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CAR USEL D I P LO M A T I C S E RV I C E FA M I L I E S A S S O C I A T I O N M A G A Z I N E | S P R I N G 2 0 1 8

The challenges of moving schools Page 14 Diplomatic Life with Anorexia Page 18 Sponsorship Scheme Success Page 20 Sensory Processing Disorder Page 26

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Contents Spring 2018

Editorial DSFA Staff......................................................................................... 04 Letter from the DSFA ........................................................................ 05

Cover photo: St James’ Park © Abobe Stock/I-Wei Huang

Elizabeth Vessey shares how the Spouse Sponsorship Scheme helped her follow her dream (page 20).

Regular features News, Classifieds, Births and Deaths .............................................06 Workshops, courses and seminars ..................................................08 Interview: Angela Rees....................................................................11 Membership ....................................................................................13 Education…………........................................................................15 Special Needs and Disability...........................................................16 Community Liaison Officer ..............................................................17 DSFA merchandise and FCO Christmas cards .................................29 UK FRIENDS .....................................................................................30 Book Reviews...................................................................................32 Membership Information .................................................................36 From Our Correspondent: Nihad Elnujumi .......................................38

Features Remembering Lady Maitland ..........................................................12 Moving Schools................................................................................14 Diplomatic Life with Anorexia .........................................................18 Employment Assistance Programme ...............................................19 Sponsorship Scheme Success .........................................................20 The Lost Palace ...............................................................................22 Sensory Processing Disorder ..........................................................26 Education Postbag............................................................................28 Land of Moons and Stars ................................................................34

Face your Fears with Nihad Elnujumi (Page 38).

Published for The Diplomatic Service Families Association by Method Publishing, 64 Main Street, Golspie, Sutherland, Scotland KW10 6TG For advertising enquiries contact: Chris Cappie, Tel: 01463 732223 e-mail: web: Design and Typography: © Method Publishing 2018 Content: © Diplomatic Service Families Association 2018 Editor: Chelin Miller No responsibility for the quality of goods or services advertised in this publication can be accepted by the Publishers or Printers, or by The Diplomatic Service Families Association. Advertisements are accepted on the express condition that the advertiser warrants that they in no way contravene the provisions of the Trades Descriptions Act 1968 nor any other prevailing legislation in the United Kingdom.

Contact us:

We are always pleased to receive your contributions to Carousel. Please submit your letters and articles to Views expressed in Carousel are not necessarily those of the Diplomatic Service Families Association or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Every effort is made to check factual accuracy, but no guarantees are expressed or implied. In particular, readers should satisfy themselves about the authenticity of products advertised. ©All rights reserved.


DSFA STAFF at your service

Informing, assisting and campaigning on behalf of UK diplomatic families worldwide.

Jason Steelman* Executive Director 020 7008 0277

Nesia Atkinson Office Secretary 020 7008 0286

Anne-Marie Cole* Education Adviser 020 7008 4502

Linda Fox* Office Manager, Sponsorship Scheme Co-ordinator 020 7008 0283

Anna Shrubsole Accounting Officer 020 7008 7934

Geraldine McKendrick Careers & Professional Development Adviser 020 7008 0278

Chelin Miller* Publications & Communications Officer 020 7008 0294

Shiona Morgan JP* Deputy Executive Director 020 7008 0273

Amanda Neil Special Needs & Disability Adviser 020 7008 0282

Angela Rees* Distribution Officer 020 7008 2640

Di Sinclair Going Abroad Adviser 020 7008 0281

DSFA Office Foreign and Commonwealth Office, DSFA, Room K.G.42, King Charles Street, London SW1A 2AH *Member of the Carousel Editorial Committee.


Tuti Suwidjiningsih* Membership Officer 020 7008 7260

Revaldo Walters* CLO Adviser 020 7008 0284

Tel: 020 7008 0286 or 020 7008 0283 Fax: 020 7008 0280 Email: | Facebook: DSFA London

Letter from the DSFA Dear Members, Since I joined the DSFA team and settled into the new role of Executive Director, I have been faced with many issues.These have ranged from the evolution of the FCO and our response, to working with staff and members while we adjust to larger societal and cultural shifts. Add in a mix of my own posting preparations and it’s been a busy 3 months.This has led me to reflect on the nature of change, our response and often a resistance to the various disruptions in our life. You may be going through your own personal “change programme”. A marriage, birth of a child or change in employment all lead to fluctuations in what we feel is normality. Of particular difficulty will be the unique challenge of going on an overseas posting or returning to the UK, which can pose its own stress. Here at least, the DSFA still provides a network of support and advice. We are surrounded, inundated, daily with change, positive or negative; voluntary or forced. It is inevitable and there are some things facing us which we have only a small element of control. As I’m sure you are aware the FCO is undergoing its own change programme with their strategic look at Diplomacy 20:20 and the 21st Century lifestyle. The DSFA remains committed to ensuring families remain a key part of this development and not left as an afterthought. We continue to advocate our members’ concerns with the FCO administration through our discussions with key senior officials. We are particularly active in the planning on

spouse employment, accommodation and overall quality of life for diplomatic families. Of course, there is the larger change in society, namely Brexit.The PUS recently described Brexit as providing “the context for everything”, and it is the background noise of our everyday lives.The scale of this change will be massive but the effects will be felt individually. We have been approached by members with concerns about the fallout and personal impact Brexit will have on themselves and their future. Whilst we strive to help allay these concerns, there is still much which is unknown (and indeed unknowable right now). We will continue to support, advise and most importantly inform our members when we have any clarity on the changes arising from Brexit. We would also encourage our members to support each other and reach out on our website and social media sites. We, in the DSFA office, are very conscious that many of our members and/or their DS spouses or partners are in difficult and challenging conditions overseas as well as stressful environments here in the UK. As we move through 2018 and the changes ahead of us, let’s come together to strengthen our resilience in support of the diplomatic families throughout the world.

Summer 2018

For the next issue we will focus on portable careers, as well as any other aspects of the lives of DSFA spouses, partners and families. Please send us your contributions – your experiences are so valuable and reassuring to other members.

Copy Deadline: Monday 7 May Articles between 700-900 words are welcome.

Photographs For printing, please send separate jpg files of minimum 300dpi and around 1Mb in size. If you are not sure, please send them anyway. Send copy and photos to

Thank you,

Editorial Committee

Best wishes,

Jason A. Steelman Executive Director

Welcome to the DSFA members’ magazine! In this issue we have received excellent contributions around a subject very close to all members, Coping. We cover features from generations past to the new faces that form the diplomatic life now. Jenny Simpson movingly opens up to tell us about her fight against anorexia; Sarah Hitchens gives professional advice on moving schools and its impact on children’s mental health; ClareYeatman-Crouch tells us about her daughter’s struggle to find a school that will cater for her needs; Elizabeth Vessey shares her success and hopes for a portable career; Nihad Elnujumi encourages us to fight our fears; and many other articles that I hope you will find interesting and inspiring. Editorial Committee



DSFA Annual Meeting Please keep 24th May in your diary for the DSFA Annual Meeting. More details to follow.

BFPO addresses and UK state school applications A Please do not use a BFPO or correspondence address on the Common Application Form. The catchment/distance criterion will be matched against the address on your form so it's best to enter your actual UK residential address, ie the address at which you'll be living and this should be the same address you use on the FCO HRD letter of support which will accompany the form. You can check with the admissions authority about using an electronic contact address, so as to avoid confusion. You don't want the school admissions staff to link your application to the BFPO distribution centre postcode because the chances are that it's a completely different area from the one in which you'll be living.

Obituaries John Louis Katzaros

Passed away peacefully on 1st February, 2017 after long suffering, bravely borne. Messages of condolence to his wife Mary by email, at

Anna Dorman

Anna was born on 2 December 1924 and died on 30 March 2017. She grew up bilingual in English and Polish. From 1960 to 1985 she served with me in Cyprus, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Romania, South Africa, and finally Vanuatu, where I was High Commissioner. In all these posts she made a special contribution to the welfare of wives and staff and had a large circle of friends. In retirement she served for many years as a Samaritan volunteer.

Angela Isolde Bowler

Angela, widow of Digby Bowler, passed away 4 April 2017.

Angela met Digby in Nairobi where he was working at the High Commission. At the time she was a widow with three small children, Sandra, Phil and Nicky, and working for the Attorney General of the newly independent Kenya. They married in 1968 and travelled with the FCO to Bahrain, Calcutta, Khartoum, Budapest and Mbabane. Back in England Angela sat on the BDSA committee (now DSFA) for a number of years, travelling to London regularly to represent the Hanslope Park members. Angela was a devoted mother and grandmother to seven. She will be much missed by her family and by her many friends including the Northampton DSFA group of wives.

Jean (Lady) Maitland

4 January 1923 – 2 July 2017. See article on page 12

Tony McMahon

CLASSIFIED ADS AU-PAIR WANTED British family living in Strasbourg, France, seeks a responsible and independent au-pair to help look after 2 children aged 4 and 7 months (both at school and crèche) from September 2018 for 6 months – 1 year. Duties would include helping with breakfast, school drop-offs or pick-ups and helping with child-care from 15 – 18.30 Mon, Tue, Thu and Fri. Some babysitting would also be required, along with help with light housework (total would be c. 5.5 hours per day, with weekends off). The person would be treated as a member of the family, including accompanying the family on some travel. Would suit anyone looking to combine childcare experience with learning French during the mornings. We are looking for someone over 21 with some previous childcare experience. Competitive Au-pair salary depending on experience, holidays and contribution to study fees included, as well as board and lodging and the outward and return travel provided. For all interest please contact: or +44 7557 818816 or 079120732469

Dr Barbara Munske-Cresswell Systemic Psychotherapist Offering Online Therapy & Counselling at any location that suits you in English and German

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Looking for support? Unless we're unusually lucky, most of us need support at some time in our lives, whether linked to the end of a relationship, bereavement, moving overseas, coping with illness, or any of the other life events to which we are all vulnerable I am an experienced Psychotherapist/Counsellor

Tony McMahon died on October 2nd 2017 after a series of debilitating illnesses. He is greatly missed by his wife, Gill, as well as sons Sean and Chris. He was a great husband, father grandfather and great-grandfather and most loved by all his family. He served in Dusseldorf, Tegucigalpa, Durban, Pakistan, West Berlin and ended up as Consul General in Bilbao, before a home posting and retirement.

Working in central London and Oxford

Andrew David Forbes Henderson

• Young people/family/parenting issues

Andy Henderson, former Ambassador to Algiers and ConsulGeneral in Johannesburg, died on 30 December after a brief illness. Andy leaves behind his wife Julia and his daughters.

