Saturday, 22 February 2020

One Daily Positive - Week 8 Floods, family and friends

Finally feel like I've got somewhere with the cleaning. It's all done. Some of the damage I just can't repair, so new carpets for the stairs and the bedrooms have been ordered. A friend is coming round to do some jobs for us, such as putting up a curtain pole, sorting out some damp in a bedroom, fix a window and reseal the bath and the shower cubicles. Next job for me is to start the painting.

The garden is starting to take shape now, as in I've just pulled everything up and out, the new fence panels survived Storm Dennis and I've filled the freezer up with some batch cooking as I keep forgetting to eat.

Bob and I have had some lovely long walks, despite the rain and I had a lovely visit from Mary and her son.

Wow the rain was heavy, everywhere around is flooded, Mary managed to get through Upton just before the road was closed. The main road in and out was opened 24 hours after it flooded. Mum and niece are completely cut off in Monmouth.

47 Sunday Walked Bob, cleaned windows in the dining room and conservatory and the sliding doors, rearranged the upstairs and scraped all the paint off the light fittings and bathroom tiles, hoovered. We've only got one bedroom with any furniture in it so it was a quick job. In between the showers I dragged all the garden waste round the front of the house ready for collection on Monday.

48 Monday Dog walk and coffee. Cleaned all the windows upstairs and gave the bathroom and shower rooms another clean. Mary from Over40andamumtoone and her son came to stay, she literally just made it through the flood water before the last route into Malvern was closed due to flooding. We walked Bob to the retail park for coffee, had dinner and spent the evening with red wine and a catch up.

No photos today just a screen shot of the flooding

49 Tuesday We walked into town, had coffee and cake and explored the Abbey. We caught the train home. Mary dropped me at the retail park on her way home, I did some shopping and walked back in the pouring rain, no umbrella. The evening was spent watching TV and reading my book.

50 Wednesday Walked Bob to the coffee shop, he's settling in really well to the UK despite the weather. Caught the train to Worcester for a few hours. Spent the rest of the day touching up the paint work on the top floor and catching up blog posts, reading and watching the TV.

51 Thursday Visit from my nephew, his partner and their son cancelled as it's now Gloucesters turn with the River Severn flooding and their route to the M50 and M5 is flooded. Took Bob for a long walk, did some more painting and sorted through emails and filing. Bob is now sitting nicely in the coffee shops and not bothered by other dogs.

52 Friday Dog walk, then a visit from a friend with her 3 year old twins. I met Kathryn the night my dad died, she was a neighbour who came out to see if she could help and took in child 5 at 2am. She dropped me in town on her way home, did some shopping, home, dinner, painting, TV and bed.

53 Saturday A very lazy morning with tea and blogging in bed, dog walk, home to find these flowers from a friend on the doorstep and painted a door. Child 2, 2a and 2b came up for the day. I cooked a chilli con carne in the slow cooker, we popped out to the retail park for a coffee and shopping. The cat wasn't interested in the baby, but Bob was concerned when the baby cried, but kept his distance. Evening to be spent in front of the TV.

On the blog this week:

Want to know how the cat and dog are settling in?

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Friday, 21 February 2020

Post Comment Love 21st - 23rd February

Well the cat and dog and myself are settling into our new lives in the UK. It's been 9 years since we've lived here full time. Having spent 4 years in South Africa and 5 years in Dubai. Although we've visited often and had a flat we could stay in when we visited for the past 3 years.

Since I arrived I've not had 5 minutes to myself. Our youngest child of 5 travelled with me and we visited our eldest child, the oldest boy and his wife and baby, as well as my mum and niece and her family. The the second youngest child arrived with his wife, and the following day my husband arrived and we did the rounds of visiting again. Our middle child lives in Australia, so just catching up with him with video calls.

Child 1

Child 4

Child 2, hubby, child 4, me, 4's wife, 2's wife and grandchild's hand.

With hubby and our Great Nephew Thing 3

Child 2's wife and baby, hubby and child 1

I've been doing all the driving as I'd hired a car when I arrived, I returned it last week after dropping my husband at the airport. Since then I've been going everywhere on foot, accompanied by Bob who is loving the UK, despite the rain.

