Paul's Kuwait Blog

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Well as most of you know, I am now in Kuwait teaching maths in Kuwait English School.
So I'll use this page to keep you all up with the antics of the Kuwait Branch of the Withernwick Community Association.
(and I do this for anyone else, if they wanted)


28th May 2013
Sorry I haven't been updating this blog for a long time, but a lot has happened. Before Christmas I decided to leave, due to differences with one of my 'managers'. I did have the option to retire and as I am marrying Karen in the summer this has turned out to be an ideal option. It will be good to be back in Withernwick for good with Karen. I don't have any regrets about coming here, it has been an adventure and it has certainly been better teaching here than in England. But apart from that, and all the great friends I have made, I am glad to be leaving here, it's certainly no holiday resort.
12th Oct 2012
There hasn't been much new to report lately, I've just been busy with the new term. But today I did take some of our students to Sulaibikhat beach and helped with a clean up organised by KS-Path ( http://www.kspath.org/ ) a local organisation that helps protect the animals and environment of Kuwait. Suliabikhat beach is a beautiful place with mangrove bushes and a vast number of migrating birds passing through. So for example, I saw my first wild flamingos along with many other herons, gulls and waders of various descriptions. Click here to see some photos.
5th Sept 2012
I've been back here in the heat of Kuwait for about a week now, nothing much has changed. The Lincoln stated up first time and is still driving well, all my friends here are well and seem to have had good summers. I had a great but rather hectic summer, as most of you know, my Mum (who many of you have met) is not well and so I did have to make several trips to Wolverhampton. I really do appreciate that you all enjoyed Karen's visit to the village even despite the appalling weather. Karen and I will be back at Christmas, the weather can't be much worse than the summer! I will attach some photos soon.

 
 2012/2013
  

6th June 2012
I've been very busy for the last month and not a lot has happened otherwise. It has got very hot now, it is getting to about 45 deg C in the daytime. I will be home in just one weeks time, I will be in the village on the 15th and 16th June with Karen, who is looking forward to seeing the village and meeting everyone. We will be going down to Wolverhampton on the 17th for week but then we will be around for about 4 weeks before Karen returns to Kansas (she has her red shoes at the ready). I was wondering if Karen is the first (USA) American to visit the village, does anyone know? Anyway see you all soon, hope the we have a good summer weather wise.
23rd April 2012
It has been nearly a month since I added anything to this blog but it has been a very busy time. I was home in England for nearly 10 days but I was only in the village for one day although I did get to meet a few of you in the Falcon. I did spend most of my time in Wolverhampton, as some of you may well know my Mum is not well. quite a few of you have met my Mum, Irene, in the past as she did stop with me for several summers. Sadly she now has cancer of the spine and is unable to walk. She is in a home and is being very well looked after, she is actually in quite good spirits. It is now under 8 weeks until I am back home again, I should be back in the village on 15th June and I will have Karen with me as she is meeting me at Heathrow. Click here to see a photo of me and my family.
28th Mar 2012
From 17th to 26th March, Karen made the long journey from Wichita, Kansas, USA to come and see me here in Kuwait. She had a great time and grew to really like Kuwait. She spent a day in KES and enjoyed that thoroughly. We got around quite a bit, for example we went out walking on my usual Friday walk and we also took the Lincoln down to Doha Point. We both had a great time and we are both looking forward to our time in Withernwick in June and July when she will get to finally meet you all. Click here to see some photos.
27th Feb 2012
As I am on holiday I decided to take a ride down the coast, so Ray, Melanie and I took The Lincoln for a ride down to Fintas and Mahboula. The weather was fantastic, just like a good English summer's day. The sea is really nice and clear further down the coast and so they were quite attractive places, a lot more peaceful and quiet than Salmiya. We also went shopping at Lulu's Hypermarket on the way back, which appears to be set in the middle of the desert. Click here to see some photos.
26th Feb 2012
We're on holiday again, we have a week off for National/Liberation Day. It will all be a bit giddy this evening so I will have to stay in a watch a DVD or two. The weather has still be very variable, yesterday was dark, cold, rainy and windy, actually warmer in Withernwick, but today is a lovely sunny warm day. I went for a walk this morning and the place has come to life. There were swallows and house martins maybe on their way from South Africa to Withernwick, they stay here for a while as it is the only time of year here that there are flying insects, so there were also lots of butterflies (also maybe on their way to the UK) and dragonflies. It must be getting a bit warmer, the bougainvillea on my balcony that has looked like a stick for a while is slowly coming back to life.
6th Feb 2012
I am back after an extended weekend, we got an extra Thursday off for the Prophet's Birthday. So I did get to do a few things, breakfast at Avenues Shopping Mall, a very good Chinese meal in Kuwait City and most interesting a trip to Amgarah. Amgarah is a surreal place, it is in the middle of nowhere (on the edge of the desert), but as far as the eye can see there are car scapyards. In Kuwait all of one type of thing tends to all be in one place, so, for example, all the garden centres are in one place. Here it is car scrapyards and I went looking for some Lincoln spares and I did manage to get a couple of bits. It was however more of an experience, it was just such a wonderfully bizarre place.
27th Jan 2012
Winter didn't last long, the weather is pleasantly warm again now. I have been back here four weeks now since the Christmas holiday, so time seems to be passing very quickly. I am coming back to England in April, so hopefully although I will be spending most of my time in Wolverhampton, I will get the chance to visit Withernwick and get a pint in the Falcon. Thank you to those who keep in touch, I do miss the village and so really appreciate any support, I would still like a little more active help with the website, it is difficult for me to keep it up to date when I am here.
23rd Jan 2012
I've now been here for two and a half years and never yet felt cold, rather too hot many times but never too cold. Well this last week has been the coldest weather in Kuwait since 1964, so none of the existing staff at KES can remember anything like this. I have had to have my electric heater on continuously. Apparently it even got down to -1 deg C last night, but we don't get any frost due to the lack of moisture. One benefit of this cold snap is that the sky has been especially clear, it as been possible even to see Falika Island which is over 20 miles off the coast, we can't usually see more than a few hundred yards. So you might like to know that on several days during this last week, it was warmer in Withernwick than Kuwait!
7th Jan 2012
Well it is the New Year and I', safely settled back in Kuwait. The weather is very pleasantly around 20 deg C in the daytime, although the weather still looks quite okay back in Withernwick. School has started relatively steadily as I just have to invigilate exams and write reports. The car is still going okay although it was think with sand-dust after leaving it unattended for two weeks. I have been offered a contract for 2012/2013 which I will accept, if I complete that year, I will have done four years out here, I don't have any regrets and although I miss home, life here is not at all bad.
27th Nov 2011
The day didn't look promising as it had been rather dark, cold, gloomy and even rainy, but we decided to go ahead with our planned BBQ on the beach. So Ray, Lewis, Vicky, Adam and I (all KES teachers) had the beach to ourselves and in the dark the skyline of Salmiya looked quite impressive. The BBQ went very well, the food was good and we had a really enjoyable time. We did get some company from the local feral cats. Click here to see some photos. Today is actually an extra day off for the Islamic New Year and so I now have less than three weeks until I will be heading back to the gloom of winter in Withernwick.
8th Nov 2011
Ray, a friend of mine, and I decided to take the Linoln on a drive and ended up at a rather desolate area of Kuwait called Doha. It does show what a beautiful place Kuwait is, you just have to look for it a bit harder than in many places. The car is lovely to drive as it was designed to cruise from state to state in the USA, so it plods along superbly at 50-60 mph. I think having the car will widen my imagination a bit beyond Salmiya which will be good. Click here to see some photos.
