Thursday, 27 August 2015

Family Residency Process

The family were due to arrive in Qatar on the 7th, The day before I popped into the office to sign the sponsorship paperwork which was managed by the companies Government Affairs team.

The family arrived on the Friday night and given that Friday and Saturday is the weekend in Qatar, I popped into the office on the Sunday morning to hand over their passports so the residency could be processed.

On Monday 24th, I received an invitation from the GA team to meet them with the family at the Gulf Lab & X-Ray (on Al Kinana Street) to allow them to get their blood grouping sample done. Needless to say the kids didn't like the sound of having their fingers pricked, so we had a few tears to deal with and little bit of restraining with the youngest.

There were also some other new arrivals meeting us at the lab for their relevant tests to also be done.

On completion of this, we all jumped back in our cars and followed the GA guy across to a small photographic studio just off the C'Ring (think it was on lbn Labeed Street) where they got their official photographs taken. Trying to keep four cars close together on the streets of Doha isn't easy. We were the last one in the line and thought the others in front were going to lose the lead car on a couple of occasions. Got there in the end!

At this point the process is over for the children, thankfully!

The next day, we met with the GA guy at the Medical Commission on Industrial Area Road, this was for the adults to get their chest X-Rays and Blood samples. Fortunately it wasn't too busy, so were over and done quite quickly.

Today, was fingerprints day. I am back offshore now, so Nadia had to meet up with the GA guy over at the fingerprint center at the CEID (Criminal Evidence and Information Department) on Salwa Road. Despite sleeping in she still made it on time.

That should be the process complete and just need to wait for the passports to be return and the Qatar ID cards handed over. As soon as we get these and give copies of them to the school, so the kids can start school at the beginning of September.

Next thing for Nadia is Driving License transfer, that should be happening next week.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Our ears will never be the same again......Piano arrived!

As our first major purchase since arriving in Qatar and to continue with Maya and Sasha's piano practice, having plenty of room in the villa meant we could actually fit in a proper piano. Back in Aberdeen they have both been learning on a Yamaha P-95 digital piano that lived in Maya's bedroom.

Before they arrived over here, I had been doing a lot of searching on the internet and looking at different options and where to /what to purchase etc. etc.

Once they arrived in Qatar the first thing to do was take a trip over to the Steinway Piano Gallery at the Pearl. Given the colour scheme in the villa a polished white piano would fit the bill and given the space also fancied a baby grand.

Fortunately over at the piano shop they had one on display and it looked amazing and sounded just as great. Even better, they had one in stock ready for delivery. How could we say no!

This morning, it was duly delivered and set up in the lower hall.

The guys arrived and in a coordinated rehearsed drill, to the sound of "blanket" "lift" "turn" etc. it was done. Fits the space perfectly and the girls love it!

Now just to get the hairy coo pictures, mirrors up and more furniture to finish off...

Big thanks to Vincent, Noah and the delivery guys of Steinway Piano Gallery in Doha.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Gardening Overload..........

When I first moved into the villa, the garden space at the side of the villa looked totally overgrown. The ground cover was a thick tangled green plant that had sprawled all over the place. You can see what the garden typically looks like with this excess greenery in the photo below.

Over the last week, I decided to get down to business and start culling the place. There was an unbelievably thorny bush that was right next to the path that had left a couple of holes in my feet, so it was ripped out. An old tree stump that had been cut back years ago and had started to sprout in random directions need to come out. It was a bit of a nightmare as the roots were well established and quite thick, using a hacksaw on them wasn't the easiest thing, but it was the only saw I had!

Maya chopping back the sprouts before stump removal
Dug out the stump
Dragged out to the bin area

There was also another tree stump, I though this was going to be extremely difficult, however, it literally fell out when I pulled it. First I had to clear the area around it as you can see.

Continuing to cull, things were starting to look better, especially once the ground cover greenery was removed. There was an overgrown half dead ivy on the wall, As you can see, the last time they painted the walls, they just painted round the thing,
Old half dead ivy cut out.

 Continuing to trim back and dig out, and one side of the house it looking a lot better.

Tree stump still to come out, as does the sandpit (bottom left)

Bush next to path to come out

Starting to look a lot more tidy.

Things round the water tank still to come out.

Next up is to remove the things round the water tank, the bush next to the path and the tree stump before the 'sandpit'. After this is done, the old 'sandpit' that appears to being used as a toilet by the wild/stray cats is going to be removed. The palm tree also needs dressed to remove all the old growth and smooth off. Maybe give it a lick of paint like they do at the side of the roads!

Then it will be over to the other side of the garden and see what needs thinning out there. Maybe Sheldon will turn up at that side as he has been missing for about 8 weeks now.

The horrible bit is the bugs....the amount of beetles, slaters and god knows what else living in the old leaves etc. I had one freak out moment when quite happily removing the undergrowth and looked down to see a large 1 inch black beetle thing crawling over the top of my bare toes in my flip flops. Especially when you disturb a whole family of them and see about 30 of the critters scurrying and start digging into the soil.

And before anyone asks why am I doing this myself and not getting maintenance or the gardeners to do it, well it is quite simple, keeps me busy and saves me going to the gym! Just need to pick the timings, best to do it when it is shaded, but doesn't half make you sweat buckets, especially when it is mid 40's C even in the shade.

I don't know if you also know the old fact about digging in an overgrown garden is that you will always find an old bouncy ball or a marble, well yes it holds true, I did find an old marble and a lonely bit of lego!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Relocation Complete!

The airfreight was collected on the 27th July, the week before they left.

I emailed the relocation company the other day to see where it was and they informed me it arrived on the 13th August and was sitting waiting customs clearance.

Yesterday they they phoned to say it was ready for delivery and today it was was delivered early afternoon.

Everything arrived intact and no breakages, even the big glass candle table lamp that we received as a leaving gift. The glass part alone is 10" tall by 10" in diameter, so glad it made it.

So, that brings to an end that part of the relocation. The Intedean/SantaFe team did a great job at both ends.

Next phase is more shopping and of course getting the hairy coo picture put up on the walls.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Well, they arrived!

After a false start with the first flight leg being cancelled (reason unknown), BA moved them onto the Virgin flight to Heathrow. This also left not a lot of time to get through the security after transferring from T3 to T4. However they made it on time, and jumped onto the QA flight ready for the 2nd leg to Doha.

It was getting late, and I had already dozed off on the sofa once, ended going and having a shower and getting changed to just keep myself awake.

I left the villa to pick them up at 11.30pm, the flight was scheduled to arrive at 11.55pm. Now, it was going to be hit or miss if I was going to have to wait for ages or not.

Last time I arrived, I was through immigration and bag collection and out of the airport and back to the villa in about 45 minutes max.

This time, however, they took an eternity to get through immigration. There was a number of flights in from India and the Far East, and this all adds extra time at immigration to process each person/family.

As I stood waiting at the arrival, watching the waves of people and baggage come through, they eventually showed up, think it was well after 1am. Back to the car and back to the villa.

As you could imagine the kids were a bit hyper, and think they had lost all volume control of their voices! The noise back at the villa could have woken the am I going to cope!

Now just to wait for the Airfreight to arrive. It was picked up on the 27th July, so hopefully it shouldn't be too long.....