Grandma and her boys

Friday, 26 September 2008

Hair Cut

For all of my readers who have been with me long enough to have read about the traumas of haircuts in Dubai... I am now fully relaxed and enjoying a trip to the hairdressers again

By the way this is not me in the photo...if only !!!

My Daughter booked me in for a hair trim the week before the wedding, a lovely lady named Pip gave me a trim just as I asked for ...oh ! the pleasure to feel so relaxed knowing that she has understood what I was requesting.
I have been so pleased that I booked another appointment yesterday, and they have restyled my hair, well ! not exactly restyled but cut it shorter so as I may now grow it back into shape and all one length so I will look and feel a little better.

This hairdressers is one and half hours away from our home in Rotorua but I have decided I will make the trip each month to Hamilton to get it trimmed, and visit Kathryn and family.

A girls hairdresser is so important don't you think.... so God Bless all the hairdressers in New Zealand. Especially Pip and Sarah of Hamilton.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Grandma in Charge

Good day to you all from Hamilton New Zealand.

The wedding is over and Kathryn and Steve have flown to Tahiti for their honeymoon, leaving Grandma in charge of Ben 5 and Alex 3 for a whole 8 days.

Now these two know every thing and will keep me on the straight and narrow, toast has to be buttered in a particular way, " Mummy does not do that" has been quoted to me a few times already. Or " hey! that is Alex's not mine" or " Mummy and Daddy let me do that" and guess what, I know full well they do not.

The first morning , one to school and the other to Kindy... easy enough yeah! from getting out of bed, breakfast, washed dressed and lunch packed and out of the door to the car, 1hr 30 mins, not bad for a first timer, tomorrow will be faster.

New Zealand is just great, been raining a deal but now it seems to have broken and spring is in full force, warm days but still very cool nights. have not lifted a needle since my return and I am getting withdraw symptoms, what with school run twice a day and meals the time seems to fly by.

The laundry for 2 small ones is amazing ...I had forgotten how much they make.
The early mornings are a killer on average 6am. Raring to go with a book at the ready or may be two..
I am going into hibernation next week all by myself to recoup !! and to do some stitching.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

The Big Day

Finally the big day, the sun shone all day, must have been the best day of the year,
but of course I ordered it.
These pictures are just snaps taken by a friend and emailed to me on the following morning

Dad so proud to hold his daughter on his arm

Steve and Kathryn

The dress made of the Raw Silk and lace purchased in Dubai
Made in Rotorua NZ

Our son Iain, Steve, Kathryn, Eric and me

Monday, 8 September 2008

Last Blog From Dubai

Today is "P" day, all the piles that are spread from one end of the apartment to the other have to get Packed into my 32 kilos of baggage allowance.
Thank goodness for the Emirates frequent flyer programme at least I get all this extra allowance for my baggage.

I have to change everything in my purse from here stuff to there stuff, driving licence, credit cards, library, membership cards and storecards....have you noticed, I am sure you have how many pieces of plastic we carry these days! I have to swap all my keys from here to there, make sure I have the NZ address book and the NZ simcard for my phone.
I then have to make my hand luggage look like 7 kilos, even if I can't actually lift it, It has to look like it is feather weight when I swing it around.

So my sewing for the journey is ready and I have checked no scissors in my hand baggage...I have lost so many pairs of embroidery scissors through customs/ sercurity, I now buy lots of really cheap Chinese ones so it is no loss if I forget a little pair that have got tucked away in zip pockets somewhere.

Last time I came back to Dubai via Aussie land, can you believe they took a small and I mean SMALL roll of sellotape off me, told me I could "bound and gag" someone with it, the mind boggles....who in their right mind is going to sit still long enough for me to do that with a 2 cm roll. Can you just imagine the event and it would be my luck " hold on please I have lost the end of my tape".

So basically if it is not sorted for my case now it stays for the packers and I do without it until November.

Here in Dubai there is an amazing array of spices from all different places, I have been so sorry I have not been able to bring some back home with me in the past. I got to thinking what are the real regulations on stuff into NZ, what do MAFF really say in the "big book of rules" so I looked it up on line.
Guess what! they have a help desk on line so I sent a message and low and behold I had an answer in one day from a nice lady, who proceeded to tell me
"I can bring in spices" as long as they are in original containers or packets from the manufactures and unopened whee! I have been shopping and there will be some nice new spices in the packing coming by ship. As the Wage Earner said I should print a copy of the email in case the customs have not read it.
The car here has been my wheels for the 2 yrs
a Ford Escape 4x4.
I am going to be sorry to leave it behind, it has seen some aventures in the desert and taken some rough treatment on sand dunes, has carried some amazing things in the back, it's been camping and done "Beer runs" Beer was a lot cheaper in another Emirate so we used to drive 45 minutes and collect 20 cases.
I just have to pack the "trusty computer" and all it's parphanalia, how did we manage without it in the past? it is a life line, how much the world has opened up to us all...because of it, in fact without it I would not be talking to you all out there now.

