Ah, December, the month when both diets and budgets regularly get blown.

pics of the dating delilah book-13

Last year, I didn’t decorate at all because we were in the middle of selling one house in order to buy another, and I was very stressed because (1) if House A’s sale fell through, then we wouldn’t be able to buy House B, (2) our lease was almost up, so if House A didn’t sell, we’d also have to find a new rental house to live in, or be locked into another year’s lease, and (3) it was the first anniversary of my mother’s death and seeing all the Christmas stuff just reminded me of how depressed I’d felt taking it down after getting back from her funeral the prior year (she had died over the holidays.) This December, however, we are in our new house, and since time heals all wounds, Christmas decorations no longer give me bad memories of my mother’s death.

So, I’ve put up all my decorations and our tree is up, too.

He spent six years with Reuters, which included a posting to Paris, where he shared an apartment with Emilie Charmy, the Fauvist artist and friend of Matisse, who was then in her eighties. He kept many of her paintings and his daughter Yasmine is publishing a book about Charmy.

After Reuters he returned to Oxford, to St Antony’s College, where he completed a DPhil in Middle Eastern studies, starting the first of his three books on Syrian history.

Syria will be a field of ruins.” In 1971 Patrick Seale married Lamorna Heath, who died by her own hand seven years later after producing a son and a daughter.

It turned out that the daughter, Delilah, was actually fathered by the novelist Martin Amis.

Patrick Abram Seale was in fact born in Belfast on May 7 1930, the son of Morris Seale, a respected Arabist and biblical scholar who became an Irish Presbyterian missionary in Syria for 20 years.

The key to Patrick’s insights into the country was his boyhood in the Old City of Damascus and a mountain village outside it, during which he acquired his perfect Arabic and French (it was in the period of the French Mandate in Syria).

Without their cooperation, however, he could not have produced his towering trilogy on the country’s history: The Struggle for Syria (1965); Asad of Syria (with Maureen Mc Conville, 1988); and The Struggle for Arab Independence (2010).