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.

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?

Part 7 Renting an apartment in Dubai

Part 8 Vacating a Villa in Dubai

Part 9 Moving Day

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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Coffee shop Christmas disposable cups - why i don't use them

Yes I love Christmas and all things Christmas related and I love coffee shops. But what I don't love is the disposable cups designed for takeaway drinks.

I use my own coffee cup for take aways, regardless of the coffee shop I use.

Most chains have a Christmas reusable cup out now, but I don't need to buy a new one, the one I have is perfectly adequate.

I have an issue with coffee shops in Dubai regardless of the chain. Every time I request a coffee to drink in, they automatically reach for a disposable cup.

This was obviously drunk here by a previous customer.

I've learnt to place my order as follows (size) (type of drink) and automatically add 'in a ceramic mug and don't warm it'

In the UK I always get asked 'to drink in or take away' but Dubai doesn't work like that. I think it saves on the staff having to wash up as it's easier to scoop disposable cups up and put them in the bin.

I stop regularly at the local petrol station for a latte, using my own cup. I often pick up a banana at the same time.

Whilst I ordered my coffee, asked for a banana, went to the counter and paid, then back to collect my coffee, this had happened.

Not only was my banana in a plastic bag, it was then placed in a plastic bag.

Sometimes I just give up.........

Monday, 4 November 2019

Repatriation Part 1 Things we have to do

There's lots of Things to do for this move to the UK. In many ways I'm discovering it's more of a relocation and not repatriation. There is as much stuff to do as there was to move from the UK to South Africa then relocate the the UAE.

Our move to South Africa from the UK was completed within 4 months of being asked to move to our arrival. Visas had to be in place on arrival and as we later discovered the student visas for an Afrikaans school was not our best move and it dictated where we lived. We eventually sent our youngest back to the UK for boarding for his last 4 years of education and the other child finished school at almost 19 with his Matric which was only equivalent to 5 GCSE's grade C. We stayed in a furnished apartment for 6 weeks, before moving into a house, then moving again the following year.

We were in South Africa 1 month short of 4 years.

For our move to the UAE we had to be in the UK to attest and certify our documents for the visa process and once they were in place we were able to move to Dubai and apply for our visas. However there were several surprises such as the cat and dog arrived, we'd rented a villa, but were unable to set up the utilities until the visa was in place, which was almost 12 weeks later and we had to live in hotels until then. Also we were unable to ship our air freight until visas were in place and our container sat in customs in the UAE for 9 weeks. We've also moved house after 3 years.
We've been in Dubai 2 months short of 5 years now.

Both moves were organised by the company and they were not successful. For starters when I called the rental agent or the removal company I was informed the contract wasn't with me , which meant Peter had to keep stop what he was doing to contact HR for them to call the companies, report back to Peter and then to me. it was time consuming and at one point our container in South Africa was effectively lost for 3 days.

There have been many financial surprises to deal with also. The company paid for the packing and shipping of our container. They provide a housing and car allowance in both countries and they paid school fees. They also pay all costs for visa applications, including flights. But this money is paid into Peter's salary monthly, so we had to find money to purchase vehicles, pay school deposits and fees and pay the house deposit up front. On our arrival in Dubai we had to pay a full years rent up front. When we left South Africa our visa expired along with our bank accounts and we went from the end of November until the end of January with only Rand in cash to spend.

We'd arrived in South Africa with the Rand at 11:1, when we left it was 27:1. We'd depleted our UK savings setting up in SA.

5 years on and we've recovered financially, we've had tenants in our UK home. The first set stopped paying rent in 2013 and we had an expensive eviction through the courts to recover our home. In 2016 we then purchased a flat near my parents so we'd have somewhere to stay when we visit and the rent from our home covers our running costs for both UK properties.

On our last visit to the UK in September and October we discovered our current tenants had only paid the rent owed under mediation and we were advised they weren't going to pay in October on time either, so we've made the decision to action a Section 21a and claim occupancy of the property in January 2020.

