On arriving home in Luxor.

Well, yes we got back home to Luxor without too much trouble, Hamdulillah! But many places are hardly recognisable. The front of the friendly old Etap (El Luxor Hotel) is covered in snow…………

The old premises of the Oasis Café which, you’ll remember, moved up to St Joseph Street next to Tuttie Frutti, has been turned into a new restaurant cunningly called the “Oasis Palace” which I think is a bit of a cheek!

Mind you, they have certainly spent some cash on the place, it's just a pity that they are trying to cash-in on someone else's good reputation!

We also called at the NP (Steigenberger Nile Palace, do keep up!) where they had a wonderful poinsettia Christmas tree. It was made up of individual plants in pots, most ingenious, and very effective. The funniest thing about their Christmas decorations, is that their Santa Clauses always have saxophones!!!!!!!!! What's all that about, then? Even some of the Egyptian Christmas cards have him with a sax!

We arrived back at the apartment to find a generous covering of dust, well, it was better than finding a generous covering of snow, wasn't it?

The good old Karcher vacuum made sharp work of that!

Who knows Ruby Tuesday?

No, not the one of Rolling Stones fame! Ruby Tuesday from Luxor, whose blog is
http://orangesbythenile.blogspot.com/ . The blog posts seem to have disappeared, and I'm unable to email her.
Anyone have an email address, or; are you reading this Ruby Tuesday? If anyone can answer yes, then please let me know.
Happy new year everyone.

Busy Bees.

Here we are again, still in Windy Nook!
A couple of weeks ago, I had an unexpected email from a lady whom I hadn't seen for a very long time, in fact she was just a daft girl when we last met! Diane was the daughter of one of my customers, and lived just a hundred yards or so from the garage where I had my business repairing (mainly) heavy goods vehicles. After exchanging a few emails between us and another long-time pal (Eric) we arranged a get-together of some of the old gang from all those years ago.

The business had been my father's and I was taken into partnership at the tender age of 18, sadly, he died when I was 19 but I was able to carry the business on. We worked from 08.30 till 10 or 11 in the evening. I took a partner who had been a school friend, and we had several helpers, one of whom came to us as a boy Scout looking for a Bob-a-Job task! We never let him go, and inculcated into him our love of repairing trucks and things, which he has put to good use, and 40 years later has a really good business still doing what he loves best.

Here he is, sitting behind Diane. He is "Little" Eddie, a name which will be explained in a minute or two. The next picture (l to r) is of Dennis the welder (who, in his younger days, was a dead
ringer for the famous Roy Wood of "The Move"), Potter, Ian Miller (affectionately known as "Mudguard") and, of course (being the "Belle of the Ball") Diane. Ian was always
a regular visitor, sometime helper (and sometime hinderer!). He is now is a very successful car dealer, he very kindly lent us a car to get around during our present holiday.
Potter is, in fact, Edd Potter who was a friend who became a business partner in our haulage business a couple of years later. Seeing as I was Edward, Potter was Edd and Little Eddie was another Edward: those two adopted the names which just evolved, so that we weren't spending all day getting mixed up! Mind you, I think Little Eddie is a bit sick of his after 40 years!
Dennis was a factory welder, with Potter (and several other assorted lunatics which were to impact on our lives in different ways during this and the slightly later period), who was a visitor and sometime helper.
Other notable worthies turned up, but (as usual) yours truly hadn't checked the camera, and the batteries ran out after half a dozen pictures!!!!!!!
It was a very good night, spoilt only by the loud music in the pub which I struggled to contend with, with my partial deafness. We have promised to arrange another meet-up in the summer, but at a quieter venue!


Our youngest granddaughter started school in September, even though she is still only a baby! Fortunately, the school she attends hasn't wholly sucumbed to the political correctness which was instrumental in us deciding to escape to Luxor, and they still have a nativity play! Isabella is too young to have a major part, but she made a beautiful angel. (Yes, I know I'm biased!)There she is, right in the middle of the first picture, and posing nicely in the second.


