How Does That Work Then??? – Air-Conditioning Trauma…..

Bit of a rhetorical question for you here. I live in one of the hottest countries in the world with temperatures which in summer routinely hit the late 40˚’s and often hotter. Even in winter it rarely gets close to freezing and routinely in the December the temperature is similar to a British summer, (in a good UK weather year).


So, how is it that I am wondering around in the world’s thickest jumper, with full length trousers on and my big fluffy bed socks?

How does that work then?


Simples. Himself and air-conditioning. Yeap, himself sweats opening a packet of digestive biscuits in a snowdrift. That is despite being physically fit – he just suffers with heat, not good when you live in the land of sand. The small, testosterone one is the same – any increase in temperature and they both melt into a pool of melting men.


So, while there is little himself can do to alter the situation while outside, inside he is permanently on a mission to reduce inside to a negative temperature. That means putting the air-conditioning units on their cold possible settings.

In short that means that inside our house makes the arctic look positively tropical.

Yeap, the house is freezing – I honestly woke up the other morning physically shivering. Hence my attire and the fact that I routinely have a blanket over me in an attempt to maintain a reasonably healthy body temperature.


Since the heroes who are the compound’s air-conditioning guys came last week and stopped water gushing out of several of the units, they have worked faultlessly, (is that tempting fate?), much to my discomfort.

I have managed to sneak a minor increase in temperature a couple of times and I think I have got away with it, but there are still icicles hanging from the window frames.

It is coming to something when you have to go and stand outside just to get warm or if needs must you leave the freezer door open in the hope that it may just increase the ambient temperature a touch.

Now, while my low body temperature is clearly an issue, there is a much more pressing issue in relation to the internal temperature of the house.

You see everytime the air-conditioning guys come round with their ladders, buckets, jay cloths and vacuum cleaners, a familiar pattern of events always follows.

At the end of their visits they always say that the units should not be on their coldest settings of 16˚ as this is what makes them spew out copious amounts of water. No, they say, they should be around 20˚.

Now while I completely respect their professional advice, it always makes me wonder – if we are not meant to have the air-conditioning on at 16˚, why have the option of that setting? Surely it is like having a racy sports car that has 180mph on the speedometer when actually you are not allowed to go that fast.


Having the option there just puts temptation in the way of my heat-phobic husband and son.

Anyway, I dutifully follow the advice of the air-conditioning guys after each visit and adjust the temperature of all the units to 20˚.

Then himself comes home and promptly turns them all down again.

A ‘heated’ conversation always follows, (well not that heated, it is never enough to actually increase the ambient temperature), and the setting always remains low.

At some point over the next few weeks, (usually around 2 weeks later), one or more of the air-conditioning units starts to spew out water again and once again another maintenance request goes in for repair.

Have you got it yet?

Well, before we know it, the air-conditioning guys are on the doorstep again, they fix the units and once again tell me that they should not be at 16˚ but at 20˚.

These instructions have overtime got to be ever more forceful and while the maintenance guys maintain a professional attitude there are hints of exasperation in their voices……


So, that is my dilemma. I am more than happy to set all the units at 20˚- it is not me who resets them.

However, it is 99% of the time me who opens the door to the air-conditioning guys and has to apologise each time for the temperature that they are set at….It is also me who suffers from near frost-bite on a daily basis.

Radio 2 have just played the new song from ABC as I wrote today’s blog – ’10 Degrees Below Zero’ – how apt!womancrazy

Oh, the joys of married life.

So, to the good news – it is definitely cooling down, outside. That said, outside is still significantly warmer than inside our house. Not only can you tell that it is cooling down just by going outside, (although when you go outside forgetting that you are wearing a big thick, UK sweater thanks to the inside temperature you do think for a moment or two that it isn’t actually cooling down….), but that cold water is cooling down.

Yeap, regular readers will know my struggles with the cold water temperature in the summer months, but it is now clearly cooling down.

Don’t get me wrong it is far from cold but it is no longer skin peeling hot.

Progress, progress……..

Right, two days of great training have been had.

Gym sessions and swimming.

My shoulders are tired, very tired, more tired than a tired thing in tired land.


Now, I have some longterm training goals which will become apparent in time, but short-term I need some challenges.

Yeap, I am booked in for next year’s 2 mile Great North Swim and am busy training for it.

But I need something else.

I have decided to give running a rest for the moment, my foot is not great and my hip brings tears to my eyes on a regular basis.

So, I need to get my head around something to aim for and with which I can raise money for Tommy’s.

Time to get my thinking hat on……

Right, time to go and dig out the ski kit in an attempt to generate some body heat……


Don’t forget to donate, this is all about raising money for Tommy’s

Donate at


OK, Who Cranked The Thermostat Up? & A Massive Thank You!

OK, I know that we have had a pretty good winter here and it has gone on for a long time. Yeap, we have been spoilt with an extended period of cool weather. The winters here are like a an average UK summer without the rain – fab! It is usually hot for just 3-4 months a year. But yes, the 3-4 months has really kicked in today without any warning – a major shock to the old system. Somebody somewhere has abruptly cranked the thermostat – how rude!


The temperature has been rising for a few weeks – slowly, hence why I have not been running here. But today is more than a bit warm. I have to say that even having lived here for a few years now you do get lulled into a false sense of security and forget how the heat catches up with you. Today has been  a humungous reminder.

It is at times like this and for the foreseeable future you make sure you leave your bike in the shade otherwise the saddle burns your bottom when you get on it. Later in the summer you have to be careful as the heat melts the seat and you end up with melted bike saddle all over your clothes – not a nice look, it resembles some sort of bathroom incident.

Even if you manage to avoid parts of your bike melting then you still have to contend with the smell of melting road and car tyres – very appetising at tea time!

Talking of bathrooms, yeap, an annual major issue is coming to the fore. At this time of year the heat starts to get everywhere – including through walls and into the water system. It is at this time of year that you actually start to miss cold water – yeap the heat even warms the water in the pipes and from now until about October the only cold water that you will find is from the fridge or water cooler. Oh great!


So yeap, that is the all consuming issue of today and the fact that I didn’t realise it when I threw myself into the Lagoon Pool this morning. So my rash vest was fine and protected my back as I ploughed backwards and forwards across the pool but as my face was in the water most of the time, (apart from the usual coughing, spluttering and gasping for air), I never thought about that….

