Author: David Misselbrook

Gulf culture, social eating and health

Bahrain has sometimes been called a string of shopping malls calling itself a country. This is quite a blinkered view. Bahrain is in fact a string of shopping malls and restaurants calling itself a country. Does it matter if we don’t eat together anymore? There are various markers to suggest that it does, particularly for children. The OECD state that students who do not regularly eat with their parents are significantly more likely to truant from school, and this correlates with school performance. And according to the 2014 European Congress on Obesity, children who do not eat dinner with their parents at least twice a week were 40 percent more likely to be overweight.

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First world problems

Summer in the Gulf gets quite warm. “Trailing spouses” (yes, that is the official visa term from the Ministry of Labour) tend to migrate north for the summer. Those of us working have to dash from one air conditioned environment to another.

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A short break for tribalism, war and dodgy goddesses.

Bahrainis are migratory, especially during the annual Ashoora holiday. Ex-pats and locals alike flee the country, squeezing through Bahrain’s easygoing airport like a cork from champagne. Cyprus is beguilingly close, so there we landed for a couple of days R and R. The Greek goddess Aphrodite beat us to it, allegedly emerging from the sea at Aphrodite’s rock, between Limassol and Paphos. Aphrodite’s subsequent progress is recorded, comic book style, in astounding mosaics on view in Paphos. I guess mosaics were the digital medium of the day – every floor tells a story. But assuming local legends to be...

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Heroes: general practice and Karpman’s triangle

Living in a different culture is exciting and fascinating. But living in Bahrain we do miss “culture” in its other sense. There is a magnificent National Theatre, usually empty, putting on just a few touring shows a year. The nearest opera house is 500 miles away. But for a small nation it sure has lots of cinemas. So this evening we went to see Sully, a film by Clint Eastwood. It stars Tom Hanks as the eponymous pilot, Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, who heroically landed a passenger jet with 155 people on board on the Hudson River in New York...

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Why Slazenger’s cat explains global warming

I admit that Slazenger’s cat is a red herring, but my wife was in a rail carriage a while ago, close to a small group of friends in earnest discussion. One was trying to refer to the paradox of Schrödinger’s cat, but couldn’t quite remember the name, so it came out as Slazenger’s cat, which has remained within our family folklore hereafter. But the cat that explains global warming is owned by a friend, a mathematician rather than a quantum physicist. They were faced with the perennial question – what to do with the cat when they go on...

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