What a day!

4 Feb, '07

Woke up at the usual hour of 5am to a promise of rain, but what rain it poured about and hour or so later! A typical thunder shower that thankfully didn’t last too long, otherwise my garden would have suffered yet again, not to mention the lake outside our front door getting bigger.

Little did I know that even with that rain we would have a drought inside the house. The small riser pump refused to work; and as there was no warning, the main house water tank ran completely dry. That meant that the only water available was that in the pipes, and it would be fun trying to have a shower with that quantity. I ended up having the same shower in THREE bathrooms, including the pool changing room, and without the benefit of hot water, I was like a frozen popsicle by the time I finished!

Worse, our usual plumber who by now knew the complete water installation in the house started a new job that he couldn’t skive off until early afternoon… that means, well, the drought will continue until he makes an appearance.

In the mean time, Frances was complaining that her car was hunting and the idle speed was just not what it should be. The car almost stalls whenever she reduces speed. We decided that she would use my car to take the kids to school, and that we would take her car to the garage as it was nearing it regular maintenance time anyway. Because we didn’t take an appointment, Ford decided that they’re just too busy to take it in and said that they will only work on it in a couple of days.. fair enough. We hired a car for her for the time being. But when I drove to the Ford garage in Sitra to pick up my guy who delivered the car, the bloody doorman at the service entrance refused to let me in saying that he is only allowed to let Ford cars in! I was furious and asked him incredulously if he was joking; “no” he said, “those are my instructions and I’m not going to open the gate for you to go in.” No matter how much I explained to him that I do have a bloody sick Ford that my driver took in and I was just there to pick him up would change his mind. I had to drive around and park at the front to wait for my guy to finish the checking in procedure.

With that stupidity, Ford most definitely lost a customer. There is no way in HELL that I would EVER buy a Ford again. And the bloody Windstar is up for sale for the first reasonable offer. It’s a 2001 model, lady owned and dealer maintained (if that is going to make any bloody difference) and registered in 2002. It’s only got 150k on the clock. Leather seats, man, they must be worth something. It’s got to go. Any offers?

That out of the way, the plumber thankfully did appear in the early afternoon and found that the fault lay in the pressure switch which he replaced. He also mysteriously found that the main shuttle-cock in the main riser line was almost completely switched off, which means that there would have been very little or no water going up to the main tank! He opened it up and assured me that everything was hunky dory.

Okay, so everything is sorted now, I wanted to go and visit my uncle this afternoon. His office is located at the back of the Sacred Heart Cathedral, and it being a Sunday, I knew that area would be busy, to say the least. It took me a whole hour to drive about 10 kilometers from my office to his, but ironically I found a vacant pavement about 100 meters from his office which I immediately used to park on! I wasn’t going to miss that opportunity. The alternative is parking a couple of kilometers away and hiking it to his office.

I spent a nice 45 minutes talking to him, a pastime I really relish. The kind of stories he has of the old days are thrilling. I always look forward to spend some time with him, he’s really cool!

Artists Bassem Mansour & Fritzi Metzger at Al-Bareh

It was approaching 6pm and I wanted to go to the opening of the Flying Carpets and Fish Don’t Apologize art installation and exhibition at Al-Bareh Art Gallery by Fritzi Metzger and Bassem Mansour and decided to take the kids with me to get exposed to some culture. The opening was at 7 and as I had to pick up 2 girls, the time would be really push them to get ready on time. I wanted to get out of the house by 6.30 to reach Adliya in time for the opening. Although the kids go ready on time, the rest of the world decided to make us late. Everybody was on a Sunday drive, literally! After a lot of full/beam-flashing, some got out of the way, others did a Moses on me (drive fast behind someone which some people get intimidated by and thus get out of your way!) and we got to the exhibition just a few minutes after 7.

The exhibition was weird. Good weird. You walk through an installation of suspended sardine cans as you enter the exhibit! How fantastic is that? You navigate through that and you’re faced with two television screens, one showing a bath-tub with dead colourful leaves and dead fish being thrown in it, while the other is showing the artist’s attempt at stringing a bunch of dead fish to make a beard out of them! It takes him 20 minutes to do so, but I tell you, those are riveting 20 minutes! I was ludicrously watching the twit stringing the fish through the gills, the eyes, and other body parts to make a beard out of them! What a very very weird person. But certainly well worth watching.

I had a little chat with him and asked him why he named his exhibit Fish Don’t Apologize? To which he replied that if a fish bumps into a neighbour while they are shoaling, they don’t mind and just carry on; while in a crowd of people one bumps into another, they would apologise.

Yeah, okay. But it is the weirdest art exhibition I have been to, and it is well worth the visit, if just to experience it.

His wife, a German living in Italy (while he is Lebanese living in Kuwait) does carpets with her photography. The prints are quite nice if very much saturated colours. She arranges the pictures ingeniously using Photoshop into a kaleidoscope of images the end result of which looks like a large rug or small carpet! She doesn’t have a website to show her images at the moment, but she is considering making one.

She’s quite an accomplished artist and her limited-run prints are for sale. They would look good in large spaces which require a good splash of colour to bring that space to life. Unfortunately for me, they’re not much my cup of tea.

The exhibition runs only until February 8th, very short time indeed, so it would be well worth your time to go visit soon.

The other highlight of the visit is that I met bint battuta as well as The Outsider in the flesh! Which was a real treat. We shot the Sh&t a bit about blogging and the missed monthly meeting for Feb, and I told them my plan of becoming a dictator in that department as we couldn’t get any consensus in that regard. So I declared that the meetings will continue starting from March, and they will be held on the first Thursday of the month, from 8pm – 10pm in Al-Bareh Cafe, I’ll be there and everyone is welcome to join me.

