Sunday 30 May 2021

Perspective of buildings in Dubai. The Marina and Jumeriah Beach Residence.

Is it small and far away or near and tall? 

I'll leave Father Ted to explain that one to you, it's something we struggle with on occasion even though we've lived here for 6 years.

No 1 is the Cayan Tower.
No 2 is Princess Tower.
This photo was taken from our apartment on the 32nd floor, The Royal Beach Residence.

This photo showing where the first photo was taken from, was taken from the Palm, to give you an idea of the perspective.

Saturday 29 May 2021

Week 21 - Hanging around and trying not to get angry

Leaving Dubai is not a happy experience, neither was our arrival. Customer service here isn't the best. Comments from people are to just pay someone, but I have little faith in anyone here, I still haven't had the paperwork from our shipping company or any paperwork at all to say they have our furniture. I had to sign forms, they didn't give me copies. 

We cancelled the internet services and were informed to take the boxes to a local store, on arrival we were shouted at by the meet and greeter and told we were not to drop boxes there and that was that. Boxes were left at the front of the shop and when I tried to take a photo of them in front of the shop sign, I was shouted at again. Peter phoned customer services who again told us to go back to that branch for the final bill, but when we arrived we were told we'd been given the wrong advice and to go to head office. We almost said 'sod it' let them keep the deposit, but we went to make sure everything was closed and we discovered we owed a small sum.

Leaving our Villas has been very unpleasant. The check out form was pre printed with damage and costs to charge us with. This company isn't part of our landlords company, so we've taken the issue upo directly with them. The cost of repairs is the same amount as the deposit. We have an agreement with check in that due to settlement cracks we don't have to repaint when we vacate, but we were billed for that and a clean, which is mad as they made a right mess walking through today with sand blowing in through open doors, let alone the mess they make just to service the air con units. No allowance was made for wear and tear and two air con covers were broken in front of us as well as stating that the front door needs polishing as it is damaged from the sun.

Closing the electricity and water was really easy, done online, final bill sent and credit refunded to our bank account within 3 working days. Great service.

142 Saturday Woke with a migraine. Final check of the Villa, put the fridge and oven back together and all the filters for appliances that we'd cleaned. We dropped off the TV boxes as requested, collected a cheque and closed our electricity and water account, then off to drop a gift with a friend which led to a 3 hour brunch and an afternoon/evening lounging on the sofa watching TV.

We bought this cushion pad when we first moved to Dubai so we had something to sit on

143 Sunday Handed the keys in for the Villa, Peter went off to work and I caught the train back to the apartment. Unexpected firework show on the Palm

144 Monday Check out inspection of the villa, not happy at all. I had my hair cut and a gel manicure, Peter worked from the apartment. Afternoon spent sending emails and providing evidence to get our deposit back. 

145 Tuesday A day of blogging, commenting, walking and drinking coffee. Way too hot to be outside for any length of time, but the advantage of being where we are is I can access everything in a short distance. Spent some time on the beach and went for a swim.

I had gifts for my friends in South Africa that Peter brought over from the UK in February 2020 to take to SA in March. Finally dropped them at a friends sister who lives here and will take them over to SA when she is next allowed to visit.

146 Wednesday I walked down to the beach, the walkway is really rough and the public beach is covered in litter so I walked a little further had a swim, then cut through along a path back to the main road. Except I wasn't on a public path and was barked at to go back on the beach. it was 41c, I said I was lost, sorry but no not good enough, so I said call the police because I ain't going back on the beach and I was escorted through the car park. Really pissed off with this attitude from people in all services here, such job worths. Made a formal complaint to the hotel. Put do not enter signs up then if you're that worried about being invaded.

Peter keeps locking the balcony door, we're on the 32nd floor, no one will be breaking in here.