We've also worked flat out with the cleaning, redecorating and repairs to our family home, my back aches, my chronic pain has flared up, but so far, I've avoided a migraine.

This relocation business is hard work, I've forgotten how the UK works and there are so many new things for me to discover. I get blank looks when I ask questions about how things work. People look at me and must think I've lost the plot.

The cat and dog are both puzzled by things coming through the front door and run to greet the postman, expecting me to open the door as there is someone there. Post in SA and Dubai is to a PO Box number.

Stephanie and I would love to hear what you've been up to this week.

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Monday, 17 February 2020

Settling in a dog and a cat from South Africa to the UK, via Dubai.

Bob the Dog aged 10 and Pushkins aged around 11, started their journey to the UK from South Africa, via Dubai. The cat just moved in with us one day in 2012 and the dog was adopted from the SPCA in 2013.

They had 5 years in Dubai where they adapted well to the heat and for the last 2 years Pushkins has been an indoor cat, due to health issues.

They arrived in the UK on February 1st 2020 and so far, despite the cold and the rain, they've settled in well.

It has been helped by child 5 travelling with me, child 4 and 4a visiting and Peter arriving a week later.

They've established a routine of walks, food, sleep and toileting.

Bob is used to extreme weather from living in Dubai and adopted the same approach to the cold, rain and wind in the UK, he needs the toilet, it's a quick dash outside and straight back in.

The cat is still trying to find her spot and we're playing a lot of hide and seek as she has done on previous moves.

Bob is exploring new territory, new smells, sounds (sirens) more cars, pedestrians and a variety of other dogs. It takes us forever to get anywhere as he's constantly being petted. In between he's straining on the leash to explore further. We're not sure if he even speaks the new language of dogs here yet and has been very calm as one appears around a corner wither on an expandable lead and even off leash. The post being delivered is a puzzle to them both.

Bob has never been in shops before. We taught him to lie down by saying bed, so I'm carrying a towel with me to the coffee shops to wipe his paws on and for him to lie down on, so I can drink my coffee without him wanting to explore.

He's so far behaved himself in shops and banks.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

One Daily Positive - Week 7 Surviving the storms

I've done too much driving the past week and my nerves were shot to pieces driving during Storm Ciara, up to Birmingham and down to Bristol, but I only have car hire till Friday.

My Mother in Law has jumped at the chance to house sit in March when I return to Dubai, my SIL will bring her up the weekend before I travel. only 1 house rule 'DON'T LET THE CAT OUT' My friend has said she'll walk Bob after work, apart from the week she's out with me in Dubai.

I'm loving the weather other than the storm and the rain, but the cold is good. I'd forgotten what it was like to come home after a trip out and just put my pjs on and snuggle up on the sofa under a blanket.

The house is starting to feel like a home again. Peter has done quite a few repairs and I've finished sorting the paperwork and changing our address. We received less than half the deposit back from our tenants, you can read about that and the house repairs on the blog this week (link below)

40 Sunday
We had planned a walk on the Malvern Hills, but the weather was bad so we walked to the retail park for a coffee and back. Took child 4 and 4a to Birmingham airport for their flight home and stopped along the route for Sunday lunch. Home, into PJs and watched the telly. 4 and 4a spent the night in a hotel after their plane was cancelled.

41 Monday
Down to Keynsham to visit MIL and pick up supplies from B&Q for repairs to the house. My SIL and her friend are coming over to Dubai in March, bumped into the friend at the retail park and met SIL and niece for lunch. This road flooded within 10 mins.

42 Tuesday
Off to Gloucester for a meeting with Social Services about child 1. Child 2a and baby joined us in Gloucester for a couple of hours shopping and we all had lunch.

43 Wednesday
A day at home, while the garden was sorted and new fence panels installed. Took a walk to the shops to choose new carpets and have a coffee. One of our oldest friends called in with his wife. We've both known him for around 24 years, but Peter and I only met 21 years ago. He's offered to come round and put up curtain poles and bathroom accessories, repair loose floorboards and finish the DIY jobs I can't do. Out in the evening with friend and her husband for an Indian, then the pub for a few drinks.

