Tim Mackintosh-Smith talks ‘Arabs’

The British-Yemeni Society, The International Association for the Study of Arabia and the MBI Al Jaber Foundation were hosting Tim Mackintosh-Smith in conversation with Ian Black on the book ‘Arabs’ by Tim.

With a break in the gales over Britian and the overcast weather breaking into a bright, sunny day, I took the opportunity to walk to SOAS, where the conversation would take place, and pass through the British Museum on my way to hear them.

Hidden in the museum’s Sir Percival David Collection I found a Ming Dynasty ceramic, which shows the reach of the Arab language and, as a result, Arab world. It’s a piece that may have been a prayer focus for a Muslim at the Ming court.

Ming Dynasty Jingdezhen Tablet in Arabic Script AD 1506-21
Ming Dynasty Jingdezhen Tablet in Arabic Script AD 1506-21

Deeper inside the Museum I cam across the Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World where I found a piece to get me in the mood for Tim Mackintosh-Smith’s overview, a rather splendid Yemeni Jambiyya. Its sheath is covered in gilded filigree, while the fantastic belt is leather with silk and silver embroidery.

Yemeni Jambiyya 1970-1976 British Museum
Yemeni Jambiyya 1970-1976 British Museum

Tim’s talk was well attended and though to help promote his book, I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone already had a copy. He was remarkably  a character in the book about Yemen by Eric Hansen ‘Motoring with Mohammed’ (under a pseudonym Martin Plimsole) in which he was portrayed as a connoisseur of the rituals and chewing of Qat.

Eric Hansen ‘Motoring with Mohammed’
Eric Hansen ‘Motoring with Mohammed’

He still is and noted that the leaf was listed as a narcotic in Britain by Theresa May, who went against the advice of here own expert advisers and banned it. One particular reminiscence I enjoyed was Tim recounting a

Arabs by Tim Mackintosh Smith
Arabs by Tim Mackintosh Smith

visit he made to the home of a family in Mali, whose ancestors also hosted the Arab traveller Ibn Battuta. Almost 700 years ago Ibn Battuta made a journey through the Arab’s lands, aided by their common language and religion, and onto China in which Arabic was already a language of trade.

Prince William visits Oman for a short visit after arriving from Kuwait

Prince William flew in from Kuwait to visit Oman in early December 2019. Sultan Qaboos met with him in Bait Al Baraka.

 

Sultan Qaboos meets Prince William
Sultan Qaboos meets Prince William

On Prince William’s arrival he first went to Khasab where he was received by Sayyid Ibrahim bin Said al Busaidy Governor of Musandam.

Prince William and Sayyid Ibrahim bin Said al Busaidy, Governor of Musandam
Prince William and Sayyid Ibrahim bin Said al Busaidy, Governor of Musandam

Then he flew into Muscat Continue readingPrince William visits Oman for a short visit after arriving from Kuwait

London Book Fair 2018

The offer for me to fill the vacant Presidential seat at the Book Fair London 2018 got turned down,

The President is Missing – London Book Fair
The President is Missing – London Book Fair

though I guess the new book by Bill Clinton and James Patterson ‘The President is Missing’ will Continue reading “London Book Fair 2018”

Cambridge and King’s Lynn England

After all the snow and freezing weather, it was great to make a visit to Cambridge & Kings Lynn.

Kettles Yard Cambridge
Kettle’s Yard Cambridge

Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge re-opened in early Continue reading “Cambridge and King’s Lynn England”

Oman outstrips the UK with 4G speed and availability.

In a new report – Long-Term Evolution (LTE) November 2017 by opensignal.com – the state of some of the world’s 4G services was covered.

4G availability
4G availability

4G availability was 96.69% in South Korea (as a proportion of time actual users have access to 4G rather than simple geographic coverage). Oman achieved Continue reading “Oman outstrips the UK with 4G speed and availability.”

An English Summer Weekend

Almost perfect weather for cycling got me out into the English countryside of East Anglia where Classic Cars were on show

Biking through the English Summer
Biking through the English Summer

and the Thaxted Morris Men and Continue reading “An English Summer Weekend”

Wallace Collection and Daunt Books

Just north of crowded Oxford Street in London is probably the most opulent single collection of decorative arts in Britain, the Wallace Collection in Hertford House.

Hertford House - London
Hertford House – London

Gifted to Britain by Lady Wallace in 1897, the collection was Continue reading “Wallace Collection and Daunt Books”

Wandering through London

North of London’s centre for Lawyers is Lincoln’s Inn Fields one of London’s great public squares.

Sir John Soane's Museum
Sir John Soane’s Museum

It’s where one of London’s oldest and nicest Museums, Sir John Soane’s Museum, is located. Despite the good weather I had a Continue reading “Wandering through London”