Thursday, March 12, 2015

A life in the day

If the History of the Universe is compressed into one Earth year, with the Big Bang occurring very early on New Year's Day, this timescale results in dinosaurs becoming extinct on 29 December, writing being invented on 31 December at 23:59:45 and Christopher Columbus setting sail one second before midnight. A similar approach, compressing the history of Sol III into one day, has single-celled algae first appearing at about 14:08 and humans first appearing 17 seconds before midnight.

Out of curiosity, I looked at my own life, as similarly compressed into 24 hours. It says on this 'ere interweb that a British male can expect, on average, to live 79.5 years.

On that basis, I started school at 01:30 and graduated with my BSc at 06:38. There was a recession at the time, which meant that I actually got my first proper job at 06:47. This is eerily familiar; it's actually fairly typical of my actual start time at work in Real Life.

At 09:57 I left UK and became a career expatriate.

The time is currently 15:41 and I'm looking forward to going home. I'm hoping to retire at 18:06, or sooner if I can sneak off early. Again, this is astonishingly close to Real Life.

I am struck with wonder how closely a proportion of my day taken up by work resembles the proportion of my life. I also note with some satisfaction the enormousness of the evening I have to do whatever I please... until the money runs out.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Muttley, do something!

It apparently takes many months from sending a letter of enquiry to the authorities who are responsibly for our safety and security, and receiving any form of reply.

I found myself speculating on what might happen if an aerial attack were repulsed with a similar sense of urgency.

There goes the siren that warns of the air raid.
Just time to drink one more thimble of tea.
Lean back and press on the little white button,
Shout for the teaboy, “Bring chai now for me!”

We have a squadron or two of Mirages
Recently bought at colossal expense:
These will protect our small piece of the sandpit;
Nothing’s too much for our own self-defence.

Running, scrambling, flying
Rolling, turning, diving. Not this afternoon.
Running, scrambling, flying
Rolling, turning, diving…

Not at weekends, afternoons, early hours,
Nor summer months, Ramadan, happy hour...


Friday, February 20, 2015


One of my dear friends CJ has had some very bad news. It turns out that she has a ghastly brain tumour. Following surgery to remove it and a post-operative infection, the MRI scan has revealed more tumours deep in her brain that even the might of 21st century medicine can't currently get at.

As a token of support, she and her husband Jim have asked that as many people as possible fold origami cranes, take pictures, post them on the internet, and tag them #cranesforcj Post them in my comments if you like, and I'll forward the links.

CJ has long been a fan of origami in general and cranes in particular. So if you, dear reader, are willing and able, please fold a crane.

There's an old Japanese tradition that folding 1000 cranes will make a wish come true.

Goodbye, Chris.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Happy Hallmark Holiday

That was a busy weekend. First, I had to explain to my employers that I had a certain need to be visiting Beloved Wife in Dubai for Valentine's Day. Then I had to persuade the same employer of the need for me to have my passport in hand prior to my booking air tickets.

So it was on Wednesday that I finally received my passport complete with Iqama, or "Residence Permit", and my ID card. Despite having had to be fingerprinted - twice so far - the authorities have given me the same ID number as last time and the time before that. I don't suppose either my fingerprints or blood group have changed much since 1996. Doesn't hurt to check, I suppose.

Buying an air ticket was another simple task fraught with unnecessary difficulties. Fly Dubai had sent me emails advertising special offers, but their website fell over every time I tried to book. Qatar Airways had nothing for the return flight except at obscene expense. I'm not paying QAR 1200 one way for a 45 minute flight in cattle class. Eventually I ended up with cheapskate Air Arabia via Sharjah instead of Dubai. Fine. The only problem was the screaming brat at check-in who ended up being King of the Seat-Kickers right behind me. I gritted my teeth, put in my earbuds, and shutted the fcek up.

I spent Friday morning in the dust of a desert rally. About 90  knobbly-tyred motorbikes went past at speed over two hours, and my job as one of the many marshals was to keep track of when each and every bike went through my control, and to call into Base any who missed the gate. This was Round 5 of 6, but I can't be at the final round of the Emirates Desert Championship because of the Scottish Play.

I took Beloved Wife to the pictures that afternoon, and we were surprisingly entertained by "Kingsman." Knowing nothing about the film, we didn't know what to expect, but were treated to two hours of fun being poked at James Bond and Jason Bourne, with a hint of The Avengers (Steed, Purdey, Kinky Boots, etc., and not Marvel). See "Kingsman" if you enjoyed "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz", and be prepared for violence, gore, and copious use of Adult Language. Samuel L. Jackson does not disappoint in this area.

