Saturday 30 November 2019

Marshalling on the European Tour. The Race to Dubai 2019.

I'll start by declaring I don't play golf, know much about the players or even the game, but I do love being out and about, meeting people and volunteering.

Living as an expat restricts my ability to work. We've chosen for Peter to work and for me to support him and the family. This means taking on a permanent job is impossible, so instead I blog, write, have regular weekly activities in Dubai I take part in and volunteer when I can.

I've always volunteered, from school PTA, to the kids sporting and after school activities, to education projects in South Africa and more recently in the last 12 months at the golf on the European Tour in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Part of the European Tour is the Race to Dubai, which starts next week in Malelane in South Africa, there are points awarded for finishing and they accumulate to the final event in Dubai at the DP World Tour Championship. With a prize fund of $8,000,000 it's the biggest win available in golf.

The European Tour takes place over 48 events in Europe, Africa, America, Asia, Australasia. There are also 8 tournaments that are part of the Rolex series. As well as the prize fund for the tournament, the winner is also presented with a Rolex watch.

We started watching the European Tour when we lived in South Africa and visited Sun City in the event prior to attending the DPWTC, we added the HSBC Abu Dhabi tournament and the Omega Desert Classic to our list of events to attend and from there I discovered the marshalling.

On tournament days this is as close as you get really to the players, they don't talk or interact and a successful marshal is one who the player and caddie say hello to and thank you at the end of the round, anything else usually means you've done something wrong and I'm pleased to say I only got shouted at by one caddie for kids screeching and running around in the presence of their parents, I think he understood it was out of my control, he was just frustrated., so was I.

My view of Rory McIlory and Mike Lorenzo Vera, the leaders on Day 3 from my position on the 17th green.

Rory up close on the 9th green, we do get some time off to watch the golf, but as we're in uniform we're expected to help so taking photo's has to be quick and definitely not when we're marshalling.

There are so many roles that can be taken at the tournament from being static (manning a crossing) or travelling (walking the course with the players) I've done both. Walking with Sergio Garcia last week on the ProAm day to spotting the ball on the 17th green. walking with a group. All I had to do with raise a red flag if the ball landed in the water behind the green and inform the player if it went straight in or bounced first, so they knew they had to take a second shot. All the balls landed on, near the green and the two water shots were in the front so the players knew they had to take a second shot from the drop zone and not from the tee. I got to watch that hole up close and personal.

I don't actually get to see much golf as the static positions at the crossings, or manning the first tee or covering the 18th green mean I'm there to manage the crowds so my back is to the players and I rely on the crowds expressions to know how well the hole went.

On the last hole, as Marshals we sit on the green and get to enjoy the final hole, made even more exciting by Jon Rahm, winning the Race to Dubai, the DPWTC title and the Rolex series on his final putt.

You also get fab views like this of the Presentation.

The winner posing for photos with the marshals.

Next up is the HSBC Tournament in Abu Dhabi and the Omega Desert Classic back in Dubai, so if you like golf or just seeing if you can spot me on the TV, tune in. I'll be there.

Friday 29 November 2019

Post Comment Love 29 Nov - 1 Dec

Hi it's Suzanne here from Chickenruby. I've taken over Post Comment Love #PoCoLo from Morgan to co-host with Stephanie at Life at 139a.

Big thank you to Morgan for co-hosting as she leaves the world of blogging to concentrate on writing her book. Good luck with it and I hope to still see you around on Social Media.

I've been joining in with #PoCoLo now most weeks for a couple of years, so hopefully most of you are familiar with me. I love the concept of #PoCoLo linking up with a blog post written that week as it's a way to meet other bloggers who discuss different topics.

