Bring on the summer!

It’s been a long slog but I’ve made it to the end of my Open University course and submitted the last assignment:)



Having been a Primary School Teacher for 30+ years children’s literature featured daily in my life but it didn’t prepare me for what I experienced from doing this course. I was a little surprised when I first looked at the reading list to find I had only read a couple of the books- Treasure Island and Peter Rabbit. Of course I was familiar with Peter Pan, but only through watching the Disney cartoon! So a lot of new reading experiences were in store. As you can imagine some I loved and some I was thoroughly sick of by the time I’d completed the relevant assignment. I was surprised to find myself really enjoying Swallows and Amazons and I absolutely loved Role of Thunder by Mildred D. Taylor. Her account of growing up as a black child in the American South in the 60’s was both educational and entertaining and, I should imagine, would definitely give older children something to think about. Perhaps the set of books that I found most of an eye-opener myself, were the dystopic, teenage books- Junk, The Bunker Diaries and Divergent. Their topics of drugs, violence, teenage pregnancy, kidnapping, death and teenage prostitution were definitely a lot different to anything that I read as a teenager- and probably from the books I read now! I definitely learned a lot and I doubt I’ll ever read a children’s book in the same way again! As in those long ago school and student days, the exams are over -Bring on the long, lazy days of summer:)


Farewell January!

Fabulous skiing in Lech.I was dreading January as I seemed to remember, in the past, it just dragged on and on tediously and depressingly for what was definitely a lot longer than 31 days. But, not this first January since leaving Saudi:)

I suppose one reason could be not having to drag myself out of my bed on cold, dark mornings and drive to work in whatever the weather decided to deliver! How different to go in search of the snow for pleasure. Definitely, getting away to Austria for a lovely week’s skiing and excellent food helped January slip by more enjoyably.

Scrummy apple strudel.

Scrummy apple strudel.

Since getting back I’ve been frantically trying to catch up with my OU course, Children’s Literature. Up until now I’ve plodded through the set books because I’ve had to, but the books this time have been much more engaging, as far as I’ve been concerned. As a primary school teacher of over 30 years I’m embarrassed to admit how few I’ve read. This month the 4 novels are all literary award winners- Swallows and Amazons, tom’s Midnight Garden, northern Lights and Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry. The last one, set in 1930’s Mississippi, USA, was the one that drew me in the most. It definitely will stay with me a long time and even although I know about the injustices of the apartheid ¬† era it is still frightening how people can commit such horrific acts on another human being.

A definite must read!

A definite must read!

Sadly, looking around we have not moved on and atrocities are still inflicted on others just because they are  different.

O dear, I’ve got a bit off track!

So here we are in February,the shortest month of the year, and the last one before my 1 year anniversary of returning home. How time flies!


It’s the weekend here in Saudi so a perfect time to catch up on some serious study for my Open University course. Having received my books a few weeks ago I’ve been really proud of how far ahead I’ve been able to get with the reading. Now comes the first assignment. This week I’ve been trying to get together the notes I think I need to make a start on writing my essay.

So this was how much of my day should have been spent.
This is what was achieved instead.

Five flower brooches that I hope will appeal to a few people at the Christmas Fayre on our compound in December.
I’m really happy with them -only feel a little guilty about doing zero work on my essay and feel positive that tomorrow I’ll be in a more literary mood- Inshallah! As they say in Arabia!

The end is in sight!

Lovely sense of relief this evening as I’ve just submitted my 6th assignment for my Open University course:) If I had access to some alcohol I think I’d be having a wee tipple!

I now have 2 weeks to get the ‘biggie’ together. A mere 3000 words about bits of the course I haven’t covered in the 6 assignments- well I think that’s what it basically entails as I haven’t really read the question yet!
This last section included the topic of translation. Being only an English speaker myself I can’t really appreciate the extent that some things just don’t have the same meaning when translated, but there’s definitely something ‘Lost in Translation’ on this sign I saw at the local zoo!

With no alcohol to hand I’m going to celebrate the completion of my essay with some extra knitting time:) My new project is a pair of socks for my niece. Hoping she’s going to like the bright rainbow effect.