Friday, 21 August 2009

Thank you.

The kind response from everyone there out in Blogger land has almost restored some of my faith in human nature. So, thank you for that.

Normal service will shortly resume, either just before, or just after I fly to Dubai on the 29th August.....The KSA experience has come to a close i am glad to say, but there are still stories to tell, from the safety of the bars of Dubai......


Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The sad reason that no entry has been posted on the Blog, is that on the 14th August my Father in Law unfortunately died, so since that time, I have been travelling back from KSA, so that I can support and comfort My Wife, and also pay my respects.

He was a man of few words, but with an enormous number of Friends and Family, who thought the World of him.
I was so lucky that I could truly say, I felt I had 2 Fathers, with the amount of love and friendship he gave to me, and that I had for him. He will be totally and completely missed, but never forgotten.

Matthew Smith


Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

The Immigration Gentleman very kindly let me back into KSA yesterday, after just a 4 and a half hour wait, which for them is pretty speedy, and worthy of note.
I wasn't however particularly interested in watching just how far up his left nostril he could stick his finger, which was his trick of the day for that Tuesday. Its somewhat disconcerting to be standing in front of an alleged official, and watch him stare back at you, as he gently slides his finger into his nose for about 40 seconds....however, i was counting my blessings that a) it was his nose, and b) he hopefully wasn't planning to stick his finger anywhere else, and more importantly, into me.
Anyway, i can report that he got to the 2nd knuckle, which he was pretty pleased about, his delight of which, being increased further by a fairly bountiful harvest appearing on his finger when he eventually finished rooting around. Needless to say i have just finished spraying my passport with Spray disinfectant (soft linen scented), and we didn't bother with the shaking hands routine.
After that, it was onto the mini buses and the 1 hour journey to Ras Tunarra, followed by a further 3 hours of hanging around while various Port authorities/Custom Officials pulled apart the paperwork, or our bags in the relentless search for drink and porn, both of which if found they would destroy...... oh yeah !
After they had finished their fruitless search, it was then onto our crewboat for the 10 hour sail to our Seismic ship, upon which we embarked in the early hours of today.
Its the height of summer right now, which essentially means heat and wind for another 6 to 8 weeks. So as i stare at the screen I see that we are recording 46°C as an outside temperature with winds of 25 knots. Of course with the shamal wind comes the sand, so the whole vessel is turning dun coloured in front of our very eyes.
Only another week, and then hopefully we will be out of here, but as everyone knows, in this Country, nothing comes easy, so it will be an interesting few days ahead while we try and extricate ourselves, and move to Dubai.
I will keep you all posted on the adventures ahead.


Saturday, 8 August 2009

Rush, Rush, Rush

Well its the last weekend, and "Her Indoors" has been comparing the remaining number of jobs on her "To Do" list, with contest really, I lost.....but that's a given !
Its always a bit of a panic the last few days, as there are always things to do, that you have put off for better things at the time, ie clean the gutters, mow lawns, check oil etc in cars, and that's all coupled with the fact that you are also trying to squeeze as much time in together as possible, so it all gets a bit chaotic, even after 20 something years of living this way.
So to make the most of the remaining time (and to delay doing anymore list items), on Friday we dragged ourselves up to Glen Clova, or rather Glen Doll, and walked up to the National Nature Reserve of Corrie Fee, which is most definitely worth a visit. Its a wonderful, peaceful amphitheatre you enter when you finally break through the tree line, and on a sunny day it was glorious.
Angus Council and the Forestry Commission deserve large pats on their respective backs for looking after this area so well, apparently the Ranger was telling me that they are on target for 80,000 Visitors this year....we saw 3 other people, and not a bit of litter anywhere.
After 6 hours we eventually called it a day and started back for Home and the reality that, no matter how hard we try, you just can't delay time, and I'm off again on Monday for 5 weeks.....and with unerring accuracy the weather is finally coming good, as i am about to Y'all enjoy your Summer, you lucky People.
Next post from KSA, IF I manage not to insult an Immigration official.....a quick note to Myself....remember to engage brain in Cretin mode as soon as the aircraft door opens in Dammam.


Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Flight details time

Well the flight details arrived through the email yesterday, and that successfully adds doom and gloom to my life, as you know that in one weeks time, I am having to get off my lardy ass, and actually go and do some work, which means in turn, I have to leave Home for another 5 weeks, and what is worse travel to Saudi of all places.....although not for long i am glad to say. We should finish our job there after a week, and then we can head to somewhere considerably more civilised, where women can drive (did I say civilised ?), people don't get stoned for looking at another Mans Wife, and you can go and get a sensible drink somewhere other than Bahrain, which is where every hypocritical law abiding Saudi goes whenever he gets an opportunity, and thinks he can get away with it......which seems to be most weekends by the looks of things....allegedly.
To forget about the flight details, the Missus and I foolishly thinking the weather forecast would be correct (why do we never learn ?), decided to head up the A9 (another one of my favourite roads) towards Aviemore, and go and visit the Highland Wildlife Park at Kingussie.
For anyone who is thinking of doing this as a day out in itself, then don't bother wasting your money, please just send me, lets say 10 squid for this tip. For a Couple with 2.2 Kids it costs 37 squid to get in, and for that you see about 10 animals, as most of the other Buggers are either hiding, sleeping, or wilfully avoiding being seen by the paying public....its a joke.
The joke is then further cranked up a notch when it comes to the catering facilities, one cheese and tomato panini, venison hotdog (yuk !), coffee and a coke came to 14 squid.....unbelievable, and even more unbelievable that I paid for it as well.
The scenery though is lovely even with the threatening skies, and whats more its free, so I would recommend you just go up there for that, and avoid this rip off of a Tourist attraction.....the Kids will certainly thank you, and your wallet will only be lighter by the 10 squid you will be sending me.

A "Not hiding" Owl.

Cute Himalayan Blue Goat.....allegedly

Check out the technique on these Paddlers Ms TB...


Saturday, 1 August 2009

Road Rage

Well my blogging hasn't been so great these last few days as I have been driving all over the place, mostly visiting, or either taking people to Hospital.....I am in danger of rapidly becoming a professional Hospital visitor !
Number 128 is not doing too good, but I better be circumspect and not comment further as there is shortly going to be a massive complaint being made to Leeds Health authority regarding his treatment and their duty of care attitude....all i will say is that they are really a bunch of Cretins.....and there, I feel a lot better for saying that !
My father in law is coincidentally also in hospital, being treated here in Scotland, and the difference between the care he is getting, compared with what Number 128 is allegedly getting is breathtakingly so very, very different....anyway, enough of the online whining, so lets get onto some decent moaning....
On my travels around our Sceptred isle I have begun to notice that driving standards are just bloody awful (it never used to be like that in my day etc !). There are obviously more people out there now, who should be no more in charge of a car, than I should be in charge of running a Hospital....hang on, come to think of it.......!
I am no Angel (honest) when it comes to speed limits, but the number of people i have followed who have blindly been doing 40/45mph on main roads (where the speed limit is 60mph), and then if that didn't piss you off enough, blithely then go ahead and continue to do this speed in the various Towns and villages (where the speed limit is 30mph), is staggering....shooting is too good for them, its should be a straight electrocution....these people are dicks. how difficult is it to understand the concept of giving way to the right ? Well it must be bloody difficult for some people, as the number of people who have nearly had me joining them in their back seat is rising. For heavens sake, observe more than 10 yards ahead, look to the right, and if there is nothing coming, then knock your socks off and drive. Anybody would think that these people live with the Cheese eating Surrender Monkeys, as they keep insisting on giving way to the left, or to the car that they can eventually see (when they raise their eyes, and actually look through the windscreen) approaching 500m away.....these people should be hung, with maybe drawing and quartering added for good measure on days with a Y in them.
And finally, the use of as far as I am aware, an Indicator is a wee orange light, its not something physical like a big, cushioned, mechanical arm, or barrier which shoots out from the side of your car and stops other cars from hitting you when you are joining a dual carriageway from a side road, and insist on pulling out in front of them, as your indicator is on, and therefore you must have right of way....what is that about ? There is a clue in the name for Gods sake...Indicator, ie a means of identifying an intention, and not "sod you, I'm coming out, and whats more, i'll be joining the motorway at the princely speed of 43mph" Jeepers, please give me the name of a stockist of the biggest set of bullbars, so that I can ram these twats.
On Thursday the evening light was wonderful,and I was lucky enough to find Myself on the (empty) road between Blairgowrie and Dunkeld, near Clunie Loch from where these pictures were taken, so I shall leave you for now with some calming pictures......I am away to do some deep breathing exercises.......
Have a great weekend, and happy 1st of August.