Monday, 23 February 2009


FEB 12th 2009 2.20pm

It's about 28c, the boys are in the pool, Pete is asleep and I am sat on the deck in the hazy sunlight writing this. Despite going to bed at 2am Oman time (6am our time) we were up at 7.25am and Kyle was in the pool by 7.30am.

Yes this is how he sun bathes!

So far the day has been spent having a driving tour of Muscat, a quick drive up into the mountains where I didn't take any photos due to the dust storm that we are experiencing. From what we CAN see it is totally stunning here and I can't wait to start snapping away.

We ate lunch at a little place called "Stomach" which was delicious and now it is Siesta time. In a little bit we will be heading out to enjoy the last day of the Muscat Festival before going out to a Hawian themed party, held by Robert & Margaret's friend, later on this evening.

Taken just outside "Stomach"

Pete's Dad outside "Stomach"

FEB 12th 2009 10.50pm

The Muscat Festival was amazing the sights, sounds and smells were a totally new experience for us.

Pete's Mum playing odd one out

The men were mainly dressed in dishadasha's some of them even carried a khanjar which is a curved dagger worn at the waist.

The women were dressed in various ways but many wear an abaya some are fully veiled but most are not. Each region of Oman has different national dress for the women if they are not wearing the Abaya. Needless to say we stood out like sore thumbs as there are not many western visitors over in Oman at the moment.

We tried a traditional dish that was basically eggy bread cooked on a flat plate thingy and got some freshly squeezed candy cane drink which I can honestly say is the most revolting thing I have ever tasted strangely enough everyone else loved it.

The different tribes were singing and dancing.

There were displays of local culture and crafts.

The boys enjoyed a camel ride.

The small boy guiding Matt's camel wasn't so happy though as he got the fright of his life when Matt nearly crashed over the camels head onto him.

Look how quickly his arm is moving in panic!

We finished the day off at the party eating the most delicious Indian food I have ever tasted before going home for a well earned sleep.

I did not take as many pictures as I would have liked at the festival as I knew that in Oman you are not supposed to take pictures of people or their belongings with out asking permission first as it is frowned upon. Since returning home I have learnt that the pot of burning stuff on top of the ladies head is frankincense which is burnt mixed with charcoal. There are a lot of young women now choosing to wear the black Abaya's when they go out according to Robert this is a trend that has become much more popular in the last couple of years.


Or more to the point are the bags there yet?

FEB 11th 2009
After a night of no sleep at all I was bright eyed and bushy tailed, the numerous pig parts were packed away in the bags and we were all ready to leave for the airport at 5.55am.

Manchester Airport was as tedious as ever with the only bit of excitement being provided at security. It started when my boarding pass, which we had printed at home, was rejected meaning I had to go all the way back to check in to get issued with a new one while the males of the party waited for me on "the other side".

Once through Pete and Kyle set of the bleep machine that you walk through so whilst Pete was stripping himself clean of anything metal and Kyle was being frisked, much to his disgust, I was attempting to persuade a nice man that we needed Pete's cough medicine to be allowed through even though it wasn't prescription.

We flew with Ethiad airlines and the plane was complete luxury compared to the Canada flights we have been on. We got complimentary flight socks each, padded headphones, drinks of our choice soft and alcholic and a menu to choose our inflight meal from. The next 7 hours were pretty boring really with the time spent watching films, in my case Wall E and City of Embers, and playing games on the entertainment system. I even managed to win £1m on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" just before we landed in Abu Dhabi.

The landing cameras were then all turned on and we all watched our descent down to the brightly lit runway. Just as we were bracing ourselves for touch down the thrusters roared back into life and we were suddenly hurtling skywards at a rate of knots. Now despite what Pete says I wasn't scared, I didn't nearly wet myself and I didn't clutch on to him for dear life and if I did happen to do one or two of the above it was only to make him feel better. 10 minutes later a new attempt was made on a different runway with no strong tail winds.