I'm currently in the UK, having reclaimed our family home from tenants from the past 9 years. I live in Dubai with my husband Peter, but I'm relocating to the UK in January 2020 with our cat and dog. Peter is remaining in Dubai for another 2-3 years and we'll be maintaining our 20 year relationship from a distance. We've been abroad for 9 years now, in Dubai and South Africa. Our 5 children are now adults and have left home, 2 are married, 1 has a child and another one lives in Australia. My blog is a mix of parenting, being a grandparent, living as an expat, travel and in general dealing with family and everyday life and the issues that affect us.

I look forward to finding out more about others in the blogging community.

Now, let's link up

Please remember these three rules:
  1. To comment on at least two of the other posts and spread the #PoCoLo word on Twitter - you can find us on twitter here: Stephanie - @LifeAt139a and Suzanne @chickenruby
  2. Your post has to have been written in the last week.
  3. Please include the PoCoLo badge on your post.

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Saturday 23 November 2019

One daily Positive - Week 47 The European Golf Tour

The Race to Dubai is on. In terms of golf anyway with the European Golf Tour at the final tournament the DP World Tour Championships, part of the Rolex series with a prize fund of $8,000,000. I don't play, but I do watch and know the rules. Last year I volunteered as a marshal for the first time. I then went on to volunteer at The HSBC Championships in Abu Dhabi and the Omega Desert Classic back in Dubai. I'm back working all 3 events again this year and early January.

I've worked as a static marshal, a travelling marshal, manned the 1st tee, been a spotter, done crowd control and worked with the anti doping team.

I really enjoy it, it's long days and gets hot out there stood in the full sun and my arm aches from holding up a 'quiet please' sign and my voice gets croaky saying 'stand still' between tee times for up to 5 hours at a time.

321 Sunday Pet relocation company came out to measure Bob for a new crate, I went to the Marina Mall for a walk, then swimming in the afternoon. We spent the evening outdoors.

322 Monday Out for coffee and gel nails, home to get ready for the golf tomorrow and finish packing my case for the UK next week.
I'm not a big Costa fan, but I couldn't resist this view.

323 Tuesday Pro am day, early start at 6.15am. I marshalled for Sergio Garcia, he was really nice and posed for photos. Met a lot of interesting people during the day. Home at 4pm really tired from all the walking.

324 Wednesday Day off from the golf which was a good job as we had heavy rain and lightening. All the schools were closed in advance of the weather. Spent the morning sorting out our finances, paying rent and deposits for relocating the cat and dog and our furniture. Popped out to do a bit of shopping in between the rain. Peter and I met a friend in the evening for dinner who is over here on Business.

325 Thursday An early start at the golf on the first tee. I don't get to see much golf as I have my back to the players and marshal the spectators. Went round the course after the last player tee'd off and helped out on the 16th crossing from the green to the 17th tee. Home around 5pm, walked Bob, dinner, bath and bed. We had more rain today and throughout the night.

326 Friday Left home again at 7am to man the first tee. Peter and two of his friends came and found me then they wandered off round the course. After lunch I was on the 17th green which is an island. My job was to raise a red flag if the ball landed in the water behind the green so the players new to take a second shot from the tee. I got to see most of the players, tee off, I had to spot their ball, then make sure I was out of their eye line for their putt. Chaos getting out the car park at 6pm, home, walked the dog, watched the Crown, bath, glass of wine and bed.

327 Saturday I'm shattered. Been standing on my feet, smiling, raising a 'quiet please' sign every 10 minutes and requesting spectators stand still when the golfers too off or putt. Yes I know, the irony of me telling other to be quiet (Mary). Out at 7am, home at 7pm after marshalling the 18th green in the afternoon. Bumped into the team from Abu Dhabi HSBC organisers, they remembered me from last year. Always a good sign. Home, wine, chocolate, bath and bed.

On the blog this week:

To relocate to the UK without paying tax or duty I am required to Transfer my Residency and complete a ToR.

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Monday 18 November 2019

Repatriation Part 3 - Transfer of Residence

A couple of weeks ago I acquired all the paperwork needed for Operation Relocation and my Transfer of Residence ToR and started the job of filling it all in.