We have learnt of the death of the following FCOA members

Tony Rowlands, 6 December John Clibborn CMG, 16 December George Moore MBE, 24 December Red Shaw, 27 December Andy Henderson, 30 December


Seeing adults, couples and young people My specialisms include: • Intercultural issues e.g. intercultural marriage, migration, expatriation • Bereavement and loss SARA HITCHENS Psychotherapist/Counsellor MBACP (Accredited) Email: Tel: 0784 158 1925

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Choose Boarding at St Catherine’s, Bramley for your daughter because… We Understand Girls

‘Boarding pupils achieve well above expectations due to the excellent support provided for their studies by their peers and boarding staff’ (ISI Report Oct 2016) Girls board in age-specific boarding houses, forming a close-knit and supportive community. Your daughter’s Boarding Housemistress (BHM) has a wealth of training and experience caring for girls. Moreover, she is a qualified teacher so advice when prep. is a little ‘tricky’ comes as standard. Your daughter will be nurtured throughout her secondary school years, from her first days settling in, to making friends, sitting public exams and, finally, to when she leaves us as a capable and confident young woman.

There is no excuse to say ‘I’m bored! Boarding is at the centre of the action! Boarding houses are all on site, with easy access to extremely impressive facilities, including, music practice rooms, tennis courts, dance studio, fitness suite, swimming pool and sports hall. At weekends girls experience an exciting range of activities, from cultural excursions to theatres, museums and galleries to theme parks and the seaside. London’s cultural and entertainment attractions are just an hour away, whilst the historic county town of Guildford is on our doorstep. Being surrounded by miles of stunning countryside and close to the coast makes access to the great outdoors a breeze. St Catherine’s welcomes day girls and boarders, and so your daughter won’t find herself living in a boarding bubble. It isn’t uncommon for boarders to spend occasional weekends with day friends and their families and we reciprocate by extending a warm welcome to day girls through Friends on Fridays when boarders invite a friend to stay over in boarding.

She will learn fundamental life-skills ‘Pupils report that boarding has helped immensely with their development of their own self-confidence and self-esteem.’ (ISI Oct 2016) Boarders learn essential organisational skills, while still benefiting from structured support. For example, they understand the need to ‘work smart’, learning to balance time and commitments - something St Catherine’s parents report on positively when their daughters are home during the holidays. Prep is done, initially, under close supervision, but as she grows older, your daughter will appreciate the gradual independence she is afforded with her own quiet work space, but still enjoying the confidence that help, when needed, is at hand. Living in a vibrant community of boarders from approximately 15 countries, your daughter will develop a wider world view. Tolerance, kindness and consideration for others all develop quite naturally, and boarders form friendships which last a lifetime.

We offer value without making compromises In the Best Schools league tables ( we are comfortably in the UK’s Top 5 Girls’ Boarding Schools based on the percentage of A* and A grades gained at A Level and, yet, we have the lowest fees by some margin. However, as you will see when you visit us, there are no short measures. St Catherine’s simply offers an outstanding, unforgettable boarding education.


Courses, workshops and seminars for spouses and partners

DSFA training courses are currently free to FCO spouses and partners but priority is given to those members who are up-to-date with their annual DSFA subscriptions – to subscribe please use the DSFA standing order form. Due to budgetary constraints, we make a nominal charge to OGD spouses and partners for attending DSFA courses.

Careers and Professional Development Geraldine McKendrick Careers and Professional Development Adviser 020 7008 0278

Courses and career services updates

Career coaching programme for accompanying spouses and partners: the Net Expat Career Coaching Programme

management needs of spouses and partners accompanying FCO officers overseas on a posting. It is preferred that participants already have their posting confirmed in order to benefit from the targeted advice and support the course provides. The course will give participants a chance to assess and re-evaluate their career skills and what they may have to offer a new job market. There will be practical support and advice on subjects such as CV writing, job hunting strategies and a chance to brainstorm with fellow course members. The course is run for the DSFA by Susie Lawrence, a Careers Consultant from Runway Consultancy.

Working on the Move: Creating a successful small business

Tuesday 20 March 2018, 1000-1600, KCS, London To register, please email

Full members* of the DSFA who are currently posted overseas or who have a confirmed overseas posting, are able to apply for the Net Expat coaching programme. This consists of six individual 1-hour sessions with a locally based career coach or, if you’re in a location where there is no local coach, you can arrange for your coaching sessions to be delivered via Skype or by telephone. Three different options are available: - Job Search Coaching, Career Continuation and Self-Employment programmes- and you can choose the one that’s the best fit for this stage in your career development. The programme is normally completed within a period of 3-4 months. *Spouses and partners of globally mobile diplomatic service FCO staff

This highly interactive seminar will appeal to those who either have a business or who are thinking of starting one, on the move! Together, we will work on the fundamentals of establishing your portable business and promoting it. We will discuss customers’ needs and suggestions. We will also focus on messages, branding strategy and on / offline communication activities such as LinkedIn, blogs, twitter, Facebook, networking and PR. The session is informative and action-oriented, as you will learn and work on your business plan through group discussion and practical exercises. As a result, you will gain confidence, clarity and ideas to successfully move your business forward. This seminar will be delivered by Sophie Appleby, a marketing and new business development coach and trainer. About Sophie Appleby -

To apply for the programme, please email Geraldine.McKendrick@ and include your partner’s PF number, your location or the starting date of your overseas posting.

Interview Skills

Career Support Workshops

UK Job Search

Wedensday 9 May 2018, 1000-1630, KCS, London. To register, please email: This course has been specially designed for the DSFA and is suitable both for returning UK partners and for foreign-born partners coming to the UK job market for the first time. The emphasis of the course is on practical, hands-on techniques to help participants make informed decisions about career direction and job applications. The course is designed to help participants develop a personal action plan for their search for work: sessions include identifying personal skills and attributes, identifying career choices, preparing a CV and making an effective job search. The course is run by Catherine Debray, a careers consultant from Career Potential (

Working Overseas Workshop

Tuesday 22 May 2018 To register, please email This is a course specially designed for the DSFA to meet the career


Thursday 15 November 2018, 1000-1600, Entente Cordiale room, K1.33 To register, please email Increase your confidence in interviewing in this workshop for spouses/partners of FCO staff. In this session you'll have a chance to learn some simple techniques for finding stories and strategies for appearing more confident during a job interview. We'll discuss the different types of interviews you might have in the UK, help you to focus your answers by using the STAR technique for maximum impact and provide you with an opportunity to practise in a mock interview and receive feedback. This workshop will be delivered by Pat Keener from Keener Inspiration. (

Career Coaching via Skype We’re offering a free career coaching session via Skype or face to face (in London) to DSFA full members posted overseas and those who have recently moved back to the UK. To date 50+ DSFA members have used this service and we have had very good feedback. This is a one-to-one session of one hour with a professional career coach and provides you with the opportunity to discuss any career or employment-related queries and concerns. Appointments will be strictly on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information and to arrange an appointment, please email

Business Coaching via Skype

Full DSFA members who are running a small business can now arrange a free business coaching session via Skype. The coach is Sophie Appleby who delivers the DSFA Small Business seminar and who has extensive experience in helping organisations become more customer focused, working on their marketing and sales as well as creating an effective mindset for success. Again appointments will be strictly on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information and to arrange an appointment, please email

Local Staff Vacancies

All local staff vacancies are listed on the FCO Local Staff Vacancies Homepage brand-2/xf-eeb36430454c/candidate

MOOCS courses Many DSFA members have been using MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) over the last few years the good news is that more and more courses are being developed. Here are some careers and English language courses from Future Learn that are starting in winter 2017:

Job Hunting and Interview Skills:

Starting a business:

Improving your English skills:

For those with a CELTA/TEFL qualification:

For more detailed information, see the Overseas Leadership Development Programme 1 brochure ( Human+Resources+2013/Learning+and+Development/Leadership+Le arning+Development/_default/OLDP_Brochure.doc)

Running a Residence Course

5-7 June and 10-12 October 2018 To register, please email Open to all Heads of Mission and spouses/partners, whether or not they wish to become the Residence Manager. One and a half days. Combining practical interactive role play facilitated by Paul Lamb (a professional trainer with experience of the FCO) with briefing and discussion facilitated by Diana Sinclair (DSFA Going Abroad Adviser). For more detailed information, see the Overseas Leadership Development Programme 1 brochure (as above).

Financial Advice and Planning

Financial Drop-In Sessions

26 June, 2 October and 13 November 2018 To book an appointment email For fully paid up DSFA Members and their FCO Spouse/Partner. The DSFA runs regular financial advice sessions where you can discuss your specific financial questions in private with an independent financial adviser. FCO, King Charles Street, London SW1A 2AH Sessions of 45 minutes free consultation are by appointment only. If you are at post, this service is also available “By Telephone�. Please provide your telephone number with full area code and number.

Tax and Financial Planning Seminar 30 October 2018, 1030-1530 To register email

For fully paid up DSFA Members and their FCO Spouse/Partner. Organised by the DSFA, this accessible and interactive course is designed specifically to focus on the Tax and Financial issues that you should be thinking about, such as how to be smart financially, Property; Residence and Tax; Savings; Partner/Spouses working abroad; Protection Needs; Wills etc. The seminar is run by Margaret Thornton of Morgan Cameron Chartered Accountants and John Milne of Anglo Scottish, both of whom have experience of the financial and tax factors.

Going Abroad

Diana Sinclair Going Abroad Adviser 020 7008 0281

Going Abroad Course

Wednesday 13 June, 12 September and 31 October To register, please email The DSFA's Going Abroad course aims to give practical tips and information for FCO spouses and partners going on an overseas posting, especially for those going on a first posting.

HoMs and Spouses and Partners Course 5-7 June and 10-12 October 2018 To register, please email Open to all Heads of Mission and their spouses/partners. One and a half days: one day practical course facilitated by Paul Lamb (a professional trainer with experience of the FCO) and half a day of briefing and discussion facilitated by Diana Sinclair (DFSA Going Abroad Adviser).


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Shiona Morgan interviews Carousel’s long-standing distribution officer.

Shiona Morgan: Angela, you have been Head of the Carousel distribution team, affectionately known as ‘The Stuffers’, for many years. When did you first take on this role?

SM: What do you like /dislike most about ‘Carousel stuffing days’ and is there anything that could be improved in the process of distribution?