7th Nov 2011
I am on holiday this week as it is Eid, an Islamic holiday. The weather is beautiful and since it rained the other day, the air has been washed clean of dust. I have finally become a bit more mobile as I finally got my car. I must admit to it not being very green but I do have a bit of a weakness for car - it is a 1987 Lincoln Towcar complete with 5 litre V8 engine. Petrol is absurdly cheap here, so it is economical to drive it and I will be giving three other colleagues a lift to work. Unfortunately having a big car here is pretty essential, it would be too intimidating to drive a small car here due to all the other monsters on the roads. Driving here is not too bad has all the roads are of excellent quality. I will also still walk a lot, it isn't worth me driving to the local shops etc. Click here to see a photo of my car.
25th Oct 2011
As usual not much is going on, the weather did get a bit cool at the weekend due to a cold wind coming from Iraq. Iraq is only a couple of hundred miles away at its closest and it does get cold there due to some very high mountains. Our neighbouring countries are actually very attractive and interesting places but for one reason or another, not many of them are top tourist destinations. But if you are looking for somewhere a bit different to go on your holidays, Jordan and Oman are well worth considering.
6th Oct 2011
The weather is finally getting a bit cooler, it might even be described as pleasant. So walking around is not too bad and certainly once the sun has gone down all is fine. I gather the bubble has burst in the UK weather and so you are all back to normal Autumn weather, oh well it must have been good while it lasted. School is going well and we all think we are lucky to be here when the rest of the world seems to be falling apart at the seams, I do hope everyone in Withernwick is okay. 
1st Oct 2011
It's now October, so time is, as always, passing quickly. As mention in the entry below, there is much building activity here in Salmiya, so I thought I'd take a couple of photos from my balcony. The building they put up here, although they wouldn't look right in Witherwick, are actually quite actractive and stylish modern buildings. Our part of Salmiya would certainly be known as an "up and coming area" in UK estate agent jargon. Click here to see some photos. One of the other new shopping malls in Salmiya does contain a fantastic chinese restaurant (The Noodle House) which myself and friends Ray, Francis and Lewis can vouch for after eating there the other night.
26th Sept 2011
School is going well but otherwise not much eventful happening here in Kuwait at least! It has been very humid here over the last week which is unusual and distinctly unpleasant; further down the Gulf in Dubai, Bahrain, Qatar etc the weather is horribly humid. So although it is generally hotter here it is very much more pleasant. The recession is clearly over here in Kuwait as there is frantic building going on everywhere here in Salmiya; within five minutes walk they are just completing two shopping mall, building five tall appartment blocks and some monstrously large, but as yet unknown, building just opposite our block. Certainly not a lot like Withernwick!
16th Sept 2011
Been back in Kuwait for two weeks now, finally caught up with all my laundry and my flat is now tidy. School is going well, I seem to have some fairly good classes, early days but I feel optimistic. The weather is slowly cooling down but it is still very hot in the sun. I have already booked my flight home for Christmas, I just know I have to get in early or all the flights get booked up, I should be back in Withernwick on 17th or 18th December but then I will be going pretty straight down to Wolverhampton to visit my family. I certainly hope the weather is better than last Christmas!
6th Sept 2011
Back at work now and it is still very hot (about 45 deg C). I have had a very eventful summer and not been in the village as much as I would have liked, altough travelling around is fun, I've been to - Turkey, USA, Wolverhampton, Aberdeen and Withernwick. All told, I've seen very little rain and mostly warm/hot weather, ironically the olnly place I got sunburn was in Withernwick on the day of the fete! Click here to see some photos of my summer. In a way I'm glad to be back here becuase I'm now rather fed up of planes and airports. I'm quite used to Kuwait and KES now, nothing changes very quickly here, so I may not write so often but I will when anything 'exciting' happens.

   
2011 / 2012
  

21st May
Of all the places I could live in in Kuwait, Salmiya is the best. It is, by Kuwait standards, very liberal and cosmopolitan, there are lots of shops and everyone speaks English. I was inspired to tell you this because I came across a remarkable photo of Salmiya taken from a boat on the Gulf. I am sure the photo is a bit Photoshopped but it does suggest what a modern and lively place Salmiya is; indeed when I first saw the photo, I thought "there's an exciting place to live" but then I noticed where is was "Oh I do live there!" - click here.
15th May
It is getting near the end of term now and so I will be home soon, on the 17th June to be precise. Not much new happening here, getting hot, of course, buy then we did have the most incredible thunderstorm I have ever seen  the other night; the lightning forks stretched right across the sky and by the time they had finished they had split into literally hundreds of forks. It did also rain very heavily which is virtually unknown for this time of the year; quite ironic since you are in drought conditions back in Withernwick.
10th May
One remarkable sight at the moment (on my bird watching quest again) is the appearance of many swallows, swifts and house martins. This is an important stop-over point for such birds. They are in the process of returning north for the summer after over-wintering in the south. These fantastic birds could even be heading for the UK but more likely towards Russia and the former Soviet states. They will all be gone soon, it is starting to get very hot and many birds (apart from pigeons) can tolerate such heat.
2nd May
Although I have happily managed without a car for two years; I can walk to most things here in Salmiya. I have decided in order or widen my horizons a little I have bougth a car. Now since I don't really need a car and since the idea is to generate a bit of fun, I have bought a 1987 Lincoln Towncar complete with 5 litre V8 engine (click here to see what one looks like). I know it is not very ecological but I will only drive it about 50 miles a week. Then also petrol is only 15p a litre and you need to drive around in a 'tank' for your own personal safety on Kuwait's roads. I guess I will never have another chance to drive such a car, it is a one off opportunity.
13th April
After last week spending time with crystal clear blue skies in Venice, it was a bit of a shock to wake up this morning, look out of the window and not be able to see across the road due to a horrendous sand storm. We did get to work, but the vast majority of the students did not; those that did make it in were sent home by lunch time. We got let home a hour early. The dust storm has calmed down a bit, but it is meant to be around for at least a couple of days, what fun! Click here for a photo of the sandstorm.
10th April
I had a week's holiday and managed to get away to Venice and place I've always wanted to visit. I travelled with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul and I can very much recommend them for reliability and service. The weather in Venice was beautiful, clear blue skies everyday and so I got a better suntan than I ever would here back in dusty Kuwait. The place is as beautiful as everyone says, totally unique, I didn't see a car for 6 days, the only traffic jam was with the gondolas negotiating the canal corner beneath my balcony. The city is a maze of narrow passages and is so easy to get lost in, but by the end of my time I was helping lost looking couples with suitcases and maps! I would strongly suggest to you all that you visit Venice if you get the chance but do be prepared to walk a lot. Click here to see a photo of me in Venice.
25th March
Last night we had the most horrendous dust storm. I was out and when coming home in a taxi, we could the visability was a matter of yards. Then when I got home, I found my flat covered in a layer of dust, quite thick in places such that I left noticeable footprints everywhere I went. So I've had to spend a merry time today cleaning. Anyway, to cheer me up, this time next week I will be in Venice, a place I have always wanted to visit and so I thought I'd treat myself, it won't be quite as warm as here in Kuwait, just hope it doesn't rain.
12th March 
It has been a very quiet time of late, hence the lack of entries here. So being British, and with not much else to talk about, I will talk about the weather. It has rained a great deal more this year than last year. Indeed today we had a very spectacular and heavy thunder storm with some fantastic lightning followed by thunderous thunder claps. I managed to dodge the rain and so didn't get wet, but at least the palm trees look a bit brighter now they've had the dust washed off them and also had a good watering. Because they don't have much rain here they don't bother with much storm drainage, hence the roads pretty soon flooded, but inevitably the sun came out and most of the water has already gone.
15th Feb
KES had its annual Sports Day today. So we all trooped off the the Kasma Stadium near Kuwait City. The stadium reflects the usual Kuwait shabiness, but the staff and pupils still managed to turn it into a pleasant day. Good to report that my house Ahmadi (one of four houses) won, they now have won every sports day or swimming gala since I have been here (pure coincidence I'm sure!). One jolly event was a swarm of rather large but drab coloured dragonflies flying around the stadium; wildlife here is not anywhere as common as the UK but when it does appear it is often in strange ways such as this.