I am now glowing gently across my whole face with goggle imprints and worse still the shape of a nose clip clearly visible on my nose – ho hum! I suspect that if I looked carefully enough in the mirror that I would see the word ‘Speedo’ to the side of my eyes from my goggles….

So what else has been happening? Well, the tin foil stand off is continuing. Both parties in the dispute are maintaining a silence over the issue and so I suppose himself has the upper hand as I am keeping a dignified yet peeved silence. The tin foil still has a Heath Robinson look about it but as I have managed to avoid raising the blind for the last few days I have not been greeted by it. It is still gnawing away in my brain though.


So our room is still cast in darkness and yes I still need some sort of lighting device or night vision goggles to be able to put the washing away. In reality the ceiling light is more than adequate but it is the principle that counts. The maintenance guys came to fix the loo in our en suite bathroom this afternoon and I am convinced that they actually came down to their bikes not to get spare parts but to get a torch to find the bathroom in the first place.

I have just had another of ‘those’ conversations with the gardener again – I am not sure what I have just agreed to but with the amount of head wobbling that went on, (on his part, not mine), he seemed quite happy with the outcome of our conversation, (whatever that may be). I am sure that time will tell just what I have agreed to…


So, the small man is not impressed with the heat and has restarted his practice of stripping off as he gets home. There is a trail of school uniform from the front door to the kitchen and which ever cupboard or the fridge he chose to scavenge food from on arrival. I have managed to persuade him to keep his underpants on from a hygiene point of view but in general he takes whatever food he has found and stands buy the nearest air conditioning unit.


Then of course there is the daughter. Yeap, the strawberry blond hand-grenade. It is at this point that I am going to put out a missing person alert. Yeap, last seen in Cumbria, a 5ft 3 strawberry blond hand-grenade has gone AWOL from Facetime and was last heard of quite a few days ago. No response has been made from our missed calls. As no missing person alert has been received from school we assume that in her fun filled, hectic school and social life her good old Mum and Dad have just slipped her mind – but if anybody in Cumbria has a positive sighting of our gorgeous daughter please can you prompt her to phone home????


So, now to the enormous thank you.

Everybody has been so generous in every way throughout this fundraising campaign and the whole EIOT team is incredibly grateful to everybody who has donated in whatever way. There are so many ways that people have donated – not just financially.

So, the thanks of the EIOT team are now extended to the MODSAP Team here on the compound who a few weeks back had one of their fab social events – ‘A Stars In Their Eyes’ evening.

The MODSAP Team have donated all the profits from this evening to the EIOT Tommy’s campaign – a grand total of 12800SR – around £2300.

This is an incredibly generous gesture and one for which we are very, very grateful.

When combined with all the other money raised, the grand total is now well over the £15,000 target that we set and there is still money coming in.

So, along with a massive thank you to everybody else who has donated, (there are too many of you to list but you know who you are and so do we), we send a massive thank you to the MODSAP Team for this fantastic gesture.


OK, me and my glowing face are going to sign off for the evening and dig out the after sun.


Don’t forget to donate, this is all about raising money for Tommy’s

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Interesting Listening On Radio 2 This Morning……

Rest day today – but what is a rest when you are putting your house back together after the carpet fitters?

It’s that time of year again, the time when the BBC goes into overdrive and does everything in it’s power to raise money for it’s annual ‘Children In Need’ campaign.

Now do not get me wrong I support this initiative unquestioningly,  with the vast amounts of money that are raised going to help children who undoubtedly deserve better and need help.

However, I am more than a little cynical about people or organisations jumping on the band wagon for publicity or to shine a favourable light on themselves. There I have said it, I am very sceptical.

That said, this week has made for interesting listening on The Chris Evans Breakfast show. For those who do not know, the week leading up to the big day of ‘The Children In Need’ TV fest sees Chris Evans and his team putting together  packages of items that money cannot buy and some of them are truly incredible.

So, this morning as I was emptying boxes, pushing furniture around and trying to work out why the blind on the patio window didn’t fit, (more of that in a couple of minutes), after the invasion of the carpet fitters and the air conditioning guys, it was really interesting listening to hear today’s auction package. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for somebody – as long as they had several tens of thousand pounds to spare to pay for the privilege. The package included going to the Steve Cram Training Programme, training with the legend that is Paula Radcliffe, guaranteed entry to the 2016 London Marathon, the 2016 New York Marathon and The Windsor Half Marathon along with other extras such as first class air travel, luxury hotels etc, etc.

This got into massive amounts of money for the privilege, and I have to admit that if I had vast amounts of money to spare I would have bid – despite already having my London Marathon place. However, I don’t so I didn’t!

What was fantastic though was listening to Steve Cram and one of my all time heroes, Paula Radcliffe, chat to Chris Evans on this morning’s show. What a confidence boost! I don’t know what it is about Paula Radcliffe but she is so inspiring. I remember when I did The Great North Run, (what seems like a million years ago now), she won it. However, by the time she won it, I was roughly about half way round – maybe less. However, I can put my hand on my heart and say I ran a race with Paula Radcliffe.

Paula Radcliffe has always been a hero to me, on those endless training runs years ago, when I hit the wall I always asked myself ‘what would Paula Radcliffe do?’ and the answer was always the same and I always just ploughed on.

Doubtless as I get further and further into my training for April the same thoughts will creep into my mind, (they actually have already), and once again I will use the same question to push me on.

I also ran a race with Tanni Gray-Thompson, (now Dame). It was The Woodall Spa 10K,  deep in the darkest depths of Lincolnshire. Just before the start I found myself lined up close to her. Needless to say she also finished the race way before me, but again I can say I have run in the same race on the same terms as a champion.

So, listening to the greats that are Paula Radcliffe and Steve Cram chat about running this morning was a great boost and immediately many of my worries about April evaporated.

So, thanks got to Mr Evans for pulling together such a fantastic package and as a result letting me listen to the two greats chat about running and recount some of their adventures. I might have have several tens of thousands of pounds to buy a package, but just listening to the chat was worth thousands to me! Hopefully it will ultimately be worth a lot to Tommy’s!

