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2015 - 2018 Saudi Arabia
دارلينجتون في الصحراء


The End    
  7 Sep 18. Farewell brunch in Abu Dhabi with Kirsty and friends. Wheels down at AUH 1200hrs, time taken to sit down in brunch was 1hr 10 mins. A great afternoon finished off by sheesha and drinks in the Rosewood, Maryah Island.
 6 Sep 18. Farewell from our friend and colleagues in Sara Resort. Dinner in Butterworths followed by drinks in Oasis Bar. A late night and an early start to try and get to the Brunch in Abu Dhabi by 1pm.  
 4 Sep 18. Farewell from the National Guard, S2, LOES, S3,DComd, TED,  Saad, Mshal, Lt, JIT & Emad. A nice presentation of a Saudi Knife and certificate of appreciation.
 29 Aug 18. 7.5 cum of our personal effects from Saudi on route to the UK to join up with our kit in storage after a 3 year absence.
 17 Aug 18. Kirsty came accross to Bahrain to stay over for a Brunch at the very nice; Art Rotana. Twas a great catch up.
 10 Aug 18. Going away brunch in the Downtown Rotana, Bahrain. Dave, Anne Marie, Marian and Andrew. Girls were on form with a dressing up box, which they donated to a girl next door. 
 13-29 Jun 18. Off to England for a fortnight, really looking forward to seeing family and friends.
 18 May 18. Kirsty's early birthday party in Abu Dhabi. We flew over to not only have dinner with Kirsty and her friends, but also to deliver her presents. A short but wonderful trip.
 17 May 18. RAF Spring ball, a brilliant ball with all the finest. Superb food, excellent company and great entertainment.
 23 Feb - 18 Mar 18. A holiday in Australia, starting in Bahrain, then onto Melbourne, then Sydney before starting a 8 day RV drive up to Gold Coast and on to Brisbane. A stopover in Abu Dhabi on the way back to see Kirsty. Enjoy the Holiday albumn.
 21 Dec 17. Flying home for Christmas, Kirsty also and Karl with time off. Two family gatherings, Christmas in a Cottage, Hogmanay with friends in Edinburgh and time out in the lakes. Its going to be amazing.
 7 Dec 17. Winter ball in our Resort was a great night with friends, superb food and great music.
 23-26 Nov 17  Drove to Abu Dhabi to see Kirsty, friends and the 2017 Abu Dhabi Formula 1. Started off with a Friday Brunch, the race was not so exciting with Lewis Hamilton lifting some what. Mumford and Sons, plus Pink were amazing.
 11 Nov. Remembering those that sacrificed their live for ours. Remembrance in Sara and a charity ball in Bahrain.
 11-29 Oct 17  Karl here for a break. Hofuf Caves, lots of pool time, gym, jet skiing, paddle boarding and more .....
 19/20 Sep 17 An overnight girly trip to Bahrain with Friends: Liz, Jackie, Denise, Ann-Marie and Karen.
29 Aug-10 Sep 17 A holiday to Goa, India. Starting in Bahrain for a Friday Brunch and then onto the Spice route coastal area of Goa India. Check out our pics here
 1 Jul 17 A never before seen temperature, certainly in our time and not in the desert, this was recorded in the shade in Khobar, a blistering 56 degrees, 134 Fahrenheit in old money.
 14 Jun 17 Summer Ball in Sara provided excellent food by Reyzayat catering, band, company and entertainment.
 21 May 17 A big leaving weekend in the Art Rotana, Bahrain for Paul and Michelle who flew in from the UK for an amazing Brunch weekend.
 20 May 17 A lazy Friday afternoon spent calculating the Treasure Chest money after Roopesh packed it up into currencies. Grand total of £66 with contributions from:

Australia, Bahrain, Bermuda, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Egypt, Euro, Ghana, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Oman, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, UK , UK Ascension Isles, UK Falkland Island, UK Jersey, USA

The spread sheet can be found here for any Bankers who find exchange rates fascinating 
 21 Apr - 5 May 17 On a bit of leave with an Arabian itinerary calling at Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Oman, back to Abu Dhabi and Home. Click here to see the holiday blog
 20 Apr 17 Farewell from the Office to Paul Wright. Speeches and then lunch with a whole baby Goat, all in style no knives or forks, just burnt fingers. Thankfully the various appendages were not offered for consumption, here is a secret.....most Arabs don't actually like eating the weird stuff in any event. A good Lunch.
 16 Apr 17 Bahrain Formula 1. Lewis Hamilton on P2 for the Grand prix, finishing in P2. We had an excellent view from Turn 1 Grandstand with our Friends Liz and John. A super weekend for racing and entertainment, although Enrique sounded like it was Karaoke.
