Saturday, November 30, 2019

Finishing post in sight. All about V.

So whilst this month has not been a perfect 30/30 it has not been quite as bad as previous years. I have promised to do a post about V. having done one about A. so to ensure no sibling arguments I will take advantage of the opportunity do so now.

As mentioned in previous posts V has had a tough 6 months having managed to break her leg (tibia and fibula) in a trampoline accident in June.

In consequence our Summer holiday plans underwent a considerable change although ultimately we managed to get to Spain with my Sisters family although V's mobility was still curtailed and it has only really been in the last 6 to 8 weeks that she has started to get back to normal. Whilst school and other activities have been challenging, V has been staying occupied with a huge amount of drawing and painting and despite some wobbles has been putting on a brave face.

She is naturally quite an active person - moving and dancing around is her default mode even in quiet periods so enforced immobility has been a big trial but she is working hard to meet these challenges and whilst it has not been easy for her (trying to get around school on crutches or in a wheelchair is never straigthforward) it has been a great testament to her strength of character in the way she has dealt with it.

She is a great fan and participant of the debate club (her team won best junior debaters at the National challenge last week) and her teachers were were very complementary at the recent parant/ teacher evening despite having missed a lot of school due to her leg and related problems.

She still loves drawing and art and she will also muck in with the cooking. She is happy to have a chat about anything that takes her fancy and in contrast to her brother is not backwards in coming forwards if there is anything to be said. She has a good circle of friends at school although as with A. some have left recently but all in all she is getting on well and on the road to recovey after a trying Summer.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Another short post

Just a quick update. Emerged from the Cyclechallenge unscathed although feeling a little weary this evening. Good conditions for the ride and managed to keep up with the rest of the team until around the 60 km mark but the field was then quite spread out and the ride home was quite challenging. Was hoping to join on the back of one of the prominent riding teams (Oryx) but they started at the back and by the time they passed me they were going at a good rate but almost immediately after one of their members came off on the D54 bridge at Global Vilage so by the time I saw them again it was virtually at the finish. My own team were patiently waiting at the Motor City (although I was not the last one home). Whilst tired I managed a BBQ and "Some Like it Hot" tonight (A. was at a party) so looking forward to my bed tonight.

Thursday, November 28, 2019


Short post tonight as I need to get to bed due to a very early start for the cycle challenge tomorrow. Having been racing about all day in various meetings in the office and then for a pitch down in Jebel Ali so my final preparations commenced later than planned (and it seems I do not have a functioning bike pump which I seem to recall was a concern last year.....). Feeling a little nervous but hope to enjoy it and complete the 100 km within a reasonable time - this will be the longest distance I have ridden - the cycle challenge is usually 92 km so will be interesting to see how it goes!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Gaining my religion

Down to Jebel Ali this evening for E's Baptism, Confirmation and FHC. It was a lovely service with a pretty decent congregation for a Wednesday evening although no doubt swelled by the friends and families of the other candidates which probably numbered around 20 in total although E was in a smaller group of 10 or so who were doing all the sacraments. It was great that the timing of the ceremony worked out with Dad being in Town and able to attend and whilst I did not recognise any of the hymns (which I have got say must have been a first as I have heard many, many hymns over the years) they were all very jolly and sung lustily by the choir and the Priest.

E. had said that most of her fellow candidates were getting married which might explain why she was the lead candidate for the ceremony which meant that I did not get a chance to see what I was supposed to be doing in my dual role of Godparent and Sponsor but it all went off with out a hitch (although one of the candidates obviously did not get the memo about wearing white as she arrived resplendent in a red cocktail dress).

A terrific evening which I think the kids also enjoyed although I guess it must have felt a little unusual to see their Mother up on the altar rather than themselves at these kind of events.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Failing our quizzical

The problem with blogging about our trips to the Dhow & Anchor quiz (and regular readers of this blog will recall that my Father's visits to Dubai in November always involve at least one if not two pub quizzes) is that it becomes increasingly difficult to think of an original title to the blog post. I have not been back through the archives but I am pretty sure that the title of this post is not a re-tread of a previous title (although a theme might be noticed) and on this occasion is pretty apt as tonight's performance by the Loose Cannons (a play on the name our locale back in England) was pretty disappointing.

We always struggle on the picture round although with the help of two gentlemen on a table next to us we struggled to a princely 3 out of ten (still slightly disappointed that we did not recognise Judd Herschel and Iron Maiden). The "wacky maths test" round was virtually impossible unless you had an encyclopaedic knowledge of fairly obtuse facts (the shirt number worn by David Beckham while playing for Real Madrid and Justin Bieber's age being two particularly pertinent examples of what we had to contend with). There was also an abstract film round where you had to guess the film title from a very crowded set of pictures set in a cinema - this was an interesting round which we struggled on but at least gave us the satisfaction of scoring a third of the marks rather than what became a depressingly consistent 20% on the other right uns (save for general knowledge) - our aspirations are generally very modest - getting 50% correct is usually regarded as a success but tonight was tough so we are keeping our fingers crossed that next week is easier.

Monday, November 25, 2019

No.1 son

Time got an update on A. - now 17 years old (how did that happen?). Earlier today I found a postcard written to him by my Sister to commemorate the day of his birth at Southmead hospital which was addressed to Boy R. as he had arrived so suddenly that we had not got around to deciding on a name - the rather frenetic circumstances of his arrival and my journey back from a holiday to Cyprus to greet him are told in an earlier post somewhere in the archives. It is still difficult to believe that it all happened 17 years ago!

Having started off life weighing in at around 2.2kg he is still as thin as a rake although now somewhat taller - over 6 ft. He is still essentially a carnivore preferring meat based products supplemented by the odd sprig of broccoli and he will also eat sweet corn (and chips if they can be counted as vegetables). Although preferring like most teenagers to hide away in his room or communing with his mates on his PlayStation, he is great company when you can catch him in one of his talkative moods although considerably less vocal than his Sister.

He still enjoys playing football at school and has recently taken up Dungeons and Dragons (and having received a pool table for his birthday the evening is also punctuated by the sound of balls being pocketed at high velocity). He remains a talented pianist but is currently wading towards his Grade 5 under sufferance and notwithstanding the strictures of his glamorous Russian teacher N.getting him to practice is a constant battle. Whilst still enjoying reading he does not devour books in anything like the quantities he used to although he will still crack through a book in double quick time if it takes his interest.

As noted elsewhere, the first part of the year was dominated by his GCSEs and he did very well justifying all his (and his Mothers) hard work so that he is now taking his preferred A levels (Maths, Physics and Computer Science) so no more of the essay writing which he disliked so much. We are now starting to look at possible university options back in the UK with Exeter, Bristol and Kent featuring due to their computing courses as possibilities.

He has made some good friends at school (although as is the way of Dubai, one (R) has recently returned to UK) and is pretty easy going around his peers and their families which will hopefully stand him in good stead when he eventually goes back to the UK. He and his Sister still rub along pretty well albeit they are very different in terms of personality - more about V in another post -but around the family his general default position is to go with the flow and keep to the background and he seems happy enough to do so which is the main thing.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Visitors galore

No sooner had my friend J departed (he having replaced E's brother D in the guest bedroom), then my Father has arrived hotfoot from England. We have a packed itinerary ahead for him including a Baptism, a trip to the Anantara Hotel on the Palm, some pub quizzes and of course the Rugby 7s - e main event of the trip (he also could if he so desired go to the F1 in Abu Dhabi but neither of us are particularly motor racing fans). Keep your fingers crossed that the weather stays good.