Equally Precious

Equally Precious

Today and tomorrow, the Kingdom will celebrate ‘Women’s’ Day’ for the second year running. To an outsider such as me, it feels like a historic occasion. An operetta entitled the ‘Daughters of Salman’ will be performed and there will be female poetry readings and a presentation about the history of the women of this country. I’d love to go (but my husband’s away, I’ve thrown my back out and I can’t work out how you buy tickets!). Even though I’ve…

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The King of Hearts

The King of Hearts

This week, we visited the country’s largest cultural festival.  It’s an annual event opened by the King, lasting over a fortnight.  It’s popularity means that people’s work and school days, flights out of the Kingdom, even the weekly shop, have to be arranged around it because of the traffic created by those queuing to go in.  It’s held in a huge and impressive venue, which is used only once a year to house these festivities. We enjoyed ourselves so much,…

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His-Story

His-Story

The guide book says it’s one of the best-known natural wonders of Bahrain. An enormous acacia tree, widely believed to be 4,000 years old, growing in an otherwise barren desert, it’s source of water a mystery, it’s growth a miracle. Just the name of this tree stirred my emotions as we planned a trip there during half term this week. Driving away from the main road leading out of Bahrain, with the sun low in the sky, we headed towards…

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On the Wheel

On the Wheel

A couple of weeks ago, I joined a group of my friends for a ma’ssalamah brunch, or a good-bye send-off, for those of us who don’t speak Arabic. The good-bye girl had arranged a private bus, fully kitted our with curtains to protect our modesty, to deliver us from the compound to the restaurant. Late as ever, I ran to catch the bus before it drove off without me, my new gold, spangly shoes twinkling in the sunlight like Dorothy’s…

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Sweet Treats

Sweet Treats

Last weekend, I felt like someone let me in on a secret. We’ve lived here in the land of sand for 6 months and 15 days and I have moaned about the heat, struggled to love the desert, and I have searched for local food and music and drawn a blank. That all changed at a camel festival. As the sun sat low on the horizon and a breeze started lifting waves of sand over our heads, we hurried to…

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Streams in the Desert

Streams in the Desert

I’d never been to the Middle East until I got off a plane last July to come and live here.  It was late at night when our plane touched down, delivering us to our first overseas posting- a place so different to anything I had ever known before that I didn’t have any real sense of what my new life would look like.  Dark outside, the harsh airport lighting left me feeling exposed as I made my way through passport…

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The House That Jack Redecorated

The House That Jack Redecorated

People occasionally ask what, as a military family, is the toughest part of moving around with each new posting.  Is it the severed friendships, the search for new schools, the children’s homesickness?  Nope.  It’s the military march-out. For anyone unfamiliar with this term, this is the assessment carried out on your military quarter at the end of your time there to check you’ve returned it to the state in which you received it. On arrival into the quarter, you complete…

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A Tangled Web

A Tangled Web

When my husband was offered a posting in the Middle East, I would be lying if I said the prospect of a driver who would also help me with jobs around the house hadn’t featured in my decision-making process. And now that I’m here, for the first time in a decade wearing clothes that have been ironed, I’m not complaining.  Do I think the benefits of a driver outweigh the reasons for needing one?  That’s perhaps another post… The challenge…

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The Shame of Bad Language

The Shame of Bad Language

  During a disagreement last week with one of our children, I was impressed by their attempt to broker peace: ‘If there was a word bigger than sorry, I’d use it!’  I smiled to myself a few days later when I heard the same dramatic line being delivered by their favourite character in the American sitcom that is given far too much screen time in our house. The statement adopted by this budding thespian of a child expresses quite effectively the…

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Things Above

Things Above

We moved to the Middle East in July last year and experienced a tough summer with very few of our belonging, knowing barely anyone, with temperatures pushing 50C.  Within a fortnight of arriving, my husband’s job took him back to the UK, leaving the rest of us to soldier on alone- something we’re used to as a military family but never before in an abaya, thousands of miles from home, unable to drive or work…  When the new school term…

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