The above photo shows a stretch of beach in the early evening at Porto Pino. The sea around this side of Sardinia is full of Posiedona Oceanica – a kind of seagrass. The mass of detritus in the foreground is not litter. It has long helped with erosion prevention here just north of Africa. It is seagrass necromass. It’s the dead grass bits, mown by the tides. There are thick piles of it lining the rocks all along the coast.

As we frolic in the water, the grass is floating all around. It’s partly why we are here. This remarkable company – they work hard to bring benefit to the (frequently remote) areas they race in. This time they are looking at the care and conservation of seagrass. This evening, after a hot day, we all went swimming near it.

I am inevitably a wild card, but right now, thanks to geography, I’m able to get stuck in when I’m not driving. The site was so far from the hotels in Neom that I frequently just had to hang out around the airport. Despite one pick-up, today provided me with more upskilling work on site, and pretty much the first shot I’ve had of finishing at the same time as everybody else. So I got to go swimming with the group. So, I got to do bonding. So, I got to feel more of a part of the team… Groups emerge and solidify quickly, and once they are established it is hard to squeeze in if you’re a funny shape. I’m a funny shape. That’s something I’ve learnt to be peaceful about after years of fighting it.

I was lonely in Saudi until I made friends with the Princess. I wasn’t lonely because the people on the job weren’t lovely. I was lonely because my hours meant I missed all the crucial bonding bits where the social shorthand is developed. My working friendship with her and Doctor Jesus and her bodyguard made me feel part of a little weird group where I had a little space to be me. Our silly high energy chaperoned jaunt between pick-ups to get tea before I knew she was a princess – it felt like friendship, and it was. I’ll always find something / someone… I like things and people too much not to. But I was strangely nervous of returning to this team knowing I’d been generally a little socially awkward the first time – not counting the little world of my car where all of that goes out the window and I’m the happy driving guy.

Right now I’m happy. And I’m shattered. Work was hard. Fun was hard. Bed is soft. Zzzz

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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