House at Pooh Corner

House at Pooh Corner
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Sunday, 20 July 2014

Daydreaming, of a Holiday before it Happens

Nothing like ramping up the ol' pre-holiday fever, whilst driving along in, close to, 50degC temperatures, staring out at sand, sand, dust & sun.

In this final run-up to our trip, I have been daydreaming about all the things I am looking forward to during our upcoming trip.

It feels like it adds days to our holiday, which is a jolly thing.

I have distilled them down thus:

NOT being in 50degC temperatures & being away from the sand, dust & sun
Just for a bit.
And what is going on with the kabillion% humidity these last few days??!

NOT having to steer with just the tips of my fingers. 
Tough call this, hands welded to a burny, roasting-tin-hot steering wheel OR everyone in here dying in a fiery ball of flames.

oh, the Trees.
To save me repeating myself, you can see last year's Hug a What Now? post.
"Gorgeous, lush green big OLD trees.  Juicy, rich trees. Rounded, friendly leaves, not spiky, resentful & tense with the effort of staying alive"

 Suffice to say, brace yourselves, Trees.

The chance of some Welly action
Again, things won't have changed since last year's Her Soul Yearns for a Welly
Seriously, Glorious Sunshine can get stuffed, I need me some rain.

Being with Family. The family that have known me since I began. The family with whom the British half of me shares real history.
Family that have stories that I keep meaning to write down so they don't get lost.
Family that I have known since THEY were born.
Family that I sadly, only ever see on these trips, but who are no less important to me because of it.
Nothing lifts the spirits
like crossing the bridge and
finally spotting this sign
(& now, cue panic-scrabbling for the toll fare)

Yes, Wales.
Wales feels like home in the UK now.
Wales = Family too.
Wales is very special to our family.
Love Wales.

The bread. The chips. The crisps. The bacon, cheese and mushroom pastries.  Basically, the carbs of Britain.

Even if they flummox me with their ever-changing technology - Self-Service Counters this is the year you will not intimidate me.
Rows and rows of alcohol. Just sitting there. Waiting for me to purchase, no limits, no judgement.

The Colours
The Greens.  The Yellows. The Blues. And, yes, the Grey.

The Driving
So orderly. So well-mannered. Trust me, relatively speaking it IS Orderly & well-mannered.
See you on the M4, Purple-faced Man

The Radio
ahhhhhhhhhhhh, hello again BBC Radio 4 & 5Live. And all you others.
Live, and in context.

The Bookshops
I can and will spend a fortune in bookshops.
Books bring me the Happy. 
And, the anxiety of overweight suitcases.


The Coming Back To Your Own Home again
Love that. However, obviously, it is always tinged with some sadness.
But it is a marvellous thing nevertheless.
All your own stuff, your pets, your car, catching up with the Here Friends - that is all worth looking forward to too.

Don't love it. Never loved it. Best not dwell on it.
Packing sucks. There is nothing more to be said on this.
Petrol prices
Boring Dubai expat moan but ...... OUCH. Best not dwell on it.
The Indigestion
(see above, Food) No matter, a fistful of Rennies and I am good to go again.
Those Extra Kilos
Thanks for nothing, British Carbs and my greatest love/foe of all ..... Fish & Chips.
Running out of time 
And not getting to see all the people that I would like to.
Feeling bad that we cannot travel the length & breadth of the country
A common complaint for many of us, I know.
It boils down to this - Try to do it all, ruin what is supposed to be a holiday.
The Leaving Bit
Without a doubt, the very worst bit.
but also (see above, The Coming Back to Your Own Home again)

Friday, 4 July 2014

The Moroccan Bath of 2014

The back-story

"Hey," I said to a Friend, "I found this amazing Spa deal on FB, must be a Ramadan Special. Fancy it?"
She said "Sure".

What happened next, I blame her for entirely.

If only she had said 'Naaaaaaaaaaah."

So, turns out "I too much liking your body" will make you feel really uncomfortable at the start of a Moroccan Bath.

Who knew.

This, from very cheerful but exasperatingly chatty Massage Technician, as she sat, swinging her legs watching me undress.

Lady, this isn't a floor show.


(this will be my sole train of thought for the next 40 minutes, though it will feel like 40 days).

From hereonin it will become increasingly, & horribly, obvious that I am very actually going to hate this.

One doesn't wish to come across prudish (perhaps, in that case, One should avoid using words like 'One')


a Princess (I am aware that this falls smack-bang in the #FirstWorldPains category of woes) but, seriously?

