The Chicken Song

Cast your minds back….(this one might be for the Brits amongst you, sorry everyone else) Remember it, Spitting Image fans?

‘Its that time of year, now that Spring is in the air
When those two great gits, with their girly curly hair
Make another song for moronic holidays
That nauseate-ate-ate in a million different ways’

Etc. etc.

Why do I still know all the words to this? Because it was played in every bar and club in every holiday town in Europe for the best part of a decade of my – er-hem – ‘formative’ years. And today it’s back, running through my mind with the ease of an olympic sprinter and driving me slowly crazy. ‘Why?’ I hear you cry. Well, it’s that time of year. (‘It’s that time of year….’ see?) Despite the rain (yes, RAIN) this week and the glorious resurrection of jeans and t-shirts just when we all thought bikini season was upon us, the pre-summer buzz has begun. And with it, the inevitable annual friend cull. This year I’m losing a few acquaintances, and, as seems to happen each time I think it’s safe to come out, one very dear friend, who has the audacity to return home just when I’d got used to the idea of her being a permanent fixture.

It’s that time of year. (It’s that time of year…arghhhh) The bit where I am trying not to write off the ones who are going but at the same time knowing I will have to fend for myself when they are gone. A cloud of aloneness wafts over my skyline and although I know I will be fine, and there will be others come (and probably go again), the friends that truly have become part of your life are hard to let go of. It’s difficult to accept starting over again. Again. And when you’re as picky as me, losing a few friends actually creates quite a hole in life.

This year is the first year that my son is losing friends too. He’s sad, that a few people are moving away who he’s got to know and like. He wants to know why they are going home and we are not. He doesn’t understand why they are leaving, and is insistent we will visit them in California/Oklahoma/Switzerland/Australia. He is asking about his other friends, and whether they will leave too, one day, and if we will see them again either. He says we can skype them but I’m not sure he believes we will.

He’s starting to sound an awful lot like me.

So to cheer him and me up, and for the rest of you who weren’t living in the UK in the 80s and therefore have no idea why I’ve called this post ‘The Chicken Song’, here’s a link. Listen at your peril, it’s not one that’s weathered the passage of time particularly well (although unless you’re on your seventh pint in some hell hole in Magaluf, I’m not sure it ever did).

It’s might be a bit soggy in my desert world this week, but I feel it. The heat is on, the crazy is coming and the goodbyes are looming. It’s that time of year.

Eight years an expat. (And counting…)

We’ve just celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary. My friend’s baby just turned eight years old. It can only mean one thing: we have been here eight years.

Eight years. Who would have thought it? Not me. Not some of you, either, if you’ve been reading from the start. But it appears that you really never do know what life is going to throw you. So, from the happy place I find myself in lately, what pearls of wisdom do I have to share about my eight years of life in Dubai? There’s many to choose from but here are a few of the more important ones:

1. A trip to the supermarket will only ever yield a maximum of 82% of what you have on your list.

2. The rate at which you anticipate bad driving rises exponentially over time. This is represented by the following equation:

Road Rage + Bad Driving = Anticipation to the power of 100
Time

3. Do not underestimate how painful bare legs on a hot car seat can be.

4. Wearing sunglasses in 80% humidity will result in bodily harm.

5. Lipgloss and sandstorms do not go well together.

6. Shopping is an art form.

7. Boredom is the nemesis of the Trailing spouse. Do not get sucked in. Find something you love, and you will find yourself.

8. People leave and you will feel abandoned. But you will get over it. Get over it.

9. Don’t kid yourself. It is a little bit like being on holiday all the time.

10. To quote the great Bill Bryson, once you’ve left, you’re gone:

‘There are things you just can’t do in life. You can’t beat the phone company, you can’t make a waiter see you until he’s ready to see you, and you can’t go home again.’