Following a further Valentine treat over at TFI Friday's, Beloved Wife and I returned home in good time for wine o'clock.

I'd promised myself a motorbike ride on Saturday, and to this end, on Friday afternoon I'd reinstalled the battery and fired up the Black Beast. First stab of the starter. Although I had set an early alarm for Saturday morning, when it rang I merely found the excuse of a nearly-flat phone battery to give myself an extra hour in bed.

My leathers not only still fit, but are in fact now comfortably loose around my midriff as well as baggy in the arse. The latter is a design feature to make sitting on a motorbike actually comfortable. My reprofiled seat is still a success. I covered some 400km on Saturday morning, seeking out known bendy roads over towards the eastern UAE and I only actually stopped and put a hoof down when refuelling. If you saw a streak of black lightning whizz past you at near-relativistic speed, it might have been me. If you clocked the registpration plate, it certainly was someone else.

The therapeutic benefits of going for a good thrash cannot be underestimated, except by non-motorcyclists, who don't understand.

Beloved Wife wished me a Happy Hallmark with a full English, and I went out afterwards, removed the battery and mothballed the bike again. I suspect that it needs new brake pads, for which I've been quotes a rather alarming QAR778, but it's due a service soon. That will have to wait until I'm not whizzing in from Doha about one weekend in eight.

To finish the weekend, we ran an errand up to Barracuda and I got out of the car at Sharjah airport for my 1830 flight.

I'm now back to bikeless, wifeless, catless Doha. My life is shortly to be taken over by the Bard of Avon; I'll not be able to get away any weekends until the end of March. Beloved Wife says she'll come to see the play, so there is some variety on the horizon to break up the soul-destroying cycle of work/rehearse/eat/sleep that epitomises my life.


Monday, February 02, 2015


It’s about this time of year that Facebook is peppered with pictures of motorcycles parked in garages and prevented from going outside by snow and ice. Parked Motorcycle Syndrome. I fully sympathise, but spare a thought for a Goat who can’t ride his own bike when the weather is perfect, because it’s 400km away.

Yes, it’s motorcycle season in Arabia: that glorious period between October and April when dry weather is almost guaranteed, and daytime temperatures are in the twenties Celsius. So why am I not riding?

Because Qatar.

Having landed a job last September, only now in February am I about to obtain my iqama – Residence Permit – without which it’s impossible to have a cheque account, purchase liquor or pork, or own a motor vehicle. I’ve been driving a rented car because there’s no functional public transportation system in Doha. I do look forward to the Metro, but this currently consists of several large holes in the ground where roads used to be and temporary traffic barriers to redirect traffic around the holes. The Karwa taxi service is a semi-functional lottery, whereby it’s easy to get a taxi from a shopping mall, but you’ll wait until the heat-death of the universe before you can hail a taxi in the industrial area.

I was last on two wheels in October, since when I have removed the bike’s battery and the machine languishes in chains in Dubai. A sad situation indeed.

Once I have my Qatar residence, options become available, at least in theory.
  • Obtain a Saudi transit visa, fly back to Dubai, and ride the bike overland to Qatar. Previous attempts to do this sort of thing have ended because I wasn’t resident in both the UAE and Qatar. The fatuous rule about not being allowed to import a vehicle that’s more than five years old will not apply because it isn’t an import. The bike would still be registered in Dubai. In principle this must be possible; I see vehicles in Qatar that are registered in Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, and KSA. I don’t see why I can’t drive from Dubai to Doha in the same way as I can drive to Muscat (without a Sultanate of Oman residence), but this is ‘unbossible’ for the Saudi authorities to comprehend, it seems. Or else it’s my careless choice of passport.
  • Do exactly the same thing as described above, but do it with my Terios. Here is the sensible ‘head’ option, as it would save close to QAR4000 a month on car rental, I’d have a 4x4, and when time comes to demobilise and go back to Dubai I could fling all my stuff in the back of the car and drive it. The fundamental disadvantage of this option is that it doesn’t solve my PMS.
  • Buy a bike. Continue to rent a car, but be self-indulgent in the Department of Large Motorbike. Here is the ‘heart’ option that would cost a fortune. I’d lose my shirt when demobilising from Qatar and selling this putative bike, or I could export it to UAE which would entail expense and heartache (as it did last time, in 2012) and I’d end up with a surfeit of motorcycles.
The bike season will go phut in mid April. Hardy souls such as I usually continue to ride during the summer months, but pleasure rides tend to be nocturnal. In other words, there seems little point in going to the time, effort, and expense of getting a motorbike into or in Qatar for the extremely limited chance I’ll have to ride it. In practice, what seems most likely, and certainly most sensibly, is that I don’t get to ride a motorbike of any flavour except on occasional weekends visiting Beloved Wife in Dubai.