147 Thursday We popped out for a coffee, I spent most of the day reading and when Peter came home from work we went down to the pool. It was Peter's leaving do, 35 years with the company, 6 of them in Dubai, he's retiring. I enjoyed the evening, it was nice catching up with old faces via conference calls from South Africa, the UK and across Europe. 

Mask wearing outside is almost unbearable, so humid.

148 Friday Last day with the car so we went to Dubai Mall for breakfast, realised the weather wasn't too hot and had no reason to be in the Mall so we went for a drive along the Palm to take before, during and after photos for my construction photography blog posts. We went down to the pool early evening.

I love visiting aquariums, this photo was taken in Dubai Mall.

This weeks blog post really doesn't describe or sum up how we have both felt this week. It's been very emotional and challenging. I've been very pissed off by some comments from people on social media who I know would struggle doing half the stuff we do and have felt a few others have tried to catch me out, whilst many who would normally have an input just haven't bothered. Peter and I are certainly reducing our circle of friends through choice now and wondering why we didn't do this a long time ago.

On the blog this week:

Someones pet cat escaped - Exotic animal on the loose in Dubai

PoCoLo - Hanging around Dubai

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Friday 28 May 2021

28th-31st May 2021 - Post Comment Love - Hanging around in Dubai.

Welcome back to Post Comment Love this week with Stephanie and I. I was hoping this was my last update from Dubai and that next week that we’d be in a Quarantine hotel in the UK somewhere. Sadly it's not to be. Earliest direct flight we can get is June 15th. We can get flights via another country in transit only, but there is always the worry of borders closing and that's happened to us several times since March 2020.

But until final payments are made and bank account closed, we're just literally hanging around. We've rented an apartment near the Marina, which is lovely and not a bad place to be hanging around in, but we just want to get home now and start the next stage of our lives.

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Sunday 23 May 2021

In the light of recent sightings of a large, exotic animal

We got this email from the housing group we rent through in Dubai.

We've since received confirmation it was someones pet cat, a large pet cat.

Still not saying whether it was a panther, jaguar an over active imagination or just a black cat. Watch the video and let me know what you think.


Saturday 22 May 2021

Week 20 - One Daily Positive, shipping and a big cat on the loose

I've had a few people ask me recently if my health issues are related to the menopause. The answer is no, although I'm probably going through it regardless. I've actually had my periods stopped to validate the iron deficiency and 2 years ago I was diagnosed with a small bleed in my small intestine caused by an intolerance to wheat.

All my medical appointments are blood test led, as in it's not me going back and forth to the Doctors, it's them calling me back and forth, a high white blood cell count led to me having a bone marrow biopsy, where several unexplained results were identified which they are still trying to work out. In the meantime, the iron infusions cause my electrolytes to malfunction and caused numbness and itching and bone pains, which are a recent, known side effect of the infusions.

We've moved out the villa this week and into an apartment in the Marina, near the beach. It's been a very stressful week, but I'm totally switched off now, despite ending the week with a migraine, but that's heat and physical work related.

We were planning to fly to the UK on June 2nd and hotel quarantine for 11 days as legally required to and we won't be allowed to fly unless we can produce proof of hotel booking, however the earliest we can now get a direct flight is June 15th, hopefully the UAE will be off the red list and we can just isolate at home instead.

Oh and we've also been keeping an eye out for an escaped black panther/jaguar in the local community this week.

135 Saturday Out for breakfast with friends, a food shop and home to watch the FA Cup Final. Found this growing in the garden, taking the form of the fence, it's a squash of some kind.

136 Sunday Started the process of closing bank accounts so we can obtain a clearance certificate prior to flying home. Headed out to old Dubai for some shopping, it does entertain me.

137 Monday Shipping company confirmed they are coming to pack on Wednesday. most of the day spent on the sofa watching movies. Saw Jaws 2, scared me all over again lol.

I've found good homes for all the plants.

138 Tuesday Super busy sorting the house ready for moving. Had to do the insurance quote which is itemising everything packed and putting a price on it for replacement value in the UK.

