Musandam Peninsula, Nizwa, Poland, Dublin, English Peak District
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wild Dolphins, M

Mum and baby playfully race our boat.  Wild dolphins, Musandam, Oman - January 2015

 

 

Maydan Races

Maydan Racecourse, Dubai.

 

A great evening at Maydan racecourse on a Thursday night in January.  The entrance fee of AED 50 ($13.60 or GBP 9.00) includes a free programme, entry into an accumulator prize draw for choosing the winners of each race, a tri-cast on each individual race and access to the bars. Beer, wine, spirits, soft drinks and bar snacks are politely served at your seat.  There is no entrance fee if you just want to watch the races.  There are no published betting odds or on course betting but plenty of online bookies will allow you to place a bet on Dubai races if this is your pleasure.  All this is addition to 7 high class international horse races, live commentary in English, outstanding screen technology to follow the races and the progress of your chosen horse and free parking.  A great relaxed evening. 

 

Burj al Arab

Burj al Arab from Jumeirah Beach

 

Swimmer on Jumeirah Beach

Swimmer on Jumeirah Beach

 

 

Weekend trip to Khasab, Musandam, Oman - January 2015

 

Musandam Peninsula Map

Musandam Peninsula Map

 

Khasab is a peaceful town located at the foot of Wadi Khasab overlooking the Gulf of Oman and the Straits of Hormuz. Khasab is the capital of Musandam and has a population of approximately 18,000. Khasab in Arabic means "fertility" which refers to the combination of date palms and fresh water.

 

Road to Khasab

Road to Khasab - January 2015

 

The drive from Dubai to Khasab is 3 to 3.5 hours depending on traffic in Ras Al Khamer and the length of queues at the border crossing.   Once over the border the scenery improves enormously with a clear turquoise sea, mountain backdrop, light coloured beaches and picturesque forts. This is a trip we have done many times before (2009, 2010 and 2012) but one we never tire of. 

 

Road to Khasab

Road to Khasab - January 2015

 

Atana Musandam Resort

Atana Musandam Resort

 

This time we stayed at the new Atana Musandam Resort in Khasab.  This is an attractive new hotel with large rooms, excellent service and a gym and swimming pool.  It is also next door to the Dhow harbour where we caught our boat for a tour of the "Arabian Fjords".  However, like its sister hotel the Atana Khasab (the renamed Golden Tulip) the food is very poor. Also, there is no alcohol licence at the Atana Musandam Resort. They suggest you go to the Atana Khasab if this is a problem.  However you can bring your own so long as you drink it in your room.  And herein lies a great opportunity as they have very spacious balconies and will bring ice and mixers.  We ended up having cocktails on the balcony followed by some (poor) room service seafood accompanied with the excellent remnants of the luxury picnic we had at lunchtime.  This was complemented with our "bring your own" wine. 

Atana Musandam ResortAtana Musandam Resort

 

Atana Musandam ResortAtana Musandam Resort

 

Atana Musandam Resort

Atana Musandam Resort - view from our balcony

 

Arabian Fjords Boat Trip

Arabian Fjords Boat Trip - Musandam, Oman.

 

Khasab now gets cruise liners visiting on Tuesdays and Thursdays in season.  This can add a few thousand tourists who will spend their money across the Dhow cruises and mountain trips.  This is in an area where ordinarily they get few tourists and the extra income is obvious from the recent development of the harbour and the number of fast new speed boats now owned by the locals.  A few years ago this affluence was not prominent.  However, we were pleased to arrive on Friday afternoon and watch the cruise ship sail out on Friday evening.  This meant we only had to share our Dhow boat with  8 others on Saturday.

 

Dhow

Dhow boat  trip

 

January seems a good time to watch the dolphins as they had young dolphins in large family groups.  They enjoy racing the Dhow boats so there are plenty of photo opportunities as they race a couple of metres alongside the boat.  The weather this time of year is perfect.  A full day on a Dhow (10.00am to 4.00pm) costs OMR20 (AED200, GBP36 or $56) and includes unlimited tea, coffee, soft drinks, fresh fruit and a buffet lunch.

 

Dolphins Dolphins

wild Dolphins, M

Mum and baby playfully race our boat.  Wild dolphins, Musandam, Oman - January 2015

 

Apart from the dolphins highlights of the boat trip include Telegraph Island, where in 1864, the British built a telegraph station on the island. They laid an underwater cable from India to Basra in Iraq to get a telegraph connection between England and India. Telegraph Island is surrounded by corals and reefs is one of the best places for swimming and snorkelling.  There are also a few remote villages with around 50 -150 inhabitants. There is no land access to this area; most of the villagers are fishermen. The children travel by boat to school in Khasab on every Saturday and return back to their village on Wednesday to spend the weekends with their family. The government provides water to the villagers free of charge.