44 Thursday Woke at 5am to heavy rain, we walked Bob into the town for a coffee and some shopping. Peter wasn't feeling well and went to bed for the afternoon. The new fence panels were fitted and I did some gardening and started cleaning the kitchen. Found the grave of Mr Rooney, child 5's pet hamster.

45 Friday
Took Peter to Birmingham airport for his flight back to Dubai, car hire dropped off and I caught the train home. Stopped at a nail bar, then home to finish cleaning the kitchen. The standard airport selfie.

46 Saturday
Walked Bob in the rain to the coffee shop at the retail park, did some washing then caught the train into Worcester, home to cook and bake. Evening spent cleaning the en suite shower room.

On the blog this week:
The real cost of renting - Work done on the house

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Friday, 14 February 2020

Post Comment Love - 14th -16th February

Happy Valentines Day.

Time is flying by. I've been back in the UK now for 2 weeks. My husband travels back to Dubai this afternoon and I'm returning the car hire and getting home by train. Our local station is a 10 minute walk from our house, one of the reasons we first moved here back in 2002.

I've had a house full of family, which has been lovely but also quite tiring and emotional considering this is now my home and I'm on my own in a 6 bed house, with the furniture from a 1 bed flat and the cat and dog.

After 9 years of tenants we've had to do a lot of renovations, so far mainly repairs and fresh white paintwork, walls, doors and ceilings, giving us a blank canvas to work from. I'm back in Dubai in March and will be sorting out what furniture is being packed into our container and what stays in Dubai when we rent an apartment in the Marina.

Until we decide if we're staying here or going to move on once my husband retires in 2-3 years, we're not doing any more work to the house. The kitchen and bathrooms will eventually need updating, but for now some minor fixes, like a new bath panel will suffice.

What have you been up to this week? Both Stephanie and I would love to hear from you.

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Monday, 10 February 2020

The real cost of renting, lettings agents and The Deposit Protection Scheme

Before I start I would like to point out that for the previous 9 years we've been tenants abroad in South Africa and Dubai and we're on the verge of moving into our 5th rental property.

We are also landlords, we've been renting out our family home in England, until recently. We are also renting out a one bed flat in South Wales.

The last tenants, although not as bad as the first set and did vacate earlier than requested have not looked after our property at all, despite having a list of demands for things to be fixed, repaired and redecorated before they moved in, which we did willingly.

We received £716.99 back from the tenants deposit of £1,462.50, the cost of repairs claimed for was £1,820.08. Having read the report of the findings from the DPS, it is clear that there was lack of evidence in the form of quotes, dated photos and itemised repairs, damages etc. I'm very disappointed with the rental agents and could have and would have done a better job myself of submitting evidence had I not relied on the agents to do their job in my best interests. For example it is deemed acceptable for this door to have been repaired.

The rubbish removal wasn't listed with evidence of the individual items

An award of £300 was made for redecoration costs and as it wasn't stated at the time of the tenancy that the house had been freshly dated it was deemed acceptable wear and tear. Paint alone for the radiators, woodwork and walls was £100 and labour £15 an hour. The DPS consider a patch job good enough. 

There was an award of £40 for this carpet to be cleaned, it won't clean and now it has to be replaced

Despite tenants cleaning the property in between, we've redecorated, re carpted a room, replaced appliances, repaired fence panels, dry cleaned curtains. Paid for all repairs, unless caused by the tenant, had a new shower tray installed, fixed outside taps and lights, had new taps for the kitchen and downstairs loo, a new oven and hob installed, serviced and installed a new boiler during the the snow storm of 2018 and gave the tenants money to buy portable heaters to keep warm and had the cheek to take the heaters I paid for. They also had a list of demands that we rectified prior to thier tenancy commencing and they leave our home like this?

You can read about the problems we've had and see the photos by clicking here. There are links within that post.

Would you be happy renting a property that was offered in this condition? Our previous tenants weren't. Yet look how they left it.

I'd love to hear about your experiences as a tenant and/or a landlord. The good, the bad or the ugly.

