Monday 28 October 2019

Repatriation - Preparing for our return to the UK

Moving to a new country is difficult in terms of the language, culture and how things get done. With two international moves under our belt, to South Africa and Dubai, you'd think relocating back to the UK, our home country would be easy, but things over the past 8 years are different, things have changed since we last lived there and we are just too familiar with the way things are done in Dubai.

Each time we've relocated we've gone off into the unknown, required visa's, relied on others to prepare paperwork etc and had to re learn how to do things.

When I visit the UK, I wait in my car for the fuel to be put in the tank, wait for my shopping bags to be packed and hand over my bank card to the cashier for them to put it in the machine and since moving to Dubai, I've been known to actually give the pump attendant my PIN to save me getting out the car when it's too hot.

It takes a few moments to remember things work differently than where I'm used to.

I also have to deal with getting in the 'wrong' side of the car, pay great attention to the direction of traffic before pulling off, remembering the coins and notes and exclaiming 'how much?' after every transaction as the cost of living in the UK has definitely risen.

3 years ago we purchased a flat in the UK. I spent most of year 1 setting up accounts for water, electricity, property management, internet, council tax, TV licence, purchasing furniture, arranging delivery and equipment for the kitchen etc. Removing packaging to the local tip, finding out the bin days for various coloured bags and bins and setting up mobile phone contract.

We won't be moving back to the UK in 2-3 years time, we've started the process of reoccupying our family home and will be relocating the pets in January and the bulk of the furniture and our belongings in May. Until Peter retires, he will remain in Dubai full time and I will live between the 2 countries.

For this move we won't require a visa, which means I don't need my husbands permission as my sponsor to deal with things on my behalf and as British Citizen I've been able to provide acceptable ID, already have UK bank accounts and speak the same language. However I find myself saying on a regular basis. 'I don't live in the UK, I have no idea how these things work' which is greeted with looks of disbelief and tutting over the telephone as if I'm a simpleton.

However, I'm finding out things aren't as straight forward as I'd hoped for. I'll fill you in with further blog posts as things go.

You can read more of our Repatriation story below:

Some of these links aren't yet live and will be updated.

Repatriation or Operation Relocation

Part 1 Things we have to do

Part 2 Starting to get organised

Part 3 Transfer of Residence

Part 4 Relocating pets. Dubai to UK

Part 5 Sorting out our new home in the UK

Part 6 Bob and Pushkins arrive in the UK. What do they think of it? February 2020

Part 7 Renting an apartment in Dubai May 2020

Part 8 Vacating a Villa in Dubai May 2020

Part 9 Moving Day May 2020

Part 10 Relocation

Saturday 26 October 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 43 Back to Dubai

I never seem to be anywhere long enough to just relax. I've been in the UK for 7 weeks and it's been non stop until the last few days and just when I have a chance to relax, cases are packed and I'm back to Dubai.

I'm in Dubai for 5 weeks, then back to the UK for 10 days, then back in Dubai until January 30th. between now and the next trip I have to obtain quotes for relocating the cat and dog and our furniture to the UK and sort out our current rent renewal. I'm also working on the European Golf Tour the end of November and had to cancel my attendance at Sun City in South Africa, as there just weren't enough days in the month.

When I get to the UK in December, I have to move the contents of the flat to our Malvern House, set up utilities, council tax etc and get the flat on the rental market.

293 Sunday I met up with Mary from Over40andamumtoone at Bourton on the Water for coffee, gossip, lunch, catch up, walk, Birdland. Called in at child 5 in Cirencester to drop off a vacuum cleaner, quick cup of tea with child 1 in Gloucester and called in for a natter with @sclubbethan then called in a friends home whom I've known for 28 years, one of the few people who knew me sans kids that I'm still in touch with today. Home at 9pm, bath and bed.

294 Monday Met mum for coffee, helped her home with her shopping, met 2a and 2b at the supermarket to assist with trolley and pram and baby, then back to the flat to sort paperwork, tax return. Visited a friend for dinner.

295 Tuesday Took Thing 1 and 2 to school, coffee and finished tax return. Coffee shop visit and blogging, washing and flat cleaning and spent the evening at mums after she had an endoscope.