Sea Birds

Sea Birds, Musandam.

 

Dubai Box Park - January 2015

 

Dubai Box Park

Dubai Box Park

 

They are about to open a box park at the end of our road.  Apparently it's very trendy to have retail structures fabricated from shipping containers.  It's colourful and will be full of cafés, restaurants and clothes shops.  The Yamaha dealer will be a great lure.......

 

Dubai Box Park

Dubai Box Park

 

Dubai Box ParkDubai Box Park

 

Dubai Box Park

Dubai Box Park

 

 

Trip To England - February 2015

 

Luton Hoo

Dinner at Luton Hoo with my parents.

 

 

Flitwick Manor

Flitwick Manor.

 

Snowdrops and Crocuses

Snowdrops and Crocuses brighten the gloomy February weather.

 

 

Student House

Clair, Edward and Verity in Edward's student house

 

There comes a time in every parents life when they finally get entertained in one of their children's homes.  In this case the house Edward shares with his girlfriend.  We had tea and toast before going to his local pub for a pint...or two...or..

 

 

The Cobden View Pub

A few pints in the local pub.

 

March 2015 - Mid-Life Crisis Alive and Well

 

In 2002 I wrote of my mid-life crisis and the enormous benefits it brings - particularly the toys.  Since succumbing to this chronic condition I've had a couple of Yamaha R1s and a Honda Fireblade super-sports motorbikes, RX8 and Ford Mustang sports cars, gadgets galore and outstanding car Hi Fis.  I'm pleased to say said condition is still alive and well 13 years later.

 

F_type Jaguar

The spectacularly good-looking F-Type Jaguar

 

F-Type Jaguar

The stunning behind of an F-Type Jaguar

 

One of the text book symptoms of a mid-life crisis is a sudden propensity to buy some sort of Porsche. The afflicted praise the smooth ride, excellent road holding, precise engineering, easy handling and high resale value.  I have no problem with this particular symptom but the 911 looks like a Volkswagen Beetle with a tea-tray welded to the back.  Comparing an F-type to a Porsche is like comparing Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to Angela Merkel.  Angela may be sensible, clever, reliable and very comfortable but sports cars are about emotion. Who would you rather take home?  The F-Type is one of the most beautiful cars ever made and a worthy successor to the legendary 1960s era E-Type.  The E-type was so stunning The Museum of Modern Art in New York added a blue roadster to its permanent design collection and it is the only car in the Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art. The F-Type is a beautiful modern take.  It even sounds great and has an epic chassis, suspension, handling and brakes.  It's also good to be supporting the craftsmen at Jaguar Land Rover near my sister 2/4's home in the English Midlands.

 

 

Dusty Dawn in Dubai

 

Dusty Dawn in Dubai

Dusty Dawn in Dubai

 

A dusty dawn over Dubai.  You'd think a desert city would be devoid of a dawn chorus, but you'd be wrong:

 

Black Tie Ball

St. Patrick's Day Ball - March 2015

 

Dubai Cricket

Dubai Cricket - March 2015

 

Alastair Cook

Alastair Cook - England's test cricket captain.

 

Alastair Cook

Alastair Cook

 

Alastair Cook

Alastair Cook in Dubai.

 

Zabeel Saray The Rib Room Zabeel Saray

Birthday Brunch - The Rib Room at Zabeel Saray.

 

 

A sunny Dubai weekend morning....decisions, decisions.......

 

 

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi - April 2015

 

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

 

Verity Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Richard Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

 

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

 

 

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

 

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
 
 
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

 

I've not seen the Taj Mahal but those that have often say the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is better.  The exterior is stunning and the inside is impressive, although Islamic culture forbids the paintings, statues and sculptures often associated with Christian Cathedrals.  Visiting it easy, pleasant and relaxed.  Parking and entrance is free.  Photography, flash and video are encouraged.  The staff are numerous and helpful.  There are comprehensive guides to appropriate dress online, so there is no excuse for turning up inappropriately attired.  There are plenty of guided tours and audio tours for those wishing to learn more about the building and Islam in general. 

 

 

St. George's Day Ball - April 2015

 

AC/DC guitar AC/DC guitar

AC/DC Signed Guitar

 

The 2015 St. George's Day Ball was a success, as usual.  I picked up a signed AC/DC signed guitar in the charity auction.  The money went to the Royal Marine's children's fund.  They provided the band music and then turned into a pretty decent R&B band.

 

St. George's Day Ball Verity riding

Verity before St. George's Day Ball....                                                            ..and HorseRiding

 

 

Verity has joined us in Dubai for a few months.  I haven't watched her ride for years, as she had her lessons at boarding school.  She certainly looked very balanced and planted. 

