Sunday 28 March 2021

Viewed from McDonalds - Luxor Temple

Taken on a trip to Egypt in 2017. Guess they have more to worry about in Luxor than planning laws.

My last visit to Egypt was Cairo in 2019. I was supposed to return in 2020. I have no idea when I'll next be able to go back, but I hope it won't be too long.


Saturday 27 March 2021

Week 12 One Daily Positive - Eating in the garden, cut flowers and a tidy house

When I mention a dog walk, it's because it has lasted more than the usual 30 minutes, often up 2 hours. The starting point is always the front door and the dog dictates whether we turn left or right off the drive and I sort of follow his lead, literally. Sometimes we end up on the hills or down the retail park, in town, over the common, or just round the block which varies in size also. I have a little bag with treats, bags, hand sanitisers etc which contains £20 and I have my card linked to my coffee app on my phone. 

Apart from buying milk, it was 2 weeks on Wednesday since I did any shopping, apart from milk, fresh fruit/veg I'm able to roll over till next week. I buy frozen fruit and veg as well as fresh stuff. I do miss having salad items other than tomatoes, carrots and peppers which I use for cooking also, such as lettuce and dips (hummus etc). I did however then have to do an emergency food shop for child 5 and deliver it, so did my shopping at the same time.

I've had my UK invite for the covid vaccine. I phoned the GP surgery to ask if they could somehow get my Chinese vaccine logged on the system. I'd sent it all to them a few weeks ago.

79 Saturday Awake around 4am, some blogging, tea drinking and tv watching occurred. Dog walked, bedding washed, dried, ironed. Did some gardening, dusted downstairs and cleaned the bathroom. We have 3 but I'm only using 1 at the moment and the downstairs loo. Did a batch cook, making enough meals for the next 10 days, not sure I have enough frozen veg etc and I may run out of milk before the week is out, but I do have some UHT.

80 Sunday Finally got round to having the whole house clean at the same time, other than the floors. I've been keeping rooms tidy and clean but haven't had it all done at the same time and it was bugging me. The dog got walked twice as the weather was so nice, but too chilly to sit out in, I used the fire pit but it was too smokey. Cooked a roast and spent the evening reading the Sunday papers.

81 Monday Started the day watching Line of Duty, mowed the lawns, walked the dog, hoovered and mopped the top 2 floors and spent the rest of the day catching up with blogging and social media. 

I've decided I need to distance myself from certain people in order to maintain my mental health and wellbeing, I've feel as if I have imposter syndrome, that I don't deserve the life I have and that there is no or little value to it and I find myself having to justify what I say and why.  I feel sometimes that as soon as I open my mouth a translator is switched on and my words are twisted. But I'm ok with that now. I actually get nothing physically or mentally from the situation, it's all take, especially when it comes to expectations around finances, so no more. 

82 Tuesday Took the cat to the vets and did a food shop while I was out for child 5 who needs some support at the moment. He's on his own in a one bed flat, working everyday, no going out, no socialising. I haven't seen anyone for several weeks and won't be seeing anyone other than garden visits until the week after next. I finished hoovering the house downstairs and mopping the floors and stood on the doorstep for half an hour with a lit candle with the neighbour, no one else came out, but we could hear the church bells and people were up on the hills shining a bright light down on the town.

No contact chip shop order, on dog walk, ordered through door, contactless payment and chips handed over through door.

83 Wednesday A year since I arrived back in the UK to an empty T5 which was shut soon after I landed and Dubai closed the borders on me a few hours later. I did a food shop for child 5 and dropped it off with him in Cirencester. I've not been more than 12 miles in the car since I got back to the UK. We had a KFC for lunch. I returned home with his washing, which I'll drop back next week and will then be able to spend some time with him as restrictions will have been eased. Apart from the fact I left my local area, we were Covid compliant, which is what my son said to me as I was leaving 'Virtual hug to be covid compliant' Spent the evening in front of the TV in between doing the washing.

