2019 | Review Time

In my look back of 2018 I wrote that the year featured ‘some rather challenging times, but we have also experienced wonderful highlights too‘ – I think it would be true to say that 2019 continued in much the same vein!

The year certainly started with a bang – we welcomed in 2019 with friends at a fantastic event held at The Emirates Golf Club; lots of fun, fireworks and bubbles!

Whilst I continued to work in Kuwait (the first picture above is the view from my apartment window, pretty stunning eh?), and commuted regularly back to Dubai, January bought domestic changes for us as we made the move from our 36th floor apartment overlooking the beach, to a small villa, located in the quiet residential area of Dubai known as “Springs”. The estate is built around numerous lakes which made for great walks; it was such a change from our previous location and we even had the pleasure of a small garden.

So when you get a new house, you have to have a house warming; our Pizza & Prosecco party was rather enjoyable, even if I do say so myself!

Not long after moving in to our villa, we gained a regular house-guest, Stella – and so began one of the key features of this year, ever-present felines (more of this later)!

Meet Stella!

In the latter part of March, I had my first break of the year when I flew from Kuwait over to New York for a few days. Mrs E and her son Aston had already arranged a visit there, coupled with a trip to Orlando – I ducked out of the Orlando part, but joined them in the Big Apple.

With only 4 days, it was non-stop as there was tons to see and do; so much in fact that the visit spawned 4 blog posts! Lots of great memories, including a visit to St Marks Place, to see the ‘Led Zeppelin’ building, meeting my cousin Karen for the first time, Liberty and Ellis Islands, the 9/11 museum, and Central Park.

The New York skyline
Central Park

Although I spent much of the year working in Kuwait, I rarely went out and about – one exception though came in April, with a visit to the Kuwait Towers, giant water towers which dominate the city’s skyline. The views from the 123 meter high viewing gallery were stunning.

May bought my first visit of the year back home to the UK, a welcome few days to catch up with the family. Whilst there I blogged about a visit to Lindfield, a small picturesque village in East Sussex – I had bought a new camera lens, and Lindfield proved to be a great first subject for the lens.

June bought more travels starting with a relaxing trip to Cyprus, where we combined a stay at our apartment in Peyia, with a visit to the resort of Protaras – somewhere we had not been before – it proved to be a great choice.

Protaras hotel view!

The second half of June however bought the most significant event for us this year, when Mrs E went to the UK to join friends for a day out at Royal Ascot. Whilst stopping for some chips on her way home after the days racing, she stumbled on a slippery muddy bank, and fell awkwardly – resulting in her severely breaking both bones in her right wrist.

I was in Kuwait at the time, and she called me at work the following morning to tell me that she had to have surgery on her wrist, it was by far the most nerve-wracking moment of the year. I booked myself on the first available flight, and what I thought would be a visit of about a week or so, lasted almost 2 months, whilst her wrist repaired enough for her to be able to fly.

I posted 3 blogs throughout June, July and August about our adventures, and whilst of course it was a stressful and worrying time, we were able to make the most of our stay, combining the numerous medical visits, with trips out to places of interest around and about our base in Reading, enjoying the glorious Summer weather.

A big smile, soon after coming out of hospital
Greenham Common – aviation history combined with a hospital visit!
Henley on Thames
Barry Island – following in the footsteps of Gavin and Stacey!

We returned to Dubai in mid-August after getting the ‘all clear’ from Mrs E’s surgeon, and soon after returning we were joined by 2 new family members, Dumpling and Truffle. Both were rescue cats, and we had agreed with our good friend Rowena (the rescuer) that we would adopt Dumpling, and foster Truffle.

Truffle, not scratching the furniture
Dumpling, resting in her favourite spot

Sadly, Dumpling succumbed to a serious illness a few weeks later, so we decided to adopt Truffle, and she is now a firm fixture within our family.

After getting back to some sense of normality following the events of the summer, we had another holiday to enjoy – a week in the glorious Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. This was truly a week of ‘R&R’ for us both; the weather was fantastic, the villa with its own pool, the soft white sands – just perfect.

In the weeks since returning from Mauritius, life has changed considerably. Both of our working commitments came to an end, so we decided that the time was right to leave Dubai, and head to …. well that part wasn’t so clear, as we’ve spent the past 15 years going where the work is.

After some deliberation, we made initial plans to return to the UK, so during the latter part of October, and into November, we packed up the Dubai villa, sold many of the larger items, and with the help of a shipping company, filled 40 boxes with our various possessions. We both left Dubai in the second half of November following a wonderful farewell party with friends, whilst Truffle was put into boarding until we were ready to have her sent to join us.

The boxes, ready to be shipped

Upon leaving Dubai, I initially spent a few days in the UK, before travelling ‘down under’ to join Mrs E on a visit to see her son Aston, who lives in Sydney. We enjoyed some quality time together as we travelled around, and took in the famous sights of the city.

Retuning to the UK in time for Christmas, I’m now looking forward to what 2020 has to bring – we will all be together here in a few days, ready to embark on new adventures.

A Christmassy Piccadilly Arcade, in London

As the year draws to a close, I’d like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read and comment on my blogs throughout the year, your support is always very much appreciated.

Wishing everyone a very happy, prosperous and peaceful 2020!

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