One Mitten Done!

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Yay!! one mitten completed:) It’s been 9 days since I started but it didn’t really take that long. I’ve also been working on a pair of socks which are almost finished. I just can’t let the sock knitting go!

For the observant this mitten is knitted in 2 parts. The first being the plain band around the fingers. For this it was necessary to do a provisional cast on. I have absolutely no memory of ever knitting anything where I had to do this before (I’ve obviously let a sheltered knitting existence!). Luckily, when I entered the term into Google there was a wealth of experienced knitters willing to share their knowledge including quite a few on U-tube. Here is the one I chose https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T7OwOpC6CY. It was easy to follow and I’ve just used it again for the second mitten.

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Once the band has been done it’s just a matter of joining it together using the Kitchener stitch which I’m only too familiar with having knitted all those socks. After picking up the stitches for the main part it’s my favourite ‘knitting in the round’ method with a little shaping for the thumb.

With the way the weather has turned ‘drench’ (wet) and cold I certainly think I’ll get plenty of opportunity to wear them once I’ve finished the second one.

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First signs of winter.

Living in the north of Saudi and 2000 feet above sea level we experience a few cold months usually from November through til March. This year, the temperature has stayed unseasonably high but now there is a definite chill in the air and signs of the approaching winter months are all around.

The leaves on the pomegranate tree have changed colour.

The leaves on the pomegranate tree have changed colour.


The mandarine oranges are ripening.

The mandarine oranges are ripening.


And in the downtown shops the traditional Arab coats, called Farwa, are on sale.
This year's range include some bright colours.

This year’s range include some bright colours.


I went with the intention of buying 1 to take home and ended up buying 2!
My bright Syrian farwa.

My bright Syrian farwa.


And the back view.image
And also from Syria a more conservative farwa.image
I doubt that I will ever wear them out and about in UK unless it’s to a fancy dress party but for summer evenings in the garden they will be great to keep any slight chills at bay:)
So how cold does it get in Tabuk? Today it was a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 19, but later in the week they’re forecasting 0 degrees! Time to put the sandals away for a few months I think!

It only rains on the good people!

There is a saying in UK and probably in other temperate countries that ‘the sun only shines on the righteous’! Here in Saudi Arabia the locals say that it ‘only rains on the good people’.
I arrived in Saudi in 1986 and it was a regular winter occurrence to have the most amazing thunder and lightning storms accompanied with torrential rain and water flowing in the wadis. Obviously, we were all living very wholesome lives! However, since then the winters became much drier and despite prayers for rain and some cloudy days not much precipitation occurred.
This last couple of weeks the weather forecast has sounded hopeful that we have seen the error of our ways and we waited with anticipation for the ‘heavens to open’ and give us some long awaited rain. The newspapers have been filled with reports of floods in areas north, south, east and west of us but not a spot fell in Tabuk! This afternoon it seemed like things were to change. The clouds built up, the sky darkened and a few rain spots became a heavy shower.

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Alas, it didn’t last long and the sun soon came out again.
I suppose, us Tabukkies still have to reform our characters and to push to point further- I had just had my windows cleaned 2 hours before!

Cloudy skies, cool wind and university English language essay.

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The last few days have been cloudy with some sunny spells and a cool breeze which was a bit chilly if you weren’t in a sheltered place. In fact probably more the kind of weather you’d expect in cooler climes like UK – in the summer!
However, I haven’t had much time to worry too much about the weather as I’ve been trying to focus my thoughts on my next Open University assignment. I enjoy the study part but always seem to get myself into a panic when the deadline gets nearer and what I thought was going to be straightforward turns out to be a lot more demanding. It’s weird how it all sounds so perfect and logical in my head but as soon as I try to start writing it all my ideas become as solid as the clouds that have been in the sky this week!
Anyway, this essay is all about the way English is used in higher education around the world and it got me thinking – how many people writing and reading on this blog site are writing in English as a non-native language? And if they are do they also contribute to another blog site in their first language.
Certainly since starting this course about the place of English in the world today it has made me realise that as a first language English speaker some aspects and opportunities are easier for me but my life would be much richer if I was competent in another language as well. And more than this I am totally in awe of the thousands and thousands of people who every day are studying, working and living using English as a foreign language.