84 Thursday Blood test at 8.50am ahead of my consultation with the haematologist next week.  The rest of the day was spent blogging, commenting, scheduling posts and some crafts I've been meaning to do for a while. The house is full of child 5's washing, as it started raining earlier, I love it really. The cat and dog are outside every minute if the sun is shining.

85 Friday Not really sure what I did all day. I've nothing to do now until the week after next, clean the house and mow the lawn before I return to Dubai. When I get back in June, it'll will be with Peter as he will have retired and life with be different all over again.

I asked what I did to deserve these and my friends told me it's just for being me.

On the blog this week:

My Sunday Photo - A new building in Dubai

PoCoLo A weekly linky I co host - Planning a return to Dubai

National Day of Reflection - My Covid year

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Friday 26 March 2021

26th-28th March 2021. Post Comment Love - Planning a return to Dubai

Welcome back to this weeks PoCoLo with Stephanie @lifeat139a and I. Wow, not only has March and 2021 gone fast, it's been a year this week since I arrived back in the UK, after watching Dubai close venue by venue and arriving to an empty T5 Heathrow 2 days into UK lockdown. The UAE shut the borders behind me.

We're taking the Easter weekend off from PoCoLo, we'll send you a reminder when we're back on the 9th of April. 

Have you got any plans for the weekend. Garden visits and mixing of two households is very exciting, hopefully the weather supports this. I'm arranging to send my dog over to Northern Ireland to live with my son for the summer so I can return to Dubai to finish the process of our relocation.

We've given notice on the Villa and I've already sold my car and closed my bank account and most of the furniture has been shipped over. We need to sell Peter's car, the garden has to be returned to sand so the fence, plants and patio has to go and we have some furniture to sell. 

I'm looking forward to a bit of normality, I'll be getting my hair and nails done as well as a dental visit and I'm looking forward to coffees out, the cinema and the pub quiz. Hopefully when we return to the UK the end of June, we can start to develop our own kind of normal within the constraints of covid regulations.

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Thursday 25 March 2021

National Reflection Day - A year and a bit of Covid and a relocation.

When 2020 started I'd already got our family home back from tenants after 10 years while we lived abroad. The plan was to prepare for Peter's retirement and our return to the UK. We moved the cat and dog over and the plan was for me to live between the UK and Dubai.

They sat by the front door in Dubai after their move from South Africa, after a day or two they're back to fighting.

Dubai was already closed when I left to return to the UK a year ago on March 24th. I returned because my MIL had to return home for lockdown to isolate due to her age and had no one to look after the animals full time.

They closed the Apple Store inside the World's Largest Mall.

We also have an adult daughter in a care home here. Hospital cases were high and with severe learning difficulties she would not have been ventilated if she'd caught Covid, staff members had already tested positive and whilst everything was being done to protect her, we couldn't guarantee that her quality of life wouldn't have been impacted if staff were isolating and numbers dropped.

Arriving into an empty Terminal 5 on day 2 of lockdown, after cancelled and rearranged flights, I was collected by a friend for the night as I had no way of getting across the UK to Malvern until the following morning. Dubai closed their borders that night. Other friends put plans into place for daughter and looking after the cat and dog if I couldn't get back.

On arriving home, I went straight out with a trolley to shop for enough food as I could carry for the next 10 days, so I could stay home and stay safe. Numbers of cases were low in Dubai and I was concerned that coming to the UK would put me more at risk of catching the virus. There were concerns raised about me travelling to the UK from some, not about my safety but about 'did I realise how serious this virus was and did I know that the UK had been preparing for it for a while.' I kid you not. 

I stood on the doorstep for 9 weeks clapping for the NHS, the delivery drivers, the shop workers, the refuse collectors, the post man and everyone else working in essential services. I stayed local, I stayed home. My friend picked up dog food, another dropped off a table and chairs for the garden. I managed to buy a car online from a garage in Birmingham which was delivered. 

