Showing posts from January, 2019

Impressions of Dubai

On our journey out to New Zealand, inconvenient flight times on a change in Dubai (too short or too long) induced us to make a two night stop-over. The news stories concerning Matthew Hedges (the post-graduate researcher accused of spying) and Princess Latifa (the member of the UAE Royal family alleged to have sought to escape the country before being captured and returned) might have caused us to reconsider our strategy, but neither had hit the headlines at the time we booked our airline tickets. Further, it was only after booking that we examined the UAE's customs policies in detail. The trouble with having been a solicitor in my previous life is that being on the right side of the law is an absolute compulsion to the extent of reading pages of small print that I'm sure many travellers must never bother with. The regulations have recently been updated in relation to medicines and the Foreign Office website warned about this but in the absence of further details

A Holiday Romance

I have fallen in love all over again, proving that although I  may be retired I am not too old for romance. Yes, in meeting up with the eldest who continues to work in Auckland, 2017's passionate encounter with New Zealand has been renewed. How could it not be in a country with  amazing scenery and birdlife; no natural predators (unless the occasional insect bite counts); enormous flora, where some of my favourite patio plants such as agapanthus, grow like weeds or heather dwarfs you as you walk across moorland; so many beautiful beaches, islands, mountains and forests. Whether they are retired or not, New Zealanders seem generally happy and relaxed but then I'm guessing that the average Kiwi, unlike so may trapped in the corporate structures of the western world, isn't glued to time sheets viewing time as money, and , therefore, leisure as a wasted opportunity for profit or advancement . Also in a country with a generally benign summer climate, fa

Recommended Recovery Technique

Can I make a recommendation on the best way to recover from a long trip ? Bizarrely: take another vacation! At least that's what we've just done. We had a week at home where I resumed my gym class routine, caught up with administrative tasks and household chores. Then, 8 days after we'd returned from a summer month in New Zealand, we drove across the Pennines for a wintry week in the Lake District.  Of course, as we always stay in the same place, it is a little bit of home from home and a place to relax and unwind. Well that was the theory when we were working, although I do wonder when I recall a week, in a period  between home-helps, that I had to take my ironing basket with me. The creased clothes may have been real but they were also a metaphor for the mental baggage that we conveyed back and forth with us too. This month the limited time squeezed between trips forced me to complete the laundering. It's a task that's easier to accomplish

Time Travellers

Such is the miracle of modern transport that we landed at Newcastle airport yesterday at 11.15 am, having left Auckland in New Zealand at 9.15pm the night before. It's a distance of 12,400 miles via Dubai where we changed flights. Excluding the 2 hours we spent in transit at Dubai, that equates to a thousand miles per hour, easily beating the speeds of Formula 1! The truth, however, is far more exciting because we actually indulged in time travel and that despite leaving the Doctor (Who? No, our son) in New Zealand. I apologise: being out of the country over the Christmas period means that I have, of course, missed the pantomime season. Between departing the tarmac in Auckland and arriving at Newcastle, we took 2 flights of 17 and 8 hours' duration respectively; ate 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner and several snacks; drank numerous glasses of champagne and water (mainly the latter, honestly); watched 6 films and a complete season of a BBC comedy programme; slept f