29 Mar - Dinner in Al Hasa with Abdul, his brother and sons. Arabic Coffee, Arabic Tea, Dates, Water, Hummus, Fatool, Lamb Grab, Fruit, Coffee, Strawberry Fizz and a waft of Frankincense to finish off. This was an impromptu invite for dinner. Never let it be said that the Saudis hospitality is anything but generous. Shukran habeebe, il akl kunt ladeedh (thank you my friend the food was delicious).  
 21 Mar 17 Dinner in the desert for Paul's impending departure from Saudi Arabia. We were well entertained until very late at night by our good friend and colleague Mishaal ably assisted by Uthman in a truly traditional Arabic experience.
 16-18 Mar 17 A weekend in Abu Dhabi to catch up with Kirsty. Diego was off buying a new car for them both. Returned with a very nice Golf GTI. Friday Brunch with the usual gang was fantastic fun. A good weekend.
 29 Jan 17 A cocktail reception on HMS Ocean alongside in Al Jubail hms ocean
13-27 Jan 17 Flew back with Mum and then toured the UK seeing family and friends. Lots of pics here of our itinerary Manchester, Liverpool, Harrogate, Stirling, Edinburgh, Richmond, York, Meppershall, London and eventually leaving from Heathrow. A good trip.
10 Dec-13 Jan 17 - Mum and Karl came to Saudi Arabia for an extended visit with Kirsty joining us for the main event, Christmas 2016. Kids got up to lots of stuff on the Resort. A sunset BBQ in the desert was a great success and Christmas dinner we were joined by friends Mary and Mike. Kirsty and Karl flew to Abu Dhabi for New Years Eve celebrations before Karl flew back to UK and work. New Years eve was celebrated by us and Mum with friends on the resort at Harley's.  A good years end!
14 Dec 16 - A picture for Roopesh just before he flies for 45 days holiday back home in Kerala, India, he has presents for his family, a Christmas bonus from us and also very kindly from Liz and Sally. 
25 Nov 16 - A Winter (aka XMAS) Ball started off the festive season, albeit a little early, but there's nowt wrong with that. A really good night, dancing till the early hours, hosted by our good friends Jason and Carol. It's a long drive there and an even longer drive back the next morning, so we snoozed there and back with Roopesh at the wheel.
11 Nov 16 - Poppy ball 2016, an annual charity event hosted by the British Business Association in Saudi and Bahrain to raise funds for the Poppy Appeal. Went along with the Saudi team and our guests for the evening, Liz and John from Australia. A very good night for a worthy cause. 
Oct/Nov 16 - A far eastern wedding, a jungle holiday, a break in exotic Bali and a stop off in Abu Dhabi on the Way Home. Our 6 Hotel Eastern tour started in Kuala Lumpur and the Wedding of Stu and Flo before heading to Langkawi for a Jungle Holiday. We then returned to KL before meeting up with Kirsty and Karl for a trip over the Equator and onto Bali in Indonesia. Finally returning via Abu Dhabi and Bahrain. An amazing holiday with super people and outstanding celebrations.  See here for Kuala Lumpur and the Wedding Album/a, here for Langkawi and Bali.
Oct 16 - Team East on display at Al Khobar Beach. Roopesh, Paul Wright, Emad Amad, Russ Darlington and Moslimuddin.
1-12 Sep 16 - On Holiday to Sri Lanka and stopping in at Kirsty's on the way back. Brilliant Holiday at Centara Ceysands in Bentota, Sri Lanka after a stop over in Bahrain. Stopped by in Abu Dhabi after the Holiday for a couple of days.  Click here/a to see the full Holiday Album.  
 23 Aug 16 - Moved into our new house in Sara Village Compound or rather Sara Beach Resort as we like to call it. Meeting lots of new friends, finding lots of things to do and looking forward to our time here. Sad to leave Oasis Gardens, but it had to be done. Much happier now in Sara.  
 11 Aug 16 - A working visit to Ras Tanura gave the Management a Photo Opportunity by the Arabian Gulf. 
6 Aug 16 - House moving time. Moved from Oasis to Sara, nothing broken, everything went to plan, new house is very nice, compound is friendly, job done!  
 10-23 Jun 16 - South African Holiday. Three days in Kruger National Park looking for the Big 5 followed by a rest in Port Elizabeth before embarking on the Garden Route Wine journey along Western Cape towards Cape Town where we stay for a few days taking in the history, food and wine and of course Robben Island where Nelson Mandela served his political sentence. Click the Picture to open our Holiday Album.
