WISHING YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR
I had no idea when I posted ‘The Sorry Tale of ‘HumptyDumpty’, way back in February 2017– that it would be almost a year before I would have any time to devote to my precious Blog. On reflection, 2017 was a bitter, sweet year, on one hand, I was delighted that I was able to refer to myself as a ‘published author’, especially after all the blood, sweat and tears, not to mention the hours it had taken to fashion, ‘The Adventures of a Girl Wearing Pearls’, into a worthwhile tomb, the war cry, had to be,’ keep right on till the end of the road’
Quite naturally, one never knows what is waiting for one around the corner to test one’s resilience; consequently, I was devastated when Mike suffered his terrible fall with all the ensuing consequences, which in one fell swoop kicked us both, together with the book and the Blog into touch.
Since that fatal moment, all my time has been spent looking after and worrying about Mike, although, he has made good progress; he is by no means his old self, which is so very sad. Thank goodness, after twelve agonising months we are now on a more even keel, so it’s with great joy and not a little trepidation that I’m dusting down my book, picking up my Blog, collecting my thoughts and getting prepared to pick up from where I left off – Hopefully, from now on it will be onwards and upwards, but with a smile on my face and you all by my side offering encouragement.
May I thank you for your support.
HEADING BACK TO DUBAI
A little recap, we returned to Dubai in September 1972 after our marvellous second leave, how spoiled we were in those days to have eight weeks leave, with not a care in the World, money in our pockets, which enabled us to indulge ourselves and buy the most bizarre ‘must haves’, in fact, we enjoyed the ‘life of Riley’.
Never for a moment did I think that I would be wondering around Berkley Square hoping to hear a Nightingale sing, trying to emulate my favourite song, what fantasies we had and oh in retrospect, how indulged I was, thank you my darling, Mike. We also enjoyed our very first ‘Afternoon tea at the Ritz’ an amazing experience. Unlike today, when so many of these little treats have become tourist attractions and not least outrageously expensive.
We were now on the countdown for our return, mind you there was one enormous obstacle to be surmounted before liftoff, can you guess what that was?? Well, I will tell you, it was the dreaded packing! Where and how to stow all the many bits and pieces, I had bought, as if, I would never ever see another shop in my life.
Naturally, being a paid-up member of the ‘shop till you drop brigade’, I had stashed things here there and everywhere, under the bed, in the bed, in fact, in so many different places I was hard pushed to know exactly, what I had purchased and where it had been hidden, and actually why I thought I needed whatever in the first place is anybody’s guess!
These tactics were to make sure Mike didn’t know just how much of his hard-earned cash I had managed to squander!! The day of reckoning was nie, because would you believe, I can’t pack. My idea is to open the case chuck everything in and hope for the best, but usually, expect the worst, and then wonder why the lid won’t close, totally pathetic!!
Mike’s methodical mind insisted that everything was laid out on the bed but then how was I going to be able to hide so much of my booty, no choice but to come clean!! What a red face I had, with Mike saying why on God’s earth do you need 4 new bikinis, you already have hundreds? Why do you need, possibly six new pairs of shoes, plus the ones I had travelled with, and so it went on until everything was bulging at the seams. By then my face was redder than ever and I was just a little contrite!
Being such a good sport, he had one last trick up his jumper, his golf bag, besides carrying his clubs, it became stuffed to the gunwales with all those little extras that wouldn’t fit in anywhere else! The top was then secured with a cloth, tied with string, and hey presto we were fit for liftoff. Magic!
In those distant days, golf clubs were never weighed so it was one’s duty to make sure they were stuffed with everything but the kitchen sink! We surely, wouldn’t get very far these days with so many travel restrictions in place, not nearly so much fun though! Those last few hours were akin to dicing with death! It was a ritual that only stopped once our long distant travel became a thing of the past.
Once again back in Dubai, we soon picked up the reigns, after all, we were old hands, as previously mentioned, we considered Dubai to be home, so we weren’t expecting too many surprises. Although it soon became clear that there were many new faces in Town, as the expatriate population was so very small in those far off days, it was easy to spot the new arrivals. For a start they were as white as sheets, they hadn’t managed to catch up with the noonday sun –Though, I wager a bet that would change rather rapidly!!
And if they hadn’t imbibed or even heard of Heineken Lager they were in for a ginormous initiation!! They didn’t call me Heineken Annie for nothing!!
As we were re -acclimatising we were reintroduced to some newbie’s, who as I previously mentioned, were game for anything, their adventurous spirit being intoxicating. They were always on the move, always game for a laugh, full of bright ideas as to how to keep the’ troops happy’, and thus unbeknown to us, our Fridays were about to be transformed.
This particular Friday we found ourselves following these ‘happy campers’ to Ajman, having never ventured that far before, this was a new experience. The roads were nearly all subka tracks from Dubai with only a passing camel to keep us company, now sure it’s just a five-minute sprint down a gigantic swish highway!
We were instructed to park on the hard standing by the creek, and once spotted a speedboat would come and pick us up. This we duly did, we clambered aboard, arrived on the other side of the creek to be greeted by about half the dashing young Officers from the TOS, most of the seconded Offices from the newly formed Dubai Defence Force, not forgetting the British Colonels who were based in Sharjah together with their families, yes, and a few stragglers, which included us.
What could we expect by being catapulted into what could only be described as the Ajman Officer’s Mess, a newly formed Mess, which only convened once a week, on a Friday? Where the dress code was wear as little as possible and formalities were reduced to the barest minimum
As you might imagine, it is somewhat difficult to salute one’s senior Officer only wearing a pair of bathing trunks and clutching a soothing can of cold larger, particularly his attire being exactly the same as yours. It took a little getting used too and it was a while before everyone relaxed, old habits die-hard! We then began to wonder, where did we fit in? Were we now honorary members of the local Defence forces? Sometimes, I think some of the young Subalterns couldn’t quite believe that they were rubbing shoulders with their superiors, in what can only be described as desert island conditions, Wearing next to nothing– Yes, there is a first time for everything!
We were a little apprehensive too, wondering what our ‘Leader’ had in store, it soon became clear that his mission in life, on this unprotected, windy spit in Ajman was to teach every last one of us to water ski! But what about the sharks, we wailed, what sharks, don’t be such sissies was the retort – It sure was a bloody good incentive to stay upright whilst careering up and down Ajman creek!
I am pleased to report nobody lost a limb during these escapades to the marauding monsters of the deep, only their dignity when they found the going so tough that they almost lost their trunks, but that was when the tough got going! Stiff upper lips had to prevail, couldn’t do a nose dive with one’s Colonel on the touchline, watching one’s every move, my goodness that would never do!
I hope you have enjoyed my latest ‘tale from Dubai’ and that it has brought back happy memories for many of you.