I need a ToR to apply for approval to transfer my normal place of residence including animals which allows me to import goods into the UK and not pay import duties and charges.

I qualify to complete a Tor if I meet the following conditions:

  • have lived outside the EU for 12 consecutive months
  • have used and had possession of goods for at least 6 consecutive months
  • have used the goods and are going to continue using them in the new place of residence in the UK for at least the next 12 months
  • be importing the goods within 12 months of coming to live in the UK
  • not lend out, pledge, give away, hire out or transfer the goods within the first 12 months after the date on which they were imported
I need to also provide the following documentation:

  • black and white copy of the photo page from my passport
  • a signed list of goods I wish to import
  • proof of residency in the country I'm transferring from, with name and address of residency
  • evidence of my right and intention to move to the UK. Contract of employment, purchase or rental agreement

In the meantime I've been to Dubai Islamic Bank to ensure my address reads as the Villa and not the PO Box number and obtained a statement to prove I've been living outside the UK/EU for the past 12 months. I will add a copy of my current visa. I'm not sure what paperwork I can provide for moving back to the UK. The family home was purchased in 2002 and is in Peter's name, not mine or joint and I won't be working.

I have to wait until I'm in the UK to obtain proof of residency there by setting up the council tax and utilities, which I can then add to the HMRC form to avoid paying tax/duty on the pets and our container.

I have to provide an itemised list of all our belongings and their replacement cost in the UK for insurance purposes. I kept the records from our first move to South Africa and then onto Dubai, some things we no longer own so they'll come off and new items will be added.

Not all our furniture is returning to the UK on this trip. Peter will need to furnish an apartment in Dubai for the next 2-3 years until he retires and as I will be splitting my time between the 2 countries it will be nice to create 2 proper homes rather than feeling like we're only half living in each place.

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 16 November 2019

One Daily Positive Week 46 - Peter is home

I had my blood results back. I've only ever suffered with anaemia from low haemoglobin count of one occasion that was after an iron infusion to try and boost my ferritin levels. I suffered 9 day migraines after both infusions so not an option the Dr's or I am prepared to repeat. I don't store or absorb iron and after 18 months with an oncologist, a bone marrow biopsy and an endoscope that revealed a wheat allergy that caused some internal bleeding and no one is any nearer to discovering why. My white blood cell count is still elevated but no where near as high as it was before. The physical symptoms from the lack of iron is fatigue and breathlessness. However the migraines and the chronic pain have almost disappeared since I went wheat free. Stress and lack of sleep seem to be the trigger points at the moment.

I now have to wait till March for my next iron test, if levels have dropped then further investigations will be carried out, if they stay the same, then I'll just be monitored. I now have to keep a record of fatigue, breathing, headaches, pains, sleep pattern and a food diary.

314 Sunday Started the week with rain glorious rain. The skies were grey, it was windy, there was thunder and lightening. It felt like a proper Sunday, which was spent after a trip to the dog park with Bob, got back into my pjs, baked some cakes and put the TV on and spent the rest of the day on and off who were offering a free weekend. Did a food shop, walked Bob, had dinner and a bath and watched TV.

315 Monday walked Bob and spent the day shopping, walking and exploring the Creek and the souks. Cooked fish and cauliflower cheese for an early dinner. Had a bit of a headache, but think that was from the heat and lack of fluids, although I did have 2 coffee stops. I got hopelessly lost driving today and ended up the wrong side of the Creek, driving through Deira and Naif. The back streets of beyond.

316 Tuesday Walked Bob, then cleaned the upstairs of the house. Headed off to Dubai Mall to go ice skating again, I really loved it last week. Then picked up a cake, balloons and decorations to get my friends house ready for her 50th birthday surprise which is today but she's not back in from Ireland until the morning.

317 Wednesday Walked Bob and then over to friends house for 9am to surprise her. Home by midday and got on with the rest of the house work. Spent the rest of the day in the garden. Peter started his journey home from Cape Town.