Oh yes, I would be very surprised if you were even vaguely interested in why the blind at the patio  window suddenly didn’t fit, but on the off chance that you are here goes. I spent ages today trying to work this out and I hope that it is human nature to blame anybody or anything that has created change in your life rather than blame yourself. Well, as I stood scratching my head wondering why the vertical, slatted blind suddenly sagged in the middle, I immediately asked myself what on earth the guys had done to it while fitting the carpets. Had it slipped on it’s fixings? No. Had it come loose on it’s rails? No, it was a mystery. Then the penny dropped. The old carpet had been so downtrodden and flat then when I measured up for the blinds I measured to the floor. Now however we had a lovely think new carpet which was a lot higher! So apologies to the carpet guys who in their absence had been falsely accused of trashing the blind. I am not sure what we are going to do with our now sagging blind, but I suppose it could be a talking point at least for the time being. Mystery solved…..


Don’t forget to donate, this is all about raising money for Tommy’s

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A Teenage Weathervane & Frozen In The Desert….???

I have spotted a pattern. Yeap. I have found a way of detecting the mood of The Strawberry Blond Hand Grenade, (TSBHG), first thing in a morning, a teenage weathervane so to speak.

Yeap. if I say to her, as my first words of the day to her, ‘Morning Gorgeous’ or ‘Morning Beautiful’ then the response is indicative of the mood of the day.

If the response is ‘Don’t call me that’ or complete silence then the weather forecast is poor and quite frankly I ought to put on my extreme survival kit and brace myself for a tornado sort of a day.

If the response is ‘Hello’, then the forecast is fair and while there may be the odd shower and maybe an occasional rumble of thunder and flash of lightning.

If the response is ‘Morning Mum, You OK?’, then the forecast is for sunshine, absolute minimal risk of showers or gale force winds – but you can never say never, so better get the flip-flops out and enjoy the weather.

So far today we have had smiles and laughter, but then himself is off work today and when he is around then there is a reversion to ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’ and quite frankly butter wouldn’t melt.

So, onto other matters.

Long term readers may well not recall my ramblings in the past about environmental factors here in the land of sand – in particular those inside the house and directly related to temperature.

First of all there is of course the water issue.

Yes, despite what people may assume, water is in plentiful supply here in the land of sand. The fact that it is more expensive than petrol is irrelevant, there is water in plentiful supply.

However, at this time of the year, when the outside temperature is pushing 50℃ then the water in the pipes as it gets to the house gets pretty hot en route.

As a result, at this time of year you go way out of your way to get cold water – at almost any cost.

Now, readers may recall my make shift attempts last year at creating a cold water shower solution which were kiboshed by The Small Testosterone Filled one, (TSTFO).

Well, you will be pleased to hear that this year I have restrained myself and have not attempted such a solution and have instead just decided to take the right hook that is no cold water on the chin in true British fashion.

However, there is of course the other matter which quite frankly makes a hot shower a welcome addition.

Yes, the air-conditioning.

Once again, this has been the subject of a post in the past, (Air-Conditioning Trauma), I feel that at the moment my plight is such that it needs mention again.

You see himself is heat phobic – not good when you live in the land of sand. Any hint of an increase in temperature and panic ensues, only on his part I hasten to add.

So, that means the writing on the wall as regards the ambient temperature in the house.

Now, in the past I have been rescued to a certain extent by the rather dodgy air-conditioning which coughed and spluttered and struggled to maintain himself’s arctic requirements.

However, I now have a problem as the house. (in fact every house on the compound), has had its air-conditioning replaced with new, modern, digital, highly efficient air-conditioning units.

They shine, they hang majestically in each room and other random places.

They work. Well.

So, himself is in heat-phobic heaven.

Finally he can set a freezing temperature and be confident that the ambient temperature of that room will soon match that which shines out from the digital display.

That is bad news for me and TSBHG, (TSTFO takes after himself and is quite happy in arctic conditions).

Yes, we are frozen.

TSBHG now routinely sits with her duvet on her, not that she will blame her beloved Dad for her discomfort, oh no. Somehow, someway, the ambient temperature in the house is my fault.

I have taken to making sure I permanently have thick socks on as well as my fleece jacket.

Now the easily forgotten part about this dilemma is that despite the freezing, baltic temperatures inside the house it is still anywhere between 45 – 50℃.

So, once vaguely warm and wandering around inside in a fleece and woolly socks, you inadvertently go outside for whatever reason.

Firstly, you open the door and are greeted by a blast of hot air from the world’s biggest hair-dryer at full belt and on top temperature.

Next, you wonder outside to find that your body temperature has soared like a mercury thermometer being thrown into a furness.

Your woolly socks become nuclear thermal storage units and the inside of your fleece becomes hotter than Adam Peaty in a hot tub.

You rapidly retreat back indoors to find that your body overcompensates and the heat deserts you, you get colder than ever and usually have to revery to yet another layer.

I have considered putting signs on the inside of the doors to remind myself to remove all extra thermal layers before exiting and to be honest today’s post may well prompt me towards that action.

But whatever action I take it does not alter the fact that it is baltic in our house. My sinuses freeze every time I breath in.

On the occasions that I do remember how hot it is outside I have been known to take off the extra layers and stand outside for a few seconds just to thaw out.

It works – as long as I race to put back on the extra layers when I come back in.

Oh, the issues involved in living in the land of sand.

Right, best I head off and take full benefit of the fact that himself is at home and enjoy the good weather which is predicted by the teenage weathervane.


It Must Be My Aura……

Its official, it must be, the one common factor in everything that has gone awry of late is……me. There must be something about my aura at the moment. Yeap, with the various unfortunate complications with the house, (water, electrics, water, Rayburn, water, removal company, water, washing machine, water, phone line, water, WIFI, water……the majority of issues related to the spring fed water system in case you didn’t read my sporadic recent EIOT posts or were wondering…..), the one recurrent and prominent feature was me.


Now, this could be classed as mild paranoia and indeed until arriving back in the land of sand for a brief visit, shower and the luxury of flowing water, (albeit still hot thanks to the weather), I too would have berated myself for such a persecution complex.

However, on my return the house here started to disintegrate around me.