After a short wait the 2nd flight of the day turned out to be much more interesting than the first. We all filed onto the plane where everyone other than ourselves and one other family were Arabs. This is where we learnt pretty quickly that they must bathe in smellies as the stench of musky aftershave was overpowering. Everything was ready for take off apart from a missing passenger who arrived late and then the silly man decided that he didn't like the seat he had been assigned and refused to sit down and no-one was going to persuade him otherwise, well not for another 45 minutes anyway. During this time we were sat in an enclosed space where at least 3 Omanie men had the most horrendous hacking coughs, probably due to the perfumed atmosphere. At one point I did suggest that Pete should either a) stop breathing so that he didn't catch anything or b) give them all a slurp of his cough medicine that I had managed to hold on to. Eventually Mr Stroppy Arab man decided to stop tantruming as they had threatened to throw him off the plane, and sat down so we were finally on our way.

Upon arrival we had a small queue for our hand luggage to be x-rayed and to purchase our Visa so that we could enter the country. We then had to pick up the hold luggage and this is when my worst nightmare became a reality with the dreaded missing bag. I surprised myself by not panicking, not even slightly. We filled in the forms, met Robert and drove to his house about 30 minutes away which meant we arrived there 15 hours after we had locked our front door AND we had managed to avoid the pork sausage, pork pie, ham and bacon smugglers prison.

I know that I am slightly behind with these posts but they were written on the day that I have set them as in a little notebook. I just couldn't get them onto the Internet due to the crappy Internet connections available in Oman and it seemed a shame not to post them like I had originally planned.

Sunday, 8 February 2009


I was going to be really busy today making sure that the house was nice and clean before we jet off to the sun but things conspired against me - mainly Pete. Pete has a fixation with the snow, he loves it, so this morning I was hassled to go up to Buxton to go sledging, against my better judgement I may add!!! For those that have read my blog for a while you will know that Pete is accident prone. He has fallen off a skateboard and chipped his elbow, he has been knocked off his push bike resulting in a broken shoulder, broken elbow and broken ribs and just before a big holiday in Canada a couple of years ago the rope swing he was on snapped and he fell 30 foot breaking a few ribs in the process. Pete going sledging just 2 days before a long haul holiday is not the best idea in the world but he promised he wouldn't have a go and I believed him. The sledge that Kyle and Pete made a few weeks ago was packed along with 3 plastic ones and some spare clothes and off we went.

Remember I mentioned we took 4 sledges with us??? This was the preferred method of getting down the slopes for both of the boys - anyone for belly surfing?

I won't go sledging I'll only watch - yeah right Pete.

Mrs Blobby on a sledge....

I can say that the hugeness is in part caused by 2 pairs of pants and 4 jumpers.

According to Kyle this is what gay sledging looks like from behind.

Saturday, 7 February 2009


I may have found my chat, I haven't claimed it back yet but it is definitely starting to peep out of it's hidey hole. I now just need to find the desire to use my camera again.

My wonderful eldest son put me in a difficult spot this week. Due to us being somewhere hot and sunny next week on the day of the parent teacher interviews I had asked his form tutor, during a telephone conversation, if I could write notes to all his teachers for feedback. Instead she took it upon herself to write notes to them all requesting the information I needed, collect all the resulting notes and then post them out to me - wonderful woman I can not praise her high enough. The reason I was on the phone to her in the first place??? She called me last Friday night, from home, to let me know that Matthew had an important piece of English homework (she is his English teacher too) that he had not handed in and it needed doing over the weekend and then explained exactly what was needed to me - like I said a fantastic teacher.

I digress. Mr Posty bought us these notes on Thursday lunch time while we were both at home. They were opened and read accompanied with lots of tuts and sighs. This is where I must stress that I don't mind what grades my children get as long as it is their best effort whether it be a D, C or an A*. Matthew, according to his teachers, is capable of A's and A*'s in all but one of his subjects. The maths teacher even commented that he has a "real ability" just before he mentions lazy and childish. They also say that he had improved before Christmas making a real effort - now could this have been me threatening to cancel his Christmas I wonder??? but since New Year he has slipped back.