12th Feb
Normally I only get to see the urban side of Kuwait here is Salmiya, so it was a pleasant change to see another side of life when I got to visit a small farm near the Saudi border. Carla, her friend Fran and myself set off the visit the farm of Ali a friend of Fran. We were given great hospitality including great food; we also made a couple of other good friends, Nasser and Mansour. The farm itself is quite small and its stock consisted of sheep, chickens and one turkey. It was a lovely experience, especially nice, for example to see the stars free of light pollution. Click here to see some photos.
15th Jan
I had a new experience last night, I was legally able to drink in Kuwait. I got invited to a 'pub quiz' at the British Embassy where it is legal to drink alcohol. It was a really enjoyable night and our team managed to come second. The other exciting thing happening, today in fact, is that it is finally raining here, indeed it is a very dark and gloomy day, makes me feel right at home.
9th Jan
Well I'm back here in sunny and warm Kuwait; it is still in the mid 20's but today it did rain for the first time since last March. It is actually the rainy season but due to climate change, it doesn't rain enough. Anyway thank you all for a lovely Christmas, the snow didn't hinder me too much. As most of you know I did have an eventful holiday and many of you met Carla, she really enjoyed herself in Withernwick; so thank you to all for making her so welcome. 
9th Dec
Sorry I haven't written much lately but it is now only a week until I get back to the UK. I do hope the snow has gone by then, I do honestly miss UK weather but I don't want it to prevent me getting home. Well done to the village for pulling together over the snow and making the Christmas Fayre such a success. It doesn't feel terribly Christmasy here, still wandering around in T shirts and getting a suntanned neck as the sun is now that much lower and is just at the perfect angle for that. Oh well, I will see you all soon, looking forward to a pint of Tetley's.
29th Nov
At the crack of dawn (about 7 am) myself and three other teachers and 12 pupils set off the Mutla Ridge, which is the highest point in Kuwait. We met up with
some other English speaking schools to clean up what is a very popular picnic spot with the locals. Sadly, they don't always keep it as clean as they
should so we had a bit of a job on. It is not also perfectly safe, we did come across unused rifle bullets leftover from the first Gulf War. Iraq is only about
20 miles from Mutla Ridge. We did a very good job (we had to leave the bullets where they were) as hopefully you can see from the photos below.
Sorry to rub it in, I know you lot are deep in snow, but I got a sun tan. Click here to see some photos.
22nd Nov
Back to work now, but less than four weeks to go. The weather is still very nice, I have even had to dig my jacket out of the wardrobe as there is a bit of chill in the air first thing in the morning. The sun is now pleasantly warm and does not feel as if it is burning. After Christmas is bedding plant time, so I might bring some seeds back with me. perhaps some nasturtiums would brighten up my balcony and they won't get blackfly here.
14th Nov
The most common form of wildlife in Salmiya is of course cats. They are everywhere, and most look scuffy but reasonably well fed. I guess they don't get to live too long but they do serve a useful purpose of keeping the rat numbers down. Click here for a photo of a few new additions to the cat population, I guess all kittens look cute wherever they are. 
13th Nov
I haven't done much ornithology for a while, over the summer the number of birds in Kuwait drops as they all migrate to places like the UK. They start to return at this time of the year and today I saw a bird which is quite rare in Kuwait wheras its numbers in the UK are growing quite rapidly. It is quite a dramatic bird which seemed to be having a good time at one of the sewage outlets! Click here to read about little egrets in the UK.
11th Nov
I'm now on holiday for a week as it is Eid. I'm not doing anything in particular, I think I just need time to recoup. The weather is very pleasant now, so I will be able to go walking and visiting more places. I must, for example, go looking for a desk, I do get bogged down at times, more so with the website than schoolwork; you'd be amazed how much paper I go through sometimes creating things for the website.
8th Nov
Had a traumatic day yesterday. The Wolves gave away a draw 3 minutes into injury time, my fridge-freezer died and the company supplying my internet service decided to close me down even though I had paid the bill 2 weeks ago. I can't do much about the Wolves I'm afraid, they did come and mend my fridge-freezer but I not overly confident that it will last and I did manage to sort my internet out. Life here is funny sometimes, things don't quite happen at the same pace. Oh well, I have a holiday next week for Eid.
3rd Nov
As I've said before not a lot happening. We did have our annual swimming gala yesterday, the boys got bused out a pool that appeared to have been bulit in the middle of the desert and with no air-conditioning! My house Ahmadi did win as it always seems to do. It did actually rain for the first time since summer today, it was very little but is a defininite sign that it is getting cooler, indeed very pleasant now; there are fluffy white clouds in the sky and a cool breeze (still only requiring a T shirt!).
23rd Oct
We went out for a meal yesterday to the local Holiday Inn, because they had an offer on that we could have the percentage off the meal equivalent to the age of the oldest person in the group. So we took my fellow Wolves fan, Dave, along and got 71% off. The offer is on for another few weeks and so we are planning to go back every week and we are looking for someone who is 100 years old so that we can get the meal for free! The food was very good too, I had an excellent rib-eye steak , but I'm not suggesting the Falcon tries this, they may not make much money.
13th Oct
Today was the first day since returning that I could describe the weather as pleasant. There has been a cool breeze all day, indeed quite gusty at times. So, for example, I was able to walk to the supermarket without sweating. It could almost be described as being like a nice English summer's day, not that we often get a lot of those. Hopefully the weather will now be okay until at least March. I may even have to dig out a jumper or blow the dust off my fan-heater which I used about 5 times last 'winter'.
9th Oct
As I said there won't be so much to say this year, life now seems scaringly predictable. Teaching is so much better, indeed a very strange thing which people did tell me about last year but I didn't believe - the kids now treat me like a kind of celebrity. It's as if by staying for another year means that I have faith in them and so I'm not just a fly-by-night.
Everywhere I go in the school now, it's "hello Mr Boyle", even from pupils I don't know, and the lads, in particular, always want to shake my hand. It's is strange but really nice.
8th Oct
I do feel at lot better than I suggested in by October Newsletter, and I really must thank people. I have had a lot of help over the last week or so, a even just, as I suggested, emails to say hello. Things are really looking up, I gather now that people are actually having to queue for a table in The Falcon; I will be back in the village on the 23rd December (I have booked my flight), should I book now?
27th Sept
Great to hear such good compliments about food in the Falcon. We have waited a while for this and it has obviously been worth the wait. I feel this completes the rebuilding of the village's spirit after its low point of two year's ago or so. Withernwick can only now go forward, and so long as we all keep pulling together we will. I will feel happier still when I can say more on the website, at present I have no details, so sorry for the lack of information here.
26th Sept
If you think snow, frost, wind or rain constitute bad weather, think again. You should try 40 deg C and 80% humidity! It is simply the worst weather I have ever experienced, even standing still will cause you to sweat buckets. This kind of weather is very rare in Kuwait but apparently the norm in Dubai or Qatar, if you fancy visiting those places. 
20th Sept
I did have a very humerous experience yesterday. I was putting my washing out to dry on the balcony, at the same time a young lady was walking past down below. As she walked past, I heard a 'wolf-whistle', I looked around and so did the girl, but she didn't see me. Then I noticed the cuprit - a mynah bird, who had obviously picked this sound up from somewhere and was absolutely brilliant at copying it. As I have said before, mynah's are very good mimics, and are excellent speakers if trained from young.
16th Sept
I have actually started teaching now, it has been rather strange having a holiday before even starting work. But I have quickly felt back to what is now 'normaility'. I am used to the pupils and the culture a bit better now, and so hopefully I will make a better job of it this year. It will make life generally easier when it cools down a bit, it is probably another month before I will be able to define the weather as pleasant.
