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2005 - 2008 Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

We lived in Muscat, Oman for 3 years.   Russ Elli and Karl (Kirsty in Hull Uni for most of the year), we have written a picture diary of our antics as British Expatriates ..... enjoy.

Uniform.JPG (94358 bytes)6 Aug 05    Advance Party arrive. Captain (Naqeeb) Russ  walked out of Seeb airport into the morning air 32.. yes that was at 0730am !!! That day it climbed to a whopping 45. Starting a 3 year Posting as a seconded British Officer on Loan Service to the Sultan of Oman.

boat.JPG (90176 bytes)10 Aug 05     Bought a Boat.    A 24 ft Gulf Craft, fitted with two 115hp Mariner outboard engines. Her name is Tokolosh. She has a cabin for sleeping, which is used more for storage of stuff. 


car_elli.jpg (146360 bytes)11 Aug 05        Bought Ellis Car.      A nice little Daewoo Lanos 1600, now fitted with Reverse sensors!     


house.JPG (101883 bytes)14 Aug 05     Main Party Arrive.  Gang here in the House, Kirsty, Karl and Elli arrive at 0730 and are immediately knocked out by the heat ... again. With no or little sleep but far from tired, they spend the day driving around and chatting to Sue and Kev and family (Predecessors) about everything. 

dogs2.JPG (106711 bytes)15 Aug 05     Molly and Chloe Land.   Dogs arrived by Van, UK Kennels, Van, 8hr Plane journey in two airline crates. Pretty good spirits and really happy to see Russ at Seeb Airport Cargo reception. No sooner did we show them why we have brought them half way across the world, for their favourite pastime, SWIMMING.        


kirt_boat.jpg (193667 bytes)20 Aug 05      Got a new toy for the Boat.    Kirsty, Karl and friends have had a great time on this two up pull along thingy.



car_russ.jpg (82750 bytes)23 Aug 05     Bought Russ's Car. 3400 Toyota Landcruiser Prado VX, with really thick tyres for desert driving (cant wait to replace them for new!). 5 years old and immaculate inside and only 77,000km on the clock. Bought off an expat returning to the UK ... Bargain. Quote of the month Elli: "I am not driving that Tank!"     

kirt_ring.JPG (53840 bytes)2 Sep 05    Kirsty goes home!  Kirsty flew back early to Hull :-( Starts her 2nd year in Hull University next week and wanted to get herself sorted in her new digs with her other 7 girly mates or was it for freshers week.   


camel_.jpg (15055 bytes)10 Sep 05    Russ's first Exercise. Russ deployed on Exercise with the Sultans Armed Forces Signals. As well as working very hard of course, saw a camel, they are very rarely seen in Oman actually.


jebal_akdar.jpg (405060 bytes)30 Sep 05       Jebal Akdar. Ascended Jebal Akdar (Green Mountain) with a winding road up to a 2000mtr Hotel and a Town in the middle of no-where, some breathtaking views. Such a remote place, but they still manage to build Black Top roads up here AND with lampposts!  


snake_gorge.jpg (830597 bytes)6 Oct 05    Snake Gorge. Starting off with a 2 hour off road Wadi drive, then abandoning the Landcruiser and continuing on foot . Snake Gorge starts with a 4m jump into a rock pool! and continues for 2 km of walking and jumping into more pools, one jump was 10m! Karl and Russ swam through caves and both say, it is the best thing done in Oman so far .. Visitors to the Darlington household, bring your trunks and leave your fear behind! 


beach_sunset.jpg (327196 bytes)10 Oct 05   At the end of our street!    Fantastic Sunsets, this one taken from the Beach while the dogs were swimming!  


jebal_akdar2.jpg (315892 bytes)17 Oct 05      Jebal Akdar #2.   Russ's Mum (Joan) pays a visit for a couple of weeks. Re-visited Jebel Akdar for those breath taking views, drove along the ridge upto 2300mtr.  


tiwi.jpg (226187 bytes)21 Oct 05     Tiwi Camping.    Camping by the beach with friends about two hours away from Muscat, half of the way on dirt tracks, hence it was really secluded, so much noise was made. In the end 8 cars/families arrived, made more friends.   


as_sifah.jpg (100156 bytes)28 Oct 05     Camping at As Sifah.    Camped out at As Sifah, about an hour on Tarmac Roads and very busy. Only just got a spot, but was a very good one. Karl improved his bonfire starting and maintenance skills. Molly cut one of her Pads on something.


intercon.jpg (124811 bytes)5 Nov 05    Bonfire Night!.  Spending another day at the Intercon during Ramadan. No fireworks tonight. Why do we celebrate a bomb attempt on Parliament anyway....Strange ritual said the Omani. Nearly as mad as England moving their clocks back!


dubai.jpg (164628 bytes)9-11 Nov 05   Just up the road in Dubai. Only 4 hours away by road, Dubai is the High rise metropolis of the Middle East. With nearly half the worlds availability of sky scraper cranes, it is becoming something quit magnificent. Friends say prices are also getting inner city. Biggest Malls in the world, Elli was in her element, Karl and Russ became Taxi Driver/Map reader. 


nationalday.jpg (329569 bytes)18 Nov 05  Oman National Day. A huge amount of lights and effort go into this very proud country of where they have come from in just 35 years. This is the Highway in the Municipality of Muscat.



wadidogchloe.jpg (128364 bytes)23 Nov 05  As Sifah Camping. This is Chloe playing a game of who can look like a Wadi dog the best. The winner gets a chance to chase imaginary cats under the 4x4 all day.



home.jpg (632365 bytes)10 Dec 05  Home. Just a cracking sunset from the roof, its now my PC desktop picture.




military_day.jpg (61650 bytes)15 Dec 05  Military Day.   Military day in Oman, seconded British Military who served in Oman flown out for several days of visits, one of which was a military display at RAO Officers Club, Al Shafaq. Chatted to some fellow Officers with some great stories.


al_sawadi.jpg (430873 bytes)17 Dec 05  Al Sawadi Fort.   Drove up to Al Sawadi peninsula when the Tide was low enough to walk! about a km out to sea and onto an island where a Omani Fort was built at the very Top. Spectacular view back inland.


XMAS 2005.JPG (119225 bytes)25 Dec 05   Christmas Day by the sea. It had to be done. After Santa had been at home, drove down to the beach on Christmas day with the Sharp family, my Mum, Karl and Kirsty. Sea was cool and a little rough. Had Turkey (Kebabs), Pork sausages wrapped in Bacon (mmm) and anything else we could put on the BBQ. Sat round the camp tables with Christmas crackers, hats, cheap toys (bent metal puzzles) and the usual appalling jokes....perfect. Camped out over night, chatting and having fun by the Camp fire. Boxing day, the sea was a lot calmer, so made use of that. Packed up and left for home on Boxing day PM. No snow!


k_and_k_boat.jpg (502835 bytes)29 Dec 05  Searching for Dolphins.  Searching for Dolphins out at sea with Kirsty and Karl. But we couldn't find any. Next day, told by my mate Steve Blee that he saw Dolphins, on the way to Bandar Khayran when he wasn't even looking for them....


sink_hole.jpg (422405 bytes)30 Dec 05 Dibab Sink Hole. Visited the Sink hole near Dibab recently renovated by the Tourist Ministry. Bit to cold to go swimming so maybe in a few months.



mosque.JPG (93146 bytes)31 Dec 05 Grand Mosque. Wow fantastic. Took Mum and family to visit Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Gala. An absolutely stunning building for the men with a simple room for the Women!