In the three days since clambering aboard the BA big bird the followings events have happened:

  1. Three separate air-conditioning units have cluttered, coughed and then belched out copious amounts of water all over the carpets.
  2. The kitchen tap has disintegrated
  3. There has been significant outage of the WIFI – a major blow in light of the lack of WIFI, phone or any other form of communication at Chez EIOT except ‘Owls’ as in Harry Potter or at a push smoke signals.

Yeap, as I looked forward to the comparatively superb internet access here in Saudi on my return, (let’s be honest the internet here is anything other than superb but compare it to a baseline of zilch at Chez EIOT then anything seems good), my excitement was thwarted by a downed system.


Now, if the house had been unoccupied during my extended time at EIOT Towers then I would have not been at all perturbed. But as himself was here all bar two weeks and had been for 10 days prior to my return I have been a little uneasy that actually I am going through one of those phases where my aura is tainted and everything I touch either disintegrates or breaks.

Needless to say the internet is now back up and running again, the tap is fixed and the air-conditioning guys have been round with their ladders, buckets, jay cloths and vacuum cleaners and worked their magic. No longer are various floors adorned with pans filling gently with water.


It does seem more than a tad ironic that this time last week my life in deepest Cumbria, (usually one of the wettest areas of the UK), revolved around wellingtons, bilge pumps, waders and water springs as I grappled in the field to try to coax water out of the ground and into the water holding tank and this week I am back in the desert with water so ample it is actually jumping out of the air-conditioning units at me.

As an aside I would just like to report that around 24hrs before leaving for my visit back to the land of sand my dance of worship to the Cumbrian Rain Gods paid dividends and the heavens opened. The spring jumped into life, but alas the flow was a mere trickle into the holding tank and despite my best efforts with the bilge pump while up to my eyes in mud,  I could not shift the blockage. Whatever it is that is has caused the constipation is pretty damned stubborn.

However, we will win. During my absence my good friend’s husband is heading into the depths of the field with his portable compressor that he has assured me can ‘raise water higher than the fell’ to clear the problem.


On the one hand I am delighted that he is on hand to fix the problem and I am confident that I’ll return to find a completely unconstipated water pipe – he is after all the local water expert who fits tanks etc for a living. I am however slightly concerned that the powerful compressor with its fell busting power may have a negative effect on the ageing holding tank and while I may well return to an unblocked pipe that may be irrelevant as there may also be a great big hole in the side of the tank thanks to the compressor.

Oh well, nothing I can do about it now. He is after all the local water expert who makes his living out of such practices – as well as being a highly accomplished farmer – so I will just leave it to him.

I am not expecting such a positive outcome in relation to BT who are being as completely inept as ever. But I have a plan up my sleeve thanks to a suggestion from a friend and the big guns could well be rolled out if BT do not provide the goods by their next reporting day which is still 2 weeks away…….


So yes, I am back in the land of sand on a brief visit.

Now that the house here is being pieced back together again after my aura accompanied me through the door all seems well.

The temperature is dropping, (hurrah), the water in the taps is still hot, (boo hoo) and the gardener still has his characteristic head wobble. In short not a lot has changed.

Tap Hot 1


Now what this means for all you unfortunate readers of the EIOT blog is that the hiatus in my ramblings will, at least in the short term, end and I will be airing my thoughts and chaotic happenings a lot more regularly again.

For the immediate future no more will I have to drive to the pub or head off to the nearest town to consume hot chocolate and bacon to access their WIFI, (hardship in both cases you understand),instead – in theory – I’ll be able to jot down my waffling comments at will.

So, for that I apologise in advance, your peace and quiet has been shattered – I am back.

So, to training, which is of course at the centre of this whole undertaking as is raising money for Tommy’s.

Well, I have to admit that while there was no formal training while at EIOT Towers there was plenty of exercise with the vast amount of physical activity required to make the place vaguely habitable.

But, back in the land of sand it is another matter and unless this place disintegrates around us any further then it should be physically less demanding.

The post moving house injuries of tennis elbow and a very dodgy hip are healing, the bruises from numerous bashings into things while fixing, moving and binning them are fading, the inground mud and dirt is lifting slowly from the skin on my hands and several extended periods with a nail brush have seen a significant improvement in my finger nails.


So I will be stirring my stumps and starting training again imminently. Gym here I come and, elbow allowing, pool here I come.

Then I need to think about what event to do next………

Right, best dash and find out what is happening at EIOT Towers with plumbers, builders and most importantly of all compressors…..


Don’t forget to donate, this is all about raising money for Tommy’s

Donate at


Taking The BT Man Hostage……

Its been a funny sort of day…….actually lets rephrase that, it has actually been plain odd.

Today I have been a Spinning® Instructor, diplomat, Mum, gym buddy, cook, sellotape removal expert, saleswoman, friend and counsellor. I am also about to be a volcanic eruption if the chaos that is flaring up upstairs as I write does not settle down soon.


Yes, today has been, well, odd.

The day started off quite normally really – until I woke up at which point panic mode set in. Yeap, I suddenly realised that I had just four days before the gruesome twosome and I climb aboard the British Airways big bird, (for new readers of the blog please do not assume that is some sort of derogatory comment about BA air hostesses, this is how I routinely refer to the aeroplanes – gee I love BA! ??) and quite frankly I am nowhere near the point that I should be at minus four days to departure.

While on the one hand the expat life has taught me over the years that quite frankly all you need with you to travel is a valid passport, credit card and a packet of Dioralyte somehow much more seems to make it into my bag and needless to say all those extras are nowhere near ready to go and are not even in the pipeline.

A major part of my panic this morning revolved around the house and mortgage debacle which is of course ongoing. Yeap, no news but let’s be honest about this it would have been completely unreasonable of us to expect any news, it is after all the weekend in England and while the mortgage company expect us to jump through hoops out of hours we could not possibly expect anything from them.

But the lack of any communication from the mortgage company was not the root cause of my panic, no the cause was the fact that there are certain arrangements that I have made that, or not made as the case may be, are actually dependent on us having ownership of the house.

Firstly there is the fact that I have made no other accommodation arrangements and so the possibility of being homeless and scrounging cardboard boxes from the emporium that is Budgens is a very real possibility.


