Hi all, back again.
It must be nearly two weeks since my last posting and I'm starting to get worried that if you find no updates each time you check here you'll desert me and go and read something more interesting instead. Sorry for the delay, but as you know I was in the UK for ten days - first four on business and then after that without an internet connection. We got back to Riyadh last Wednesday but to be honest I've had a bit of writer's block for the last few days, otherwise I'd have resumed operations sooner.
UK trip was very nice. We went to the cinema a couple of times and visited friends and family. Elliot went into Uxbridge on the Saturday afternoon with a bunch of schoolfriends, and as luck would have it our visit coincided with a Year 6 Leaver's Disco at Abigail's old school, so she went along on Saturday evening for a bop with her school chums.
The last day of the business part of my trip and the day before Karen and the children flew out to join me I played in a friendly cricket match organised by some Novell colleagues: England v the Rest of the World. It was a lovely balmy English summer afternoon as we finished work for the day and went off to the cricket pitch. The teams having already been picked a couple of days before I knew I was to play on the ROW team, seeing as I don't live in England any more. I did my usual trick of not preparing at all for an event like this, and when I turned up in the same black long-sleeved sweatshirt and jeans that I'd worn to the office I was embarrassed to see all the others looking resplendent in the cricket shirts of their respective national teams. India, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand were all represented, England too. A couple of weeks before I had toyed with the idea of buying a Saudi Arabia football shirt that had caught my eye in the local supermarket, and now I regretted not giving in to that whim as I stood among the properly kitted out, looking more like a spectator than a player.
I was with a couple of co-workers: BP who as a member of the cricket club was one of the organizers of the event and also Deron Tinsley, who had flown over from Provo Utah to attend my meeting first priority, and play in the cricket match second. At least, that's the order he told me...
The niceties over with and play commences. ROW batted first and we soon got into our stride, with some of the more experienced players settling in nicely (and dare I say it taking things a little too seriously). I batted about fifth in the order and scored two whole runs before being run out, but Deron took to batting like a duck to water; even though he'd never held a cricket bat before, let alone played - he stayed in for around 30 minutes and got the second highest run total for our team.
ROW scored a respectable 135 for 9, and then it was England's turn to bat. I was fielding now so chose a position in the slips in an attempt to avoid having to go anywhere near the ball - and it worked. In case you don't know, cricket balls are very hard and hurt even in a normal catching sutation. My fingers were still throbbing from catching the ball in the practice nets before the game, and while I wasn't about to let the side down if the ball DID come my way I wasn't in a hurry to get re-acquainted with it. The most active part of the Englad innings from my point of view was bowling my compulsory over - all players had to bowl at least one. My bowling was atrocious and England scored about 14 runs off my six "deliveries" if you can call them that. It was academic though as they fail to break even the 70 run mark before the 22 overs were bowled, so it was a runaway victory for the ROW team!
The game was followed by drinks and Indian food prepared by BP and his wife, Urmita. I missed it though, as I had to leave early for a conference call :-(