10th Sept 
Has I've mentioned before, the credit crunch does not seem to have affected Kuwait too badly. In Salmiya, where I live, we will soon have 6 supermarkets withing 5 minutes walk; two more have been added over the summer. Also I have mentioned the number of shopping malls in Salmiya, we obviously haven't got enough, because we will soon have another - click here to see a photo.
9th Sept
I've now been here just about a week and I'm on holiday again. I arrived during Ramadan which is a very quiet period as the locals have to fast during daylight hours. But following on from that, it is now Eid, which is a period of celebration, and so I have a week off. It will give me chance to catch up with a lot of website stuff I had intened to do over my summer holidays.
7th Sept 
Still hot and just about settling in. My flat was deep with dust which I've mostly cleaned up now and then there were hundreds of dead ants which I had to sweep up. I have done my bit of ornithology when I noticed a very exotic looking bird on the opposite block, after a bit of research I discovered it was a European Bee Eater - click here to see a photo of one (not by me).
5th Sept
Well I'm back here in jolly old Kuwait, it is cooling down a bit, its only 45 deg C now! I did have a wonderful summer holiday and thank you to everyone in the village for making me feel so welcome back at home. Thank you also for all the people who helped with the website over my holiday, it has grown quite a bit over that time; so much so I've had to bring a lot with me which I've still yet to add. So please keep in touch, in one important way my holiday didn't help, I do feel all the more homesick.

  
2010 / 2011
   

15th June
Sorry to keep on about the weather, but it is just about the most interesting thing here and being English I guess I am genetically disposed to be obsessed with the weather. Today, apparently, it got to 55 deg C, that's 131 deg F! I have been told that this corner of the Gulf is one of the hottest places on Earth and almost certainly the hottest inhabited place. Somewhere in Kuwait is an official thermometer that strangely never reads more than 49 deg C because at  50 deg C or more they are meant to send everyone home. Also at the weekend, Kuwait got up to using 98% of its maximum electrical output capability, no doubt because everyone has got their air-conditioning on full blast.
14th June
72 hours to go until I'm home. I notice on the weather widget on the homepage that the temperature at home was 14 deg C, that is 38 deg C less than it was here in Kuwait today - I'll leave you to work it out. So I really don't like the heat here but I would expect maybe 25 deg C, after all it is half way through June. I better bring a jumper back with me.
10th June
Exactly one week to go before I catch the plane home, so hopefully with a bit of German efficiency from Lufthansa I should be home actually on Friday 18th June. It won't take me long to pack and I am staying in the same flat next year, so nothing to pack away. As I've mentioned a few times, I will be in the Falcon on Saturday 19th June, it will be great to see everyone again.
7th June
Sorry the weather wasn't great for the fete, but congratulations to everyone for making it work as well as it did. It really does show what a sense of community spirit the village has, believe me it's a tough world so we do need to work together - let's keep it up. And if you think your weather is bad, then try 45 deg C and a sandstorm, wonderful, that's if you like being sandblasted!
4th June
The temperature got to 49 deg C today, which is 120 deg F in case you didn't know. I guess it will get to 50 by the time I leave for the UKm and that is now in less than two weeks. The latest predictions for Sunday and the fete are not good, I do dearly hope all goes well. Life here at the moment is not very exciting, I've spent all weekend marking exam papers, well it is part of the job I suppose.
2nd June
One very obvious thing here is that the credit crunch does not seem to have had too dramatic an effect - click here to see what they are building 5 minutes walk from where I live. As I've said before, I live in an area of Kuwait called Salmiya, Salmiya, as I've found out, is about the most vibrant and lively part of Kuwait - I have at least 15 air-conditioned shopping malls with 5 minutes walk (click here & here to see two of them) and more coffee shops than I could count. On Thursday and Friday nights the area is gridlocked with all the people packing into what is actually a tiny peninsula.
29th May
The Gulf near where I live is still rather smelly from badly treated sewage, but the fish don't seem to mind. Today I did see a most fantastic sight, a large fish leaping about two feet out of the water, when I checked later I discovered it was a stingray. Apparently if you are fishing, you don't want to catch one of these, if one of their barbs catches you, the poison is so toxic it will kill you within 30 minutes; thankfully I don't think you get them in the North Sea off Mappleton!
28th May
I've actually finished teaching now, we've next got two weeks of exams followed by one week of tidying up and finishing off. Then I should be home on the 18th June, it will be good to have a drink in The Falcon and meet up with friends. It has been an eventful year, and an adventure but not an adventure in the way I expected but then isn't that the nature of adventures!
21st May
One consequence of the heat seems to have been a rapid increase in the already vast population of ants. There certainly must be a few million ants for  every one of the 3 million population of Kuwait. Up to now I have been able to tolerate the few ants pottering around, but now they are everywhere including up on the kitchen work surface. So the poor little dears have got to go, or by the time I get back here in September I will be overrun by them.
20th May
45 deg C today! Those sun lovers out there, even you couldn't love this; it feels like my skin is burning even in the shade. I was wondering how people managed 100 years ago or so, before air conditioning. Even fans apparently do no good, they just blow the hot air around. So just think what Lawrence of Arabia or Alexander the Great (he did come to Kuwait!) had to put up with.
16th May
Sorry again for not writing, but it is getting very much the same each day; we don't get overexcited very often. We did have a sandstorm to end all sandstorms on Friday, it looked just like fog and you couldn't see your hand in front of your face; you just don't go out; now everything is covered with a layer of sand. The temperature did hit 40 deg C for the first time today, there is a breeze but it is like someone blasting you with a large hair-dryer. I have no idea how particularly Westerners used to cope in the days of Lawrence of Arabia, i.e before air-conditioning. I will certainly be looking forward to some slightly cooler air - 25 deg C would be perfect, so I do hope the UK weather warms up a bit over the next month.
8th May
It has been late arriving (apparently) but summer really is here now. The sun is almost verically above me, it is most disconcerting not to have a shadow! and it's a good job I'm not going bald yet, I'd definitely need a hat then. If there is one thing to enthuse about here in Kuwait it is the quality and value of steak. Today, for example, I bought a decent sized T-bone steak for about 2.50; I normally buy 10oz rib-eye steaks for about 1.50 each. These steaks, apart from being very cheap are the most tender and tasty steaks I've ever had (by a country mile!). Where do they come from? - New Zealand  - why can't we have them like this in the UK? Oh well, rid-eye for tea tonight, I think.
2nd May
Global warming? It's been has dark as night all day here has rained heavily most of the day. People say that they can't ever remember it raining here is May. Well the grass and trees are loving it. So this should make you all feel a bit better, I notice from the little widget on the website homepage that you've had/will not have any rain this week, and even a bit of sun; still doesn't look very warm there at 9-12 deg C. 
29th April 
Life is plodding along now, getting ever hotter. Last night we had a bit of pomp and circumstance, KES along with other Kuwait schools have adopted American style graduation. So the year 11, along with year 12 and 13 pupils are leaving got dressed up with their gowns and we all had to toddle along to a posh hotel in Kuwait City. The parents, in particular, loved it; they do know how to look very glamerous when they want to. 
18th April 
The other night we had the most horrendous storm, it would have done the North Sea proud! In the morning I saw trees broken and fallen over, signs and fences damaged, bins and rubbish all over the place and even a boat marroned on the beach. Today we've just had another heavy thunder storm with some quite spectacular lightning. We are all hoping that the volcanic dust problem is sorted soon, or else we may get stuck here is Kuwait; we're plotting to hire a coach to drive us all the way home, we might just have the odd visa problem on the way. On a jollier note, I got visited by a Mynah bird on my balcony today, and managed to get a photo of it - click here.
11th April
Back at work today after the Easter Holiday. Only 10 weeks to go  before I'm home. Just a lot of work to do before then. Do keep in touch, I still miss the village and still need to feel 'connected'.