new_year_2006.jpg (510600 bytes)31 Dec 05 New Years Eve. Photo taken on my Camera! A good night was had by all at the Safari Club in the Hyatt Hotel. The band counted down a minute early but didn't spoil the fun. The Islamic new year starts on the 31 January and will begin year 1427.


house_next_door.JPG (1463141 bytes)1 Jan 05 House next door. A truck parked up next door and 10 guys started building a new house. Lots of dust in the initial stages but not too bad now. Noise is bearable ... thankfully.



letters_from_oman.jpg (22322 bytes)18 Jan 06 My Birthday. 42 years old, Mum got me a book titled Letters from Oman about a Seconded British Army Captain in the Oman Military during the 60s. A recommended read for anyone who's been here or interested in Oman and its Military relationship. See link to book at  Amazon




albustan.jpg (443651 bytes)20 Jan 06 Afternoon Tea in the Al Bustan Palace. Earl Grey, Edges cut off the Sarnis, Cakes, Scones and Jam. 



abu06.jpg (610919 bytes)26 Jan 06 Abu Dhabi A trip to Abu Dhabi to see Elli's Nephew Stu and his girlfriend Kiwi. And another afternoon Tea in a really posh Palace. See Website Emirates Palace



donkey.JPG (813815 bytes)31 Jan 06 Meeting the locals Not an escapee but wild. Where do they sleep?



shangrila.jpg (61019 bytes)1 Feb 06 Shangri-la Hotel and Spa Elli and girls went for lunch and tour round this new 7star! Hotel just south of Muscat. Click on the link to view their website. Shangri-La



valentines.JPG (808059 bytes)12-18 Feb 06 Sue and Alan visiting. Elli's sister and Alan came over to escape the miserable weather in the UK. We went out for Valentines dinner in the Chedi Hotel (Where Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolene stayed).


alans_fish.JPG (809195 bytes)Did a spot of fishing off the boat, Alan caught his first fish in 14 years.



sue_and_alan.JPG (803599 bytes)This is the BBQ we cooked our days catch. 



terrios.jpg (556433 bytes)22 Feb 06 Elli's new Car. Bought Ellis new car, a Terios 4x4. She wanted Automatic for the terrible Muscat Traffic Jams,  4x4 for strength and road presence. The Salesman in the showroom couldn't believe she never intends to drive it off road. Like all chick cars, they have a name so we officially welcome 'Terri' into the family in 4 days when its registered.


rain2.jpg (113492 bytes)23 Feb 06 'IT'S CHUCKIN IT DOWN'  The heavens opened, water came in through the windows and the front door, the garden was like a pond and the front street like a river. This guy took a turn on what he thought was a road, only to be a Wadi Falaj


18 Mar 06 Banda Kayran. A gang of us went out to BK for a great time with the boats and jetski. A fun day had by all including the woofs.



1802_match_lock.JPG (1539098 bytes)20 Mar 06 Heritage shooting day. A once in a lifetime opportunity to fire weapons over 200 years old from the Matchlock (see right) to flintlock, percussion cap, Henry Martini, Lee Enfield, Pistols throughout the ages and 2 cannons. Sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism with the Oman Weapons Heritage Society and Grand Hyatt, the day was worth every Riyal.


TRLB.jpg (1629717 bytes)23 Mar 06 Thin Red Line Ball. For the civvies, the thin red line is a famous battle against overwhelming odds by the British Army in 1854. Sir Colin Campbell told his men, "There is no retreat from here, men. You must die where you stand." The men stood firm against overwhelming odds and fought-off the advancing horsemen. And so in Oman we get together once a year for a party and raise a considerable sum for charity. The Drummer seen here from the Royal Army Oman Band played amongst the stern pipers and trumpeters with an entertaining Afro-Omani tribal thingy.


arabiasands.jpg (11637 bytes)New Book - Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger. An amazing Explorer whose mystic vision rejected the modern technological world in favour of the tribes people of Africa and the Arabian deserts. In Arabian Sands he crosses the Arabian Empty quarter from Oman to the Emirates in 1940. If I were to choose any one man to talk to, it wouldn't be political leaders, it would be Wilfred Thesiger. Sir Wilfred Patrick Thesiger, explorer, born June 3 1910; died August 24 2003.



nizwa_souk.jpg (438598 bytes)30 Mar 06 Nizwa Souk. An excellent old Souk with not too many tourists or tourist prices. Tried out my newfound knowledge on pricing weapons, mainly Martini Henry. Unfortunately the Souk tellers know a thing or too as well and as much as I tried, I could not get an original bought for the price of a copy. Bought a Genie lamp instead ... yes we did rub it just in case.


6-19 Apr 06 England. Back for Easter and a bit of the cold life before the heating is turned up to 'BLISTERING' in Oman. Did rain and snow dances before we left and it worked. Our first delight was a rainbow when leaving the airport. They don't get them out here!. We had snow and Hail in Harrogate. Karl went for a ride in Milton Keynes, a party in Coventry and then Easter at my Mums with a trip on the Manchester Eye. Thanks all who put us up.


yamy.jpg (77856 bytes)23 Apr 06 Our new Toy. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to buy a motor bike out here. But I have finally done it, and what a great bike it is, a Yamaha Thundercat 600, excellent condition with only 5000km on the clock. One owner who was a Brit Expat. A bargain. More news on our travels on the Yamy soon.

Wadi Bani Khalid 2.JPG (767408 bytes)5 May 06 Wadi Bani Khalid. Just beyond the Wahiba Sands lies Wadi Bani Khalid. Not as beautiful as Wadi Shab, however this wadi boast a cave and a trek similar to Snake Gorge in Wadi Bani Anf. More to follow on Wadi BK. 


9 - 16 May 06 Pat, Chris with a quick visit from Stu and Kiwi. 
A packed out 7 Days with Pat and Chris, boating, trekking, lazing in the sun and Barry the barracuda, reeled in by Chris and eaten some weeks later (bit tough really). Including a trip to Wadi Shab, (see below) where water was short on an extremely hot day. 


11 May 06 Friends and Family at Wadi Shab. A new exiting jumping platform has been built at Wadi Shab. Strengthening my belief that this is the best Wadi in Oman. We Jumped (Steve Blee and myself) just over 10m from here to a hard but wet landing. Afterwards the Omani boys leaped from the cliffs on the left some 4 m higher! Right Evolution from 1 million years to modern man.


red_arrows.JPG (411567 bytes)25 May 06 The Red Arrows in town. The red arrows came over for a visit and show. Not normally exited over the RAF, but it seemed to be the done thing. They put on a great show, we had food and drinks paid for by the Embassy. And I invited one of my Wakeels (Omani Warrant Officer) and his family to see it. He said the last time he was in this part of Mustcat, the Intercontinental had only just been built! Picture is rubbish, you'll have to click to see the planes.

kirsty.JPG (231464 bytes)25 May - 5 Sep 06 Kirsty in Oman for the Summer Break from UNI. After a slight mess up on my part with visas, Kirsty legitimised her stay until Sep. Although she will have to leave and come back in, in the latter part of her holiday...standby Stuart. She has got used to Elli's automatic 4x4 and shes off now playing football for Boucher Girls Football Club and doing her own thing.

 Enjoy .......

8-29 Jun 06 Russ's Mum here. A more relaxing visit as mum has done the first timers pack, so off further a field. Sunning it, Amouage, Nizwa and Jebel Shams to count a few, not too mention loads and loads of shopping, eating and drinking.