As Peter is 62 and retirement age in Dubai is 65, we don't have long left here. We'd discussed our plan of action for his retirement and our repatriation to the UK, which involved giving our tenants notice in October 2021, getting the work done in the house ready for when Peter retired and it's eventual sale after he returned to the UK, for me to find work and then decide where we were going to live.

We had hoped for one more final move back to South Africa, but it hasn't happened, so we've brought our plans forward. Peter hasn't made a decision about his retirement date yet.

I'm now having to travel back to the UK in November/December as our tenants are leaving early so I can get the locks changed, set up utilities, council tax etc and get the flat rented out to cover the monthly costs. The cat and dog will move back the end of January on my next trip. I will need to be back in Dubai in March as we have friends visiting, I'll return in April for a month, then back to Dubai to organise the packing and shipping of our furniture and move Peter into a 2 bed apartment, which will be our home in Dubai when I visit alternate months.

I will return to the UK end of May to meet the container and Peter will join me in June to help with the unpacking and any jobs in the house I've been physically unable to do.

I'll stay in the UK until the end of October, then back to Dubai till February.

So what next?

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?

Part 7 Renting an apartment in Dubai

Part 8 Vacating a Villa in Dubai

Part 9 Moving Day

Part 10 Relocation

Sunday, 3 November 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 44 My week in photos

Wow that was a long week, Peter home early hours of Friday and back off for two weeks on Sunday. Welcome to my new life.

Made appointment for blood tests next week to check on my iron levels since going wheat free, feel much better in regards to no migraines, but the headaches and neck pain have been creeping back slowly, but this could be from stress and all the travel.

300 Sunday So back in Dubai for one day and I dropped Peter at the airport this morning for his flight to South Africa till the end of the week. To say I'm not happy with this change in job, is an understatement. But we'll make it work, we always do. I watched the Rugby and supported Wales as it's my country of birth. I started the process of the cat and dog relocation to the UK the end of January 2020. Afternoon and evening spent tidying up the garden and making long lists of things to do before my next UK trip in December, complicated with the renewal of Dubai visas.
Christmas has arrived in the stores in Dubai.

301 Monday Up early and all chores completed by 9am, went out for coffee, had my hair cut and a manicure. Afternoon spent working in the garden and cleaned the balcony, which involves running a hose pipe upwards. In the evening I was researching my family tree.

302 Tuesday New road system here in Dubai, I was away for 7 weeks, bridges, underpasses, new junctions and roads have appeared and roundabouts gone for ever. Thank fully my GPS has kept up to date with it all. Finally got to the dog park for a nice morning and catch up. In the afternoon bathed Bob and all his bedding and washed the pet bowls out. Finished tidying the garden and mowing the lawn. Paperwork completed, more appointments made and flights and car hire booked for November 26th for a week in the UK.

303 Wednesday Off to the vets to get the necessary paperwork completed for the cat and dogs move, then off to IKEA to meet a friend for the day. Spent the evening and afternoon sitting outside enjoying the cool breeze and on the laptop, sorting out issues with Mum's flat and our daughters care plan.

304 Thursday Decorated the outside of the house for halloween, it's a big event here in Dubai and all nationalities join in. Cleaned throughout the house. Popped out for coffee and a food shop.

305 Friday Peter arrived home around 7am, he's home for a few days then back to South Africa for 2 weeks. He went straight to bed, I walked the dog and packed my case for my UK trip in December, taking over all my winter clothing, a bed for Bob and food bowls. I now have a 42kg allowance with Emirates for each flight, my case weighs 21kg. I may take a second case with all our UK paperwork. I'm going to have to buy white goods for the house, as Peter will need the ones we have here and all the stuff in the flat is integral, don't think my allowance will cover them anyway lol.
Did some blogging and when Peter woke we went out for Brunch.
View from Dusit Thani of the Sheikh Zayed Road, towards the airport.

