Cutting The Umbilical Cord

As I write this from my apartment on the banks of the recently opened canal in Business Bay, Dubai (I am told it is Dubai’s Manhattan), my thoughts go once again to my three grandchildren. My husband and I are lucky to have two girls and a boy, growing up fast. Having just packed my case to the brim for my annual February half term visit, (something I have done each year since the birth of number one grand-daughter) in readiness to fly early tomorrow morning, I start to think of the past ten years and the changes made by moving to live in the Middle East.


My thoughts are only with our family in England as I plan my next flight to the mother country which is no longer our home. We made that cutting of the umbilical cord over ten years ago. Now when I think of England my thoughts are always with our grandchildren and our three boys, of course. The boys are all in good jobs and married (always a bonus these days), and the grandchildren are growing up, with the youngest, the boy, eleven and the two girls, one rapidly approaching thirteen and the eldest now fifteen. I don’t envy their parents dealing with three teenagers in the years to come; there are two years between each. As a family, they have travelled every year to southern France to holiday with us in our home in the Limousin. I have treasured photographs of the children taken each summer sitting on the wide window ledge beside the blue shutters outside the house. The changes from childhood to almost adulthood can be seen by these photographs which is why they are so special.

This coming week will be filled with making things, cooking, reading stories and a bit of glitter thrown in for good measure. This annoys son number one, the children’s father, but it hoovers up without any bother and always provides entertainment on a rainy day. As they grow older, however, my story readings are becoming less and less. They can read extremely well on their own. The glittering is something they do as it pleases Grandma. I know this, but ignore it, as we sit and talk together while concentrating on production. We still like to make up stories together thank goodness.

carole and hugo-1

Whilst living in Doha two years ago, a busy, traffic filled dusty city, I made the decision not to drive due to the appalling local drivers I’d observed. Instead, I started to write stories for the youngest grandson. I couldn’t find anything on the internet to read to him that didn’t feature vampires, zombies and farting – not that there is anything wrong with those featuring in children’s stories – but not great at bedtime when you want them to have a nightmare free sleep.

The children visited us here in Dubai, early in our adventure as ‘ex-pats’ abroad. The youngest was almost two, so they came while he was under the free flight age with our local airline, and the girls young enough to enjoy wearing the airline stewardesses’ hats. We have the photograph of them smiling and welcoming other passengers on board. Our grandson, however, being a sturdy toddler was not having any of the hat wearing; he wanted to walk all the way to Dubai on board the aircraft. Our son and daughter-in-law arrived exhausted. We packed in a fun filled week with them. Dune bashing, camel riding, dinner cruise along the creek and visits to the local water park where our eldest grand-daughter was given a round of applause by people watching her take on the death slide – an almost vertical, long drop into the water, not attempted by adults who arrived at the top only to climb back down. Respect for one aged seven!

4 thoughts on “Cutting The Umbilical Cord

  1. Hi,
    I’m coming over for a week soon in order for my husband to have an interview. We are considering moving to Dubai with our two year old son and 4 month baby girl. The move will be for the forseeable future (at least 8 years plus). My husband will disappear for 3 of the days whilst we are there for tests related to the job he’s applied for. Accommodation etc is provided by the potential employer (one less worry) but are there any places you would recommend visiting by myself to get a real feel for the place?
    Also any tips/advice in general would be greatly relieved.
    Many Thanks


    1. Hi Emma,
      As your children are quite young and the weather is now hot you are limited as to where to visit. We have some amazing parks but only for the winter months. Don’t be afraid of being by yourself here with the children it is one of the safest places I have ever been in. People are friendly and helpful, taxi drivers will always help you with the pushchair so no worries.
      The Dubai mall is good for a visit to the aquarium. The children will love to go through the clear tunnel and watch the sharks and rays swimming over them. There is a good interactive seaworld for them at the end.
      We have a butterfly world and I think young children enjoy wandering through there. I haven’t been to that one yet, I plan taking my great niece when she comes over in October so will know more about that then.
      If you really want to get a feel for the place then you need to visit old Diera and the creek but I would recommend that for both parents as getting on and off an arbra would be tricky with two children and a pushchair. You can take the water taxi along the creek and that would be cooling and you would see a lot from there. Depending on where you are staying you can catch it along the canal to Al Jadaf from Jumierah and back. Jumierah is where most of the glitzy hotels are.
      Beaches are good but depending on the weather, lots of shade areas but it depends when you arrive as to what the weather is like. My advice is for you to take them down to the pool in whichever hotel you are staying in for water play.
      Keep your knees and shoulders covered when in the malls you have to remember you are in a Moslem country and I see so many visitors from all over whose dress is not respectful. There are people in the malls who take visitors to one side and point out the dress code in this country and I don’t think holiday reps here do a very good job of warning people on holiday.
      On a more positive note, my husband and I came over for three years, that was thirteen years ago! It is a very westernised place in some respects so you can get most things and if you feel a little homesick you can always pop into M and S….
      If you need anything more please don’t hesitate to ask but I am popping over to Sri Lanka for a week so I may be delayed in replying.
      Good luck!


  2. Thank you very much for your reply. We went to Dubai Mall last night and I was surprised at the amount of people wearing short shorts and scrappy tops. I was already aware of the dress code so have made sure I’ve packed accordingly.
    Looking forward to exploring more this week


  3. Hi again Emma, I hope you enjoyed your recent visit to Dubai, a little hot at this time of year but not a bad place to live. Good luck if you make the decision to move here and if you need any help with anything don’t hesitate to contact again via this website. I will be leaving for the summer months shortly but returning in September. Best wishes Expat Grandma


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