10th April
Getting very hot here now, far too hot to walk very far. I have managed to have short walks for the past two mornings and have been rewarded by seeing another two types of birds you won't get to see in Withernwick - Masked Shrikes and White Eared Bulbuls. Sadly I do only get to see odd ones of these birds in amongst the sparrows and pigeons. To see photos of these birds, (sadly not taken by me) click here.
8th April
Nice to see from the widget on the website homepage that the weather is slightly better inWithernwick; you are at least getting some sun even if it is still a bit cool. The weather here, as I keep saying is pretty relentless, it does however go strange occasionally. So today the sky goes black, a howling gale brews up and great blobs of rain bounce off the ground. It doesn't last long, the sun soon returns and every trace of the rain rapidly disappears. I did manage to catch a photo of the rain just to prove it does happen - click here.
7th April
I've had a lot to do on the website this week, so it was a good job I was on holiday. I did decide to have a break and walk to the nearby Kuwait Scientific Centre. They have an aquarium a bit like The Deep in Hull but not as big. The most interesting bit was the display of reconstructed Dhows (Arab sailing ships); they are beautiful boats and recall days when the Arabs were great sailors - click here to see some photos of my excursion. It made for an interesting change.
5th April 
On holiday for a week now for Easter. Not much to do, so I'll just get to realx a bit. I have been very busy with the website, as I was sent 17 wonderful old photographs of Withernwick; as I said in my April newsletter, it does cheer me up enormously when I get sent stuff to put on the website. Also I will soon be getting the photographs for the competition judged, some really excellent entries, so thank you and there is still a week left for a few more entries.
29th March 
Not been much to add lately, but today I was sadly reminded of home, as my cat Dora had to be put to sleep. She was 20 years old or possibly older, I've had her for 19 years and she was fully grown when I got her. I must thank Bev Rutherford for looking after Dora so well for her last couple of Days, she did go very quickly and she had had a positively wonderful life. Of course, I must also thank Pat and Brian Pye for looking after Dora and Tinker while I've been away. Click here to read Dora's life story.
12th March
As you know I like to report on any unusual wildlife I see here, today butterflies. They are Painted Ladies, (click here to see a photo of one, taken by me! you try photographing a butterfly); so what's unusual about that. Well a near biblical plague quantity of them, butterflies flying everywhere and they all seem to have appeared in one day. It seems they all appear at once because this is the only time of the year that there are a lot of flowers around in Kuwait. They are quite possibly on the their way to you in the UK, they are summer visitors to the the UK but do not hibernate there; but it is quite amazing to think that these little butterflies will fly all the way from here to the UK (it takes a plane 6 hours).
10th March
Another event today, the KES Environment Club Fashion Show (I help run the Environment Club). The pupils had to design and make clothes from recycled materials only. They did a wonderful job, there were some very imaginative designs and the pupils had a great time modelling the clothes. It's hard to describe how enthusiastic the pupils here are doing things like this and the sports day yesterday. Click here to see a photo of the event.
9th March
Today was sports day at KES. Also it was the sunniest day of the year so far; so I got paid to get a suntan! It was well in the 30's and bright clear sky with a scorchingly hot sun. Sorry folks if I guess it's still not very warm in Withernwick. You would not get a day like the one we had today in July in the UK. From now on, however, it will be too hot. The sports day went well, the kids are very enthusiastic, I was looking after the tug-of-war, and they really did put their hearts and souls into it. So a very good day was had by all.
7th March
The weather is getting ever warmer, altough we did have a really bad dust storm the other day, the sky went a very eerie red colour; fortunately it didn't last. Yesterday (Saturday) was the Kuwait English School Spring Fair, so we all had to turn out to help. It was a jolly day and many of the parents turned out to support the school; lots of money was made for charity. Click here for some photos.
26th Feb
I haven't noticed much of the celebrations where I live, but last night I walked down to the Gulf Road (which is like a ring road that runs alongside the Gulf) and it was totally grid-locked with cars tooting their horns and children running around spraying the cars with foam. It looked chaotic, which it was, but very well humoured chaos. I suppose if we'd experienced something like Saddam's invasion just 19 years ago, we'd have a good excuse to celebrate. Maybe they will get even more carried away in a year's time for the 20th Anniversary.
24th Feb
All is fairly quiet at the moment, there as been a bit of horn tooting, but I guess it all going to kick off tomorrow afternoon. The latest novel experience I've had is a dust storm which lasted for a couple of days and has gradually lifted today. It consists of very fine dust which has the effect of fog, it blocks out the sun and covers everything in a fine layer of dust. It even gets inside and means I have to keep dusting everything. I am told that this is quite a mild dust storm and most years we would usually get a lot more of them.
23rd Feb
I'm on holiday now for a week. This is for National Day on Thursday (25th Feb) which celebrates Kuwait's independence from the UK; that was in 1961 but it was only a protectorate to us. Then Friday (26th Feb) is a much more poignant day being Liberation Day which celebrates the liberation of Kuwait from Saddam's Iraq in 1991; this is much fresher in people's minds and was a much more traumatic event at the time. All the local's are getting very excited, I'll let you know later on in the week how things progress.
20th Feb
Summer has arrived already the temperature is now nearly 30 deg C in the daytime and increasing day by day. Everyone's airconditioning is back in action, mind that is a bit premature and you need to put your jumper or coat on to go indoors! The locals are getting very restless, it will soon be National Day / Liberation day and I've been told to hide away on the actual days next week (I will be on holiday for a week). If I feel brave, I'll get my video out and see what it's really like.
13th Feb
Today I did something I haven't done since I was a teenager, what could that be you might think? Working on a Saturday! Last time I did that was as a 17 year old working in a DIY shop in Wolverhampton for 2 a day! Well that was 2 more than I got paid today, we had to go into work for a training day; oddly enough the training was on English teaching methods. 
11th Feb 
Sorry I haven't written any new stuff for a while but not much has happened. I guess it doesn't matter where in the World you are, life does become a bit ordinary and routine after a while. I still do go walking, taking advantage of the pleasantly cooler weather; last Saturday I spent a happy few minutes watching a cormorant successfully fishing just off the seafront in Salmiya - Click here to see the video. Just one more thing for the moment, I have hinted that I need you to send more stuff for the website; this is partly to make it more interesting for you but also to help me alleviate my sometimes severe feelings of homesickness. So please help, I can't make stuff up living here, I do need you all  to help; it will only take you a few minutes of time, but it will, I promise, be enthusiatically appreciated.
31st Jan
Another weather first here and a bit more like England  - a thunder storm complete with lightning. Apparently this is not uncommon at this time of the year and it will make the flowers grow in the desert. Also Egypt have just beaten Ghana 1-0 in the final of the African Nations Cup so we will have the car horns going all night; we were all hoping Ghana would win.
30th Jan
It has got warm here again, the cold spell only lasted two days; I see you've got snow again and a bit of a casualty in the War Memorial railings. At least they cleared the KC stadium for Hull City v Wolves which I've just been to see; 2-2 was probably a fair result but odd game at times. Hull scored first with a good goal and Wolves equalised with as comical an own goal as you'll see. Hull then took the lead via a very soft penalty only for Wolves to equalise with a good goal. The only real chance after that came to Wolves right at the end but were denied by Myhill. Well at least none of us can gloat or rub it in, do you think I'd have done that if Wolves had have won?
29th Jan
One habit the locals have is driving around sounding their horns when something important happens; it happen twice this week and reflects the multinational side of Kuwait. On Monday the Iraqis went round celebrating the execution of 'Chemical' Ali and then last night the Egyptians were celebrating their football team reaching the final of the African Nations Cup by beating Algeria 4-0 in the semifinal. Here the car horns wear out before the tyres and the exhaust!
