I arrived back in the sandpit yesterday after a terrific couple of weeks in Nu Zild for Christmas and New Year's celebrations.
It's good to be back too, not that I didn't enjoy the break from the Al Ain apartment but it always helps when you don't have to go to the limited supply of clothes in the suitcase. Staying with relatives was nice but nothing beats being able to put a CD on whenever you want, eating food from your own pantry and sleeping in your own bed.
Arriving at Dubai airport was a treat, mainly cos I'm a nervous flyer and being on terra firma is always a great feeling anyway but Dubai airport is great - clean, friendly, and spacious.
The friendly bit is the starkest contrast between service in NZ and here. It didn't take long before I was asked (by the doorman at The Park Regis Hotel when I picked up my car) where Marm Jacky was! I know this will happen over and over again too. I told him that Marm Jacky was still in NZ to co-ordinate the move of our stuff into our new Hawke's Bay home.
I need to backtrack a tad before these posts get onto new business. Namely Zen/SWMBO and the wedding of the century (which lived up to its billing by the way).
Zen is big! Over 17 hands high which according to SWMBO, is big. But not as big as the grin on Jacky's face when she rode him for the first time. It was a thrill to see.
The wedding was also a special highlight of the trip back. We've been looking forward to it since last Christmas when Pat and Randy told us the news and invited us. Jacky and I felt really honoured to be included in the Cameron-Buckley global whanau.
Randy's parents and brother, Art, came from Canada; Pat's business partner and her husband came from Manchester, we came from the UAE and there were relatives from all parts of NZ in attendance.
Lindsay Loveridge, who officiated and is pictured between Pat and Randy, has had a long association with Pat, almost as long as Jacky, who has known him since she was a teenager. Lindsay did a great job keeping the ceremony on track when either laughter or tears threatened to deviate proceedings.
It was also a great chance for us to catch up with old friends, some of whom had actually attended our own wedding 28 years ago and it was fun for me to watch people as they recognised Jacky (Jacky Smith????? Is that you???). SWMBO looked stunning btw.
All in all, like everything Pat and Randy do, it was a classy occasion, even the rain cleared up and the sun emerged during the afternoon. Jacky and I loved being there and wish the groom and groom, two great guys, everything they'd wish themselves. Be happy!
So that's it for the NZ break - some great times with friends and family. It was so good to catch up with everyone - we even managed a couple of coffees with Jansy and Graeme in New Plymouth before I departed for Al Ain!
Now I'm back in the apartment which is VERY empty without Marm Jacky, but work starts again on Sunday which will be a welcome distraction.
Love and peace - Wozza