So now I am ready to go.........

To top everything I have had a "stinking cold and sore throat" this last two days, just what I need to travel, I have enough problems with the ears while flying with out this added extra. I am sure my fellow passengers will love me, and my hacking cough for the 14 hours flight, it always seems to get worse on a flight because of the dry air. So I have bought things to suck and sniff and swallow in case of all eventualities.

So, New Zealand awaits ("Inshalla" if God is willing.)

Friday, 5 September 2008

Ben is 5yrs old today

Wow !! it just does not seem possible that Ben is 5 yrs old today

Here he is in Hamilton NZ talking to us in Dubai on the phone while we are wishing him Happy Birthday
Amazing things these digital cameras and email, this was in Dubai with in 5 mins of the picture being taken in fact being sent while we were talking to each other.

People we leave behind

One of the problems with being a transient family, living in different countries, is that you meet some wonderful people, some you say good bye to and that is that, others you stay in contact with Christmas cards and newsy emails catching up on ocassions.

Every now and again you meet some one or a family that find a place in your heart, this young family have done just that...

Introducing Tika and Phil and 31/2 year old twins Isobel and Neesha, they have become like family the girls even call us Granpa Eric and Gran Laurie, they have all their other grandparents but they are able sort us out and know who is who.

Tika is from Kathmandu Nepal ( Her Father was a Gurka and grew up in Hong Kong )and Phil from Wales UK he met Tika in Hong Kong where he was working on the new airport .... the twins were born in Hong Kong where their Mum and Dad were married.
Phil is at present attending a college here ( while also working as a QS on the Islands being reclaimed from the gulf) he is studing towards another qualification so they may migrate to Australia, at present they are very much "homeland free" they have no real home of their own they have lived over 3 yrs here in Dubai and hope Australia will be that place in the future.
They have built a villa in Cyprus but more of a holiday home than a base to grow roots.
So we will not be leaving them completely and we will hopefully see them on visits to NZ and Aussie so we can watch these cute little girls grow up.

So now we have 6 Grand Children..... 4 boys Ellis, Ben, Harvey and Alex and 2 adopted girls Neisha and Isobel.

National SweetHeart

Here in Dubai and in New Zealand I have met and am good friends with many Australians, of course there has always been friendly ( and not so) rivalry between the two nations when it comes to sport, But there is also a not to well known subject that does not make the head lines to often, and I had this very conversations just a few days ago....

Who owns Pavlova?

Pavlova is a staple of Christmas Dinners down under, it is served when ever there is a family gathering, it can not be beaten has a summer dish and if asked to contribute a dessert to a dinner party, make a pavlova.
It should be crisp on the outside and soft and gooey in the middle, with its crunchy exterior giving way to the delights of a marshmallow core, the pav is a miracle of chemical reaction. It should be filled with softly whipped cream and topped with fresh fruit the best is squeezed fresh Passion Fruit, sliced Kiwifruits with a scattering of Strawberries or Raspberries.
It's a national treasure of a dessert, The French have the Brulee, the English the Trifle and the Americans the Cobbler. So we have to prove the Aussies can not call Pav theirs.
I found this write up about it in a foody magazine so to all my Australian friends Kiwi's win this one.
I quote: "Deep in the underbelly of Trans-Tasman gastronomic rivalry, no debate continues to rage more fervently than that between Australia and New Zealand over who invented the pavlova. It is real food fight for what is in fact our national and most beloved dessert, cue a haka worthy of the All Blacks.
The "Pav" was named after the Russian ballerina of the 1920s, Anna Pavlova.The crisp folds of meringue are said to resemble those of her tutu, and the texture to be as as light as she was. This much is agreed. But where did Palova originate?
One arument has it invented in 1930s Western Australia by the chef of the Empire Hotel in Perth, Bert Sachse, ( obviously known to be a Kiwi.)
It was certainly possibly that it was here that it was given its name, but fortunately there is consistant evidence to prove that it was invented in New Zealand.
Recipes have been discovered dating back to 1929 in New Zealand, in this historical struggle, so the Kiwis win."

Me, I don't really care who invented it it is still my all time favorite dessert and I can make a mean "Pav"
Kathryn and Iain had Pavlova filled with ice-cream as a birthday cake when they were younger and they would choose the flavorings, one especially good one was:
Chocolate sauce on the base, topped with vanilla and chocolate ice-cream, a layer of cream and raspberries and scattered with chocolate sprinkles.

