wednesday Breakfast, attempted a walk on the seafront but almost got blown off our feet, then off to the Crematorium for my Uncle's funeral. Took mum back to my aunt's house where she's staying for around a week and I spent the night back in the Premier Inn. So grateful I was able to spend time with my Uncle over recent years and time with my aunt and cousin on my last trip in happier times.

73 Thursday Early start and drive to Birmingham to return car hire and catch my flight back to Dubai. The drive was horrendous, with standing water, speed restrictions and several accidents. The journey took 4 and a half hours.
The flight home was good, no pain, new movies and friendly neighbours.
Bob was pleased to see me, but panicked by the thunder storm.

74 Friday So tired, went to bed at 10pm and was awake between 1am till 5am, back to sleep till midday, popped out for coffee and food shop with Peter, watched TV and bed at 9pm. The rain continued throughout the day.

75 Saturday Awake throughout the night again. Peter went out in the morning while I unpacked and tidied. We then popped out for a late lunch/early tea. Most of the day though was spent like this.

On the blog this week:

Why I don't have Mum Guilt and just what is it anyway?

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Monday 11 March 2019

What is 'Mum Guilt?'

I have none.

Zero guilt about anything I've done as a parent.

If I had my time over again I wouldn't do anything differently or would I?

Or would I just feel that I was under the scrutiny of social media and would I feel guilty for things because I'm told I should feel guilty more?

I didn't feel guilty as a parent if I didn't breast feed, or read enough, or went to the park more often or invested in a extra lessons or the house wasn't clean. I felt frustrated, felt there wasn't enough time in the time, but I didn't feel guilty.

I don't feel guilty for sending the youngest to boarding school. Many tried to make me feel bad for sending him away in an article we were in, in the Daily Mail. Apparently 'Boarding school is a rich persons "putting their kids into care"'
With our eldest child in care due to profound disabilities comments like this are highly offensive, they don't make me feel guilty though, just angered.

I don't feel guilty for not living in the same country as my children. Of the 5 now adult kids. They all  live their own lives, 3 absorbed in work and their new families, 1 moved to Australia and 1 travels the world through his job from his base in Northern Ireland.

I don't pester our adult children into spending time with me or each other, I allow them to make their own choices, they can't drop everything just because I'm over in the UK for a few weeks at a time. I don't make them feel guilty about it, they don't make me feel guilty about being 1000's of miles away.

We don't always like our family set up but it works for us and anyone who makes us feel guilty just isn't worth bothering with.

I can apply not feeling guilty to all aspects of my life. From not only being a mother, but a daughter and a wife.

I just don't conform to stereotypes. I don't measure my life against others. I have occasional envy of other people's lives, but I don't feel I'm missing out on anything if I'm totally honest.

I don't have expat guilt.
I'm not your typical expat. I see so many women aboard having their nails and hair done, following the latest fashions and attending the right events. I could do it if I wanted, it's just not my thing.

I don't have wife guilt.
I miss my husband when I'm in the UK and he misses me when I'm juggling my time with family and friends, leaving him alone with the cat and dog to look after. My husband reminds me that the life we lead has given us and the kids so many opportunities we might not have had if we'd stayed in the UK. we don't make one another feel guilty for the time we are apart.

I don't have daughter guilt.
Living 1000's of miles from my mother. I can do what I do for her from Dubai, when I'm over in the UK we do things together but not every second of the day. I don't feel guilty for spending time with friends, my mum doesn't make me feel guilty for not spending every spare minute with her.

I don't have friend guilt.
I see my friends a couple of times a year, I invest a lot of time in maintaining these friendships when I'm abroad. If I was still living here I wouldn't see as much of them, we'd be getting on with our lives, taking our proximity to one another for granted and weeks would pass us by. I don't feel guilty for living the life I do and they don't make me feel guilty about the opportunities my husbands job gives me/us, they enjoy listening to our stories of our lives abroad as much as I enjoy listening to their lives and what their children are achieving. I don't tell them they're missing out on life by choosing to do what they do either.

I just remind myself that there are many people who would like the life I have and I'm not to feel guilty about it.

I feel mum guilt/shaming is something that's internal to a lot of people and if you're in an online group where people are making comments to make you feel bad about your circumstances or the way you're choosing to live your life then I suggest you leave those groups.