Angela Rees: I answered an advert for the Distribution Brief in about November/December 1993. I did my first Distribution in early 1994. I think of myself as the Distribution Coordinator, as without the loyal support of the lady volunteers, who having been doing the stuffing for the Distribution almost as long as I have, the operation wouldn’t be possible.

AR: Distribution days are enjoyed by the ladies – they can have a chat but know they can complete the task very quickly. Expenses and travel fare is reimbursed.

SM: Over the years the magazine has developed into the excellent publication it is today. Can you tell us a bit about how it started?

SM: If any of our members would like to help with distribution what should they do?

In the middle of the night “Carousel” came to me – we go round as well.

AR: I would be very happy to welcome newcomers – just get in touch with me on 02070082640 and I will call them back. I am in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

AR: When I first started with Distribution we had to cut stencils and Crystal Print (in-house printers) would then run them off on various colour sheets of paper and they would then be collated and sent out together with the magazine. Distribution then took 4 days. Now it takes approx. 4 hours, with all the preparation being done beforehand. The magazine was handbag size with reports and information. The coloured sheets were, I suppose, the forerunner to The Bulletin, which was incorporated into the Carousel and went online about four years ago.

AR: Yes, I worked for Sue Ryder Charity for 20 years in their shop, in Diss, Norfolk, first 3 afternoons and then two afternoons per week. This is a very good way to make friends when moving to a new town.

SM: I believe you were the brains behind the name ‘Carousel’. How did you come up with this name?

SM: Many thanks Angela, for this interesting insight into what happens to Carousel after it leaves the publisher!

SM: Angela, you recently moved house but prior this you lived in Norfolk and were a very willing volunteer in your local town. Can you tell us a bit about that?

AR: Elizabeth Nixon was Chair at the time and she asked for suggestions. In the middle of the night “Carousel” came to me – we go round as well – strange, I know! SM: How many countries does Carousel reach? AR: Over 200 posts, in some cases they go to two or three Consulates as well as the Embassy or High Commission in the country. SM: What changes have you seen in the way Carousel is now distributed? AR: When we first did the Distribution we used cardboard boxes and Diplomatic bags but now we use plastic envelopes and brown envelopes which has cut down on our postage. All overseas have to be barcoded.

Carousel dis trib

ution volun teers

team, January

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LadyJeanMaitland - 4 January 1923 – 2 July 2017 The life of our mother, Jean Maitland (Lady Maitland), combined constancy, in her attachment to the natural world, with frequent upheaval and change, to which she learned early on to adapt. Jean was born in Kemble, Gloucestershire, the third of a close-knit family of four children. She left school in the Second World War to work on the family farm. She was a Land Girl in all but name, receiving no recognition of her contribution because she had not moved away from home as other Land Girls had. After the War, she spread her wings, working first as a secretary for a gentleman farmer in Essex, then in London for a cine-magazine called This Modern Age. In the spring of 1949, she met our father, Donald Maitland, an Arabist at the Foreign Office, at a cocktail party. Donald described the encounter in his autobiography, “Diverse Times, Sundry Places”: ‘When I entered … I saw a beautiful young woman with wide eyes and long fair hair standing near the fireplace and immediately fell in love.’ Jean had travelled abroad only once, briefly to France, before her marriage to Donald in 1950, and her first experience of diplomatic life, at the start of a threeyear posting to Iraq, was a shock. In a talk she gave many years afterwards, she described landing in Baghdad where the temperature was 114 degrees (nearly 46 Celsius). ‘As we went down the steps from the plane onto the melting tarmac, it seemed like walking straight into an oven. My husband told me, much later, that at that moment he’d feared I would turn round and fly back to cool, green England, and that he would lose me forever. Within hours I was in bed with a high fever and heat stroke; my husband thought he’d nearly lost me again.’ When, in 1968, she took on the chairmanship of what was then the Diplomatic Service Wives Association, she declared that she realised its value “from my early experience of marrying into the Foreign Service. As if arriving as a bride, unused to “abroad”, in Baghdad’s August temperature were not enough, the first six months of our time under an exceedingly autocratic ambassador and wife were not pleasant. I was nearly put off for life.’ Not only did Jean survive these ordeals and throw herself into diplomatic life in Iraq, but she also produced their first child, Colin, who, as a baby strapped to a mule, accompanied his parents on an extraordinary week-long expedition into the spectacular mountains of Kurdistan. Subsequent postings took the family to Lebanon, Egypt and Libya – the last just after Gaddaffi came to power. Together, Jean and Donald weathered many tight situations in the Middle East, including stonethrowing mobs and civil war, but they found most of the Arabs they met to be friendly and hospitable. Jean learned enough Arabic to run the house, buy food in the markets, and get by in social gatherings with local women during which, she recalled, there were ‘lots of laughs all round’. She was an outstanding hostess and showed her own diplomatic social skill and imagination with menus such as this, at a dinner for 16.


We pay tribute to Jean Maitland, who chaired the DSWA (Diplomatic Service Wives Association, predecessor of the DSFA) in 1967-68, when the roles and expectations of diplomatic wives were very different. By Colin and Alison Maitland.

Foule Sudani—a soup made from groundnuts Pancakes with Caviar and sour cream Roast beef , green beans, carrots, roast potatoes Qmr el Din—a sort of apricot fool—with cream Wine used: 1 sherry, 3 bottles red She found diplomatic life fascinating, but she did not enjoy the pomp and was relieved when she could revert to being an ordinary citizen on their postings back to the UK. These were nonetheless demanding, as Donald’s roles, including Head of the Foreign Office News Department, and later Chief Press Secretary to Edward Heath, entailed extremely long hours. Jean became ‘Lady Maitland’ when Donald was knighted in 1973 for his services to diplomacy. This was the same year he was appointed Ambassador to the United Nations in New York, a city then notorious for violent crime. Jean brushed off fears for her safety, saying she had faced all kinds of dangers in the Middle East, whereas in Manhattan she felt able to walk freely down the street. She did so frequently, taking the family dog for walks in Central Park. Their last foreign posting was to head the UK Representation to the EU, then the European Economic Community, in the late 1970s. As in New York, many of the important discussions in Brussels took place before the big set-piece meetings, and

As we went down the steps from the plane onto the melting tarmac, it seemed like walking straight into an oven. these were often held in their home. She described it as her job ‘to create an atmosphere where people feel at ease’. As Donald always insisted, theirs was very much a two-person diplomatic career. After Donald’s final post as Permanent Secretary at the Department of Energy, they retired to the Wiltshire countryside, where they lived very happily for 18 years. They bought a flock of the rare Soay sheep to graze the fields. They loved entertaining, and the recipes Jean had gathered from their foreign postings made many welcome appearances. It was an active retirement. Donald applied his wisdom to international telecommunications, the War Graves Commission, the Independent Broadcasting Authority and the Health Education Authority. Jean now had time to develop her own interests, including organic agriculture, gardening, healthy cooking, and yoga. Her love of plants, first inspired by a teacher at school in Cirencester, had led to her painting botanically correct watercolours of wild orchids in Lebanon in the 1950s, collected by Donald’s botanist father for Kew Gardens. Later, at Kew’s request, she had collected and dried as many as 100 species of wild plants in Libya. So it was natural for her, in retirement, to become a volunteer recorder on the 8-year Wiltshire Flora Mapping Project. Another of her lifelong interests was environmental sustainability, for which she became a dedicated campaigner in late life, but whose precepts she had

absorbed from her father at the Royal Agricultural College Farm in Gloucestershire. She was an active member of the ‘Climate Friendly Bradford on Avon’ community group, visiting local shops to encourage them to stop using plastic bags and doing all she could to spread the word about locally sourced food, energy conservation and sustainable agriculture. She and Donald supported many other local initiatives, such the ‘Friends of Community Healthcare’ and the Bath Institute for Rheumatic Diseases, and Jean also used to visit ‘the elderly’, taking meals on wheels to people much younger than her. They were regular worshippers at Holy Trinity Church in Bradford-on-Avon, where the Maitland family held a Celebration of Jean’s Life on 28 October 2017. Churches were not always quite so convenient, especially in countries where other faiths predominated. In the mountain village where they lived above Beirut, they discovered a disused Protestant church, which they set about renovating with the help of students and locals. Jean wrote in her account that, the ‘ … local blacksmith, although a Muslim, entered into the spirit of the thing and made a wrought-iron lectern to our order and refused to take any payment.’ Jean and Donald were able to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary, but, sadly, Donald died shortly afterwards. Jean remained active and energetic, although, inevitably, became increasingly frail with time. When she felt she could no longer manage in a 3-storey house in the Wiltshire town she loved, and moved to a sunny flat close to her family in St Albans, she was quick to take to local life. She enjoyed the company and support of her children and grandchildren, judiciously made friends at the local street market and took pleasure in the Hertfordshire country round about. She would watch the sun going down from her seat in the window, the birds, particularly the swifts, in the daytime and the seasons as they passed. Margaret Worsnop writes: My memories of Jean go back to our days in the Embassy in Cairo. Jean became a great and very kind friend and was Godmother to our son Andrew, born in Cairo. Whenever we were on home postings and Jean and Donald were at home, we always got together. When we retired in 1990 and came to live close by, Jean and Donald were always there to support and treasure us. We were so touched, when Jean was moving to be close to her family in St Albans, that one of her last lunches was with us. She was such a sweet, kind and loyal friend, and we miss her.

How to register with the DSFA: How to join the DSFA Facebook group:

Download the membership and standing order forms from, or email to dsfa. to request for the forms. Annual membership subscriptions for Full and Temporary members is £30 and £15 for Ordinary members. Please return the completed forms to

From your Facebook account, send a “friend request” to the DSFA London. This is a closed group for members only. Make sure you have completed the membership form before sending the friend request.

How to access the DSFA website:

Complete the online registration form at You will be granted access if you have registered as a DSFA member. However, if you haven’t, you will be requested to complete the DSFA membership form beforehand. It may take up to two working days to have your registration processed.

