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After more than six weeks in Ireland we arrived back safely in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE. We missed the worst of the desert heat in August, but with temperatures still in the high 30s, it’s no cause for celebration. Early morning trips to the markets, waiting until almost dusk before venturing into the garden for more than 5 minutes, and constant A/C indoors are part and parcel of the deal here, at least for another few weeks.

I always expect to see a few changes when I come home but I’m not too keen on surprises. One person’s ‘nice surprise’ is another’s ‘nasty shock’ in my opinion, so when my husband says, ‘I’ve got a nice surprise for you. You’ll love it’, alarm bells ring. Once it was a desert fan for my small kitchen that was more suitable for the Albert Hall (it really was enormous). Another time I returned from a trip to find a very shaggy, smelly goat munching on green stuff in one corner of the yard.

It was dark, after midnight when we got home from the airport last weekend, but I could still make out more than 3 chooks on the perch in the chicken coop. ‘I thought we agreed we’d wait ‘til the weather cooled down?’ I asked, not wanting to dampen his enthusiasm too much. ‘I got a chance of some great chickens,’ he said. Next morning I was eager to see my new girls. My original 3 looked lovely – plumper, bigger, alert and happy.

Ginger, Cocky Locky and Lady Grey

Ginger, Cocky Locky and Lady Grey

But what on earth was tailing them? The famous line from The Color Purple movie came to mind: ‘You sho’ is ugly!’ Is it normal for a chicken to be missing so many feathers, to have such a long neck and a bare backside? My hubby tells me it’s just the breed – they all look like that. Really? I’ll let you judge for yourself – am I being too harsh, is there beauty here albeit heavily disguised?

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I took a glamour shot to give poor Scruffy (not very imaginative, I know) a chance. It doesn’t get any better, does it? Ah well, as my significant other pointed out, she has beautiful eyes. They’re like polished gems of jet and she is also very sassy and friendly. There are 10 others by the way, but they aren’t so photogenic.

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And speaking of goats – having packed the daughter off to her new school on her very first morning back – (jet lag – who has time for it?), I nipped out for some supplies. Here’s what greeted me behind our villa on my way back from LULU hypermarket in RAK Mall.

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When the goatherd whistled they ran ...

When the goatherd whistled they ran …

... except for these 2 poseurs

… except for these 2 poseurs

Ah, it’s good to be back. Now all I need is to meet the neighbourhood camels. Chickens, goats, and camels – the most commonly seen (and heard) animals in my part of the UAE. Sometimes it takes a break away from home to appreciate the sights we take for granted every day.

Wait for me!

Wait for me!

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