139 Wednesday Packers arrived, once they knew what was being packed and what was staying I took myself off for a coffee and to read my book, they'd gone by 3pm and I went out in the evening to meet a friend for coffee at a local mall.

140 Thursday All the furniture was loaded in the container. There's a lot of stuff we're not taking back with us which I started to shift outside with help from the removal men.

141 Friday Spent the day cleaning the villa and having the garden and all the waste removed, slight hiccup with the company doing the work who said they would finish tomorrow then demanded paying up front and accusing me of cheating them. All resolved now, but typical behaviour and all too common I'm afraid. 

View from JBR towards the end of the Marina from our current home.

On the blog this week:

Post Comment Love - The shipping has been shipped

Construction Photography - The Atlantis Hotel

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Friday 21 May 2021

Post Comment Love 21st - 23rd May 2021 - Shipping has been shipped

Welcome back to PoCoLo with Stephanie from @lifeat139a and I.

I've had a really busy week preparing for leaving our villa after 4 years in Dubai, finding somewhere to stay for a month now (no direct flights to the UK) instead of 2 weeks, getting our contents packed into a container and shipped, closing utilities and bank accounts so we can move back to the UK knowing that we've cleared all our financial responsibilities here. 

We're spending today cleaning, just dusting, sweeping and mopping and supervising the removal of the garden and having the fence relocated to a neighbours property which saves us on disposal costs and p[ays for all the work.

Peter has until the end of the month at work, mostly saying goodbyes, meals out, handing over whilst I keep a close eye on UK regulations, flight updates, booking UK quarantine hotels nearer the date we fly if still required and chasing up all the payments owed to us from car insurance, utilities, house deposit and medical aid and the final bank closure. There's also a lot going on in regards to bills in the UK with our house and flat, so no real rest, but we are both enjoying being on the beach and having access to a pool.

My visa was cancelled yesterday, Peter's gets cancelled on Sunday, we then have to be out of the UAE within 30 days, flights are currently booked for June 15th which lets us out on the day of my 50th Birthday.

Here's to a quieter and calmer life. I'm looking forward to more blogging, reading, social distancing and mask wearing and hopefully building new friendships both face to face and online.

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Thursday 20 May 2021

14 day countdown to the end of our expat journey

We're on a 14 day one month countdown to the end of our expat journey.

It's been a bit stressful trying to relocate during a pandemic, I'll be honest, upping sticks and moving thousands of miles is very stressful regardless of where you go and when.

We've both moved a lot in our lives and since we met in 2000 we sold both our homes and purchased one together in 2002 which we still own and is the home we are returning to.

We left the UK in January 2011 for South Africa, with a 20ft container, we then relocated to Dubai in December 2014 with a 40ft container and in September 2020 we sent approximately 10ft in groupage followed by a 20ft container this morning May 2021. We will follow on in a months time. Originally it was going to be June 2nd, however there are NO direct flights from Dubai to the UK, and with both of us having experienced being prevented from travelling and in the wrong country from where we had intended to be, neither of us fancy the prospect of being stuck in a 3rd country such as Egypt, Oman, Finland etc where we are permitted to fly through currently. Either way we still have to hotel quarantine on our arrival in the UK for 10 nights, as we will have been in the UAE in the past 10 days prior to arrival.

99% of the stress of an expat move is in the build up to the packing day itself, then you sit in a trance for several months in hotels, sorting documents, applying for visas, running around to get signatures the night before you're due to submit your paperwork because someone forgot to give you something. It's the fact finding, the arranging, the booking, the handing over over money, setting up phone and utilities, trying to find internet, somewhere to live, a car, school runs, new job, how to pay for parking, navigating medical aid and dealing with HR, 3rd party agents, via your husband, through his HR department because as a 'supporting spouse' you are given no consideration from your spouses company, despite being the one person who is jumping through all the hoops and digging up long lost relatives to obtain a DNA sample to prove who you are. 

