Saturday, 31 May 2008

What really hacks me off

about using the internet, is that now I can't get away from where I already am anymore!

I go on the BBC news website here and I get adverts for property in Dubai or for shops in Abu Dhabi. And I find them really intrusive. The BBC site obviously reads my IP number (or whatever it is) works out that I am in the UAE and gives me advertising for here. Well, I for one am pissed off with it, I find it intrusive and I don't want it. Just now I was blog trolling again and some guy in Los Angeles had an advertising space on his blog which said something along the lines of 'advertising powered by Google' and it was for a beach community in Abu Dhabi. I'm not interested, I don't care.

If it wasn't such a crappy site, I would change my news site of choice to SkyNews. Unfortunately I like the way the BBC News site is set out - I just don't like the bloody adverts.

Carrots? In a cake?

So, last night Mrs DB and I were invited out to Janet and John's - NO, have you not worked it out yet, Janet and John are not their real names, just like Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice aren't theirs or Dubaibilly isn't mine, but I digress. Bob and Carol where there as well.

So we turned up, bottle of red, bottle of white and four lemons (as you do) and proceeded to have a great night. Let's face it, two jugs of Pimms just to get started, it can't be anything other than a great night , can it.

So, after attacking the Pimms with gusto and having some great fried halloumi with arabic bread and hummous, we all pile into the dining room to sit around the table for dinner. The wine flowed and the moussaka was wonderful. And then the sweet arrived...

Now Dubaibilly's mum brought him up well, and I know that, if I am a guest in someone's house I will eat everything put in front of me and enjoy every mouthful - even if I find doing that somewhat difficult.

But carrots? In a cake? I'm sorry, I don't eat carrots with roast beef. This just doesn't work for me.

However, I was miraculously saved from a fate worse than death. Janet has certain food allergies and one of the things she can't eat is anything with flour in it. As a result she wasn't going to have the dreaded carrot cake, she had made some little macaroons. Now, let's face it, macaroons V carrot cake, I'm sorry this is like Manchester United V Bury - no contest, macaroons win every time, come to think of it macaroons would win over most food for me - I love them! So I ended up eating a whole plate full of these delightful macaroons which had a slight crunchiness to them because she had used granulated brown sugar to make them and they were fantastic.

And so was the rest of the night.

Dubai has some fantastic places to party at... but none of them are a patch on having friends round or going round to friends. What a super evening that was.

After dinner we stayed at the table and and whiled away the evening playing Charadoodles (I think) which got better with every bottle of wine. And then we heard the story of the 1000 dirham tablecloth! I won't go into it, but if you ever decide to buy a tablecloth in Dubai, just be careful that you check the price first!

I never did find out what the lemons were for!

What I like about blogging

So, there I am, wandering through the blogs that I link to, an activity I do fairly regularly to keep up with what other people are up to and I'm on Jin's blog reading the comments on Luxor Lite when I found a comment by someone named Keith.

I have no idea why, but I decided to follow the link and found this absolute gem of a blog so I thought, "I like this, I think I'll link to it so I can come back and check it again". And that is exactly what I've done.

So, Keith, you have got yourself a new fan.

And that is what I like about blogging.

Friday, 30 May 2008

Fighting the Flab

The Dubaibilly's are now officially fighting the flab! Mrs DB has decreed that we have to trim down and get fit! So, today, we wobbled off to our local Carrefour and purchased this beastie:

Torture Machine

Now, the thing with the big fat arse stood on the beast is yours truly, the thing at the side of the beast that looks something like about a hundred and fifty bottles of wine is, in fact, something like about a hundred and fifty bottles of wine and is probably responsible for the fat which Mrs DB wants us to get rid of (or at least its predecessors are)!

The question is, do we get rid of the fat first or the wine first?

Sunday, 25 May 2008

A Weekend Away

So Mrs DB and I and Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice all went off to Dibba for the weekend (actually, Ted and Alice joined us there on Friday morning, so it was only the four of us who actually went on Thursday afternoon.

We were very lucky with the traffic getting out of Dubai and Carol knew a way to get to the Sharjah - Dhaid road that didn't involve going through Sharjah or anywhere near National Paints roundabout (which isn't there anymore but that is totally immaterial). So we didn't get stuck and made the trip in good time - apart from the bit in which Bob took a phone call from work and slowed down to about 60 kph for about half an hour or so. Anyway, eventually we arrived.