Support groups are supposed to help not make you feel guilty. Sometimes people don't set out to make you feel guilty. In blogging a lot of people don't celebrate enough of their success or their hard work, as they feel people will judge them for showing off, but I think we should celebrate our successes more and just ignore the people who try to make us feel guilty for doing so.

Do you have mum guilt or do you feel it's more fear of missing out FOMO?
I know I tend to suffer with FOMO, as I travel between our two separate lives, we miss important events, we miss day to day stuff. Our lives are in the UK with family and friends and the one we have in Dubai.

Saturday 9 March 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 10

I've travelled a bit further a field this week to Malvern and Bath to visit friends.

It's been commented on quite a bit that I'm lucky to have lived in one place for so long to make so many friends, however the friends I've visited to date all live within a 10 mile radius of where we have our UK base in Monmouth, a place I've never actually lived in before, but it near to a former home I had when the 3 boys were young in the Forest of Dean, we only lived here for 8 years (the last two of which I met Peter. We've just all remained close and over recent years I've met one or two people in this area on twitter who have now migrated to real life meet ups.

From my birth in 1971 up until the birth of my second child in 1995, I'd lived in Newport, Leicester, York and Herefordshire in various locations. After remarrying we moved to Malvern for 8 years before going onto South Africa and our current home in Dubai.

My MIL lives in Bath and I have a friend I met online there also.

As a consequence of all the moves I don't actually come from or belong anywhere. The children list their home as where they currently live which is Australia, Northern Ireland and 3 in various parts of Gloucestershire.

62 Sunday Went with mum and child 3 to the retail park for a few hours, it poured with rain and we met my nephew at the Celtic Manor for lunch. Called in a friend's house for the evening as I heard there was cake baked by her 11 year old daughter.

63 Monday Drove to Malvern for 9am, visited the Estate Agents to sort out a few issues with the house and tenants and visited a friend for the afternoon, in the evening I visited another friend, we went out for dinner and I stayed over night. Received the sad news that my mums brother died this morning.

64 Tuesday After a relaxing morning and a dog walk around Malvern and a coffee I returned to Monmouth, via a visit with child 1 and a friend's mums house for a quick natter.

65 Wednesday Drove into Bath and met MIL for some shopping and lunch then to a friend's house for the night to catch up, eat dinner and drink a lot of wine.
Tintern Abbey toilet stop.

66 Thursday Had a nice lie in and left Gillians at 9am, sorting out British Gas contract and doing a bit a shopping on the way back to Monmouth. I spent the afternoon on paperwork and booking flights then went to a friends for tea. The flat above and below me are currently empty so no need to worry about when I put the washing machine on, on this visit which resulted in a late night for me.

67 Friday met mum in the morning, had some banking and finances to sort. popped over to see my nephew and his partner to drop off a birth gift as I won't be in the UK (probably) when the baby is due. Then off to see child 2 and 2a who live in the same village.
Sorting gifts for Easter and birthdays while I'm away.

68 Saturday Took Mum to Cwmbran for the day shopping, received some exciting news from my niece and her husband that Thing 4 is going to be a girl. Out for a curry with a friend this evening.

On the blog this week:

Around the house in Dubai for February and my pathetic attempts with #myhousethismonth
Going Green with the use of charity shops.
How do you measure your achievements? I've got a certificate for cup cake design in my kitchen.

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Friday 8 March 2019

Around the home in Dubai - February 2019

I take part in a daily photo prompt called #myhousethismonth on instagram. I'm not picture perfect. I can't for love nor money style a photo like so many others manage or should I say I'm not prepared to rearrange the whole house to have the perfect shot.

I'd have to go out and buy large pot plants to put on the bedside table and who on earth has fairy lights casually lying on the bed and trailing on the floor? Besides, how much money do people actually spend?

Here's my attempt at 'bed linen'

Anyway here's our home for February.

Lovely the winter in Dubai, once the cat is put in her room, the doors can be opened. I risked it with the balcony doors, but the cat made a bid for freedom, she can't be trusted.

The only staging in this photo was actually moving the wine glass into shot.