The next problem is that I have the obligatory Sainsburys order booked for the new house, (Budgens do not deliver – alas), and boy is it a big order. Regular readers will know the relevance of a Sainsbury’s order and the absolute excitement it brings. It suggests normality, (whatever that is), and is a major step which subconsciously means ‘get the passports out, we are on our way’. Anyway, the size of this Sainsbury’s order may well mean that the cardboard boxes will be even more congested by bulk orders of provisions – in particular Bombay Sapphire, no I am not cancelling the order.

Thirdly, over the few days from the optimistic completion day I have several pretty much essential things booked – everything from the Rayburn man to service and light the monster that sits in the kitchen, the oil man to deliver the fuel so that the Rayburn man can light the monster, the BT man so that we can actually be in touch with the world, (we really are in the middle of nowhere and mobile phone signals are non-existent) and the removals company who are bringing all our long-lost possessions out of deep storage down south for us to reunited with up north. That said, everything has been in storage for so long that neither of us can actually remember what is in there – pretty ironic actually as when we packed it all up everything was essential and nothing could be lived without, well we have done OK without it all over the last five years.


Oh well, eBay will be busy.

Anyway, rearranging any of these things will be a pain – especially BT who will claim they are so busy that it will be another three weeks before they can come back.


So, here is a heavy felt plea from me to all the EIOT readers out there. It is common knowledge that I am one of the most nonreligious people around, but please, please, please can everybody do a dance of hope to whatever forces are out there and in particular to the forces that control mortgage companies and conveyancing solicitors. That said our solicitor is actually a dude and has done all our conveyancing for us over the years and is very familiar with what is going on – that’s me trying to keep on the right side of her on the off chance that she reads the blog by the way.

Please can you all bow down and pay homage to the powers that have influence and control over these people in the hope that we may actually complete on the house purchase on Friday.

If you need incentive for this then please imagine me and the children shivering in cardboard boxes in the middle of remote Cumbrian fields, with empty sheep feed buckets full of heating oil around us and bags of Sainsbury’s shopping. We will be  trying to keep the attention of the BT and Rayburn men until we get the keys because quite frankly it would be weeks before they can come back and if that fails we will just take them hostage in the barn……To be honest I suspect that the small man would enjoy the whole adventure, the strawberry blond hand grenade would just be teenagerish and I would just have a straw straight into the bottle of Bombay Sapphire.


So, that was all largely the cause of my morning panic. By lunchtime I had largely moved on from all out panic to blind resignation and by mid afternoon I was in couldn’t care less mode. That is roughly where I am now as regards our looming logistical issues in the UK.

So among my full and varied day there have been numerous other events, the majority of which I will not bore you with. However, a couple are worthy of comment.

Firstly, following on from yesterday’s post – Out Of The Mouths of Babes…. – that the YLOTH, (click on the link to find out what the heck I am on about), is actually three and not four as stated. Normally I would not mention this minor error, (well minor in my opinion), but as the YLOTH’s mum is a fully fledged, grown up, experienced lawyer who may well take me to court and sue me for everything I have got, or more to the point haven’t got, on the grounds of misrepresentation of the truth or something legal like that, I felt the need to clarify the situation.

I have not seen the YLOTH today, to be honest I am quite scared of her now – she was particularly ferocious on the phone and when those hands went towards her hips in a ‘don’t you go messing with me’ fashion yesterday I was concerned for my safety – especially as at that point we had not actually collected our new Wills from her mum and the future prosperity of our off spring was at stake.

I think this ought to read 'appreciate' life again - i.e . you survived.....

I think this ought to read ‘appreciate’ life again – i.e . you survived…..

Another event which occurred today greeted me as I walked through the front door after one of my many errands around the compound. Now I am sure that the majority of the houses everywhere in the world where it is the school summer holidays are in the same state as our – absolute chaos and a disaster zone. I have stopped talking about Gordon the Gecko as quite frankly it is hard to tell if he is in hiding, dead or missing in action somewhere in the lounge.

As per my state of mind with regard to the house purchase, I have also reached the stage of couldn’t care less with the state of this house.

So, I was pretty much unfazed when I walked through the front door earlier to hear a muffled sort of noise. I wasn’t too worried so disappeared into the kitchen to dump my bag before walking back into the lounge.

There it greeted me, yes there I discovered my son. Bound and gagged by his sister with sellotape. Not just a bit of sellotape but a LOT of sellotape. Over his mouth and hands tightly bound behind his back.

Now I am not sure what had prompted this extreme reaction from the hand grenade but it was quite impressive.

I hasten to add that he was not at all upset by the experience and once he had been rescued from his sticky situation he found it quite hilarious.


….including little brothers….

I on the other hand am still finding chunks of sellotape where quite frankly there should not be sellotape around the place.

The third happening is once again closely linked to the small man.

I am sure you will recall the events of a couple of weeks ago when the small testosterone filled one took it upon himself to dismantle my DIY cold water shower attachment and leave it unceremoniously strewn over the bathroom floor – Unbelievable…Simply Unbelievable…., (click on the link if a reminder to the whole sordid affair should be needed).

Well, he has added insult to injury. Nothing too major, just enough to partially reopen the old wound.

Needless to say the small man spends a con
siderable amount of time foraging for food and in doing so he was rummaging in the freezer.

Everything went quiet during his search and he reappeared empty handed and puzzled. The question that stumbled out of his mouth was, ‘Mum, why is there a really, really big bag full of ice in the freezer?’

At this point I despatched a Paddington Bear stare and murmured through gritted teeth, ‘that was my ice for my DIY cold water shower attachment – you know the one that YOU took down because you decided you didn’t like it…..’ and at the sometime applied a sharp tap behind his ear.Paddington:Bear

Well, all of a sudden the small man had an air of guilt – it was fleeting and was gone as quickly as it came, but it was there.

Then tonight he asked if he could use the ice to have an ice bath ’cause it really is hot at the moment Mum and there is no cold water’ – cheeky so and so.

Right, it has gone quiet upstairs so that means that either the hand grenade has wrapped her brother up in copious amounts of sellotape again, the air-conditioning has broken down and they have actually melted or perhaps they are behaving like normal children, reading books and getting ready to go to sleep – yeah, right!

Best I go and find out what’s going on!