4 June 16 - A sad day when we had to say farewell to our Molly. 14 3/4 years old, she had a good life with her sister. Born on a farm near Leicester on 23 Sep 2001, she lived first in Leicestershire then in Oman, France, East Riding, Canada, Yorkshire and Saudi Arabia. She swam in the Atlantic Ocean,  the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea, down the Saskatchewan River and in Lake Louise, Her final swim the day before we said bye bye in the Persian Gulf was tough but the only way to celebrate her life. Molly 2001-2016.
25 - 29 May 16 - Jeddah with Paul and Jo. Visited Paul and Jo on the west coast, dipped our toes in the Red Sea at the beach club, saw 'Kingdom Tower' under construction, which will be a kilometer tall, met their friends at a BBQ Paul put on for us and we were taken out for a posh dinner. A really fantastic weekend which we're looking forward to repeating on the Arabian Gulf in the East.
21 May - Kirsty's 30th Birthday in Abu Dhabi. Kirsty spent her day on the beach with her friends playing beach games before a big dinner out at the Intercon where we joined in. Chilled out the next day at the Beach Rotana Pool with Diego and Kirsty. A great weekend ..... Happy 30th Kirsty.

23 Apr - 7 May - Karl and Mum in Saudi. A long awaited overseas trip for mum, weather wasn’t too hot, had chance to have a BBQ or two. Mosquitos too, said hello to mum. We spent lots of time around the pool and mum also got wet. The beach club was a favourite at the weekends. A few trips out and lots of shopping, mum got quite used to the Abaya. The Vegetable and Fish market were excellent with Russ and Karl chaperoning the ladies around the hustle and bustle. Purchased fresh lobsters which saw the hot plate of the BBQ that very night. A night out at the classics and a final meal in town led to Karl escorting mum back to UK after a brilliant 3 weeks.

27 Apr 16 - HMS Defender along side at Dammam Port which provided the perfect back drop to celebrate the Queen's Birthday. It also gave the girls a good excuse to dress up. Defender Crew put up the bunting, were great hosts and gave us a tour around the ship. Our UK Business guests were very impressed.   
14-23 Apr 16 - UK Trip to visit Family started off with a night in Bahrain, then a night in London, two days with Sue then onto Pats, followed by Mel and Mick in York and a big party in Richmond. A short hop over the Pennines before flying back to Saudi with Mum. Casino, cinemas, trains, restaurants, pubs, shopping, walks and SNOW ! 
1-4 Apr 16 - Bahrain Grand Prix, the second race in the calendar after Melbourne with Hamilton on Pole. Pit walk, Practice, Porsche GT3, Avicii concert was amazing, Touring Car championship, and the finale....Race 2 F1GP. Great to have Liz and John join us for 4 days on the track and the Dilmun Club to hammer our pre and post-race analysis. What a fantastic weekend, thoroughly enjoyed it. Next race China in two weeks, Abu Dhabi for us on the 27 Nov ...... Can’t wait.
17-19 Mar 16 - Weekend in Abu Dhabi with Kirsty and Friends. Later dinner on our arrival night after a flight from Bahrain followed by the amazing Friday Brunch at the Yacht Club Intercontinental Hotel. Started at 12noon and finished a marathon eating and drinking session at gone 8pm. Early night. Shopping for Kirsty's birthday thereafter and then back to Bahrain after a wee nip in the Sky Bar b4 returning to Molly in KSA. A good weekend.
9 Feb 16 - Desert Train. A chance to cross half of Saudi Arabia by train. Dammam down to Hufuf and then on to Riyadh taking about 5 hours. The Very Modern High Speed German made trains cross on new tracks making the journey a lot smoother than our London to Yorkshire track. Walked down to second class to confirm you definitely need to travel 1st Class. Nice Loos, Wi-Fi, drinks trolley. Yes Very nice indeed. 
3 Feb 16 - A hole in ONE ! On the 9th hole at the Royal Golf Club in Bahrain is my Par 3. I struck the ball with a clean swing from my 7 iron as it hurtled towards the green, dropping about a meter from the pin, the second bounce made it roll onwards to hit the pole and down it went. It took a second to work out what had just happened, as did my watching fellow golfers before we jumped, screamed and gave a vigorous handshake to me; Russ Darlington, Hole in One on the 9th at the Royal in Bahrain at exactly 5:10pm. Ball, Score Card and Tee all to be framed. Russ darlington Hole in One Royal bahrain Golf Club
26 Jan 16 - Tree of Life Checked out Trip advisor and one of the TOP attractions in Bahrain is the Tree of Life. Signposted on the highways from everywhere, the brown tourist signs soon took us into the desert, and there she was; sprouting out of the dry desert for hundreds of years it has managed to stay healthy and alive ..... or maybe not, it is now surrounded by weekend camps, rubbish is everywhere, the tree has received its share of 21st century YOB graffiti and the low branches have been subjected to group pictures and broken under the weight. If you happen to be in Bahrain .... don't bother.