The option of selling my Kawasaki and looking into buying a bike once I know where I’m going to be long term doesn’t make economic sense given my current knowledge of where I’ll be after April. Or after August. Or at the end of 2015... I fundamentally don’t know how long I’m going to be in Qatar, and have even less of a clue as to where I’ll end up next. As the bike is over eight years old it’d almost certainly produce less than AED20k, and a new replacement is now the thick end of AED80k. All for a bike that to me is in perfect order and ready to ride. A used Kawasaki 1400GTR? In the UAE? I think I already own it.

What to do? I work six days a week most weeks except when I’m visiting Dubai, so there’s precious little time to get on a bike anyway. Last time I lived in Doha I used the traffic as an excuse to commute by motorcycle. This time I choose to live literally over the road from the office so the bike would get used only for social events and road trips across a country smaller than Connecticut. I guess that I can simply have motorcycle fantasies until my work in Qatar is done, try not to go insane, and hope that my next job won’t leave me in a semi-permanent state of ‘so near and yet so far.’


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The stupid: it burns!

This example lifted from many versions
that may be found all over the internet.
There seems to be a lot of it about.
It was at the dive club one evening when I was expounding on my theory that Diving (or, come to that, Motorcycling or Hang Gliding, or Bungee Jumping) Is Safe Because It’s Dangerous.

The argument, fundamentally, is that because there are clear and obvious hazards where underwater swimming is involved, the first of which is that you can’t breathe the stuff. Thus you only do it after undertaking training that includes dealing with equipment malfunctions and operator error. After being scared shitless in the classroom, the novice discovers that most dives are incident free and this scuba thing’s quite easy really isn’t it? Yes it is, right up to the moment when something goes wrong. I sketched up a rough graph of how I saw Risk versus Experience.

I was therefore astonished later to discover that a very similar theory had been expounded in 1999 by Davin Dunning and Justin Kruger of the Department of Psychology at Cornell University. They won an Ig Nobel Prize in 2000 for this work.

Quoting Errol Morris in the New York Times: “The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias wherein unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than is accurate.”

1. Incompetent people overestimate their own ability.
2. Incompetent people fail to recognise competence in others.
3. Incompetent people can’t see that they’re incompetent.
4. Minimal training doesn’t improve ability, but does improve ability to recognise the lack of it.
5. True experts underestimate their own ability.

In scuba diving, or indeed any other field where skills have to be learned, an individual with zero knowledge performs badly (A). A little knowledge is indeed a dangerous thing, as some training initially produces confidence well in excess of actual ability (B). Then comes the fall: some incident or scare that shatters the individual’s self-perception and self-confidence (C). I read an article that described the plunge as into the ‘Jon Snow trough.’(D) Only with further training and experience does true ability increase (E).

In another example, think on how cocky a young driver is after getting past the gosh-aren’t-hill-starts-difficult stage and getting his full licence. And then how this illusion of ability comes crashing down after the first time he has a near miss, he crashes, or he gets nicked. Perceived ability subsequently increases with experience, but typically never gets as high as true ability because the individual is now wise enough to understand that, however good he is, he isn’t the best there is.

At a professional level, I have developed an interest in highway pavement design and actually considered myself something of an expert until recently. Then, over a series of workshops with actual card-carrying pavement engineers, I realised quite how Jon Snow I was on the subject. I discussed this with a friend; the Gnomad who had introduced me to the concept of the Dunning-Kruger effect, and I argued that I had been exhibiting precisely those symptoms.

“Not at all,” he reassured me, “Because you recognise the greater ability in others.”

But of course, it can happen to everyone. My perception of my ability to play a musical instrument is up at (B) right up until I show up with real musicians, at which point I get the Jon Snow moment.

Although Messrs Dunning and Kruger got the name of the effect, it isn't a new phenomenon.