No private dis-robing area?
No robe or towel at all, for that matter?
Not even freaking leaving the room to give me a moment and the chance for a few deep breaths?!

You are just going to sit there, swinging your legs, head cocked to one side cheerfully, & copiously sharing with me your every, no-holds barred observations as 'stuff' is eyes-firmly-fixed-to-a-point-on-the-wall, agonisingly 'revealed'.

I am a British AND Chinese. Historically, neither of my people are known for their exhibitionism & 'grooviness with nudey bodies' culture.  #tooBritishforthis, also #tooChinesetoo

Why didn't I stop?  For the same above reason.  Neither of my people like to 'make a fuss'.

I will not go into the sweaty, scrapy nuts & bolts of it - if you have had a Moroccan Bath, you will know what has been endured.
We will look into each other's eyes and we will see the knowingness reflected back.  We will know the places we have been taken to.



I have since learned I know many who have trodden the same Ouchy, Red Raw Path of Humiliation but no one brings it up.
Seems people, non-Moroccan People maybe? only ever have ONE Moroccan Bath.

Dear Lord, Moroccan People, what is up with your baths?????!!!!!

Me, I like a soaky, drifty-away, relaxing bath, ideally with a book.

If I am screwing up my face, making noises like "oooof!" and "YEOW!" it would be fair to assume:
a) I am not relaxed &
b) I am not having a nice time.



Yes, my skin was super-soft afterwards but, jeeez, the return of soft-skin was not enough.
Turn back the clock about 25 years and we might be on to something here.
If the experience could do that, you might see me back but no, I am done.

Final Thoughts
Apart from the Too-much naked, Sandpapery nightmare, the other Low was the 'sitting perched on the edge of an empty bath for the steam' part of it all.

First, nothing happened. Just me, naked as the day I was born, sitting. Perched.
No steam.
Only self-consciousness.

Then, from the depths of somewhere, cappuccino-like burbles began and steam began to percolate out of the nozzles around me.  The glass doors were shut, I was sealed in.

Time might have passed easier had I been able to read but, steam, sweat and paper are not friends.

I could see my magazine, through the steamed up glass doors, sitting there in the little shelf.  Just out of reach. Mocking me. Taunting me.

So near. So far.

My magazine and, my pants.

For that?

Monday, 30 June 2014

My Dream Life

"Most people over the age of 10 have 4 to 6 dreams every night ......... which can range anywhere from 5 minutes to half an hour long."

We accept that a mere fraction of the Dreams dreamt will be remembered.
And, we must ALL have experienced that Dream You Absolutely Will Remember and Must Share, only to find within 20 minutes of waking up you can recall none of it.

But here's what else I have noticed.

Some people DO dream fantastical, adventurous Flying, Doing Battle with Dragons, Winning Olympic medal, prophetic dreams.

Except me.
Fancy a bit of drama?
My dreams are so mundane.

My dreams are about my regular life.
I dream about work, about stuff I do every day, about people I see everyday.  

I dream about going to the petrol station, answering the phone and feeding the dogs, for crying out loud!

I don't dream about teeth falling out, going to work naked or flying, as is
commonly reported.

Not infrequently, I have had dreams so realistic & bog-standard that I have awoken NOT refreshed, mentally rested and fighting fit for the day but, knackered & worn out like I have already done a whole day already.

Groundhog Day without even a sleep-break.

That doesn't feel very fair.

Surely Dream Time is your chance to go on an adventure, a safe adventure?

Here is your chance to turn away from a Life where the extent of your dilemmas are choosing a box of mushrooms that looks nicer than the other boxes of mushrooms or, which carb to have with your dinner tonight.

Hardly Soloman's Choice. Right?

That's the kind of drama I am up for.

But, no.

Should not Dreams be a time to have a play at a 2nd Life?

So, this leads me to draw one of 2 conclusions:

A) I have no imagination & I need to try harder & get a bit more dangerous


B) My Real Life is already my Dream Life (a simultaneously depressing and pleasing concept)

Recurring Dreams
I DO have those.

And, have had one, in particular, my entire life.

A little guy, watching me.  I only ever see his eyes though post-box slits, out of rubbish bins, over window sills.
Just his eyes.
Makes me shudder a bit just thinking about him.
He has appeared in all scenarios, all stages and in all the countries of my Life.
Just peeking.
The eyes.

Only eyes.