I met a friend 'one other from another household' on the common with the dogs, sitting apart for an hour.

When garden visits were permitted there was wine in the garden on a Friday night then the chip opened and that was added to the menu each week.

There was post and parcels and flowers and letters, all written and all received. There were phone calls and video calls and jigsaw and book swops and crafts.

Then came the further afield visits, the days out in the garden throughout the summer with child 4 and his wife and our grandchild. I could visit my nephew, niece in law and great nephew, I could garden visit with the Things and my friend and her twins. I visited the other kids, created a bubble with one for a few weeks. I rescued a friend who was working full time from home with 3 year old twins whose nursery was closed. i spent the day with them in the garden creating a little calm oasis for the parents.

Then they opened the borders in Dubai, but I couldn't get a pet sitter and Peter wasn't given permission to fly until July. I turned up at Terminal 3 to collect him, it had closed, only T2 opened. 

We both quarantined for 2 weeks as per the guidelines, then had garden visits and visited our adult children. In Cirencester we were able to sit in the pub for a Sunday Lunch. We were permitted a garden visit with our daughter.

The UAE government requested PCR tests prior to arrival in Dubai, Peter had one locally and flew home, I had to travel to Bristol for mine.

A friend in South Africa found me a house sitter,  I spent a weekend camping with a friend, collected house sitter, tested and flew to Dubai, testing again on arrival and isolating until the result came through (36 hours)

Dubai had had a really tight lockdown with permission needed to leave the house and was busier in August than it had been in March. The roads were quieter though and unlike the UK I could get my hair and nails done, face to face at the Drs and have scale and polish and check up at the dentists. Too hot to sit in the garden and still not allowed in peoples houses, there was pub quiz and coffee shop dates. PCR test to leave Dubai and arrival into T2, car was waiting and I drove home.

Numbers limited in the malls.

Mask wearing compulsory outside also.

Attractions open but with restrictions.

I'd shipped our furniture whilst in Dubai, closed my bank account and sold my car. 

Back in the UK I isolated for 2 weeks, arranged food shop deliveries then resumed garden visits and Friday night wine, but now we could go indoors. My friends father died. I helped her clear the house, under the tier rules.

I registered with a GP, had appointment to see Haematologist, had blood tests, an iron infusion, more blood tests and follow up appointments over the phone. 

I had a weekend away with Bob to the seaside and stayed in a hotel, social distancing was difficult but I stayed away from the over populated areas.

Lockdown 2 no sign of my furniture and house guests for 3 months to look after the pets. I ended up staying a month longer in the UK than planned due to shipping company and had to fly to Northern Ireland for 2 weeks to stay with son and his wife, I had no where else to go and hotels were closed. Flew back to the mainland, supervised furniture delivery and train to Heathrow T2, via an empty Paddington station and out to Dubai. PCR testing on arrival now.

Birmingham Departure Lounge.

9am on a Monday morning at Paddington Station.

Finally back out to Dubai for a period of time to spend with Peter, I however had the opportunity for some work and so did Peter, which ended up with him stranded in Saudi for Christmas while I spent Christmas in a hotel on the beach on my own. Reunited for the New Year and then I ended up in hospital with a bad back, then scheduled surgery, then a week of work in Abu Dhabi for me staying in a hotel forming a bubble. Both doses of Chinese vaccine, Sinopharm. PCR test and flew back to the UK, into Lockdown 3. I caught the train home. House sitters left as I walked up the drive. 

Another 2 weeks isolation, friends phoning to check in with me, not seen any of the neighbours, other than the young couple with the baby next door. I see people on a regular basis on bin days, school runs (we live next to a primary school) local dog walks, but I'm not sure how long it would be before any of them noticed I wasn't there.

Another iron infusion, an invitation for UK covid vaccine, distanced dog walks with a friend. I'm just waiting for my son and his wife to collect the dog, the neighbour is looking after the cat and I'm back out to Dubai.