It was relaxing just being out of Dubai!


The Golden Tulip is a really nice place, it is very understated (unlike Dubai's brash monoliths), this place only has two floors and I guess maybe 50 rooms. It really is a quaint little place which seems to pride itself on its Arabian-ness. It's very quiet (apart from the 3 or 4 families who were having a party at one o'clock in the morning with both kids and adults running up and down the corridor screaming! But the management were happy to move us to a quieter room when we indicated that we would like a little peace. The staff and the management of the hotel were fabulous and I shall certainly go again. It was two full days of not thinking about work - I didn't take my laptop, I did nothing and I feel so much better for it.

I took a few piccies, but it was very humid there and it was quite difficult to get reasonable shots, but here are a few of them:

View from our roomThis is the view from our room looking out over the Indian Ocean.

This is the outdoor jacuzzi by the pool - sitting in there with a G&T was a delightJacuzzi


This little fellow decided to join us for a lunchtime tipple

And, of course, it just wouldn't be me if I didn't put a couple of night shots in, would it? So,

The moon paints the sea silverThe pool at night

On the left, the moon paints the sea silver, and on the right, the pool at night.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

The Weekend Has Arrived

At least it has for me, Mrs DB has got a little while to go before she can leave.

So another hour or so and we are on our way, getting out of Dubai for two whole days. A drive up to the East Coast and two nights in the Golden Tulip at Dibba.

I'll take my camera and see if I can get some nice shots for you while I'm up there.



Tuesday, 20 May 2008

A Joke...

If you have been to Jayne's blog (Jayne With a Why) in the last couple of weeks, you may have noticed that she has posted a couple of jokes recently.

Now, Jayne's jokes may well not be completely PC, but WTF, ("Politicly Correct" and "What The Fuck", Doris, in case you were wondering) they are funny, so I thought, Billy, (cos that is what I call me) if Jayne can post non PC jokes, then you need to get on this bandwagon before everyone in the entire blogiverse is posting them.

So here goes:

A class of five-year old schoolchildren return to the classroom after playing in the playground during their break time..

The teacher says to the first child, 'Hello Becky, what have you been doing this playtime?'

Becky replies, 'I have been playing in the sand box'

'Very good,' says the teacher 'if you can spell 'sand' on the blackboard, I will give you a biscuit'

Becky duly goes and writes 's a n d' on the blackboard.

'Very good,' says the teacher and gives Becky a biscuit.

The teacher then says, 'Freddie, what have you been doing in your playtime?'

Freddie replies, 'playing with Becky in the sand box'

'Very good,' says the teacher. 'If you can spell 'box' on the blackboard, I will also give you a biscuit'

Freddie duly goes and writes 'b o x' on the blackboard.

'Very good' says the teacher and gives Freddie a biscuit.

Teacher then says, 'Hello Mohammed, have you been playing in the sand box with Becky and Freddie?'

'No,' replies Mohammed, 'I wanted to, but they would not let me. Every time I went near them they started throwing sand at me, calling me nasty names and asking to see under my jacket in case I had explosives'

'Oh dear,' says the teacher, 'that sounds like blatant racial discrimination to me - now, if you can spell 'blatant racial discrimination' on the blackboard, I will give you a biscuit'

Saturday, 17 May 2008

So, Where Do You Plug the Phone In?

OK, it's time for bed and Mrs DB goes to plug her phone in to the recharge cable.

"Is your phone plugged in?" she asks.

"I expect so." I replied.

"I don't see it here." she said.

We plug all our mobiles in at the same point. OK, so my isn't there - no biggie. I went to the land line and dialled my mobile number.

"Ahh," said I, "it seems to be in my shirt pocket."

Perhaps just one glass of the red stuff too much tonight, never mind.

What to do?

Saturday, end of the football season, no anguish (will we win, will we lose, will we settle for a draw), no Premier League on the television, no Bolton Wanderers.


What to do?

A Question...

For those more in touch with the technical side of this blogging thing than I am -

I've recently started putting labels on my posts, what are they for, what do they do, am I typing them for any good reason at all or is just extra wear and tear to the ends of my fingers?

