TGI February

January, I am thrilled to see the back of you.

Foggy Abu Dhabi
I took this photo of a fog-soaked downtown Abu Dhabi in February, but it’s my blog and I’m using it as a metaphor for January

You are the kind of month that gives with one hand and sticks two fingers up at you with the other.

The kind of month where you sit down to write something and just think ugh. A joyless fun-vacuum of a month.

The kind of month where you should be revelling in the fact that it’s perfect post-work weather for running outdoors…until you finally try running outdoors after a winter in the gym, only to wake up the following morning feeling like your hips need replacing.

Not so Fitbit

Fitbit vs 4x4
It didn’t stand a chance

It’s the kind of month where you’re grateful for the nudge provided by your Fitbit’s heady blend of encouragement and gamification…only to inadvertently drop the bloody thing when you’re halfway into town collecting Kid A from one of her extra-curricular activities, only realise what’s happened when you get home, spend a large chunk of your evening retracing your steps, temporarily thinking the gods are smiling on you when you find it again, only to discover it’s been in a battle with a 4×4 and emerged a very distant second. Sorry, Santa.

Strapped up
Mmm, beige velcro; could it be any more January? (Freckles, model’s own)

It’s the kind of month when, like thousands of other people the world over, you book a holiday for later in the year to give you something to look for a to (in this case, a beach holiday, our first in about 15 years) only to discover you might be wearing a plaster cast on your wrist in the exact week you should be learning stand up paddleboarding instead.

(Ice skating injury from December; still sore, possibly fractured. Yay. More on this in due course.)

The kind of month where you double your pet count by taking on a second cat only for your daughter to lose it the second she got it home. Convinced it had escaped and was now, in fact, dead, she spent an entire evening wailing “I killed it!”, proving once and for all that rumours of her dramatic tendencies are groundless.

One cat, two cats
That’s enough cats – Ed.

Hours of fruitless searching later – first in the house, then in the garden, then all over our compound – we finally discovered it. Luckily, it had fared better than my Fitbit in that it hadn’t been run over. In fact, it hadn’t left the house and all and had been nervously hiding behind the fridge. Because of course.

It’s the kind of month where you finally start making some progress on the social front, making friends with the neighbours, having them round for dinner, all that good stuff, only for them to announce they can’t take their landlord’s incessant rent rises any longer, and are relocating (at least, that’s their story; I may very well have said something inappropriate, it wouldn’t be the first time).

When you go through all the hoops to get a supplementary booze licence for Mrs LC only for her to sign up for Dry January – sorry, Smuguary – again.

Blast off

Mushrif Central Park
Blue skies! Park life! Science!

So here’s to February. Your sole qualification is that you’re not January, and for that we are grateful (not to mention the new High Highs album you brought us). Here’s to the return of visitor season, of warmer days and longer nights.

Here’s to the Qasr Al Hosn festival of Emirati culture (til 13 Feb). Here’s to the Love Food Festival, with 30 food trucks shipped in especially from the UK Coming to Al Ain and, from 18-20 Feb, to Abu Dhabi.

And here’s to Live Science (you know, for kids!) which is on until March 3 in Mushrif Central Park. We took our science mad two at the weekend and it’s huge fun. It’ll make you forget January ever existed.

There’s a nominal entrance fee to the park, which is something I’ve never seen before (but not a patch on anything that Qatar’s notoriously visitor-unfriendly Aspire Park ever came up with). Quite what our five dirhams entrance fee would have bought us we’ll have to come back another time to find out, because the exhibition is right by the main entrance and we didn’t made it any further than that.

Live Science
If only Amnesiac tidied up his room like he tidies up space junk

Live Science is all about the future of space travel and captures even the most jaded imagination. It’s a very hands-on exhibition full of games, displays, virtual reality, space elevators, rockets to fly, and space junk to recycle (not to mention two extra labs where you can play DJs and sound recorders or program your own robot while you wait to enter the main hall).

With British astronaut Tim Peake currently aboard the ISS, it was all too easy to connect whatever was being sparked in the kids’ imaginations with the realities of space travel, while all I could think was “When can we come back here again ?”

It’s hard not to look at the mysterious, infinite majesty of the cosmos and think “I bet they don’t have January in space”.


6 thoughts on “TGI February

  1. Roy Beardsworth February 7, 2016 / 7:01 pm

    Hang on ! not sure about the ” blaming January ” theme in the post – for all those a tad interested – my birthday is on the 5th so Jan does hold a special place for me and many others I’m sure 🙂

    On reading your posts I always see if there are any parallel’s to my family here in Australua – so here goes .

    We came back from holiday to discover ” bob” the goldfish had passed . after much wailing ,a short service and burial in the front garden all attention shifted to the forthcoming arrival of two Guinea Pigs .

    My kid B was foistered onto friends for the day – school holidays and promptly fell and fractured a small bone in her
    hand .

    Booze – my in- laws have been over for 6 weeks – I can still here the crash of glass as the refuge truck picks up the recycling bin – to the ” tut tut’s ” from my neighbours .

    Talking of neighbours – my non speaking to me neighbours after I asked was it OK to crane a swimming pool over there house – the answer came back no – Damon you YouTube !

    Scientists – we run a little side business – Airbnb see Charming Wetherboard house , we have had three guests so far – all Scientist – I’ve given up trying to understand what they do !

    • littlecity February 8, 2016 / 2:24 am

      Roy – thanks for your comprehensive reply; good to see all the highs and lows of family life are just as present with you in Australia as they are here in the UAE.

      And a belated happy birthday to you. There was a line I cut before publishing about January being the kind of month even people whose birthdays fell in it didn’t like, so I’m glad to be proved wrong (again!)

      Thanks again for stopping by, and RIP Bob the Goldfish.

  2. vinneve February 8, 2016 / 5:17 am

    I do understand your feelings though my beloved husband b-day was on 31st but it’s about you and what had happened that you felt that way. I’m beginning to love February as well as so many festivals and activities coming up! yey! Went to Qasr Al Hosn & CNY festival at the Galleria. Will go to that Live Science too one of these days! FYI… Mushrif Central Park is huge, there is a mini zoo as well inside and lots to walk on or have a sit on the grass or have coffee and some organic foods/vegies to buy as well. Yes you better come back after all, your Aed5 will be worth it and bring a scooter or skate board but ONLY for kids. No adults acting like a kid around is allowed as I have tried my son’s new scooter/swayer and the securitiy said No haha! 🙂

    • littlecity February 9, 2016 / 3:16 am

      Glad you enjoyed the Qasr Al Hosn festival – we’re really looking forward to going, and also to exploring Mushrif Central Park, as it sounds like there’s a lot more to see / do.

      The Food Festival is happening there from 18-20th, so we’ll definitely be back (with scooters; thanks for the tip!) And when you get to Live Science, good luck beating my high score on the space junk clearing game…

      • vinneve February 9, 2016 / 3:40 pm

        Haha! Will do 🙂

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