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Archive for January 16th, 2019

This morning I finished reading the book; Arabia, A Journey Through the Heart of the Middle East by Levison Wood – curled up in bed, snug and warm with a cup of tea (me that is , not the author haha), I settled in to finish the last 100 pages of this incredible story….and from that, you can deduce that I did not go walking today…it’s cold and grey out and I’m still shattered after all the stress and trauma of yesterday’s morning visit to the labour ward…more about that in a separate article.

book reviews, book recommendations, walking the nile levison wood, arabia levison wood, travel adventures

Viking Bay, Broadstairs after lunch

As with Walking the Nile I am left feeling just a little bit bereft at reaching the end of this particular journey. Even if the book had been a massive tome of 900 pages or more, I would still be feeling sad that I’d read the last page…. this time even the acknowledgements had to be pored over – their names all bear witness! Of the many characters met along the way, their personalities briefly revealed, the one I liked the most is Nada. My kind of fiesty lady. Whereas the name of Khaled al-Assad left me in tears. I remember reading about this amazing man at the time…over 3 years ago already 😦 My heart aches for him and his family. My heart aches for us.

I feel as if there is a story waiting to be told for each country visited. Delving deeper into the lives of people met, the places they live and the fabric of their lives. Imagine what a collection that would make on the bookshelf!! I feel as if I would like to meet each and every one of them – even the bat-shit crazy ones, linger over a meal and learn more about who they are and where they live. After all, regardless of location, race, colour, creed, religion, beliefs or values, at the end of the day we are ALL just people living our lives with hopes and dreams.

I am left both inspired and saddened by this journey through Arabia – A Journey Through the Heart of the Middle East. I have learned SO much and it infuriates me that we in the West are fed so much misinformation. It FRUSTRATES and angers me that there are so many factions, and frictions, old betrayals and new. That we, the UK, have even had a part to play in this over the centuries is both heart-breaking and sickening. I’m not going to delve into my political thoughts and feelings, since it’s not appropriate for this particular article, suffice to say that my eyes are just a little more open and I can’t imagine the conflicting emotions the author must have felt at certain times considering his background.

I am inspired to learn more about the adventurer TE Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia), who travelled those paths before Levison. To learn more about the Victorian explorer Richard Burton and Wilfred Thesiger, and to visit some of the places mentioned in the book; Jericho, Bethlehem and Damascus  in particular, as well as the many, many wondrous and ancient places he visited, to stand on top of those mountains and see the verdant valleys below in Lebanon and to spend a few days in the desert with a Bedouin tribe. Petra has always been high on my list of places I want to go…..

The Middle East seems to be a real contrast of expectations and reality, and there is so much more waiting to be discovered just below the surface. I was left bemused, terrified and exalted at various points along the way. I also cried at times….tears of despair and joy – the event in Bethlehem in particular brought me to tears…in a good way. The risks the author took in order to follow through with his journey and to reach his destination were extraordinary. The people who helped him along the way, sometimes at great risk to their own personal safety are extraordinary. Where there is a will, there is indeed a way. And how lucky are we, the reader, that they all did take those risks.

This particular book; Arabia, is not your usual travel journey that paints a pretty picture of places explored. No, it’s gritty and harsh and at times you are left feeling devastated at the destruction of a people and a place…and I’m talking in particular of Syria and Palestine. (p.s. if you have myopic views about the situation in either of these two countries please do NOT feel the need to express them in the comments).

If you have read this far, then I can highly recommend both these books; Arabia and Walking the Nile. So what’s next? Well I guess I am going to have to track down Walking the Himalayas….no pun intended LOL and Walking the Americas and make a plan to watch the Channel 4 documentaries.

Unfortunately for them, the charity shops won’t be seeing either of these books, Arabia or Walking the Nile from me LOL. Instead I shall treasure them and encourage my grandson to read them when he is ready; hopefully to inspire him to travel the world. I will most certainly be delving into them again….hopefully at a slower pace next time. As with all journeys, I’m sad it’s over.

I am left with the words of the John Lennon song in my mind; IMAGINE – all the people living life in peace….

I can highly recommend this book as a damn good read; Arabia; A Journey Through the Heart of the Middle East and while you’re at it….why not read Walking the Nile. Author: Levison Wood.book reviews, book recommendations, walking the nile levison wood, arabia levison wood, travel adventures

Meanwhile back at Planet Thanet, I have the book I’m writing for my grandson to complete. He’s due within the next 2 weeks and I’d like to complete it before he arrives. The Incredible Journey of James Alexander McKenzie-Hoult aka Jamie aka Peanut 🙂 I am SO looking forward to saying for real….. #Peanutisontheway

And I have An Evening with Levison Wood to look forward to next week…my tickets have been purchased and I’m ‘praying’ that Peanut doesn’t decide to arrive on that day…..before would be good and after just as well. LOL We’re focusing on the 18th…..

Alhamdulillah and RIP Khaled al-Assad may you truly have found peace, I’m sure you will never be forgotten.

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A couple of weeks ago my daughter decided she wanted a ‘birthing blanket’. Something that would be a significant reminder of her labour, besides the obvious 👶🏻💙 of course 😀, and something that I could focus on whilst she’s in labour and therefore keep me calm 🤔🤔❣️ So we strolled up to the wool shop on the high street one day and she chose a deep maroon colour which is as close to the placental colour as we could find. For the ‘blanket’ shawl she chose one of the patterns I had from before she was born (the price is a good indication of how old it is 38 years+). Its the same pattern I used to knit the jacket in the pic for her as part of her layette.

matinee jacket and shawl

the shawl I’m currently knitting for my daughter

I knitted the jacket for Peanut 🙂

baby matinee jacket

Exactly the same one I knitted for my daughter when she was a baby, except hers was pale green

Earlier this week she had what we thought was the start of labour, so I cast on the 224 stitches and started knitting… but it petered out…the labour, not the knitting.IMG_20190123_145327_175

I’ve taken it with me to the hospital for the last 2 visits and although I didn’t get much done, its a start. 😀😀 I hope to start knitting again soon because it would mean that #Peanutisontheway❣️ 👶🏻 💙 I’m knitting in the strands of wool left over from all the little jackets I’ve knitted for him so far.

I have to keep reminding myself to breathe 😂😂 It’s almost 40 weeks now and we’re hoping he starts his incredible journey from womb to world soon….

I’m busy transferring photos from phone to Dropbox so as to have plenty of space for baby photos. I found some Thomas the Tank Engine books at the charity shop earlier this week. I loved that one of the engines in the book is called James 😀😀😀👶🏻💙 Close enough to Jamie (now his chosen name, as opposed to the original choice of James) And a poetry book is a must. Its not like we have a shortage of books for him, however I had to get it for my little Peanut. Daddy read it to him that same night. My son-in-law Simon, has been a phenomenal partner for my daughter during her pregnancy, a massive tower of support, and most especially the last few weeks.

becoming a granny, first time parents, first pregnancy

12.05.2018 still with tears of joy and disbelief in their eyes…their first scan…there’s a baby on the way

He’s read a story to Jamie just about every night almost from the beginning of the pregnancy 🤰 and has kept a diary of events and things that have happened since they first discovered they were pregnant. This baby is so fortunate to have 2 amazing parents who both have such incredible levels of integrity and respect and will instil in him their best values and beliefs.

It’s not long to go now and we’re ready for you baby boy ❣️❣️❣️

I really cannot wait to say #Peanutisontheway ❣️

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