 

Dubai Canal - May 2015

 

I took this photo from the Prime68 Steakhouse (that does a reasonably priced business lunch) on 68th floor of JW Marriott Marquis in Dubai.  The route of the new Dubai Canal Project is taking shape. Our villa is near the Four Seasons.

 

Dubai Canal Route

View from 68th Floor of JW Marriott Marquis.

 

Canal Route

Dubai Canal Route

 

Dubai Canal Dubai Canal

Proposed Dubai Canal Scheme

 

Dubai Canal

Proposed Dubai Canal Scheme

 

Canal Project

Proposed Dubai Canal Scheme

 

The new canal width will range from 80 metres to 120 metres.  It will be six meters deep and the bridges 8 metres high.  It will create new public places and facilities of 80,000 square metres with private marinas for boats and a trade centre at the entrance of the canal. The scheme also includes a shopping centre, four hotels and 450 restaurants on the coast. It is due to be completed in 2017.

 

Business Bay DubaiBusiness Bay Dubai from JW Marriott Marquis. The canal will be connected to the sea.

 

The view of Business Bay shows the canal that will be connected to the sea.  My new offices are in the distance.

 

 

Afternoon Tea

Clair's birthday afternoon tea - at The One and Only Royal Mirage

 

Nizwa, Oman July 2015

 

Nizwa Souq

Verity at Nizwa Souq

 

We left Nizwa at 1.15 pm on Saturday morning after an enjoyable but very hot tour of the spectacular Nizwa Fort and Souq.  Thanks to Ramadan the roads and border crossing were near deserted and we arrived back at our villa at 5.36pm.  Of course following the signs back home to a major centre like Dubai is much easier than finding the Sahab Hotel in the  mountains near Nizwa when coming the other way on the previous Thursday evening. 

 

Nizwa Fort Nizwa Fort

Nizwa Fort

 

Nizwa Fort

Nizwa Fort

 

Nizwa Fort

Nizwa Fort

 

Nizwa Fort

Nizwa Fort

 

Nizwa Fort

View from Nizwa Fort

 

Nizwa Fort

Nizwa Fort

 

Nizwa Fort

Nizwa Fort

 

Nizwa Fort

Nizwa Fort

 

 

Sahab, Oman Sahab, Oman

Clair in the rain Sahab Hotel, Oman                                                         Clair breakfast in the sun Sahab Hotel, Oman

 

We stayed at the Sahab Hotel, which we strongly recommend if you can find it.  Get clear directions before you set out.  It is over 2000 metres elevation so the views are spectacular and cool even in the middle of summer.  There was some summer rain and even a little hail when we were there but also plenty of sunshine.  It was pleasant to eat breakfast and dinner outside after the oppressive summer heat of Dubai.  We were able to walk for 2 hours on a marked route to a village on the other side of the valley.  On the way there was plenty of greenery to show for the hard work the farmers had invested in building the terraces and water courses, including plenty of pomegranate and fig trees.  The hotel kindly picked us up and brought us back to the hotel to save us the return journey on foot. 

 

Sahab, Oman

View from Sahab Hotel.  We walked to this village from the hotel and the hotel picked us up and brought us back.

 

Sahab, Oman

Verity on the walk to a nearby village, Sahab.

 

Sahab, Oman Sahab, Oman

Verity at the end of our walk.

 

Sahab, Oman

Sahab, Oman

 

The hotel lets you can bring your own alcoholic drinks so you can have a few sundowners while enjoying the views and then drink your own wine with your meals.  There is no corkage. 

 

London - July 2015

 

Buckingham Palace July 2015

Buckingham Palace from Green Park

 

Serpentine

Serpentine, Hyde Park

 

 

 

Kraków, Poland - July 2015

 

Krakow, Poland

Wawel Castle

 

Krakow Poland

Wawel Castle

 

Krakow, Poland Krakow, Poland

Krakow.

 

Krakow, Poland

Wawel Castle on the Vistula (Wisla) River.

 

Krakow, Poland

Wawel Cathedral on Wawel Hill

 

Wawel Cathedral (Polish: katedra wawelska), is a Roman Catholic church located on Wawel Hill in Kraków. More than 900 years old, it is the Polish national sanctuary and traditionally has served as coronation site of the Polish monarchs as well as the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Kraków.

 

Photo Bomb Selfie Krakow

Photobomb                                                                                                Nights Out.

 

Krakow, Poland

Krakow Street

 

Krakow Market Square

Krakow Market Square

 

We had an apartment off Krakow's market square so we had a very short distance to walk before we were in the middle of a huge number of restaurants, bars and clubs.  Choose between burgers, Polish food and international cuisine. Some of the restaurants were a very high standard but on the outside they all looked similar so look at the menu carefully.  We enjoyed the local food - the duck, goose, perch and pike were particularly good as was the local beer.  The live music was eclectic.  There was a lot of classical music each night in the local churches, with Chopin obviously being disproportionately represented, but a lot of Vivaldi as well.  There were live Blues and Rock bands in the Square and some Jazz Clubs as well. 

