On June 17 my friend, and chairman, passed away, much too early in his life. Abdulla al Abdul Salaam was 58 years old, and I had met him first in 2009 after my time at The Wave.
"Sie verruckter Englander (you crazy Englishman),” said the driver of the number 23 bus in Wiesbaden, Germany. I had enjoyed a fabulous Rhine-caught Perch, washed down with some local beverage, for my lunch last Wednesday. My overnight flight, only a little sleep, and over-indulgence meant that I had travelled from one end of his bus route to the other, dozing as the vehicle passed through the city centre where I had planned to get off. He took pity on me and didn't ask me to buy another ticket for the return trip.
I am reminded that some two years ago most of the major protests that had occurred in Oman during Arab Spring had run their course: changes had been made quickly, and those who had voiced dissatisfaction were prepared to see if their desired improvements would materialise.
My father has now retired, but during his working life he practiced as an architect. At a very early age I was taken around buildings and told to look at streets and squares and to marvel at the way they had been designed. “Study that architecture, isn’t it wonderful,” he would say. “See how the light reflects on the windows, and how the design of that building complements the one next to it.” I was generally more interested in where the next ice cream was coming from, and my dear younger sister, at the time still in her pram, simply slept through most of the day.
As some readers will know, the pets in our family life rank as the most important priority we have. Management has often told me that the happiness of Billy, our grey and white shih-tzu, is such that he is number one - when I suggested that his position on my pillow at night was becoming uncomfortable and causing me neck ache, I was told that the bed in the spare room was available for my use anytime I chose.