Quite strange really - while in the UK recently I found myself feeling homesick for Riyadh. I've lived there only four months but I've spent the rest of my life in the UK, so this surprises me a little, but home is where the heart is, we've settled in nicely and have been made to feel very welcome by the Embassy staff - so Riyadh's home now!
As soon as I get back the party invitations are flooding in. I like to think that the entire Diplomatic community put it's collective social life on hold while I was away so that I didnt' miss anything, but I think they pretty much carried on as normal, the only difference being that Karen would have declined a few invitations.
The day after I got back we attended a dinner at the Ambassador's residence to welcome a new family to the Embassy. Mel is working in the same department as Karen and has moved here with her husband Dave and two of their four daughters. After dinner we were shown Bridget's two new falcons, Noor and Al Wahib, given to her by a Saudi prince, and I thought I was very brave to stroke the big one's breast with my index finger as it was giving me particularly nasty looks. The birds are beautiful and I really must take my camera next time and get you some photos.
The next evening and it's the RGBB Ball, again in the gardens of the residence - the same venue where the QBP and most other Embassy parties are held. RGBB stands for The Riyadh Group for British Business, and I guess there must've been around 300 guests there each paying 275 Riyals (about £40) for a ticket. The night was a fundraiser for ICING - The International Children In Need Group - and all through dinner several ladies were circling the tables selling tickets for the raffle, the star prize of which was a pair of return tickets to London from bmi.
Dinner over, and after Sherard's address it's time for the raffle before the disco gets going. The M.C. calls out the first number... "Orange 8, 6, 2!"
"That's us!" shouts Karen, and sure enough we've got the winning ticket. I trot up the stairs to collect my prize and have my photo taken with one of the officials - will upload it here if I can get a copy.
Our prize? An Olympus digital camera! I say "our" because although it was Karen's ticket I bought them and gave it to her, so it should be half mine really shouldn't it??
We've got five digital cameras now!