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Here Comes 2014 – Just Go For It

Happy New Year Everyone

Whatever this year brings my advice is


Instead of looking back at my best makes of 2013 (let’s face it, you’ve seen them all before, why on earth would you want to take a second peek), I am going to share with you a trip down memory lane to show that you just don’t know what’s around the corner.

My very first post for 2014 has come about because of my last post in 2013 which you can see here.

A few of your wonderful comments made me smile. The lovely Sylvia-Anne asked if I had really worked at the BE in Kuwait and also my super DT sister Ellie thought I was telling porkies.

Well it’s all true, I worked at the British Embassy from 1994 – 2000 and Andrew worked for the Kuwaiti government from 1993 – 2001.

Kuwait happened for Andrew and I at a very low point in our lives. Andrew had been out of work for 8 months plus the UK was in a really bad recession. He started applying for jobs abroad and got work in Kuwait. This was such a scary time in our lives. To just up and go on our own to work and live in a foreign country, leave all our family and friends behind. Also the 1st Gulf War had just ended, well just say that I cried a lot. At our ages to leave the UK and all our loved ones behind was just unreal but needs must and off we went.

We were only going to stay for one year, get back on our feet and go back to the UK again. How wrong can anyone be … because we loved it so much we ended up staying SEVEN YEARS.

Sharing just a couple of pics about our time there. This is me having tea with Prince Charles (you read right … Prince Charles, all true Ellie) and a copy of the invite letter. Sadly Andrew wasn’t invited to this event.

Afternoon Tea With CharlesAfternoon Tea With Charles 1Invite Letter

Here are a few receptions that Andrew and I attended whilst we were in Kuwait. The best of these was when we were invited onto the Royal Yacht Britannia. She was making her final voyage before being decommissioned in December 1997. On board also was Margaret Thatcher. Great night but sadly Andrew again missed out because he was ill but we were lucky enough to get a private viewing, a few days before, of the Royal Yacht by some of the crew before the reception.

Met the Duke Of York twice and also met Princess Anne once. She only shook my hand, asked my name and said hello but she spoke to Andrew for a good 10 minutes about his work. Meeting Tony and Cheri Blair was another highlight of our time out there.

Duke Of YorkQueen's Birthday InviteNew Zealand Invite

At the time the first photo was taken I was showing around a visitor from the FCO who was taking photos of the new Consular section waiting room which had just been built (where I worked). As you do I threw myself onto one of the new seats and started posing. Me thinks he was going to delete the photo but low and behold a few weeks later a letter arrived in the diplomatic bag with this pic in it. Another pic of me at an evening reception in the embassy grounds with some of the crew of HMS Southampton. That was a great weekend and we also went aboard her.

Another fabulous time was when we were invited by the Ambassador of New Zealand and Commander Ross Smith of HMNZS Te Kaha to a reception on board ship.

The other two pics are of the Iraqi border and my son standing beside one of the patrol guards.

Consular SectionHMS SouthamptonIraq BorderIraq Border Checkpoint

The writing actually says:

U.S Military & Civilian Personnel
Kuwait – Iraq Border
3 Kilometers Ahead

Now did you notice that it only says US Military & Civilian Personnel, hey what about us BRITS!!!


17 Responses to “Here Comes 2014 – Just Go For It”

  1. Dot says:

    What lovely memories Shirley! And don’t you come up well with a bit of spit-and-polish!!! I didn’t know that you had met Charles…I remember when I was about 10 and Liz came to Portland – I was in the Brownies at the time and got to line up at the airport to welcome her. I couldn’t see a damn thing, I was too little, and the black cars were too big lol. And Charles and Di visited the smelter where I worked (but there was a protest thing happening so I stayed away – conflict of interest stuff)
    Ummmm I notice that you are constantly surrounded by men! Just saying… 🙂

  2. Dot says:

    p.s. I think the “Just go for it” mantra is a GREAT one!

  3. That is just sweet, Happy New Year, Carole

  4. coco says:

    That’s very interesting Shirl, thanks for sharing with us such great moments of your life in Kuwait.. You have had a wonderful life full of memories!! Life takes sometimes some strange paths… but finally the worse can become the better! Not always of course… but sometimes.
    Happy New Year to you and your family Hugs, Coco xx

  5. Meggymay says:

    What a store of memories you must have Shirley, thanks for sharing them.
    Loved your mantra for the New Year, definitely one to remember.
    Hope you and your family have a happy healthy 2014.
    Yvonne xx

  6. Irene Chillman says:

    Brilliant post Shirl, wishing you and Andy all the best for 2014.
    Irene xx

  7. Sylvia-Anne says:

    Wow Shirl – I asked a question and I got the most amazing answer!!!!! I really enjoyed reading about your time in Kuwait – thanks so much for sharing those wonderful memories.

    Wishing you and yours a happy and peaceful 2014. Hugs, Sylvia xxxx

  8. Anne R says:

    I was not expecting that! I am not surprised you stayed for 7 years, it looks and sounds like you had the most wonderful time. Very good of you to share this experience with us. Wishing you a very Happy New Year. Hugs, Anne x

  9. butterfly says:

    What a great example of what “just going for it” can get you! Hope 2014 brings you lots of adventures too!!
    Happy New Year!
    Alison xx

  10. Shirley says:

    Wow, what a wonderful life experience ! Love your theme and enjoyed the photos, Thanks for sharing. Happy New Year ! Shirleyx

  11. Ellie Knol says:

    What an interesting story of a very special time in your lives. I am still SUPER?
    I quote: “Sadly Andrew wasn’t invited to this event”. I read this and thought, OK you meet prince Charles, but sadly Andrew wasn’t invited to this event. I thought you meant prince Andrew, couldn’t really figure out why you would have wanted to meet him, he’s much younger (?, I think?), hehe…. Only then I realised that your husbands’ name is Andrew..
    Have a good 2014!

  12. Donna Ellis says:

    Wonderful experiences, and thank you for sharing what led up to them! You are right – no matter what is happening in our lives at any given moment, we never know what is waiting just around the corner, Shirl. Thank you for sharing these stories, and the photos – and thank you for sharing your artwork all year long with the rest of us!
    Happy New Year, Shirl.

  13. Brenda says:

    Lovely post Shirley and thank you for your kind visits to me over Christmas, much appreciated.

    I can so identify with this post and you are right as people do not believe you when you make mention of some of these names. Although we never worked overseas, our activities were such in the late 90’s and early 2,000’s that we attended many similar functions and you really do see another side to many of these people.

    For me one still stands out above the rest and that is one you also mention Tony Blair (sorry P Charles and P Anne) who we were privileged to meet a few times, apart that is of course some of my Liverpool FC heroes at one of the Sports Personality of the Year functions, but that’s another story !!

    Wishing you and yours a Happy, Healthy and Crafty New Year.

    B x

  14. Brenda Brown says:

    Fabulous post Shirl and wonderful memories. Lovely to see the photos and hear about the amazing experiences you had.
    Looking forward to some crafty days with you in 2014. Hope you and Andrew have a brilliant 2014 and wishing you all you would wish for yourselves.
    hugs {brenda} xox

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  16. Happy New Year Shirley to you and yours. Terrific memories your have – funny how life turns out with many clouds having silver linings. Nicola x

  17. Avril says:

    Hi Shirley, I missed New Year – but so glad I didn’t miss this post!
    What wonderful memories you must have, and I agree with your mantra -Just Go for It – otherwise your never know what you may have missed.
    Love the photos, especially the last ‘pose’, thanks for sharing.
    Best Wishes to you and your family, I hope you have a brilliant 2014.
    Hugs, Avril xx

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