The hosue feels so bright at the moment, with the daylight flooding in, but it won't be long before not only the doors are closed but the curtains also, to do everything we can to stop the house heating up in the Dubai summer.

I've also been making the most of sitting outside in the garden, the plants have been moved from the opposite wall for optimum sun light at this time of year.

Sadly there is also this to deal with. Rain storms. Yes it does rain in Dubai and more than you'd think. We've had trees blown down in the past and inaccessible roads due to severe flooding.

With the rain comes the sand, this lot was swept off the balcony. It's also very windy at the moment and the air is full of sand, so in between the rain when the sun is out and the doors are open, sand slowly fills the house.

Back upstairs to the mezzanine. We've not really done anything with this space before. We had garden furniture up here, but never used it, other than the dog sleeping on it. 

Now we have this custom hand made corner sofa, delivered 2 weeks ago. It's so comfy, I spend most of my time up there, having set up the TV and the internet range extender correctly now.

I'm in the UK the rest of February and most of March. Peter has been away from Dubai most of the time I've been in the UK so I'm hopeful of returning to a clean house, the same as the flat was when I arrived a few weeks ago.

I doubt either will be up to my standard as child 3 is moving into the flat next week while he re sits his driving test before returning to Australia (hopefully before I come back in June) and Peter has been working full time. but apart from dental treatment I don't have much to do when I get back and I'm looking forward to choosing the new office furniture.

Tuesday 5 March 2019

How do you measure your achievements?

I have two certificates on my kitchen cupboard door. 

One for a cup cake class I attended in South Africa, another for the golf marshalling in Abu Dhabi on the European Tour.

Doesn't sound like I've achieved much over the past 8 years, but these certificates mean I was and am being successful in our lives abroad.

Have you ever lived overseas? We had no plans to move abroad and only 3 months notice for both international moves and none existent support from my husbands company. It was offered, part of the contract, but managed badly, leaving (mainly) me to sort everything out, from family visas, finding somewhere to live, opening bank accounts, setting up utilities, wading through pages of medical aid information to work out before finding a Doctor and a Dentist. Getting sim cards, sorting the internet, whilst doing school runs, learning to drive on the other side of the road, making new friends and all the while managing our home in the UK, evicting tenants from hell, repairs, building work and all the paperwork and bills. Tax forms as we are registered over seas as a landlord. More recently purchasing a UK property from abroad and managing my mums finances and house move after my fathers death.

I cook, clean, wash, iron, walk the dog, pay the bills, do the food shop, organise holidays, book flights and car hire.

I've achieved a lot for my family and others. I've raised a family of 5 kids into adult hood, they all still speak to me, we spend time together, they come and visit us on their holidays, we keep in touch almost daily.

I just don't feel I achieve much for myself on a personal level. I never seem to have a good length of time to start things before we get visitors or I fly to the UK.

I've sewing projects to complete, a stack of magazines to read, a pile of books accumulating in the lounge, I've a bike a rarely ride and membership at a pool I've not used since the middle of November. There are movies recorded on the TV and a whole stack of Netflix programmes lined up in favourites.

I just don't feel I'm achieving a lot personally. Always waiting around for the next thing to happen, using it as an excuse not to start anything as I may have to give it up, put it on hold to sort something out somewhere else.

Everything I've done and do of the above doesn't actually take that much time to organise and to do now I have a system, but in the early days of both our moves I didn't have the time and energy for a job or studying while I learnt how everything worked. Now everything is set up I have no excuse not to get a job, learn something new, other than my proven fears of having to give it all up at any moment in time, move somewhere new and start all over again.

I'm a great believer if you really want to do something then everything will eventually fall into place, there will be few cons and those that you do think of, you will dismiss as 'not that hard to overcome' So I'm guessing that nothing is really taking my fancy, grabbing my attention enough to make yet more sacrifices to get on and do things.

There's our sons wedding in September and until that event has taken place, I'm just not motivated to get anything new started as I know I'll have to put it on hold or not be able to dedicate the time needed to it, while I focus on more important things.

I guess that's just life. What about yours?

Monday 4 March 2019

Charity Shops for Going Green

We don't have charity shops in Dubai, but we do have places we can take our unwanted items to and in most cases if you just put stuff outside your front door, someone will take it away and make use of it.

