Thursday, July 27, 2006

Techie nightmares

You're probably wondering where the heck, "UK Trip Part 2" is aren't you?

So am I!!

Had a really bad couple of days technologically-speaking, which have taken my attention away from blogging....

The other day my internet connection was really playing up, but that was nothing compared to yesterday! In one day, the following happened:-

- The printer arm broke, meaning I couldn't close it again after having replaced the ink cartridges

- Karen's laptop had hard disk errors, making it look like she would lose all her data (no backup!)

- In trying to edit some of Abigail's photos from the UK trip I accidentally deleted the best ones.

- I ran an undelete utility on my laptop in an attempt to recover the photos

- The undelete utility DELETED all my data!

- I then spent the rest of the evening (until 2am) rebuilding both my and Karen's laptops.

Total nightmare! If you haven't backed up your data recently, I STRONGLY suggest you do so - now.

In the end I got Karen's data back and though I lost mine I did have backups, albeit a couple of months or so old. I lost all my photos from Dubai and Bahrain: thank God for this blog, where the best ones are preserved!

I'm also very busy work-wise at the moment, so it may be a few days before normal service is resumed, but I'll be back as soon as I can.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

UK trip pt 1: cricket match

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.

BP reading the rule book while Matt - ROW Captain - supervises

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...

"Come and 'ave a go if you fink you're 'ard enough!"

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.

An American playing cricket!!! Deron whacks it for another four

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 excitement proves too much for one fellow fielder

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 :-(

Friday, July 07, 2006

preparing to visit Blighty

This week has been one of several events, but none of which I really feel the urge to write about in detail. In fact I haven't posted anything for a few days (apart from videos but that's not the same is it?), I guess this is because we're getting excited about going to the UK on a trip.

A quick round-up of my week then:-
Been out several times this week, including drinks at the Consul's house to welcome a visitor from UK Visas in London, Dinner with some friends who are great fun but they have seven - oops, one died - six rabbits in their atrium and we let slip that Abigail had a rabbit before we came out, so now Mark is continually offering Abigail one of his; not sure how much longer we can resist her pleas! Elliot and I also attended the Chevening Awards ceremony in the Ambassador's residence. These are scholarships in UK given to mature Saudi students to do post-graduate study in the UK. Elliot was there as Residence Photographer again, and I had just gone to drop him off but Sherard insisted I hang about to make up the numbers. Yesterday we had our own "Wimbledon" at the Embassy, complete with friendly tennis tournament and lashings of Pimms. I didn't play but I did drink the Pimms, so contributed in my own, small way.
Also this week, England went out of the World Cup (boo hoo), but so did Germany (hooray!). My money's on France to win.

I have a new toy too. It's one of those in-car SatNav things that tells you how to get where you're going.

I really love it and have spent hours playing with it - mostly indoors! - but then you all know I'm a gadget freak so that should come as no surprise. You can find out about my new purchase here

As I said, we're going to the UK! I'm going alone for the first few days on business, then Karen and the children will join me mid-week for a six day holiday in which to visit family and friends and for Karen and I to spend a day HERE!

I will try to post a couple of stories while in the UK, and in any case will give you a full run-down of our day at Champneys when I get back, feeling all warm and relaxed!

FLEE! Flee for your lives!!!

Watch the video

Saturday, July 01, 2006

I can do video!

Been looking at various video sites. Did you know that vlogging is the new blogging?... apparently. A vlog is... guess what?... a video blog of course.

I'm not planning to move to vlogging but now that I can, I'll post short video clips now and then.

Today is the first day of the children's Summer Holidays. School finished last Wednesday June 28, and they don't go back until September 7 so it's a really long holiday. We celebrated by going to the Embassy pool, to meet Karen from work. An ideal opportunity for me to test out my new-found video capability.

Elliot's jump

Abigail's jump

Just click the images to watch the videos.