June 2006 Fishy things.   Good Fishing in June and July, the Oman coast is well stocked and great fun, albeit very hot, so lots of water and a few beers are the order of the day. Never realized how tough it was to bring a Tuna onto the boat, they are real fighters. Saw dolphins and sea snakes! Invited friends to taste our first Tuna in the form of a curry cooked very expertly by Niluka our Maid. It was Delicious.


England.JPG (758049 bytes)World Cup 2006.  Well we didn't win ... again, but hey...it was kinda fun while it lasted. Interesting to watch it with Arabic commentary, although thanks to our friend we watched it in English finally.


bani_khalid_south2.jpg (66722 bytes)7 Jul 06 Wadi Bani Khalid (South) Set off with friends to the south side of this Wadi. Filled with untouched rockpools and year round streams, it proved very hard work for those that trekked on. 


jebal_akdhar1.JPG (300281 bytes)23 Jul 06 Weekend at Jebal Akdhar. We and friends stayed up in Jebel Akdhar Hotel overnight and had a great time. Dianas Point, Sayq Plateau, Wadi Bani Habib, 1950 RAF Venom Crash site, Route 18b Trek and a BBQ at sunset point proved to be one of the top times in Oman so far.


bikers_oman.jpg (100602 bytes)10 Aug 06 Bikers Oman A trip out with Bikers Oman (see website Bikers Oman), new friends, were made and a very good time was had. Elli enjoyed going 2 up, last time was when we were in our teens! Guess were both having a mid life crisis but who cares!


mukal_cave.JPG (766907 bytes)11 Aug 06 Mukal Cave - Wadi Bani Khalid (North) Karl and I took ourselves off to Mukal Cave in the North of Wadi bani Khalid. After 2 1/2 hrs driving we finally arrive only to hear thunderstorms as we reached the cave. Estimating we had 1 hour before the Wadi and Cave (there is a stream in the bottom) fills up, we halved it and gave us thirty mins to get in and out. In the bottom cavern, we could hear the roaring water, so after a few pics a hasty climb out.  Sandstorms and monsoonal rain made the journey home very interesting.


karl_fish.JPG (727823 bytes)18 Aug 06 A very early fishing Trip. Disappointment over the previous weeks had Karl and myself up at 6ish and on the water by 7. Fishing was FANTASTIC, we pulled so many fish in, we actually moved away to get something different.....What about that eh. Here is Karl with one of many


abu_dhabi_2.JPG (102086 bytes)abu_dhabi_1.JPG (90566 bytes)21-25 Aug 06 At Stu's and Kiwi's in Abu Dhabi Not only to get Kirsty's Visa re-issued but to have a great time and for Kirsty, the first time she met Kiwi. The usual wedding interrogation revealed Huahin, South Thailand on 18 Feb next year. That settled, we Snow Domed (cool ... literally), Shopped of course, Water parked, chilled out round the pool, Pub'ed it, Restaurant'ed it and had a fantastic time. Stu became our taxi driver and very good and patient he was...thankyou.


tiwi_girls.JPG (49481 bytes)31 Aug 06 Kirsty's last beach day Kirsty's last beach day was spent at our secret beach in Tiwi. Great fun!



tough_ex.JPG (470609 bytes)9-13 Sep 06 Midyear Exercise for the School Far too many mosquitoes out in the desert for British Army Officers, so the Odd Brew and Pizza stop at home was a well needed moral boost for Russ. 



bandar_kharan2.JPG (446386 bytes)22 Sep 06 A Very Busy Day at Bandar Khayran.  Everyone's back after the summer and its starting to cool down. BK was like the M25, we were lucky to get the last beach to set up as more and more boats sailed in and out. You have to be in BK by 10:30am to get your pick of the crop. Snorkelling was excellent, caught on underwater camera (waiting to be developed) the biggest Leopard Moray Eel ever.


bombay.JPG (91315 bytes)28 Sep - 5 Oct 06 On Holiday in Bombay. 24hours after arriving in Bombay, the Bombay Times reported, Monsoon hits Mumbai for the next week ..great.. oh and it did. Still we got out and saw the sites. Top Left: An Empire tinted view of the Gateway to India (1911), 1st Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry, passed through it in a ceremony on 28 Feb 1948 as the last British British authority in India departed. Clockwise, the Taj Mahal Hotel (1903), Auto Rickshaw Taxi, only went in one once, and that was enough! Victoria Terminus Train station (1882); All in all, this is why the British Empire was a good thing. Bombay and the Empire buildings have stood still since we left and now Mumbai, is one of the poorest cities in the world. Centre our Hotel (le Royal Meridian). Are we glad we went (Yes), would we go back (No).


Oct 2006 - Private Party Society. Now members of PPS, wanna know more look into the eyes..........


odc.JPG (552140 bytes)12-13 Oct 06 Oman Dive Centre. Overnight in ODC with friends. Accommodation consisted of a Barasti Hut complete with outside shower, outside fridge/mini bar, outside sink, outside toilet! inside ACU, Beds etc, pretty good really. Cast fishing resulted in one stingy thing and a few sardines, all let go of course as there was nowhere to cook them. After a short trip in Kayaks, we settled down to a Iftah (Fast breaking meal, its Ramadan over here). We drank late into the evening with some good friends.


sue_and_jennie.JPG (450284 bytes)15-20 Oct 06 - Sue and Jennie. Sue and Jennie visited for a few days, during which the tailor was visited as was Costains, Sheraton Sea Food Night, O Sol Meo, Mutrah Souk, Marina, Out on the boat, Nails the beauty studio, BBQ, Shafaq and the Palace. Elli became the Taxi and tour representative and when Russ wasn't visiting the Police Station after being hit on his bike the week before and the Prado in the car park ...he tagged along too.


tiwi4.JPG (389208 bytes)23-25 Oct 06 - Camping Tiwi. Our first two day camping expedition to Tiwi. 4x4s buzzed up and down the highway in Muscat all morning before we left, most of them from Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Not surprising our SECRET beach was occupied as was most of Tiwi's coast line with campers. Obviously more and more people are checking Google earth for camping spots, anyway, up my sleeve were several other GPS Coordinates and a great time was had by all in our new Secret beach. Lots of turtles keeping an eye on us, fishing was rubbish, except for bait fish. Weather was a bit too hot at night...but great fun.


new_house.JPG (74662 bytes)Early Nov 06 - Moving House. Moved round the corner taking a few weeks and screwing up any chance of getting out and about during the weekend. Still were in and settled and it is starting to look homely. Wont have the warming party until January after we come back from our English Christmas. Chloe and Molly are particularly happy about the new house, they have a grandstand view of next door and their 12 Cats!


Camel truck.jpg (67800 bytes)1 Nov 06 - Tiwi On our way down for a beak from house moving, saw a commonish sight but this time on camera, a Camel on its way to market maybe?



fireworks at PDO.jpg (69569 bytes)5 Nov 06 - Bonfire Night   When you live outside of England, every effort is made to celebrate home festivities, Guy Fawkes night is no exception. The Anglo/Dutch/Omani oil company put on a great firework display, much to the confusion of the locals and cloggies as to why we celebrate someone trying to blow up parliament!


