When we left the UK we simply shipped personal efffects, no furniture on the basis that we would rent a fully furnished apartment and be relatively free to move if needed. So much for our ideal. Since we arrived Kevin has frequently worked from home rather than squashing into the serviced broom cupboard in the Diplomatic Area his company rent as their local office. Using the dining table isn’t too bad but having to eat meals amongst a litter of paper, cables and computer accessories is not acceptable. We decided to buy a workspace – I use that odd term rather than desk or table as it turned out the pair of us had very different ideas of what to acquire and where it might be located. I firmly want to keep his messy desk out of sight of any guests and don’t want to have to listen to endless conference calls when I’m at home whereas Kevin prefers the light airy feel of our living area.
In the Bahrain City Mall are a couple of large furniture stores so we toured them one Saturday afternoon. Having eventually agreed that any purchase will be placed in the window of our bedroom which has great views over the bay and the bridge plus windows on two sides we were looking for something relatively small. Desks with returns are out as are executive football pitch sized expanses of work surface. Back in the UK daughter Maddy had had an IKEA table with metal legs and a beech top, hubby eventually let go of his executive desk dream and started to look at tables similar to the one in our garge back home! To be precise cheap metal and plastic dining tables with four or six chairs. Oddly even wooden casual dining sets, the style you’d have in the kitchen, are cheaper than desks! He did suggest I left him loose at our nearest IKEA, over the border in Saudi but that I felt was too dangerous!
Determined to minimise any expenditure after reveiwing what was on offer in the mall, I steered us toward a couple of office furnishing shops. Large wooden executive models with tooled leather writing areas were all that appealed to either of us as the rest were well, too office-like. Our eventual purchase has to be woken up to every morning. Then I located Gulf Auctions. Now “auction” here means “secondhand” not “bidding”. The large warehouse had lots of quality, solid pieces of Middle Eastern style furniture; huge wardrobes, heavily carved bedsteads, weighty dining tables for a dozen guests but few desks. The latter were mostly too officey or too large and the crunch came when we found that all were more expensive than the veneered MDF stuff in the mall even after some tentative negotiations.
Searching the web uncovered a local furniture store with clean modern designs (think Heals or Habitat), so another Saturday afternoon we braved the Sitra causeway road works and headed to the Sitra Mall. Its on the wrong side of the road surronded by roadworks and a bit depressing with many empty units. ID Designs is full of lots of lovely furniture and home accessories including some large pieces of art and sculpture. A great place if you want to make an investment buy of statement items for your home but beyond what we’d budgeted. We resisted the temptation and headed back to Home Store in the City Mall where we reveiwed the options again. Computer desks with all their fiddly shelves and racks need dusting – a no no in the climate we live in. A plain glass table with dark wooden supports at either end and a couple of cross rails in steel had caught our eye on the first visit. Now we discovered everything in store had 25% off for the weekend… the table was ordered with a little haggling over delivery dates and duely arrived as promised on Wednesday. Three guys brought in the two boxes of flat pack and one of tools. The desk was rapidly assembled by practised hands in the window space, within a few minutes of arriving the paperwork was signed and they were gone – impressive service and free of charge!
Footnote: Amongst the effects we shipped out is an almost new, all singing, all dancing Epson printer. Be warned if you plan to move abroad, this model wasn’t sold here (it doesn’t support Arabic) meaning we can’t buy ink cartridges locally. Kevin has ordered a supply from the UK at about the same cost as a new printer so I think a new printer will shortly be required!