Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Apologies to those of you who don't know the back of a horse from the front, and frankly couldn't care less. Here are two photographs taken this morning of me riding my darling Al Kateef. In the top shot my arms are as stiff as pokers and look at poor Al Kateef's head. I think he's saying, "Ouch! You're hurting my mouth!"
In the second photo my instructor Hussein has come into the arena to shout a bit at me - (and wave his long whip around)and just look at the difference in Al Kateef and myself - now there's a straight line from elbow to bit and we're in tune with each other

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Docking Station

He asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I gave him a quite detailed list - a bottle of Un Jardin Sur Le Nil, a Sony HandyCam, a sports watch, Christmas edition of the Spectator, The Natural Confectionery Company's jelly dinosaur sweets, Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall, Tefal's new chip pan - because years ago he bought me a collection of Alexander McCall Smith novels that I'd already read -
And what did I get for Christmas?
Yes, well, I didn't know what it was either.
He was very enthusiastic. He said, "I spent hours choosing this in the shop. I listened to all of them. This one is top of the line. It has the best sound quality."
"Yes, but what is it?"
"An iPod docking station."
"What's an iPod docking station?"

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Team Tinsley

Once Beatrice learns to rise to the trot and Rex recovers his bottle I'm thinking I might teach them how to play polo - if only I could be sure they'd use the mallets to strike only the ball and not each other...

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Christmas Carol

I'm reading the children A Christmas Carol. They've been listening patiently enough but I've been wondering if perhaps it's too difficult for them to understand, what with the old fashioned language and adult themes.
So today we watched A christmas Carol The Musical with Kelsey Grammer as Scrooge...
And in the midst of all the singing they told me: "This is exactly the same as the book, Mum. Everything Mr. Scrooge says in the movie, he has already said in the book..."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Home Thoughts from Abroad

Sometimes I wish I could fly home for Christmas. To frosty skies and roaring log fires. A hamper from Fortnum and Mason. Carol singers sipping mulled wine. The Christmas Day rerun of National Velvet. Then I read something like Republican Rudolf on-line from my local newspaper and I remember why I don't live in Northern Ireland any more...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Stocking

Bahrain is an island with a busy seaport; ships from all over the world drop anchor. The children have each filled a stocking to give to four sailors for Christmas.
This is what they chose for each stocking:
Deodorant, shaving foam, razors, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, chewing gum, sweeties and Vaseline.
The Vaseline was my idea - to stop the sailor's lips from chapping at sea.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Manners Maketh Man

Manila: An act of gallantry paid huge dividends for a 'humble gentleman' who won $17million in a Philippine lottery after letting a woman jump a queue and buy what would have been his losing ticket.
The 63 year old winner's elation when collecting his money this week was tinged with empathy for the excited lady who pushed in front of him, the Lottery said. "The woman cut in. He was being very gentlemanly so he just stepped back and allowed her," said Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office chair Margie Juico. "When he won he kept thinkig: how sad for that woman. She could have won the big prize if she had just been patient."

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tequila Christmas Cake

1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup brown sugar
Lemon juice
4 large eggs
1 bottle tequila
2 cups dried fruit
Sample the tequila to check quality Take a large bowl; check the tequila again to be sure it is of the highest quality.
Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar. Beat again.
At this point, it is best to make sure the tequila is still OK. Try another cup just in case.
Turn off the mixerer thingy.
Break 2 eggs and add to the bowl and chuck iin the cup of dried fruit. Pick the fruit up off the floor.
Mix on the turner.
If the fried druit getas stuck in the beaterers, just pry it loose with a drewscriver.
Sample the tequila to test for tonsisticity.
Next, sift 2 cups of salt, or something.
Check the tequila. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.
Grease the oven.
Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.
Don't forget to beat off the turner
Finally, throw the bowl through the window. Finish the tequila and wipe the counter with the cat.
Cherry Christmas

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Can it really be true that these three gollliwogs were originally called Golly, Wolly and Ni**er? Thanks to political correctness they've been rechristened Wiggie, Waggie and Woggie. It's just a pity political correctness stopped at the renaming of our heros and didn't censor their dirty habits. Allow me to quote a sentence on p.140:
'Now that afternoon Wiggie went out to buy some cigarettes.'

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Brotherly Love

Rex and Bea are very good friends when they're not killing each other. This morning Bea was struggling to tie her shoe laces. Rex stopped gelling his hair(!)and sat down on the day bed beside her. I over heard him saying: "Just copy me and I'll teach you.... Now this is the difficult bit... Noone can do this the first time..."
It took a while but he perservered, and now Bea can tie her own laces.
"I'm so proud of you Rex, you're such a lovely big brother!"
"Thanks Mum."
Five minutes later they were fighting again - he pulled the bunches out of her hair and she kicked him hard on the shin with her well laced up trainer.