Friday, April 27, 2007

some catch up

Much has happened since the last blog entry by the Gnomad. As is so often the way Real Life gets in the way of blogging.

so to catch up with some news:

the Gnomads did not get to the UK at Easter. the British Enbassy here in the Magic Kingdom has gone really native and is about as much use as a chocolate teapot. Just to give on example, an email requesting the requirements for a UK visa sent 8 weeks in advance took more than five weeks to engender a coherent reply. being invited to look for the relevant information on the website, when the web site says that the information can be obtained from the embassy does not count as useful. when the reply did arrive, now only three weeks before intended departure, it stated that applications should be made at least four weeks before traveling. Ho Hum.

We did however get to the Philippines instead and had a splendidly relaxing holiday, including beach parties, the sister-in-law's graduation and liberal amounts of roast pork and other filipino delicacies. The icing on the cake was an unsolicited free upgrade to business class for the nine and a half hour flight home for the Gnomads. We flew Qatar Airways and it seems that they have a policy of upgrading loyalty scheme members to business class so that they can fit waiting list passengers in.

The disappointment in the journey is what Qatar Airways have done to their lounges. Gold and Silver card members no longer get to use the first and business class lounges at Doha. First and Business now have their own terminal and facilities entirely separate from the main terminal. What used to be one of the best first class lounges is now the Gold lounge and is no longer anything special. No table service, no fresh soups, no alcohol (although I am in fact in favour of a policy of no alcohol in airport lounges) hot drinks from a machine not made for you and worst of all No SUSHI. Oh well, I guess it was good while it lasted, and its still WAY better than waiting in the public lounges. The free internet is still available and the food although limited by comparison is still good quality.

Moves are now afoot to obtain a UK visa for the Gnomadette, maybe with two months time this will be achievable, Insh'Allah

Our Internet continues to be problematic. We have tried three different service providers and the best of them would be considered unacceptably poor by UK standards. If we are very lucky we might get a whole hour of uninterrupted service at a time. often the connection drops out every few minutes for up to half ab hour at a time. this is very frustrating for us as we both like to play internet games and this does spoil things significantly. I am begging to think that there really isnt any way round this and its just part of the Magic of the Kingdom.

The main reason for the hiatus in blogging was that we had a major health issue in the family which had tragic results. Those who know the Gnomads personally are aware of this and we are not going to discuss it here except to say that Mr and Mrs Gnomad are both well and to say thank you to everyone for their kindness and support.

The health service providers here where excellent. The insurance however was not. We were again in a position of having to argue with the insurance company to get a pay out which was specifically covered by the policy. It all turned out ok in the end, but several days admission and a full surgical procedure are expensive and its a bit of a shock to suddenly find that it must be found, in cash, today.

More later when I am less hungry. I'm off to get my dinner