28th Jan 
The weather actually got a bit more like the UK today. The wind apparently came from Russia via Iran and there was quite a chill in the air. I was even cold in bed and I have had to resort to putting the electric fire on which had hardly used before. So I will not know how to dress tomorrow for my usual Friday morning constitutional by the Gulf. Once the sun comes out it will no doubt be too warm for a jumper although all the locals will have their thick coats on. Otherwise life is back to a gentle routine, I am getting the chance to do things such as read which I haven't done for a while, so I don't get bored - I just need to view life a bit differently.
22nd Jan
Life has settled down a bit, so not too much to report. My big hassle at the moment is that I can't access my emails and BT seem to be very sluggish at sorting it out; well they did send me an email with a solution, but, of course, I can't get to read it! So I am sorry for this, I do always try and answer all of my emails regarding the website as soon as I can. This may also hold up updating the website with anything that you have sent me over the last 24 hours or so. Normal service will hopefully be resumed as soon as possible.
17th Jan
The weather is still beautiful and so I go for a walk every Friday and Saturday mornings; they tell me it starts getting hot again soon! So there's usually something to see, I go a roundabout way along the Gulf and back to the supermarket for some shopping and home. Here's some more photos including a bit more ornothology. Click here.
9th Jan
Despite what you lot are going through in Withernwick, I'm still taking advantage of the lovely weather here. I usually go for a walk most Fridays and Saturdays, much if Kuawit is grubby, but it is very nice down by the Gulf; lots of people are out keeping fit, having BBQs etc. I do my usual bit of ornithology (mostly the feathered kind), and today I saw a heron (latest thought it was an Indian Pond Heron - so there!) paddling in the Gulf, not quite the same as a UK one, so if any expert twitcher knows what sort it is, do let me know - click here for a photo.
7th Jan
Well I gather you are all still freezing back in Withernwick. Just to make you feel a bit worse, because there is a big cold lump hanging around over Europe, the Guld Stream is being forced South and we're getting the extra benefit of it. Apparently it is warmer here at this time of the year than usual. Maybe if I'd still been in Withernwick at least I might have got a few days off work - no chance of that ever happening here.
3rd Jan
Well still very warm here, dread to think what it will be like in June, you'll be glad you're in the UK then! One thing that's a lot better in England is birds (feathered, mind you the non-feathered are better too) but then I keep seeing these large black birds with yellow beaks and yellow legs and feet. I've only just worked out what they are - Mynah Birds. I remember them in pet shops as a child, they can talk the hind legs off several donkeys if trained properly. Changing the subject slightly another thing that's better in England is the sky, but we did get a lovely 'red sky at night' just don't think there are many shepherds here to delight! Click here.
2nd Jan
It's good to see you all had a good time on New Year's Eve. After my visit home, I do know, even more, how much I miss Withernwick. So to make me feel slightly better and you lot feel worse, freezing away as you are - here is a short video. It shows a beautiful warm and sunny day down by The Gulf, including the best view I've had yet of Kuwait City. It start with the Kuwait water towers and then passes the Al Hamra Tower, still under construction but will eventually be 1350 feet high. Click here to see the video.
1st Jan 2010
Back in Kuwait after Christmas, great to see nearly everyone, shame I didn't catch up with you all. Great fun and I do really do miss the village and all of you. Flight home was fine and I beat you all to the New Year - 11pm your time, flying over Prague (1 hour ahead) - New Year and we could see all the fireworks going off. So its 2010 now and I do hope it is a good year for everyone. It was certainly cold enough and still is I gather, the weather here is still quite pleasant, sunny walking type weather. 
17th Dec
I have finished school now for the Christmas holidays but I do have a few days to spare before I fly home to the UK ( British Airways permitting). So today Seth and I set off to the massive Friday market (on a Thursday). The weather was again beautiful although we did have a really bad storm in the night with high winds and lashing rain, so large puddles everywhere - just like England. To see some photographs, Click here.
12th Dec
I wouldn't necessarily recommend a holiday in the Middle East, but if you do this is the time of year to come. The weather is really superb - just to make you jealous! So it is now ideal time for walking and down by the Gulf is the cleanest and tidiest place; also it is less smelly now and looks a lot cleaner, still wouldn't want to swim in it though. Anyway here are some photos and a very short video to show just how much kuwait is like Withernwick! Click here.
10th Dec
Nearly Christmas and I'm just getting use to the fact that very little is definite here, no use holding your breath for anything, you might wait a long time. They have now decided that we can have an extra day on the end of out holiday and maybe three extra days on the beginning. Great, but neither are confirmed, if they had have been confirmed some time ago I could have booked to spend longer in the UK. But I'll just have to put it down to experience, I will still be home for Christmas which I am looking forward to and I guess I will also have some bonus days off, so I will have to be grateful. The weather is still very pleasant, so I can go for some long walks.
4th Dec 
It is December now, the weather is still quite pleasant; it is still over 20 deg C and sunny most days. I have had to resort to turning a fan heater on in the evening because it does cool down a bit at night. I have discovered another little reminder of England apart from the weather (altough December here is like July there!) - sparrows. I'm putting out budgie food (because I can't get wild bird food) and I think I've now got every sparrow in Kuwait. They do look just like English sparrows, but are they the same? So to see a short video of them Click here.  (Video is on Daily Motion because Youtube wouldn't upload it). And I'm not sure Kashmir by Led Zeppelin is the most appropriate accompaniment, but that was accidental.
30th Nov
Well being on holiday I had to do a bit of tourism. So I caught the bus to Kuwait City, the weather again was beautiful (I gather its going to snow in the UK!). It was a very pleasant way to spend a few hours an inevitably led to a few photographs being taken. Click here to see them. The most interesting bit is the market (souq), a real Arab bit in the middle of the Skyscapers.
29th Nov
The rain did clear the air, so today was the best weather day since I've been here (3 months). It was a pleasant temperature (about 22 deg C) with a slight warm breeze and very fresh i.e not humid air. So if you ever do plan to come to the Middle East this is probably a good time of the year to do so. Anyway I finally managed to get some half decent photographs of Kuwait City from where I live. Click here
27th Nov
The rain really came with a vengeance today, it will do the place good, even the date palms look sorry for themselves after the summer; so don't complain about the rain, you would miss grass, trees and flowers - very little of that here. Then another little reminder of the UK, sparrows. At least they look exactly like British sparrows, they come on my balcony, but you can't buy wild bird seed here, so they get budgie food instead. Click here to see a sparrow on my balcony.
26th  Nov
On holiday! It is the second Eid holiday, a sort of Islamic party time. Remember when I first got here in early September it was Ramadan (the fasting period). At the end of that (the end of September) was the first Eid holiday. The catch is that all these festivals etc move forward by a few weeks each year. So next year the first Eid holiday will coincide with the start of Sepember term. Then eventually both Eid holidays will be in the summer holiday and we won't see them at all. Oh well, make the best of it now while we do have it. Its good holiday weather too, lovely, wet and dark - just like home!
22nd Nov
The weather finally conspired to make me feel at home (UK style) by producing a delightfully, dreary, drizzly day. Just as well that yesterday was a more pleasant day as we (a lot of teachers and others), set off on a trek into the Kuwati desert. We had another BBQ and this time also a sing-a-long around the campfire. It was indeed a fun and interesting day; good to see another side to Kuwait other than shopping malls. Click here to see some photos.
16th Nov
I've had a rather difficult couple of days with the website. If you tried visiting it over Saturday or Sunday, it may have been doing all sorts of things apart from working correctly. It was a problem with the hosting company, in fairness only the second one. I think its okay now, but even though I check the site everyday, do let me know if you see anything wrong and try and describe what you see that is wrong because it helps me describe the problem to the hosting company. They are actually very good and do try and sort out problems as soon as they can.