296 Wednesday School run again, off to Newport car shopping, carved pumpkins with the Things and visited another friend for dinner.

297 Thursday Accompanied mum to the doctors, coffee, blogging and cleaning the flat, valuation for rental market at 1pm, caught up with my nephew, his partner and baby then spent the evening with the 2's

298 Friday Up early, bedding changed and washed, bins emptied, flat shut down and said bye to mum and off to the airport for my flight home. An uneventful flight, Peter collected me and home and in bed by 2.30am (11.30pm UK time)

299 Saturday Had a good sleep, 7 hours, a bath, unpacked, watched Rugby, out for coffee and a late lunch/early dinner. Walked Bob then spent the evening watching TV and eating my Christmas quality streets I brought back with me.

On the blog this week:

With all the running around (flying) and organising I'm doing for the future I still have to remember to Live in the moment

Monday 21 October 2019

Live in the moment

I'm a mum of 5. From 1992 till 2010 I parented and worked. I was a full time working mum.
We are a blended family, but we are The Parents. Two of our children are now married, One has a child of their own.

Now I no longer work, I don't study and I live 3000 miles away in Dubai from four of our children in the UK and both our mother's as well as the wider family. One child is in Australia so even further away.

I have a lot of time on my hands, I spend a lot of it, waiting for the next trip, next visitor, next family event.

Everytime I think about starting something, my time is limited. Waste of time setting up the sewing machine on Monday as we've people coming for dinner on Thursday and I need the table. I've lugged family photos covering decades of family time, around the world in a container then unpacked into a cupboard. That was 10 years ago, I intended to sort them out and put them in albums with all the time on my hands, but they've not been done. The same has happened with transferring the old family videos. The kids keepsake boxes, piles of old paper work from houses/cars we no longer own.

I think it's natural to feel like this, to think we always have tomorrow, next week, next year. I'm not really 'looking forward' I'm just standing still. My family have grown, flown the nest and I feel like I have a gap I need to fill, but I don't want to fill the gap, I'm actually ok right where I am right now.

I read a lot of blogs and spend a lot of time online. I read about babies, toddlers, tweens (where did that awful word come from?) I read about teenagers, worries, anxiety, depression, universary, empty nest, menopause, death, weddings, grandparents. I read them because it has been my life, I find it interesting how other people have handled situations, how they achieved 'me time' how they've cried, recovered/not recovered/dealt with things. I often nod my head in agreement, I comment that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I find support, I offer help or a shoulder to cry on.

I've realised that sometimes while I'm not actually doing much, I have actually achieved an awful lot. I manage my mum's finances, a flat of ours and our family home that we rent out in the UK. I manage our finances and our home in Dubai. I book all the travel, car hire, food shop, write birthday cards and buy gifts as well as supporting our adult children with their life events as they happen.

It doesn't matter that I'm not working, that this has been my life full time for the past 5 years. I'm living in the moment, not pining for days gone past, not racing ahead to the next adventure. I'm just letting things happen and dealing with it all as and when it arrives.

I will be sorting the photo's and the family films in November as there's another relocation ahead of us and I do tend to work best under pressure or 'last'

Oh and bloggers please note. I don't write about previous events, unless they're relevant to me now. So would you mind not writing about how you think you'll deal with the teenage years when your child is 2 or write about the menopause when you're 28 (unless you're experiencing it first hand)

Saturday 19 October 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 42 New News

Well that happened fast. Last week I told you weren't relocating to South Africa, but instead on January 30th 2020 I'm moving back to our former family home in the UK. The flat is going to be rented from mid February and the furniture I have there will move to our home to enable me to live in it. The cat and dog will arrive in March and the container of furniture in May. Peter will move into a 2 bed apartment in the Marina and I will commute between the 2 countries as well as travelling with him to South Africa for work. We're still working on a retirement date, but that will be reviewed in March 2021. Our hand has been forced by our current tenants with a late payment of rent last month and after 'Tenants from Hell' experience in 2013, we're not prepared to take any risks.

286 Sunday Peter finished the bathroom and then we went to meet twitter friends, we've known face to face for 10 years. We meet up at least once every trip. Mum wandered around Newport. Dinner at home and TV.

