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Here Comes 2014 – Just Go For It

Happy New Year Everyone

Whatever this year brings my advice is

JUST GO FOR IT

Instead of looking back at my best makes of 2013 (let’s face it, you’ve seen them all before, why on earth would you want to take a second peek), I am going to share with you a trip down memory lane to show that you just don’t know what’s around the corner.

My very first post for 2014 has come about because of my last post in 2013 which you can see here.

A few of your wonderful comments made me smile. The lovely Sylvia-Anne asked if I had really worked at the BE in Kuwait and also my super DT sister Ellie thought I was telling porkies.

Well it’s all true, I worked at the British Embassy from 1994 – 2000 and Andrew worked for the Kuwaiti government from 1993 – 2001.

Kuwait happened for Andrew and I at a very low point in our lives. Andrew had been out of work for 8 months plus the UK was in a really bad recession. He started applying for jobs abroad and got work in Kuwait. This was such a scary time in our lives. To just up and go on our own to work and live in a foreign country, leave all our family and friends behind. Also the 1st Gulf War had just ended, well just say that I cried a lot. At our ages to leave the UK and all our loved ones behind was just unreal but needs must and off we went.

We were only going to stay for one year, get back on our feet and go back to the UK again. How wrong can anyone be … because we loved it so much we ended up staying SEVEN YEARS.

Sharing just a couple of pics about our time there. This is me having tea with Prince Charles (you read right … Prince Charles, all true Ellie) and a copy of the invite letter. Sadly Andrew wasn’t invited to this event.

Afternoon Tea With CharlesAfternoon Tea With Charles 1Invite Letter

Here are a few receptions that Andrew and I attended whilst we were in Kuwait. The best of these was when we were invited onto the Royal Yacht Britannia. She was making her final voyage before being decommissioned in December 1997. On board also was Margaret Thatcher. Great night but sadly Andrew again missed out because he was ill but we were lucky enough to get a private viewing, a few days before, of the Royal Yacht by some of the crew before the reception.

Met the Duke Of York twice and also met Princess Anne once. She only shook my hand, asked my name and said hello but she spoke to Andrew for a good 10 minutes about his work. Meeting Tony and Cheri Blair was another highlight of our time out there.

Duke Of YorkQueen's Birthday InviteNew Zealand Invite

At the time the first photo was taken I was showing around a visitor from the FCO who was taking photos of the new Consular section waiting room which had just been built (where I worked). As you do I threw myself onto one of the new seats and started posing. Me thinks he was going to delete the photo but low and behold a few weeks later a letter arrived in the diplomatic bag with this pic in it. Another pic of me at an evening reception in the embassy grounds with some of the crew of HMS Southampton. That was a great weekend and we also went aboard her.

Another fabulous time was when we were invited by the Ambassador of New Zealand and Commander Ross Smith of HMNZS Te Kaha to a reception on board ship.

The other two pics are of the Iraqi border and my son standing beside one of the patrol guards.

Consular SectionHMS SouthamptonIraq BorderIraq Border Checkpoint

The writing actually says:

ATTENTION
U.S Military & Civilian Personnel
Kuwait – Iraq Border
3 Kilometers Ahead
DO NOT CROSS CHECKPOINT

Now did you notice that it only says US Military & Civilian Personnel, hey what about us BRITS!!!

Shirl