Getting out of Dubai

Mrs DB and I decided a while ago that we should have a weekend every month away from Dubai.

We don't go out much, don't spend loads of our money (not that it comes in loads you understand) doing the clubs or fancy restaurants - don't get me wrong, it would be very easy to blow all our dosh on that kind of thing and I am sure there are somewhere in the region of more than one or two people in Dubai who do exactly that! We have the mortgage on our house in Skopelos to pay for and that is the main reason for being here.

So we feel that getting out of town for the weekend once every month or so will be good for us. Last month we went to Mercure Jebel Hafeet Hotel in Al Ain (you may remember I spotted the two Arabian Oryx on the way back.

The time has nearly arrived for this month's little excursion. Me and Mrs DB and Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice and Pete and Suzy (no, you don't know any of them and that isn't their real names anyway) are all going to spend the weekend at The Golden Tulip at Dibba. It's Bob's birthday so we have something to celebrate as well as getting away for the weekend.

I'm looking forward to that, it should be a very pleasant and relaxing weekend.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Flame Tree

I've got a flame tree right outside my lounge. If you haven't seen one of these trees in bloom, they are a sight to behold. I took a few photo's of it this morning, and you know (I guess) that I'm not normally shy about sharing my pix with you, so here you are:

>Flame Tree

Flame Tree

There are two kinds (that I know of) one has deep red flowers - ours, as you can see has vivid orange flowers - I think both kinds are equally beautiful. I just couldn't resist framing one (below)

Flame Tree framed

Sunday, 11 May 2008

The End of a Long Season

So, today the English Premier League finally finished - it started 38 matches ago back in August and today all 20 teams played, kicking off at the same time for the first time in the season.

Issues needed to be settled at both the top and the bottom of the table. It wasn't clear who would be champions and who would be relegated. The league title was between two clubs - Chelsea and Manchester United. They were level on points, but United had the better goal difference.

At the bottom, the teams that could still be relegated were Birmingham, Bolton. Fulham and Reading. The press said that Bolton were safe, but some outrageous results could have happened and Bolton were still in the mix. As for Fulham, there future was in there own hands, Reading and Birmingham had to do the best they could and hope other results went their way.

Me? I was watching the Chelsea v Bolton match and didnt care about any other game - we could not afford to get battered in this match, a point saw us safe and three points would be a bonus ~ the truth is we could afford to lose, but not by a big goal difference (we have lost at Stamford Bridge 5 - 1 in recent years), we could also not afford for Reading to score too many. All in all, we were looking for at least a point.

Sir Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United and longest serving manager in the Premier League, a man who is respected throughout the game of football said this:

"All we have seen is Wigan players saying how they will beat us. Fine, I've no problem with that. Then you hear about Bolton players out all week celebrating. Both teams are safe but one is all keyed up to play Manchester United and the other one is celebrating.

This is a disgusting comment to make about a rival Premier League team and Sir Alex Ferguson should apologise to the Bolton Wanderers players.

6pm came today, and i was sat at home watching the television - it was our last game of the season and I wasn't about to miss it. So, at 5:45 I poured myself one of these:

A Pint of Abbots Ale and Murphys, mixed

This is Abbots Ale and Murphy's Stout mixed and I haven't drank this for 13 years! But I had it today - delightful, just as good as I had remembered. (Check out how the stout floats on the Abbot ale.)

So at 6 pm UAE time, the game kicked off and for the first forty five minutes honours were even. Chelsea did not particularly look like they were going to batter Bolton into submission, Bolton did not look like they were going to roll over and die because there had been too much celebration during the week.

I had a couple of Abbot Ale and Murphy's and the first half drew to a close with the most important event being John Terry getting stretchered off following a collision with his own goalkeeper for which the Chelsea fans blamed Kev Davies.

Manchester United where by now winning 1 - 0 against Wigan.

In the second half Chelsea came out and really went for the victory - eventually their pressure was too much for the Bolton defence and they scored.

But then the game took a really odd turn.

Having taken the lead, Chelsea just sat back and stopped trying.