318 Thursday Peter home by 7am, it's my turn to travel in 12 days time. Peter unpacked, showered and went to bed as he has meetings in the afternoon. I did the washing, popped out for coffee and did some food shopping. I'm starting to organise what is going to the UK, what stays in Dubai and what gets donated. I tackled the storage cupboard under the stairs and didn't see the point of putting the Christmas decorations away, just to get them back out in 2 weeks time.

319 Friday Out mid morning to Festival City Mall for a coffee and a walk round, looking for 2 new outdoor lounger cushions, but can't find anything under £60 each, so I'm going to recover the current ones at £20 each. The rain isn't forecast until next week.
View of the Dubai skyline from Dubai Festival City.

320 Saturday Lazy morning, I actually slept from 10.30pm till 6am, but my neck is killing me. Walked Bob, it's chilly in the mornings. Popped over to Abu Dhabi on a beer run. Off out to meet friends for lunch then a walk on the beach.

Service station stop on the border with Abu Dhabi

On the blog this week:

Part 2 of our moving plans - Starting to get organised

Creating a garden in the desert - Recovering the garden after the summer

Organising the UK flat - Storage for small spaces 

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Wednesday 13 November 2019

Storage for small spaces

We don't need storage solutions, there's my husband and I in a 3 bed house, in Dubai, with so many built in cupboards that we have the luxury of keeping the toaster in a cupboard.

However when we lived in the UK there was a period of time when we had 5 children in a 4 bed house and we had to make the most of every inch of space, from built in shelving in alcoves to storage boxes under bunk beds and regularly holding boot sales or donating items to charity.

In recent years, we bought a 1 bed flat in the UK to use as a base for visiting our families and as somewhere for our adult children to stay when we were over.

Sadly within 6 months of purchasing the flat my father died suddenly and mum had to move from her 4 bed house to a 2 bed flat as my father was a bit of a hoarder, lots of the more valuable items ended up in my flat for me to be able to sell on mums behalf at a later date.

Space in the flat is tight, with plastic storage boxes under the bed and a set of golf clubs and a suit case belonging to our middle child who is now living in Australia and my father's stamp collection in the built in cupboard and an old sewing table of my gran's in the lounge as I couldn't bare to part with it.

The 3 best buys I've had for the flat to ensure we can still live in it when we visit (up to 6 months of the year) was the wardrobe, the under sink cabinet in the bathroom and the sofa bed from Ikea.

The sofa bed stores all the spare bedding and pulls out as a double bed.

Washing is an issue and I've not mastered the art of drying things. We do have a washer dryer but the cost is high and the dryer part isn't that effective so I often do a service wash at the laundrette when anyone else is staying in the flat with me, other wise I hang bedding to dry over doorframes and chairs.

A cupboard under the sink now keeps the bathroom items on the shelf and cleaning chemicals hidden from sight, making it easier to keep the bathroom clean.

Moving my fathers stamp collection into the cupboard has freed up space in the bedroom.

I purchased a small wardrobe for this alcove behind the door to hang my clothes now the cupboard was full and our son's belongings now live under the bed.

Over the door hangers free up space in the lounge for hanging clothes to dry. This is also the cupboard housing my fathers stamp collection.

Do you have issues with storage? Having built in units in our former family home and our current one in Dubai mean we require far less furniture than we used to need and I'm sure when we move back to our former family, 6 bed, home in the UK next year with just the two of us, we won't have half the need for the furniture and storage solutions we've purchased over the years.

Tuesday 12 November 2019

Creating a garden in the desert - recovering my summer lawn

7 weeks away and a husband who really doesn't have the time or the inclination to sort the garden and I returned to this:

Dead plants, an over grown border and a lawn that grew so much with the humidity, it just collapsed in on itself.

Summer in Dubai is hot and the humidity can take 'feel like' temps up to the high 50's.

We don't use the garden between mid June and mid October, other than letting the dog out first thing in the morning and last thing at night. The months leading up to summer tend to involve just sweeping up sand.

