This is the view from my office window in Squint Central UK. It's hard to tell but it's like zero degrees out there (yes that's frost on the grass). For the first time in my life I had to use my hotel room key card to scrape the thick layer of ice off my windscreen. Still, I managed to get back to the office even though the GPS voice stopped working half way through the journey in protest of the cold. I have a lovely office with windows on two sides looking out on the trees opposite. It has speakers and a heater and I get to watch the A380s make their final approach into Heathrow, so life could be worse.
The girl's (bdo) officer and mashakit tash (sort of military social worker) came to visit yesterday. They came to discuss the special privileges she will receive as a "hiyelet bodedah" (lone soldier: a soldier whose parents are out of the country). They were very nice, polite, soft spoken young women. It always amazes me that they let kids run the army, but in truth they seem to do a very good job. They came well prepared with answers to all our questions and dealt with us in a most respectful and thoughtful way. She will get a few hundred shekels extra on her paycheck, but more importantly we will get a break on city taxes, electricity and water. This can be quite significant, because the "home on the range" is quite expensive to run and we intend to leave it in the care of Heckle and Jeckle (risk taking at its extreme). The whole interview was quite interesting, with the young ladies (who refused to eat or drink anything) politely asking questions about our plans and our household situation. All very professional and orderly, but they did arrive an hour late.
Believe it or not I am sitting, once again, in the Dan lounge here at BG airport on my way to Heathrow. The more or less 48 hours spent at home was definitely worth the 10 hours of flight time to get here. All flights are completely full and the airport is buzzing. At least I got a bit of breakfast.
It seems like the only time I have to write anything recently is sitting at airports. It's -1 degree outside and sleeting, but it's boiling in here and I am sweating. I ate my Pret Lebanese Falafel sandwich which I must say was excellent, spoke to bwo and am going to buy the required candies to take home soon. I left all my luggage in my new office here in London (well in Egham to be exact) and am travelling with only my backpack. It's a unique experience and quite disconcerting seeing as I have no luggage, no one as yet has looked at the boarding pass I printed. Hopefully they will do a better job at the gate. It has been a very busy week. I have been acting as a sort of wedding planner, arranging meals for visiting dignitaries, taxis, hotels, offices, projectors, sandwiches for the English squints and am looking forward to two days at home before I fly back to Heathrow. The Tel Aviv flight is the last one to leave Terminal 1 at night and so while this place was packed when I arrived it has steadily been emptying out and there are more and more tired looking Israeli business men wandering around talking into cell phones. Next week I'm going to mix it up. A different hotel and a rental car (it better have a gps), although driving in this area is a little crazy.
Here I am sitting in the Dan Lounge again. A lot has happened since those blissful first days at St. Davids. Looks like we will be spending some time (at least a year) in the UK, London to be exact. All work stuff, not all bad. I am sure you will hear a lot more about this over the months to come. But until we can get the relocation organized, I will be on the move and spending more time here in my favorite place (not): The Dan Lounge at BG airport. The food is not too bad, and I was hungry when I got here because...well because of Azizza. A half hour or so before the taxi was due to arrive, Azizza, who had spent the morning cleaning and cursing the dog, started to pack up to leave. Bwo was off visiting some Goldsmiths and thus I was left alone to deal with Azizza. So she starts muttering to herself that it's definitely time to leave, and then comes to me more flustered than usual. "Oxy stole my dress" she announces (she calls the dog Oxy). "What" says I. "Oxy took my red dress, I was wearing it when I arrived, now it's gone". What's one to do? So I start looking all over, no dress. She swears she came in in her red dress, changed into her "cleaning clothes" as ever in the bathroom and then put the dress down by the door and now it's gone. I look high and low, and all the while, Azizza is muttering convinced the dog skit her dress and hid it. It was no where to be seen. I have no idea what happened to it - gone. Eventually she had to leave to catch her bus, sans red dress. By now my taxi was waiting and so no lunch for bpo. Luckily the Dan Lounge has some decent whole wheat bread and humus, so can't complain. Where is that dress? Perhaps she came without it? Of course, this did not post from BG airport, there was a problem with the internet (who said 80%). So I'm posting it from my lovely (feather-free) room at the Heathrow Marriott.