Monday, November 27, 2006

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow.

Well what a busy month November has been, the time has flown by and Christmas is almost upon us.Jacob spent Halloween as Harry Potter and had a wonderful evening at the Dolphin Center with his friends, playing games and trick or treating
We began the month with Jacob’s first ever camping trip. With Ramadan behinds us and a few days off work for Eid. We picked up a tent, loaded up the 4x4 and set off to the beach with friends. Arriving in the late afternoon, we parked the cars on the sand and set about putting up our new tents, and after much head scratching finally had somewhere to sleep before the sun totally disappeared. So a BBQ, champagne, G&T, and the odd glass of vino topped off a stunning night under the stars, with not a drop of light pollution to be seen. The following morning found James relaxing in the sea (on purpose) floating on his back, watching the sun rise over the distant horizon and listening to the gentle lapping of the waves against the shore.
On packing up the cars later that morning, we managed to bog down both of them in the sand, because we failed to deflate our tires prior to attempting to moving off. Much, digging, pushing and towing ensued before we were finally both free and on our way back home. Red faces all round, still at least we weren’t the only ones!
The following weekend was a much awaited ‘long’ weekend in Dubai. After arranging road passes for the family we packed up the Durango and headed West, on reflection it might have been worth buying a map prior to our departure. Even so, heading west proved to be right and we didn’t get lost once during the four and a half hour road trip. How on earth did we keep Jacob occupied for so long a journey? Fortunately James had remembered that we had a 6” LCD screen knocking about the house, as one does, and with the help of some cables, a soldering iron, an ipod and some general know how, Jacob had his own in flight movie system! We converted a load of his dvds so that they could be stored and played back on the ipod, so all he had to do was request his next movie. It was funny to listen to Jacob interacting with Little Einstein’s, headphones on, unaware of his own vocal volume.
As we left Oman with its’ rugged mountains we headed into the UAE and the landscape change to sand dunes, first orange, then tan and finally pale cream. Dubai loomed out of the afternoon haze after an hours drive, a maze of skyscrapers, tower cranes and construction. There is something like a quarter of the worlds tower cranes in use in Dubai, and to see the skyline you can certainly believe it.
We found our friends house without too much trouble, and after a short respite headed out for our first port of call, a place so secret that Jacob had no idea what was to befall him!
Ski Dubai!!! This is the first (and only) indoor ski resort in the Middle East and has skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing, or just playing in the snow ( ). We kitted up and walked into temperatures of minus two degrees, what a wonderful feeling!!!! We played in the snow caverns, had snowball fights and slid down slopes on a toboggan, all of us had a whale of a time.
So to top that, the following day all the boys went off to Wild Wadi water park (, whilst Becky and Nicole went to the Mall of the Emirates for some retail therapy. At first Jacob was a little unsure of what to make of it all, but after a couple of rides and a progression of small slides, he was calling the shots and going on higher and higher slides and more adventurous rides.
That night we headed over to the rugby club for bonfire night, it was not quite the fifth of November, but close enough. For those of you not of an English persuasion, this is the time we celebrate the attempted blowing up of Parliament back in 1605, odd I know but we are English (see for more info).
Jacob loved the bonfire experience and the fireworks that followed some time later, before we all retired to our beds weary from a very long and busy day.
Our last full day in Dubai was spent at the shops stocking up on the necessaries and a trip to IKEA which filled the car close to bursting and then, the following morning it was time to head back to Muscat. After a fond farewell to our friends we headed off in search of a petrol station. It is odd that a nation founded on oil should be so devoid of petrol stations!!!!!!!!!!!! After forty minutes of searching and running on vapors we stumbled upon one purely by chance, be still my beating heart. It was with palpable relief that we headed off with a full tank and the traffic of Dubai behind us.
Later in the month Oman had National Day, which celebrates the building of a modern state, and as part of this the British school required the children to dress according to different nations traditional costumes. Jacob’s year had the honour to celebrate the Omani nation, which meant a traditional dishdasha and the embroidered kummar hat, whilst I’m sure Jacob would have loved a khanjar (ceremonial knife) to finish off the ensemble, I don’t think the school would have been too impressed.
Becky then attended the school assembly where Jacob and the rest of his year paraded on the stage and sang “I’d like to teach the world to sing”.
After a busy first half on the month we have taken it a bit easy, as next week is December, and that means not only will Christmas be upon us but also Jacob’s birthday, two black tie “Do’s” and New Years!!!!!! Busy, Busy, Busy…………….
P.S. if anyone was wondering, our team of six won the quiz night on our very first outing. For our penance we will have to set the questions for the next quiz.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Ramadan a ding dong

