A track which has remained a firm favourite for a good number of years is Hesitation Blues by the Reverend "Blind" Gary Davis. You can listen to it here but it's over 11 minutes long, so be warned!!!
Anyway, that's not what brought me to the keyboard tonight. I've come "hesitatingly", because I'm embarrassed to have been away for so long. Even now, I've not got all that much to share. We're back in chilly Luxor, after a fairly uneventful Christmas holiday. Well, not really uneventful, but not many events which you, Dear Reader, might find interesting enough to want to read about, and some which I'm not actually allowed to tell you.
I've taken one or two pictures of things which took my fancy at the time, but when I came to put them onto the computer; they didn't strike me as being likely to be of much interest to sane people. However, put altogether, they just might pass muster, let's hope so, 'cause you're being lumbered with some of them anyway!
I'll start by mentioning my younger brother, who's a music nut. He's an accomplished pianist and organist, he runs several choirs and writes and arranges music as well. Well; several months ago, he happened to mentioned that he quite fancied a go at a zither (?). Strangely enough, and not too long afterwards, Freda and I happened to be in a junk shop in Blyth (Northumberland) where we came across the most beautiful zither I've ever seen! (Some of you might remember a TV advert which went, "I saw this and thought of you." well that's exactly what happened here.) We bought it there and then, even though it had no strings! Here it is:
After corresponding with people in the USA and Germany (I couldn't find any help at all in England!) I eventually tracked down a German string manufacturer who had been making zither strings since the beginning of the 20th century, and he provided me with a set of new strings in time for Christmas. Sadly, I wasn't there when Dear Brother opened his present, but I'm told he was over-the-moon!
Freda dragged me to the beach at South Shields one day, but it wasn't very hospitable! I took a short video of the cold rough sea, and caught a glimpse of Admiral Lord Collingwood's monument at Tynemouth at 38 seconds. Sorry about the wind noise:
On Christmas Eve, as you'll surely remember, we go Carol Singing on behalf of "Action for Children", which was formerly known as "The National Children's Home". Although we were of reduced numbers this year (about 6 or 7 for most of the evening) we still managed to break our previous records by collecting about £460 on the bitterly cold and windy night. I can tell you that Windy Nook Chapel and the hot tea, hot mince pies with hot pease pudding, was a very welcome sight when we were finished at just after midnight. A great time was had by all, as usual. Altogether, we sent off something like £640, which we were well pleased with. Sister Susan was telling us that she had come across an entry in one of the old Chapel Minute Books which recorded a decision by the Chapel Leaders Meeting to "Allow the young people of the Chapel to accompany the Carol Singers on Christmas Eve 1917" so we know for sure that we've been singing for at least 100 years, and likely a lot longer! Perhaps they allowed the young people to go because of many of the young men being away at the war, who knows? Our Chapel was known as "The Quarrymen's Chapel", whereas the other main Chapel at Windy Nook served the pitmen of Heworth Colliery, I believe that coal mining was a reserved occupation, but quarrying stone might not have been. Again, who knows?
Christmas morning finds most of our family squeezed into my Mother's parlour, where we open many of our presents, as Mam passes around a box of chocolates.
After the festivities and resting of Christmas, I had a call (completely out of the blue!) from an old school friend and former business partner. After our grammar school education, he had gone into apprenticeship at a BMC Main Agent in Newcastle to train as a motor mechanic, while I was doing (more or less) the same in my father's business. After dad died, and my mate finished his apprenticeship, we became partners in the family HGV and car repair business. Eventually, he got sick of the small income we had for working stupidly long (and hard) hours and went off to look for oil in the scorching deserts of Sudan and Libya, and to make his fortune, of course! The last we saw of each other was 25 years ago, so you can imagine that, when he finally came to visit last week, we had a lot of catching up to do. We had a great time remembering friends old and new, and others who were no longer with us. I really hope we get to meet again when we return to Windy Nook in February.
Since we returned here to Luxor, we've been cleaning (how novel?) and have only been out for tea etc twice so far. Of course, first stop was the Steigenberger Nile Palace, where I was allowed one of the small cigars which Number-One-Son bought for me for Christmas. What joy! And, what a lovely new chandelier in the hotel foyer:
We met with a dear friend this afternoon at the Winter Palace, isn't it lovely to see people whom you've missed for a while? On the way there, we collected a new friend. He's from England and has come to live in Luxor where he plans to organise holidays with a Yoga and spiritual theme. More competition for Witch Hazel and Mad Mara (and all the others) methinks! Good luck to him though, he seems to be a nice sort of chap.