Friday 30 April 2021

30th April - 3rd May 2021 - Post Comment Love.

Welcome back to #PoCoLo this week with Stephanie and I. It's not a bank holiday out here in Dubai, we do however have Eid Al Fitr coming up soon.

Time sure is racing by at the moment as my husband and I spend our last few weeks in Dubai and living abroad since January 2011. 

It's been a wonderful, and difficult time for us both, dealing with our last child leaving home, reduced contact with our oldest child who lives in a care home, we're now on our 3rd international relocation, having dealt with the death of my father and then the several joyous situations with 2 of our children getting married, the birth of a grandchild and several more family weddings and the birth of great nephews and nieces with a couple more babies lined up to meet later this year.

We're making the most of the medical aid getting eyes, dental and medical check ups and I'm also taking advantage of the nail bars and hairdressers here while I can and of course some last minute shopping.

It's not all fun and games though as you'll see with the post I've linked up with this week.

But life still has to go on throughout everything, as it has in its limited way since Covid. Just as it starts to return to normal, Peter and I change our normal with our return to the UK. 

Stephanie and I are looking forward to reading what you've linked up with this week.

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Preparing to leave Dubai.

I arrived back in Dubai 2 weeks ago. Peter has been off work while we've planned our exit. We sold his car, made a claim to cancel the Insurance which can take up to 3 weeks. We've had quotes for shipping the rest of our furniture, advertised the garden for sale and made arrangements to have broken and old furniture removed. We've now hired a car until the end of May.

I sold my car and closed my bank account back in September, so we're confident of how that all works.

There's still quite a bit of stuff to do, unlike a move within the country in which you live, when you leave a country you have to close everything down before your current visa expires. However it's a lot easier this move as we don't need a visa to move to the UK. When we moved from South Africa to Dubai, we had to return to the UK to get our documents certified and get our cat and dog out to Dubai before our current visa expired, but we couldn't ship the furniture or air freight until our new visas were in place. 

We have two more payments due out on the credit card in the next 10 days then we can cancel the credit card, but need to keep the main account open to pay in cheques from the deposits for the house, utility bills and an investment that matures soon. Once that has all cleared we have to withdraw/transfer the account to a zero balance then apply for a completion certificate to close the account.

We had to get the UK credit card activated so we could use it to hire the car

I keep getting informed that we can of course pay someone to do all this for us, but from personal experience having been told this in the past and actually following the advice we have discovered that 9/10 these people aren't qualified experts and that actually they don't make the job any easier as basically you still do all the ground work and they just basically queue on your behalf to submit that paperwork that you still need to sign and sorry but there is no way we're giving ANYONE a signed letter to deal with our finances on our behalf.

We're vacating the Villa on May 24th, we don't have a hotel booked yet as we're waiting for confirmation from the UK Government in regards to our isolation/quarantine on our return. 

At the moment we're required to spend 11 days in a UK hotel at the cost of £1700 each, we've looked into flying home via Germany where we'd need to stay for 11 days before we would be allowed back into the UK and the isolate at home for 11 days. We're allowed to travel between the UK and Dubai as we have Citizenship and Residency. We've both had the full vaccine and are happy with regular PCR testing.

Dubai is a hub, but we're hopeful after May 17th it'll be off the red list, Dubai have currently suspended flights from India.

Thankfully this time we're not leaving one place and arriving into the unknown. We are returning to our former family home that I've spent the past 18 months restoring after tenants and setting up utilities, buying a car and sorting phones and internet which hasn't been as easy as it sounds because we've not lived in the UK for so long, have no 'no claims' for driving, need insurance that allows us to leave the house empty for more than 30 days and has involved changing all the landlord cover back into personal use, getting new quotes and at one point had me measuring the outside area of the house and working out the square footage for the top two floors for buildings insurance purposes (since when did that become a thing?) We moved the cat and dog back in February.

We're registered with the Dr's in the UK but need to find a new dentist and I need to add Peter to the council tax and change our voting options.

We need to close everything here in Dubai rather than risk letting it just expire when our visas run out. We plan to travel through Dubai in future years to visit one of our sons in Australia and don't want to risk arrest should we have anything outstanding. 