13th Nov
Well the weather is finally getting a bit more pleasant, i.e about 30 deg C. So the teachers that live in Salmiya decided to get together and organise a BBQ on the beach. So a real multination delegation turned up from England, Northern Ireland, Australia and USA. Entertainment was in the form of a little boomerang throwing (with tuition from an Australian!) and badminton. The food worked very well and a very good time was had by all. So to see some photos and a short video click here. Now when I come home I want to see some photos of a similar event at Mappleton - okay.
12th Nov
Well I've had the internet at home for a week now, and it does work very well (there is a mobile phone mast about 50m away, so I do get a great signal). So it has been a lot easier to upload things to the website, so do keep sending me things. Also lots of people have now contacted me either via Skype or Yahoo Messenger, which is great; I love hearing from you all, it helps make me feel less homesick, so please try and get in touch, I really do appreciate it - and its free! Anyway, this is why I haven't written much here, beacuse I've become even more of an internet nerd than before, apart from the fact that there's little else to do - there's always shopping I suppose.
6th Nov
Well I did get my ID card and may passport back  - so I am now an official resident of Kuwait. The main consequence of this (for me at least) is that I was now able to get the internet in my flat. It is a mobile internet service (which we couldn't get in Withernwick) and it seems to work very well. So you can now contact me via Skype or Yahoo Messenger and it would be great to speak to you all, so see the Contact Us page and if you don't have Skype or Yahoo Messenger get downloading now.
4th Nov
Its November now and we have had a tiny bit more rain and it is finally getting cooler. Yesterday was the school's swimming gala, it is amazing how enthusiastic the kids are, both taking part and spectating. The school is split into four houses for events like this and my house Ahmardi (Green) won, so everyone got very excited. And here are three more Arabic words for you - Burgin (blue), Jahra (yellow) and Falika (red). Rumour has it that out Kuwait ID cards are ready, I'm still not holding my breath.
31st Oct
Well the rain didn't come to much and they don't really expect much until after Christmas. But it is getting a bit cooler and so it getting a bit more pleasant to walk around. It really isn't going to become a tourist attraction in the near future, so you have to look a little more closely to see any interesting features. So click here to see a few photographs of one little wander around near where I live. I have also found something else that's cheap, my cooker works off LPG and the gas bottle ran out today - a new one was about 2.70 for a 16.8 kg bottle - since my cottage's central heating runs off LPG, I know that is very cheap indeed!
29th Oct 
Well I did have an experience which helped to cure my homesickness in a small way - rain! Yes, today was very cloudy and very humid, indeed far more humid that you will ever experience in the UK. Then in the evening I felt at least 6 spots of rain! Apparently in some areas the rain was actually heavy, just not where I live. Although later on there was some lightning and thunder, but still not a lot of rain. They do tell me that we will get very heavy storms sometime soon and then the footpaths etc turn into quicksand, so that's something to look forward to.
23rd Oct
I had a bit of a walk around today, the weather is finally getting a bit more pleasant. Firstly a shop has recently opened attached to our appartment block, its not a type of shop you will have come across in the UK! Click here to see what it is. I also spent sometime on the beach, if you look on the maps, you will see that Salmiya (where I live) is on a peninsula surrounded by sea so I have a choice of beaches and these photos ar taken on the southern beach (the earlier ones are on the northern beach). It seems to show a typical day out at the seaside in Kuwait - its not quite Marbella or Bridlington. Click here.
22nd Oct
Well still not much happening, life is toddling along believe it or not I am getting a bit homesick, so thank you all for sending me emails and things to put on the website, it does make me feel at home albeit in a virtual way. Anyway I did see my first camels today, but sadly not under their own propulsion; they were two of them sat calmly down in the back of an open top truck - quite a surreal image! I guess, knowing what the traffic is like here, travelling around on the back of a camel would be nearly as bad as being a pedestrian.
14th Oct
Some of the new teachers have now hired cars, and it is tempting to do so since petrol is only 15p a litre (don't you wish!). The two cheapest things here are driving and cigarettes at 10 for 200 - but in Kuwait I do not know which is more dangerous. Being a pedestrian is bad enough, and for now I've learned to sprint across the road! its one way of keeping fit and alive! I suppose I could do as the Kuwait people do and buy a monstrous American 4 x 4 (at least 5.7 litre V8), and aim for pedestrians (I did wonder what the rows of stick-men painted on the side of them was for). And I'm also still waiting for my Kuwait ID card, it was ready 'next week' - three weeks ago.
13th Oct
Haven't written for a while because I've not had so much to say. I guess I've got into a routine, which is inevitable but implies that life is a bit boring. I've no idea why, to be honest, but life here is rather boring - but then the main social excursion is to the shopping mall!. I am doing more work for school than I previously did because now there seems a point to preparing lessons and marking books since the pupils do want to learn what I'm trying to teach them. I do need more to do on the website, so if you have any bright ideas do let me know, I will find a home for anything! 
7th Oct
I had a very humorous experience today, or at least I thought so. One of my year 10 pupils innocently asked me "could I open the window, as its too cold in here"! I have never been asked that question in 23 years of teaching in England. I did laugh but had to explain why. Indeed this is another example of Kuwait's somewhat unecological appraoch to life, the air-conditioning has not been turned to warmer despite the air outside being a bit cooler (its about 35 deg C now); it is genuinely cold inside the building and so now its actually getting pleasant to go outside! Oh and I do have a Kuwait mobile phone now, because it was too expensive to ring Kuwait numbers on my English phone and I believe it is cheaper to contact me from the UK via my new phone (see Contact Us).
6th Oct
Thankfully I had good experience to make me feel better after the traumas of yesterday (Click here). I offered to help with the KES Environment Club, as that is one of my interests; but to say the least Kuwait is not very 'green'! so much to my surprise over 50 pupils turned up to the first meeting. Then the enthusiasm and knowledge of the pupils quite stunned me. I genuinely think we can make a difference to the school and to a small extent to Kuwait. One thing is the school has about 100m2 of solar cells on the roof doing nothing but gathering dust, so I am going to try and get them working again!
1st Oct
Well I got paid, and no tax or national insurance - wow! I guess we'd all like to be like that, sadly I don't think Britain would last very long. Kuwait, of course, can do this because of the wealth it derives from oil. Apparently, although Kuwait is quite a small country, they do have vast oil reserves, enough to last at least 150 years, even at the present rate of use.  Anyway I won't be rushing out to spend all my wages, I do have to remember that I have a mortgage back in Withernwick, oh well.
27th Sept
Back at work after the holiday, the school day is now longer by an hour and a half because they are obliged to have a shorter day during Ramadan because of the pupils fasting and consequently being tired. So now the school day starts at 7.30am and finishes at 2.30pm. Oh well, less time to get bored and I do get paid on Wednesday which will make me feel a whole lot better! I've been here exactly a month now, I'm not sure if it feels like more or less - but thank you to everyone who is keeping in touch, Withernwick is still my home, for various reasons I know Kuwait never will be.
26th Sept
I have discover a new Super-food since I've been here. I did have a little 'medical' problem for a while, but I now know the cure - dates! Apart from the laxative effects, dates are also packed full of all manner of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. They are one thing they can actually grow here and are cheap and plentiful. But I do recommend that you don't just leave them to that box of "Eat-Me" dates that arrived at Christmas to remain uneaten by Twelfth Night and thrown away by Easter - go out and buy some and eat them (just not too many at once!). Anyway, if you don't believe me here is a list of all the goodies that are found in dates - Click here.
23rd Sept 
I went on an trip to Kuwait City. Actually used the bus for the first time, very cheap, only 200 fils (about 45p, there are 1000 fils to the dinar). The city is full of skyscrapers but in the middle is the market (souq), which is an enormous rambling building where you can buy most things. I managed to leave without buying anything but it was a real bit of Arab culture, well worth the trip. It is a big city and I will have to visit again, next time though in the daytime when the weather is a bit cooler (whenever that is !). Click here for some photos of Kuwait City.
