Happy New Home

October 01, 2012

Management and I decided a few months ago to try to sell our house at The Wave and to move back to Shatti. We found a buyer and then had to go through the tortuous process that governs expat selling and buying.

This is not only long winded, but expensive: taking all aspects into account, eight per cent of the value of the property was spent on fees. I am pleased to learn that a new government body has been set up to try to make this process both quicker and cheaper.

Last Monday was the day for the move, and Management took charge of our eight careful packers and lifters, whilst I spent a couple of hours at the Ministry of Housing with the paperwork. All went according to plan and last Tuesday we took up residence in our older style house very near to the Grand Hyatt.

Leaving behind a modern specified villa to one built many years ago has given us some challenges. The dishwasher and washing machine arrived, for us to discover that the worktops are just too low for them to slide under.

The new gas cooker exploded into life, desperately in need of adjustment or regulation. Our roof is a sea of satellite dishes, “none of which are quite right, sir, what to do, sorry for that.” Luckily, I brought my other ones with me, so they were added to the sea, making an ocean. But they do now work.

Our new home has a lovely mature garden, full of trees, flowers, birds and, we believe, owls. I purchased a lawn mower from the previous tenants, to tend the lawn at the rear of the house. By the time we took occupation, however, the mower was not to be found.

After a couple of days, the gardener appeared “Sorry, sir, I have been out of station, away in Salalah for a holiday,” he announced. “Have you seen the mower?” I asked. “No, sir,” came the reply. I guess the machine also made a trip to a new home somewhere, maybe Salalah too.

Management has done a great job turning the house into a home, and we already feel quite at ease, with our dog and cats loving the garden. For the human race, the place where we live and sleep is one of the defining factors in our everyday existence.

I have been lucky enough to be involved in the design and delivery of residential properties for all of my working life, and I have always been interested in how real ‘places’ are made, where people feel safe and ‘at home’.

The actual accommodation in our house now is much smaller than in our previous villa, but it is cosy and comfortable. We have decided that these two characteristics mean a lot to us.

In Oman, gardens can be used for much of the year, and it has always puzzled me that so many big houses are built with little or no usable outside space.

Management and I are already planning to use ours for some moonlit parties, under the trees and the stars. We are both pleased that the physical part of the move is finally complete. It is now time to relax and enjoy our new surroundings.