I'm not looking for help, guidance or advice on any of this, there is a time scale to follow for all of it, just not all the same time. We've done it many times before, we'll do it now as well. I just don't have the brain space to do anything else for myself, let alone anyone else right now. An International move is nothing like an internal move, trust me, I did both last year. We're not planning on doing any further moves, internal or external for a long time to come.

Sunday 25 April 2021

Then and Now. Construction Photography in Dubai. Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall.

Photos taken 7 years apart from Dubai Mall, over looking the lake, the now Apple Store and Address Hotel which has been extensively rebuilt after a fire there on NYE 2015 and the Burj Khalifa, World's Tallest Building with the new Fashion Mall ensuring Dubai Mall remains the largest in the World also.

January 2014

April 2021

January 2014

April 2021

January 2014

April 2021


Saturday 24 April 2021

Week 16 - One Daily Positive - A staycation and Ramadan Kareem

It doesn't feel like I've been away from Dubai at all. It's automatic to hop in the car and drive on the other side of the road and the money and way of doing things is familiar. 

However Ramadan is very different this year, it's cooler for starters as it occurs 11 days earlier each year and most of the restrictions of previous years have changed and as long as you eat or drink in a cafe or restaurant there is no need for screening from the rest of the public. More places are open this year due to not requiring a permit to operate during Ramadan.

Smoking, eating and drinking whilst walking around or in your car is still prohibited during day light hours.

I've been back and forth to the Drs for yet more blood tests, thankfully my phosphate levels have corrected themselves with medication but they really do need to get to the bottom of the iron deficiency anaemia as the side effects of the infusions are causing other issues now and I really don't want to be on more and more medications long term.

We managed to get away for a few days, but if I'm honest I'm not a big fan of hotel stays. The staff were excellent but a lot of the guests refused to wear masks in communal areas both indoors and outdoors, but this is what happens when people visit from other countries, they don't recognise the laws or think they can do the same as they do at home but in the sun. The hotel was also very tired, soft furnishings were stained and towels were thread bare and a good clean was needed in the rooms. The communal areas looked ok as they were being cleaned throughout the day. 

107 Saturday All change with Ramadan. We went to the Outlet Village and other than coffee didn't buy anything.

108 Sunday Stopped at the beach on the way to the Doctors

109 Monday A mini break in Ras Al Khaimah at the Rixos. 

110 Tuesday Days split between the beach and the pool side and dinner and a show in the evening.

111 Wednesday Some of the entertainment leaves a lot to be desired such as Baby Shark throughout the day and the Macarena at night, thank fully it was relatively quiet with numbers.

112 Thursday Morning by the pool and the drive home, stopping at the local mall for a coffee and a food shop for the week.

113 Friday Whilst we have a lot more freedom in Dubai we are required to wear masks 24/7 including outdoors, in parking lots etc. Both Peter and I are used to wearing them when out the house, I'll just have to remind him that he can take his mask off in open space when he's back in the UK. I attempted to sit out in the garden, but by the time I'd swept and put the cushions out I had overheated, so spent the day trying to sell the garden, organise Bupa to continue when we relocate (quoted £23,000 per annum for medical aid) cancelling internet and sorting out investments. 

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Friday 23 April 2021

23rd-25th April 2021 Post Comment Love - Preparing to return to the UK

Welcome back to this weeks #PoCoLo with Stephanie and I with our weekly linky where we ask you to POST anything written this week, COMMENT on the hosts posts and one other and LOVE share the hashtag #pocolo and we 'll share your post on twitter.

I'm sure you've noticed I've not been commenting recently, sorry about that, I am in the process of catching up over the past 3 weeks. I'm back in Dubai with my husband of almost 20 years. We've spent the past year living apart and 10 years living abroad. In 2 months time our expat journey comes to an end and it sure is stressful trying to deal with everything. We're not just moving, we're packing up our whole lives again and moving into the relative unknown, even if it's back into our former family home in the West Midlands. We're also trying to soirt this during Ramadan when the UAE does slow down, but hopefully we'll have all the quotes in places before Eid in the middle of May, ready to ship out the end of may.

But before we start all the work, we took a break in Ras Al Khaimah, a state within the UAE, about an hours drive north up the sea front. 

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Thursday 22 April 2021

Ramadan Kareem 2021. Then and now in Dubai. 'Service for non-Muslims'

Ramadan in Dubai is very different this year as an observer.