306 Saturday Go Bokke. Even though SA beat Wales on Sunday and I was born in Wales, I actually lived full time in SA longer than I did in Wales so feel I qualify to support them against England. We went to the mall in the morning, watched the rugby and took Bob on a long walk around the estate to explore the new road network, that didn't exist when we moved here 2 years ago.

On the blog this week:

What happened with our move to South Africa?

We're returning to the UK, the process of repatriation has started

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Friday, 1 November 2019

Thoughts on moving (back) to South Africa and everything you need to know about an International Move.

We're no longer moving to South Africa from Dubai, but we'd started the thought process and looking into costs, paperwork and pro's and con's of another move. So when we had difficulties with our tenants in the UK, we were already in the right frame of mind to be dealing with a relocation and as Peter's job is seeing him work half the year in South Africa, it seemed the right thing to do for me to spend that half in the UK, rather than in isolation in Dubai.

I've started to blog our repatriation here

Here is the thought process we went through:

16th February 2019
Here we go again, the 3rd time in the past 9 years we've had to ponder this question.

Should we move abroad? It's something we both asked ourselves in 2010.

The first time we were asked this question was September 2010, we said yes with no hesitation and 3 months later with 2 kids, our furniture and visas in hand we flew to South Africa to start a new life.

4 years later now with a cat and dog in tow and no kids at home anymore, we had 3 months notice to leave South Africa (government weren't renewing our visas) we sort of had the choice of the UK or Dubai, but chose Dubai because neither of us were ready to return home and Peter's job would've had him travelling to the Middle East anyway.

Both moves took us a good year to settle in fully, get to know the customs, ways things were done and to establish ourselves with friends.

The last year of our lives in South Africa, at the point where I'd settled, accepted my new identity, found my niche were spent with the will we, won't be moving until all of a sudden it was just announced and we packed up to start all over again.

To say that Peter's company caused us problems with the move was an understatement. Here's a summary of exactly what went wrong with both our moves and how things could've been improved.

HR in South Africa just assumed we would be able to do everything they did and in the same way, but no. I was not permitted to work and everything had to be in Peter's name, so dealing with a new job, 2 kids in a new school, trying to find somewhere to live and most importantly living with the fear of our personal safety it was a very trying time for us all.

The move to Dubai was much easier but HR here had no concept of what it was like moving to another country from a country that is not your place of birth and we were on expiring visas, having to make trips to the UK to get the new visa in order.

So when Peter came home from work mid February to say it was being discussed him moving to South Africa to take over the business there, the first thing I said was 'hell yes, but this time everything must be in writing and I will not allow HR top deal with the physical side of things this time other than the paperwork required for the visas, we will do the rest.'

I can pack in 2 days, our entire lives, the cat and the dog and ready to fly whenever I get the word.

We'll have to go back to the UK to obtain our new visas but once we know the move is actually going ahead, the T&C's for Peter's contract are in place, salary agreed, repatriation costs back to the UK, either when he chooses to retire (he's 65 in 2022) or the job comes to a natural end, are all in place. I can start the following:
  • Look at export companies, I will itemise our contents for insurance purposes
  • Speak to local animal specialists about the cat and dog, injections, paperwork and time scales for relocating the pets 
  • Sell both our cars
  • Give notice to the landlord
  • Speak to the banks about keeping accounts open here
  • Declutter the house
  • Sell the garden contents (we have to return it to sand before we leave)
So here are some random thoughts on our potential move:

Pros                                                                                   Cons
Skype, voice over internet and VPN's work .                   Post doesn't work
Have friends there already .                                              Can't get PG tips or Aubergine Pickle
Time difference only 1-2 hours not 3-4 .                          Load shedding
Know how things get done .                                             Personal safety
Know where we'll live, on a golf course .                        Journey time to UK now 24 hours
Have a swimming pool .                                                   Hassles of doing the above bullet points
Cost of living much lower
Already have a sim cards, store cards, nail bar & hairdresser
Weather (apart from the winter, too cold)
Miss South Africa, always said we'd go back

27th February 2019
Haven't give the above another thought other than trying to work out how to book my return flights from the UK and include a trip to Australia to visit child 3, whilst working out how long we'd need to do a visa application from the UK and potential timescale.
We've also cancelled plans to holiday with friends in America, but there's another reason for that also. Our first grandchild was born and a son got married.
Then Peter phoned this morning to say that the 90% chance of the move had probably dropped to 70%, due to employment laws in South Africa, which we were aware of and would've been our biggest hurdle.

