Bad News

A letter for me arrived in Glasgow a couple of weeks ago. It said that my publisher has gone into liquidation. Another company now have my books electronically stored but I haven’t been able to contact them yet. They must be inundated by authors. It means that my books are not available to buy at the moment. I will give you all more details when I have them myself. I have been planning a 4th book but that is now on hold. I will be spending 2 weeks in Glasgow and Spain seeing all my family before returning here to run summer schools in Maths and Music. My son, Peter, was here in Singapore for 30 hours last week. He flew over to give a presentation and the time we managed to spend together was truly precious.

Another Grandchild on the Way

Yes, my news is that Sarah is expecting their second child and my 5th grandchild in November. She had a scan yesterday and she was told the baby is “perfect” which is great news. My job is still going well and I am enjoying the combination of teaching Maths and Music. Outside school, my landlord and landlady treat me like one of their family and are wonderfully kind to me. Apart from a week of violent thunderstorms, which I didn’t like, I’m getting used to the weather here. Not like me to spend money on myself and it wasn’t exactly a treat but I had to go to the dentist and a lovely lady dentist has sorted out my teeth after many years of avoiding dentists. The family all met up at Susan’s for Easter. They sent me lots of photos and videos and I also spoke to everyone on Skype. On Susan’s birthday, I was able to help to blow out the candles on her cake but, sadly, no one could work out how to feed me a bit of cake through the computer !

My Amazing Job

Well, I gave the Middle East one more go but I soon realised, once more, that a place where kids play with teachers’ lives and all the adults believe them and let them do it is just not the place for me. I was very lucky to be offered a new job that suits me unbelievably well and it is in a great place. I am now teaching Maths and I take Music classes in a school in Singapore. The school is full of wonderful children and fantastic staff and my boss is just the best ever. As well as always thinking of so many of my past pupils, I also miss the good friends I made in my last job. Thanks, especially, to all my colleagues in my block for their support, especially Paul, Steve and Ray. Thank you very much, Ken, for all these e-mails which helped me to find this amazing job. Tons of Thanks to Chris G. for being so kind and helpful and to Chris M. too. And get well soon, Dave. Very special Thanks goes to Melanie for being a perfect travelling companion on our trip to Jordan which was one of my best holidays. I do recommend that anyone reading this should visit Petra and the Dead Sea – uniquely fabulous !

Hello Again – At Last !

Sorry for not posting a blog for a long time but life has been hectic. Leaving Qatar was very sad. There were so many pupils at school and out of school who I cared for and loved to be with. I missed them dreadfully. However, I have always said that I am the real-life Mary Poppins and, when the wind changes, I have to “put up my umbrella” and move on – and that is what I am about to do (but more of that in a future blog). I have so many people to thank for making the last few months very special. My family and extended family in Spain have been amazing, also my family in Scotland. Sue and Pat are such wonderful friends. Then it was off to America where Brenda and Ray in Tennessee and Barbara in Oklahoma made me so welcome. Richard and Pat in Michigan, plus their family in Iowa and Indiana, were a joy to be with. After meeting up with all my four grandchildren in Glasgow, it was down to London where Elspeth, Alan and Helen made me feel at home. A huge Thank You to all my family and friends for your support.

Christmas and Tennis

It was lovely to see friends and family when I went back to Scotland for Christmas, especially to be in the same room as all my family in the world – my daughters and son, their spouses and my 4 grandchildren. What was not so nice was the weather – lots of snow and freezing temperatures, slippery roads and pavements like ice rinks. I flew back on New Year’s Eve, from Glasgow to Dubai and then on to Doha and celebrated the start of 2010 at the gate in Dubai waiting for the doors of the plane to open. Flying via Dubai meant I saw the world’s tallest building, which is amazing, and sights like the palm tree complex. A similar group of teachers who went to the England v Brazil football match here went to the Qatar Open Tennis Championships last night. Last year I saw Roddick, Nadal, Federer and Murray in the quarter-finals. This time we saw Nadal win and Federer lose in the semi-finals from fabulous seats near the action. We also saw the mens’ doubles final which two Spaniards won. Each match was more exciting than the one before. I wish a Happy New Year to all of you who are reading this !

Another Grandchild

As I hinted in a previous blog, the number of grandchildren I have has again increased with a daughter born to my son and daughter-in-law in Glasgow. She was early by a few weeks and is quite small but she is “perfect” according to her dad. I can’t wait to see her and my other grandkids when I have a trip home for my Winter Break. Can’t say I’m as keen to experience the Scottish winter weather but I hear that hot-water bottles are already awaiting my arrival.

Free delivery worldwide

A friend sent me details of an interesting website called They send books around the world with no delivery charges and you can order them in different currencies. It’s a handy site for you all to know about. Last Saturday a number of us went to the England v Brazil football match which was played in Doha. The atmosphere was electric and the whole experience was amazing.

How to Buy My Books

As you can see, my wonderful website creator has added links directly to Amazon for people in the UK. If you live elsewhere, you can find the books for sale on However, I do appreciate that there are parts of the world where receiving mail can be difficult. So you can pop into any book shop with the following ISBN numbers :

Lessons Learned : 978-1-84748-025-5

Keeping the Dream Alive : 978-1-84748-299-0

Testing Times : 978-1-84748-571-7

Happy Reading !!

What a summer !

Here I am back in Qatar after a very memorable summer break. Beautiful scenery and wonderful friends in Vancouver. Wonderful friends in Chattanooga, too – and we explored all there was to see there. On to London and Scotland to see family & friends and to attend a special event in Edinburgh. I was invited to Holyrood Palace, to a dinner hosted by Prince Philip in his role as Chancellor of Edinburgh University. I took my friend Liz and we had a great time. I also saw  ‘A Comedy of Errors’ during the ‘Bard on the Beach’ festival in Vancouver and Sarah managed to drag herself away from her amazing son, Santiago, to come with me to see ‘Les Miserables’ in London. Excitement to the end. The day before I flew back, my free copies of ‘Testing Times’ arrived so I was able to sign and post them before I left. Then the taxi driver and I headed to the airport in Glasgow, along with the world’s press, as the Lockerbie bomber flew out a short time before I did. Oh, and my 4th grandchild, due at Christmas to Peter & Jill, is a girl. Details of ‘Testing Times’ are now on my website and any day now should be available to buy on the Amazon websites (or through links which will be set up on my website for folks in the UK.)

Nearly There

I am nearly there with a lot of things. Nearly at the end of another school year, nearly at the end of my report writing and exam marking, nearly at the start of my summer vacation and nearly at the stage of publishing ‘Testing Times’. The manuscript is sitting on my sofa after its second to last edit and I hope to courier it back to the publishers this evening. In 10 days, I will be setting off to see friends and family in Canada, America, England and Scotland during my 2-month break. Then I will return here in August to start another school year. I was pleased to pass my ESL course at school. After all these years of teaching kids whose first language was not English, I now know how I should have been doing it ! Thanks to all of you who have posted comments to me – you’re the best !

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