This is the first Ramadan in quite some time for us as a family, and you soon forget the difficulties that the faithful face when trying to fast in hot conditions. For those of you that don’t know, Ramadan is a time of fasting, from sunrise to sunset no food or liquid is to pass your lips. Ok, so you get to eat and dink as much as you like as soon as the sun sets each evening, easy peasy I hear you say, but then add 35 to 40 degree heat and then you’ve got a problem.
Before I carry on, I should add that as non muslims we are not required to fast, but we mustn’t eat (even chewing gum) or drink or smoke (Not that we do) in public.
So how do the muslims cope with this? The working day starts late at around 9am and finishes at 1pm, and in between time as little energy is spent as possible. At around 5:30pm the sun goes down and everyone rushes home to break-fast, and that’s when the day begins! Shops open at 7:30pm and stay open to 11 or 12 pm, and whole families become night dwellers.
Foe those of us that do not participate, the best time to be out is when everyone else isn’t. The roads are quiet, on the run to work and school at 7am, a joy to be out on the road. At the working day finishes at 4pm, I have more time to myself than I know what to do with.
On the downside, a lot of the restaurants close and use this time for staff holidays, so eating out is not so easy, but there are far more invites to go to peoples houses for dinner so all in all a very social time. The school contacts have been invaluable for making new friends in what is a very small community and the diversity of this community has led to very interesting social events. Tonight we are off to the British Embassy’s quiz night!

There is already a noticeable drop in temperature, with a slight rise in humidity, and this is most apparent at the pool. Jacob has spent an inordinate amount of time in the water and his swimming is greatly improved. Come December we will have to switch to a pool with heating as it is too cold without. Our alternative is to spend a lot more time at the beach. It seems so long ago that we were last there, I am really looking forward to getting back to our weekends at the beach and maybe this year we will camp out overnight. Can’t wait!
Next week spells the end to Ramadan for another 11 months (It moves closer by one month every year due to the muslim calendar) and so begins Eide when we all get a holiday! Won’t know how much of a holiday until a day or so before but I’m hoping for five days (Inc the weekend). Oh happy days

Sunday, September 10, 2006

School Daze

Well Becky had her Birthday on the 23rd August and six days later along came mine. Unfortunately I had returned to work the day before, but I think I have reached that time when I’m not that bothered. Thanks to generous birthday donations from my family back in England I had managed to purchase a new BCD (a diving jacket that holds the air cylinder and provides buoyancy in the water) for myself, which was hand delivered courtesy of my lovely wife and Gulf Air baggage staff. Becky had arranged a little extra from Jacob on the day, so imagine my surprise when the present I unwrapped did not contain the coffee percolator as shown on the box, but another ipod. So we are now officially a two ipod family, how decadent ;o)

I had up ‘til recently not understood how this little bit of gadgetry could be of any possible use to me, until I discovered the car adapter. Now, instead of searching for the next cd to stick in the stereo, I can choose any of over six thousand songs whilst driving with a quick flick of a finger. Given that I have trouble choosing what to eat in a restaurant when I have more than five options, this choice and sheer quantity of music creates a whole new cunundrum for my brain to overload on. It was fortunate that I started converting and cataloging our compact discs to computer for Becky’s benefit, before I understood the scale of the task before me, otherwise I don’t think I would have got around to doing it.

So the solution is that I let the ipod randomly choose the music, and I rediscover music that was long ago forgotten (Maybe some are best forgotten). Oh, and if you were wondering I did get a percolator too, a traditional stove top type, thank you Jacob :o)

Jacob has now officially started at the British School Muscat and has had a whale of a time so far. He was however, a bit upset when he found out he couldn’t go at the weekends! As you can see, he looks as bright and shiny as a new penny in his white monogrammed T shirt and navy shorts. Please remember that this is the “BEFORE” photograph.

Becky is now getting up a six in the morning, and Jacob at six thirty with no grumbling. It is really nice since we get to have breakfast together, the first regular time we have as a family. Prior to this work had always dictated an early start, and those who stayed home were not convinced that early mornings could be of any benefit whatsoever. Now we get to talk in the mornings, say our goodbyes and all leave the house by seven.