DSFA Retired Members’ Regional Representatives Please contact Heather Gordon, Retired Representatives Co-ordinator, with any queries. To join any of these groups, contact the representative who will welcome you. Representatives cannot contact you without your permission, so please let them know when you are in their area. Avon, N. Somerset: Vacant Bath: Mrs Angelina Jenkins Tel: 01225 335 961 Mob: 079 309 00 539 Email: Bedfordshire:Vacant. For information contact Heather Gordon Email: Lunches will continue to take place in the Bedfordshire area four times a year. New members are always welcome. Buckinghamshire: Mrs Heather Gordon Tel: 01604 404273 Email: Cambridge: Sally, LadyWright Tel: 01763 261718 Email:

Devon and Cornwall: Mrs Mina Dresser Telephone 01872 262667 Email: Dorset, S. Somerset Sherborne Area: Mrs Diana Wood, Tel: 01963 220522 Email: dianawood642@ Essex: Amanda Bright, Tel: 01376 513616 - evenings or weekends are best Email: Glos, Hereford,Warwickshire, Worcestershire: Mrs Sheila Skinner, Tel: 02476 468106 Email: Hampshire: MrsValTonkin Tel: 01256 462511 Email: New members are warmly invited to get in touch. Hertfordshire, E.Bucks:Vacant Kent: Mrs Pamela Morris

Tel: 01892 863620 Email: London: Mrs Ruth Rollitt Tel: 020 8670 5019 Email: Norfolk:Vacant NorthYorkshire and Cumbria: Mrs Jane Bright, Tel: 01347 889292 Email: Northants: Mrs Betna Bradley Tel: 01604 454501 Notts, Derbs, Leics,W.Mids, Ches, Lancs, Merseyside, S.Yorks, Lincs: Mrs Gill Roberts, Tel: 01629 813414 Email: Salisbury: ElisabethYoung Following the sad passing of Margaret Downing, any enquiries about this group should be directed to Elisabeth Young Email: Scotland:Vacant

Suffolk: Lady Dales (Elizabeth) Tel: 01502 723874 Email: richardandelizabeth@ Surrey: Mrs Pamela (Pam) Kenny Tel: 01256 326986 Email: Sussex: Mrs Brenda Reuter Tel: 01342 328882 Email: alanbrendareuter@ Wales: Ms Liz Ford, Tel: 01994 240906 Email: OVERSEAS France - Languedoc/Roussilon and Bouches du Rhone: Bridget Cowper-Coles Tel: 0033 4 66 0391 15 French mobile: 0033 6 88 62 86 77 Email: bridgetcowpercoles@ Ontario, Canada: Mrs Shelagh Needham Tel: (613) 836-5783 Email:


Movi n gSchool Howtosupportchildren tomanagethetransition successfully

Sara Hitchens, a practising psychotherapist in London and Oxford, offers advice based on her experiences as a School Counsellor in Tokyo. She’s also been a diplomatic spouse for 35 years, both taking her children out to postings and boarding them in later years.

I’ve heard people say, ‘children are resilient, you don’t need to worry about them settling into a new school.’ It’s a generalisation more likely to be true the younger your child is; and the more extravert. However, for teenagers, the peer group becomes increasingly important in terms of emotional security and emerging identity; so moving away from these social relationships will be harder. Also, whereas extraverts who make friends easily are likely to be excited, introverts who tend to have fewer deeper friendships may well feel more anxious. So what can you do to help?

Breaking the news Talk to your child as early as possible so that they have time to get used to the idea of moving. Think about when, where and how you break the news, making sure there is plenty of time for them to ask questions and express how they feel. If they are upset, show understanding; it is not easy to leave a settled life and good friends.

Looking forward

Managing change All change – positive or negative – is stressful, so be realistic in your expectations. It may take more time than you imagine to build a new life and make new friends, for parents as much as for children. Sometimes there is a ‘honeymoon’ period when you first arrive and everything is new and exciting but it is normal to have low moments too, when you miss friends and your old familiar life.

Be honest about the move - don't try to persuade your child that everything will be wonderful. Admit that it's going to be a challenge, but be specific about the benefits to you or your partner’s career and therefore the family's future. Also, talk about what might be the advantages for your child: an opportunity to learn about a new culture, interesting places to visit, etc.

Let your child know that it is OK to be sad. Crying releases stress and is good for you. It does not mean that your child is not adapting to the new life. Also, you do not need to take it personally and feel guilty; change is part of life and learning how to cope with it is an important skill to learn.

If your child seems anxious, ask them to make a list of things they're worried about. You may not be able to change the move itself, but surprisingly minor and action-able items may turn up on the list.

It is also normal for your child to be more tired that usual. This is because everything is new and the brain is having to work far harder than when it could take some things for granted. Adequate sleep (at least 8 hours), a healthy diet and regular exercise are more important than ever, so get into healthy habits quickly!

Try to involve your child in any decisions that you can. This will help to reassure them that you value and respect their opinion, and crucially give them some sense of control over their own life. Look up the new school website with them and if possible, visit before the first day. This will help to make it more familiar and less scary.

Saying goodbye It is very important to say goodbye to friends, so schedule some farewell events, including visits to favourite places. Your child may appreciate conversations about how they plan to stay in touch with special friends. It might also be possible to schedule a trip back – or invite a friend to visit you in your new location.


Research1 shows that there is often a dip in students’ academic performance after they move schools. This makes sense because a lot of their energy is inevitably taken up with adapting to a new place, new people and new ways of doing things. So, it is good to be understanding of this, while still supporting them to do their best.

Looking after yourself Much of the above will be true for you as well as your children. It’s important to remember that you need to be OK for your child to be OK. So it is vital to look after yourself too. The sooner you feel settled, the sooner your child will adapt.


Are you looking for extra learning resources for your children on an overseas posting? Companies offering home schooling packages, resources, packs, advice, and tuition: The DSFA can’t make recommendations about private companies but Kumon are well established with qualified teachers. Some tutors take on overseas students and use Skype etc but this is not without problems due to the volume of work that needs to be transmitted and it may be banned in some countries, so check first. Do some research (for example: curriculum) before contacting them - it will guide you to ask the best questions.

• Oxford Home Schooling https://www.oxfordhomeschooling. provides home schooling resources for Key Stage Three children who are aged between 11 and 14. They offer a number of subject resources, including history, I.T., maths and English. Qualified teachers are available online or over the telephone and parents act as a mentor throughout the process to keep their children on track. • Further advice on educating British children at home https://

• Primary Home Education http://www.primaryhomeeducation. offers curriculum packs that have been written and prepared by qualified teachers who have first-hand experience of the UK curriculum. Parents can use those packs to teach their own children at home. The curriculum packs include tutor support for parents who might need some assistance.

• Education Otherwise is a registered charity and comprehensive information service that provides practical advice and information for UK parents who are considering home schooling their children.

• Worldwide education service is a British company that is accredited by the ODLQC, the national body for quality in open and distance learning. They provide lesson and learning evaluation plans in a wide range of school subjects for children aged 4 to 14 years. Their learning experiences are based on the UK National Curriculum.

• Sparklebox is widely used by teachers and offers free printable resources for parents to use at home with their children. It covers literacy, maths, games, art projects, English as a second language, special educational needs and much else.


Special Needs

and Disability

The Special Needs and Disability focus this issue is on Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), see page 26. Clare YeatmanCrouch, teacher, FCO spouse and mother to Alexia, who has SPD, explains the condition and talks about how Alexia has coped with schools in Cyprus, Colombia and South Africa. Alexia is now 12 and happy in a Montessori school in Pretoria but this hasn’t always been the case.

FCO/DSFA Carers’ Network We were lucky enough to welcome Sally Phillips to our Carers’ Network meeting in November. Sally, comic actress, writer and mother to Olly who has Down’s syndrome, talked openly and honestly about her experience of caring for Olly while balancing her career. Sally was funny and engaging but also clear about both the positive and negative aspects of having a child with Special Needs. The meeting was very well attended by carers and colleagues and managers of carers.

Jonathan's Bench

Lydia Parbury, former DSFA Special Needs and Disability Adviser, and her husband, Guy, sent us photos of a Memorial bench for their late son, Jonathan, at Kew Gardens. Jonathan was a regular in the DSFA office at Carousel distribution time, when he would kindly assist with the stamping of envelopes. He first worked on the Access



If you would like to watch a video of the event or if you would like to join the Carers’ Network, please email me (

Sally Phillips © Ruth Crafer

You can contact Amanda Neil, Special Needs and Disability adviser, at

Forum at Kew Palace before moving to Hampton Court Palace. The bench is in front of the Palace because of his close connection with it. Lydia remains active in the Access forum, which advises the gardens on disability access issues.

Community Liaison Officer (CLO) Training

Atendees at the CLO Course in London in October 2017. We attended the CLO Course run by DSFA at King Front row, left to right: Nicola Candy, Algiers; Aizhan Sharshenova, Charles Street in October. The CLO course provided a Bahrain; Lorna Collison, Madrid, Helen Upton, Berlin. fantastic opportunity to familiarise newly appointed Back row, left to right: Angela Hancock, Mexico City; Josephine Cher, CLOs from a range of locations spanning Mexico City Manila; Rachel Taylor, Dar es Salaam; Nicole Leddicoat, Geneva. through to Manila and Algiers with the support and referral network that is in place in London to support the work of CLOs at Post. Whilst it became apparent required in the future. On completion of the course, we left that each Post has its own challenges and specifics, there is with newly acquired information to take back to our Posts. overwhelming overlap in the experiences of each CLO and the Furthermore, the course allowed the us to connect and bond, discussions around the presentations were immensely useful. forming our own internal network to support each other in our The CLO course was exceptionally valuable – the FCO and respective roles. Thank you DSFA. DSFA presenters were informative and we were all provided Nicole Leddicoat, Geneva with follow-up information to enable us to make contact as

Publications and Communications Officer An exciting opportunity has arisen in the DSFA for a part-time Publications and Communications Officer. The London-based position is for 3 days a week - flexible. We’re looking for a dynamic individual with proven editing or writing experience, proficiency in IT/social media and with strong organisational and communication skills. The duties and responsibilities include editing the Carousel magazine and members’ bulletin, managing the DSFA website, social media, Intranet and overseeing publications. The salary is £16,030 per annum for 3 days


per week with £2,712 London Location Allowance. A full job description and application is on our website or you can contact Linda Fox, DSFA Office Manager, at:, Tel: 020 7008 0283 Closing date for applications is 5pm, Friday 23 March 2018, including application form, CV and covering letter.

Position is subject to security clearance.