16-17 Nov 06 - Tiwi break. Camping at Tiwi with new friends, saw Camels, wild Orynx, Turtles, about 1000 dolphins and caught this Black finned Reef Shark. Picture is rubbish as Elli had the camera on Movie, but she says don't blame it on me, she didn't know how to turn it on so apparently its my fault for not checking all the settings.


ras al hadd.JPG (71226 bytes)29 Nov 06 - Ras Al Hadd Tracy, Steve, us two and kids drove down to Ras Al Hadd Beach resort to take a look at the Turtles in the nearby Turtle reserve at Ras Al Jinz. We saw a Turtle laying her eggs at night and returned in the morning to see her go back to sea. After an outstanding sunrise, a stop off in Sur to have a crawl round the Dhows under construction. The puppy scrounged some lunch on the way down and made friends with all the awwwww'ers.


bugger.jpg (107085 bytes)1st Week in Dec 06 - Raining.    Rain hit Muscat for only half a day, the damage it inflicted was massive. One week later and we still have a flowing Wadi 1km from the new house! This photo was taken after the road was washed away in the night on route to Tiwi, the German Tourists were hospitalised but thankfully not SI. Top Tip, don't drive when its raining, especially at night when you cant see a 30ft hole in the road.


boat trailer.jpg (70881 bytes)20 Dec 06 - Boat Trailer finally restored. After Months of waiting, several visits to the workshops for meetings ranging from inspections, explanation of angles, approving wood type, tweaking of the restoration plans and of course stage payments, the trailer is finally restored and it has to be said; with outstanding workmanship. Myself and a friend (Ski) with his trusty Landrover left the workshop in Barka c/w trailer destination Marina Banda al Rowda. Thanks very much Ski for spotting the wheel nuts were not tight at our 5km stop check, could have been disastrous!


21 Dec - 5 Jan 07 - Christmas 206, New Year 2007 A great time flitting around UK seeing family and friends. Unfortunately it failed to snow. 



Tiwi2.JPG (597241 bytes)12 Jan 07 - Tiwi again. Why so much, because its just fantastic, yep another trip to Tiwi and our SECRET Beach, this time with Ian, Jan, Sarah and Steve! Our winter is sticking around far too long, the sea was very very chilly and it actually rained. Not really camping weather yet.


trailer.jpg (66286 bytes)13 Jan 07 - A few more jobs Two layers of shag pile carpet for cushioning, lengths of plastic green grass and about 150 nails later and its looking more like the finished job. Next was to test the boat now overdue for engine services. The boat fit the service went bad (Two new pistons!) anti-foul looks great with lots of jobs done including a shiny new repainted name 'Tokolosh'. Now just to paint it gloss, probably black as I have some of that and its finally finished.


P A R T Y.JPG (561748 bytes)18 Jan 07 - House warming P A R T Y but more importantly MY BIRTHDAY. After the Landlord double the rent in the old palace, it was time to move to a more suitable place! Miss the garden the new one is just that, so ACUs aren't breaking down every 5 mins. Bar men and caterers were tasked, which allowed Elli and I to circulate and chat to 35 friends who warmed our new house until very very late in the morning, this picture with the usual criminals taken at 5:15am. LtoR, Tracy, Mac, Jim,Yamy and Sara. Official photographer for the night was Karl.


bangkok.JPG (79736 bytes)13 - 25 Feb 07 - Bangkok, Sattahip, Bangkok.   What a fantastic time. Bangkok with the Watson side of the family in preparation for the long awaited wedding of Kiwi and Stu in Sattahip before Elli and Russ packed off to Bangkok on our own for some more shopping. Top Left, Elli walking over the Bridge over the River Kwie. Top Right, Elli and Russ in a Japanese Sushi bar in BKK. The Girls at the wedding looking superb and the Girls in the Pool in Sattahip chilling out. Centre; of course; Stu and Kiwi looking outstanding like the King and Queen of Siam. Good luck to them for the future.


mums_visit 2.jpg (83394 bytes)10 Mar - 2 Apr - Mums visit.   Mum visited and became part of the furniture by settling into Elli's life with sunbathing, hair appointments, nails, camping, Charity Balls, trips to ancient Forts, shopping, more shopping, beach dog walking, hotel pools, dining out, Marina and Costains. It was great to see her especially at the Thin Red Line Ball.


15 Mar - Turtle rescue. While fishing off rocks at Tiwi, a black rubbish bag tied to a floating bottle seen earlier in the day turned out to be, horrifyingly a stricken turtle. By now the tide was in and light fading. After rushing back to camp to get a pen knife, snorkel and mask, the rescue was underway. The sea was pretty rough and mum told me not to take any unnecessary dangers. Off I swam out to the poor creature who had rope, fishing line and a floating plastic bottle caught tight round her front flipper. The rope went down to the sea bed attached firmly to a large boulder. I dived down with penknife in mouth, blowing my nose to clear pressure in my ears , only to find the turtle splashing, struggling to get down to defend itself. After 3 attempts, I floated on the surface exhausted, thankfully failing to cut the turtle free as it would probably have died out at sea through starvation as it was unable to make effective long term dives for food with the bottle attached. The only answer was to get it to shore! After swimming back to the beach, Elli ran off to get tow ropes from the car as I explained to Mum my plan to swim round the angry turtle and slip knot the tow ropes, as they would sink by the metal hooks. I would then tighten the rope round the lower rope and pull the boulder, rope and turtle in. As I acted out the plan in deepening water, when pulled tight the slip knot slid up the rope and jammed against the turtles flipper. Pulling the rope now only pulled the Turtle under water and failed to even budge the boulder, too much force could damage or tighten to cause more injuries to his flipper. I was exhausted. The tide was high now and the rope too short to allow the turtle to remain on the surface. She was breathing in the low swell of the sea and going underwater in the high. I lay on the rough surface looking down, thinking that there was no hope for the Turtle and wondered if it could survive the night until low tide? Then, I watched as one of the hooks on the tow rope sank and hooked itself around the boulder rope ... I could not believe my eyes. I have never moved so quick in water, I dived down to grab one end of the rope and pull with all my strength, I felt the creature flapping round my head but pulled as hard as I could with all the swim in me. The boulder moved out of its socket on the sea bed and I surfaced, gasping for air a little to early and swallowing yet another pint of sea. I looked down to see the hook now unfortunately free, but now we had a chance. I rested and then swam until the rope was tight and then pulled as hard as I could, causing the turtle to go underwater but; moving the boulder a few inches. After each pull, she surfaced to breathe and I rested. At last we seemed to be getting nearer to the beach. several more times she went down as the boulder was inched closer in until I could feel the sea bed on my stretched out toes. Still it was not enough to use as pulling force but a sure sign we were winning. Eventually we reached shallow water were I pulled using my arms and legs, very gently over the concern of making her flipper injuries worse. Finally I could get hold of her by the shell with the biting end out to the front, I carried her onto the beach for inspection and a very short rest. After unwinding the tight rope and then the fishing line Mum, Elli and I were relieved as she flapped her flipper. Concerned for the stress the Turtle had been through and was now under, we decided not to delay its release by running to get a camera. I picked her up and placed her in the waves lapping the beach. We all three stood on the beach as she swam away, three times she popped her head up to look around before she was gone for good. 


humane mouse trap.JPG (1147537 bytes)15 Mar - Mouse Rescue Following the Turtle rescue, we came home and our little bread eater from the kitchen had tried to each a bit of Mars bar attached to the Humane mouse trap set up by the kitchen door. He/she was taken to the sand dunes and released.