Confucius: "Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance."
Socrates: "I know that I know nothing."
Shakespeare: "The Foole doth thinke he is wiſe, but the wiſeman knowes himſelfe to be a Foole."
Stephen Hawking: "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge."

Leaving the reader to think up numerous other examples of Dunning-Kruger in real life, I offer another one:  Those who think they can drive while using a mobile phone.

There remains an important difference between incompetent and just plain stupid. Incompetent means exactly that. Not competent, owing to lack of training and experience. This is rather different to the one that really irks me, which is those who ought to know better, yet continue to make the most ludicrous decisions because they think they know better than the experts whom they employ.

John Cleese expounded on the phenomenon here:

The skills you need to be good at something are precisely the same skills that enable you to see that you're not any good at it!

And this blog post is brought to you by an over-irked Goat, who’s been confronted almost continuously by the Dunning-Kruger effect for twenty years.


Thursday, January 01, 2015

Use it or lose it

“You have worked since September, so you’ve accrued nine days of annual leave to year end. Use it or lose it.”

I noted that Qatar National Day would produce a public holiday on Thursday 18th December, so exploited the long weekend to get myself a Christmas break. They’re calendar days, which is a bit of a swizz, and I work on Saturdays, but I would be able to get away until after Christmas. Not enough leave to extend the break to include the New Year, so apologies and thanks for the invitation, but I’m unable to attend the Bring-Your-Speciality-Dish party in Dubai on 31st December.

Beloved Wife and I decided to go to Spain. We’ve not been since 2011, and I’ve not been to Andalusia since 1987. Having arranged accommodation in both Granada and Madrid, I set off from Doha and arrived in Madrid, picking up the rental car from the airport. It was no small irritation to learn that I had to pay €150 deposit even though I’d already paid everything including insurance and CDW up front. “It hweel be refhunded, Señor Macho Cabrío, once you hrethurn the car undented ahnd with a full tahnk.”

I headed off to Keef and Noelle’s for, in no particular order of preference, bed and board, beer, and immense frustration with parking.

Madrid Municipalidad, in a fit of Mad, has installed paid parking all around the residential area. The machines take cash or credit cards, but don’t take paper money (and I had no change and the few corner shops were shut), and didn’t wish to talk to any of my several plastic cards. Having eventually dragged Keef from his flat with a pocketful of change, I got him to feed the meter for the maximum permitted two hours, and we went to the pub. Two hours later, none of the machines wanted my money. It would appear that the car had become Auta Non Grata. At this point I totally lost it. I was forced to drive around Madrid – after several beers; something I was loath to do – looking for somewhere to park the bloody car. Having given up and returned, the machines had apparently seen fit to allow me to park again, and I paid for a further two hours that took me to past 9pm when parking became free overnight. Pub. Chillax. Recover temper.

If they don’t want cars to hang about or return, why do they provide annual permits? You can park for a maximum of two hours, or up to one year. Nonsense.

The following day, Keef and I went into town and found an underground car park with minuscule spaces just big enough for my rented Citroën C1, aka Toyota Aygo, aka Peugeot 107. We did some shopping and sightseeing, I took photos, and then I dropped Keef at home while I retrieved Beloved Wife from the airport. She’d taken the same flight as I, but because the UAE didn’t have a holiday on Thursday she was 24 hours later.

A brief stop chez Keef later for tea, chat, and dropping off Christmas presents, and then Beloved Wife and I were off into Madrid’s Mad evening rush hour, heading generally south to Granada.

Clarissa had been briefed with 2010 mapping and the hotel’s location, I had checked out what the place looked like using Google Street View, and we rolled into the hotel’s free parking in time to wander into town in search of food.

TripAdvisor suggested that there might be vast queues at the entrance to La Alhambra (Spanish translation of Arabic, which ultimately comes back to English as “the the red [one]”) merely to buy tickets, followed by a further queue in order to gain admittance. So we bought our tickets in advance at the hotel. Admittance to the Nasrid Palaces is at a specific time stated on the ticket, but you can wander around the rest of the complex at your leisure. I took many, many pictures. There’s a small selection here, but more Alhambra pics in this Picasa album.

Snow in the Sierra Nevada.

Lion Courtyard.

Alhambra from Generalife.

Islamic influence all over.
As the running gag with this blog post is parking, I’ll mention that it cost about €10 to park the car for a six-hour visit, but the Pay-As-You-Leave machine was happy taking paper money and dispensing change. As the car parks were virtually empty and the queues weren’t too awful, I’m offering this piece of advice: Don’t Visit in August!