This has no relevance to tonight's blog - but I like it! It is also why I do not do 'Pokemon Go'

This has no relevance to tonight’s blog – but I like it, so it is here. This is why I do not do ‘Pokemon Go’


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A ‘Comfort Soft’ Gecko, Mortgage Woes and King Pin Shock…..

I am a broken woman. I am a shadow of my former self. I am wrecked, shattered, smashed, on the brink. I am not what I used to be.


Yes, the UK mortgage system has got the better of me.

Buying a house is stressful enough and I am not undermining the stress levels of anybody who is currently undergoing this purgatory in the UK at the moment.

But buying a house as an expat while living in Saudi Arabia straight after the Brexit vote – well that is another matter and takes it all to a whole new level.

We have bought houses in the past, but always while living in the UK.

Suddenly, because we live in Saudi we have apparently, in the eyes of post Brexit UK financial institutions, grown horns, become fraudsters, run international money laundering operations, are people traffickers, are financially incompetent and have stolen our own identities as we are in fact confidence tricksters who run our empire from a dingy internet cafe in Nigeria.

Now, not for one second am I suggesting that all fraud originates from dingy internet cafes in Nigeria, but I think that everybody everywhere has either received or knows somebody who has received one of those dodgy emails from successful business men in Nigeria who need to get some money out of the country on the quiet and really need your help and your bank account details to make it happen.


Sound familiar? Yup.

Well, that seems to be how we are viewed at the moment by the financial institutions in the UK who seem to think that we are out to fleece them and bring the UK to its knees.

Well, the UK and in particular the banking sector has done a pretty fine job of that itself over the last few years and does not need any assistance from us thank you very much.

Anyway, despite me having a rant I do not need to recap the absolute load of rubbish that they have piled on us and our long suffering mortgage advisor over the last 24 hrs. I am sure you are not at all interested in our mortgage debacle, other than to say that even the afore mentioned, long suffering, highly experienced and usually unflappable mortgage advisor who specialises in Ex-Pat mortgages was last seen with extra grey hairs scuttling off to the alcohol department of her local Sainsburys having thrown her mobile phone in the nearest river.


Anyway, we seem to be making progress – although I hesitate to say that as we have said it on several occasions over the last few months only for more levels of waffle to be piled on.

We still remain optimistic that our voyage through the turbulent seas of expat mortgages will be over as planned in the next week or so – yes, they piled even more hassle on us just a week before doing the deal – and we will be able to regroup, refocus and drown the memories of the whole damned process in a sea of Sauvignon Blanc, Prosecco, Bombay Sapphire, Chardonnay, bacon butties, pork scratchings and belly pork.


Please remind me again why I live in a ‘dry’ country – I would have willingly exchanged any personal possessions, a kidney or a small child for a glass of something strong over the last 24hrs.

So, onto matters a whole lot more interesting and quite frankly entertaining.

Now I have to admit to a level off naivety this morning. Yeap, during our trip to the gym this morning I was as normal taken short in a ‘having had two children sort of way’ and for fear of an imminent incident on the treadmill off I scuttled.


Now I was somewhat surprised to see that the ‘Crazy Corner’ area was quiet. In fact it was not just quiet, it was silent. There was not a single soul there, not one exasperated and beleaguered mum, not one screaming child, no poster pain hand prints on the walls, no half eaten sweets hanging on for grim death like a ‘klingon on the starboard side’ and not one cleaner armed with a mop and bucket valiantly attempting to maintain the place in its pristine state.

My journey to the loo was completely unhindered and completely silent.

I should have known better than to assume that there were no kids activities today. I should have been prepared for the onslaught, but in my naivety I wasn’t.


After finishing in the gym the small man made his way home and after a few minutes I made my way to the centre of our universe, well the unofficial centre of our compound anyway, King Pin.

There are two heavy fire doors to get into King Pin from the gym corridor and they are at right angles to each other. So, you can not see through the door windows as you approach, even if you want to.

The doors not only protect agains fire, but they also protect against noise.

I think you know where I am going now.

As I reached for the second door, I was glancing at my phone to see if there was any further lines of doom, destitution and pending despondency from our stoical mortgage advisor and failed to look through the window.

The second the door lurched open on its hinges, it hit me. The sight, sound and smell of a mass of children, desperate mums and diner food. Yeap, today’s activity was bowling and the coach loads had relocated from ‘Crazy Corner’ to the other end of the building in the bowling alley which is situated in King Pin.


You may recall the recent post, Forget The Hot Water Bottle – click on the link for a recap, when I discussed the plight of one set of our intrepid explorers and there return home to a house in Saudi in summer after a month with the air-conditioning turned off. Well in this post I talked about the blast of hot air that steams you face when you first open the front door. Well, in this case, please consider the blast of noise, smell and exasperation that greeted me when I opened that door to go into King Pin.

Fear shuddered down my spine, but I had to be brave and venture forth. Yeap, I did it, I survived.

Our intrepid explorers were present, looking vaguely harassed – things must be bad if they are struggling. One meltdown later, (intrepid explorer’s child, not an intrepid explorer themselves but it could have been possible I hasten to add), everybody was seated, the children had food and the mum’s had coffee. For a short while they at least were cool, calm and collected.


Slowly, all the mum’s and offspring made their way from the bowling alley to the eating area – I made my way from the eating area, food in hand for the gruesome twosome, home.

Talking of home, I regret to say that there is still no sign of Gordon. My searching with the torch under the kitchen appliances were fruitless and yes I did keep my mouth shut.

There have been no sightings now for a couple of days.

The possibilities are:

  1. Gordon has turned his gecko toes up and is crisping up under a household appliance – highly likely
  2. Gordon is alive and well under household appliance – becoming increasingly unlikely
  3. Gordon is in a watery grave somewhere in a filter or drain in the washing machine – quite possible
  4. Gordon is gleaming Persil white and Comfort soft among the huge ironing pile – hmmm, not sure, I have checked the pile but he could be lurking in a decomposing sort of way
  5. Gordon has made his way outside and is reunited with his gecko buddies – highly unlikely, the door is not left open at this time of year and I certainly have not ushered him out

No, it is not looking promising for Gordon and I suspect that when I finally get round to moving the big white kitchen appliances a deceased gecko may greet me.


