Archive | August, 2014

Turn, Turn, Turn

30 Aug

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As the month and my time in the UK draws to an end, the summer is fading before my eyes. The daytime arrives noticably later and the night earlier, the berries on the bushes and trees swell and redden while the leaves, although not yet turning, no longer seem so lush and green.

There are exceptions: The amputated camellia that for so long has struggled to survive amongst the weeds, this summer has spread with glossy, plump leaves; the flowering currant, released from its pot, continues to put out joyful new growth and the small roots of geranium dug up and transplanted in the spring have flourished beyond recognition. The other young shrubs from the market have all established themselves, promising well for the future.

On the downside the snails are thriving in the wet weather, munching their way through the top leaves of the miniature laburnum (I think that’s what it is, anyway), stripping it down to bare stalks. I pluck them off the underside of the branches each morning but don’t quite have the heart to kill them. They just get deposited on the patio in the hope the birds find them. They’re probably the same ones I gather up the next day.

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This plant (bush? tree?) has only started flowering recently, its first blossom opening the day one of our elderly cats died suddenly but apparently peacefully. This year has been filled with joyous new beginnings and sorrowful endings. And so the world turns.

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To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted.

Book of Ecclesiastes, traditionally ascribed to King Solomon.

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Bounce

21 Aug

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Neil has booked my flight back to Abu Dhabi. The paper work for my visa is now complete, at least as far as we can tell. To progress any further I have to be there. I need to have a medical and hand over my passport for the last stage of processing. I’m starting to feel like a tennis ball bouncing back and forth across Europe.

Having a date to fly back has added a new impetus to getting all the “stuff” I want to take with me. It’s already piling up. I keep thinking “That would come in” and have to restrain myself somewhat. I don’t think I’ll manage to get the slow cooker and food processor in my suitcase somehow. I have been considering it though… Maybe just the hand blender. No, I don’t think I’ll be able to take that table lamp but I could get that small mirror in. And so it goes.

I have a return ticket again. This time it is one that can be altered (for a price) so I can use it when it suits me. If the visa is not sorted we’ll have to take a trip to Oman to leave the country for a short period. Apparently this is a regular occurrence for new expats. Now, how many tubs of drinking chocolate do you think it is reasonable to take?

A Very Different View

9 Aug
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My view today couldn't be more different from those in Abu Dhabi.

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I had the mountain almost to myself

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Why Welsh lamb is the best!

Home

8 Aug

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It now feels strange to be back home in the UK where all is familiar. Good in many ways, of course, but I’d got used to there being something new to experience on a daily basis while I was out in Abu Dhabi. Being home for a week has left me feeling, well, bored I suppose.

It’s so good to be back with family and friends but, of course, Neil is still in AD.
Someone who knows what it’s like to be caught between people and places, Alex Andreou, said in his blog “Anywhere I go I long for someone”
http://sturdyblog.wordpress.com/2014/05/24/anywhere-i-go-i-long-for-someone/
and he says it all much better than I can http://sturdyblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/ive-had-a-tiny-pebble-in-my-shoe-all-day/

There are definitely other pluses. The moderation of our summer climate is wonderful. How delightful to be able to spend time outdoors again, to walk around the open air market, to potter in the garden. It doesn’t take long living in a skyscraper in a blast furnace to appreciate these things. And yet…

I love hearing the church bells ringing but how much more exotic is the Muezzin’s call to prayer? How green and lush our countryside is but the lure of the white sands of the Arabian Gulf still pulls me. Then there is the live-aboard lifestyle and roaming in the caravan, both of which part of me wants to go back to, not to mention how at home I felt in Spain. And I still miss work friends, even the work itself at times. How selfish and trivial this all sounds, I really do know how lucky I am.

I want the excitement of travel, of a different way of life, new people and unknown foods. I just want to take those I love with me.

Return

3 Aug

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I was psyched up for the early start, awake before the alarm went off. There wasn’t much to pack in the first place, even less on the morning itself. Yet somehow I still managed not to be ready for our planned leaving time. It’s not that I didn’t want to leave exactly, this was a temporary departure after all, but rather I was savouring the final moments. Like you do.

I needn’t have worried. Not only did Neil get me there in plenty of time but I was checked in with no queue at a self service point that I didn’t have to do myself, walked straight through security without having to take a thing out of my bag and found the gate without difficulty. It was only at this point things went pear shaped.

Settled down near the allocated gate with a book and free wifi, as the boarding time approached I thought I’d pay a last visit to the ladies room. Passing a rare flight board en route I glanced at the Manchester details. “Delayed”. Four hours. No announcement, no explanation, nothing. Just another gate number some some distance in time and space away. Ah well. It looked like I’d got the time, anyway.

Not to moan too much (OK, I did at the time), it was all pretty straightforward after that although my purse was more than averagely lighter from the purchase of a cheese and tomato bagette. The flight was good, the taxi driver waiting for me (Alex no longer able to pick me up thanks to the delay) and he came equipped with a large umbrella. Yes, it was raining in Manchester.