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.