54°c is the temperature reading on the car and as the temperature and humidity levels rise to unbearable levels, I’m looking forward to my first trip home to spend some time with family and friends. Accommodation, transport and baby paraphernalia being the basic necessities required for the trip home, I started to get organized.
Accommodation was sorted, our house was available, as no-one in the country seemed to want to rent a house the size of a small hospital with similar running costs, our home, hereafter referred to a “Kerosene Lodge”, was available. My fascination with house names started with “Satis House” in my Inter Cert novel. Satis, Latin for satisfied, enough, so whoever had this house, had enough. I always think that the house name says more about the owner than the house, for example, Ballydun House; the owners obviously think that their house is the nicest in Ballydun. “Bay View”, the best view of the bay, you get my point. My house, when the tiger roared, may have been called, “The Halls” but ever since the tiger took his own life, it is very much; “Kerosene Lodge” or even “Great Expectations” would also be an apt name.
A good percentage of expats in Doha have no houses back home and therefore when they’re going home for summer, they’re going to someone else’s home, mostly their parents. Fond memories of my years at home flood my mind, arguments over the immersion being left on, the kettle being re-boiled and let go cold, the heat on, the door open, the dryer on, check the car for oil and for god’s sake, don’t keep walking past the tally. In order to preserve the strong relationship I have with my parents I make arrangements to stay in my own house and feel a warm sensation at the thought of going home.
Transport, was the next mission, with car hire companies charging the price of a family holiday to Portugal to hire a car during the summer months, the only option was to buy one. Searching through the motor websites for a car with tax, NCT and low mileage all for under Eu. 1000 calls up a myriad of options, a 15 year old camper van that needed “a small bit of work” or a Ford Mondeo that doesn’t have an NCT but “will fly it”, it seemed fruitless until I happened upon a much loved 12 year old Toyota, One hundred and sixty eight thousands miles of adventure on the clock, an NCT cert until 2013 and taxed until September confirmed to me that we must be together. With car insurance being the cost of about two fills of petrol at 1.53 a litre, I was on the road for Eu. 1,244.
Plans ran smoothly until I undertook to organize the final necessities, a buggy, car seat, sterilizer, cot, bouncer etc etc, once again turning to the internet, I started my search for a respectable, road worthy pushchair for my cherub. Air filled tyres, fully reclining seat, raincover, coffee cup holder, large shopping basket and compact when folded being the criteria, the search was narrowing rapidly and what remained was a few very stylish pricey carriages which possibly needed road tax considering the size of the wheels. My former pre-emigration self would most certainly have opted for the statement pram and would have my visa number keyed into the form faster than you could click “add to cart”. Reality kicked in and I decided instead to send a text to a few friends in Ireland, calling for used baby gear, the response was massive, it seemed everyone was only too happy to help out, or get rid of their old baby junk, within hours, I was promised the contents of a complete nursery, and all for the price of a text! Charity cometh with poor economic growth! Has the recession changed attitudes in Ireland so greatly that now everyone helped each other? Six days left in Doha, I couldn’t wait to get home, back to the Ireland, I once read about that now was.