The first day of school went well, although Jacob wasn’t sure about the pink turtle above his coat peg (But it’s PINK mummy). And subsequent days have elicited as much information as you would expect from a surly teenager (Blood out of a stone is something my mother will remember well, like father like son). Becky is determined this will not be the case and so a strict regime of cross examination, polygraph tests, and the obligatory table lamp and 500 watt bulb is being mobilized.

Now for the “AFTER” photograph:

Given the evidence before you, it is safe to assume Jacob did something whilst at school!

So the next bit of news is that the United Arab Emirates has switched to a five day week with a Friday/Saturday weekend as of the 1st September 2006. So???????

Oman is still ummming and aaaahhhhing and there are rumors abound that we will or wont follow suit. Personally I’m not that bothered when the weekend is (Currently Thursday/Friday) although being in line with the rest of the Arab world would have benefits. What has really got me jumping for joy is that my company has jumped the gun and put us on a five day week, so I finally get a proper weekend to spend with my family :o)

So given that I had my first whole two days this past weekend, I had a day diving with the new BCD (Bow and scrape, kiss Becky’s feet, many thanks, grateful whimpering etc.). An early start of six thirty insured that I was out of the door, down to the marina and out on the water by eight. A short trip of forty minutes down to Bandar Khoran and we were kitted up and in the water by nine. During the journey, we took a short respite to watch a pod of dolphins swim by with a couple of brief leaps out of the water to get a real good look at us. Well, even though the water was as flat as a mill pond, it was a cold 22 degrees (Hey that’s cold for Oman!) and the visibility was less than great. I did however get to grips with the new kit and took my first underwater photos, which weren’t too bad.

That evening Jacob, Becky and myself went round to a friend house to meet their two pedigree chocolate Labradors, one of which is expecting pups. Jacob giggled and screamed his way through a couple of very happy hours. And before anyone asks, NO WE ARE NOT GETTING ANOTHER DOG!

Well September is rolling on and soon it will be Ramadan which will mean working days that are one hour shorter, odd shop opening times, closed restaurants and no alcohol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is however, a time for dinner parties and BBQ’s and the chance to socialize in a friendlier, personal environment, which leads to making new friends and new opportunities.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Didn't We Have A Lovely Day The Day We Went to Tiwi !

Well - I finally managed to drag myself up off of my sick bed for a day trip out and it was a doozy I can tell you. We haven't had a day as lovely as that for a long time. So what did you do I hear you all asking dear readers ?!

Well, we left home at about 10.00am this morning, very civilized don't you think and we drove down towards Quriyat which is where James' road project begins and goes to lots for work and I have never been. It is about 50 mins from Muscat on a very pleasant mostly single carriageway tarmac road - no probs at all. From there we headed towards Tiwi, which is a fairly well reknowned Wadi in these here parts. This road is unmade - that it is very lumpy rock, loose dirt, mud and sand - a very interesting combination ! We drove on these "roads" for about half an hour being shaken to pieces and then we made it onto another tarmac road - phew. We then decided it was time for lunch so we stopped at a beach for some marathon stone throwing and a bit of lunch and it was lovely - look !

From there we drove on a bit for maybe 20 minutes or so - partly on real road an partly on hilly gravel ! We were looking for a sink hole, but unfortunately we never found it - still no mind. We made it to the wadi at Tiwi not really knowing what to expect and it was absolutely stunning - I have to say the last wadi we visited was rather underwhelming, so I wasn't expecting too much from this one, but it was beautiful - lots of lovely pools of water, little waterfalls, greenery and birdlife - gorgeous. Best of all, you can drive down the side of it and get out of the car for walking when it suits you - with most wadi's you drive to the mouth and then scramble across the rocks from there no good for littlies - but this one was perfect for families - just wonderful.

We had read in a book we have about a beach called "white beach" and had been looking for it on the way to Tiwi, but sadly had been unable to spot it - we decided to try again on the way back and lo and behold we found it and I'm so glad we did, it was fabulous - we went for a lovley swim and played in the sand a bit, the perfect antidote to a dusty drive.

Then it was back to Muscat for a evening of well deserved rest and relaxation - so be prepared all ye who visit - you will be subjected to a visit to Tiwi - be prepared to be juddered !

