Sunday, 27 April 2008

An Unexpected Pleasure

Television out here in the UAE, although full of western programmes, is fairly heavily censored. I've been out here eleven years now and, until tonight, have never seen an openly Christian religious television programme.

Now, it doesn't escape me that today is the Christian Orthodox Easter Sunday. Mrs DB and I were having a quiet night in, watching the TV, I'd already looked at the UKTV schedules ('cos that is our channel of choice - when Bolton Wanderers are not playing a Premier League game) and, basically, according to the schedule there was bugger all worth watching on tonight. Isn't that usually the case, I hear you ask? Well yeah, but tonight there was even less than normal.

So, we decided to watch what we had recorded yesterday. At the end of the recording the TV tuned itself back to our normal channel. I was absolutely gobsmacked to find myself watching Rick Wakeman, Robert Powell, Ramon Remedios, The Israel Symphony Orchestra and the Eton College Choir performing The Word.

The Word is the Gospels set to music and goes right through the life of Christ - albeit fairly briefly. As I said, the significance of today does not escape me, nor does the fact that this concert is not mentioned in the schedule for today! I suspect that someone has just slipped it in there and broadcast the Christian story all over the Middle East.

I am sure that someone's head will roll, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and, I am sure, quite a few other people managed to enjoy this unexpected pleasure tonight.

Thank you UKTV.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Eating Greek

Although there are some three or four "international cuisine" restaurants on our beloved Skopelos, when we are there Mrs DB and I almost invariably eat Greek food ~ we even cook Greek food for ourselves there. When we come back to Dubai we normally have a dinner party for friends and cook Greek for them (taverna style, complete with paper table cloths, those funny little jugs of wine the Greek tavernas use, the little glasses and plastic condiment sets, bread in a basket with the knives and forks etc) and everyone usually enjoys it (probably because they start off with ouso when they arrive and finish with metaxa before they leave!) But, it can be quite difficult to find good recipes.

So, when I was checking up who was visitor 2000 this morning (well done Keefieboy) I noticed a post by lulu in which she wished me kalo pasxa, now I know that is good something but I don't know what and my English-Greek-English dictionary has decided to hide! No doubt I will find it later. so if lulu or californiakat should happen by, please let me know. But I digress. Anyway, Lulu has a website called Mama's Taverna ~ How To Make Delicious Greek Food - Recipes and Techniques. It's a touch vegitarian at the moment because Lulu is fasting for lent which means she doesn't eat meat. But going back before the start of Lent unveils some delightful recipes, I am going to introduce them to Mrs DB and I think we will probably be trying some! You might like to have a go at Greek cooking yourself! Link on the left folks.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008


I've just noticed that my neo-counter says 1999 visitors - what I need is for visitor 2000 to leave a message - so, if it is you please leave a comment!


Sunday, 20 April 2008

It's Arrived!

Travels in Xanadu-Du a tribal fantasy by Keef Williamson arrived today! This is a much awaited book which is the first novel written by my mate Keefieboy - here's hoping it makes him a fortune! There is a second in the pipeline. So, if you haven't ordered yours yet, follow the link and get it ordered!

What do you mean, "What's it like?" How am I supposed to know, it only arrived today and it is now in a queue! I started reading Stephen King's new novel Duma Key a few days ago and that is a pretty weighty tome - could take a while. In the meantime, Travels will sit quietly on my bedside table just waiting for its chance.

Thanks Keef mate, I will let you know what I think when I've read it.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

I am 54

Thanks Keef. Just what I needed!

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Jebel Hafeet

It's my birthday tomorrow! I will be 54 - I need one of those little round button badges that kids have, you know the ones, red with white lettering, I am 54.

Anyway, Mrs Dubaibilly booked us into the Mercure Jebel Hafeet hotel in Al Ain for the night to celebrate. It's been quite a while since we have got out of Dubai, and it was great! Just to get away for 24 hours. As soon as we left Dubai behind we both started to relax, probably for the first time for months! I'll tell you, this place is just too stressy. And at the moment we aren't getting out of it enough. We should have booked in for two nights! Anyway, we didn't, but we had a lovely time (apart from breakfast this morning - how can a 5 star hotel claim to offer international cuisine but don't offer pork bacon it defeats me. I wouldn't mind so much but they do serve alcohol - bit of double standards there perhaps. Never mind. the little pain au chocolat were delicious.

Anyway, we noticed on the way there that the wind was getting up and the sand was blowing somewhat. Now for those who don't know, Jebel Hafeet is a large lump of rock in the middle of the desert, just outside Al Ain. It has a spectacular road going up it - y'know what, just google it - jebel hafeet and search the images - there are some pics that will show you what I mean. Anyway it is about a thousand metres high (I think) and on a clear day you can see for ever from the top. Now the hotel is pretty much at the top, this was the view:

View from our room

As you can see, once you get past the swimming pool you can see for yards! Shame, but you can't have everything - I guess to get the best photo's from there you really need to go in December, January or February.

At night, though, the sand settles down:

View from our room at night

The lights in the distance are Al Ain (I think). Now those of you who know me will know that I am a mathematics teacher so, when I saw it, I just had to have a picture of this sign:

Uneven Numbers?

I'm sorry! Uneven numbers - what are they, a bit lumpy or all on different levels or something? What is wrong with calling them odd numbers? Some connotation in the word odd perhaps? Beats me!

Anyway, the night out over we packed up this morning and headed back to Dubai. Mrs DB was driving and I was gazing out the window, listening to the Beautiful South on the CD player when I happened to see something.

"Stop the car!"


"Stop the car"

She stopped the car and asked if I wanted her to reverse a bit, but by that time I had grabbed my camera and jumped out to get this picture:

Two Arabian Oryx

I was quite chuffed at spotting them, given that I was just gazing at a desert full of sand going past at 120 kph, two Arabian Oryx - I've never seen them in the wild before.

Friday, 11 April 2008


I've just left a comment on Keef's blog and zcshzxob was the word I had to type in for the word verification thingy.

What an excellent word.

I don't have a job I have a zcshzxob and it takes up so bloody much of my time that I hardly get a chance to blog anymore!

Thursday, 10 April 2008

So is it just me that has problems?

No, - no, no, no, no - not that kind of problem! What are you thinking of, and what are you doing on my blog thinking of it?

No, my problems exist with blogger.

Yes, Mr Blogger, the person who lets me write this drivel and post it up here for everyone to read, or not. Oh, it's not him personally, oh no, no, no, no... not at all. I don't even know him, wouldn't recognise him if I fell over him, mind you I could say the same thing about my boss, or the wife (no, just joking on the wife one).

No, no - it's his blog thing that is causing me problems.

Y'see, I post a blog, but I can't see it. Often not until the next day, or so.

Take the last bit I wrote, about keef's book. Now, I knwo you can see it 'cos Keef and GG and Jayne have all left comments (I've seen the emails), but I haven't seen it and I can't. I load my blog and it still opens on the pic of my Grandad. Occasionally, if I go to a blog that links to mine and then click my link (rather than the back button it will take me to the latest page of my blog, but I can't get it directly from my own computer.

I shall probably have to wait until tomorrow until I can see this !

Bit of a pain really, but there we go. What to do?

Travels in Xanadu-du

Some of the people who occasionally pop into here to see if I've posted any new drivel or photoshopped pics are also devotees of Keefieboy's blog and know all about his book.

The question is, has anyone in Dubai received it yet or are we all waiting for Emirates Post to get around to putting it in our mailboxes?