The Sound of Silence

Summer in Doha: It’s 45C outside. You can’t eat or drink in public during daylight hours. And 10 weeks of school holidays have begun. Time to relocate the children…


What kind of activities do you like to do when you’re on holiday? Spend some alone time in the sun with nothing but your Kindle and sun cream, maybe? Perhaps it’s snorkelling, hiking or practising your haggling skills in a bustling, noisy market?


Awaiting delivery…

But whether you’re into street food or skydiving, it’s safe to say that it probably wouldn’t include millinery.

Yes, millinery (that’s hat-making, Scrabble fans). Or editing a year’s worth of photos. Or assembling, hanging and fixing things. Or doing pension paperwork. Especially not pension paperwork.

And yet those are precisely the things that have Mrs LC and I have been happily filling our time with over the past week or so. It’s all stuff that’s been on our to do lists forever, but never quite makes it to the top because life – specifically, parenting – gets in the way.

The kind of things that seem to have been stuck there for centuries, like a mosquito in amber. Things I’d normally concoct outlandish excuses to avoid doing. (“Hey, Amnesiac! Want to recreate the iconic rope bridge scene from Temple of Doom using nothing but matchsticks and minifigs?”)

The reason for this eclectic selection of activities is that Family Little City is currently running on two parallel timelines, much like Sliding Doors, only with better English accents.

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Stay Another Day

We all need a break from Doha once in a while – but who knew you didn’t have to leave the city to get one?

Room with a view

On a clear day, you can see forever

Happy second birthday, Little City. Yes, this blog hit the terrible twos the other week. Two years of introspection, camels and parenting failures, gone in a flash.

But in all that time and all those words, the best (ok, only) freebie I’ve been offered as a result was a copy of The Entertainer (Dubai edition) – an offer I politely declined.

But then, as if karma, fate and serendipity had joined forces with the sole purpose of not letting the occasion go unmarked, the Grand Hyatt hotel right here in Sunny D, got in touch.

They really liked my blog – flattery will get you everywhere – and would I be interested in being their guest for the weekend and writing about it?

Do bears..? Is the Pope..?

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An early summer heatwave shouldn’t have to mean waving goodbye to our sense of humour for three months as well

Living somewhere like Doha – a place that not many people have visited – means you’ll frequently get asked what it’s like here.

Good Morning Vietnam

“Were you born on the sun?”

Many adjectives come to mind – I’m sure all residents reading this will have some suggestions – but you’ll probably hear a variation on ‘dusty’ or ‘beige’. But at the moment, as we stand on the brink of summer, it’s mainly ‘scorching’.

Despite my best efforts at acclimatisation, this past week has been hard. Summer came early and with a vengeance, affecting everything. Every obligation or invitation is weighed up through a solar filter.

You may think I’m exaggerating because I’m from a country where talking about the weather is a national sport. You may think I have nothing to complain about because I chose to move to the desert, which isn’t exactly famous for its igloos and snowstorms, but blimey Charlie it’s been hot this week; Robin Williams-quoting hot; record-breakingly hot to be precise, and conditions like that rob you of all but the most basic functionality.

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Space Dust

“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe, or we are not.
Both are equally terrifying.”     ― Arthur C. Clarke

I generally don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the future future. I can barely comprehend what life might be like for my kids when they’re as old as I am now. Holodecks, meals in pill form, DNA-as-ID? Maybe they’ll even have the hoverboards and jetpacks we were promised for so long.

Solar System

It’s hard not to feel insignificant in the face of this much everything else

The subject has been orbiting our villa this week because Kid A spent most of it making a model of the solar system for school. And during her research (or as we call it, “Asking Dr Google”), we pondered some of the biggest questions of all, like:

  • Why are we here?
  • Is there life on other planets? and
  • When will Mummy and Daddy be replaced by robots?

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At Sixes and Sevens

It’s been a week of maths, permutations and probabilities, as I go back to school, Amnesiac moves up a year…and Reading go nowhere

As I sat waiting for it to start, I used the skills I had once learned to calculate exactly how long it had been since my last maths lesson.

(Yes, maths, plural. Any of my American readers who want to suggest I drop the ‘s’ is going to get a passive aggressive tut like they’ve never had before. See point 7 here for proof from an actual American.)

Look to the future

Amnesiac looks to the future

Anyway, a few fingers, toes and raised eyebrows later, I had my answer: May ’89 – exactly a quarter of a century ago…

The reason for this week’s trip down M+ lane (that’s a calculator joke, btw) was because the kids were invited to Bring Your Dad To A Maths Lesson. So I joined Amnesiac and about 20 other Year 2 students (this is called Estimating; they were moving too fast for me to be sure) to see what teaching looks like in 2014.

Turns out that everything’s changed except the answers. Continue reading