The following day we explored Granada’s old town. Beloved Wife wished to avail herself of an alleged “Christmas Market”. However, we’ve been to München and Nürnburg, so these had already set the bar extremely high, and the market stalls were underwhelming. We did pick up some food and sweeties, and settled down to Chocolate con Churros, something that was to become a pleasant, albeit colossally unhealthy, habit.

Extruding a churro.
Happy now?
Churros are similar to doughnuts, but extruded through a nozzle into a vat of hot lard and deep-fried, then served hot for dunking in drinking chocolate. What’s not to like? I’ll tell you: frauds who pull their rubbery churros from the freezer and microwave them. Fresh ones are much better.

We discovered the latter on a day-trip to Ronda, the traditional home of bullfighting and famous for its New Bridge (1751-1793) which, in turn, is infamous for having Nationalist sympathisers tipped over its parapet during the Spanish Civil War, or so said Ernest Hemingway.
New Bridge.

Precarious cantilevered viewpoint.

View from the bridge.
I decided not to mess about, and pointed the car at the first public car park I could find. As usual, expensive Pay-As-You-Leave and underground. But everything to see was within easy walking distance.

As I’ve not been to the Costa del Sol since 1987, I suggested the coast road back to Granada. We got stuck behind a tiny car whose driver wanted to do the entire 30km mountain road from Ronda to the coast at 10km/h slower than I wanted to drive. At the only overtake, she steadfastly sat in the overtaking lane. I’m going to invoke Hanlon’s Razor here and conclude, because her door mirrors were folded in, that she was simply oblivious to anything behind her. And I thought that was the First Rule of Italian Driving.

There’s a new motorway along the coast, largely behind the development and stuck to the foot of the mountains. As it was a peaje, I decided to take the old N340 to Fuengirola and Los Boliches before heading northwards back to Granada. The whole coast area appears to be colossally overdeveloped. I thought it was a bit full back in the 1980s, but I was wrong. Fuengirola, holiday destination of choice for many, was shut.

We tried to extend our hotel stay in Granada by one day, but as Christmas was coming the hotel would be shut. So Beloved Wife got on to and found a cheapish business hotel in Seville, a city where we’d both never been.
Seville is very congested in parts.
We arrived in good time to drive into the old town and get horribly lost in the medieval alleys. Once more I gave thanks for having the wisdom to pick a tiny car and not some Hummeresque battleship. Beloved Wife eventually found one of those underground car parks, and we walked to the Cathedral, checked out Christopher Columbus’ tomb therein, climbed the 34 ramps and 15 steps up the bell tower to enjoy the view, avoided a ride in a horse-drawn carriage, and grabbed something to eat and drink.
Cathedral exterior.
Cathedral minaret, er, bell tower.
Cathedral nave.

Christopher Columbus.
Another gargoyle.
It was nearly chucking-out time at Real Alcazar, the Royal Palace and Gardens, by the time we found it, so we decided to visit the following morning before heading back to Madrid. As we emerged from the subterranean parking, I got Clarissa to remember the location.
And then at the hotel I shut down and slept 14 hours straight.

Refuelling the following morning at a comprehensive continental breakfast buffet, I commented that one should “starve a fever and feed a cold.” I’d not knowingly been in the company of any snot monsters, but had managed to pick up rhinopharyngitis anyway.

Beloved Wife and I were glad not to have attempted Real Alcazar in 30 minutes. It took hours and hours, even though the hedge maze was barred and not available for use. We wandered around the gardens and enjoyed the various grottoes, walls, and gateways before disappearing inside to look at the tapestries, tiles, and courtyards. As at the Alhambra and the nearby Cathedral, there’s a lot of Islamic influence in the architecture and decoration. Indeed, the cathedral used to be a mosque, and its bell tower a minaret.
Formal courtyard garden.

Less formal orange and Swiss cheese plants.
Back on the subject of tiles, I took pictures of the tiles cladding the Pavilion of Carlos V (1360) in the gardens that depicted, among other things, a Goat, a weird two-legged Centaur archer, a Unicorn, and a Faun smoking a pipe, which Beloved Wife said reminded her of someone… All these tiles were reproduced in the gift shop, except one. Guess which one. I had to satisfy myself with a goat-tile fridge magnet.