20th Sept
Went to watch the Wolves today and we beat Fulham 2-1, so great news, makes me feel more at home. Weather looked good in Wolverhampton, getting very humid here, so I wouldn't mind a bit of pleasant, September, English weather. Terry Ireland e-mailed me today and said he remembers Doreen, Mid and John, John Saltmer and David Croft; so please check out his bit on the website, I will be writing more about him when I get more details.
17th Sept
So I now on holiday for a week, and I'll have to find some things to do or I'll get very bored. I have been invited to a few things; our Head of Senior School, Janet Carew, has invited all the new staff to her house on Saturday, my fellow Wolves fan, Dave Wood has invited me round on Sunday to watch Wolves v Fulham (which he can get live) and Neil, a fellow maths teacher, has invited the department round one day next week. Apart from that I will go exploring, most likely to have a wander around Kuwait City, where I'm sure we'll get hopelessly lost amidst all the skyscrapers etc - doesn't matter, just get a taxi and ask for Salmiya!
To see some maps of Kuwait to see where the various places I mention are Click here. And to see me in Kuwait Click here.
16th Sept
Well I've only been here two weeks and yet tomorrow I break up for one weeks holiday! To explain, it has been Ramadan ever since I've been here, and that ends on Sunday, then its Eid which is like party time - so hence an official holiday. I will hopefully get the chance to get around a bit, such as to Kuwait City, I've no doubt there will be some more shopping malls, but hopefully a few more interesting things - whatever they may be! 
15th Sept
I'm not making as many entries now as I guess I'm getting into a routine and not so much new is occurring. However today I had a 'scary' reminder of how how small the world is. One of my year 12 (6th Form) told me that she will be going to do a degree in Architectural Engineering at Leeds University, what's strange about that? It is the exact place and same course that I did - except 33 years ago! The Leeds I first experienced in 1976 was a seedy place where bus drivers called you "luv", I did explain to the student that it is a bit different now, perhaps for the better in her case but, for me, I lament the passing of so many wonderful old pubs and Terry's Alltime Cafe where we used to end up at, after a few Tetley's in The Crown (no longer with us), on a Friday night / Saturday morning eating chip butties, playing pool and listening to their ancient Wurlitzer Juke Box. Oh well, at least my rose-tinted glasses are working fine!
12 th Sept
In the daytime the sun is still unrelenting, but in the evening it is getting slightly cooler. So it is now possible to walk down by the Gulf, it still smells a bit but that also is getting slowly better. In the daytime the sun is very high in the sky but the day time is that much shorter than in the UK, so at sunset the sun sets very quickly. This gives a lovely opportunity for a photograph - Click here.
Finding my way around Salmiya is tricky at times as everywhere does look a bit the same, but I am getting the hang of it now, here is a panoramic view of Salmiya from my Balcony - Click here
11th Sept
Its the weekend, so what do I get up to? Well housework, washing clothes is good, they dry in 30 mins on the balcony. I mark some books, which a much better experience than in Bridlington - all homeworks done and even the boys are neat! Its Ramadan and one consequence of this is that the place doesn't socially come alive until about 8.30pm. Click here to see what my neighbourhood is like at night, we even go shopping in the supermarket at 9 or 10pm.
10th Sept
It's Thursday evening and its the weekend again, still feels strange having my weekend on Friday (the Islamic holy day) and Saturday. Well my first full week over at school, and I've now been in Kuwait for over 2 weeks. School is still great, but I am missing Withernwick, so thank you to those of you who have been in touch so far. I came here for an adventure and to make more money, more money so that I can enjoy Withernwick more when I return for good (which I will). But for now I do need you all to help make me feel that Withernwick is still close by. Oh and my air-conditioning is working again, back down to 70 deg F!
8th Sept
All still going well, 99% of the pupils I've met so far are delightful, 1% will need watching, apparently they do have the odd difficult child here - but there is 'zero-tolerance' of bad behaviour and it will be dealt with. One small curiosity is that all pupils speak good English but with a slight American accent; one explained to me this is due to all the American TV programmes they watch. The air-conditioning in my flat has malfunctioned, not compeletely, it is holding the temperature at about 85 deg F (rather than 70 deg F); but the workman are now in the process of fixing it (I hope!).
6th Sept 2009
Yes its Sunday and I've had my first full day's teaching, very weird on a Sunday! Anyway, I know its early days yet, but the kids I've come across today are amazing. They not only have a thorough understanding and knowledge of maths but also a truly remarkable general knowledge, many of the pupils in Bridlington hardly knew where Scarborough was! I am fast coming to the sad conclusion that there is something rotton in the state of the UK. Society is very strict here but people respond well to that as it incites responsibility and co-operation. Fortunately Withernwick, as we all know, is a little world on its own where we are all responsible and do co-operate - I miss it badly and still want to come back (just not for now).
4th Sept 2009
Well  it is the weekend, which feels trange because the weeked here is Friday and Saturday.My life is getting gradually sorted. I now have satellite TV with aproximately 500 channels but only about 10 in English (including BBC World News). Food shopping is fine, there is a good supermarket 10 mins walk away. Washing clothes is easy as they dry in no time. It will still be a while before I am online in my apartment, I'm still waiting for my Kuwait ID card, so I am uploading the website at work or in the local internet cafe for now.
2nd Sept 2009
Finally met some pupils today, and as a group quite unlike the ones I have met over the last three years. I had approached the day with some trepidation as I could not avoid assuming all too many young people are disrepectful and can't be bothered. So to my surprise I met a group of polite and pleasant young people. Really it should be no surprise, these young people are brought up with a sense of responsibility rather than seeing no further than their rights.
1st Sept 2009
I think the bureacracy is finally over, been to so many buildings, had so many bits of paper stamped, today even had my finger prints taken (which would be seen as an infringement of human rights in the UK). I should now get a Kuwait ID card, I don't think I'll ever get a UK ID card! In the process of getting finger-printed we actually got a tour around Kuwait City, it looks like something from a Sci-fi film and going by the amount of new buliding - there is no credit-crunch here. I've actually booked my flight home at Christmas, not as I'm that desperate to get back but it was an simply an unrepeatable offer.
31st Aug 2009
Finally settling in. The temperature has been up to 45 degC, thankfully everywhere has effective air conditioning, including my apartment. My apartment is very good, clean and well furnished (Click here).
I haven't been around much yet. I have been down to the Gulf, the seafront is about 400 yards away, looks beautiful with a stunning view of Kuwait City, but it stinks and looks like grey soup. To see some views Click here.
Been into school, but haven't started teaching yet. Looks really good, everyone seems really nice and helpful and very positive about the school. I've even met a fellow Wolves fan, so we now have a Kuwait branch of the Wolves Supporters Club!
28th Aug 2009
I got taken on a trip to a local shopping mall called "The Avenues". The size of it was simply awsome, forget about Meadowhall and Trafford Park! However many of the shops were familiar such as Debenhams, much to my surprise though - no Tesco's (I thought there was one of those at the North Pole!). Shopping is a bit of a recreational habit in Kuwait, so wonderfully air-conditioned malls are a way of life.
27th Aug 2009
Flights all went to plan, including changing at Frankfurt, Lufthansa are very efficient. Arrived Kuwait at 10:30pm local time. Only realised then that the plane had been half-full of new recuits for Kuwait English School! We were met by a representatative, and taken by coach to our apartment.
Again all had been well arranged. As soon as we got out in the open, it was dark but the heat hits you and takes your breath away.
26th Aug 2009
Travelled down to Heathrow as flight is early on Thursday morning. In a hotel near Heathrow, okay will do the job. Had a pint in the local pub, the last I'll have for a while. I will miss Withernwick, so I do hope everyone keeps in  touch and sends me stuff to put on the website.

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