6th March 2019
All has gone quiet and Peter has said it's not going to be happening, it was a nice dream while it lasted but that's it, it's time to move on. I however think differently, this is what happened on 2 previous moves, lots of talk, don't say anything to anyone then all of a sudden it just happens and usually within 3 months of a decision being made, we pack and we go. So watch this space.........

15th August 2019
A move has been mentioned several times since the last update, but it's been based on assumptions. Over the past few weeks there has been a few announcements of people moving into new roles, which leaves us pondering where Peter will end up. We're due to renew our house contract in November and have to give 2 months notice if we want to move. As rent is paid upfront it's a bit worrying as to whether we'd end up paying for a house in Dubai for a year that we only live in for a few months. Moving countries is expensive, regardless of it being a company move. House allowance is paid monthly, but we'd have to find our own deposit as well as buying new cars, whilst waiting for deposits to be returned here.
I'm keen to move back to South Africa, and hoping it could potentially be a one way trip and we could retire there. I really haven't given too much thought to the job ending here and relocating back to the UK instead, but that could also be a possible outcome.

27th August 2019
A formal discussion for Peter in work, it's very frustrating. Our landlord has agreed to a 6 month or monthly contract but there's an admin fee of 7,500 AED (£1,500) Part of our rental agreement is that we return to the garden to a blank canvas so we have to demolish the fence, dig up the plants, lawn and tiling to sell. All this takes time and effort and I'm in the UK Sept 10th till the end of October. We also have to return to the UK to submit all our paperwork for our visa but need most of the documents completing here, medical and police clearance in South Africa as well as Dubai.

September 2019
We're not moving to South Africa (insert sad face) The salary offer was not good enough considering we don't pay tax in Dubai so there would be quite a drop in salary and as Peter retires in 2-3 years time, there's no reason to do so. He is however going to help out more in South Africa from Dubai, which means more travel for him, more complications with the cat and dog costs and boarding, so I'll have to curb my travelling for a while. The thought of being in Dubai now until next June is daunting.

October 2019
So I'm not staying in Dubai, things happen for a reason. We'd planned to give our tenants in the UK their notice late 2020 and for me to return to the UK, settle into the house and start looking for work. Our plans were changed on Monday (2 days ago) when the rental agents informed us there were issues with payments and the list of complaints from the tenants is getting longer, such as uneven kitchen floor tiles (they're slate and cemented) and poorly decorated (was freshly decorated prior to them moving in 2 years ago).

The plan now is I move back end of January into our family home, transfer the contents of the flat in South Wales (50 miles away) and put the flat on the rental market, buy a car. Set up utilities etc and return to Dubai in March to start organising the move to the UK with the cat and dog and sell the car. Spend April/May in the UK, board the cat and dog in the UK, return to Dubai, pack up contents, sell garden, find 2 bed furnished apartment for Peter. Return to UK with Peter joining me in June to wait for the furniture, unpack, get jobs sorted. Peter will return to Dubai in July for work and we'll decide what to do next in regards to keeping our relationship alive, will probably involve me visiting Dubai alternate months until he retires for good.

Our initial move from the UK to South Africa started on September 10th and we moved on January 18th. We will have had 9 full years outside the UK.

I've not published the post until now, as we wanted to make sure either a) the move was going ahead or b) we were staying put, in which case I've decided to share it with you anyway. At some point in time we will have to leave Dubai and go through this anyway, just back to the UK and the UK it is.