It was my Birthday on Wednesday and we had a very nice day indeed - unfortunately I was still feeling rather poorly so we didn't do that much, but James and Jacob brought me a cup of tea and presents in bed and Jacob bought me a very noisy musical card - we were all happy ! James had proposed to purchase me a piece of jewllery for my birthday, but at the last minute we both decided that an ipod would be much better ! So here my lovelies in all its fabulous glory is my 60GB video Ipod with a Bose speaker/docking station. I also have a nifty gadet in the car so that I can listen to the ipod via my radio - it's really great - sadly James has already had his Birthday present so he is going to have to wait until Christmas to get himself one - everybody say ahhhhhhh. Still I might let him borrow mine every now and then if he's good !

Thank you James and Jacob for a lovely Birthday - I had a fabby day and I loved my presies.

Lastly I just had to leave you with this picture of Jacob - he's such a cool dude these days it's scary. Ta ta all.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Wowzer Wowzer - lookey here

Well it was like this - a few days ago we happened to be a in a little diving shop we know and whilst James was looking for some strangely named piece of vital plastic equipment I noticed that they had a camera housing for underwater photography at a bargain price. So anyway we had a look and it turns out that the bargain price included the camera as well - not only that but as soon as we expressed an interest in it the shop owner dropped the price by 30OR - so anyway - we've now got an underwater camera and it's fab.

So then the other day whilst I was laying languishing on the sofa - oh yes - I've got yet another throat infection - James took Jacob to the pool and they had some fun with the camera. They took some really great photos and I thought I'd try to share a few of them with you.

Aren't they great - so you can expect multitudonous photos of fish from now on ! Nah - we won't bore you to tears with too much of that !

So this sore throat has been a real bummer I have to say. I went to see the Dr and she gave me a prescription for anti-biotics but suggest that I tried to manage it without - which I have been doing, very painfully - I think it is getting better but it has been a long hard road. It's a real shame that James has had two weeks off and I have been poorly for most of it - on the plus side he has been able to spend lots of time with Jacob and they have been having some fun - they've been swimming quite a bit, driving over the sand dunes - which Jacob loved and preparing for my Birthday which is tomorrow ! Jacob is not very good at keeping a secret so I have had to shut my ears a couple of times - still he can spill all the beans tomorrow and he can't wait. We are off to the Sultan centre this afternoon to get some seed trays so that I can plant the seeds that I got in the UK - I'm going to try and grow basil, rosemary and lavender - we shall see how it goes. I'm dying to get our garden looking nice - it's such a prison yard at the moment I need to get on with it - just got to kick this blasted sore throat first.

We are off out to dinner at Kargeens tomorrow night, which I'm looking forward to and we are also going to try and go and see Pirates of the Caribean 2 one evening and we are going to try and do a day trip to Tiwi, which is a lovely Wadi and should be a great day out. We had hoped to do a bit more exploring these two weeks, but that has had to be knocked on the head since I have been barely able to get out of bed. Poor James - I seem to have been nothing but sick this year !

Ta ta all

Monday, August 14, 2006

Home Again Home Again Jiggidy Jig

Well here we are back in Oman and safe and sound. The trip was just fine - not half as bad as I had anticipated apart from rather robust turbulence over Budapest - but still we are here and all is well. Looking forward to getting everything sorted and back to normal - big sigh and time for bed !