287 Monday Helped niece look after Thing 4 while she waited for appointment with the nurse, then took mum to Gloucester to visit child 1 and out for lunch and some shopping. Called in at the 2's on the way home, child 2 injured his back at work today, had cuddles with the baby, had dinner and watched the football.

I'm so busy I forget to take photos so todays is a screenshot of Bob in boarding in Dubai.

288 Tuesday Off to Newport with mum to the hearing clinic and a food shop at the 'big Asdaz'. Some DIY at mums, then prepared birthday tea for Thing 1 and off to visit friends for tea.

289 Wednesday Took Thing 1 and 2 to school in the morning. Thing 2 refused to walk with me 'I want Uncle Peter' Had coffee and Peter stripped the bath seal before we visited Child 1 in Gloucester, fed up of the town, we drove to Worcester to purchase some bits and bobs for flat repairs. In the evening on our way home we met friends for dinner in Ross-onWye.

290 Thursday Having booked my flights home and car hire from tomorrow I wasted an hour setting up the printer to obtain a utility bill, my DVLA code, car hire voucher and flight details. I was unsuccessful, went for coffee and blogged. Peter resealed the bath and we went to the tip, sorted out an issue at my mums and visited child 2, 2a and 2b. Called in at another friends for Peter to say his goodbyes. Spent the evening in the pub.

291 Friday Took Peter to the airport, dropped off car hire and collected a new car. Peter returned to Dubai and I'm staying in the UK for another week. Spent the afternoon tidying, sorting post, ironing and getting the tax return form ready to complete.

I'll be on the same flight next week.

292 Saturday Up at 5am and did some more research for selling my late father's stamp collection, I'm rather enjoying this new hobby. Up to mums to help rearranging her flat after my nephew moved out. Off to see Andy Parsons at the Savoy Theatre this evening.

On the blog this week: A wheat free diet.

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A wheat free diet

I've been told I have an allergy to wheat and what a difference it has made to my life. I won't find out until the end of November after 3 months being wheat free whether it's the cause of my Iron deficiency anemia, but as I had a small, slow bleed in my small intestine, I am assuming this was the cause of low ferritin stores. A blood test will reveal all.

In the meantime, fantastic news, I've not had a single headache or migraine since I started the diet and my chronic pain in my neck is considerably far less painful and in fact on some days I hardly notice it all. Having suffered with migraines since I was a baby and chronic pain for 23 years after an injury at work.

Going wheat free has been an easy choice for me. I haven't opted for going Gluten Free as I'm not coeliac, I've just eliminated wheat from my diet, so a salad or sushi on the go rather than a sandwich, grilled chicken instead of a burger when eating out and just choosing menu items without wheat, so no more pizza, burgers, sausages, pasta, bread and keeping a check on ingredients for sauces.

There's plenty of menu choices, I just didn't eat the bread.

I have ordered a couple of Gluten Free meals over the past month with all the travelling we've been doing. I can't rate The Lounges enough for their range and taste, however a pie that tasted really nice in another restaurant didn't actually look that appetizing.

When I cut the wheat from my diet, I missed the carbs, the feeling of being full and turned to Gluten Free products ti supplement my diet, I put on weight and found myself craving sugar. I also started to experience trapped wind and a bloated belly, symptoms I never had in the past. Now 2 months on, I've just adapted my diet to 'no wheat'.

I've also observed that most GF premade food is also dairy free which in my opinion makes the food taste bland, was pleased to see this range in Asda.

I've bought some Gluten Free flour mixes for banana bread, cake mixes and yorkshire puddings as well as a pot of suitable gravy granules.

I've made a few mistakes, assuming an ale was barley or hops, to discover it contained wheat, so easy switch, just drinking G&T and wine now. A salad I bought in the supermarkets contained semolina grains and now having to carry my reading glasses with me everywhere.

I was so keen to have liver and onions, I forgot to ask about the gravy.

I take a few snacks out with me most days so I have something I can eat, if I feel peckish in a coffee shop, there are few GF options.

On the whole it's been much easier than I thought, but when my health was seriously suffering as a consequence it's not that difficult to do.