I also went to the brilliant "Sage" at Gateshead to see Maddy Prior (of Steeleye Span fame) and the Carnival Band perform their annual concert of Christmas songs. The tickets are our usual Christmas gifts from my lovely sister, she gets one for me, one for son Benjamin and another for Alice, our youngest daughter. It was a super concert, but photography isn't allowed, sorry!


On Sunday 19th December (last night) Benjamin and I accompanied sister Susan and her husband Roy to their folk music club at South Shields, that's where Christine (the owner of the Tuttie Fruttie Cafe in Luxor) comes from. We used to sing together regularly in our younger years, but now rarely have the opportunity. However, last night we did! We first gave them three verses of "While Sheperds Watched" to the tune "Up and Doon", which we sing every year while out Carol Singing. Our Benjamin got up and helped us out, even though he sang with his eyes closed, so that he could pretend that he wasn't in front of a crowd of people.

A few of the Windy Nook Girls Brigade Band were there, and gave the gathered folkies a medley of Christmas Carol tunes, they were pretty good and went down well!

After the first half, we were presented with a goodly spread of food consisting of pies, sausage rolls, roast potatoes, mince (spoilt by the addition of chillies), cheeses and pickled onions, crisps, cheese flans and Cadburys Chocolate Fingers!!!! It was just as well, as we hadn't had time for any tea.

The band started the second half off with some more carols, and we sang "Bright Morning Star Arising" with Christmas words written by our Susan's friend Maddy Prior. It felt good while singing it and it seemed to go down very well. We had a great night, it's just a pity that Freda doesn't enjoy that sort of thing.

Well, that's all the news for now, but I'll be back!!!!

Merry Christmas!

Yes, the time is again drawing nigh! Too much to buy, with not enough time or money to get what we would really like to. It's always the same for most of us.
Our son, eldest granddaughter and youngest grandson put up and decorated the tree for our house. I think it looks ok.

For us, it would be unthinkable to be away from our family at this special time of year when we remember the birth of Jesus, and all that it means for mankind in general and for us as individuals. It saddens me immensely when I think of all the folks I know who don't have a share in that tremendous sense of love and security which, particularly around this time, abounds in Christian circles.
Anyway, I hope all of our readers have a lovely time celebrating this mid-wintertime, and I'll leave you with the words of one of my favourite (but not too well known) Christmas Carols.

Cradled in a manger, meanly
laid the Son of Man his head;
Sleeping His first earthly slumber
where the oxen had been fed.
Happy were those shepherds listening
to the holy angel's word;
Happy those within that stable,
worshipping their infant Lord.

Happy all who hear the message
of His coming from above;
Happier still who hail His coming,
and with praises greet His love.
Blessed Saviour, Christ most holy,
in a manger Thou didst rest;
canst Thou stoop again, yet lower,
and abide within my breast?

Evil things are there before Thee;
in the heart, where they have fed,
wilt Thou pitifully enter,
Son of Man, and lay Thy head?
Enter then, O Christ most holy;
Make a Christmas in my heart;
Make a heaven of my manger;
It is heaven where Thou art.

And to those who never listened
to the message of Thy birth,
who have winter, but no Christmas
bringing them Thy peace on earth,
send to these the joyful tidings;
By all people, in each home,
be there heard the Christmas anthem;
Praise to God, the Christ has come!

Again Merry Christmas, and God bless.

Mary Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

That's right, we don't have a garden, but we seem to be able to grow icicles ok!
I took this pic of our bathroom window on the day we arrived back here in Windy Nook.

Six days later and see how they've grown, it must be that they are trying to thaw for a little while and then re-freezing. It is VERY cold!

I just thought that all you lucky people still in Egypt would like to gloat over what we are suffering here in good old Blighty.

Holiday time.