Diplomatic life with Anorexia by | Jenny Simpson

Anorexia was my friend, my carry-on baggage, who accompanied me everywhere for over thirty years; yet my friend that very nearly destroyed me. It all began in the 1960’s. Up until then I had been fortunate in enjoying an idyllic childhood. Things changed in my early teens, boarding at a theatrical school, my focus was on classical ballet. But life at home became unsettled and I lost my smile. This left me feeling vulnerable, I started losing confidence and self-esteem, isolating myself and trying a seemingly harmless diet. The restricting of food helped me feel in control and losing weight gave me a sense of achievement. I was a dancer, and no one seemed to notice, no one seemed to be concerned. I muddled through and managed, it never occurred to me I had a problem. I graduated to the Royal Ballet senior school in London age 17. I dedicated to training whilst at the same time being immersed in my illness. From there I was offered a place in a Lisbon Ballet company. It’s here my love of travel began. After my contract ended I stayed in Portugal as nanny to an Embassy family and met my future husband, then on a posting in Lisbon. We went on to have more than our share of postings, three beautiful children and very happy times together. Anorexia, though, travelled with me all the way, cleverly kept under control and only surfacing occasionally. On the move regularly in the diplomatic whirl there was plenty of distraction, I had a sense of purpose, it was both exciting and unsettling. With the involvement of the then FCO Medical and Welfare Unit I was able to continue supporting my husband abroad as well as I could. Our children were happy in UK schools. However, despite receiving help I was left thinking I didn’t want to live any more. Clearly I was not OK.


The turning point came when I was fifty, and when I was referred back to a specialist Eating Disorders clinic in London for a nine-month treatment programme. After years of waiting I was ready. It was hard, but it was absolutely right for me. I gave up control and let go of the illness, I learnt to convert the energy I had used to hang on to Anorexia, to focus instead on recovery and making the most of this experience. Only now, looking back, can I fully see the devastation that is caused by eating disorders. Physically, anorexia left me feeling exhausted, but the mental effect had a far greater impact on my life. Anorexia stopped me living life to the fullest. I’ll be forever grateful to the experienced professionals, my family, friends and especially my long suffering husband, for all the love and support they gave me throughout my treatment and recovery. Now I am fully recovered and I hope that by sharing my story and experiences I may be able to help those who might be affected by these serious mental illnesses. I have recently been appointed an Ambassador for Beat, the UK’s Eating Disorders’ charity. My aim here is to stop anyone else suffering in silence, the way I did for years. I do this by speaking about my experiences, raising awareness and helping to educate those in positions of care. Wherever you are in life, or in the world, you are not alone. If you need support, if you are worried about someone or yourself, I would encourage you to seek help. It is OK to ask for support. For more information about BEAT, visit their website

Employee Assistance Provider (EAP) Prolongued exposure to stress can cause mental and physical health concerns.The DSFA Families Information Adviser, Shiona Morgan, reminds us that help is at hand, not just for officers, but for their families as well. There are times in your life when it can just all become ‘too much’. It can happen at various stages throughout your life and under different circumstances. Sometimes the reason is obvious but at other times you may have no idea why you are feeling down and unable to enjoy the things that normally raise your spirits and make you feel better. You may have just arrived at post and found that it is not what you were expecting, or you may have arrived back home full of excitement and looking forward to being with friends and family and forgotten what it was like before you went away. You may be experiencing times of loneliness, at home or at post, be worrying about your family, a particular issue … or just worrying but not understanding why. Facing the end of a relationship and not knowing what to do next, concerned about what happens next and dreading the future. Most of the time, these feelings are temporary and they pass quickly. Often it just takes the distraction of something else that demands our attention or the sudden realisation that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and all will eventually be well. We can cope with it, we will cope with it and it is controllable. We may feel that we have a point to make, a battle to win or come to a realisation that there are others much worse off than ourselves. However, there are other times, times when we need help, professional help. The problem may not be large, and the answer obvious, but unfortunately not to you, and certainly not at that time. So, who can you turn to? The DSFA is there to listen to you and help with practical solutions and the FCO Health & Welfare Department have a wealth of experienced officers who can guide you through the many issues that you may be facing … But sometimes you may need more professional help from trained counsellors and that is when you can reach out to our Employee Assistance Programme. What is the EAP and how can it help you? The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It is available to all FCO officers, partners of FCO officers abroad and LE staff (not LE staff family members). It is free* and confidential and it is staffed by experienced counsellors. Referrals to: Structured Support (Counselling); Information Services (UK specific); External Support. Policy Principles The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is a confidential, 24/7 counselling service offering the opportunity of resolving and managing both everyday situations and more serious problems, which may be causing you concern, whether of a work or personal nature. The FCO EAP is operated by CiC (Community Interest Company) and is a free and confidential service which provides professional help, support and information. Telephone counselling is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Information and support can be given over the telephone or via email, and in some cases face-to-face counselling may also be provided when appropriate. Scope of Policy The service is for: FCO and FCO Services staff working in the UK FCO and FCO Services officers posted overseas All spouses and registered/established partners accompanying FCO and FCO services staff overseas.


1. How do I access the EAP? You can access any of these services, by phone or e-mail, 24 hours a day. By website: To access the service, go to the CiC Well Online website http:// FCO Staff: Username: FCOlogin and then the Password: wellbeing FCO Services Staff: Username: FCOSlogin and then the Password: wellbeing There is an online counsellor chat facility available on the website, click on the link at the bottom right hand side of the front page. This service is available 08:00 – 20:30 (UK time) weekdays only. CiC now also offer access via Skype, 08:00 – 20:30 (UK time) weekdays only, users should search Skype for "Confidential Care Advice line" and add this to their contacts. By phone and e-mail from within the UK: From the UK call: freephone 0800 781 7936 or landline 020 7938 0904. Text Relay: 18001 0800 781 7936 Email: If you do not speak English as a first language, the EAP can provide an interpreter, in most languages, in a matter of minutes. By phone and e-mail from outside the UK: Telephone +44 20 7938 0904 (To minimise costs, CiC will call you back, if preferred). Local staff NB face-to-face counselling sessions are available to Local staff but sessions must be paid for from Post budget, and not the Health & Welfare budget, or e-mail: You can also log into the wellbeing website to access online counsellor chat (UK office hours only). 2. How can I find out more about the EAP? Call the EAP and talk to a CiC Counsellor. You can also access information about the support on offer here. 3. What can I get under the costs covered by the FCO and how do I arrange counselling? There is no charge to individuals for using the service. The FCO covers the cost of the programme which includes unlimited telephone support and counselling, Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) type advice and up to five face-toface counselling sessions, for staff employed throughout the UK. Telephone support and counselling is available 24/7. Information about how to access legal advice, budgeting/debt management advice and the services you might expect from the Citizens Advice Bureau, are available during UK office hours. UK Staff overseas and their accompanying dependants may access up to 5 face-to-face counselling sessions, if it is clinically suitable. The EAP will recommend a local counsellor and organise payment of the sessions as (agreed in the contract between the FCO and EAP provider). If the individual requires more sessions s/he should contact the EAP for authorisation. Local Staff overseas may access up to 5 face-to-face counselling sessions. The EAP will recommend a local counsellor to the member of staff and the invoices should be paid by the individual and reimbursed from Post's Local Budget, and not the Health & Welfare budget. 4. Is it confidential? Confidentiality is paramount; the only occasion when it may be breached is if a counsellor considers that you may be a danger to yourself or to others. Such exceptions would be discussed in advance with the person concerned. 5. Can I call for support as a line manager? Managers may also use the Management Consultation service for advice and guidance in supporting and dealing with difficult or sensitive issues within their team. The website has specific information for managers under the 'Work Life' section. If counselling is recommended by a panel doctor or equivalent, staff and dependants must contact FCO Healthline for prior authorisation before proceeding with treatment. They may recommend that you contact the Employee Assistance Programme. Five sessions of counselling are available from the EAP without referral to FCO Healthline. Thereafter, FCO Healthline must be consulted and sent a progress report if further sessions are requested. More information on the Employee Assistance Programme can be found on FCO Intranet.


IWCM’s branded stationery

SuccessStoriesSponsorship Scheme SponsorshipScheme

Elizabeth sitting in front of her branding for the IWCM at a Christmas event

Elizabeth Vessey shares her positive experience with a long-distance BA (Hons) degree in Visual Communications.

My career to date has focused on the marketing and advertising industries, working both in London and Dubai. In 2011 I took a career break, and accompanied my husband and family on our first posting, in Seoul, South Korea. I took this opportunity to reflect on my career and to look ahead. How could I combine things I enjoyed with options that were more flexible (e.g. remote working) that fitted with our lifestyle? I’ve always been really drawn to the creative industries. And in particular graphic design, which had been a feature of my marketing and advertising career. However, I had always been managing and directing the development of this work, rather than being the creator. How could I make that switch? Through researching online graphic design courses, I found the Open College of arts (, based in the UK but offering online distance learning. The DSFA sponsorship scheme has part funded my BA (Hons) Visual Communications degree course. This is a modular course providing further flexibility to fit with my timelines. I’ve really enjoyed it so far! Covering subjects such as graphic design, illustration and photography, my studies have taken me in many different directions from designing organic biscuit packaging to illustrating children’s books via photographing burek makers at the local train station.


Travel guide

I’ve continued my studies during our current posting to Podgorica, Montenegro. Being overseas – especially in smaller markets – while studying has presented opportunities that just would not happen back at home. Recently I got the chance to do some pro-bono work on the rebranding of the International Women's Club of Montenegro. I designed their new logo and developed all their marketing materials, such as business cards, folders and letterhead. It felt so rewarding to be working on a real life project and seeing my designs come to life. This led to me designing the identity for their annual public Christmas event. Seeing my designs

displayed across Podgorica on huge billboards was a real high point for me in my studies and sense of personal achievement. Plus being invited to go on Montenegrin National Breakfast TV and talk about my design was a bit bizarre but exciting! DFSA sponsorship has been a huge positive for me and opened up a new career direction. My long-term goal is to complete the degree course, acquire more experience, and therefore enable me to work remotely overseas when necessary.

Extinct Kitchen packaging design

Weather poste


Poster designs for an assignment

The aim of the Sponsorship Scheme is to help Diplomatic Service FCO spouses and partners enhance their employment prospects through training. Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis for courses that lead to a marketable and portable skill and thus increased employment opportunities. Priority is given to paid-up members. To find out if you and your intended course are eligible, please contact the Sponsorship Scheme Co-ordinator, Linda Fox, you will be asked to provide the name of the course provider – course title; address of the course provider including website address, email and phone number BEFORE we approve funding for any courses. The following have proved very popular and are an indication of courses we have funded previously: Open University courses, Teaching English as a Foreign Language (CELTA, the best known and most widely taken initial TESOL/TEFL qualification), Information technology e.g. European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) & Computer Literacy & Information Technology (CLAIT); Professional courses such as: book keeping, accountancy, teaching (e.g. PGCE) landscape gardening, interior design, graphic design, voiceover training, proof reading, catering, NEBOSH International Certificate; English language lessons for foreign-born spouses/partners.