Lots of people tell me to write a book, it's entertaining, that I'm good at stuff like this and I love a challenge. Well this is all you're getting a blog and trust me, I'm not good at stuff like this, I don't enjoy it and I'm really looking forward to a simple life with Peter, our adult kids and grandkids and time to cook, garden, walk the dog up the Malvern Hills and take up new hobbies and maybe return to the workplace.

Sunday 16 May 2021

The Palm Jumeriah - Atlantis Hotel and new apartments.

Can you get anything more iconic than the Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab and the Atlantis Palm?

As you know I'm documenting the changes in Dubai by photographing the construction projects here. Often I find it difficult to return to the same spot to get the same photo angle. I was planning on getting these shots from the sea to make before, during and after comparisons, but sadly it's too hot to be outdoors on a ferry for any length of time at the moment so you'll have to make do with photos taken from the Pointe when we visited for lunch last week and a photo of the Palm taken from the air a couple of years ago.

Luxury apartments, part of the Atlantis Hotel to the left of the Water Park.

Saturday 15 May 2021

Week 19 One daily Positive - A new baby is on the way

Child 4 and 4a are expecting their first child, our 2nd grandchild in November this year. Yes Ive started shopping already, just a few bits and pieces. We won't be around on a daily basis as we'll be a 3 hour car drive and 6 hour ferry crossing away. We have been  a 7 hour plane journey and 3000 miles away from our first grandchild who will turn 2 this year.

I'm so fed up with my diet. Can't eat wheat, it causes migraine. Iron levels on their way back down and Cholesterol levels gone up so all the foods I am supposed to eat to help with iron intake are bad fats and I've had to add alcohol, eggs, hard cheese and chocolate to my list of banned foods. I'm only eating low fat dairy products and point blank refuse to cut out caffeine. Lost another 1kg after piling on several when I stopped smoking. Still getting random pains, have the itchiest skin known to man and blood pressure is dropping.

My push pop pop bubble is serving me well, stress and anxiety being controlled much better these days, as long as I stay away from certain people and topics.

128 Saturday Went food shopping first thing, total madness, I forgot it was a Saturday. Rest of the day spent in front of the TV. 

I can't resist shopping for baby.

129 Sunday Lots of sorting and tidying went on today. Peter was in the office and came home with a coffee for me. We watched the football and the second Kingsman movie, most of the day spent on the sofa on the lap top.


130 Monday Woke at 1am and awake for the rest of the night, the air con is noisy but needed to be on, gave up on sleep and watched Bridget Jones and did some blogging. Waiting for some payments on the bank account to close then closing it down. Timing is everything with needing to get final salary and deposit refunds paid in. Dr's appointment.

We'll be booking one of these soon, decided not to fly via another country as we've already ahd borders closed on us.

131 Tuesday Eid Mubarak to you all. Peter is off work now till next week, banks and utility companies are closed, shops and restaurants are open though. Our trip to the bank was a wasted journey.

Dubai skyline viewed from Al Wasl.

132 Wednesday I had a full on melt down. I just want/need to be left alone, am fed up of people trying to mislead/con me and I've had more than enough of being told calm down, just pay someone to do these things. Like who do I pay? I'm not handing over personal details like bank accounts etc to random strangers who are set up with facebook and instagram accounts as experts with all their reviews being so positive and all within a 6 month time frame from when they set the accounts up. I used my frustration for the final push with the paperwork. We did pop out in the morning for a coffee to the Souk Madinat.

133 Thursday Up early, in incredible pain in my neck and back, stress, sitting at the laptop. Drove to the Creek to a shop I've been wanting to visit, but it was closed due to Eid, so we drove home along the beach road and stopped for lunch on the Palm at the Pointe.

134 Friday Completed my police clearance check, took 5 mins and cost around £40 as everything is linked to our ID cards here, life is much easier in that respect. We spent the morning at the Marina, just about managed a walk and coffee shop. It won't be long before anything outdoors will be too hot. Afternoon and evening spent on Ocean's fest.