Bolton, the team that Sir Alex Ferguson had criticised during the week, never ever gave up. They kept on trying and were, much to the disgust of Avram Grant (Chelsea's manager) and the rest of his team, rewarded with an injury time goal that a) was totally justified, b) meant that it didn't matter from Bolton's point of view what any other scores were and c) meant that Sir Alex Ferguson was completely wrong in his assessment of the Bolton Wanderers and should apologise to the team for his disgraceful comments.

Bolton Wanderers players played their hearts out today and eventually clawed a goal back to draw with Chelsea, not only did this mean they relied upon no other results to stay in the Premier League, but it also meant that Manchester United won the Premier League Title outright. Sir Alex Ferguson should be praising the commitment of the Bolton Wanderers players today.

Me - I've supported them for 50 yearsand will continue to do so next season - 'cos next season we are going to win the league - and the FA Cup - you watch.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Baggins Again

Now, I know that some people visit this blog simply on the off chance that I may have posted a new photo of Baggins. Never mind the drivel that I write or any other photo's I may put up here - they are of little consequence. Baggins is what is required!

OK, I give up - just for you, some new Baggins pix coming right up. Now, you know that Baggins likes to climb into any box or bag that just might be available, well these pix were taken just after Mrs DB and I had got back from shopping yesterday - yes, I know, they aren't Spinney's bags, but that doesn't mean my previous post isn't true, it's just that these bags hold more shopping than the yellow and green plastic ones, and the handles are better - they don't try to cut your fingers off while you are carrying your goods from the car to home.

But I digress, Baggins pix:

Baggins Surprised

Baggins looks somewhat surprised that I should be taking his photo!

Baggins the Poseur

But having got used to the idea, he decides to pose for the camera.

Baggins has had enough!

But it doesn't take long before enough is too much - as in "take that camera and shove it!"

Customer Service?

So there we are, doing the shopping at the local Spinney's. (If you are not from the UAE, that is a chain of supermarkets here). So, Mrs DB and I have filled the trolley, queued up along with all the other heavily laden trolleys, had our goods scanned through and let the bank pay for the lot when I suddenly realise that we have forgotten the fish. The fishmonger was cleaning some prawns for us and we'd forgotten to pick them up.

Leaving the trolley with Mrs DB, I go back into the store to collect my prawns and a fillet of sole. When I come back to the checkout I decide to go to the less than 10 items till 'cos there is only one person there and it makes more sense than queueing up behind someone with the best part of a thousand dirhams worth of groceries in her trolley.

The guy in front of me is having his stuff scanned when up walks a Customer Services lady - let's call her Tess. Whilst the checkout lady is scanning the guys stuff, Tess turns the key on the till and starts zapping buttons (presumably to collect some kind of data - the till seems to object to having to do two things at once and the checkout lady gets a bit confused and me and the guy wait while they try to sort it out. Eventually Tess turns the key back and lets the checkout operator continue scanning the guys goods.

He finishes and pays and Tess immediately leaps at the till again and turns the key and starts banging away on the keys - no excuse me, no sorry, no do you mind waiting - nothing. Now, I don't know what she was doing, but there is no-one behind me in the queue and I have got two items - some prawns and some sole you may recall. After five minutes or so I gave up, dumped the prawns and sole on the belt, said "I won't bother", and walked out. Did Tess (the Customer Service lady) react? No, she just carried on playing with the till and, as far as I am aware the prawns and sole are still there!

As anyone who has been in Dubai for a while will tell you, customer service has gone down hill over the last few years. Spinney's once had excellent customer service, their staff were friendly and couldn't do enough to help the customers - it doesn't seem to be the case any more.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Bloody diets!

Mrs DB is on a diet. God only knows what she is eating but I ain't joining in!

Nevertheless, you've got to be supportive haven't you.

Instead of having steak, eggs and chips while she had ~ whatever it was ~, I had steak, baked potato and salad, instead of having lamb chops, roast potatoes, whatever veggies, mint sauce and gravy I had lamb chops, baked potato and salad. In fact I have had baked potato and salad 4 times this week - doesn't quite do it for me! And we now both cook separate meals - she cooks hers, I cook mine. No, I don't expect her to do all the cooking normally, normally I will do it one night and she will do it another but now we both cook every night, at the same time - fighting for pans and cooker space!

And the worst thing ~ her diet doesn't allow her alcohol, I haven't had a glass of wine for a week. Oh, don't get me wrong, she says I can, she says she doesn't mind, and when I gave up the booze for 4 months last year she didn't help me by giving up with me.