What's THAT about?
Am I outing myself as having some deep inner psychological issue?
Find that hard to believe, after all I am living my Dream Life, innit?

Further Dream Questions I have:

Do you dream in Black & White or Colour?
For those of you who are bi-lingual, which language do you dream in?

Monday, 23 June 2014

The Calm is nearly here

Just a few more days till the schools are out & Dubai shuts down.

Never thought much about it but, until fairly recently, the Life Punctuation Point known as:

"End of School / Summer Holidays" that dominated my world for so long, was dead to me.

But now, behold, the Resurrection!

I am a Phoenix, thrust back into the world which is dominated by the School Year.


Since that heady Summer when:

the jeans were still 501s,

and tights were still 50 denier.

When our boots were Biker & the trainers, Adidas Gazelles or Sambas.

 AND ....... when that University coughed up that Degree so ferally clawed into existence laboriously achieved

....................................... the doors to 8-10 week holidays slammed SHUT!

For the next 15ish years, holidays were limited to 2-3 weeks A YEAR!!!

Pretty tough going when you live in a different country to your family, it has to be said.  My Dad put it into perspective though by reminding me that when he first went overseas, he didn't return home for 3 years!!!

Let us pause a moment and think about that.


But, now I have a kid.  Things are different.

My life is back to being punctuated by School-Events (bloody Christmas concerts, sodding Dress-up Days, Leaving Presents for Teachers, school photos, holidays blah blah blah).

Especially the Summer Holidays.

Especially in Dubai.

It starts around April/May, people start announcing they will be leaving. Hate that.  See Goodbyes Suck

Also, every conversation seems to take a "So, what are your plans for the Summer?" turn.
It is just a given that you will be going away.

'Where' and 'How Long For' are the only variables.
Some people literally, are on their way to the airport as the school gates close & stay away for, like a bazillion weeks.

And this is what I have noticed, for those of us who largely spend the bulk of the Summer here in Dubai, when we find someone else doing the same, there is a Comrade In Arms air of mutual respect that blossoms. A nod of respect.
Nice one.
We are in this together.

During the non-parent years, I delighted in the quiet roads of the Summer & the general calm that settles over Dubai.
I still do.
50+ deg heat notwithstanding, I like Dubai in the Summer.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Murder, Mice & Mountains

 Dear New Cat, now known as Vera (not Rose. Long story)

RE: Hunting, Murder, Killing

Please be advised:
1) we do not kill stuff in this house ..... unless it has a bunch more legs than 4.

Also, 2) the means of dispatch should only be by Flip Flop.
Seek The Havaiana Ender of Scuttly Things.

And 3) it should not be for fun.

In fairness, if it has a face and whiskers and stuff I am OK with it being here, so long as it doesn't pee on my stuff.

Cat, you are receiving this Notice because, be honest with me now, you WERE having fun with that thing at 4:50am this morning, weren't you?
And it only had 4 legs.

Mousie screaming for help is not my preferred method of re-entering the World at 4:50am.  

And Vera, you took too long.  
If you are going to do this sort of stuff, please up your game and end it, quickly.
We are not down with torture.

We understand that your role, along with Other Cat of The House is as a potential WMD but, Vera love, we prefer it if you could see yourself as a deterrent.

We all know what you two are capable of but we do not ACTUALLY wish to use it to your full & terrible potential.

Have a word.

Dear Mousie

Re: Rescue Attempts

You could have helped yourself a bit more, buddy.

See when I had your Mortal Enemy thrashing and contorting, twisting and howling like the very She-Devil from the depths of Hell?

That was when YOU were supposed to skedaddle.

You didn't though, did you, numb-nuts?

How do I know?
Because, Mate, each time she got away from a Bleeding & Slashed Me, you were still there for her find again.


Also, after alllllll that, what do you go and do?
Only showcase your continuing presence to the only Rodentphobic member* of the household, by climbing up the blinds & trapping him in the bath.

Dude, what were you thinking?

Whatever happens next you have brought on yourself, my friend.
I tried.

*The Mouseiephobe might not be whom you might think it might be.
Clue: I am talking to him next.

Dear Mountain of Duvet

Re: Your Poor Response

FYI, "Mmmmmmmpffffff?"
was not the answer I was looking for when, in the darkness, I say to you (quite calmly, given I was trying to grapple with a 25-legged, howling, slashing contorting Feline of Fury in full Kill Mode:

"Errrrrrrrrrrr, little help?".


