Friday, January 26, 2007

A New Challenge for the Boss

You may have read/heard in the news recently that the UK Government is sending around thirty additional diplomats to Afghanistan to help prevent the country from suffering the same level of chaos and violence as Iraq.

It has also been announced that our current Ambassador here, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, will be heading up this newly enlarged mission, so we will shortly be losing our Ambassador when he moves to Kabul.

Seeing people come and go is one of the things I've had to get used to as a Diplomatic Spouse. All UK-based Foreign Office staff have overseas postings lasting usually two or three years, so at any large post there will be a regular turnover of staff. We've now been here in Riyadh for one year, and in that time we have seen about ten members of staff leave at the end of their tour, to be replaced by new people coming to Saudi either from London or directly from their previous posting. It's sad in a way becuase you can be parted from good friends, but also nice because you can expand your circle of friends and keep in touch with them, with always the possibility that you may end up working together again in the future (not sure how often this happens in practice). Some good friends of ours left Riyadh to return to London last September, so when we went to the UK for Christmas we visited them and spent a very nice evening reminiscing over dinner about our time together in Saudi.

So it looks like Sherard and Bridget are next in line to move on. We don't yet know who our new Ambassador will be but it should be confirmed soon. I enjoyed getting to know Sherard and Bridget very much and will miss them -- as I'm sure will everyone at the Embassy -- when they leave in a few weeks' time. Rest assured we're planning to give them a good send-off.

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