But you've got to be supportive, haven't you.

Bloody diets!

Monday, 5 May 2008

Funny Blog

Some people just have a knack for it, don't they - you read their blogs and they are just funny - without even apparently trying. I think it's great - me, I can't do that, but I really do appreciate it when I find a blog that makes me laugh.

So there I was on Keefieboys blog - those of you who have been here before will know that I regularly visit there. And down the side of his blog somewhere he has this thing, this Live Traffic Feed thing that sort of tells you who is looking at the blog at that moment or something like that.

Anyway I was looking at that and read Dubai, Dubai arrived from on "Probably Madrid". And I figured that must be me, a bit further down Grumpy Goat got a mention and on the same list I also found Dubai, Dubai arrived from on "Probably Madrid". So I thought I'd go an have a look at that blog.

I ended up here Life in Dubai which is written by someone called Seabee.

If you haven't been there, can I suggest you take a peek. This person is just so funny, I shall be visiting on a regular basis from now on, people often write LOL when they find something funny, but I really was laughing out loud whilst I was reading it.


Saturday, 3 May 2008

Almost There!

Well, my prayers were well and truly answered today - Bolton 2 Sunderland 0.

Birmingham lost to Fulham - I'd asked for a draw but I am even more pleased with this result than the draw - Birmingham can no longer catch Bolton! Great!

Reading lost at home to Tottenham - brilliant result for us - Reading are now 3 points adrift of us with one game to play - the best they can do is draw level, but they are also 11 goals adrift of us in terms of goal difference.

Fulham beat Birmingham so they are now 3 points adrift of us but have a goal difference which is five inferior to us.

Middlesboro won and are therefore safe - well done to them.

So, next week, we are away to Chelsea, Reading are away to Derby and Fulham are away to Portsmouth. The only way Bolton can be relegated is if Fulham, Chelsea and Reading all win; and if the margin Chelsea win by added to the margin Fulham win by is greater than 5; and if the margin Chelsea win by added to the margin Reading win by is greater than 11.

Now, I think Bolton may lose, I think Reading may win, but I can't see Fulham beating Portsmouth, I also can't see the necessary scores happening.

So, although mathematically we cannot say yet that Bolton are safe, I feel pretty damned sure that Bolton Wanderers will be enjoying Premier League football again next season.

It has been a good day!

Ifs, Buts and Maybes

Today brings us to the penultimate match in the Premier League for this season, and my beloved Bolton Wanderers are still not a safe bet for playing in the Prem next season!

We play Sunderland at home today and we have to win! We don't have a choice in this, anything less than a win today will probably consign us to the dustbin of relegation next weekend. Also playing today are our fellow candidates for relegation, Fulham, Birmingham and Reading. Middlesboro are also in with an outside chance of relegation, but would have to snatch failure from the jaws of success to achieve it. Unfortunately, Fulham Birmingham and Reading don't have to play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge next week - Bolton do!

If we beat Sunderland today we will have 36 points - realistically that is going to be our total for the season. But, if Man United beat West Ham at Old Trafford today and Chelsea go down against Newcastle at St James's Park on Monday then Chelsea would, in reality, have no chance of clinching the league title and might not play to their absolute best against us next week - that last sentence falls into the category of "Clutching At Straws".

So what do I want? Well, Fulham play Birmingham at home today - maybe that will be a draw giving them both 1 point, Fulham will go up to 31 and Birmingham go up to 33. Bolton to beat Sunderland for 36 points as I said. Reading to lose at home to Tottenham (not impossible but not guaranteed either) and Middlesboro to slip up at home to Portsmouth would leave the table looking like this:

15 Bolton 36 points
16 Middlesboro 36 points
17 Birmingham 33 points
18 Reading 33 points
19 Fulham 31 points
20 Derby 11 points

Derby are already relegated so I haven't mentioned their game.

But with a likely zero points next week for the Wanderers, we still won't be safe. In the last match of the season Birmingham are at home to Blackburn, Fulham are away to Portsmouth, Middlesboro are at home to Man City, Reading are away to Derby, so as I said at the start - we have to win today - we don't have a choice if we want Premier Leage football at the Reebok next year.