Another long gap since my last post, so time to dust down the keyboard, open the thesaurus and provide an update to this blog. I should also apologise in advance for the blog post title as my last post concerned the Rugby 7s last December - a mainstay of the UAE sporting calendar and another fabulous weekend of sporting action for Dad and I courtesy of the delightful NC, so this will be the starting point for update. I am also experimenting with some pictures for the first time so let's see how that goes!
Christmas last year was spent back in UK with a couple of beautifully sunny days spent in London staying on the Strand and enjoying the delights of Christmas in London courtesy of Es parents which took in a visit to Jersey Boys, our now traditional trip to Chinatown for some crispy aromatic duck at the Four Seasons (restaurant not hotel!) and also some ice skating for V. at Somerset House Ice rink.
Christmas Day and Boxing Day was spent with my Sister and her family, and then with K. and A. We also managed to catch up with my cousin C and his wife L at Wisley RHS (a bit of a busman's holiday for Leonie!)and our traditional trip down to Rock-a-nore in Hastings. All in all, a very relaxing traditional Christmas spent with family and friends. Back to Dubai after the New Year and I was straight into preparations for my big case which was due to start at the end of January. The team duly decamped to AD and there followed a very intensive couple of weeks of verbal cut and thrust which was enjoyable but completely exhausting! Fortunately, everything finished on time and so I had a couple of days to get mentally (if not physically) prepared for our trip back to Europe for Skiing and a wedding in February.
The skiing was in Norway – Trysil – and was terrific fun. It is not particularly high – the top ski station was around 1200m but the snow was excellent and whilst at times very cold (I think -18degrees was the lowest temperature), the ski conditions were excellent. The kids (we went with my Sister’s family for Bs 40th birthday) had an absolute blast. V and A had skied before but N and J had not previously skied apart from some dry slope lessons. However, the collection of Green/blue runs and easy off-piste through the trees meant that they all were zipping about without a care in the world by the end of the week. The Hotel (Radisson Blu resort) was also lovely (and ski in/out so very easy with our room having a view over the slopes) – probably the nicest venue I have every stayed at on a ski holiday and the conditions were so benign that E. and I as well as the kids and M and B were all able to ski together on a couple of occasions.
Although the transfer to the resort deep into the snowy mountains was a good three hours by the regular bus service (and only marginally quicker by taxi on the way back), one of the attractions was the two hour flight time from Gatwick which was very helpful from a planning point of view (we stayed at a Gatwick hotel overnight before meeting M and her family to fly to Norway and Gatwick was close to the Wedding in UK which we were attending after the skiing). In fact the only downside was the cost of food and drink so we mainly ate in (although we were in a hotel the rooms were essentially self-catering) or had take-out pizzas.
On our return to UK E and I went to L and Ds wedding – weddings are so few and far between that we decided to make a special effort for this one and it was great to see all the extended family again – one of the downsides of expat life is that you tend to miss out on events like this but we had a great time with all the younger cousins who were now getting married or starting families of their own. As usual with weddings with the Irish side of the family it all got a little raucous but we had to leave relatively early to prepare for our flight back to Dubai but a good time was had by all.