Night Night

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

While the Cats Away

Well this is going to be a very wordy blog as Becky has the camera. Jacob and Becky flew back to England last Friday to spend six weeks in England with family and friends avoiding the worst of Oman’s summer heat. By all accounts, Jacob was a good boy and enjoyed the flight, which was a big change to the vomit fest that he experienced on the way out to Oman. Becky and I packed her violent magenta suitcases the day before without too much fuss and Jacob found that he had a Spiderman wheeled suitcase as hand luggage, boy was he happy! Seeb airport in Oman is a bit of an oddity in that you have to go through security to get to the check in desks, so there is no time for protracted tearful good byes, as soon as you walk in to the terminal building you say your bit and off goes the traveller!
As they were arriving in the UK (late compared to Oman) I had time to check with BAA Heathrow website that their plane had arrived safely and then I was off to bed.
It’s a bit odd being the only person in a large dark house, the only thing missing are large dust sheets over the furniture!
Muscat has really quietened down, all the mums and children have disappeared for the summer and there is a lot less traffic on the road, it feels like a completely different place. The day before they left, Jacob and I spent the morning at the pool and we were the only two people all morning.
When I say Oman is hot in the summer, it is HOT. In England you turn off the central heating, here you turn on the AC and turn off the hot water. Why? well the sun heats the cold water tank so that it comes out really hot and the only way to get semi cool water is to let it cool down in the hot water cylinder!
I went over to the Hyatt for dinner and football on the Saturday (England v Portugal) enough said. Since then it has been solitary nights in front of the TV, hope to catch up on a few films, but don’t seem to be many that I want to see available at the video store. I can however recommend Kiss Kiss Bang Bang with Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jnr. Very funny.
So now is the make or break point, do I have six weeks of vegging or do I get up and about. I have loads of jobs I need to get on with so a positive attitude is essential. I tried to expand our wireless network last night but the access point was kaput. I sorted that out today and aim to have it up and running tonight, easier said than done. Jobs such as sorting out the spare room really excite me, not.
I will however have ample opportunity for diving, this Friday I have to do a rescue exercise and a theory test and then my sports diver qualification is finalised, taken long enough. Still, at least this is between dives, and I get to dive Fahal Island for pleasure. The water has been unseasonably cold (at depth) this year between 22 and 24 degrees, so I am going to be a whimp and put on a 3mm wetsuit and stay toasty warm. If I am millionaire lucky I might just see a whale shark, but I’m not holding my breath (diving pun intended). I have decided to become a Nitrox diver, which means my diving air will contain more oxygen than normal air. Sounds dodgy but it isn’t as it reduces the amount of nitrogen absorbed by the body reducing the risk of the Bends, among other things. I’ll need to fit in a days training to make this possible, oh where oh where will I find the time?
For all those of you who intend to visit us in the near future, I have found a nice little off road sand dune track near the house, where if you ask nicely I might let you take the Hummer for a spin, but not a roll. Now that I have had it for six months I’m not so precious about it, but it is still the best car I have ever owned.
Well I hope you all enjoy Becky and Jacob’s company and that sooner rather than later you will visit us in Oman.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Tailortastic and Other Tales

Hello again - what a gap hey ! We've been busy, busy, busy and having some much deserved fun so I'm afraid blogging suffered for a time there, but here we are ready and able to update you all on what we have been doing.

Our first tale starts on a Thursday afternoon, when James, Jacob and I joined a group of our friends at the Shangri-la hotel for a weekend of fun and frolics. It was fabulous. The children all played together in the little pool, we had numerous trips down the "crazy river" which should really be the lazy river - but who is going to argue with three toddlers about semantics ! All the maids came down for the evening and we had an absolutely delicious meal with plenty of beverages and a great deal of fun. The next day was spent mainly round the pool - we never even made it onto the beach to check out the watersports as we were having so much fun in the pool because this was the weekend that Jacob learned to swim - yippeeeee. We've been trying to persuade him for ages that he can do it, but no he wasn't having any of it - so, this weekend there was a little girl swimming in the pool, who was no more than 18 months old - Jacob thought - if she can do it so can I and off he went. Since then we haven't been able to stop him and it's taking some persuading to get him to come up for air ! As a reward for this great achievement he received a brand new pair of speedo goggles, which have reflective lenses, just like his daddy's glasses, and he's mad about them. I'm so glad that he has started to swim, it's lovely to be able to take him in the pool and just let him go - he's not a great swimmer yet, but it won't be long until he's joining the Olympic team I'm sure !

Our second tale - involves a rather noisey event - we went to see Status Quo ! What a laugh - we had such a fab time, it was amazing. Neither James or I had been to a concert in years and it was such fun to just let our hair down - well I've got hair to let down James' is obviously metaphorical ! I got to meet the band before the concert began which was hysterical - who knew that they were so old and frail - I even managed to get their autogrpahs ! Look look

We went with a group of friends who had an absolute rip roaring time - well actually they didn't move from the edge of the crowd and refused to dance all night !!! I ask you - what is the point of going to a concert and refusing to dance ? I could have recorded it for you girls and given you a cd of it afterwards - saved you a bit of money !!! Well here they are - "enjoying themselves"

To be fair - it was exceptionally hot and I think I lost about 10 litres of sweat that night - I know James did - we looked wrecked when we got home - I think Selina must have wondered what on earth we had been doing - we went out looking quite respectable !! Anyway it was a great laugh and I really really enjoyed it.