Hello from a very cold Windy Nook, where we're on our Christmas holiday from 3rd December until the 27th.
Actually, we really started on the 2nd when Freda had a fancy for a McDonald's. This is a bit of a queer occurrence, as she isn't a burger fan in general. But, you know me, anything to please the Boss. (I've always been a crawler!)
As we left McD's, I jokingly suggested that she might enjoy a chocolate brownie and ice cream at the Roof, by way of a dessert. To my great surprise she agreed, so we nipped into Snacktime before the "Little Shop Little Prices" man (Mamdou) latched onto us. Amazingly, the front table overlooking the temple etc. was vacant, so there we sat. The waiter was there in a trice and took our order "TWO chocolate brownies, please?" He was rather taken aback, as we normally only order one of anything, to share. "No shisha sir?" he thoughtfully enquired. But, unbeknown to him, I had already suggested that we retire from there to the Etap for tea and a shisha from Mr Bedawy before heading homewards. We enjoyed the brownies as much as we had enjoyed the cheeseburgers and made our way outside, crossing the road quickly before Mamdou got his beady eyes on us. Too late, he hurried through the traffic and caught us just as we were mounting the kerb on the other side. However, I managed to turn and speak to him before he had started his "Little Shop" spiel (once he starts he just HAS to finish) and when he recognised me he just said hello, and how are you and that sort of stuff and the a cheery "Goodbye".
The tea and shisha went down very well, as did the little "tourist watching".

We had arranged to be collected from the apartment at midnight to get to the airport in plenty of time for our flight to Cairo. All went smoothly, and we were soon ensconced in the grubby little cafeteria in domestic departures. Now then, this is a good place to people watch! Lots of Egyptian men (mainly) with an amazing array of different sizes of cardboard box. The clingfilm wrapping machine was going twenty to the dozen, the man operating it must have had quite a sweat on! And, of course Egyptian queueing! Need I say more? One chap had my attention for longer than any of the others. He looked like a typical West Bank farming type (I'm in no way denigrating the "type", by the way) with galabeya sleeves into which you could have flown Concorde, and a couple of winter scarves wrapped around his head which made him look like a pot of tea with a tea cosy on. His galabeya looked anything but clean, and he was small and stick thin. He wandered back and forth, haranguing people as he came across them, eventually sticking with an official looking bloke in a suit. His finger was wagging in the poor man's face, and his voice was raised. The poor official eventually made a call on his mobile and let the little fellah speak to whoever it was on the other end. The "whoever" also got quite an ear bashing before the customer was finished! He eventually made away towards the departure gates with his trolley full of his clingfilm wrapped boxes.
Anyway, we got to Cairo airport without mishap and managed to change terminals (only getting on the wrong bus once, which Saddam Hussein was driving) in our allotted time of 5 hours! Wondering where to go (Freda always looks around for signs etc. whereas I would rather just ask someone) I made my way towards the "Information" desk. Here it is below, but you'll have to click twice on the picture to see why I took it!

The BA flight from Cairo to Heathrow wasn't as nice as Egypt Air, but it did have a great selection of CD's to listen to, I had fun making my own playlist from CD's by the marvellous Leonard Cohen, the Rolling Stones, Etta James and Bo Diddley. Quite a change!

We arrived at Heatrow early, and left late, due to our last flight being postponed for two hours, in increments of a half hour at a time, very annoying! Nevertheless, we managed to get to Newcastle, where we found out that our son-in-law had just pranged our son's lovely (recently purchased) car, actually, another car ploughed into him in after losing grip on a bend, and there was no-one to pick us up from the airport. As we made our way down the covered walkway to the Metro station I was surprised to see the following icicles.

Our son-in-law managed to borrow a Nissan Micra to collect us from our local Metro station and took us home where the gang were awaiting our arrival. And more icicles hanging around our house as well.

According to the weather forecasters, we'll be carol singing in these conditions on Christmas Eve! So spare us a thought (along with some money!) when it comes around.
I'll be back in touch if anything crops up, in the meantime; enjoy the warmth if you're still in Egypt, and happy sledging if you're in England.

Happy Christmas to evryone.