Right, the financial institutions in the UK should now have ceased work for the day which means that there are hopefully no more demands from the mortgage company asking what colour knickers I am wearing, how many tins of beans are in the cupboard and if they can have a copy of my Saudi driving licence. Yes, think about that one, it is a favourite trick usually of HM Customs when you claim your VAT back at the airport when you come back to Saudi. They try to trip you up to check if you really are a Saudi resident. They ask to see your Saudi driving license. Genuine female residents know all too well that there is no such thing for women, but fluff the answer and they get excited and think they have you…….

Anyway, the mortgage company have not asked for that one – yet. They have however done everything else.

The time also means that our beleaguered mortgage advisor is probably justifiably opening a large bottle of something alcoholic to calm her nerves and bolster herself for the next onslaught tomorrow.


So, on that note I sign off for this evening.


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Sorry! & A Close Call For Gordon….

What is the world coming to? I was quietly minding my own business in King Pin this morning, (OK, so actually I was busy nattering), when I was asked what had happened to the blog, there hadn’t been a post since Sunday and what was going on??


So, being quietly flattered that actually people read the blog and miss it when I fail to produce a daily missive, please take this as an apology for the lapse in my responsibilities for the blog yesterday – it was very remiss of me.


Further evidence and reassurance that actually people read my ramblings also came yesterday when I was asked about the well-bring of my DIY cold water kit. Yeap, I was asked if it had been put back up and if I had pursued court her discussion with the small man as to his actions.

Well I have not put the cold water system back up as I am still in shock about the form of its demise and it is still sat looking rather forelornly in a heap.


As for the small man, well words continue to fail me and while I have made it abundantly clear that he was wrong to do what he did and I am not impressed I have not pursued the matter any further.

I would however just like to point out the supreme irony of the situation. Since his sabotage of the work of art, he has not used that shower again – not I hasten to add because of his guilt but just because the urge to use that particular shower has not overtaken him and he has resorted to using a different shower.

Anyway, onto other matters.

The desperation levels here on the compound continue to escalate as the holidays wear on – even more so as it has become apparent that I dropped a bloomer in one of the recent EIOT blogs.

Yeap, just last week I posted the blog, Oh Dear, Things are Getting Desperate – click on the link for a refresher.

In this blog I boldly stated that there were 12 days left until the school reopened and the little cherubs went back to their classrooms. Well, it appears that for once and completely uncharacteristically, (yeah right! ?), I got my wires crossed and got everybody’s hopes up because actually at that point there were 19 days until the little cherubs hit the school.


So apologies for that!

Anyway, once again yesterday morning I was caught short at the gym and a visit was required. Now I have to say that anything I witnessed last week was nothing compared to yesterday. I did not even know that there were that many children on the compound, let alone all in one place at one time.

The noise was beyond deafening, the smell was, well stinky, mum’s were frantically cleaning poster paint off every surface after an arts and crafts session, several appeared to be comatose and the number of Costa Coffee cups that had obviously once contained caffeine filled sustenance was enough to make Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstale cry. If you are wondering what I am on about, take a look at the website #Waste Not or have a look at the recent BBC documentary on iPlayer – War On Waste


The cleaners were not just lurking in the background this week, they were in full swing with mops and buckets in rapid action.

Even some of the most stoical mothers on the compound were looking somewhat jaded by the ongoings in ‘Crazy Corner’, and then of course there were the squash players…..

I hasten to add that some people do not know when enough is enough and when to accept defeat. go home and put their feet up.

No our intrepid explorers, (yes those of hair do and air-conditioning fame), were at Crazy Corner yesterday. But not content with the mornings excitement and noise, no they decided that straight after this they would go into town, with all the children, and go to IKEA.

Now let’s put this in perspective and for ease I will use bullet points:

  1. A morning with thousands of kids in ‘Crazy Corner’ would be enough for most people
  2. A trip into Riyadh usually requires considerable mental preparation
  3. A trip to IKEA in Riyadh requires a second level of personal bolstering
  4. A trip to IKEA with several children in any country takes considerable mental preparation


So, any one of these points would be a reasonable challenge but no our intrepid adventurers rose to the challenge, met it head on and returned victorious with copious amounts of flat pack furniture and crockery I assume.

Maximum respect, I am not worthy to be in your presence.

So, to Gordon The Gecko. Well, as I alluded to in my last post, I was concerned for the welfare of our little buddy as he had not been seen for a day or two.

Well, I have to admit that yesterday full blown panic set in.


You see one of Gordon’s favourite hiding places is under the washing machine and yesterday I was musing over whether Gordon was OK and where on earth was he – as I loaded the washing machine.

Suddenly a feeling of foreboding overcame me and I rapidly emptied the washing machine just to be sure that I had not inadvertently scooped up Gordon and he was about to go through a whites wash.

There was no sign of Gordon in that load, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that perhaps, inadvertently, I had put Gordon in the washing machine on a previous load.

I even found myself rummaging through the ironing basket for any sign of a Persil clean Gecko among the t-shirts.

No sign, but still the nagging feeling continued.

I did not dare mention the prospect of Gordon having come to a soapy end in the washing machine to the gruesome twosome, that would not have been a good idea.

Anyway, panic over as Gordon was spotted by the hand grenade scuttling between the washing machine and dishwasher last night – now that’s a relief. No longer am I terrified of being a Gecko killer.


Right, swimming calls.


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Oh Dear – Things Are Getting Desperate…??

Time is ticking by, back to school is shuffling closer and yes the Mums on the compound are looking more haggered, stressed and are getting desperate.

The ones who don’t look like this are clearly either fresh from the hairdressers or have a secret source of alcohol, (not that anybody here would ever dream of such a thing).


In typical ‘Mum post two children’ fashion I was caught short at the gym this morning and concerned that an unannounced sneezing session could end in disaster on the treadmill, I scuttled off to the loo.

Now the loo closest to the gym is right outside ‘Crazy Corner’. No, this is not a padded area with straight jackets that we all go to when life behind a big beige wall gets too much, no this is a fantastic soft play area for kids to run off their energy.

Well, over the last few weeks there have at best been a handful of kids in there with, on a good day, a few others scattered around doing artistic, crafty type stuff with glue and glitter – much to the angst of the squash players on the adjacent court who find various colours stuck to their [squash] balls.