He was warned, more than once, what would happen if he did this again. As always, true to my word and not one for idle threats I got on the phone to his form tutor. We discussed the notes and then I requested that he be put on report. So now every lesson he has to hand in a sheet to his teacher at each of his 5 lessons and they have to grade his effort and behaviour from 1-5. If he gets a 1 or 2 for any of these he gets an instant detention that night and he is banned from the Xbox at home. 3 and above means he gets to go on the Xbox for a limited time that evening AFTER I have inspected his homework diary, school books and his homework. This way I am getting to know everything that happens in lessons and can act accordingly. Yesterday was his first day and I am pleased to say that he stepped up to the mark and got 3, 4, 4, 5, 5 which isn't bad. It was his form tutor who gave him the 3 due to him loosing his book ???!!! Guess what he is doing today until he finds it.

Does parenting ever get any easier??? At the moment it just seems to be getting harder and harder. I was 100 times worse than Matt at his age so I am sure that this serves me right, I can almost see my parents nodding as they read this last comment with a wry smile on their faces.

I will be back at some point soon with a photograph as SuzyB has tagged me to do the 6 of 6. Thanks Suzy!

Thursday, 5 February 2009


I keep meaning to post and then I realise I'm not in a chatty mood and stop, this seems to have been happening for a while now and more so in the last week. Not sure why as everything is OK and it's not like me at all, I am sure I will find my chat lurking in a dark, cold corner very soon.

Pete had 2 hospital visits to attend last week which were very well timed as it happened. Out of the blue 3 weeks ago Pete's driving went a bit strange and he ended up reversing into a kerb thingy at Matt's friends house to cut a long story very short it ended up costing us £112 to replace the tire that he shredded. The following Sunday he decided that he was on holiday and started to drive on the wrong side of the road, stopped only by my very loud screaming and grabbing at the wheel. The scary thing was he didn't realise he was on the wrong side and he wasn't even looking at the road while he was driving which explains why he didn't see the car heading towards us at speed. We had also noticed that he was having problems when he was speaking as he frequently couldn't think of the word he needed. Pete was worried which never happens. We re-read the leaflets that come with his medication with no luck so it was looked up on the Internet and hey presto his new tablets can cause, dizziness, confusion and hallucinations.

As luck would have it he was seeing the nurse 2 days later about his medication and it was here that he told them he would not be taking this medication any longer due to the side effects. They have now prescribed a better drug that does the same thing and that he was due to start this week but Pete has postponed this until we return from our hols. The next day he went to see Dominic, his kidney Doc, to get some results and have his quarterly check up. So for our records his kidney function is stable, low but stable it may have even gone up a little bit but Pete's weight has gone down so that could be effecting the results. Blood pressure and cholesterol are both OK. Blood count had dropped from 100 to 92 (160 is normal) in the space of 5 days which is not good but on the other hand it is high for Pete even with the sudden drop. His folic acid levels are high so he has to reduce that tablet to once a week. His epo injections are now ever 8 days instead of every 10 much to Pete's disgust. His B12 levels are low so he may need to start having injections of that in the near future as the tablets are not doing enough.

Since he stopped taking the immunosuppressants last week we have noticed a difference mainly that he is making a lot more sense when he is talking and his driving is back to normal and we feel safe again!
Last week we all had to go shopping for summer clothes, which is not easy when it is so cold outside and the shops still have their winter stock and dark colours. I failed miserably on Sunday at the Trafford Centre but thankfully Pete and the boys managed to get what they needed. I was luckier yesterday in Chester and managed to get enough things to see me through the holiday. I didn't need a lot but I did need some very light weight things to cover my shoulders as I am not allowed to show them when we are out and about in Oman and my whole summer wardrobe is full of strappy tops. So now the only thing left to do is get the suitcases out of the attic and pack them ready to go. I'm just hoping that this snow stops and Manchester Airport doesn't get closed before we fly out as I need to get warm and we will definetly manage to get warm in temps of 26c in the day and 18c at night.