March showers.JPG (49342 bytes)22 Mar 07 - March Showers. A slight downpour and the whole town goes hysteric. Then again, 3 billion gallons pouring off the hills and bleeding through the dry riverbeds in flash floods takes some beating. This outward-bound tour company had parked 16 Land Cruisers in the Wadi. Whoops!


trlb_2007.JPG (66584 bytes)29 Mar 07 - The Thin Red Line Ball 2007.  Another Thin Red line ball this time with me on the committee as the sponsorship coordinator. Thus guaranteeing an excellent table. 



masirah.JPG (76553 bytes)4-6 Apr 07 - Masirah Island. 426kms from Muscat to the Ferry, which only goes during high tide, so we camped near the ferry terminal on a recommended beach which was miles long and not a soul insight. We explored up and down the beach only to sadly find two dead Turtles (Both the very rare Olive Ridley species) and a Dolphin. An earlyish start the next day made it to the ferry xing on time and away we went on the calmest sea ever. Half way across you could actually see the bottom it's so shallow. There was plenty of evidence of recent Turtle activity on the beaches in South East Masirah, lots of tracks and nests. After night patrols and sunrise visits, sadly none were seen in action, but a great weekend anyway. Then it was back on the ferry, past the vast salt flats and home.


black widow spider.JPG (9174 bytes)9 Apr 07 - Screeeeeem. While Elli was cleaning out some new and old shells she screamed at the sight of a very very small spider. As I walked into the kitchen to sort it out, I was horrified to see a Black Widow Spider crawling in the shell tub. Research on the  internet displayed this:


The Australian Redback spider is the pacific version of the Black Widow spider. Only the female bite is dangerous. They can cause serious illness and have caused deaths. However, since Redback Spiders rarely leave their webs, humans are not likely to be bitten unless a body part such as a hand is put directly into the web, and because of their small jaws many bites are ineffective. The venom acts directly on the nerves, resulting in release and subsequent depletion of neurotransmitters. Common early symptoms are pain (which can become severe), sweating (always including local sweating at bite site), muscular weakness, nausea and vomiting. Antivenom is available. No deaths have occurred since its introduction. First aid is to place ice on the wound, collect the spider for identification and seek Antivenom at hospital.


pats visit 19 - 26 Apr 07.JPG (111400 bytes)19-29 Apr 07 - Pats Visit Pat visited us for a break, lots of new and old activities. New ones such as a very cold BBQ on Jebal Akdhar at Sunset Point. Glad we took our fleeces, driving our speed boat (Well done you). Old ones like, shopping, more shopping, chilling out by the pool and all the good restaurants in town.


M&S Sale 20 Apr 07.JPG (458287 bytes)20 Apr 07 - Marks and Sparks Sale Marks and Spenser's sale saw lots of Expat Women including of course the shopping girlie trio (Elli, Jan and Tracey) with Pat who was the camerawoman on this occasion. 


karl majlis al jinns 3 may 07.JPG (126553 bytes)3 May 07 - Majlis al Jinns. Karl as part of his Gold International Award Scheme (Duke of Edinburgh Award) took on Majlis Al Jinns (Meeting place of the Spirits). This cave is the second largest in the world, you can fit 10 Jumbo jets inside. Access is via a hole in the Plateau above Tiwi. You enter the cave by vertically abseiling 150 meters (Yep m not ft), and of course after, you pull yourself back up on the same ropes you came down, typically taking about 45 mins of leg lunges. It is not only a extreme physical test but also a mental challenge. Well done Karl!


Black widow 6 may 07.JPG (459890 bytes)6 May 07 - A BIG Black Widow. Another spider, this time I think its the Mummy, it is huge compared to the other. The Garden is getting sprayed with insect killer!



Amphibious GMS Envoy 11 Apr 07.jpg (67272 bytes)11 May 07 - GMC Envoy  You would expect the Omanis to be excellent off road drivers, the fact of the matter is a few who's daily life takes them into the Wadis and Desert are just that, but most who cruise round Shatti at a night time are rubbish. This young Omani with his brand new Amphibious Envoy tried to drive on soft wet sand about 2 hours ago. He really believed that his insurance would cover him for this mighty cock up. NOT.


24 May 07 - Al Sawadi Beach Weekend.   To celebrate Kirsty's 21st and Karls 18th, we stayed at Al Sawadi Beach Resort for a couple of days to do anything! Sunbathing, Swimming, Drinking, A long walk in the sea to the Fort Island and a spot of sailing was had. Probably could have stayed longer but I had work the next day


Birthday meal in the Intercontinental Hotel 25-05-07.jpg (49271 bytes)25 May 07 - Birthday Meal in the Intercon. Out to the Intercontinental Hotel for a celebration meal, had the Birthday Cake delivered without any singing by the Hotel staff ..... Thank Goodness.



Fishing with KK 25 May 07.JPG (64195 bytes)25 May 07 - Fishing with Kirsty and Karl.  A Great night out fishing just off Bandar Jissah. Proved hard work pulling all the fish in for K&K, 5 Great Barracudas and one Sucker Shark. All were taken home for cleaning.


Bandar Khayran 30 May 07.JPG (93438 bytes)30 May 07  - Bandar Khayran.   A Day out in Bandar Khayran with the dogs. Great fun waterskiing. Forgot the Bottle opener for the beer but the University Student sorted that out!



Buisness trip 1-6 june 07.JPG (93724 bytes)1-6 Jun 07 - Business Trip to South England. Russ went back to England for a week with Omani Colleagues to look at buying some Kit. Stayed in Blandford, had a meal in the Indian across from C&A down town. Stayed at the Langton Arms, which is really friendly and a great country location. Stayed in Reading amongst other places like Malvern and Brawdy in Wales. Slightly worrying as we were getting reports of a bit of bad weather in Oman was a lot worse than originally expected.



gonu 5-6 Jun 07.JPG (81139 bytes)5-6 Jun 07 - Cyclone Gonu. Many people died during Gonu a Cat 1 Cyclone that reeked havoc in Oman. Highways washed away, beaches ruined, water contamination, no electric and dead phones amongst the more horrific occurrences. Thankfully, Elli in charge of the Darlington Stuff, was not effected at all. We were very luck. 


Gonu aftermath 9 jun 07.JPG (1027045 bytes)9 Jun 07 - Gonu Aftermath. My boat suffered a torn canopy and slight damage to the bow. The Marina at Shangri-la was completely trashed as the defensive walls were inadequate. The boat opposite ours sank! (See Picture). Interestingly, the floods never burst their banks in Ruwi which sustained no damage.....why......The British designed Ruwi.


Best photo so far 13 Jun 07.JPG (757586 bytes)13 Jun 07 - Best photo so far.  Kirsty and I were out for a spot of night fishing when we came across a Pod of Dolphins, I swung the boat round to point at the beautiful sunset and hoped to snap a dolphin at the same time!


graduation.JPG (79665 bytes)12 Jul 07 - 24 Aug 07 -  England. A Great time was had in the UK, Kirsty's Graduation and Karl's re-location being the highlights of the Trip. Mum Joined us in Hull for a Sunny Ceremony and cap throwing picture in the Town Centre as Kirsty received her BSc Degree. We were joined by the Town Crier of East Riding, (Jason Wood) who just happened to serve with Elli and I when we were in Northern Ireland in the early 80s. A Small World. Elli stayed on in the UK to see more of Kirsty, friends and family, health farm with sisters and help Karl get himself sorted in Manchester. Russ returned (Upgrade ha ha) to Oman to a very quite home. A quietness that Elli now has to also come to terms with as the Kids have fled the nest :-(


fishing oman mackerel.JPG (57867 bytes)12 Sep 07 - Fishing at the start of Ramadan. Richard and Myself took out early (ish) to Fahl Island is search of Dorado. None were to be found but we did come across a nice shoal of Mackerel. We spent about 2 hours pulling them in one by one until we numbered 47. A few were cast back as too juvenile for the table. Meanwhile Elli was researching on the net how to cook them on the BBC Food website. It took Richard and myself a further 2 hours to top/tail/gut/clean them. Sorry about the stink in his kitchen!


