Our last couple of months in the Middle East take us on an extraordinary adventure from the wild coast of Oman to the edge of the vast Empty Quarter on the border of Saudi Arabia and back again to the madness and glamour of Dubai’s metropolis. Continue reading From a magical night with turtles to the edge of the Empty Quarter; our desert adventure comes to an end – Summer 2013
Moving out day came around, as they always do, more quickly than expected and there was a certain flurry of activity by our family. Three cats needed to be taken to the Dubai Kennels and Cattery before flying home and there was the small matter of checking off several hundred boxes packed by the very efficient packers. As we were moving in August there was also no one around to help with looking after four children…. Continue reading Moving out – August 2013
This month has been one of swim galas, seemingly at most schools in Dubai. Although I willingly support the Tribe in their sporting endeavours, standing at the side of a pool,
in stifling heat, has got to be as bad as standing in the freezing cold and pouring rain at Andover Rugby Club.
At least with the latter, there’s a bacon buttie to be had and the tantalizing possibility, of a pint in a local hostelry!
2012 goes out with a ‘bang’ as we watch the spectacular firework displays from the rooftop of a friend’s villa near the Burj Al Arab. The Burj Khalifa display is more distant and although more sophisticated, it is not as long and certainly, in our view, does not have the same ‘wow!’ factor that the children all love. The first day of the new year is spent as a family on the beach. It is very windy and this produces a little surf, so the Tribe have their first surf lesson from a surfing friend. The wind, however, leaves the rest of us huddled together and I decide that I really do prefer the calm, quiet days. Perhaps the Tribe just make so much noise that with the wind as well, it’s just all too much!
The storm that begins at the end of November continues into December but doesn’t deter any of the National Day celebrations that abound throughout the city. We enjoy the clear air by cycling
around the backstreets of Jumeirah and marvelling at the vast dwellings that are built in the area. One immense building sits on the beach and looks like some kind of space ship; it is still being built and is surrounded by hoardings and a large crane. We sit on the beach in its shadow to eat our picnic lunch. Continue reading Christmas camping in Oman and Christmas in Dubai – December 2012
This month our home grows by two as my parents visit for most of November. Our eldest is away for four days in Oman for her year 6 residential trip. I have a lump in my throat as I wave her goodbye but I know that she will have the time of her life and of course, she is growing up, as all our babies do. This is just the start of letting go. At home, with a slightly depleted Tribe, I find myself with a smidgen more time – I manage to play basketball with the others and get thrashed at cards before bedtime!
The beginning of this month sees our first swim gala for the 7 year old at the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex out in the desert. The complex is quite awesome – at night it is lit up with blue lighting like some giant alien spacecraft, the car park landscaped with shrubs, trees and flowers. Where the complex perimeter ends, there is sand – it really is in the desert. The gala is short, fun and an astonishing place for a first gala! It is held a couple of hours before the Fina Swimming World Cup. It seems silly not to take the children along, particularly as we didn’t get the excitement of the Olympics back in the summer. Continue reading More sport, more beaches & Sharjah – October 2012
September comes round and the new school year looms large – where did those ten weeks of the summer go? Staying in the Middle East for the summer was definitely not the nightmare that so many had said it would be – although I have since discovered that those who said that we’d ‘go mad’ have never actually spent the hot months here! The start of the new term is so different from last year.
The photograph I take of the Tribe outside the school says it all – they are smiling, arms draped around each other, full of confidence and so very obviously happy. A year ago they looked as though I was about to throw them into the lion’s den. They’ve grown up. I have too. Continue reading A new school year, a local fisherman & a bag of crabs – September 2012
So, we celebrate the end of our first year of living in the desert this month. It has been an extraordinary year with highs and lows – the move out here was tougher than we had ever imagined and without any local help the first month or so was challenging to say the least. It has also been more difficult to make good friends than we had ever thought – apparently it has some thing to do with the very transitional workforce out here. However, it has become easier, we have spent a very happy long summer holiday here and as a family we have done more together than we could ever have imagined and shared a lifetime of adventures. Continue reading Debunking Dubai myths – August 2012
The beginning of this month is all terribly patriotic with the Union Jack flying alongside the UAE flag above the Tribe’s school, in celebration of the Queen’s Jubilee. An indoor street party is followed by an indoor garden party – it seems that the children are all inside for quite the opposite reason that they are back in the UK. The school is full of frightfully British fare with platters of iced fairy cakes (not cupcakes!), cucumber sandwiches, meringues and scones with clotted cream to name but a few. Probably not quite the same as the celebrations in Abbotts Ann, but it makes us feel terribly proud to be British nonetheless. This merriment is followed by the school’s own Euro football tournament (this is held outside) and for those of an Irish extraction, in this tournament, Ireland wins! Continue reading Queen’s Jubilee & Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project – June 2012