Overall Conclusion:
a) Cat, Mouse & Mountain all performed poorly.
b) Many Opportunities For Improvement.

c) Please rate Rodent Rescue as a method to wake-up in the morning.
Outstanding - Adequate - Unacceptable

Yeah, I'm going to go with Unacceptable.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

The Feet, The Poo and The Goodbyes

I am uncomfortable.

Tooting my own horn is not something that sits easy with me.

It ain't no Pulitzer piece.

It isn't the funniest, deepest or thought-provoking thing ever written.

In fact, it is a bit of a BusMan's Holiday, me writing about pets. Again.
Good Taste, June 2014

But, as I have said, Published is Published.

 Onwards, upwards.  Maybe.

Monday, 2 June 2014

The Story of Rose - One of Us now

Connections are important to people.

We are a social primate and connections are important to us.  Actually, oftentimes they are the difference between Life and Death.

(Oh I say, things have taken an uncharacteristically dramatic & serious tone for a change) 

So, when another Sentient Being enters my little World, I believe He/She/It has come to me for a reason.

In truth, it isn't (can't) always be positive so let's not get overly gushy or all Rainbow & Fairies about this.

Incidentally, if it isn't a positive experience I learn what I need to & ditch it (or keep it at arm's length) - I will learn from it but I ain't letting it mess with my mojo.

This is a system that includes inter-species connections.  When One gets 'in', I commit to it.

Except Flies, still gonna punch a fly if it sits on me more than twice.

You get 2 sits, Fly, then *POW*!

Flies notwithstanding, this is why I simply do not understand when people get pets and yet, clearly never really commit to them.

...... It gets worse.

How do you walk away from an living being, that has been in your house, has sat with you, trusted you enough to snuggle up to you?

I mean, essentially fly-tipping something with a beating heart, that feels hunger, pain, fear ...... and love.

Gotta tell you, I think there is a special place in H-E- (double hockey-sticks) for those people.


We were not recruiting.
HR (& the not so 'H' part of the Team) were happy with the status quo.  The balance of faces, feet, tails were at a happy equilibrium.

And then, I had to go and respond to a request for help on the Bin Kitty Collective FB page, didn't I?

Just for a few days I assured Trousers.  Promise.
The thing has been just dumped.
We have a spare room.
We have to help.
It'll be fine.

4 weeks later, She is still here.
There was strong, and understandable, resistance from the Largest Member of the Household.
Someone had to, just for show at least, be the Sensible Measured One.

But, the truth is, there were forces at work here bigger than all of us.

Firstly, it is clear, She chose Us.  
The connection she made with the Smallest Biped of the House was astonishing.  

He came with me, when we went to rescue Her, & all the way home had His hand on Her carrier chatting away, giving Her the heads up on other creatures of the House She was going to meet.

What they liked. "Ollie likes to shout"
What they did.  "Bea likes to sleep"
"Don't worry, you have a family now."

"Errrrrrrr, sweetheart, She isn't staying. We will find Her her own family, ok?"

"Yup" (He knew, even then, didn't He?)
  Secondly, the rest of the Crew gave Her the thumbs-up too.

The 70kg Dog after 2 days of
"Want to look. Want to look. 
*shaking with effort of restraint* 
REALLY want to look. Mustn't chase. 
She hit me! Didn't anyone else see Her just hit me?!?!"

The stripy Sighthound.
Supposedly with an un-override-able genetic disposition to Seek, Chase & Destroy all that is small and furry (but who has lived for past 10 years with 3 cats and a parrot) ..... was:

"And who is this?"

"She hit me!
Meh.  Over it"

Incy-wincy cat.
Looks like a Pixie.
Super-relaxed. Snuggles in the winter, sunbathes in the Summer - that's his thing.
Unleashes the 7 Levels of HELL and turns to a Teeny-Weeny Hell Creature of Fury and Violence when another cat comes in the garden.

"OK, so here's my plan:
1) I will glare at her 24/7 through the window for 7 days. Yup, sideways ears, small, serious eyes, the whole thing.
2) then, I will make scary sounds at her for the 1st 30 minutes of when we actually meet.
and then, 
3) I shall go and sunbathe."

And here is the Most Important Bit of All: 
* In our house, we talk alot about how families are made with a special kind of magic.

* That there are lots of different ways that Families are made.  And all Families are different.

* But all made with the same magic.

We believe, heck, we are PROOF, that those that are meant to be a Family, will always find each other.

So, here She is.
She is one of Us now.


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