Our first Ramadan was in July 2015. Muslims fast, which means they do not eat, drink, chew gum and yes that includes not even having a sip of water during daylight hours. It also means as a non resident in the UAE that you will also observe this and not eat in, drink or smoke in public places or in the view of others. So no drinking water in your car, smoking a cigarette or dipping your hands in a bag of crisps during the same time period. You can how ever eat in the privacy of your own home or allocated room at work.

In 2015 I rarely left the house for a month, no where was open, no coffee shops, no restaurants, nothing during the day and it was dry as in no alcohol served at all during Ramadan.

2016 was slightly different, they lifted the rules on drinking alcohol for tourists and residents but only in the evenings and with a licence, places were allowed to open in the day to serve food, but only after a certain time and doors and windows had to be blocked off. Most places though were take out only. I was teaching that year in an Arabic school and had to go into the toilets in the classrooms to have a drink of water and had to wait for an hour to drive home before I could drink again. I'd skip lunch most days as the break room was too far away.

Summer in Dubai reaches 50c.

2017 more changes, now alcohol could be consumed during the day at brunches, coffee shops now open to sit indoors only, Mall food halls now serving food from midday if you sat behind the screens.

2018 and 2019 pretty much the same.

2020 Ramadan took place during a full lockdown.

2021 You wouldn't even know Ramadan was happening. You can eat and drink in public seated in a cafe or restaurant indoors. No screens, no curtains, no signs.

The first weekend some areas had outdoor seating open, people were smoking and drinking whilst walking around. The rules have now been clarified to indoor dining only and the general public should refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and chewing gum outdoors during daylight hours.


Sunday 18 April 2021

One week and 3000 miles apart

Last Sunday morning. Making my way up to the top of British Camp in Malvern, UK.

This Sunday morning. On the beach in Dubai.

Saturday 17 April 2021

Week 15 One Daily Positive - Back in Dubai

I've just about been keeping my head above water the last few weeks with more medical tests, arranging flights to Dubai and all the tests and paperwork involved and sorting out care for the animals and a few other issues that were really taking up too much of my time, energy and finances. I owe comments for the past 4 weeks and I'm working my way through them slowly, starting with all the people who link up with me and Steph @lifeat139a and I for Post Comment Love each week. 

I've been getting incredible pains in chest and shoulders and random shooting pains in my thigh and shin in left leg and I've had a severe reaction to the Phosphate intake also. I'm also itching head to toe after contact with water and I have the coldest hands known to man. Some of this was going on before the iron infusion, but has become worse and most of it before the phosphate intake. Can't get to see a Dr in the UK, the receptionist just puts things on my notes. I have an appointment next week to see my GP over here.

100 Saturday Morning of tidying around and off to visit friend and grandchild for garden visit in the same village and home to watch TV.

101 Sunday Up early and up British Camp to experience the snow, an afternoon of TV,  had an early bath, cooked dinner and sorted through some paperwork, did some packing and the neighbour came round to collect key for feeding cat while I'm away.

102 Monday Off early to Worcester for Covid testing, took a walk around the town then realised I'd gone into the City on the first day the shops re opened after lockdown, it wasn't as busy as I thought it would've been. Hoovered and mopped floors. Tidied up the garden after the snow again.

103 Tuesday Caught the train to Heathrow, stopped off at Paddington on route and decided to leave suitcase with left luggage and spent the day in London on foot. Walked to and through Hyde park, to Buckingham Palace, along the Mall, through Horse guard parade, to Westminster, up to Trafalgar Square, through Leicester Square, through Carnaby Street, along Oxford Road to Regent Street, past the BBC onto Baker Street and back to Paddington, collected suitcase and onto an empty T3 and Aerotel sleep pod for the night.

104 Wednesday Flew to Dubai mid afternoon, around 50 people on the flight. More shops etc open this time at the airport but still very quiet. An uneventful flight, slept most of the way. it won't be like this the next time I fly in June.

105 Thursday I spent the day in bed. Peter went into the office in the morning and he had the dentist in the afternoon. Evening spent in front of the TV.