We have also found a new and fabulous tailor - James has been persuaded to have a white short sleeved shirt made - so much more sensible that long sleeves in this weather and it only cost 8OR including fabric (about £12) - it was a direct copy of a shirt he already has, but with short sleeves instead of long and he is going to get several more made now. I have had lots of things made all for ridiculously low prices and all of course make me look gorgeous ! There are a wonderful selection of fabrics here in Ruwi - which is an Indian area, so lots of gorgeous sari fabrics as well as lovely liberty print cottons and loads of linen. I just need to find something I can have copied thos liberty prints - I love them.

Right - I'm not going to witter on any more in case I don't get finished a then don't post this ! I'll love you and leave you and those of you in the UK Jacob and I will see you soon !! Yeah - how exciting - apart from the plane part of course - but I can't walk so it will have to do !

Ta ta

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Hollywood or Bust

For all of you that would like to know what our new home is like we have cobbled together a short video for your pleasure. Just click on the link below and enjoy or more likely fall asleep.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Some Sad News

I am sorry to have to tell you all that on Saturday I went for a pre natal check up and found out that we were expecting twins. Very sadly there were no heartbeats to be found - something had gone terribly wrong. I have been in hospital and been sorted out - just the emotional side to deal with now - which is greatly helped by having my lovely little Jacob around.

Just wanted to let you all know.

Monday, April 24, 2006

I think I failed .......

...... in my mission to make sure that there wasn't such a large gap between posts this time - sorry about that - but there is a very good reason. As many of you already know we are expect a new addition to our family, not until October, but boy have I been feeling bad.

The morning sickness this time has been much worse than it was with Jacob - does this mean we could be having a girl !!?? On top of that I have had tonsillitus, not once but twice in three weeks and had to have two doses of antibiotics - I am told they are safe, but we shall have to wait and see I suppose. I have all in all been feeling dreadful and been doing not much more than laying on the sofa drinking as much water as possible and trying to be enthusiastic when Jacob asks me to come and jump over things - poor Jacob he has just had his Easter holidays and I was sick for pretty much all of it. On the plus side for the first week of his holiday my Ma and Pa were here and we had a really lovely time. It was so nice to see them and we had such a lovely relaxed week it was smashing - just a shame that I got sick half way through it - still I soldiered on and I think they had a lovely time too. It was most sad to see them go. I have a lovely picture of Jacob jumping off a sandcastle when we went to the beach, but it's on the other computer and I can't be fussed with transferring it over at the moment - I'll post it soon.

So in all honesty we have not been up to much at all just recently - we have joined a club where we can go swimming which is lovely, but I can't go at the moment because the Dr had ordered me to stay away from swimming pools and to get as much rest as possible, which does not include going swimming - I have to wait for my immune system to build itself up again after it has been knocked for six by all those antibiotics - they really did take it out of me - I have to say that today is the first day that I have felt half way human for quite a while - it's nice and I hope it lasts. I am nearly 15 weeks pregnant now and I remember with Jacob that from 16 weeks I started to feel good rather than pooish ! So I'm holding onto that dream and hoping against hope that within the next week or so, feeling good is the norm rather than the exception. I think I have forgotten what it feels like to wake up and not feel sick, and to be able to brush my teeth without gagging - ah how I long for the simple life.

Jacob is doing well - he is now in his last term at his nursery, he starts at the British school in September and we are going for an open day there in May - when we have to order his uniform ! I can't wait for him to start - I think he's going to have a fab time - however I am not looking forward to having to get him to school by 7.30am ! At the moment at nursery we have little wiggle room - they are supposed to be there by 7.45 but as long as they are there by about 8.15 no-one makes a fuss - I can tell you just recently 8.15 has been more than a push - so I am not quite sure how we are going to manage 7.30am when I'm going to be heavily pregnant ! Perhaps I could recruit James to this important mission - what do you think ? will he co-operate ?!

I have a few photos for your consideration - I think this blog has been photoless for long enough and now that we have our proper pooter up and running I can at least do photos, although our camera died last week and James had to go and get a new one - it's great, really small and Jacob loves using it - we are getting lots of pictures of the telly appearing on the camera !!!

The first phot is of Jacob at Easter. Jacob like Easter ! he is, sadly like his mother a chocolholic and he was most delighted to be able to eat chocolate all day without being refused ! He wishes it was Easter every day !

The second photo is from when we went to Sefa beach at the weekend - Friday to most other people ! We had a lovely time - the weather wasn't too hot only about 36 - 37 degrees and we had a really relaxing time - the sea was the best I have ever seen it, clear blue and beautiful - it really was lovely - we went with some friends and their two little girls and by the end of the day the all ended up swimming naked in the sea - they loved it - Jacob said it "felt funny". Jacob had been diving on Thursday - not the most successful dive he's ever had, but as he says all experience - so he had a busy weekend - Sefa is about an hours drive from our house, but it gives James a great excuse to drive his Hummer on the beach !

