Friday, 30 December 2011


My 95 year old Grandma is in hospital. She fell before Christmas and broke her hip. Since her operation, her dementia has worsened. A businesswoman all her life, she's now convinced that she's owns the hospital and is paying all the staff. She got very angry the other day when the nurses saw to the lady in the next bed first - after all, she owns the hospital, doesn't she?

It's all so sad. She remembers quite a lot and recognises people with prompting, but it's becoming clear now that her nastiness when I last saw her (see this post from last year) may all have been part and parcel of the same thing.

I think we have to face the fact that this is now the beginning of the end. Always a fussy eater, she's refusing hospital food and living on biscuits and crisps, and not many of those, either. I wish I was closer and able to go and see her. All of her other grandchildren have been. Sometimes being an expat is hard.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Merry (authentic) Christmas

Unlike last year, we're spending this Christmas in the Gulf. My husband wasn't given any of the leave he asked for over the holiday period, so we're making the best of the three days off he *does* have (which we're very grateful for, mind you) and staying put.

God willing, he'll land tomorrow night after a trip to New York and then have three full, wonderful days to spend with us - Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

This year has been a mixed one.  A few hopes have been dashed, but a few doors have opened, too.  One thing that's certainly true is that we've grown together as a family. I'm certainly more confident as a Mummy (after my very shaky start) and there is simply nothing like spending time together, just the three of us. Sometimes I catch myself, grinning as my husband plays with our beautiful son, and want to record the moment in my head so I can remember it forever. I think we make precious memories daily at the moment.

So, to the title of this post. I think we're all so fixated on the idea of a "White Christmas" (me included) that it's so easy to forget that Jesus was born in the Middle East. When I feel homesick (which I always do leading up to Christmas) I try to remember that I'm actually celebrating Christmas in the area Jesus lived in his entire life. He never saw a snow flake or frost - nope, he woke up to the sun shining (almost) every day, just like me. It's a thought that gives me a lot of comfort.

So - Merry Christmas to all my readers. May you have a wonderful, love filled Christmas, wherever you are in the world. Thanks for reading, I do appreciate it.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

What really happened on Air France flight 447

Recently, I came across this. It's an article in the magazine Popular Mechanics which contains the transcript of the flight deck recording just prior to the aircraft breaking up and crashing into the sea.

Personally, I think the article is sensationalist and rather unfair. It lays the blame firmly on the most junior of the two FOs at the controls. Admittedly he did react in an incredibly stupid way (pulling the control column up rather than pushing it down) but we all know that humans can behave insanely under extreme stress. As usual, the causes of the accident are many - both pitot tubes freezing at once, Air France failing to train its crews properly on this scenario in the simulator, the extreme weather, and who knows, fatigue may have played a part, too.

What this article does do, though, is remind us that today's aircraft, clever as they are, are not infallible. These pilots felt it was impossible to stall an Airbus, but learned to their cost that it wasn't.

As for that FO in the right hand seat - I can't stop thinking about his family reading this. The poor things. How awful that his final moments are available for all to read - and for all to condemn him, too.



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