Thursday, March 19, 2009

We had him in stitches...


Dylan is the latest young person to go under the knife in search of beauty. He now has sixteen new stitches in his chin.

So, how did it happen? Well, he was dancing in the supermarket and fell over his enormously large feet.

Obviously, in future years, we will help him invent a sexier story to tell the ladies than, "I stumbled in the veg section." But, unfortunately, that is what happened.

One minute he was pirouetting, the next he was spurting blood all over the courgettes.

Within seconds, the entire butchery department had come rushing out to help -presumably concluding that since they were already covered in blood a little extra wouldn't do any harm.

Rachel murmured, 'Er, do you think that, perhaps we should, er, take him to the doctors?'

But Mark was impressed by the Head Butcher's credentials. Not only was he the supermarket's first aid expert, he was also responsible for fire safety. And, if that wasn't enough, he had also held the same position in a hotel that no one had heard of.

Keen not to offend anyone while Dylan bled all over the floor, Rachel agreed the butcher could spray him with something marked 'antiseptic'.

We then abandoned our trolley and fled the scene, leaving the supermarket stackers to remove the bloody courgettes. Or at least turn them over to avoid upsetting future shoppers.

Our first stop was the nearby Medicentre, which charged us the equivalent of 95 GBP to put a plaster on Dylan's chin. They then sent us to the hospital because some Du-bai-law insists that stitches on children's faces can only be done by plastic surgeons.

Aeons later, lovely plastic surgeon, Dr Marc, had sewn Dylan's chin together, after buying his silence and stillness by stuffing him full of jam doughnut.

All in all, a bargain trip to the supermarket at around 500 GBP.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fire, flood and famine

Dubai doesn't really do health and safety.

For example, car seats for kids are optional. In fact, staying in the car for kids is optional, and you see many of them travelling along with their heads out of the sunroof and their ears flapping in the breeze.

As for earthing your fuse box, that's just for wimps - as is having a qualified electrician install your electrics.

So, it was all part of the excitement of Dubai life when our outside electrics caught fire. It was only when the fire had spread to the nearest tree, a couple of plants and was edging closer to the spare barbecue gas cannister that we realised that we had no idea how to call a fire engine. In fact, we had no idea if Dubai actually had any fire engines.

Luckily, the lack of Health & Safety guidelines mean that no one worries too much about having electrics and water very close to each other, so in a Towering Inferno-type manoeuvre, the fire burnt through the water pipes.

Phew! Within minutes the plague by fire was extinguished, and Steve McQueen was giving Paul Newman a lecture on building regulations.

Our new concern was flooding, as the entire water storage tank emptied into the garden.

As for the "famine", well, to be honest, that was just to make the title look more exciting. Having said that, Rachel and Mark were too busy trying to sort out the damage to get to the shop to buy Dylan his multi-colour Cheerios, so he had to be satisfied with Weetabix.

Characteristically, Dylan was far more worried about the lack of his favourite breakfast cereal than death by fire or flood.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hello and Goodbye the Hamiltons

Mr & Mrs Hamilton Sr. arrived for a visit.

Then their son disappeared off to Lebanon on a work trip.

Then their daughter-in-law received a huge pile of work with a very short deadline.

Rachel began to panic. Not so much because of the work, more because Mark usually does all the cooking and she didn't want to look utterly useless in front of her parents-in-law by serving up pasta with chopped tomatoes and tuna for 3 nights in a row.

But with age comes wisdom, and the original and best Mr & Mrs Hamilton made the marvellous suggestion that we should order out for dinner each night.

Also, Rachel had underestimated her mother-in-law's amazing capacity for shopping! Entertaining Ian & Maureen during the day required little more than a lift to one of Dubai's many malls. And then in the afternoons they entertained the kids by taking them to the park.

Could anyone have better in-laws?

When Mark came home, he decided to take his mum and dad on a trip to make up for being away. All that was left to decide was where to take them? The beautiful Indian Ocean resort of Fujeirah? Oman's strikingly rugged Hajar mountain range?

But being Irish through and through, Mark decided on Barracuda - essentially, an enormous, rubbish-strewn, off licence where you can buy alcohol cheaply without a license.

The perfect end to a perfect holiday!

Still at least they got to play "Hello! Magazine, At Home with the Hamiltons" at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi...

Maureen and Ian relax in their charming living room

Maureen and Ian show us their beautiful fountain garden

Maureen and Ian preparing for a little jaunt in the Bentley

We like to tell ourselves (and anyone else that will listen) that the Hamiltons enjoyed their stay. And we enjoyed having them.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fairies & Wizards

Jody's birthday has come round again. And it seemed like only a year ago...

The thing about a Dubai birthday is that - like everything else in Dubai - birthdays have to be BIG.

Gone are the halcyon days of Pass the Parcel, Sleeping Lions and cheese-and-pineapple on sticks.

In their place, since we arrived, have been birthday-skiiing, birthday-swimming, birthday- ceramic-painting, birthday-bouncy-castling. You name it, the birthday kids have done it.

And the goody bags are like something you'd give Charlize Theron to thank her for hosting the Oscars.

So expectations were high.

For some reason that no one could remember later, we decided to have the party at home. Now, if you're boring enough to host your party at home, there is some kind of by-law that requires you to come up with a theme.

Jody's brief was straightforward - anything that involved wearing nail varnish. Since she also wanted to invite boys, we settled for 'Fairies and Wizards-who-don't-have-to-wear-nail-polish'.

Mark was sent out to get some material to drape over the sofas, with strict instructions it should be: 'silvery with stars on it, you know, something unisex.' Mark, being Mark, came back with about 54 miles of pink glittery see-through stuff, with which he covered the entire house.

But a glittery, pink house was not enough for Mark. Oh no. To add to the ambience he decided to empty a 6 foot refill bag of beanbag balls all over the floor.

Mark surveyed the result. And He saw that it was good.

"Fairy Dust" he declared.

Rachel hid her head in her hands.

Jody giggled.

Dylan started Fairy Dust Surfing...

When the house was decorated, it was time for the adults to get decorated (the smaller photo reflecting Rachel's unwillingness to appear in a picture wearing a big pink tutu).

In a moment of sanity, Rachel hired a lovely lady wizard to bear the brunt of a houseful of six year olds.

Mark was delighted, because her blue starry costume matched his.

Jody was delighted she got to dance with her favourite boy, Imraan (and his little brother).

And Rachel loved the magic lady but was terrified of her rabid, red-eyed rabbit-in-a-hat.

So. That'll be a skiing-birthday for next year then...