Saturday 12 October 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 41 Birthday, DIY and being tourists

We've had a busy week together with family and friends and have started talking more about planning our return to the UK in the next 2-3 years. Mixed feelings after turning down the opportunity to move back to South Africa, due to the contract not being as peter would've liked, but it has provided more opportunity for me to travel there over the next few years until we relocate and who knows what will happen next.

One of our plans is for me to pick up short term contract work, purchase a camper van and travel Europe, however until this Brexit stuff calms down we have no idea how that will pan out. We change plans constantly, now 2 of the children are married and we have 1 grandchild, things could change for us anyway, so all planning is just that.

I'm certainly a lot happier when I'm in the UK, because I have friends and family around me and get out and about, however, the reality is we acknowledge we're still a bit of a novelty with living so far away and things will be very different when we return, especially as we won't be living in this area.

279 Sunday Pub lunch with a few friends, the 2's and child 5 for Peter's birthday. Peter took child 5 back to the Cotswolds and the 2's came back to the flat for some Granny/Granddaughter time. We watched crap TV and stuffed our faces with snacks.

280 Monday Harvest Festival for the Things. I snook in the back of the church, late. Did random shopping, finished photo frames from the wedding and our granddaughter, went for a walk late afternoon and a pub stop. Peter spent the day working. Emails and phone calls and fitting a heated towel rail.

In Dubai we have lots of space and do no DIY. The weather is also perfect for drying clothes. We ended up at the laundrette with the bedding and towels and tripped over one another as Peter needed space to work in. Today helped us decide what type of house we would like when we return to the UK.

281 Tuesday Meeting with Child 1's care home, to address a few issues such as staff turnover, then an appointment with HSBC in Gloucester, as Premier customers in the UK, Dubai and Offshore we actually expected better treatment than we get from them, such as when we ask to make an appointment for when we're in the UK, we should be able to do so, they keep fobbing us off with expensive phone calls saying each issue is the other sides responsibility. Visited Child 1 in the afternoon for a walk, tea and cake.

Child 2 has been my step son since 2000, but we view ourselves as a family of 7. Him and 2a had a baby girl 3 weeks ago. We have no baby photos of him or any little outfits etc to pass on to his children. The best I could do was to pass on this outfit as modelled by child 3 in 1992 and a little blanket an aunt knitted.

282 Wednesday Up early to Bath to visit MIL then onto St Albans to stay with Chrissie @mediocre_mum my twitter partner in crime from 2009. Peter treated me to a pair of Doc Martins.

283 Thursday Caught the train into London as tourists, Obligatory visit to and Harrods of course, lovely pub lunch, lots of walking and visited Trafalgar Square to witness the Extinction Rebellion. It was very calm and peaceful, although we witnessed a lot of arrests.

284 Friday Coffee and a stroll round St Albans then collected 4 and 4a from Heathrow after their honeymoon. After dropping them at my mums, they showered and changed and we met them for dinner in the local pub.

285 Saturday Off to the 2's for them to meet their niece, apart from child 1 (which needs an awful lot of planning) they've all met 2b now. Dropped 4 and 4a at Birmingham for their flight to Belfast and home.
Photo to follow.

Nothing on the blog again this week.

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Tuesday 8 October 2019

Who am I?

I see it's the 'in thing' now to change social media names to real names. It makes sense if your twitter handle or blog name relates to having a young family but things move on, babies grow and you may no longer be a 'mummy of 1' or a '2 tweens and a tortoise.

I picked a name that made me and my social media anonymous, Chickenruby. Quite simple, back in 2009 we had a chicken, her name was Ruby. I'm no longer anonymous online, my family and friends discovered social media.

My real name is Suzanne, but online I'm all things Chickenruby. My blog, twitter, instagram, facebook. I have other accounts #OneDailyPositive which is set aside for my Project 365, that I've been doing since 2015 and @Letters_home on twitter, that I set up to be a little more hidden online, but everyone found me.

I'm married to Peter, we have 5 adult children between us.

We are a blended/step family. Our children give permission for their photos to be used, but they are allocated numbers rather than using their names. One of our kids and his now wife were approached in the town where my mother lives by a friend of mine who asked them if they were 4 and 4a, which was quite funny.

All 7 of us in 2003.

Child 1 is 31, she is profoundly disabled and lives in a care home. We send regular letters, gifts and visit her whenever we're in the UK. She no longer comes home to stay the night with us, we visit her home and take her out locally.