Stop moaning squash players – it could be worse – at least they haven’t booby-trapped the courts with sticky back plastic and double sided sticky tape, yet!


But no, as I scuttled to the ladies with my legs crossed, (not easy), I was greeted by the sight of people everywhere.

Children were roaming in packs, the soft play area was reverberating and rocking as what appeared to be hundreds of sprogs played chase, tag or Australian rules football on it, the noise level would have beaten a NASA launch at Cape Canaveral any day and the smell of sweaty small bodies hit you as you entered a 30ft radius of the area.

Believe me, that smell was more powerful than anything I could produce from my sports shirt after an hour in the gym.

The cleaning staff were waiting at a safe distance with mops, buckets and disinfectant at the ready.


In the middle of all this were the Mum’s. Some of them appeared to be OK, but some were looking somewhat harassed and tense.

One or two looked catatonic and I swear one was asleep.

Yes, things are clearly getting desperate, will everybody survive the 12 days till school starts again?, on today’s evidence it is not looking promising.


In the middle of this were our intrepid explorers – yes the ladies of the hairdressers, one of whom is also of air-conditioning and ice pack fame.

Now, despite their recent return from exciting and exotic holidays and more to the point having had their hair done, there were signs of desperation creeping into their behaviour.

You see the children of these ladies are the type of children that everybody wants. Clean, tidy, obedient, polite, chatty …….., I have offered to do swops on several occasions but it is always declined.

(Not that I am jealous or anything, the strawberry blond hand-grenade played a blinder in the supermarket yesterday and ended up inciting her brother to violence in the queue for ‘Dill’s till’. It almost got to the stage of security and the armed guards being called, not to separate the gruesome twosome but to stop me inflicting verbal GBH on my daughter. Normal service was resumed, much to the entertainment of “Dill on the till’ and tutting of most others in the queue).

Now, even our intrepid explorers had reverted to bribery this morning.

How reassuring!

Yeap, they had arrived armed with a large, yummy looking home made chocolate cake.

It had been placed in front of the explorer’s children on a lookdon’t touch basis. They were only allowed to dive into the delicacy after a suitable amount of energy had been burnt off – now that is bribery!


Oh dear, another friend has just arrived in KingPin, heavy with child, ( 2 weeks to go), toddler pricariously balanced under her arm and on her bump, (nursery is also on holiday at the moment), glowing from the heat and looking pretty exasperated….

Right the influx seems to have started as the masses relocate from soft play to Kingpin with herds of hungry children and desperate Mums, so best I order lunch and retreat to a safe distance.

Oh yes – training. Well the boy charmed the swimming instructor yesterday and is itching to put into practice his new skills in training this afternoon. The gym this morning was a success despite my impromptu break to the loo – Mr Sport is getting fitter and stronger every day….


Well it looks like the brevity policy on the EIOT blog was short lived, Brevity, That Is All I Have Got To Say……… The Silver Surfers appear to have gone to ground and are not replying to my messages or FaceTime calls.

Now this could mean one of two things:

  1. They actually read the post of a few days ago and have taken umbridge.
  2. Being over half way through puppy sitting a 10 week old chocolate lab called Winnie, they are now in the same boat as parents here on the compound and are currently in a catatonic state themselves in deepest Luncolnshire.

Time will tell…..

Right, best order some food.


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Adam Peaty Lust, Freezer Blocks & Summer Holidays Woes…

Well, much to my surprise last night’s blog seems to have attracted quite a lot of interest, reaction and furore.

This is good – it actually means that there are people out there who read my crazy ramblings. Whether it is out of pity or boredom is irrelevant, people actually read it.



So, as I sit here in King Pin allegedly waiting for lunch to take home to the gruesome twosome but actually employing a technique for an extra few minutes of peace and quiet, I am busy people watching as the guys flood in from the offices for lunch and masses of desperate mums come in with bored children.

Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of activities for kids here, but let’s face it we are at the stage of the holidays where kids are quite frankly sick of the sight of their parents and parents are sick of the sight of their kids, (hence why I am hiding in King Pin under the guise of waiting on a take-away order).

One rather fraught looking lady has just struggled in along with pushchair and two older offspring, heard some backchat from one of the older sprogs, slammed the brakes on and discreetly informed him that home and bed was imminent.


I hasten to add that she was so discreet that I only know this as it happened as they walked past my table.

However, it is sooooo reassuring to know I am not unique….

So, what of our intrepid explorers, their luggage and more to the point their air-conditioning?

Well, the luggage apparently ended its extended holiday and appeared back safe and well the other day.

The air-conditioning is doing its job – just.

The freezer blocks have been washed and replaced in the freezer. The hair of both ladies involved in yesterday’s  blog has been coiffured to within an inch of its life.


Don’t be offended ladies – I am not for a minute suggesting anything…..

I think it is fair to say that normal service has been resumed – I just keep seeing the husband of the lady in question and images of freezer blocks spring into my head.

I think I need to get out more.

The husband of the rather fraught looking lady with a pushchair and two other kids who is now sat at the table behind me has just arrived and he has been given equally short shrift.

Once again, it is sooooo reassuring to know I am not unique….

So, the world continues to rotate on its axis, the water continues to run extremely hot from the cold tap, Mr Sport continues to get fitter and so has more energy than ever, how on earth anybody can believe that voting Donald Trump as American President is a good thing fascinates me and Adam Peaty’s Gold Medal winning physique does more than fascinate me.

Adam Peaty

When the Adam Peaty 2017 calendar comes out, which it inevitably will, then it will be top of my Christmas list. I am not sure how the Saudi’s will react if they search my luggage at the airport though – could be interesting….

Perhaps Adam Peaty could run for American President in place of Mr Trump – now that would work. Hold on a minute, he is not American, a bit of a problem there.

So, gym session this morning, blogging at lunchtime, swimming this afternoon.

I am pleased to report that this afternoon Mr Sport has a lesson booked with one of the compound’s instructors, so swimming training here I come while he is occupied wearing out another unsuspecting soul in the indoor pool.

Right, food has arrived, as have slashes. I have no more excuses to avoid the gruesome twosome, best I head back to the ghetto.


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