106 Friday We headed out to Dubai Mall. It's Ramadan and it's being done very differently here than ever before. When we first came here in 2015, nothing was open during the day, over the following years, places opened but were only accessible for take outs and after 2pm, then they screened areas off and you could eat after 2pm, but there was NO consistency between stores and within Malls. Last year, Ramadan took place during a total lockdown and curfew, this year you wouldn't know it was Ramadan here at all, other than a few decorations, the Starbucks Ramadan cup. There are no screens, no curtained off areas, no signs telling you whether you can eat or drink or smoke or chew gum etc. I'm finding the covid regulations harder to deal with anyway, but at least I'm used to the inconsistencies of Dubai after 6 years.

On the blog this week: 

Post Comment Love - Back Home in Dubai

My Spring Garden

A random Walk over the Malvern Hills

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Friday 16 April 2021

16th-18th April 2021 Post Comment Love - Back home in Dubai

Finally I'm back home in Dubai, my last trip here as my husband is retiring at the end of May and we'll be returning to the UK full time in June.

Sorry I've been a bit behind with commenting and sharing your posts, I've been quite stressed with medical appointments and sorting out all the paperwork, testing, transport and hotel timings ahead of flying on Wednesday. Promise to catch up and share the love.

Stephanie and I look forward to reading what you've linked up with this week and normal service will resume asap.

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Thursday 15 April 2021

My Spring Garden - April 2021

I've not done much in the garden to prepare it for Spring as I'm off back to Dubai tomorrow for 2 months and I won't be doing anything to the garden there either other than taking it apart to sell before we return to the UK in June permanently.

I have however done a few things in the hope of there being some life in the garden when we return, which involved mowing the lawn 3 times, starting on a high cut and getting lower, preparing the lawn and reseeding the patches.

I've also levelled off the border again and weeded front and back within an inch of its life.

I scattered wild flower seeds in the border and re seeded the lawn patches.

I've done a few temporary repairs where I can also.

The spring bulbs are so pretty and the tulips are lasting for ages. I only had one daffodil flower though. I'll be planting more bulbs for next spring.

I uncovered the Bay and Olive tree when the temps reached over 10c and also planted out the sweet peas, peas and beans I'd sown over winter into the ground and pots with prepared supports to allow them to climb.

I was late with sowing, indoors, tomatoes, chillis, squash, pumpkins, courgettes, cucumber and a few others and as they hadn't germinated on the window sill, they've just been transferred into the green house where the door will remain closed to see what, if anything comes of them all.

I've planted out onions, ginger and potatoes in pots and have covered all bare soil with wild flower seed. 

But then it got cold and it snowed and I had to re cover the Bay and we'll just have to wait and see what happens to everything else on our return.

Monday 12 April 2021

Week 14 - One daily Positive. Sunshine and Snow

No dog to walk, feels weird. There was some confusion between the Consultant, GP and Receptionist about whether I'd had the bloods requested or needed to book them. I'd had the ones the Consultant had requested but before the letter was received by the GP, hence the confusion. I'm now on Phosphorus as my levels are too low. Will need a blood test in a weeks time.

Over the past 2 weeks I've seen 4 of our 5 children and our grandchild, no hugs from the adults, some contact with toddler child of course. I won't be seeing any of them or the dog until July now.

93 Saturday I topped up the food shopping, then stayed home alone and did a thorough clean of the house, the shared areas and washed the dog. Evening spent on sofas, snacking, chatting and TV running in the background. The dog and all his bedding got washed.

94 Sunday We took a walk up the Malvern Hills, had a roast dinner then Child 4 and 4a left with the dog, I cleaned the house through again top to bottom, did all the washing of bedding and towels, the ironing and had a good cry because my dog has gone. It was a long evening with a demanding cat. 

95 Monday  I took a trip to Gloucester for a click and collect store cupboard and toiletry food shop, so when we return from Dubai we can isolate and just get some fresh stuff delivered or dropped off. I had a front door step visit with child 1 in her care home, as in I talked to the staff and she wandered off back inside. Then a drive home via child 2, 2a and grandchild for a garden visit, home for dinner, a bath and an early night. 

96 Tuesday A morning in bed catching up with TV and blogging. Unpacked the car and put everything away and took a walk into town to get coffee and sit in the churchyard. It was snowing most of the day and bitterly cold, but with blue skies.

97 Wednesday Walked down to the retail park after a hectic morning of researching flights, covid testing, hotels and trains. My stress levels get really high when I'm having to coordinate a million and one things at the same time.