It's November now, the garden and balcony is in shade most of the day, the temps are below 30c in the day and 20c at night. The dog is being walked twice a day and is enjoying digging in the sand.

I'm spending most of my time at home in the garden. The evenings aren't as pleasant now the temps have dropped due to the mosquito's and getting bitten and we've probably got 6 weeks until the rain starts on and off which brings the sand with it also.

Cleaning the balcony requires a bit of ingenuity to get the hose pipe up there as the outside tap is in the garden.

So I'm making the most of it. I spent a day strimming the lawn and pulling up dead plants, a day tidying it all up and then putting the rubbish out.

The grass is starting to recover slowly with watering and the cooler weather.

We're leaving the house the end of May, the cat and dog are relocating to the UK in January and sometime in March I will sell the fence, slabs and plants as we have to return our garden to the same state it was in when we moved in 2 years ago.

I'll be moving the pots back to the UK and the indoor plants, cactus and palm tree will relocate to the balcony on our apartment and we'll see how long they last.

Indoor plants have been repotted as will some of the plants we have in pots outside so I can take the lovely ceramic pots back with me to the UK.

All the garden cushions etc have been moved back indoors as we're forecast some heavy rain over the next few days.

Bob always knows when it's going to rain and he brought all his toys in from outside, I had all the doors and windows open to enjoy the cool breeze.

The rain came, it started with a few isolated drops and was followed by thunder and lightening and a torrential down pour.

 Then after the rain I've been left with all this much and sand that's washed off the roof to clean up, before I set up outside again.

Bob likes to be outside in the rain and ventured out onto the balcony while I was shutting the doors and windows downstairs.

Monday 11 November 2019

Repatriation Part 2 - Starting to get organised

So we're relocating to the UK over the next 6 - 36 months. Who knows when we'll actually both be living there full time, but as expats for the last 9 years in South Africa and Dubai, life has been one big adventure anyway.

It's also been very unsettled for me, not working, leaving our families behind, coping with the death of my father in 2017 and now the kids are getting married and having children of their own.

So what have I done since I wrote the last post?

I've signed up with a rental agent in the UK to deal with our flat.

Contacted relocation companies for the pets in January and furniture in May.

Spoken with our current landlord in Dubai and negotiated a 6 month contract rather than a year, at the cost of 7,250 AED (£1,500) admin fee on top of 6 months rent to paid up front.

Booked my flight to return to the UK in November/December and car hire.

Started to look for a car to buy in the UK and sell my car in Dubai.

Woken up at 4 am most mornings thinking about what I need to do.

Panicked at 4.15am every morning at the enormity of the task ahead.

Been thankful everyday that this whole move is in our (my) control and that we have the finances to do this and don't require visas.

I've also discovered I need to complete Customs clearance for transfers of residence in the UK before flying the cat and dog over or receiving our container of furniture or duty and tax is applied.

My next job is to now fill in the forms and obtain the documentation required for the cat and dog to fly out and arrive in the UK within 5 days of my arrival on January 30th. Preferably on the same flight as me or I have to find a flight buddy for them. I need to take measurements, sort crates, get the cats rabies shot done in December, book flights and arrange transport from the UK airport to the house.

I'll let you know how I get on.

In the meantime I had a relocation company visit to quote for packing and shipping. For all our moves we've had to itemise the contents and provide a replacement cost for the country we're relocating to for insurance purposes. I have the paperwork from both moves so only have a few things to add and work out the replacement values. On our first move we weren't informed of this until the container was ready to ship.

In my head I've started to plan what furniture is going back to the UK and what is staying in Dubai and how/where it will all fir.

Our family home is a 6 bed house, I'll use the furniture from the flat for the first 6 months and I'll have proper time to work out how we'll use the house fully. For now though, I'll only be using the kitchen, 1 bedroom which is ensuite and the lounge and conservatory. Once the furniture is in, I'll keep the bedroom for visitors, move back into our old room and set the rest of the house up. The 2 bedrooms on the 1st floor will remain empty and the 2 bedrooms on the 3rd floor will be used for storage rather than putting things in the attic space.