The last photo is of Jacob on the phone last night to Nu Nu - he was eating his dinner at the time - sausages, mash and baked beans yummy - I treated us to pork cumberland sausages and they were gorgeous.

So if I'm feeling better for a while I'll hopefully be able to post more now ! I hope anyway . Ta ta all

Friday, February 24, 2006

Is There Anybody There ?

I am sure we have totally lost any faithful readers that we had with our shameful lack of posts, but what can I say - apart from "sorry". So here we are again - bright and shiny and ready to start over !

Well how can I update you on all that has happened since the computer has been on the fritz - well I don't think I can. All I can do is give you a quick run down.

Christmas was nice, but quiet and we are looking forward to coming back to the UK next year - Christmas just isn't Christmas when it's 30 degrees outside. It all seems a little pointless ! Still Jacob loved his presents and thank you so much to everyone that took the trouble to send him presents and cards - he was very chuffed indeed with everything.

New year was very quiet indeed. Anyone that knows me, knows that I don't hold with all this new year stuff. Being forced to go out and be jolly is just not my scene. So we just stayed at home and relaxed and it was very nice indeed.

January was very busy we had James' family over (Ma, Pa, Sister, Brother in Law, one niece and one nephew) and a very lovely time was had by one and all. We went to the Desert and stayed in a bedouin camp, we saw camels wandering the sand dunes, we rode some ( some sore bums resulted), and we went Dune bashing in my Kensington school bus and James' Hummer! Mark had a whale of a time abusing my vehicle and I nearly passed out at what the guide was doing in James' car with James, Jacob, Seb and Ernie in it - I was sure it was going to turn over. The height and steepness of the dunes was amazing, and it was frightening to watch the cars go over the top and with the guide at the wheel of James' car some death defying feats were carried out (Becky couldn't watch) such as driving down the dune sideways. What was more worrying was our guides admission that he would have attempted more had the boys not been in the back. But all was well and everyone came away safe and sound and with sand in our socks. That Desert sand is so fine it goes through your shoes and socks and nestles in your toes - very strange. Unfortunately during the Desert trip we managed to get sand in our camera, which meant that it was out of action for much of the visit. Still we are hoping that Margaret and Ernine and Kate and Mark will avail us of their pictures soon and we'll be able to post some.

On the subject of pictures since the pooter crashed we have not been able to re-install Painshop Pro yet, so I'm not able to post any pictures yet - hopefully all will be resolved next week - more on that later.

So what else did we do with the esteemed Smith/Evans party ? We had a belated Christmas lunch on Seefa beach - which was great fun, a picnic lunch with roast potatoes, roasted butternut squash and roasted chicken, followed by christmas pudding with cream and christmas presents - it was a real laugh. We took a lovely trip down to Nizwa, which was very interesting - a very nice fort and facinating souk with lots of dead, very large fish all over the place - still the dates were good and so was the buffet lunch ! We took a couple of trips to the Souk in Muttrah, which was lovely - numerous scarves were bought and hopefully gratefully received by those back in the UK. We went to lots of lovely restaurants and to the ODC (Oman Dive Centre), where there is an excellent beach, more times that I can remember - I haven't done so much sunbathing in years ! Mark got to experience his first taste of scuba diving in our communial swimming pool with James' kit but they both had wetsuits on and they were still cold!

Anyway - hopefully everyone had a lovely time and we are looking forward to more of you coming over as soon as possible - so get saving !

The next thing to happen was that we found out that Muscat Oasis, where we had reserved an apartment was not going to be finished until May - aghhhh - we decided that we didn't want to wait that long and so the search for a new house began. It was hard, and it was disappointing and we saw some real dives that were being rented for far too much money, but finally we found our new pad. It is in North Gubrah and it is lovely. It is newly built and being finished off as we speak. It has three floors and four bedrooms and is much bigger than we needed, but we fell in love with it and you can't beat that. Best of all, it's not all painted white, there is actual colour on the walls in lots of the room - that is a real boon to me ! Anyway we paid our deposit and we move in at the beginning of March. So all our effects from the UK are being delivered on 28 Feb, along with our cooker, our Fridge (a nice big double doored American one) and our washing machine. The new sofas are already in and looking lovely - the curtains are ordered and I cannot wait to get back on my Tempur matress - oh matress of mine how much you have been missed - I love you so, please forgive me any harsh words I may have spoken towards you in the past.