Billboard designs for IWCM up in Podgorica


Above: British Embassy façade in the last few months leading to the Second World War. Copyright © FCO.

The Lost Palace: The British Embassy in Berlin by | JuliaToffolo

At the end of September Julia Toffolo’s book The Lost Palace: The British Embassy in Berlin was launched in the Entente Cordiale Room at the FCO, courtesy of FCO Historians and in the presence of former UK Ambassador to Berlin PUS Sir Simon McDonald. 22

A spectacular piece of contemporary architecture, the new British Embassy in Berlin opened to great acclaim in 2000. The Lost Palace tells the story of the previous Embassy on the same site, 70 Wilhelmstrasse, demolished in the 1950s following extensive damage in the Second World War. This long-vanished building, the grandiose Palais Strousberg, was built in the 1860s for the notorious railway entrepreneur Bethel Henry Strousberg. In 1876, following his bankruptcy, the British acquired it as their

Embassy in the heart of the government district in the recently-established German capital. I worked at the UK Government Art Collection as its first Registrar and later its Deputy Director, keeping track of, devising and installing art displays in diplomatic buildings worldwide (some of these displays – for example the ‘Print Hall’ in Washington – may well be familiar to readers of Carousel). Over time I became fascinated by the history that had taken place in these buildings, the notion of them as repositories of memories of political, diplomatic and cultural events. My particular fascination with the pre-War Berlin Embassy began when I started to research the pictures that had once hung there. Sifting through archives and the accounts of people who had worked in or visited it, I came to realise that there was rather a good story to be told about the building and its occupants. The story hadn’t been told before, and was a particularly special one, given the building’s location on the very doorstep of so many dramatic and far-reaching political events during Germany’s painful journey through monarchy, civil war, republic, dictatorship and two World Wars.

Drawing on many original and previously unpublished sources, I have tried to reconstruct something of this vanished Embassy’s internal appearance and atmosphere. Naturally, centre stage is the building’s diplomatic representational role, from the 1878 Congress of Berlin to the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games and the events that led up to the outbreak of the Second World War. But also featured are the lives and experiences of the ambassadors and their staff, and the some of the social events that took place there over the course of the seven decades the building stood on Wilhelmstrasse. The story is one of great contrasts and famous celebrities, from the glamorous world of Imperial balls and the drama of the start of Great War, to the embassy staff’s increasingly strained dealings with the higher echelons of the Third Reich; from Otto von Bismarck, Benjamin Disraeli and Kaiser Wilhelm II to Vita Sackville-West, Charlie Chaplin, the Mitford sisters and Adolf Hitler. It is an account of diplomatic drama, international tension and, finally and sadly, destruction during the Second World War, until, fifty years later, the building was ‘reborn’ on the same site.

Title: The Lost Palace: The British Embassy in Berlin Author: Julia Toffolo ISBN: 978 1910878 330 Print Length: 200 pages, illustrated througout Publisher: The Book Guild Publishing 2017 Price: £20

Above: JuliaToffolo at the book launch at the FCO in September 2017, to her right, Simon McDonald, PUS.


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Sensory Processing Disorder and FCO life by ClareYeatman-Crouch

What brings me to the pages of this edition of Carousel, and has prompted me to put finger to keyboard, is our daughter Alexia. Years of fighting a system that does not always want to listen, and too many hours spent ‘persuading’ schools that our daughter has a right, and a need, to be educated by them.

Alexia with her bicycle

Our daughter, who is now 12, was diagnosed at the age of 6 with SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder). It is a complicated condition, which spans many areas, and is still in its infancy insofar as its recognition and understanding. In brief, SPD is synonymous to a traffic jam in the brain. It is a neurological disorder in which the sensory information that an individual perceives, results in abnormal responses. A person for instance, ce, may be able to perceive danger, r, however, their brain is unable to give them a correct response se to that danger. For Alexia this could manifest itself in

they have yet to develop the skills needed to self-regulate. In the road crossing situation, Alexia would most probably freeze and begin to panic, but would have no way to rectify the situation without adult intervention.

This condition is controlled primarily by sensory reactions. Sensory reactions are Children only ever want in turn governed by the environment in to be accepted and which we live, and therefore there is no escaping it!! Our daughter is affected listened to, and this is mostly by her auditory and tactile senses; very hard to do when from loud noises and close confinements faced with constant to labels on clothing and socks ks with seams. Most people fail to comprehend judgement and criticism the huge levels of distress one label can cause or the discomfort of socks with seams. To Alexia it feels like someone has sewn a scouring brush to her clothes. She will become so fixated with the pain that it is the only thing she will think about. Navigating through these on a daily basis can be exhausting and frustrating for her, as at this young age, she still doesn’t understand why she feels the way she does. On top of the SPD Alexia also has mild learning difficulties,


not necessarily as a result of her sensory issues, but definitely exacerbated by them. If classrooms are too noisy then she is unable to focus, and her anxiety and emotional levels will rise to the point where she will have a meltdown. It is because of these issues that finding the ‘right’ school is crucial, and unfortunately this is the area that can become the hardest to achieve when moving within the FCO. The countries we move to may have very limited resources available for children who need that little bit of extra help. We were very fortunate in Cyprus to find Highgate school. They were the ones who gave us the diagnosis, and worked tirelessly with Alexia in order to help her flourish and succeed. Alas we were not so lucky in our next move to Bogota, Colombia. Our first choice of school, where our son was to attend, would not take Alexia, and so then began a long and arduous search for a school that would accept her. We finally found Anglo-Colombiano, which seemed to tick all the boxes. However once she had been there a few months, it became very apparent that they were not able to adjust to Alexia. What followed was over 2 years of constant battles and trips to the school in order to get the most basic of help for her. We were forced to employ a classroom aid for Alexia who would, predominantly, monitor her increasing emotional outbursts which were triggered by her mounting frustration of not being understood. We spent 2 years watching our daughter regress and become a child with little or no self-esteem, and academic levels which were decreasing. Eventually after 2 ½ years, we made the decision to take her out of school and home school her. Although her anxieties and emotions started to stabilize, untold damage had already been done, and so started the very slowly process, of building her up again. We did this with the help of the STAR Centre in Denver Colorado. An amazing place that works with children with SPD, and helps them unravel the world around them. Throughout the 3 years in Colombia, they became our solace and a haven for Alexia. The STAR center recognised Alexia for who she was and never judged. They taught us that the most important thing to remember is to have patience and to listen. This is what we always ask of people who are a constant part of Alexia’s life. To be patient with her, to show understanding and not be so quick to pass judgement. To recognise that the world through her eyes is chaotic and scary, and it is our job to minimise that chaos and help her find peace and order.

school, she is accepted for who she is, and her personal achievements are rewarded and praised. She still has a classroom aid with her, purely to help with her emotions, however she is doing much better, and some of that spark she used to have is making an appearance. For children like Alexia, who do not meet the normative expectations society puts on her, it can be a long and difficult battle to find a place to belong. Children only ever want to be accepted and listened to, and this is very hard to do when faced with constant judgement and criticism. She has been laughed at, teased, and told she is strange and weird. Convincing her she isn’t, is a daily battle, and I just hope that she will soon find a path on which, not only is she listened to, but most importantly, heard.

For more information, visit the STAR Centre website

We have subsequently left Bogota and moved to Pretoria. The difference here has been tremendous. Although South Africa is not known for its resources in helping children who face specific challenges, they do have a much wider pool of help to draw from, and you have the added bonus of English being more widely spoken. In Bogota, we couldn’t find occupational therapists or tutors for Alexia as they would only teach in Spanish, and unfortunately Alexia couldn’t master the language. In Pretoria, we were fortunate enough within the first few weeks to find an amazing child psychologist, who was able to point us in the right direction. We were advised to head straight to the Montessori school and this is where Alexia has been ever since. At this

Alexia on a day out


Dear Anne -Marie, – what does this be graded dif ferently ich exams they’ll I hear GCSEs are to wh students choose mean? And when do take? will be graded being reformed and GCSEs in England are 9 to 1, with 9 being the highest grade. m g and fewer grade with a new scale fro ll be more challengin New GCSE content wi n A*s. 9s will be awarded tha ths were the glish literature and ma English language, En 9 to 1, and another 20 subjects will m following in firs t to be graded fro 2018, with most others have 9 to 1 grading in k/government/uploads /system/ v.u 2019. https://w ww.go ata /file/6 38 308/Grading _new_GCSEs _ t_d en hm tac /at ds uploa from_ 2017.pdf towards three -year schools are moving A limited number of w less modular and no are ms exa se the GCSEs perhaps becau on about possible exam choices could ssi more dif ficult. Discu (GCSEs are taken in Year 11 at age 16) 8 start as early as Year about it in Year 9. Timing depends on ing nk thi rt sta st mo but gy of the school. the intake and strate mple) aim for ls (W inchester for exa Highly selective schoo Grade 9 (formerly A*). Oxbridge look at eight or nine GCSEs grades so there may her than 11 at lower for 9 good GCSEs rat taking an ex tra clutch of GCSEs much in ed. not be much benefit hest grades are achiev hig the s les un r rlie ea

Education Postbag Anne-Marie Cole, DSFA’s Education Adviser, digs into her latest postbag to highlight topics of concern for families

ie, out Dear Anne -Mar do I find out ab next year – how e websites of local st po to g in go at th We are e. Can I just look the schools ther y schools? hool and nurser rmation about sc entary data in fo in sic ba e id supplem Posts prov st Reports and IS/SIS) is choices in the PoSchools Information Sheets (N at each d M an CS y or er rs O CL Nu e e th th d available from collected by an as Post. ganisations such ac credited by or Schools (COBIS) e ar s ol ho sc y nal Man d the British Internatio The Council of of International Schools (CIS) an By . cil O) un nisation (IB and The Co ols’ own ccalaureate Orga International Ba st Report, the NIS/SIS and scho schools e Po m e th So . g ew rin vi pa l com nera ational). s can form a ge websites parent e Good Schools Guide (Intern esses, th sin by bu ed ivately-run are review rtment s are usually pr Over seas school r the jurisdiction of the UK Depacept ac de to un t le no ab e t ar no is and Of sted; the FCO nurser y for Educ ation or children at tending schools or r ire fo qu ty re ili thority to responsib as, and has no au s, regulations or schools over se rd da an st UK ith w them to comply legislation.


