And so with a heavy heart my male staff kissed his mum goodbye and told her that he loved her. Can you imagine how frightening it must be to be seven months into a nine month life prognosis? I for one would be running around in circles wheeking and expending a lot of bush chocolate. We'd spent a month living with my male staff's mum and dad in their house in the English midlands. When we first arrived, his mum was in hospital after a fall and a couple of seizures. The poor old thing looked dreadful, thin and weak and hardly eating at all - barely able to feed herself. By the time we left, she was back at home, strong, getting about with a walking frame and eating like a horse. Of course I put most of this improvement down to my presence. Who would not feel better for having a small, cute, furry thing running around their lounge pooping and chewing cables.
Both my male staff and I had arrived in England from Australia with expectations of attending a funeral and having to console each other and his dad. But no, the steroids are keeping the brain tumour at bay for the time being and his mum is so well that we are able to return Down Under to attend to business and be re-united with our loved ones - my female staff, Badger and Paolo and Biggles the budgies. Not to mention Mary the half tame magpie, Bubble and Barnabas the butcher birds, Thomas the kookaburra and Leroy and Lucy the rainbow lorikeets. We'll return to England in a few weeks, all being well, to see how my male staff's mum is going. The good news is that it looks as though she will see another Christmas.
Right now, as I am dictating this to my male staff we are one third of the way home, sitting in our hotel room in Dubai - or Do Buy as it should be called since it has more land mass covered with shopping mauls than the entire area of Belgium. From our window, across one of the ubiquitous building sites and Dubai Creek is the city skyline - a collection of tall futuristic needles poking up into the pale blue sky. The tallest of them, the Burj Khalifa is the nearly three thousand feet tall and looks like something out of the movie Blade Runner.
This afternoon my male staff took me for a long walk to wear down my claws a bit. (He says smuggling me into places down the front of his trousers is getting a little painful.) I toddled along with him for a while but it was hard keeping up, so I wheeked and looked pathetic until he picked me up and put me on his shoulder.
We ended up at the biggest shopping maul of all - The Dubai Maul which cowers at the feet of the mighty and extremely pointy Burj Khalifa. As far as I could see it contained a thousand shops all selling expensive tat, though I must admit my male staff did buy me a very nice salad. We thought we'd better avoid tabbouleh having had a bad experience with it when I was here with Badger a while ago.
A strange and interesting place is Do Buy. No matter how long a foreign national stays and works there he will never be granted citizenship. Even if his mother and father lived their all their lives and he or she was born there. Until yesterday the child of a union between an Emerati woman and a foreign man had no right of citizenship either as citizenship is passed down through male lineage. This is all very well, but the foreign partner will still never be an Emerati national even if his or her kids will. Do Buy has the tallest building in the world, more Ferraris than Australia has Hyundais (or so it seems to me anyway), and it has the world's longest driverless metro rail system - and still they manage to close the automatic doors in my male staff's face just as he's about to get on board, having just dashed up four flights of stairs with a large furry guinea pig on his shoulder.
Emirates - the national airline was looking at copying the rail system and having pilotless planes. (Qantas have already briefly experimented with engineless planes.) since computers already take off, fly and land the thing anyway. However, research showed that passengers would prefer to have a dumb human at the pointy end. (Though that isn't exactly how it was expressed.) Emirates have therefore compomised and from May 2012 all their planes will be piloted by a crew of one human and an American pit bull terrier. The human is there to reassure the passengers and the pit bull terrier is there to bite the human if he touches any of the controls.