Bint Battuta told me that there is another art exhibition in town, this one is a repeat and it is showing Phoebe Boswell’s paintings and sketches again at Al-Rewaq Art Gallery and she suggested that it would be worth going to that one too. I consulted with the children and they decided to give it a go. We went and enjoyed being there too. Phoebe’s style is quite evident in every painting and sketch she made. I particularly liked Shaikh Isa Al-Jawdar’s painting, quite intricate work, that and an old bearded and bespectacled gentleman I don’t recognise. Those were Hanan’s favourites too.

Bahrain being too bloody small, I also met one of my late father’s friends, the respected actor Mahmood Al-Mulla and we talked about the current issue of Bahrain Culture magazine which featured my father and his paintings and reminisced a little. We also met with Tariq Khonji and Ali Al-Saeed there. I didn’t get a chance to talk to the artist as she was rather busy with a lot of fans around her. It was a good exhibition and well worth a visit too.

On the way home, I get a call from the wife panicking that we have a FLOOD from the main roof water tank! I came home and deduced that it was a stuck float switch in the main tank, and after shoogling (technical term) the float switches, they behaved themselves and the riser pump did not come on again.

We monitored the pumps and the tank for a while and all seemed to be okay so far. I called the plumber and asked him to grace us with his presence tomorrow so that he can go over the installation again, and this time, I’ll get him to draw a diagram of how he understands the operation and connections of the system. This – I hope – will stand us in good stead when something else in the plumbing goes wrong.

Well, all of these events are enough for one day… It’s more than an hour past my regular bed-time, so excuse me while I go hit the sack.

I just hope that another disaster doesn’t occur while I’m asleep!


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Comments (12)

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  1. Ian says:

    The bearded and bespectacled man I believe is Malcolm Brittain, a long time resident of Bahrain and a stalwart of the Hash House Harriers. He’s quite a character.

    P.S. Don’t you just hate bloody jobsworth idiots like the moron at Ford? Bet you didn’t make your frustration known to the management at Ford. Cos they wouldn’t listen . . . right?

  2. Maverick says:

    You will get a similar feeling with the attitude with the Volkswagon-Bebehani guys. What is this BS about appointments. When you go there some staff are standing and looking bored without appointments…. :angry:

    With Nissan, however I got a follow-up call from a service standards company and I was free to tell them how I felt about Nissan’s service delivery standards.

    For Bahrain the best cards are Toyota, Kia and Nissan.

    She doesn’t have a website to show her images at the moment, but she is considering making one.

    Introduce her to flickr.

    I had a little chat with him and asked him why he named his exhibit Fish Don’t Apologize? To which he replied that if a fish bumps into a neighbour while they are shoaling, they don’t mind and just carry on; while in a crowd of people one bumps into another, they would apologise.

    Not surprising M! Fish do not converse. Only marine mammals do as far as I know. However fish do communicate as this webpage says so http://www.dosits.org/animals/use/1b.htm. :happy:

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ford & Nissan (Almoayyed Folks) usually employ people who follow (and issue) strict rules. Despite them being dead stupid at times.
    This is also being implemented at Nissan. However: All cars can go in the parking area.
    Its just the service and garage areas that will only admit cars of the same make.
    Trust me I had this problem (am a Nissan guy), but its nothing serious. at least they can fix and maintain your car well, unlike some other dealers.
    If you insist, sell the ford & I will PIMP your next ride! I did my car and had it in car shows and love it to bits. So we can add that special MTV thing to it.

  4. Redbelt says:

    oops, that was moi.

  5. mahmood says:

    It is their property and they can do anything they want to do with it. I just find it, well, distasteful. The only reason I was going in is to follow up on MY Ford car which is supposed to be serviced at their facility. I wasn’t intentionally going to park in their precious garage so that I can spread a mat and have a picnic!

    This is just moronic and excludes potential customers, rather than make them feel that they belong to an exclusive bunch.

    This is in fact RACISM!


  6. Anonymous says:

    to add to your day mahmoood; they changed the face of the Porsche Cayenne :biggrin:


  7. mahmood says:

    oho! :shocked:

  8. Thanks, Mahmood, it was good to meet you too! I’ll be sure to come to the next meeting – and I think in this situation, being a dictator is the only way to go…

  9. Redbelt says:

    Mahmood, Custom, Custom.
    Customize your car and you’ll have no more of your-car-being-trendy-so-long-as-bigshots-don’t-release-another-model syndrome.

  10. mahmood says:

    I just don’t get this “customised” things to tell you the truth. I mean, you buy a car like a Porsche, what the hell do you do to “customise” it? It is as close to perfection as could be, so what do I do other than chip it maybe? Add anything to it and you increase the weight and drag and destroy the profile!

    So thanks but no thanks… if it had been a Tercil or a Daewoo or any other crap, yes, you just NEED to do something with those things… but with a Porsche, even if it gets to be many years old…. well, it’s a Porsche!


  11. Redbelt says:

    up to you
    here’s some pics of my car after modding. Guess what is it:
    this was at a BIC car show.

    Anything can be modded and made better.

    oh, BTW:
    Venkatsh Goud
    General Manager
    Ford Showroom

  12. Vilora says:

    I live in Detroit and my husband and I have given up on Fords too. When we turned our lease on one, they kept trying to say “buy American”, as if buying an American car is a good idea –

    But here – all the car companies do that. My husband works for a rival and he has to park in a different lot because he doesn’t drive their brand.

    Nowadays you see all the “I work for Ford, I drive a Ford” bumperstickers because they want to give everyone a guilt trip about not buying American – truth is, you get a lot more perks on imports than you will on American cars for the same amount of money – but we are supposed to mindlessly buy Fords, GM’s or Chryslers….yuck!

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