Wednesday, August 30, 2006

bye bye England

So long Witley.

We went shopping for the final time today - bacon butties for supper tonight. Jamie was given lots of presents from his fan-base around the deli-counter. Two hats, building blocks, a book about trains and a colouring book with crayons. It was very touching saying goodbye - Jamie got lots of hugs and kisses. I didn't, but I'm not bitter. He's got that cute, toddler thing going on, which won't last forever. It's all downhill from the age of three, I can tell you.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Waiting for Thursday...

I haven't posted in a few days. I've been painting the house, and cleaning. Not particularly worthy of a post.

Two and a half years ago, I moved out from London to Surrey. It was a lifestyle decision - Jamie had just been born and we didn't want him to grow up in London.

Making friends was a slow process (I consoled myself by building a shed). My reception at mother-and-baby groups was frosty, but one mother introduced herself and it turned out that we lived on the same road. She's become a great friend and her kids are Jamie's best buddies.

I shop for food every day. Excessive, I know, but once I became stuck in the routine, it was impossible to stop. I'm going to miss people from the shop, and so will Jamie. Here's a few people who have become the regular fixtures of our days: Paul, Antoinette, Mr George, and Jane. On many days, my only adult conversations have been with these nice folks.

Two more days to go, and more cleaning. I've hired a carpet cleaner for tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Visas and dinosaurs

Yesterday, we travelled into London to buy our visas (£72 each for six months). The Qatari embassy was less impressive than I'd expected, with nothing apart from the flag to identify the building. Anyway, we paid our money and were told to come back today. This turned into a bit of a bonus because, after picking up our passports today, we went to the Natural History Museum. I've been telling Jamie about the museum for weeks, so I knew I'd have to take him before we left.

Here's some photos from yesterday:
Street Artist
London Underground
Heaven is *two* trains
Fugue state

and today:
Natural History Museum
Lots of Buttons
Did you see it move?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Missing you.

Ten days to go.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Qatar Perl Mongers

Arabian Oryx - the Qatar Perl Mongers' logoI spent a bit of time today putting together a Perl Mongers web page. I hope it will be a good way of meeting other programmers and making a few friends.

Most Perl Monger groups use the camel as a logo, but I've decided the Arabian Oryx is more apt for

Paul's birthday

We were invited to a surprise party! I worked with Paul a few years ago at ITV Digital and, together with Chris, we've kept in touch through regular band nights and pub visits.

Everyone had a great meal, and Jamie spent the night making new friends. Here's Jamie before and after the party.

There'll always be a spare bed or two in Doha for friends.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

family visits

We're spending a couple of days with Grandma and Grandad Rauf, saying our goodbyes to my side of the family. Tonight we visited my sister, who's *very* pregnant and Jamie renewed his friendship with cousin Kieren. Tomorrow, we're visiting great-grandad.

UPDATE: mum just sent two photos of Kieren and Jamie.

Monday, August 14, 2006

bye bye stuff

So the container has gone - will it ever be seen again? I was helped this morning by Terry, a chemical engineering student from Manchester. Very nice chap.

The driver, just before closing the doors, said very seriously "I hope nothing's going to move about in here - it's going on a ship you know." I guess this was his attempt at a disclaimer.

The lorry ploughed up the lawn. Not that it was looking particularly good beforehand.

This is the first (and probably last) time I'll get the car in the garage. It's good to know it fits!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Packing complete

Apart from the TV and the vacuum cleaner, everything is now in the garage.

Tomorrow morning, Jamie is going to spend a little time with Grandad Sandy while I load the sea container. I hope it all fits, otherwise I'll have some quick decisions to make about what to ditch.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

We have tenants

Despite the house looking awful, a family who looked at the place yesterday have decided they liked it. They move in on the day we leave, and are signing a lease for two years. BINGO!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

ahlan wa sahlan!

The lounge is looking like we've been raided by the dancing elephants. I keep telling myself that it has to get worse before it gets better.

The 50 boxes already stacked in the garage had to be re-stacked and numbered because I failed to read the shipping instructions. I'm now writing a list so that customs know which boxes contain CDs and DVDs. Apparently, this might speed progress through Doha port. We'll see.

I've now learned six arabic letters (roughly eh, b, t, th, ooo, eee) and three short vowels (roughly e, u, i). Fun stuff, and tricky at the same time. I'm following this course, which took forever to arrive in the UK.

Sara's having fun in the Ramada ;)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Busy busy bees

Panic! The estate agent is coming round at 2.00pm with a potential tenant for our house. The house is still a tip, and I have four hours to transform it into a desirable residence.

Cleaning the dining room, I found a card from Kate that arrived two days ago. Jamie had filed it under a box.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Bye Bye Mummy

Jamie's been to the haunted house this morning - a play area in our local garden centre.

Sara is flying on the 9.30pm flight from Heathrow, which arrives early tomorrow morning in Doha. She starts work on Sunday. There's a three-hour check-in at Heathrow, so Jamie and I will be waving her off at about 6.30. I feel a bit deflated at the moment. It's difficult to know what to say apart from "I'll miss you".

Sara's just been asking Qatar Airways about the cabin baggage allowance, which isn't mentioned anywhere on their website. The maximum dimensions for a carry-on bag is 50 x 30 x 25cm and her luggage allowance is 20kg, which doesn't seem a lot for all her stuff.

Yesterday, we had Matt and Bridget around in the afternoon with their two kids (Lizzie and newborn Ari). Sara's dad (Sandy) came for dinner last night and said his goodbyes to Sara. Then we got drunk and watched Big Brother.