Dear Anne- M

arie, My daughter to the UK be at tends an IB school at po fo have taken G re she takes the diplom st. We’ll be returning a C getting into SEs. How will this af fe at 18, so she won’t a UK state sc ct her chance schools do th hool to take s A-Levels? Do of e IB? many UK Schools norm and mos t un ally require GCSEs prior iv below about er sities require five GCS to taking A levels ne well as A-Lev w scales) including En Es grades A*-C (see gl el GCSEs in on s. It is possible to take ish and maths, as a e at a school, anyear at a further educ at limited number of ion college ra d some sixt admitting a student who h forms would be flexibl ther than e w had spent a year doing so as one year older becaus about . e they Around 79 pr ivate UK scho of fer the IB. ols and 44 st If are now retu your child has begun the ate schools currently rning to the IB over seas U to remain in an that system K , it is probably better, if d you and complet After followin possible, e th g five year prog the MY P (the Middle Ye e IB diploma. ar ra s m Pr m ogramme is e up to the ag hurdle for a a e of si pu do of cour se pil to then switch to A-L xteen) it is quite a evels, though manage it. W few schools ellington Col some of le Programme) fering the MY P as well as ge is one of the . O ther privat th e DP (Diploma College in H e IB schools ay in School in Ke wards Heath, Sussex an clude Ardingly nt d these school ; both of fer GCSEs follo Sevenoaks w s have been traditionally ed by the DP and families. popular with FCO IB state scho ols that of fer DP includ both the Her tfordshire e: Hockerill Anglo -Europ MY P and the ean College an d D ar tford Gram Southbank In in mar; an te School, the In rnational, the Internatio d, in London, na complete lis ternational School and D l Community t is on the IB O website ht wight school. A tp://w w w.ib

Dear Anne- M arie, My son has been at post w he faces high er university ith us and I’m really wor student! ri fees as if he were an over ed that seas The DSFA re cently checke to make sure d there have be with the Student Loans Company en no change s to the polic To be eligible y. fo r st ud en t suppor t, ap "ordinarily re pl si immediately dent " in the UK and Isla icants mus t have been nd pr of the cour se eceding the fir st day of s for the three year s , of receiving other than wholly or mai the academic year fu date, be "set ll-time educ ation. They nly for the purpose tle m Immigration d" in the UK within the us t also, on that m A the period fo ct, ie ordinarily resident eaning of the 1971 r which they without rest riction on may stay. At fir st sight, th es e rules appear diff iculties fo to have r time of applic children of FCO staf f po the potential to pose st at io n. N ot on their parents. ly for those lived over seas at the ing over seas with Children at a UK boarding in the UK "w school could ho full-time educ lly or mainly for the pu be regarded as being at io n" an d thus not au rpose of receiving ordinarily re tomatic ally tr sident. eated as Importantly however, an exception to residence re qu th relevant fam irement is allowable w e three-year he ily member( s) have been re the student or abroad. This te unable to meeis intended to provide fle mporarily absent t th e re si dence requir xibilit y for students made a long em -t is decided on erm decision to live outs ents but who have not id on the applic its merits: it should be no e the UK . Each case an have been, or t to demonstrate that th ted that the onus is their parents' dinarily resident in the U ey would be, or would K bu temporary ab sence abroad t for their and/or . The FCO is ab made by the le to provide a letter of su ch some challeng ildren of FCO staf f faci ppor t for applications ng, or likely to HRDirec t@fc e over their eligibility. Staff should face, . contac t The DSFA ha ve informatio and discount n s; state scho on: home schooling; bo ol entr y and much more. arding


Charity Christmas Cards

2018 Competition What does Christmas mean to you?

This is an invitation to have your artwork or photography seen all over the world in the FCO Charity Christmas cards 2018. Subjects should be relevant to Christmas. Members (and their families) of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels are invited to enter their submissions (max. 2 per entrant). Please send your ideas to On the subject line write: Christmas Card Competition. Deadline is 20 April 2018.

DSFA branded merchandise We continue to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. Please help if you can. Contact:






UKFRIENDS: a DSFA network Join the growing network of people who will help you find your feet in the UK.

Who are the UK FRIENDS? UK FRIENDS is a group of DSFA members across the UK who can offer moral support and practical help to those who are either posted to the UK or now living permanently in the UK. The DSFA will help to set up regional groups and to offer

Naturalisation: David Smith

West Sussex: Brenda Reuter

I have successfully completed my journey through naturalisation which makes life much better in many ways. I would be happy to give advice to any other DFSA members on this issue.

I am happy to help with newcomers to this area. We have lived in West Sussex since 1982 and I am happy to help in any way I can. I have already had several people calling me wishing for further information. or

Brighton area: Susie Latta I can offer advice to anyone moving or thinking of moving to Brighton or Hove. I have some experience of looking for a boarding school and navigating the UK school system including dyslexia support. I am happy to be a friendly face/someone to talk to for anyone who needs it.

Surrey & North Hants: Pam Kenny I would be happy to run a group in my area. I can offer support of friendship and advice to anyone in the Basingstoke, Reading, Alton, Fleet and the surrounding areas.

I can offer assistance to members who, when overseas, need some personal contact with elderly relatives (or children in schools) in our area or any members who live or plan to live in this area. I am of Indian origin myself (from Mumbai) and speak Hindi and Guajarati. I understand the difficulties of missing home and family, particularly at stressful times. If you feel I can help in any way, do call or email: or 02380 879470/07871 803743


Northampton/Milton Keynes: Heather Gordon I would be very happy to give any help to colleagues who find themselves in the Northampton/Milton Keynes area.

Languages: Eui-Jong Karmy Please put me on the contact list for anyone who wants to contact me via address or email if they want to have a listening ear. I understand Turkish, Chinese, French, Spanish, English and my mother tongue Korean.

Bromley, Kent: Pushpa Hillman

Southampton/New Forest: Veera Harper

any support required but individual groups can decide how often they want to meet and what interests they wish to pursue. Please contact any of the following UK FRIENDS if you feel you can help to run a group, attend or organise an event, assist in any way or simply join them at a gathering.

Wiltshire: Gwendoline Fall

I am happy to organise or help with a group in the Bromley, Kent area. For further details please contact me.

I am happy for anyone living in the Wiltshire area to contact me. I will do what can be done on an individual basis. I’m happy to hear from any DSFA members.

01689 861 668

Japanese contact: Miharu Koizumi

Oxford area: Barbara MunskeCresswell

I am happy for any Japanese person who is finding it difficult to make friends or is lonely or missing their homes to contact me anytime by email:

Workshops: Shashank Kansal Shashank Kansal has offered to run the following workshops: 1. Privacy and Use of Social Media 2. Getting on the Job Ladder If you are interested, please email:

Epsom area &Tate galleries: Rebecca Court I would be happy to be contacted by anyone living around Epsom. I am a voluntary guide at the Tate and would be happy to meet individuals at Tate Modern or Tate Britain. I speak French and German and would be happy to meet up with foreign-born members. or

I am very happy for anybody to contact me who lives in or around Oxford. If people want to meet for a chat, need general support or just a friendly face, do get in touch.

Cambridge area: Mel Forbes I would very much like to get involved and am happy to organise a get together if anyone is interested in the Cambridge area.

IT help: Daniela Sheppard

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Book Review

PostingaDiplomaticBag Review byVicki McIlroy

So many of the books we read today have been ‘processed’, by which I mean that editors have scoured them for inaccuracies and political incorrectness. I find this can result in books which have had the original colour, character and comedy completely sucked out of them. Not so with Jane Burner’s “Posting a Diplomatic Bag”. I literally laughed my way through this gem, much to my husband’s despair as I refused to stop and explain what the various guffaws were about. Jane (wife of one, mother of three and, significantly, survivor of six diplomatic postings) has self-published this refreshingly honest memoir, giving all the proceeds to the Association FemmeEnfant-Environnement, a small charity that she and Alan have supported since their posting in Senegal.

Jane carefully describes their various variou postings in her wonderfully self-effacing self-effac style, the stories regularly being told tol at her or her family’s expense. She also naturally finds that tricky balance between bet acknowledging the difficulties and trials tr that diplomatic life can throw at us and an yet not dwelling on them so that they become bec tiresome or depressing. As I read it, I couldn’t stop my own memories flooding flood back and on several occasions wanted want to say, “Yes, I know exactly what you mean!” me I would whole-heartedly recommend this book and positively encourage you to buy and read it if you have in any way world-wi been part of the extended, world-wide diplomatic family. You will benefit therapeut both from its comedic and therapeutic properties!

Title: Diplomatic Bag. Author: Jane Burner Format: Kindle Edition (also available in other formats) File Size: 7369 KB Print Length: 172 pages Publisher: Matador (5 Sept. 2017)

AHopeMorePowerfulThanTheSea | Review by Sarah Ridout I first came across the book “A Hope More Powerful than the Sea” when I attended a talk by its author, Melissa Fleming, at the Morges Literary Festival in Switzerland last September. Fleming is the chief spokesperson of the UN High Commission for Refugees and was attending the festival to present her book and to take part in a discussion with other English speaking authors on “Exile, Memory and Refugee Experience”. Fleming’s book is an account of the refugee crisis as experienced by a young Syrian woman, Doaa al-Zamel. It tells of her life in Syria as the peaceful uprising against the President turns into a full-scale civil war. As tanks rolled into Doaa’s city, she and her family fled to Egypt, but as their initial welcome there turned to hostility, she and her fiancé decided to make the perilous journey to Europe at the hands of unscrupulous people traffickers. When their boat, containing 500 refugees of different nationalities, was attacked in the Mediterranean, Doaa, who had previously been terrified of water, spent four days in the sea and was eventually rescued, along with a fellow refugee’s

baby, who she managed to save. Of the 500 refugees only 11 survived. Everyone else perished, including Doaa’s fiancé. Fleming heard about Doaa’s remarkable tale of survival on the day that she was rescued and immediately flew to Crete to meet her. In Doaa she recognised the story of the war in Syria as embodied by one woman, and over the next year she worked with a number of colleagues to interview her. Fleming tells Doaa’s story in a respectful and empathetic way. However, there is no doubt that had Doaa told the story with her own voice, the true horror, heartbreak and emotion would have made for an even more powerful narrative. Fleming said in her introduction to the book in Morges that she wanted to encourage people to see refugees as individuals, and to give a face to the thousands of refugees who die every year as they try to escape war, conflict and persecution. In telling Doaa’s story, she certainly sheds light on the devastating plight and the remarkable resilience of refugees.

