Hi there!Mark Whitworth I am Mark Whitworth -
writer, educator, traveller
and all round good guy.
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Early December 2010

Andrea Kidd, Mark Whitworth, Doha, Qatar, desertSetting Sons

This journal is set in Qatar, but obviously takes in such important issues such as the state of Australian cricket, the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar in 2022 and the luxury of our finally reaching the situation where we are back in communication with the outside world. It is therefore a true blog and life as it exists in 19 Umm Salal Mohammad Villas as of December 2010. With winter celebrations around the solstice looming for practically all faiths it’s also important that Andrea and I wish the world and its uncle a very, very happy festive season. Sadly we will not be spending the hols in Australia, which is a real bummer, but I’m sure our Aussie pals will find some relief in that, as it dawns on them that Email for the Ashes II will possibly be stillborn. And so, here it is: Q & A in Qatar VI.


Barmy Army, Australians, Bangladesh, cricket, charityWhat a week or so! It’s funny how when things fall into place they do so in threes. The Blues beating Chelsea in the League, and then the Villa in the Carling Cup, have been two results which are enormously gratifying. Admittedly, Birmingham City have returned to their defence at all costs system, which played out so well last year, but they are proving very hard to beat. Darrin, my Villa neighbour is beside himself, but try as I may, I just can’t get the kids to wind him up sufficiently.

There’s a real shortage of Australians at school, particularly of the male variety, so it’s also proving hard going on the Aussie-knocking front. Andrea, not my one but an Aussie lass, teaches in the classroom next door, and she’s kind enough to respond to repeated taunting, but it’s not really the same as watching Gerard Knobbel on his knees in the foyer crying hysterically.

Having just watched the last day of the second Ashes test, it has to be said that it’s always nice to beat Australia! But beating is really too small a word for what was a comprehensive rubbing of their faces in the wicket. Boy, do they look like losers. For the first time ever, I actually felt sorry for Australians on the cricket field; with three tests to play it should be necessary to keep my fingers firmly crossed, but in reality there’s no need. If Australians hate losing, they hate being felt sorry for more; they’ll be back, sometime around 2028! A little later in this piece I’ll expand my thoughts on cricket down under.

Umm Salal Mohammad Villas, Doha, QatarThe third aspect to our lives that has cheered us up is the reality of having modern day communications and an increasingly comfortable place to live. Admittedly, we’ve worked hard to achieve this, there’s been little assistance, other than being granted the right to live here, but we’re starting to feel at home.

We’ve been admitted to the satellite club and eventually, after much argument with Showtime/OSN, our local provider, we have access to high definition television, which Samsung, HDTVfortunately also beams in the Ashes live. As a sop to Andrea’s penchant for watching anything that moves on the box, I bought her a 40” HD TV to go with our new supplier’s feed, but the net result was my getting to watch the Aussie’s crumble on a perfectly crisp transmission.

I can’t remember the last time I bought a new TV, although I think I did once before, but this one is incredible. The machine is so thin you could ram a corner of it into the toaster if you so wished and the quality of the picture is superb. Samsung are the manufacturer we have to thank and Qatar for ensuring the purchase price was reasonable due to their minimalist approach to taxation.

Not that I watch TV much, although the cricket is a major incentive, but at least we don’t have to depend on the slightly squiffy picture we had on the set we had been provided with;  I had been developing a squint just glancing at the thing. Now, with such a perfect screen, we’re aware that all the neighbours can watch it, even on a sunny day, through our curtainless windows!! We really will have to do something about that; it’ll become the next project! It has to be said that it is easy to shop for expensive items in Doha and almost impossible to shop for a few practical items; of this, more can be found below.