Saturday, 28 February 2015

La Cigale Sky View

This evening wen tout for a few drinks and a bite to eat at La Cigale Hotel, in particular the Sky View bar.

This outside bar has stunning views over Doha. Numerous seats with Gas Fired Torches to provide some illumination and heating when there is a chill in the evening air.

It was a pleasant evening, not too chilly for this time of year, I only had a long sleeved shirt on, and it was fine. Maybe being a Scotsman has something to do with it.

Elected to try their Chicken burger which was very nice as you would expect from a 5* establishment.

The link for more information on location and the hotel/bar is:

I took a few pictures, but don't think the camera was particularly suited to the light conditions, so it does look a lot better in real life. There are better official pictures on the website.

This is certainly somewhere I would go back to. The staff did say that it gets busier later in the evening, and it is best to book ahead if you want to reserve a table.

I've arrived!

I'm here!

After jumping on the plane in Aberdeen and catching the connection flight from Heathrow Terminal 4, I arrived at midnight last night.

I had one minor hiccup at Heathrow. I had pre-ordered currency from Travel-Ex, but because I came on an interconnecting flight I wasn't near the landside Travel-Ex counter near check-in, however there is another one at the Airside in T4 and they simply transferred the order across and dealt with it.

The flight from Heathrow to Doha was on a Qatar Airways A380-380. First time I had been on one of these double deckers and safe to say it was big.

I must say it was probably the best economy flight I have ever been on. Plenty of seat room even for me at 6'. Was upstairs at the rear economy section and the staff were great. Attentive to service and very friendly.

Beer, soft drinks, crisps, braised steak dinner, sweet and savoury snacks were all excellent.

The new airport in Doha was pretty good as well, it was the first time I had been through it, when I came out last year for the interview it was the old airport. Fairly slick through immigration, security and baggage collection and then customs. No problems.

The relocation company collected me from the airport and took me to my temporary apartment. No issues here either! On arrival, got handed the key, shown the apartment and left to get on with it.
Unpacked my bags and had a poke around etc. and after all the faffing about, probably eventually got to my bed about 3am.

There was actually another new start arrived at the same time and came across with me in the car from the Airport, he is in the apartment next door, so not as if we don't know anybody now.

The apartment is in the Le Mirage Executive Apartments and it is a large 3 bedroom, all ensuite, + kitchen, WC and living room/dining room open plan area. Photos are below.

Got up in the morning, and a quick check of Google Maps showed a Mega Mart supermarket just a few hundred metres way away. Ok, so it was across a busy main road which was a bit like playing Frogger, but nothing we couldn't handle. Maybe next time I'll see if the pedestrian crossing system works...Bought some basic food and household goods just to get going, With the shop close enough it isn't a problem just to take a walk over if I need anything.

So far Day 1 is going well, heading into see some sights and grab a beer tonight with the other new guy from the apartment next door.

Till the next time!

View from balcony

Living Room / Dining Room

Guest Bedroom #1 + Ensuite

Guest Bedroom #2 + Ensuite

Master Bedroom + Ensuite


View from Balcony door

Dining / Kitchen / Living

Dining / Kitchen / Living

Friday, 27 February 2015

Let's Do It!

The day has finally arrived. Here I am sat at Aberdeen airport watching the world go by.

Next step is a few hours wait at Heathrow.

Long day of travel ahead, but can't wait to get there and see my temporary apartment, get some sleep and then see what Saturday brings.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Packing Day Arrives

Today was packing day.

The packer turned up just after 9 am and spent the next 6 hours continuously packing everything that was going.

Box after box after box. He was a non-stop packing machine!

Tomorrow they are collecting the furniture from the warehouse and that will be it all done.

See it all in a couple of months!

Any Guesses?

Boxes stacking up....

and stacking up....

and stacking up....

and before the packing all began :-/
Enjoy your trip Winnie!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

School Applications - Continuing!

Last night was another marathon session for another school application form for both the girls. I reckon it was about a good 4 to 5 hours.

By the time you get the forms from the websites, print them, fill them all in, scan them, create the emails, attach all the required informations from medical forms to school reports to immunisation records your head is mince.

Then, you get the emails not delivered because of message size limits. So, you create new emails and split the contents across them and add the narrative and send again for a fingers crossed!

I also had to rescan the school reports as the original pdfs scanned were excessive. Not only that, because the way the school provides them, A5 sheets for each individual specialist subject and A4 pages for your standard english and maths etc. putting them through the ADF didn't really work, so ended up hand cranking them through the scanner building up the pdf file and also reducing the size further by doing it in grayscale rather than colour.

Well hopefully that is it now, 3 schools applied for.  Just need to get the attested reports back from the legalisation office and the Qatar Embassy as these are needed for later on.

Will probably then have to repeat that again for when the current school year reports come out in June.

Needless to say, I hope they get in somewhere so we don't have to go through this again!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Relocation Shipping Survey Complete

The guy from Interdean arrived this morning, had a quick scout about the stuff being shipped and then off. Short and sweet!

Just another week to go before the the pack-up.

Monday, 16 February 2015

International Driving Permit

Popped down to the local post office armed with UK Driving License, passport, passport photo and a completed application form (which we picked up earlier).

More information can be found at: and the requirements for each country can be found at For Qatar, it simply states and IDP is required for car hire and recommended for normal driving as a temporary license can be obtained locally on production of a UK license.

Valid from a year after the required start date, which can be post dated up to 3 months ahead.

15 minutes later and for a fee of £5.50 each, both myself and Nadia now all sorted for the IDPs.

In Qatar, you can drive locally for up to 6 months using an IDP, then you need to apply for a local driving license. Some countries license can be simply converted to a local license, but I haven't looked into this yet.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Another Step Closer

Sure is another step closer, this morning an email dropped in the in box containing airline tickets and the all important work and resident visa.