22-24 Jan - Bahrain International Air Show - Karl happened to be working in Bahrain for the BIAS, he happened to get us Trade passes meaning we could get in to all the sales area, free lunch and a personal tour round a Typhoon. Finished off the day with a Pint/Wine and Spare Ribs in the Rugby Club. Airbus 380 Upstairs Bar Air Bus 350 Massive Engine We want this Jet 
Private 777 dining room  777 for hire via Riyadh Saudi Arabia 
18 Jan 16 - Happy 52 Birthday. What to do on your 52nd  Birthday, go to Bahrain of course. Thanks everyone for your presents.  Day started at home opening cards and presents before we tripped off to Bahrain. A trip to the Navy Exchange Shop followed by the Cinema and the back to the Hotel to get spruced up for Elli to take me out to dinner. The Trip Advisor rated Copper Chimney Indian lived up to its reputation as did Bahrain night life ! Next day we were childish enough to buy a Segway, just for us two before finishing our break off with a Pint/Wine in the Rugby Club. Go Elli Go Happy Birthday Russ
23 Dec 15 - 2 Jan 16 A fun packed fortnight in Abu Dhabi, Star Wars, Nails, Lunch with Friends, Christmas morning at Kirsty's, dinner at Eastern Mangrove, Squash, gym, pool, Ripe Market, Ribs night, Cycling round Yas F1 circuit, Jing Asia, City Golf, Spa, Lunch Chris n Rachael, Pantomime, Train ride to Marina Bay, Downton Abbey on catch up, Lunch in the Viceroy, suite in Tamani, shisha and drinks in Le Meridian, New year on the Beach watching Atlantis, Burg al Arab, Burg Khalifa and Marina Bay fireworks, Shangri-La, last meal and a long drive home/flight for Karl. Click the picture for the album.
11 Dec 15 - Molly finally arrives after far too long, but with all that behind us and her, she now settles down into her usual life, looking for anyone to crash on or between. Welcome back home molly
3 Dec 15 - Winter Ball weekend in Riyadh, a long long drive, long night and another long drive back home. What's the phrase, is the juice worth the squeeze? Very enjoyable though catching up with Friends; Paul, Jo, Tom, Alison to mention a few.  
27-30 Nov 15 - A long weekend in Abu Dhabi to see Kirsty and Karl and of course the ABU DHABI F1 RACE ! Hamilton had already won the championship, but still tried to win the race, unfortunately coming 2nd. A great weekend watching the F1 and GP series, plus lots of meals out with the kids and friends. Karl's Friend Dino photo bombed it.  
6 Nov 15 - Elli and I attended the Bahrain British Business Forum (BBBF) and the British Business Association (Saudi) Annual (charity) Poppy Ball at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in support of Chelsea Pensioners Appeal, Poppy Scotland Appeal and the Mother and Child Welfare – Bahrain foundation. An amazing night was had by all.  
17-21 Sep 15 - Saudi to Bahrain to Abu Dhabi to see our Kirsty. First port of call, a glass of wine by the pool in the Rosewood on Reem Island next to the City, followed by a good catch up with Kirsty and her friend Rachael who was visiting from the UK for a Holiday. Met up with Chris and Rachael for a catch up in Yas Links Golf Club, did some inevitable shopping in Dubai including a visit to the Chinese Dragon Mart for Beads. An evening out with Lubna and Hamda in Marina Bateen before a very early rise to do a little Sea Fishing with Tom. A good visit.
23 Aug 15 - Shopping, shopping and more shopping. Russ's face is one of pain. Settled in well, house is even larger without our consignment which is at least 3 weeks away. Molly remains in the UK awaiting the correct paperwork to bring her out. Work is interesting and enjoyable. The driving is mad, no one follows even the basic rules, but the drivers always smile, thankfully we have two big cars for protection. 
22 Aug 15 - After a whistle stop tour to see everyone, parking the car up at Mums, Flight to Abu Dhabi, just missing Stu and Flo in Transit we arrived in Dammam on the morning of the 23rd, after arriving at the house and unpacking, we start to take stock of our new surroundings.

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