masirah2.JPG (66773 bytes)20 - 22 Sep 07 - Masirah.   Off down to Masirah with three other families. The inset picture shows (TL) the convoy stopping at the salt flats, (Centre) Elli saving hatchlings on both morning at about 5am! Ship wreck, William and Dougal the dog, who became Mollys special friend (nearly). (R) Elli taking another hatchling out of a vehicle track rut and above, Mitch digging a shell scrape on the beach! Final Hatchling count saved approx 30. Being there and deterring the Foxes and Birds, lots more hopefully. A good weekend was had by all.


sing1.JPG (106159 bytes)sing2.JPG (105905 bytes)3 - 9 Oct 07 - Singapore.  We had heard so much about Singapore, clean, well run, friendly with a    perfect temperature, no crime nor traffic jams .... and very true is it all. Pics to the right: Drinking Singapore Slings in the famous Raffles Hotel, Eating Black Pepper Crab at the Harbour quay restaurants, a downpour on Sentosa Island buzzing with monkeys and the WWII guns of Sentosa which never fired. The Grand Mercure Hotel and a dodgy Japanese snack! Singapore's icon 'Merlion', Botanical Gardens on a City Tour, Elli chomping into a Japanese meal, The City, Elli onboard a Night Dinner Cruise and finally city street in the day without any traffic Jams. What a fantastic Holiday.


10 Oct 07 - P A R T Y.   Had a great party at ours with lots of friends old and new, forgot to take any pictures for the website!, probably best as I mixed up; as per the Raffles Recipe; 10 litres of Singapore Sling and all but 1 litre went. What a night.


touther boat.JPG (87484 bytes)12 Oct 07 - Bandar Khayran.  Mitch, Rachel, Rob and Claire with their new boat and us with the dogs went to BK for the day, bit of fishing (non caught!) a good day was had, we bailed out early but the rest camped on one of the islands.


tiwi 16 oct 07.JPG (80388 bytes)16 Oct 07 - Tiwi. With friends at Tiwi for a mass Camping booze up for a couple of days. A mid break at Wadi Shab which is completely changed after Tropical Storm Gonu.



karl passes.JPG (554337 bytes)16 Oct 07 - 2pm (UK) Time Karl passes his driving test on his 2nd attempt, well done !!



Elli and the Dogs.JPG (867779 bytes)26 Oct 07 - Back to As Sifah. A day out on the only beach in As Sifah which doesnt have a massive sign saying 'No Dogs'. Very pebbly but a great day.



New House.JPG (451021 bytes)1 - 12 Nov 07 - House move ....... AGAIN!! Three weeks of our valuable time taken up moving AGAIN. This time we opted for a house a little further away, allowing us to get a 4 bedroom Detached Villa with study, alot more room around the compound and a massive detached Maids flat which I can use for my smelly fishing stuff and all the camping gear and cagage. Newly refurbished, it didn't have a house number, so we called it 'Sandy Cottage'...more of a light yellow villa but hey poetic licence, its now been allocated house number 1241 (boring). Since the picture we have Trees and shrubs around the house which should look nice by the summer. Were settled in now with a massive house warming party due in the new year.


karl_pat_sue_jettoo.JPG (106370 bytes)11-30 Nov 07 - Karl, Pat and Sue Jettoo. Karl's visit coincided with Pat and Sue's fortnight break. Karl just happened to arrive the day before M day, so spent most of his first week helping unpack and sort the new house for our impending guests who were totally oblivious to the house move. Still we managed it and crammed in a bit of Camping, Fish night, Boating, Oman Dive Centre, Arabic Evenings, Red Arrows, Marina, Grand Mosque, Intercontinental Hotel, Beach walks and lots of shopping before they departed to spend a few days with Stuart just up the Road in a very foggy Abu Dhabi.


marina do.JPG (84017 bytes)28 Nov 07 - Officers' Ladies Dinner night. Held at Marina Bandar al Rowhda, a great night till the wee hours, with fantastic food and great company for no particular reason except to get Loan Service Officers and wives together for a bash. Organised by me ..... again!.


fishnight.JPG (1620550 bytes)5 Dec 07 - Fish Night at the Sheraton. Table for 14 please!! A whole gang of us arrived for the BEST meal out in the Sultanate, the Sheraton Qurm Fish night. For 17 Rials (21) you can eat every type of fish and more cooked to perfection. After copious amounts of wine to wash the banquet down and a R350 bill, we decided to have one for the Road in the Al Ghazal Bar at the Intercontinental Hotel. It was packed! with a guest DJ and some great music we danced into the early hours, Elli and I reluctantly left first as I was up in 3 hours to go Sea fishing! Thanks all that attended, great night out!!


parkmeal.JPG (1403315 bytes)12 Dec 07 - Dinner at the park.  A spot of grass for 11 please. We tipped up to the newly finished park near Camp with warm boxes/cool boxes/Jingly mats and communal plates to dig in for dinner. No forks, it was hands (right of course) and a delicious feast from the Sergeants' Mess. We were entertained by a Arabic Band which added to the whole ambiance, and then the DJ from the previous week (possibly) played some great music before we left for night caps at the Murray's. Great night!


bk.JPG (2991642 bytes)13 Dec 07 - Bandar Khayran.   As we were all out for Dinner, we had an early start for Bandar Khayran with the Blee's and Murray's. It was a great day, quite warm considering the time of year although the water temperature was only just bearable above the top of your legs. A Small fishing competition was not won by me, Rob caught a Big Cornet Fish which easily out weighed my small blue spotted thing, not bad considering the huge amount of Green Algae around the coast at the moment driving away the fish. A technical problem with the Blee's Jet Ski allowed us men to look good by getting our tools out and diagnosing a faulty spark plug which had miraculously completely closed its gap after a recent service (!) After burying Tyler up to his neck the day wore short so we packed up and headed back. (anyone still sniggering at the 'tool' thing you should be ashamed).


chloe washing machine friend.JPG (43354 bytes)15 Dec 07 - Home alone. Elli departs for UK to get the shopping done, meanwhile I'm at work, doing some essential boat maintenance and looking after the PUPs. Chloe has developed an imaginary friend who lives in and under the washing machine .....


Christmas 2007.JPG (74930 bytes)20 Dec 07 - 3 Jan 08 - Christmas in the UK. Seeing family and friends took us from Manchester to Bedfordshire to Yorkshire to Warwickshire and at 1.04 per litre, a small fortune. Clockwise from Top Left is Ice Skating in Piccadilly Square, a very quite 30 Signal Regiment Officers' Mess but still looking great, Christmas day at Mums and Skating in Harrogate with Pat on plastic sim ice!


new year 2008 manchester.JPG (345106 bytes)1 Jan 08 - Happy New Year!  Celebrated in Manchester at Albert Square with most of Eastern Europe! we checked out Piccadilly Gardens, the Big Wheel but crossed over to 2008 in front of a massive Santa Claus on top of the Town Hall. Having now done Trafalgar, Westminster Square and now Manchester, Westminster Square in front of Big Ben is the best.


