It’s just me and Brian IV … otherwise I’d be home alone in Bahrain.
The Szecowka family has relocated back to the UK so that Stan Jnr can study for his A levels at a British school and not have to pay exorbitant international fees should he wish to continue his studies at a university in his home country.
Whether or not he’d actually have ended up being treated as an overseas student if he’d stayed on for sixth form at St Christopher’s School is a matter of conjecture and really depends on who you talk to about the subject.
The rule book states that your child should have three continuous years at a school on British soil even if he or she was born in the country and it would appear some universities are sticklers and others tend to look the other way.
We didn’t want to risk it, so the family uprooted from Janabiya and moved back to the family home in Bristol during the summer holidays.
We arrived one hour after the tenants of 12 years moved out. Our house had been home to a variety of men from the Ministry of Defence, mostly senior servicemen attached to the Royal Navy. In fact the officer we met on the stairs prior to the key handover ceremony had spent some time in Bahrain at the new Royal British Navy facility here.
The great thing about renting your family home out to service personnel is that you can guarantee that place will be left spic and span when they leave (apart from a few dents in the walls and a broken bannister caused by sofa-shifting it appears).
Although it was practically spotless, the good lady wife Kathryn decided she wanted the place decorated and new carpets in the living room and bedrooms. No rest for the wicked this summer holiday then?
The rescued desert dog Lucky and the two mutts I’d picked up for the kids, after spotting an advert in a shop bulletin board eight years ago, arrived four hours later. We did most of the transport arrangement ourselves to cut costs, with assistance from the Animal Care Clinic in Hamala, the men from the Ministry and British Airways.
There was a dizzy spell of panicking when Kathryn misplaced the pet passports but, apart from that, everything went swimmingly well. A company collected them from Heathrow and delivered them to their new home in which they have settled in remarkably well. Lucky loves the British climate and the grass.
Fortunately for me, the container with all our possessions did not arrive until I returned to Bahrain, so Kathryn had to sort out all the boxes with Stan Jnr, ably assisted by our heavily pregnant daughter, Imogen.
I flew back to Bahrain to a new apartment without any electricity. I crashed on the bed in a room lit by street lights in the distance and awoke floating in a sea of sweat.
I was the first one at the electricity and water offices begging to be switched on after paying the deposit. I was helped to master the desk queuing system by an acquaintance who took pity on me and who just happened to have recently moved too.
So now I’m living in an apartment in Sanabis with Brian IV for company. He had been looked after by my fish-sitter friend Charlie during the summer exodus.
I love that fish although I’m not sure it’s mutual as he took a chunk out of my arm as I cleaned his tank the other morning.
I’ll be flying back to the UK in November to see my new grand-daughter. Until then, keep up to date with my expat exploits in this column and by visiting gdnonline.com
I love fish. I love Brian IV especially. The thing about fish is that they are naturally beautiful – one of nature’s gifts.
I understand that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder but I was stunned to spot a school of yellow parrot fish in a pet shop in Bahrain Mall with tattoos on them to help ‘beautify’ them. Why would anyone want to do that?
The scales of stupidity.
Apparently, the fish came already tattooed from a supplier in Thailand and according to the friendly shop assistant, they’ll lose the flower tattoo within a year as they grow.