Child 2 is 30 and he is married to 2a and they have 2b, our first grandchild, a girl, born in 2019.

Child 3 is 27 and he lives in Australia.

Child 4 is 24 and he is married to 4a, they live in Northern Ireland.

Child 5 is 20 and he lives in the UK.

The last time all 7 of us were together in 2017.

Both our mothers are alive and well, we have 1 sister each and my niece is mother to The Things I often talk about online, my great nephews. Thing 1, the eldest and I are big Dr Seuss fans, hence the blog names.

I'm from South Wales, Peter is from Manchester, he supports Utd and I'm a Bluenose, Birmingham City fan. We've both moved frequently around the UK and settled in Worcestershire in 2002 after we got married. In a former life I was a teacher. Peter works in food and beverage.

In 2011 we started our expat journey to South Africa for 4 years, then relocated to Dubai 5 years ago.

In 2020 I am relocating back to the UK with the cat, dog and half our furniture to live in our former family home and Peter will be moving into an apartment in Dubai Marina. We will commute between the two countries until he retires in 2-3 years time.

I'll try anything once, currently my hobbies include swimming, dog walking, cycling and most recently I started going ice skating once a week. I love to travel, on my own or visiting family and friends in South Africa, Egypt, UK, Ireland and Australia. I've spent 110 hours in a plane this year alone

So that's it really. Not much else to tell, other than I play the clarinet, am the proud owner of a Blue Peter badge and I hate Olives.

Saturday 5 October 2019

Week 40 One Daily Positive - Back to our granddaughter

Last week I was asked why I called my great nephews and niece 'Things' This week I've been told it's a shame I've had to keep things secret.

I'll explain again.

It wasn't my baby, it wasn't my news to share. They wanted to make the announcements. They are choosing not to post her photos or name online. That is their choice. I fully respect it. I did ask why. I used to work in child protection.

My son got married this weekend, oh my word, the panic about photos getting out in advance, but again, it's their wedding, their choice when to share. They were slightly busy on the day, they posted first thing in the morning after we all sent our pictures to them. The wedding video is on my facebook, there's a blog post of mine with more pics also to come.

There seems to be an assumption that as I'm on the internet ALL the time that I'm most likely to be the one who posts, but hmmmmmmm. I will confess though, not posting photos of our granddaughter is difficult.

272 Sunday A very late night and lots of alcohol meant for a very slow, leisurely day. We left the Manor House around midday, took a leisurely drive to Belfast airport to drop my MIL off and then joined 4 and 4a with her parents at their house for dinner.

273 Monday We set off to Dublin, crossing the border and only noticing when the speed signs changed from mph to km and we noticed the post boxes were green. Good luck The Isle of Ireland with all this Brexit nonsense. Spent the afternoon, evening and night with friends of Peters and went out for dinner and consumed more gin and wine.

274 Tuesday After breakfast we returned the car hire, checked in with Ryan air and after a delay for an hour we collected car hire and drove straight to the 2's for Peter to meet his granddaughter for the first time.
This is my pissed off face. We obviously forgot to tick the 'pay extra for customer service' box with Ryan Air and as for the car hire company, well lets just say 'we won' in the end.

275 Wednesday Nothing happened other than unpacking and washing till midday, then a food shop, late lunch and off to visit the 2's.
Watching the wedding video

276 Thursday Coffee shop and blogging visit then off to visit 2a and 2b and a walk out to their local coffee shop. Called in for Peter to meet Thing 4 and off to my mums for a catch up.

277 Friday Collected child 5 from his home in the Cotswolds, bought a new towel rail and bath panel for the flight, interesting drive home with most of it on my lap. Peter shut the car boot on my head, as I dived back in to grab the umbrella. Off to visit the 2's for child 5 to meet his niece for the first time. Fish and chips at my mums for supper.
Cousins. My niece aged 8 and child 5 who is 20. Minecraft.

278 Saturday Took child 5 to visit Thing 4, then collected child 1 to join us taking 5 home to the Cotswolds, stopping for lunch and generally just taking the day easy.

Nothing on the blog this week, been too busy. But look out next week for an influx of wedding photos.

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