EGD Twilight Golf

The first EGD twilight golf match of the year saw Alex, Dave, Gary and Robin take on the majestic Woking Golf Club, one of the acknowledged classics of golf course architecture. Despite an extremely murky and drizzly evening, it was clear enough to see that anyone with a professional interest in golf course design should be making a beeline to this outstanding heathland course. It is an object lesson in thoughtful, economic, strategic design, topped off by a simply wonderfully conceived set of greens. I have no doubt that we will be making several return trips as the summer progresses.

As for the golf, it was Gary who came away with the honours, with a very impressive 40 stableford points off a scarcely credible 12 handicap. So scarce is his credibility off that handicap that he is forthwith cut to 10 for EGD matches! Dave and Robin scratched around the 30 point mark and as for Alex….well let’s say he enjoyed the scenery.

  • The clubhouse at Woking Golf Club. The club was founded in 1893 and is the oldest of the Surrey heathland courses. Tom Simpson designed the course and it is currently 77th on the list of the top 100 courses in Britain.

Life at 38,000 feet

I get a fair bit of ribbing from my colleagues here at EGD for hardly ever being in the office and it is true, the last year has involved an extraordinary amount of travel, particularly to Bahrain, where our course at Riffa Views is very close to completion. All of us on the design staff here get to travel away from home on a regular basis, so my tale is not especially unique, nor do I find the travel particularly onerous. Indeed, the travel element of the job is one of the attractions of this career. One gets to visit so many different places, experience different cultures and cuisines and make a bunch of friends along the way from all corners of the globe. Oh, and I mustn’t forget that we get to mess about with big yellow diggers…and get paid for the pleasure!!

Anyway, the persistent heckling got me to thinking about collating just how much travelling I have done in the past 12 months and so for your perusal I present a few facts and figures from the last year. I could go on, but I’ve got to get packed up for another week long trip to Bahrain. What a rotten way to spend a working week in November!

My Travel Statistics: November 6 2007 – November 6 2008:
Total Number of Business Trips: 32

Number of Overseas Business Trips: 28

Countries Visited (excluding England):

– Bahrain 21 times

– Czech Republic 4

– Scotland 4

– Austria 2

– USA 1

Number of flights taken: 66 (44 intercontinental; 14 European; 8 UK)

Approximate Air Miles flown: 258,000

Time spent in the air: 362 hours (that’s 15.5 days!)

Time spent in airports: 132 hours (another 5.5 days!)

Days working away from the office: 141

Days working in the office: 104

Number of nights in hotels: 116

Number of different hotels: Only 8

Number of spare rooms and sofas: 3

Most consecutive number of days in the EGD office: 10

Longest business trip (in days): 8

Number of near death experiences in a Bahraini taxi: Too many to count!

Number of F1 Grand Prix attended thanks to them being within pitching distance of a project site: 1 (Bahrain). I’m working on Bernie to get him to host a race in Northern Denmark next year!

66,742: The number of words committed to print in the 21 Riffa Views Construction Reports.

?: The number of people who actually read the reports!

Hot Stuff!

Racing driver Martin Brundle once described one of his crashes by saying, “I thought the last two barrel rolls were a bit unnecessary. I was already well aware I was having a big accident by then!” This is a little bit like I felt about the heat in Bahrain last week. Now, you don’t need to be a meteorologist to comprehend that August in the Gulf is going to be a tad on the warm side and all of us at Riffa Views who have routinely slogged away in temperatures well into the 40’s have got used to feeling uncomfortably sticky as we go about our work. Last week took this endurance test to an entirely new level.

It started after lunch, as we trooped out of the luxurious air-conditioned comfort of Subway and into the furnace of the 1pm Bahraini sunshine. We could tell it was going to be a long, energy-sapping afternoon. My first task upon returning to site was to stake out the bunker edging for the 11th hole. Being a desert course, this also doubled up as the extent of grassing all along the right edge of this 350-yard par 4. I loaded up four bundles of red stakes and four cans of red spray paint and drove the 300 metres from the site camp to the midpoint of the fairway. I trooped slowly back towards the tee and started to bang in the stakes at regular intervals. Already I could feel my heart begin to pound and perspiration was literally erupting from every pore. My sunglasses quickly became covered in sweat as it ran off my brow and into my eyes, stinging them viciously. Squinting through salty eyelids, I took my glasses off to wipe them clean, but I had nothing dry enough on me to clear the lenses. My bare arms were a slick of perspiration, with the occasional droplet falling to the floor. There was no point wiping my forehead with my arm; both were soaking. My body had sprung a leak!

“Just get this bit done and you can go and cool off”, I told myself. Moving very slowly and with regular breaks to catch my breath, it took another 20 minutes to mark out the rest of the bunker edging. By then, I was literally gagging for a drink and trudged wearily the short distance back to the 4×4 through the desert sand. Opening the door, I caught sight of the temperature gauge on the dashboard and the reason for my struggles became immediately apparent. Located together were two numerals I had only ever thought could exist in tandem on a Heinz beans tin. First….a 5….and then….a…7! 57° Celsius!!! Or if you like it in old money, 134.6° Fahrenheit. That isn’t a temperature, that’s a gas mark!

It’s been a long hot job getting Riffa Views built, but last week took the biscuit. In fact, you could probably cook biscuits in that heat!