I try to find a home for nearly everything I no longer need. When we lived in South Africa it was easy to get rid of everything, from newspapers to line the inside of shacks with to keep warm in winter, to broken electrical items that would be dismantled and components sold. Even our recycling was collected and sold on, especially plastic bottles.

I learnt quickly that even out of date food was a vital resource for many also.

I'm currently in the UK, I don't have much for donations, but I'll often bring things over with me if I have space in my case that I know will be of use here to others.

What I do a lot of in the UK is buy from charity shops. They will be my first go to point for everything, whether its for a hat for our sons wedding in September to a new wash bag for my travels.

My current charity shopping list:

  • Books to read
  • Jeans
  • White trousers
  • Casserole dish
I've noticed the prices in the charity shops have increased in price and I've noticed worn clothing only a fraction of the price cheaper than buying new in the stores.

Whilst out looking for a casserole dish, I ended up purchasing a new one for £1.75 in Wilko, as the charity shops were charging over £2. I can't help but think that some of them are pricing themselves out of the market. I know the point is to rehouse and reuse unwanted goods, but I'm not prepared to pay over the odds to do so.

  • Do you use charity shops, either for donating or purchasing? 
  • Do you favour particular charities? I like the Dog's Trust for clothing.
  • Do you find the cost of items has gone up and the quality has gone down?
  • Are there too many charity shops in the high street?

Saturday 2 March 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 9

What a week for weather. Monday and Tuesday I didn't wear a coat, was still wrapped up a lot warmer than most of the population in the South West and Wales were though. By Wednesday I was defrosting the car and it was -1c, but still warm in the day (coat on) and then.......

I've been getting a lot of rest and sleep despite having to sort out issues with current tenants and dealing with neighbours who rent one of the flats who seem to think they can use the communal hallway to store their stuff in. They also leave the communal door on the catch when they go out.

Sorry about the quality of photo's as I've actually been with people and occupied.

55 Sunday Out for coffee and blogging, popped in to see 2 and 2a and drove to Keynsham to visit my MIL for the night. I randomly stopped at friends we used to see an awful lot of when the kids were growing up, between 1996 and 2002, when we moved to Malvern and them to Yate. We've kept in touch over the past 16 years and just pick up where we last left off. The last time we saw each other was in 2013 on a beach in Bream Sands.
Misty morning in Monmouth

56 Monday MIL and I met with niece for a coffee, then headed off to a retail park. I drove back via Cirencester to collect child 5 from work and take him out for dinner, before getting home at 9pm and straight to bed.
Clear blue skies in Cirencester.

57 Tuesday Coffee meet up with Instagram friend @rubbishwife followed by spending the afternoon with Thing 1 for ice cream, shopping treat and the park, called in the pub to see child 3 on the way home, cooked dinner and in bed by 8pm.

58 Wednesday Woke at 3am, was nice to be able to chat with Peter for a while before he had to go to work, I sorted paperwork and by 8am I was drinking coffee in the near by town of Abergavenny, did some shopping, called in at the community centre to see Indigo Wilderness and spent the afternoon with Things 1, 2 & 3 and my niece at the park, we took a picnic.
I may ahve bought 1 Easter egg too many.

59 Thursday I was so ill all day, couldn't get out of bed until after mid day, finally managed a bath and got out for an hour just to get some fresh air and make sure I was able to sleep. Had a lovely early mothers day gift from 4 and 4a through the post.

60 Friday Child 3 has been working in the local pub while he's visiting from Australia. Sadly the landlady died in tragic circumstances a couple of weeks ago and it was the funeral today. I drove son to the Crematorium, half the town was in attendance, then immediately whisked him back to the pub so he could open up for the wake. Met friends for lunch, popped in at mums, saw the Things and had an early night.

61 Saturday Met Mum for coffee, visited child 1 in Gloucester and stopped at a friends on the way back for the evening. Another gift from 4 and 4a for Mother's Day.

On the blog this week:

I was a child of the 70's who parented in the 90's, there was little difference between my childhood and that of my children, I dread to think how my kids will manage under the glare of social media.

When I'm in the UK I stay in our flat in Monmouth, it's a small town but you'd be surprised at what you can do in Monmouth Town.