So as of next week, we will have our proper computer back - well that's the theory anyway - the shipping company delivering our stuff here - have informed me that two packages seem to be "missing" although they are sure it's just a numbering error - IT HAD BETTER BE. If our computer or anything important is missing I am going to be gutted - but I'm reserving judgement until it all arrives, then I'll exploed !

So next week is going to be busy, busy, busy. We need to sort out Satellite TV - we can't be without TV any longer the rubbish we have been living with is driving me mad - it was bad enough when it was just Polish, French or Arabic - at least there was one Italian music station that was worth listening to, but now the whole thing has collapsed and nothing is working at all. Anyway we also need to sort out a Broadband connection - which hopefully won't take too long - but we are talking an Omani not too long here - so a week or two might do it ! No really I have no idea how long it's going to take, so we may be off line again for a little while while we get it sorted, but once we are back, it will be for good and we''ll have all the bells and whistles too - hopefully we'll even be able to post pictures too !

Well, that's all from us - we are all well - Jacob is doing excellently, having a fab time at nursery and just enjoying himself - it's so lovely to see him on the beach entertaining himself finding stones - why is it that every other child that goes to the beach wants to find shells, with Jacob it's stones - I have such a collection of them I can't tell you !

Oh and we have had the most amazing weather the last couple of days, thunder storms like I have never seen - yesterday at 2.00pm it was dark enough to be 7.00pm at night and did it rain - I have never heard thunder that doesn't stop - it just kept on going and going and going, then again another storm in the night and rain for most of today - it's rather nice. This morning it was almost drizzle - I said to James that all we needed was radio 2 on in the car and we'd b back in the UK - still the nice thing is you know that once it's all over the sun will be back to full strength and we won't have grey skys and drizzle for weeks to come - sorry everyone, but that's the way it is - wall to wall sun ! Oh poor us.

Well ta ta for now and I will try to make sure that there is not such an enormous gap between posts next time.

See ya !

Monday, January 09, 2006

Ahem ......

Well we are still here - we are still computerless, but I thought if we didn't post sometime soon, you might think we had disappeared into the ether ! We are going to be sans computer for some little time to come unfortunately - it was just so the wrong time of year for it to go belly up ! We've had Christmas and New Year, which meant that Europe closed down, and now we have got Eid this week - which means everything is shut down here for the week - so hopefully we shall get our baby back at the beginning of February, but we shall see.

Christmas and new year for us were quiet. It didn't really feel like Christmas at all, we did stocking and presents and Jacob was very excited by the whole Santa thing, but once it was over and done with - I was just desperate to get the tree down and get back to normal, which just isn't like me at all - last year, James had to wrestle past me to get those decorations down ! Next year I think a trip home will be required, it just isn't the same when it's hot - you need that beautiful English drizzle to complete the Christmas scene and - oh yes, family ! We did spend a very nice Christmas day at a friend's house having a rather huge and quite lovely meal - there were three other boys there, so Jacob had a fabulous time running wild until well gone 9.00pm ! Still things just seem to run on later here and he often goes to bed after 8.00pm, which I would never have allowed in England, still he sleeps in the day from 2.00pm until 4.30 - 5.00pm and if we didn't go out in the evening we wouldn't do anything since most things don't open until quite late in the morning and then close for an extended lunch - it's all a bit strange !

For New Year, we did - well nothing at all, stayed at home and chilled - watched DVD's and went to bed - not even a sop of champers was imbibed - very bah humbug - but there it goes.

We are all doing very well - Jacob is on holiday at the moment from nursery, so our days are very relaxed. This week as I said, if officially a holiday, but since James's family are coming out for two weeks from Thursday, he is going into office in the morning to get some of his work out of the way so that he can take some time off over the coming weeks - it's rather nice though, as he came home for lunch today and then I was free to go out the old internet cafe to chat with all you nice people !

Well, I'm afraid I can't upload any pictures, so this as far as I can go. I am sure once we get our pooter back I'll do a massive post of all our various activities. In the mean time, take care one and all and John - I expect James will be receiving his share of your win the post hey !? afterall all those months of answers that he provided you with, must have rubbed off ! Come on cough up !