Now just have to get the last of the things all packed up ready to go. 

Nearly there I think. really just down to the last of the things still being used, e.g. desktop computer, a couple of tv's and of course clothes.

The clothes are going to need a right good sort out. Need to fly out with suitable clothes for both onshore office and out of office and also to take offshore with me on my first trip. The remaining clothes will be shipped out with all the rest of the stuff.

Friday, 13 February 2015

The Work Farewell Email

There are only so many people you can find to say goodbye in person on the last wander round the office, so it was only fair to drop out a farewell message to the work colleagues. And this is how it went;
 Subject: And now, my time has come to say "Farewell"!

Good Morning All!

As many of you are aware I have decided to invest in a sunhat. After 25 years in the North Sea it is time to venture a little further. I am taking my family on a hot sandy adventure and relocating to Doha, Qatar and spend a little time on their offshore operations. Needless to say, the levels of persuasion required to get Nadia and the girls to agree was Zero! And I’m sure the monstrous Al-Shaheen field will keep me occupied for some years to come.

This will bring to a close the last chapter in what could possibly be described as the first half of an epic voyage. From arriving at the BP Training Centre on the 28th August 1989 to start my apprenticeship, to the first trip offshore in November 1992 to Forties Bravo, to finding out about the Forties takeover by Apache via Teletext (how retro) in the FB CCR, to finally leaving Forties after 21 years and heading up to Beryl Bravo for this last year. We wont mention, 50’ condensate jets while blowing down FT-8190 or recovering lost sea water lift pumps with blue nylon rope and a home made hook, these were merely educational aids of the time (pre-Apache I hasten to add!)

Over these years, the characters, the stories, the high jinx all make us who we are today whilst remembering the friends we have sadly lost along the way.

Tuesday 17th February is my last official day with Apache, making it 25years 5months and 21days or 9305 days, not that anyone is counting!

To mark this, I have been prodded by several individuals (not that it took too much arm twisting!), to celebrate with a last couple beers and therefore extend an invitation to anyone who is free to join on;
Friday 20th February at 5pm in the Albyn Bar, Albyn Place, Aberdeen,
for those who might manage a bit earlier, a few of us will be having a couple of warm ups so just drop me a text. If you can’t manage, well there is always another day!

I am sure I will be bump into some of you over the coming years, but can always be found loitering on various social media outlets below;

My personal email address is xxxxxxxxxxx or xxxxxxxxxxx (note: removed from here to avoid the spam bots)

If I do not see you before you go, thanks to everyone for everything and wish you all the best for the future and hope that this current bumpy period will not be too long this time.

And finally;
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”

And really finally, the last 25 years can be summarised by Robbie/Frank quite well: :-)

Hope to see you next week.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Airline Flyer Programs

I thought I might as well join a couple of the airline programme, namely BA and QA. It would be a bit daft to be travelling back and forth and not collect the rewards. I would imagine they will soon accumulate without much effort. Soon see! Must remember to also set up the 'Family Pooling' and register the kids as well.

Friday, 6 February 2015

School Applications - Aarrgghh!

Today was spent completing/ reviewing school application processes and forms.

What a nightmare!

With such a high demand for places and small windows of opportunity to apply, it is extremely difficult to have everything that is required for the applications.

They all want the same thing, but have such varied approaches, whether it is an initial contact form, a registration process to kick-off an application account to then fill in some electronic forms, and then upload a whole bunch of paper forms that have been scanned and completed by;
  • the parents
  • current teachers
  • the children

Then there are all the requirements for having the previous school reports attested and provided. Some things are needed now, others can be provided as time progresses, but must be complete before the child starts etc.

Fair to say it is just a minefield and no guarantee that you will even get a place! 

I have a feeling this is going to be a painful process to bring it to a successful conclusion.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Time To Go Live!

I think it is time to put the blog live now that things are really starting to happen.

Would be a bit pointless to be blogging and keep it private, that would be more like a private diary!

Just hope I can keep up with what happens and get time to actually post now and again, especially once I'm over in Qatar.

Relocation Booked - Flight Options In

Dropped an email to the relocation company following receipt of the schedule yesterday. They came back and confirmed the date was in the diary.

It is rapidly becoming a reality.

The first countdown begins.....shipper arrival T- 20 Days...

Also, flight options came through from the company today, just need to decide whether I want the early start with 3 flights, but arrive at a reasonable time at the other end, or a later start with 2 flights and arrive at midnight at the other end....

I am hedging towards the 2 flight option as although it gets in later, I have all the next day to relax and less chance of baggage going missing.

Start the second countdown......leaving date T- 22 Days....

Today was also spent packing up stuff and sorting this that and the other out. When I see bags of stuff lying around and boxes stacked on top of each other, this is when it really starts to sink in.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Schedule Arrived

Hadn't heard anything back from the new company for a while since informing them that I had officially handed in my notice at current employer. Felt it was time to drop them a line.

Received back an outline schedule which is a great help as it can help plan the first couple of months properly.

I can now set a proposed pickup date for the relocation, understand when the wife and kids will held out to enable meetings with the schools etc.

Best of all it now confirms I can still go on a previously planned family holiday to France for a spot of winter sports.

Now I can focus on getting everything ready for relocation pickup...

Monday, 2 February 2015

Choices Everywhere

Another day of working out what we are talking with us.

Today was all about bedding, Master bedroom, kids rooms, guest room......too many options for what to take.

Don't know how many times we said, "we can just get it there", which was usually followed with "but we need a minimum for when we get there........"

Then it is a case of matching up what we have to what the bed sizes are to make sure things will fit. Last thing we want is to get take things over and find we mixed and matched wrong......