This was a curious day on which I learnt much. It began however, if not badly, certainly disappointingly. I shouldn’t complain of course seeing as it was a free day out but when you get an unexpected invite to a ‘Corporate Networking Day’ which just happens to be in a box at the cricket you start to dream big about what the day might hold.
My friend, whose company was organising the day, had promised me a bacon sandwich and a beer upon the journey up from Dubai. However, because unexpectedly one of his Emirati clients had accepted the token invite extended to him, it was deemed that pork and alcohol was not the done thing.
No problems of course, but then when this aforementioned client failed to turn up and didn’t contact us, we sat in the car park for what seemed an eternity and we missed the first hour’s play.
This low was soon transformed into a sparkling high when 80 beers arrived in a wheelie bin almost immediately upon our arrival. Our spirits restored we moved into the networking part of the day during which I established a few things listed below:
- Chicken sausage rolls are practically inedible
- Drinking beer out of a small coffee cup with saucer to disguise the fact we were drinking outside (something for which we were threatened a visit by the CID if we were caught) means that you get through beer more quickly. Anyone who has ever played ‘centurion’ will know what I mean as the experience is similar
- Networking events where you are plied with alcohol mean you talk to everyone yet then have trouble remembering who they were when you pull the cards out of your pocket the next day
- Despite common opinions to the contrary, the Abu Dhabi police have a sense of humour – signs saying: “The dress code is simple – keep your clothes on” raised a smile
The undoubted highlight of the day was the ongoing battle between the Abu Dhabi cricketers and the Barmy Army who were marshaled brilliantly by their trumpeter. It began when the handful of Barmy Army in attendance were cautioned for being too noisy by a couple of Arabs only for them to respond with a chant of ‘Who are ya, who are ya’. This then escalated when the trumpet itself was taken away to receive a stamp (live for any length of time in this part of the world and you begin to appreciate the unexpected power of a man with a rubber stamp) with the poor chap in question being assailed by chants of ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’.
On the bus back we managed to stop at all five petrol stations in the hour drive home as the 80 beers took their toll before heading out into the night and quantities of spicy olives from Nando’s which we voted unanimously the best olives in the world.
I am sure the esteemed readers of King Cricket have some further opinions on this very important matter.