On the blog this week:

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Friday 14 May 2021

14th -16th May 2021 Post Comment Love - Eid Mubarak

Welcome back to #PoCoLo this week with Stephanie and I. I've finally caught up with all the blog comments, reading and shares.

I've been enjoying the posts linked up each week from fashion, quick and easy crafts and thought provoking posts. It's great to see such a variety of posts every week, which include gardening and child care also. My blogging is usually just about life, my life and this week I'm sharing a post about us becoming grandparents again for the 2nd time. 

It's Eid and here in Dubai it's a public holiday, so our move has been put on hold since Tuesday, we'll resume making cancellations on Sunday, no idea if removal company are coming next week or the week after, but we have to be out by May 25th.

Do spread the word about this link, join in and don't forget to leave a comment or two.

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Sunday 9 May 2021

Grandchild No 2 on the way.

Photo credit to my son and his wife 4 and 4a and very happy to announce the upcoming birth of 4b, who will be our 2nd grandchild due in November.

Saturday 8 May 2021

Week 18 - One Daily Positive Organising shipping and a paddle in the sea.

I'm having a crap week, just hanging around again, it's all I seem to do, there has been a flurry of activity then it all comes to a stand still. I've got no motivation and coupled with the heat which is slowing me down and the constant aches and pains and breathlessness, I'm bored. 

Shipping costs have increased but the removal companies have taken the opportunity to almost double the cost of packing, loading and delivering. One company quoted via email and sent documents. Another company came out to quote, but didn't leave any literature and were quite defensive when I asked questions. The final company came out, quoted, left literature but I had to chase them up for the written quote. 

121 Saturday Child 3 celebrates his 29th birthday in Australia, he's also been in hospital for surgery on a poorly foot, so not a lot of fun for him out there at the moment. We spent the day moving furniture from the balconies to the car port and finished clearing out the cupboards.

122 Sunday Final quote for shipping, will make a decision once the quote is in.

The walk to the train station

123 Monday Doctors at 9am for blood test results. Oh the joys. I now have high cholesterol levels and needed a repeat test in 6 months, just diet for the time being.

Started sorting UAE paperwork, will miss this space when we leave.

124 Tuesday Did absolutely nothing all morning then took myself off for a walk to take photos of the neighbourhood to document the changes, then to the supermarket for my new diet.

Our street.

125 Wednesday I headed out to Dubai Mall for the day, I walked 20,000 steps. It's 1km from the metro station to the actual Mall itself in air con corridors with travelators, almost like T2 at Heathrow. Been getting some really random head pains, that make it difficult for me to speak and coordinate.

Inside Dubai Mall.

126 Thursday I just had no will to do anything, after a morning of sitting on the sofa, I baked banana bread and had a mad half hour clean up, showered, dressed and got the metro to the Mall to meet Peter for a coffee. Another evening of weird pain, brain fog and general confusion. We went for a walk around the estate where we live at sunset, it was still quite hot out. Managed to stay up till midnight to sleep.

Sunset walk around the neighbourhood.

127 Friday Took a drive to Masafi and the Friday Market, it actually runs every day of the week, along street on the way to Fujairah. We took a paddle in the Indian Ocean, it'll be a long time before we visit anywhere other than the British coastline soon.

Too hot.

On the blog this week:

Construction Photography 

Shipping costs

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Friday 7 May 2021

7th-9th May 2021. Post Comment Love - Shipping costs

Welcome back to #PoCoLo with Stephanie and I, Time really is racing past in regards to the months rolling on, however I'm still doing a lot of hanging around waiting for things to happen.

Wow, the cost of shipping has increased. Unfortunately the quality of service doesn't look like it's improved too much.

18 months ago quotes were a quarter of the price and they've gone up again since last September also, it's almost double for the packing and loading.