Saturday, 8 February 2020

One Daily Positive - Week 6

It's cold in the UK, Bob has a fleece lined, waterproof coat and is loving life here. The cat thinks the stair carpet is one large scratching post.

We rented the flat out this week, one less thing to worry about.

I changed the buildings and contents insurance from Landlord to personal and ended up having to measure the outside of the house to get an accurate rebuild cost.

Lots of quotes and repairs carried out. I don't know if I'm coming or going. But I've finished the week relaxed, in pain from all the cleaning and driving, but happy.

33 Sunday
Up early as the gardener and fencing man came to do a quote. Then out to take child 5 home to Cirencester, calling in at child 1's to drop off her birthday presents and cake, home at 4pm, sorted through some paperwork, walked Bob, bath and bed.

34 Monday
Electrician came to sort out bathroom and outdoors lights. Took Bob with me to get DIY supplies, have a coffee, visit the bank and collect spare keys from the rental agent. We were out for 3 hours. I went out in the afternoon to collect the paint I'd bought in the morning.

35 Tuesday Bob is adjusting really well to all the new sights, sounds and smells in the UK, he's not used to this volume of traffic, was startled by an ambulance and gets super excited when kids whiz past on their scooters on the school run. Oven cleaner came, had a quote for new carpets, painter returned to finish a few jobs, friend called in with treats for the pets and to meet them for the first time. I spent 3 hours, cleaning 2 bathrooms within an inch of their lives.

36 Wednesday
Bob had a quick walk, I spent an hour cleaning the other shower room and then I was off to Birmingham to collect child 4 and 4a. I did a bit more tidying then we headed out on a 3 hour walk to the council offices, for a coffee and some shopping. Bob is loving life in the UK and it's great for me to be able to combine several activities in one go. We had stew from the slow cooker for dinner and all had an early night.

37 Thursday
Child 4 and 4a took Bob for a walk, I cooked breakfast then we were off to Birmingham for the day shopping before collecting Peter in the evening.

38 Friday
Off to visit 2a and 2b, then to take child 1 out for her lunch and a walk round the town.

39 Saturday
Off to South Wales to see mum, check post for the flat and visit my niece, nephew and the Things. Home to a roast dinner.

On the blog this week:

The cat and dog are here. They had a good flight from Dubai.

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Friday, 7 February 2020

Post Comment Love - 7th - 9th February

Wow it's been a busy week or so with my relocation to the UK and the safe arrival of the cat and dog.

This time last week I was walking the golf course at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic recording sound for the TV.

This week I'm in the UK with my cat and dog who flew with me, settling into our new lives.

Both Stephanie and I would love to hear what you've been up to this week.

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Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Keeping warm in the UK - with Trendhim

As you may know already, I've recently repatriated to the UK in the middle of winter. Thankfully I had stored most of my winter gear in my parents attic when we left for sunnier climate of South Africa and later Dubai in 2011. We had no need for UK winter clothing where we were going and in general tend to visit the UK during the summer.

Most of my husbands winter accessories were 'stolen' by our 4 sons, so hubby no longer owns hat, scarf or gloves. I'd recently bought him a hat and scarf but couldn't find suitable gloves that he could use for driving and also ones that would look nice when he went out that wouldn't break the bank.

Trendhim contacted me and asked me to choose an item for review purposes and their range of products for men is quite extensive.

I selected a pair of Salt and Hide, fleeced lined, genuine sheep leather. Ordering was a simple process, delivery was quick with regular updates on tracking my parcel and the gloves were delivered when they said they would be. For my husband I ordered extra large. They also have an adjustable wrist clip to ensure a snug fit.

Trendhim sell a variety of mens products from bow ties to cuff links and more casual items such as magnetic earrings.

Monday, 3 February 2020

Bob and Pushkins arrive in the UK from South Africa, via Dubai

We were adopted by Pushkins in 2012

We adopted Bob in 2013

6 months later

In December 2014 we moved to Dubai taking them both with us.

Last week they completed their journey after 5 years in Dubai with their arrival in the UK, which will be their final home.

We're having a lot of fun so far, lots of walks, new sounds, smells and places. I'll update you on their experiences next week

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