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Qatar - the incredible story

When I first went to Qatar as a young teacher in 1977 nobody had heard of the tiny desert country. It's hard to believe that it is about to host the world's biggest sporting event.

My two book series One Hundred Years in Qatar chronicles, in novel form, the amazing story that has unfolded there in the last century.

The north east coast of Qatar where the first novel is set. This was taken in the late 80s - before the world's largest single gas field had made its impact on the skyline.

I first had the idea for The House of Fortune during the first Gulf war in 1990/91. I mapped out the family tree of a fictional Qatari family. They lived in Al Mafjar - a now deserted village in the north. Pearl-diving was the only form of income in the 1920s and 30s when the story begins.

Al Mafjar - where a pearling community once lived

The hardships of pearling are told in the story and there is tragedy as well as love as the young men and their families struggle.

By the 1940s the story has moved to Doha and a merchant house which still stands today - the wind tower house or The House of Fortune.

A young family grows up there and by the late 70s the man of the house has seen his life change dramatically.

This is the windtower house in the centre of Doha - now a museum

This is the villa, now demolished, where I had the idea for The House of Fortune while living there during the first Gulf war

(to be continued)

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