Festival 2008.JPG (104689 bytes)8 Feb 08 - Muscat Festival. The 2008 Muscat Festival was packed with much more to do than last years and varied from the Arab traditional to the High Tech. The obligatory shopping on Elli's part with the Girls taking up the majority of time, left the boys to visit Bull Fighting Omani Style (see here for movie file). Camel racing, Horse racing with a kindof spear stabbing theme, Formulae 2 Speed boat racing which was won by the British Team and some kids larking about doing donuts on the sand with their cars, we were duly rewarded by one of them flipping his Jeep. (See the video


seadoo.JPG (365955 bytes)15 Feb 08 - Russ's New Toy.  Meet 'Seadoo', my new best friend. RRP 299 in the UK, Internet price 219, bought from the Dragon Mall in Dubai 75 ............. Two Speed with a depth down to 30m, Seadoo is my new best friend, I take him camping or on the boat, we swim together all the time, he gets a bit exhausted after an hour and a half,  but is quickly refreshed at home ready for out next adventure. 


Marina Fire.JPG (86158 bytes)16 Feb 08 - Fire at the Marina. The aptly named boat 'Mudaffiar' set on fire at 11am, after being towed out of the Marina the fire was contained only to re-ignite furiously at about 1530. I was just lucky enough to be on my boat heading out while pointing my camera at the unfortunate vessel when the main fuel tank exploded. The picture was given to 'The Week' and published.


Andys trip 2008.JPG (117220 bytes)7 - 18 Feb 08 - Andy's Visit to Oman. Andy came over to visit us and we packed in so much like, Jebal Akdhar, Venom bomber, Terrace walk (with water flowing!), Game Fishing (Nothing caught), Meals out, Mutrah, Trips to the Festival, Camping, a walk up to the Fort at Al Sawadi and a run back as the tide was coming in (Elli was not happy), going local with a bit of Sheesha at Kargeens, a game of golf on a BROWN course, going even more local with an all in Park meal and time to reflect with fantastic views about Muttrah. Enjoyed having you Andy.


toms.JPG (164750 bytes)21 Feb 08 - Elli's Tomatoes.  Elli, with some help from her friends, has been very successful in growing Tomatoes in the Garden, we have had plenty for Salads and the like. As of this morning she has two Chilly peppers growing in her other tubs along side her herb garden. Little Miss green fingers or what.


toms2.jpg (294346 bytes)1 Mar 08 - Tomato update. Really Really big and quite tasty, not sweet, but very nice. The Chilly pepper is turning RED.



mothersday.JPG (32601 bytes)5 Mar 08 - Mothers Day. Exactly, it should have been a few days ago but 'Admin' was not General Studies during K&K education so it was all a tad late, but never the less, much appreciated when the pressies did arrive; Chocolate brazils, shower gel, a pink shower cap, Extra Strong Mints (Not available in Oman) and Candles. 


TRLB 08.JPG (85297 bytes)6 Mar 08 - The Thin Red Line Ball 2008. Our last TRLB was spent as guests and not co-organisers, so a very chilled out night was had, with lots of dancing, socializing and just having .... well a Ball.



Tiwi Sheesha Dolphins.JPG (67264 bytes)7-8 Mar 08 - Tiwi, Sheesha and .  A bit of a break in Tiwi, then a bit of a smoke with Sheesha, looks really bad and dodgy we know, but its quite nice and tastes mostly of apples, we even have one at home now!


karl mum visit 08.JPG (54043 bytes)wbk.JPG (1085043 bytes)1-15 Apr 08 - Karl and Mum visit.  Great to have Mum and Karl over for a couple of weeks, lots stuff done although the Jelly fish situation spoilt it a little. Still meals out, by the pool, Karl seeing some of his old 6th form mates and bit of fishing and boys stuff including a great day out at Wadi Bani Khalid with Alex and Gaz. Night fishing was delayed while some Chinese bloke ran past with a long ice cream cone on fire, apparently it came from some mountain in Greece!


Top Secret Beach.JPG (668630 bytes)3-4 Apr 08 - Top Secret Beach. Due to the beach erosion of the Secret Beach, the Discovery of a new beach labelled 'Top Secret' was the target for a 6 family gathering over the weekend. The beach is long with white sand and shallow shelf running out into the ocean. It has rock/cliffs either side making view from the road impossible.  The Beach has a large area for lots of tents on a good surface. We had a fishing competition which Russ won. BBQ and two sheeshas by the camp fire that night. A great weekend with friends.


April 08 - Watch out for the Jelly Fish! Millions of Jelly fish appeared from nowhere this month, round ones, flat, box, glowing and alarmingly  Portuguese Man-o-war jelly fish. In a selfless scientific experiment, Russ placed a strip of tentacle from a common jelly fish on his inner arm to find the sting was slight but not painful, mainly a tingling effect. Additionally however, the touch from a Portuguese man-o-war tentacle about the size of a pin head produced a high pain level and a 3 inch irritation patch. The pain produced by swimming into a tentacles across your torso must be unimaginable, hence we nor the dogs really ventured into the water this month. Interestingly enough, the internet does not recommend vinegar for Portuguese Man-o-war stings, but does for all other jelly fish.


cove beach.JPG (552933 bytes)18 Apr 08 - Round the cove. A day at Bandar Khayran at a brilliant cove which was Jelly Fish free now that they are mostly dyeing off.



Omani meal.JPG (914932 bytes)24 Apr 08 - Omani Friends. To thank some of my Omani Friends who have helped me during my 3 years, I had a Guys evening with traditional Omani food. Those attending were Ameed Sulieman, Mqdm Mohammed, Raid Yasser, Raid Nasr, YofS Ali, YofS Khaseeb, Chief Mohammed, Rqb Salim, Akmed, Mitch, Rob, Gaz. Absent was Sulieman from the Marina and Abdullah from the Airport.


bkk 08.JPG (95882 bytes)26 Apr - 1 May 08 - Bangkok. Fly to BKK, Hot and Humid, River boat, Sky train, Burger king, Chatuchak Market, Hotel Pool, Kabun Sushi Bar, MBK, Foot Massage, China Town Bead shopping, O'Reileys Bar in Patpong, Patpong night market, MBK Lunch and pressie shopping, another foot massage, Nails done, Sushi for Tea, Another Irish Bar, African Bar, Pack, Check out, Fly Back.


happy birthday.jpg (635021 bytes)3 May 08 - Happy Birthday.  Happy Birthday Elli, obviously not revealing her age, but you can work it out from her 40th 5 years ago! One of the many presents was from K&K which she was to wear a few days later in Hull at the Student Uni Bar while on a short visit to the UK to see the children.


chris WBK.JPG (3228459 bytes)5-15 May/12-22 May 08 - Pat and Chris Visit. I don't think Pat took any pictures when she was here, neither did we, probably because she is quite familiar with life as a Muscateer. Chris came with me and some friends upto Wadi Bani Khalid, this time to go all the way from WBC to the next village in the Wadi, it took us 5 hours and all were very tired at the end. After a death ride in a local Taxi, we RV'd with the Cars and headed back to Muscat, Slept well that night.


176_7612.JPG (156627 bytes)4 Jun - Maldives. Flew to the Maldives to celebrate out 25th Wedding Anniversary, great time and lots of pictures justifying its own web page....See celebrations/silver_anniversary.htm 


dogs at beach.JPG (63392 bytes)13 Jun 08 - Last visit to the Beach.  Lots of 'Lasts' coming our way, this was the dogs last visit to As Sifah for the Day.


pups on their way.JPG (1046933 bytes)18 Jun 08 - Bye Bye pups. A Tough day for us when the pups after a false start a few days earlier, flew to Abu Dhabi and then onto Paris CDG to start 6 months of quarantine to gain a French Passport, thus enabling us to collect the Dogs in time for Christmas this year. The dogs were excited about the boxes, so much so, they tried to get in just the one. 


