Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wheely Good Fun

There have been lots of little snippets of info that I have been saving up for the last couple of weeks which I have not thought about writing about till now, mainly coz my mind has been elsewhere. So excuse me if this ‘Breaking News’ is not that new.

It’s rained! ………Several times now….. and the roof of the jeep has been up and down like the proverbial pair of knickers.
What is it about the rain? Well this is the first true downpour since Gonu, One and a Half Years!!!!! When you live in a hot, dry climate these rainstorms are the equivalent to a sunny day in England, so sorely missed when they don’t arrive.

So as the dark clouds loomed, an expectant shiver of excitement ran through the population and children went out in welly boots, hats, coats and brollies to splash around in the puddles.
As the skies clear, it is the time to look to the mountains. The rains have washed them clean of the accumulated dust and, the colours of the rock stands out so vibrantly that it is a joy to see and always brings a smile to my face.
Now that the new Qantab/Yitti road is complete, my favourite road out of the back end Ruwi is no longer in use, in fact I have been told that it has been closed off (I hope not). This is one of those roads that after the rain, the views and colours of the mountains can really take your breath away. I like it so much that Becky bought me a painting of the view for Christmas a few years back, that way I get to see it every time I come down the stairs!
As a result of the rains, we hopefully have seen the end of the Red Tide. From what I have heard, the phenomenon is believed to have arrived in the ballast tanks of ships from Korea. Whilst, our own red tide occurred and dispersed annually over the period of a few days, this one proved to be far more hardy (lasting a couple of months). The ministries had been monitoring it and calling in experts, doing tests etc. but appeared to be unable to fix the problem and had to let it take its natural course. We hope that Oman has seen the end of it, as it will have major consequences to the tourist industry if it proves to be an annual event.

So, after one and a half years Oscar finally got a haircut. What is it with mothers and their children’s hair?

I had been threatening to take my clippers to his hair for some time now, so Becky eventually succumbed to the inevitable before more drastic action was taken by me. Surprisingly, Becky said it wasn’t as short as she would have liked it.

Our big task this winter has been to get Jacob cycling without stabilisers and at times this has seemed like a mountain of a job to climb. Whilst the promise of a new bike has been Jacob’s incentive, it never really seemed to capture his imagination. We always knew he would be able to do it, what child can’t?, but Jacob always portrayed a negative side no matter what amount of cajoling, encouragement and out and out bullying we heaped upon him.
Due to our busy Christmas and New Years schedule, we hadn’t got any practice in for several weeks, so a quick trip to Ghubra Lake park was organised. Jacob surprised us both by cycling from the get go with very little assistance. We had set his goal at two laps of the circular flower bed near the entrance, and whilst one lap was rapidly covered the second seemed too much with cries of “I can’t do it”, so close and yet so far.
The following weekend we returned to the park, steeling ourselves for a repeat of the previous weekend. Jacob, surprised not only us but also himself, by immediately covering the required two laps but also many more! That afternoon (Friday to us, the equivalent of Sunday in the UK) we took on the formidable task of finding a new bike in Ruwi, surprisingly (and thankfully) all of the shops we open and many bikes were perused and scrutinized, but eventually we finished up with the perfect one from ToysRUs in Markaz Al Baja.
Fast forward to the following weekend, another trip to the park with a new bike and a new Jacob.
‘How about trying to start off yourself, Jacob?’….
‘I can’t do that!’ ….
‘Yes you can, just put the pedal here and push off’ …..
‘Oh…..I CAN DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’

Within minutes of our arrival Jacob was off cycling all over the park, stopping and starting as though he had been doing it all his life, and a grin stretching from one ear all the way to the other.
So this weekend we went down to the sea side at the British embassy, Jacob on his bike, Becky and I taking turns on mine and Oscar on his tricycle (All with cycle helmets) and we rode all the way to Shatti and back.

So much fun was had that we have decided to get Becky a bike so that at least for the next couple of months we can go out cycling as a family each weekend until it gets too hot.

Just one final note for the post, we had a bit of excitement at the office a couple of weeks ago, starting with a loud bang and the lights going out. After exiting the building (which to no surprise, failed to have any working emergency lights) I walked around to see this little bonfire.

It would appear that one of the oil filled transformers at our neighbouring Wadi Adai substation blew up (and fortunately for us the wind was in the opposite direction).

The fire brigade arrived and eventually got it under control, but put on a good show for the next hour. I would have got home earlier than usual, but unfortunately was stuck in traffic as the police had closed the highway to let the victorious Oman football team drive around Muscat in their coach. Ho hum.

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