So with my son’s school currently open I’ve finally found the time – and a moment of inspiration – to write again. I had big ideas for 2020 to post more frequently but then lockdown happened and well, we all know what a disaster things have been since then!

Things have been so hard since last year and honestly I’m actually feeling that things are even worse this year. Although things are almost all back to business as usual now (social distancing, mask wearing and limited capacities still apply everywhere of course) it’s just the uncertainty of everything and all the constant open/shut palaver with the schools! I’m feeling totally over it now as I’m sure everyone else here with school age kids is too. I mean, what’s the point in having our kids in bubbles if the whole school has to shut if they detect two cases or more?! Surely at this stage with everything else open and the rules constantly relaxing we can just isolate the affected bubbles only? I don’t know. I’m all for keeping the kids safe but it seems overkill and is especially irritating when no schools in Dubai seem to be closing at all! If they can manage, surely we can here on the same terms too? I’m sure I’m not alone when I say we just can’t continue like this with the schools for another year! Rules need to change to keep our kids IN education. Distance learning has for the most part been brilliantly handled (by our particular school anyway), but regardless, it’s just not the same as being in school.

It’s also so hot now too in the UAE and we still have no plans to escape for the summer. I know a lot of people are going regardless as they haven’t seen their families in so long but it just feels so complicated. Things are different this year on so many levels. In previous years I have looked forward to taking my son back to the UK and going on our little road trip around to see friends and family, but I feel the circumstances just aren’t right for that level of moving around and adventuring at the moment. And if my Mum was still around it would probably be different, we’d try to find a way (since current rules still stipulate hotel quarantine when coming from UAE!) to go up to Scotland to be with her and spend a couple of weeks there just milling around locally. But of course if you read my previous post you’ll know she’s not there anymore so that’s another level of heartache in itself.

On the subject of my Mum, her house has also been sold now too which was quicker than I think we expected. I feel so sad about that, especially as the last time I was there I didn’t know for certain that it was the last time I would ever visit it. It’s just all a lot to get my head round from another country really. And of course COVID itself didn’t help in any of the situation.

In terms of the blog itself, I am still here and I haven’t given up on it. The blog has actually had a bit of a refresh and a slightly new look was launched at the start of this year. So even if I’m not writing, I’m still enjoying tinkering away with the back end, and anyone who’s ever dived into the technical side of a blog or website will know it’s a bit of a never ending hole where one things leads to another! I don’t think my to do list on it will ever be complete, but it doesn’t need to be. The fact that it’s there to do with as and when I please keeps me happy. I stopped writing so frequently for two reasons – I became very jaded with the laws and restrictions placed on bloggers in the UAE (we’re not all professionals raking in the mega bucks from it!), but the laws and costs surrounding being licensed to generate income as a blogger in the UAE became just unfeasible for the little guys like me. There was a way round it by being under the banner of an agency which I did for a while but then that was also restricted, plus I found the agencies came with another set of complications and hassles so it really wasn’t worth it in the end and from there I decided to shift my focus back to how I started and focus on writing for the pure joy of it again! And as for the second reason I took a long break, well, that was due to COVID and lockdown of course. With my son at home from March 2020 and basically nowhere to go until around August last year I just didn’t have the time, nor the inspiration. The whole COVID situation just kind of knocked the life out of me, and things didn’t get better when we found out in late Nov 2020 that my mum was diagnosed with untreatable, inoperable cancer and had only a few weeks left to live.

But despite it all I am still here, still alive and – sometimes – blogging! Life has really not all been jolly I’m afraid and I’ve been up and down and all over the place with everything but inspiration comes from the most surprising places. I’ll talk about that more next time but til then, that’s my quick update and I’ll do my best to maintain the motivation to publish a teensy bit more regularly again!