We'll both be back in the UK full time in June when Peter retires and we can start to discover our new normal together, in a different country, almost 11 years since we left, the kids have left home, we've inherited a cat and dog, gained 2 daughter in laws and their families and a grandchild.

I stood on the door step last night with a candle, one neighbour came out and we could hear church bells and see lights up on the hills. I've seen her less than 20 times in a year.

Sunday 21 March 2021

What are they building now in Dubai?

 Driving along the coast road towards the Burj Al Arab, is this.
Absolutely no idea, it looks boat/ship shaped. These photos were taken in January 2021, I'll be back out there in April and will see what progress has been made and hopefully find out a bit more about the building.

Saturday 20 March 2021

Week 11 2021 - Gardening, iron infusions and dog walks.

During the 3 lockdowns I've stuck by the rules/laws. I haven't visited anyone and I haven't driven outside my area to go for a walk or to go shopping. I've taken the lockdowns very seriously and apart from dog walking daily and on occasion with a friend, I've only gone out for essential trips such as food shopping and medical appointments. 

I'm just hanging around again, waiting for the next bit that's out of my control. Waiting for the dog to be collected so I can then book a flight back to Dubai. I can't get on with the garden as I won't be here for 2-3 months so no point planting anything and the lawn will need mowing, the house will need cleaning also, when I get back to it. Then I'll be job hunting, we'll be back to some kind of normal, yet it won't be my normal, as my normal is not normal after 10 years as an expat.

Just something else I'll have to adapt to. You all know what your normal was in the UK prior to the pandemic, I wasn't living in the UK prior to the pandemic.

72 Saturday Took Bob for a walk through the woods and collected a take out coffee at the retail park, it was absolutely packed with families shopping in the limited stores open. Walked back home over the common. Did some gardening and was struggling with my back with the digging and moving soil, so went out to local builders merchants to buy a wheelbarrow and some new garden tools. Spent some time blogging and filled in holes/dents in the plaster/walls ready for painting.

Not bad, 3 out of 5 kids remembered. 

73 Sunday A 2 hour dog walk through town, over the common and home, followed by beer and chocolate and a home cooked roast beef dinner. I watched a couple of movies and had a nice relaxing bath with my bath bombs for Mother's Day. I watched Grace, OMG my anxiety levels.

74 Monday Dog walk, gardening and off to the hospital at 5pm for the 2nd iron infusion, I took writing material with me, grabbed a coffee from the foyer on my way to the ward and picked up a McDonalds on the way home (swopped the bun for a gluten free one) and off to bed by 8pm. 

75 Tuesday After a sleep of 8 hours, I went back to sleep for a further 6 hours, then at 3pm I dressed and spent 3 hours in the garden, digging, planting, tidying. Sanded down the paintwork. Walked Bob, had a bath and evening spent in front of the TV.

76 Wednesday Awake at 2am, stayed in bed till midday with the cat for company, dressed and painted some rocks, touched up paint on woodwork and walls throughout the house, did some washing, got outside and did some more gardening, cooked for tonight and soup for tomorrow. Laminated labels for the seeds and evening spent on a video call with a friend.

My shed. Can't wait for the garden furniture to arrive as it can stay outside in all weather and I'll be able to get rid of these red chairs, taking up space.

77 Thursday Another lazy morning, looks cold outside, did some blogging and watched some TV from last night. Walked Bob down to the retail park, posting letters and getting a click and collect coffee. I started the cleaning throughout, so many cobwebs in the rooms I'm not using.

78 Friday Osteopath appointment at 8.30am, then home, walked Bob, painted rocks, cooked, did some cleaning, sorted through some accounts changing passwords and email/phone numbers. Long chat with a friend and bed.

On the blog this week:

Post Comment Love - a weekly linky to link up any blog post written during the week. My motivation has returned.

Part time gardening in the UK and Dubai.

My Sunday Photo - Travels with my sofa.

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