Apparently it's due to the difficulties in obtaining containers, due to everyone relocating due to covid and then the Suez situation hasn't helped. However, all 6 companies that quoted (only one who came to the house has provided a written quote, only 2 came to the house to quote) are able to get a container and pack up our belongings in the next 2-3 weeks ready for shipping.

Shipping costs are similar to going on holiday at the same time as the schools are out, prices go up. It's costing us £6000 for a container and insurance. Back in September we paid £3000 for groupage/shared container and £500 was eventually refunded due to the company not obtaining the insurance. There were long delays due to shipping bills not being paid and the container was unloaded on a Sunday night at 7pm and the UK side of the contract wasn't fulfilled, such as unpacking, removal of packaging and a sofa was left in the neighbours garage for a few months.

It's our fourth International move in 10 years, each one has had its problems and added complications. It's just what it is sadly.

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Sunday 2 May 2021

World’s longest cantilevered building is in Dubai

The cantilever weighs 8,500 tonnes installation began in August 2020 with the final part weighing 900 tonne taking 4 days at a speed of 5 metres an hour. It is 226m long and 66m in the air attached to two towers over looking the Sheikh Zayed Road. It will contain restaurants, shops and a have a swimming pool on the roof.

Saturday 1 May 2021

Week 17 One Daily Positive - Preparing to leave Dubai

I'm more than ready to leave now, many love Dubai but for me I've never really been able to make it home. I'm not a fan of city living or of large crowds of people. 

Too hot to be sitting outside for too long. I'm up at 6am and can manage 2 hours in the garden before the sun comes up fully, it's over head pretty much all day.

114 Saturday Out and about to take photos for my Construction project. Before, During and After. Dubai has changed so much since we first moved here just over 5 years ago, not just physically but how it operates also. I had to return a pair of sandals to Coach for a repair and collect Peter's watch after a repair also. Afternoon and evening spent watching the football and tweeting about it. Really hoping I will be able to get back to St Andrews every week to watch live football again.

115 Sunday To Ibn Battuta where I did some shopping and Peter sold his car.

116 Monday I had the Dr's first thing so walked, caught the train and used a taxi to get to there for blood tests, ECG and x-rays. I travelled home via the metro stopping at Mall of the Emirates for a drink and some food and stopped at the Marina to walk some more as I didn't want to just spend the afternoon in the house.

Mask wearing outdoors is compulsory in Dubai, at 35c it's stifling and slows me down.

117 Tuesday Up early and finally caught up with all my blogging comments, tweet outs and replies. Shipping company came out for a quote. We needed to hire a car but need a credit card for the deposit and as our Dubai one will be closing soon, we had to take a trip out to check our UK credit card was actually working as it's never been used. 

118 Wednesday Out to collect car hire from the Marina, then drove out to Dragon Mart and the afternoon was spent sorting through remaining paperwork, kitchen ware, clothes and garden stuff having a clear out getting rid of/donating items and arranging for the rest to be removed along with all the garden if we can't sell it.

The malls are very big and airy, it's easy to socially distance in them.

119 Thursday I had the dentist at 4pm, getting across Dubai on the weekend, just before fast is broken was NOT my finest idea. It was mayhem on the roads. Had a deep clean of my teeth and gums making the most of the medical aid before it expires on our return to the UK. We looked into keeping it on but at £23,000 per annum (yes, you read that correctly) we've decided not to. 

Sand storm and stormy skies happens as the weather changes, a sign that summer is firmly on the way.

120 Friday Woke up to rain, we decided to go to brunch. The days of walking around and getting your own food have now been replaced with menu and table service. We were at the Hyatt hotel in the revolving restaurant having got a taxi there and back to take advantage of the drinks package.

On the blog this week:

Preparing to leave Dubai.

Post Comment Love - A weekly linky (feel free to join in with any post you've written this week).

Before and After photos 7 years apart. Documenting the ever changing skyline in Dubai.

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