Making up history

This weekend sees the UAE’s first ever Theatresports show, being held in the wonderful newly opened Courtyard Playhouse, a performing arts centre focussed entirely on producing grassroots theatre using ‘homegrown’ talent, and the only official theatresports venue in the Middle East. I am so excited to be part of this – improv is addictive, funny, (occasionally) intellectual and really, really good for the soul, whether you’re in it, or watching it. I’d love to see you there. Go on…do something different this weekend. Have a laugh. Be part of Dubai history.

Tickets are free; yes, FREE! And there are two performances on Friday and two on Saturday, at 7pm and 9pm. You can even pop along to the open day from 1pm to 3pm on Saturday, as part of ‘Quoz Happens‘ – if you’re at the Ripe Market at the Courtyard, or grabbing a coffee and a carrot cake at the Lime Tree – we’re just upstairs. Get involved, cheer us on…play your part in building grassroots theatre in Dubai!

To reserve your seats for the evening shows, click on THIS LINK. Come on…as if you could resist this pretty face….

Theatresports

 

The one where I cook locust for dinner

a Desert Locust (Schistocerca gregaria) in a b...

Dinner’s ready! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oh. My. God. I just served a locust with our roast chicken.

Those of you who are regular readers will know that nature and me are not on the best of terms. There have been camel spiders, queen cockroaches, and giant moths in abundance, all of it unwanted and all of it leaving me emotionally the worse for wear. But right up there on the list of ‘lasting memories of living in Dubai that I would rather not have’, has to be tonight, finding a chuffing cooked locust in my dinner.

Let’s dial back a bit. The supermarket have been stocking kale of late, which may sound like a normal everyday occurrence to those living back in the west, but to us out in the desert, a green vegetable that isn’t broccoli or cabbage has been a long time coming. So when I saw it on the shelf this morning, I decided a bunch of kale would make the perfect accompaniment to our Sunday roast.

I grabbed the best looking of the bunch, popped it in a bag, and there it remained until this evening when I took it out of the fridge to chop up for dinner. Lazy cow that I am, I figured the boiling water would probably wash the leaves better than chucking it under the cold tap ever could, so I took the bunch, sliced it off the stems (and possibly a leg or two), gathered it up in my BARE HANDS and threw it in the pot.

Ten minutes later (and a quick taste test to make sure it was cooked…oh I’m so glad I did that) and voila! Beautiful green kale. I carved the chicken, placed the roast potatoes, stuffing and carrots on the plates, and proceeded to serve up the kale. Reaching the bottom of the pan, what do you know, but gathered on my fork next to the last of the leaves was a three inch long locust, boiled and perfectly preserved, ready and waiting to garnish the meal.

A locust. A friggin’ LOCUST. As my husband commented, lucky he was there to witness it this time or he’d never have believed the size of it, or indeed, that it was there at all. Needless to say dinner was a slightly less pleasurable experience than I had planned, as I gagged on my carrots and stared at the green veg portion-sized gap on my plate, imagining what might have been had the revolting creature not sunk to the bottom of the pan and instead been dished out onto a plate. It was one of the most horrific moments of my culinary life, as I retraced my steps and visualised over and over again, the awful moment when we nearly had biblical plague pest for dinner.

I’d like to point out to anyone that I’ve entertained at home in the past present or future, that I usually wash my food. It was a mere moment of madness that made me skip the process this time around, call it karma if you will that it just happened to be the time a giant insect was nested inside to reveal my slack housewifery. My mother will be delighted to hear I will be washing my vegetables meticulously from now on. And I will not be buying kale again this side of repatriation. I bet I put a fair few of you off it too.

Silent Sunday – Toilet humour

There is a ‘tradition’ amongst bloggers to post what’s called a ‘Silent Sunday’, where the picture speaks a thousand words and the blogger says almost none. I saw this sign in a bathroom of a coffee shop this week, and it made me smile. Despite our city’s glossy gold plated exterior, it’s still a city of such contrasting cultures as to merit an instructional poster in the Ladies.  So I decided for once to join in. Happy Sunday.

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