98 Thursday Walked into town to post a parcel, bumped into a school mum from child 5s time in school, then decided to walk up The Beacon, just because I could and walked home along the ridge, via the North Hill. 

99 Friday Morning spent  paying bills for water, the car and council tax both in the UK and Dubai. Home and booked everything for flying next week. Walked down to the pharmacy, twice, to collect new medication.

Nothing on the blog this week.

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Sunday 11 April 2021

A random walk over the Malvern Hills

I went out in the week to post a parcel.

I ended up The Beacon.

When most people visit Malvern to walk the Hills they pull up in the car park, in most cases near the top or at least half way up.

I start my walks from my front door at the base of the North Hill (far end of the picture) 79ms and walk to the top of The Beacon at 425ms.

I went on a whim, although I did have suitable footwear and clothing on for walking off the tarmac track. The weather was perfect, not so much today as I head off to British Camp after last nights snow and I'll be starting my walk, halfway up from the car park.

Friday 9 April 2021

9th-11th April 2021. Post Comment Love

Welcome back to #PoCoLo with Stephanie and I. You were missed when we took our Easter break, but it was lovely to catch up with you the week before and looking forward to reading more of your posts this week.

I may or may not be back in Dubai the end of the weekend. I've written this at the start of the week, I'm waiting for blood test results and phone consultations after my recent iron infusion, then need to book flights and PCR testing and check out all the requirements for this trip.

The dog has moved over to Northern Ireland with my son and his wife while I'm away as I wasn't able to get pet sitters for the whole 3 months, so the neighbour will come in to feed the cat to cover the gaps.

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Monday 5 April 2021

Week 13 - Garden visits, visitors and vets.

A tricky week for me, had blood test results back then based on the them was sent for more tests and requested by haematologist not to leave the UK until the results are back and he's worked out what stage we're at with diagnosis and what I need to have done next. 

The weather has been glorious, I've been able to set the garden furniture up outside and leave it out and it's been great hanging the washing out, but I did have to put the heating back on over the weekend.

Child 4 and 4a arrived on Friday to collect the dog so I can return to Dubai, too far to drive up and down in one day and there is also a 6 hour ferry crossing involved. We're fortunate to have a 6 bed house with 4 bathrooms allowing everyone to have their own room and personal space, I haven't had any indoor or close contact with anyone for a long time, so this I guess is a bubble. I can't go back to Dubai without their support.

86 Saturday Morning spent in bed then a walk with the dog and a door step chat with a friend. Tidied photos and files on laptop, did the ironing, blog posts, read, watched TV. The dog ate a hyacinth bulb, will have to keep a close eye on him. (dog poo'ed none stop for 3 days)

87 Sunday A social distanced walk with a friend and the dogs up the Malvern Hills followed by a picnic of tea and biscuits at the back of the car afterwards. A late roast beef dinner and afternoon spent reading the paper, watching tv, bath and early to bed.

88 Monday Garden visit with grandchild and DIL in the afternoon and then with son when he came home from work. Weather was lovely and it was really nice to be spending time with them. I took my own lunch and drank their tea and used the loo before I went home. I handed over Easter Gifts which they opened as they'd not been touched for over a week in the boot of the car. Dropped door step gifts for Easter for friends twins on the way home.

89 Tuesday Early morning food shop and got a new disc engraved for the dog with son's contact details on, then home to mow the lawns and weed the front garden, a lovely dog walk and a birthday party late afternoon for Pushkins who is now 12 and adopted us 9 years ago. The evening was spent in front of the TV.

90 Wednesday A garden visit and lunch, took the dog with me and had a walk. I was given a clear jigsaw puzzle to entertain me before I return to Dubai. At this rate I'll not be leaving the house again. I painted some rocks in the afternoon to decorate as chickens for Easter and painted some plant pots also. Dropped off some parcels to be posted with Easter gifts for child 1 and the Things.

91 Thursday A morning of cleaning and bed making and a short dog walk as Bob is on meds for calming him before the vets in the afternoon then on to return child 5's washing and ironing to him. More garden ideas going on, would love a magnolia in the front garden.

92 Friday Child 4 and 4a arrived to collect the dog, we just chilled out for the day, a dog walk and no physical contact. I did all the cooking and making drinks, which is regardless of covid anyway as I do like to spoil my kids when I can.

Nothing on the blog this week.

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