Le dogs.jpg (66630 bytes)19 Jun 08 - Girls are in France. The grass looks soooooo green, it must smell great and bring back doggy memories of days gone bye. We think Molly's French will be excellent by the end of the year, Chloe of course will be side tracked for the duration when she realizes there is a large amount of cats that share the farm. We hope they don't come home saying 'Le Woof'


Forecast of Events - After making many Forecast of Events for our visitors here in Oman, now comes the time where we have to do our own, the exit plan is as follows:

                            18 Jun - Dogs Go to France
                            19 - 20 Jun - Prep for Movers
                            21 - 22 Jun - Movers pack our stuff to go on a container ship around the gulf and then UK Mid August
                            2 Jul - Close Middle East Bank Accounts
                            12 Jul - Sell Elli's Car and pick up Hire Car
                            8 Jul - Leaving Do
                            12-22 Jul - Kirsty visits
                            23 Jul - Leaving Do
                            2 Aug - George Arrives
                            9 Aug - Liz Arrives/Second consignment goes
                            11 Aug - Stay at Intercontinental Muscat
                            12 Aug - Fly to Bangkok
                            14 Aug - Fly to Hongkong
                            17 Aug - Fly to London Heathrow
                            18 Aug - Take over house in Leconfield
                            19 Aug - Our 3 year Storage kit arrives from Carlisle .... that'll be fun
                            21 Aug - Our Container arrives ... hopefully so will this
                            22 Aug - Buy Cars/Bike, no boat I'm afraid, SKY+, TomTom, Lawn mower ...... and lots more I can't think of
                            Sep - House sparky course
                            Oct - Start work in DST Leconfield
                            19 Dec - Go get the Dogs
                            25 Dec - Have Christmas dinner in Leconfield with Mum, Naomi, Steve, Kirsty and 
                                         Karl with the dogs under the table and a SNOWMAN on the front lawn.


Yamaha Sold.JPG (55288 bytes)20 Jun 08 - Sold. It actually went for a little more than I expected to be honest (Hope the guy isn't reading this). Its the 'Sold by a Brit Expat, serviced since dealer and well looked after' Heading on the advert that makes them so sought after, and the 'No Negotiation' helped remove the time wasters so I was dealing with only serious offers. Here is the Advert.


salalah lads trip.JPG (89092 bytes)
23 - 26 Jun 08 - Lads Road Trip - The Long Way Down. The Long way Down to Salalah, with 5 work colleagues. After a 9 hour drive we bedded down in the Mess on night one. Lots of events including (see inset photo, TL to BR); Drinking milk from warm coconuts, battlefield tour at Mirbat, (see wikipedia weblink here), Refuelling local style on the way down, Yemen border in the background while checking out some pretty remote masts, Signals Band of Brothers in the Empty Quarter, Gaz getting bogged in further after getting bogged in, a brief rest after our successful Geode (see here) hunting in the desert, Callsign 'Car Two' and finally (BR) a great thanks to our host for the week, Captain Jimmy, seen here chilling out in the second best restaurant in Salalah!!  Thanks to all: 

The Long Way Down was produced in association with 2 Signal Regiment Salalah
Directed by Col Ian
Producer Capt Jimmy
Driving Advisor Col Richard
Costumes RAO
Entertainment Gaz
Security and Sound effects Mitch
Cameraman Rob
Local Fixer Mick
Guest Appearance Myself 


TREASURE.jpg (426775 bytes)4 Jul 08 - Treasure. Stole a couple of hours from our busy itinerary to count the Treasure Chest money after 3 years of throwing coinage in, by friends and from countries afar, some unusual occupants revealed themselves:  

Oman Rials = 47.080 baiza            India = 1 Rupee                          Switzerland Francs = 6.20 Centimes
UAE Dirhams = 75.60 fils                Canada = 25 cents                      Japan = 13 Yen
Australia = 10 cents                      Thailand = 197 Baht                    USA = 25 cents
Russia = 1 Ruble                           Singapore = $6.40 cents             UK = 92p

Total number of coins 2,052.


Sold Terry.JPG (57076 bytes)12 Jul 08 - Terry Sold. Elli is not happy, while she was shopping in Dubai, I sold her little 'Terry'. What Makes matters worse is that although my request for a new Hire car for 4 weeks was actioned, it had the obligatory dent in the bumper and stains on the seats. When asked what she was going to call the new Toyota Yaris she replied 'Bag of Crap'. So Bag of Crap is with us until we fly out on the 12th. Terry went to a Omani Lady, she got a great car. Here is the Advert.


BOC.JPG (208376 bytes)12 Jul 08 - A picture of 'BofC', harshly named I think, its not a bad car at all .....



WBK Kirsty.JPG (416083 bytes)13 Jul 08 - Kirsty arrives. Kirsty stayed with us for just over a week, sunbathing and shopping with Mum, a bit of football with her Omani Footy friends from her holidays here. Fishing on the Boat and just out and about stuff. A great trip down Wadi Bani Khalid from the Village to Saiq took us 5 hours but was great fun with some amazing photos. Here is the one by the waterfall to join other past trippers like Karl and Chris.


Sold Boat.JPG (79224 bytes)28 Jul 08 - A Sad Sad Day. We have had the boat for two weeks short of three full years. I know that most of the readers of this website have been on it either sea fishing, water skiing, trick boarding, snorkelling, riding the donut, sailing to a secluded beach or just sightseeing around the coast, so farewell to TOKOLOSH, she served us all well.


army board.JPG (286298 bytes)30 Jul 08 - Army Board. As a memento from Oman I have had made a presentation box with a few items I wont be needing in my future job in the UK. From the Top, Sultans Armed Forces Stable Belt, Cap Badge (Officers Pattern), Collar Badges for Officers' Mess Kit, Name Badge (My Tribe name (Darlington) is Omitted as is normal in the Gulf States) hence Russell James, My Gong bar, Combat Kit name tag, Lanyard, Buttons from my Service Dress and Working Dress tops, From Bottom Left to Right, Combat Rank Slide, Mess Kit Rank Slide, Stones Dress Rank Slide with Signals Flash above. Finally Bordering the Left is a cut-out from My Exercise Shamagh.


Sold Prado.JPG (15343 bytes)9 Aug 08 - Sold. Sold the Landcruiser Prado, she has been a good car for us, and hopefully a good car for her new owners, if not, she has a great Trade in Price!


11 - 18 Aug - The Long Way Home. Well our last trip and the final entry to this chapter. A few select photos to recall our Long Way Home: 

1. View out from our Room at the Intercon Muscat. 2. Chilling by the pool on our last day in Oman. 3. View out of our Suite! in Bangkok. 4. Our Room (Standard) in HongKong. 5. Peak Tram ride on HongKong Island. 6. View from the Peak. 7. Again. 8. Again. 9. The Peak visitor centre.

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10. Starbucks. 11/12. Tourist Pose. 13. Meeting the famous Sam at his Tailors Shop on Nathan Road. 14. Tram ride on HK Island. 15. Star Ferry Crossing to Kowloon. 16. Another Star Ferry. 17. Chilling at the precarious rooftop Pool. 18. HK Harbour Laser show and Skyscraper light show.

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