Title: A Hope More Powerful Than The Sea Author: Melissa Fleming Format: Paperback | Print Length: 304 pages Publisher: Fleet (25 Jan. 2018)


OpenMyEyes,ThatIMaySee MarvellousThings | Review by MargotWastnage Addis Ababa is primarily a question of scent and movement. If one has the ability to get these across, readers can be transported to one of the most contrasted city I have ever got to live in. And this is what Alice Allan manages to do in this little jewel of a novel. Her book is packed with all the essentials: characters to love and to loath, love stories of many shapes and forms, a scenario you want to see unfold to the end and of course a naked man (yes you need that in every novel too). With a beautiful, “flowy” style, Alice gets the reader to follow Mariam, a British midwife working a short stint in one of Addid Ababa’s overcrowded hospital, through her journey to save the life of a premature newborn. Her mammoth task involves battling cultural differences, fatalism and her own demon of being abandoned when she was little, to ensure that this little baby gets a proper start in life. Whilst she tries to convince the hospital of the benefits of skin to skin and breast milk for all babies, Mariam’s path

crosses with a lonely doctor, a stubborn manager and an illuminated king. The events that unfold are foreseeable but what makes the story gripping is the constant change of perspective. You are in the head of Mariam when she ponders about motherly love, but you then get goose bumps experiencing the world through the newborn’s senses in such a powerful way. The reader then gets to the limit of rationality jumping in the head of Tewodros. As a result, one gets a chance to understand each point of view and character and gets to think of loss, love, opportunities and defining moments from very different perspectives. This is a love novel, definitely, but more about what love does to our lives, how we are shaped by our experiences and what it takes to be who we ought to be. In the end it is not only about Addis Ababa, but about living in a capital and learning to make your way through life, courageously, letting some people in and shutting some people out.

Title: Open My Eyes, That I May See Marvellous Things Author: Alice Allan * Format: Paperback Print Length: 240 pages Publisher: Pinter & Martin Ltd.; 1 edition (30 Mar. 2017) • See also a feature article with Alice Allan in the Spring 2017 issue of Carousel.

MovingOn by Shiona Morgan

How stable the moment How quiet the tree The wonders on nature And wandering free The time of our living And dying we see As each day progresses And changes decree How solid the brown earth Under our feet The joy of the farm birth To hear the lamb bleat The pain of our parting To know when we’ll meet To find a new journey When one is complete


View of Mount Mustaghata from Karakul

Land of Moons and Stars In May 2013 Chelin Miller embarked on a journey that took her to Xinjiang, the remotest corner of China, spending time in Kashgar and Karakul Lake.

For centuries, overland travellers and merchants have gone to Kashgar and the Himalayan passes along the Silk Road - the most romantic and culturally the most important trade route in the history of the world. Kashgar’s location is absolute key to its economic success. The commercial capital of the forbidden province of Xinjiang was once described as “the last home of romance in international politics.” An oasis of Muslim moons and Communist stars, Xinjiang lies where the desert dies against the mountains that mark China’s western frontier. To the south: India and Pakistan, to the west: Central Asia. It is a melting pot of cultures where the heat of ethnic tensions has brought repression and revolt. Xinjiang does not lend itself to tourist travel. Recent investments and developments in Kashgar are changing the face of the city that has stood as the centre of Uighur identity, and I wanted to visit and photograph the place before it becomes modernised and the old traditions and ways of life are gone forever.


For centuries Kashgar has hosted a teeming livestock market, luring farmers in from miles away to bring their cattle into the city and in some ways, this aspect has not changed much. The evidence of a once-nomadic world reaches its climax here: bullocks, donkeys, sheep, horses and camels mingle with spices, fruits and tools. There is a bustling bazaar, much nearer to the bazaars of central Asia than the markets of Beijing, Hong Kong or Shanghai. The facial features of the Uighurs, Kyrgyz and Tajiks are more European than Asian. Walking along the streets of the new Uighur town, there were food vendors, ironmongers, potters and wood-

turners. The air reeked of coal dust and lamb kebab, and filled with the lively music of Arabia. No Han-Chinese was in sight. You have the feeling that you are on the frontiers of another land; that you have come to the edge of China. As we drove along the Karakoram Highway we left the cities and towns behind and the villages became scattered and few: mud cottages with corrugated-iron roofs and broken fences, shiny metal shacks along the road reflect the gleaming sand mountains and lapis-lazuli lake. Approaching Karakul, the labyrinths of hills and valleys came to an end and we reached a plateau where yaks were grazing. It is a land where suddenly Central Asia is close and palpable: various different Muslim tribes live together and their people can be identified by their attire: sheepskin hats and skull-caps of the Uighur; Kyrgyz men in white felt trilbies; and occasionally you find Tajik women from the Pakistan border town of Tashkurgan, walking under high pillbox hats dripping with pendants. I wanted to have a meaningful experience with these people, not just another rushed tourist trip. I spent a few days living among Kyrgy families, travelling with my Uighur guide and driver. I wanted to see the rugged landscape, to witness the hardships and hospitality.

View from the mud house in Karakul Lak e

I wanted to eat their food, breath the mountain air and capture their intimate portraits, up close. The families I stayed with on the shores of Lake Karakul live a simple existence in our eyes. Despite the scarcity and hardships of this old, feared frontier, I felt the very best kind of hospitality. In the isolated landscape, I was welcomed and at home: I was invited to share delicious, wholesome meals, to have yak-milk tea and flat bread with my hosts and to stay in their yurts and mud-brick houses. The landscape is so arid that hardly anything grows: everything, from vegetables to batteries, has to be brought from the nearest oasis village, many hours away on the dangerous mountain road. They care deeply about their most precious possessions, a contradiction of tradition and modernity - yaks, camels and lambs, mobile phones and solar panel roofs, hand-embroidered felt ornaments, a camel-wool coat and a motorbike.

Leaving Id Kah Mosque

Exhausted from travelling all day, I went to bed early. The thin air gave me a febrile sleep and I could still smell the musty odour of felt, but I was warm and cosy in the cotton quilts as I lay on the colourful Kyrgyz carpets. Hours later I woke up before dawn and I went out into the cold to photograph the wintry scene of Kongur, Karakul and Mustaghata. I listened to the little stream and I imagined what the old Silk Road travellers must have felt. Here, on the borders of Central Asia, everything was silent, wild and opaque. Here, the great empires to east and west – China, Persia, Rome – disappeared in the distance. Back home in England, I look at the pictures and remember the epic journey. Now it feels like another journey made by someone else. I never want to become too used to that strange land, I never want to stop being amazed by the sight of donkey-carts laden with hay on their way to market, and motorbikes with women perched behind in silk and happy children bewildered by my strange appearance.

Looking into the Mosque



Membership benefits of joining the If you become a paid-up member of the DSFA, we can offer much more support to you through DSFA services and you will become part of the wider DSFA membership through the secure website and Facebook secret group. Paid-up members are given priority when applying for the Sponsorship Scheme and for DSFA courses, and are eligible for free/discounted classified advertising in Carousel magazine. Subscription rates For the first time since 2003, the annual subscription has been increased.This reflects the rising costs of providing DSFA services and of keeping communications up to date. It is £30 for new Full Members and £15 for new Ordinary Members. The new rates do not affect members who have already set up a direct debit or standing order at the previous rate. We would welcome extra contributions from retired members who live outside the UK to cover postage costs.


An artists network Page 19 Simon McDonald & Palmerston Page 15

Male perspectives

DSFA members: Shashank Kansal Page 32, Aldo Henriquez Page 35, Stefano Morelli Page 38, How to import your pet Page 24 Health & Wellbeing Page 28

Member categories Full Members are all spouses/ established partners of Diplomatic Service (DS) Officers; single officers with dependent children; one spouse/partner of a dual career couple with dependent children. Temporary Members are the spouses/partners of UK-based staff of other government departments or the private sector while attached to UK Diplomatic Missions abroad. Ordinary Members are spouses/ partners of retired DS Officers; all widows and widowers of serving and retired DS Officers; divorcees of serving and retired DS Officers. For further information on member benefits, please go to our website

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*Terms and Conditions apply, contact DSFA Email: | Website: Facebook: Full Member: spouse/partner and single parent of an FCO DS officer. Temporary Member: spouse/partner of an OGD officer while at Post.



Ordinary Member: retired officer spouse/partner of FCO DS officer, widowed, separated/divorced Annual Subscription: Full/Temporary - £30; Ordinary - £15 Priority is given to current annual subscribers

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From our correspondent


Fears by Nihad Elnujumi

My passion for travel took me this time to Bali. A place that, to me, sounds exotic and refined; like so many other visitors before, I was blown away by the scenery. I decided to make the most of my trip. I checked into a beautiful and cosy little hotel by the ocean in Seminyak and I went trekking, hiking and exploring. Encountering the Mount Ijen volcano complex in the middle of the night was one of most daunting trips I had ever made. Not only was it a very difficult terrain to hike over, but also wearing a gas mask for the toxic sulphur, made breathing difficult and turned the whole scene into sci-fi movie. But when the sun came up, I saw this beautiful turquoise-coloured acid lake and the experience was so worth it! The icing on the cake was seeing the unique blue fire from the crater – I’m told the largest blue flame area in the world. The next day I went ocean-floor walking to overcome my fear of water – I have to admit I was terrified to death; and if that was not enough, I then went fresh water rafting. Facing fears sounds a whole lot easier than actually doing it. Yet doing so reaps rewards too. Of

course, being a female solo traveller has its risks sometimes, but thankfully being streetwise, I did not encounter any trouble and always made sure I researched carefully beforehand what I was doing and where I was going (a good tip: always ask the locals).


It was time to plan my next trip. Living in China I really wanted to take advantage of being posted in Shanghai, and headed off to Australia. Again I thought of this as a dream trip, and hopefully relaxing too, but wanted also to share the experience with my two younger kids. We stayed with “Suad”, a dear friend who thankfully shares my sense of adventure! That said, she took it to a new level and talked me into agreeing to go tandem sky-diving. I have to say, my brain said “no way!” to the idea of jumping from a plane (with no doors), considering I have something of a fear of flying anyway. But with some gentle persuasion and sometimes threats of ending a 16 yearlong friendship, I was committed and did it! Even now I can hardly believe that I went through with the challenge, my husband’s reaction was one of utter disbelief. But the best reaction was of my nine-yearold daughter, she was gobsmacked and very impressed telling everyone, including strangers “my mummy jumped out of a plane, she didn't die”! When I remember sitting on that plane before the jump, my stomach turns, but I have to say that it was one of the best things I have ever done in my life. If you asked me if I would ever do it again, then for sure I would say YES!

My mummy jumped out of a plane, she didn't die!

My advice then to anyone enjoying their posting, do make the most of the opportunity to visit new places, embrace different cultures, and with a smile, just have a go!

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