Another good one cream, passionfruit coating slices of poached peaches and topped with kiwifruit as per picture ( did you notice it is an Aussie picture. sorry NZ )

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Time is running short

Our time left here in Dubai is begining to run short now, we have had 3 companies so far to give quotes to ship our personal items home.

Amazing how you can almost tell from the attitude of the company representive whether you would like them to do your packing or not.
One such company sent a rep yesterday and we had to repeat so many times what it was we wanted, we need two quotes : one for everything and one for our personal items.
It was a pair that came and the rep was telling the scribe what to write and she was telling him each picture and how many cushions but on other items she was just glancing.. When it came to clothes she did not even look in the wardrobes or drawers there could have been tons of them for all she knew, she did not look in kitchen cupboards either, we had to ask the questions about insurance etc. There was no mention of how the stuff would be sent ship, plane or by camel.
There was no mention of anything regards the packing how long it would take to pack, somehow she did not install at lot of confidence in me or Eric, I am just hoping that their quote is not the good one.

Where as the Chap the day before, now he came in looked about, opened cupboards and wardrobes, walked up to items took a close look, asked sensible questions then took just few minutes and told us we would fit nicely into a 20ft container, explained, with out being asked about the insurance, how long the packing would take, how long the delivery to NZ would be, about customs etc in NZ, and that they would deliver door to door.
Lets hope his quote is the reasonable one, fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Ode to Laurie

Yesterday a friend left Dubai, we have not know each other long he ran with Eric on Hash just since April this year, we went out to dinner last night with him and took him to the airport at 10.30pm ready for his flight to London

and while we were at dinner he gave me a card and on it was written the following....

Ode to Laurie
So tonight an occasion well what could it be?
The farewells of Laurie and Leeky Willie.
I am off to Blighty for one week , back September 9
By then you'll be down under sipping NZ wine

Lauretta your real name, on your hash name I am not keen
it boarders on a rude word that is coarse and unclean
So as Laurie I've known you from the very first day
Now your leaving I'd like just a few words to say

But we had a contract, far to long trousers they make
you would shorten them beautifully and get paid with a "flake"
We have chatted together, about everything, about life
sharing the stories and sharing the strife!!

So God Bless you Laurie, safe home and go steady
enjoy your house again and go Quilting, think now your are ready
To retire from the sand dunes without any rain
My opinion simply is, Dubai's loss is Rotorua's gain

love Leeky Willie. AKA Steve Williams.

Steve unfortunately has had to go back to UK as his job here did not work out, hopefully he will be back when he gets a new one.
He was a keen Hasher and did not like my hash name " Fruck" .

Each hash name is given for a reason and mine was given many years ago as my nephew could not pronounce "Truck" and it came out as Fruck and after repeating this story I was blessed with the name..... yes it is a little near the mark, but I have got used to it and changing your hash name is a little dicey as the new one could be worse, best to stick to the one you know. You do not choose your name it is bestowed on you at a hash meeting and the crowd have to agree.
Steve also bought some new trousers here and he is not a tall chap so they needed shortening, some how he learnt I could do this and I got the job, and payment was a Cadbury's Flake or two.

His life has been a little topsy turvey in the last year or so, he was going home to UK to try and sort it or close a chapter.... Steve was a bit younger than us and I feel we acted as a confidant , friend and gave him support that he would have got from his parents......Hope it all works out Steve,

Steve is somewhere in the picture of the Toga party at the begining of this blog,, I don't know where.?

Ramadam has Started

As we live in a Muslim Country and have spent many Ramadams in various countries, I decided to write on the subject.
Ramadam has never caused us any great difficulties, of course we have to observe the good manners of not eating and drinking in public, Children , elderly, the sick and travellers can eat and drink but you still need to be discrete about it.

So yesterday 1st September was the first day of Ramadam....

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. During the month, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. In the evening and in the morning before the sun comes up, they eat small meals. During this month, they take extra time for family, inner reflection, and spiritual growth.

The working day is shortened and offices start a little later 9am in stead of 8am and finish normally by 2pm, thus giving people time to pray and rest as they obviously have very low energy levels during fasting.
The fast is broken after sunset with Dates and dried fruits and juice, then it is a family time and many family get togethers are arranged and some families have parties, enorouse amounts of food normally special dishes are cooked at this time. Most hotels run a special cafe where the Ifta buffet( as it is called ) is served at 6.30 - 7pm, this is open to anyone.

During the Ramadam period they actually do good deeds during this reflecting time :

From yesterdays news...........

