And on this Christmas Eve, may I wish you & your dearest a very Merry Christmas & a Peaceful, and Prosperous New Year.
Well, I’m home for Christmas and the New Year celebrations and currently sat up in Lurganclabby, early doors granted, but very happy to be back in the UK. I got back to London on Wednesday & caught up with the familiar faces & met a few new ones too… I’ve heard lots of people say, it doesn’t feel Christmassey this year – now to be fair, they’ve mostly been in India, in 30 degree heat – but as soon as I landed in London, and saw the lights, and the (organised) bussel on the streets, it felt very Christmassey to me.
I suppose this last few weeks have been quite busy, getting organised for the holidays. I had to travel to Bangalore & Kolkata in the past three weeks, to deliver training on a computer system, to employees of a company who are famous for building computers (no Cat, not your bunch)… I’m sure, when these ultra-bright geeks heard my accent, and saw what I was presenting on, they were asking themselves where it all went wrong!! I guess the highlight of my last trip of the year to Kolkata was getting upgraded on my membership scheme with Hyatt Hotels to "platinum"… sounds glitzy, but all it means is that instead of a CRT I get a flatscreen in the room, and now instead of having to ask for a DVD player, I’ve got one already. Yipee I guess.
Back in Mumbai, it was the wind up to Christmas (funny how in the UK it’s a wind down…) but we had several parties to celebrate the festive season. Dinner with the gang a couple of times (once on each budget) too. I also managed to get my Christmas shopping all done, no hitches. It’s too early to talk about what was bought, but all I’ll say is than you Amazon.com – where would we be without you?!
For those of you who read the profile on here, you may have noted that as a Sagittarian (is that how you spell it??) I passed from 26 to 27 this month. To celebrate, I was planning to travel to Ahmedabad to watch cricket, but unfortunately, with all the trouble in Mumbai earlier, the game got cancelled first & then moved to Chennai second (and without enough notice for me to really get flights & accomodation sorted). So, with it too late to arrange a flight to somewhere else (although Dubai, Kuwait and Mauritius were all investigated and will be exercised in 2009 all being well) I decided it would be a night in, Premiership football on the Tube (and Miss World 2008 on the other box), Pizza and the lads & lassies around.
So, I had to decorate… I bought a tree & all!! I headed into the supermarket thinking "right, small tree, low maintenance and easy to store". 30 minutes later with an eight foot tree, and the stores entire collection of Gold tinsel and a packet of lights we were on our way home. I guess, sometimes, more is more. So tree decorated, apartment cleaned & the guys turned up on time for the football. It was good craic, with hats & all… the girls even arranged for a cake and some candles (note to all: Mumbai Candles are impossible to blow out – by the time we got through them (and it did become a team effort) the "Happy Birthday Barry" icing was melted!!). Good times!! A special mention must also go to Subhash, my driver. He got me a boquet of roses for my birthday on behalf of himself & his family… the first man to ever buy me flowers!! Obviously, being unprepared for such an occasion, I had to go & buy a vase to put them in!! Legend.
Speaking of Subhash, he attempted to organise a game of cricket for me on weekend… at 0700IST… I managed to sleep through three missed calls, a text mesage and indeed the alarm clock and miss the game… by two hours. I’ve promised to go sometime in the new year.
And so back to Northern Ireland. I landed on Saturday, and it’s fair to say, I’m still out of zone. So far, out of four nights the latest I’ve been to bed is 2330 (and that was a real struggle) and the latest I’ve woken at is 0630. It’s almost at the point now where I’m wondering if I should attempt to try & stay up UK hours or not?! Anyways, yesterday was the wedding of Joanne Keys & Stuart Dougherty – and they kindly invited me along. So I picked up Ruthy and off we went… it was a lovely winter wedding, with the weather holding out dry, sunny but cold. It was great catching up with the old gang again over the day and obviously we’ve made a few plans – including the annual viewing of the Muppet Christmas Carol and a bit of Clay Shooting. It was a bit odd at the wedding, as it finally hit home that in five months, I’ve got a speech to give at my brother’s wedding… I’m not sure whether to go for the character assinassation route or go for the… actually, there’s only one way to really give a best man speech I guess… unlucky Mark… best get scribbling.
So, there you go… and may I wish you all a very Merry Christmas & a Peaceful & Prosperous New Year.