Pavilion of Carlos V
These are not fridge magnets.
Not coming in Sevilla, Señor Macho Cabrío
Initial estimates of rolling into Madrid mid-afternoon were trashed. Clarissa decided that the best way would be to follow the Portuguese border up to Badajoz and then to turn right and head directly for Madrid. Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect €200. Even sipping fuel at 50mpg the rental C1 needed to be gassed up, I needed espresso, and both Beloved Wife and I needed to use Los Facilidad. It’s long way; Spain’s a big country. We passed numerous medieval castles. Perhaps a future visit might involve a castle tour.

There was, of course, nowhere to park in Madrid on Christmas Eve. Not even a stable. So, assisted by Noelle, I drove to the airport and dumped the car keys in the deserted car rental area. Hmmm, Marie Celeste Car Rental Central. Then back into town by Metro, and food and drink. Yay! Christmas!

Christmas itself was only excellent. It included the usual plethora of junk food, booze, and pressies. Then a nice walk in the sun. I should mention that the weather throughout had been sunny and only cold and frosty at night. Should’ve brought sandals. Keef cooked an amazing turkey dinner in a minuscule kitchen that must be bigger on the inside, which is a sneaky segue into noting that we watched the Doctor Who Christmas Special; the one in which the Aliens encountered on LV-426 meet Inception.

Keef doesn’t only do excellent turkey. He also makes pies that are on sale at selected pubs and bars in Madrid. And here is the gratuitous hyperlink to Keef’s stuff:-

We went touristing in Madrid on Boxing Day. As this isn’t a holiday in Spain, where the Big Event is on Twelfth Night, everything was open except the Irish bar where we were due to have lunch. So we went to the James Joyce instead. I did my usual thing and took photos, we failed to get in to see the Nativity display, and then we all headed back to the flat, for many people were coming over for mulled wine and Christmas carols.

The Goat's shoes disguise his hooves.
No comment!

Old and new.

Decoration dated 1919.

The main Post Office.
A further splendid evening later, and it was time to pack and go. Without a car this time, Muggins wheeled Beloved Wife’s overstuffed orange suitcase through the streets to the Metro. Thank you again and again to the genius who first though of sticking little wheels on to suitcases.

At the airport I checked with the car rental people, and was advised that €60 of my deposit had been withheld because I’d hnot hreturned the car hrental paperhwork. That’s right; I’d not handed it in to their non-existent staff on Christmas Eve, nor had I put it into the slot labelled “Car Keys Only.” My bad.

“You shhould have left hit in the cahr,” I was advised, in accordance with what is an obvious known fact and not written. Also not written was this punitive €60 fine. They said they’d refund it, they phoned to say that they had, but the money has yet to appear. It finally showed up after 42 days and my very public complaints on social media. I'm curious as to why the need to lie repeatedly to a customer that the payment had been made when, in fact , the problem was that Atesa had lost the paperwork.

Of course, this left me fuming. But I put a lid on it and smiled sweetly at the Qatar Airways ticketing counter. Sweetly enough, in fact, that I was able to get the last two seats in Business Class for frequent-flyer miles rather than cash, despite having received an email a few days before stating that my request had been refused. But I wasn’t going to tell them that at the ticket desk, was I?

For once, I ended a holiday on a high: Comfy travel, Business priority lane at immigration so no queue, and as I only had hand luggage I was in my bed less than an hour after landing. And up again five hours later for work. It’s only a four-day week, though. The memo came round confirming 1st January as a holiday.

Pity Beloved Wife. She had a further hour to wait for her flight to Dubai. This was apparently full of drunken Spanish yoofs flying over to see some foopball. And it took a further hour for her orange suitcase to appear on the carousel in Dubai.


The opinions expressed in this weblog are the works of the Grumpy Goat, and are not necessarily the opinions shared by any person or organisation who may be referenced. Come to that, the opinions may not even be those of the Grumpy Goat, who could just be playing Devil's Advocate. Some posts may be of parody or satyrical [sic] nature. Nothing herein should be taken too seriously. The Grumpy Goat would prefer that offensive language or opinions not be posted in the comments. Offensive comments may be subject to deletion at the Grumpy Goat's sole discretion. The Grumpy Goat is not responsible for the content of other blogs or websites that are linked from this weblog. No goats were harmed in the making of this blog. Any resemblance to individuals or organisations mentioned herein and those that actually exist may or may not be intentional. May contain nuts.