We've been advised we don't need to look for an apartment in Dubai until the first week of May and I can sort out the furniture for that then, before everything else gets packed up and shipped. As we'll cross over with 2 properties in Dubai for a week or two.

I also have to sell the fence and the garden contents before we leave.

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 9 November 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 45 Combating loneliness

Every time I think about the upcoming relocation, I get stressed out, so much to do, but apart from the paperwork and deciding on which relocation company we'll use, there's nothing that can be done until a week or so before the actual move.

I am decluttering, have some jobs lined up such as sorting through photo's and transferring old family videos. All the paperwork is up to date, the garden has been prepared for winter, all flights/trips booked and the week started with no house work to be done either.

I'm determined to enjoy the rest of the time we have living abroad, as I've spent the past 9 years waiting for the next move, next visitor, next trip away and not getting on with anything. The next 18 months are still uncertain for me, I'll be travelling between the UK and Dubai and renovating our UK home in preparation for Peter's retirement up to 3 years away.

I haven't been sleeping since Peter came home, but he's away again for 10 days. Every time I get into a routine with sleep, exercise, diet, it gets interrupted by Peter's job. despite living with constant change, it takes me a while to adapt to it. I fall asleep around 9pm and I wake around 3am, then I'm fighting sleep all afternoon, who cares when I sleep? so I often go back to bed around 2pm for an hour or two.

307 Sunday Was awake most of the night with a strange sensation in my bladder, pain in my left hip, my right eye was sore and my left jaw was aching. So got up at 4am and did the ironing and some blogging. Peter popped into work for a few hours and I went to the mall.

The only time I can use video calls is when Peter is at home using the company video conferencing. However when he's away it makes for a very long and lonley time cut off from all my family and friends other than the typed/written word.

308 Monday Dropped Peter at the train for his trip to South Africa, he's back on the 15th. Relocation company came to do a quote. Can't remember what else I did today.

309 Tuesday Went out to the Mall to do a bit of shopping and then off to the dog park with Bob and to meet a friend, unfortunately her dog is over friendly and Bob gets frightened when he feels cornered so I ended up separating them and leaving earlier. Sorted out the toiletries in the bathrooms and had a lazy evening. Decided to sleep in the spare room to see if a change of bed helps with my neck pain.

310 Wednesday Woke with a stiff back at 3.45am, made tea and drifted back to sleep till 7am. Had coffee on the way to the Doctors, then down to Kite Beach to see the flag display from Flag day which commemorates the ascension of Sheikh Khalifa as President of the UAE. Off to the pub quiz in the evening.

311 Thursday Another relocation quote and then I took myself off to Dubai Mall to go iceskating, it's been over 30 years since I've been on the ice and I stayed on my feet for 45 mins and loved it, will be going back next week. Cooked myself a roast dinner.

312 Friday Walked Bob, did some washing and changed the beds and hit the beach at 8.30am for 2 hours, lots of swimming and started a new book. The rest of the day, like yesterday was spent filling time, I tided the garden and swept sand, brought all the cushions in as rain is forecast, walked Bob again, read some more of my book. Had a bath at 7pm and watched youtube and went to bed at 8pm.

313 Saturday I slept till 6am, repotted house plants, back to bed with my breakfast and catching up with soaps, did some blogging, dressed, walked Bob and headed off to the Marina at 9am to meet a friend for coffee. Had a walk along the beach front and took some more photos for my construction photography project. Afternoon spent pottering around and some ironing then off out to Jumeriah Golf Estates for a Marshall event meeting ready for the Race to Dubai starting in 10 days.

On the blog this week:

Repatriation Part 1 - Things we have to do

Christmas coffee cups and the banana - Too much waste

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