 

21st Birthday Dinner

21st Birthday 7 Course Taster Menu Dinner

 

We had a 7 course taster menu at Copernicus Hotel as part of Edward's 21st Birthday celebrations.  Highlights included Baltic herring with apple paired with a Bison Grass vodka , foie gras terrine with chocolate and raspberries paired with a sweet desert wine, strawberries wrapped in Parma ham in Gazpacho and Quails roasted in honey. Most of the wines were from Tuscany.  It was a superb evening with well informed sommelier and waiters. 

 

Salt Mine

Wieliczka Salt Mine

 

The trip down the Wieliczka Salt Mine was a pleasant interlude and a good way to escape the summer heat.  Built in the 13th century it produced table salt continuously until 2007 and is one of the world's oldest salt mines still in operation. Salt was also important to preserve food for consumption during the winter months and was therefore an important commodity.  This is evident from the effort they went to to mine it.   The mine has about 300km of tunnels distributed over nine levels, the deepest being 327m below ground.  There are also chapels and grottos carved below ground, with statues hand carved out of the salt.  Many can now be hired for weddings and meetings.  The show-piece is the huge of St Kinga Chapel.  Every single element, including the chandeliers to altarpieces, is made of salt.

 

Salt Mine

Wieliczka Salt Mine

 

Salt Mine

Wieliczka Salt Mine

 

Salt Mine

Wieliczka Salt Mine

 

Salt Mine

Wieliczka Salt Mine

 

I've recently started a new job and have limited holiday so returned to work in the fierce Dubai summer heat but the family continued to Gdańsk and Warsaw. 

 

October 2015

 

clair and Jimmy Anderson Clair and Stuart Broad

Clair with Jimmy Anderson                                                                                               Clair with Stuart Broad

 

Dubai Cricket England vs Pakitan
Pakistan vs. England, Dubai Cricket Stadium, October 2015

 

Dublin - October 2015

 

Dublin

Ha'penny Bridge, Dublin

 

Dublin

Dublin

 

Dublin Church

Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin

 

Trinity College DublinTrinity College, Dublin

 

Trinity College Dublin

 

Trinty Guinesses Guiness at Trinity College

Guinness at Trinity College

 

Manchester  - November 2015

 

Grosvenor Place Manchester

My old Hall of Residence being demolished...

 

London November 2015

 

Gin Cocktails

Gin Cocktails - Graphic Bar.....
 

Sake  no Hana

 

Sake no Hana

....then dinner at Sake no Hana.

 

London

View from our Conference Centre

 

London

View from our Conference Centre

 

Edinburgh - December 2015

Photos from another website

Edinburgh German Market

Photos from another website

Edinburgh German Market

German Market, Edinburgh

 

Christmas 2015 - Derbyshire, England

 

Derbyshire

English winter sunset - December 2015

 

We rented a cottage in Hartington, Derbyshire for Christmas.  Dark evenings; coal fires; great food; hot mulled wine; friends and relatives; country walks and English pubs with English bitter.  Brilliant. 

Hartington, DerbyshireHartington, Derbyshire

Hartington is a small Peak District village, but still boats all essential amenities:  excellent pub with good restaurant; hotel with excellent restaurant and bar; specialist cheese shop; specialist chocolate shop and general store that sold local handmade meat pies, award winning English sausages, local beers and every provision we could think of and needed.  Genius.  I might retire here. 

DerbyshireWolfscote Dale and Biggins Dale Walk.  Bridge over the River Dove. 
DerbyshireWolfscote Dale and Biggins Dale Walk
DerbyshireWolfscote Dale and Biggins Dale Walk
DerbyshireWolfscote Dale and Biggins Dale Walk
DerbyshireWolfscote Dale and Biggins Dale Walk

Derbyshire

Wolfscote Dale and Biggins Dale Walk

 

Derbyshire

Bakewell

 

Derbyshire

Bakewell

 

Bakewell

Original Bakewell Pudding Shop, Bakewell

 

Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas!

 

Baslow Hall

10 Course Taste of Britain menu at Fischers Restaurant, Baslow Hall, Derbyshire (Verity was there)

 

We had an excellent 10 course Taste of Britain dinner at Fischers Restaurant, Baslow Hall.  It has a Michelin Star and the food, wine and service lived up to expectations.  A fantastic and memorable evening with friends and family. 

 

Baslow Hall Menu

Taste of Britain Menu, Baslow Hall

 

 

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