700 prisoners win Ramadan pardon

: granted by UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Seven hundred Emirati and expat prisoners will be released and granted executive pardon from prisons across the UAE to mark the holy month of Ramadan, it was reported on Wednesday. President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has also instructed the settlement of the prisoners’ debts, Muslim countries around the world pardon thousands of prisoners jailed for minor crimes during the holy month.
It is not yet known if the British DJ, Grooverider, was one of the pardoned prisoners. The DJ, who was sentenced to four years in prison after he was caught at Dubai International Airport with a small amount of cannabis, was hoping to be released after it was revealed his name was on a list of possible pardons to be dealt with during Ramadan.

Pardons during the holy month are granted on humanitarian reasons. Other factors taken into consideration include the nature of the crime, the length of sentence, good behaviour and how much of the jail term has been served. Last year Sheikh Khalifa granted an executive pardon to 808 prisoners and settled prisoners’ debts worth $930,000.


Some coutries are strict on the eating in public and you can be fined, but thid differs from country to country...Dubai is on the stricter side.

So I guess this is my last Ramadam .. in a way I will miss it, it will be like finishing a book that has taken you a long time to read, and it is no longer there on your sidetable.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Spring in New Zealand

My daughters blog reminded me today that :
1st September in New Zealand is the first day of Spring.

So here are some photo's of Rotorua and out lining district in the spring.

This all awaits our return, I may be a little bias but what a beautiful country.

Packing the fabric and my thoughts

Today I started sorting and packing the fabric,

I purchased 3 of the largest plastic containers with lids and filled them no problem, all the fat quarters are now neatly in 10 large shoe boxes, I have sealed them all and written on the outside what is in which box.
I have cleared my desk and thrown away oddles of stuff.
Why do we keep this junk, adverts for a shop we will never visit, a credit card receipt just in case of what ? A ziplock bag to good to throw away, a 25% off voucher on some thing you have never bought in your life and are not likely to if you are honest.
So talking about throwing things away
Mind you moving around a lot helps you to clean out every so often so we do not have a lot of stored and not used stuff. Although if you talk to the Wage Earner of this household he will say differently
Paper is the amazing thing I am sure it grows over night, just like wire coat hangers used to reproduce in your wardrobe, I am so pleased the drycleaners have gone over to plastic ones at least they don't tangle up with each other.
But those wire ones were so useful...
We once used one as a ariel for the TV and also for the car radio, you could clean the drain in the kitchen sink with one after you have clogged it up with coffee grains or the like.
A straightened one would make a good hook and rod to get things out from beside a cupboard that you had dropped down the side.
They would bend into all shapes, the best one was an Advent Calander made by Blue Peter on childrens TV ...whee that must have been some time back, you made a diamond shape from 2 hangers and interlocked them, covered it in green tinsel and attached candles to the four corners and hung it up.
I remember my Mother having a hissy fit as the candle wax would drop off on to the carpet, it never did seem to last the four weeks it was suppose to, I think she hid it or some such.
They were good as plant supports, we also used to hang bird cakes from them in a tree to watch the blue tits at their antics.
I bet some one out there has an ingenious use for them?

So what about plastic bags, to good to throw away, you don't want to fill the land sites with them, so you collect them, keep them in one of those long fabric plastic bag holders, when that is full you store the rest in ....yes ..... you have guessed it a plastic bag.
Flower pots are another, the pile in our shed in NZ just seems to grow why do we each year plant the bedding plants and put the pots in the shed? We always buy our plants a fresh each year, never sow seeds in the pots, just curse when the pile falls over when you hit it with the mower or when lifting a rake from the rack on the wall you catch the edge of the pile and over they go. They also make good homes for all the beetles and spiders, may be we would have less in the shed if we got shot of the pots.

Biro pens are another, they dry up and sometimes go blotchy on you...why don't we just drop them in the bin...instead of getting annoyed every time we pick up the blotchy one or the dried up one out of the pen holder and just drop it back in again while looking for another that will write..
These are the things of life that really make me wonder at times but I am as guilty as the next on all accounts.

Sometimes I just wonder about myself.

I realise we have had a lot to think about recently with the move home etc.

and I am prone to fogetting things but not normally important things like anything to do with Stitching or quilting but please read on...

A short while ago I signed up for a Christmas Pin Cushion Swap...
Easy you may say, just make the pin cushion and post it off by the due date..
"Not so easy" say I, for I can't remember where I signed up for it.

I have sent messages to the groups I follow and so far no positive answer has been forth coming....

Please someone out there who follows my blog, must know of a pin cushion swap on one of the Yahoo groups, if you do please put me out of my misery and tell me I did not dream that I signed up for it.

Especially as I have made a very special embroidered top already.