The Current Situation at "Our Luxor"

I would hate you to think that I'm spending my time slacking! Just because we've had two cancellations due to there being no aeroplanes for our guests, surely you couldn't believe that the Boss would see me vegetate????
Talking about vegetation; we got a couple of plants from a small garden centre up on the Susanna Mubarak Touristic Road. That's a bit of a mouthful for what used to be Movenpick Road, isn't it? One is a Frangipani, for our terrace, the aroma is intoxicating when we open our apartment door in the evening! The other is a boring old Coleus for the pot outside of the guest apartment, it doesn't need any sun, apparently.

I decided to make the most of our little "holiday" by getting on with the kitchen in our bedroom, as it shouldn't entail spending cash that we don't have. We brought some tile thingies from England to act as a "splashback", behind the sink. The biggest problem that I could envisage was that we would have to wait until the surgeon on the first floor, Doctor Al Malach, was closed altogether, as the water would have to be turned off downstairs before tha meter. (You see, of course, that this wasn't going to be the biggest problem at all, don't you? You've "slidden down this bannister before" haven't you? So have I, and I'm getting MIGHTY SICK OF IT!!!)

Just in case you'd forgotten how I was doing with our kitchen, here's a reminder....

Since then I've been doing bits and pieces, like making some shelves under the sink for storage and stuff like that. Anyway, back to the present "saga"; To facilitate sticking the tiles on the wall, the new tap has to be removed and the tiles cut around the tap fittings embedded in the wall. All very straightforward? Not b****y likely!

Our wonderful (latest) plumber Mr Girges fitted the tap, as you may recall. When I came to undo the nuts which hold the tap to the pipe fittings, one of the fittings was coming away as well! Don't panic (Mr Mainwaring), I can fix it when it's all to bits. (In fact, "Can we fix it? Yes, we can!") So here I am, with a pair of Peterson's Vice Grips and an Egyptian spanner on which I'd had to file the jaws parallel, trying to unsrew the fitting from the tap. Now then, I know I'm getting older and I'm not as strong as I once was, but I was REALLY trying with this, and getting nowhere fast. The fitting is made of brass, which the jaws of the Vice Grips kept chewing up, I couldn't believe that it was so tight. Then I twigged what friend Girges had done, he'd cross threaded it, hadn't he, and being Egyptian wouldn't dream of owning up to it, so carried on in "the Egyptian way" stuggling on till it stopped leaking. Never mind the poor schmuck who would eventually have to take it to bits again!!! If he'd been there, I think I would have killed him.

Of course, to top it all off, it now was Sunday evening, and I needed another mixer tap. The shop I usually use for plumbing stuff is run by Christians, so no good going there! Another shop, just down on Gold Street, was open however. I stepped in to find that no-one was there, after a minute or so a boy appeared from up the street wanting to know what I wanted, no English, so I pointed at a mixer tap on a shelf asking in my best Arabic "Becam di?" He didn't know. He then disappeared down the street, returning with a little plump gentleman who I'd seen there before. "Becam di?" After looking on all sides of the box, and finding no price, he had a long discussion with the boy before getting out his mobile phone and dialling. In just a few minutes, another boy (maybe around 20) arrived, and between them , they came up with a price of 85le! I'm sure that you would have thought the same as I did, "The shop owner doesn't know the prices of his stock? Then he has to confer with two boys about how much to charge the "Kawaga" (foreigner) for this tap? I don't think so!!" Goodbye little fat shopkeeper. I went back home to have a cup of tea and a think. My brain was just about steaming by now!

If I recount the trials and tribulations of my journey to see Ahmed Hashem at his lovely bathroom shop in Madina Street, we'll be here all night. So, suffice it to say that his "Ideal Standard" mixer was 365le, but he had Chinese ones at his other shop for only about 90 or 100le! I went home defeated, execpt for the four lovely soft breadbuns from the Madina Street baker. I also had to find a way of closing off the pipes, in order to get water for washing etc, before bed. The tap isn't normally going to be in that position.

I was reinvigorated the following morning (today, that is) when I attended my first choice of shop (the Christian one) and came home with a nice mixer tap complete with fittings and everything, a large roll of PTFE tape and 4 spare rubber washers for 50le. My frame of mind was much improved!

I don't know if you've ever tried fitting a mixer tap before? It's not as easy as one might imagine, or so I've learned today. The two fittings which come with the tap are both "offset" to allow for imperfect pipe positioning in the wall. Good, one may imagine, but awkward, nevertheless. In trying to get the two ends in the right position to fit the tap, and level at the same time, I managed to snap one of them in the pipe fitting buried in the wall behind the tiles. This was (not just me being heavy handed) because the fittings are of an inferior quality, being cheap and nasty Chinese RUBBISH! Again, not panicking, I soldiered on and managed to get the pipe end fitting out of the wall without too much damage to the tiling. Back to the friendly Christian plumbers merchant, where a long while was spent with him impressing on me that I should be more careful, and me trying to explain to him that I would like some sort of jointing compound for the connection in the wall which I couldn't access with the PTFE tape (or the hemp he was trying to force onto me). Why oh why did I thow away that tin of "Stag Jointing Compound" 30 years ago which had always been among my Dad's stuff? A brainwave came to me on the way back to the house, " I could use some paint, or varnish!" And so I did, stuffing some strands of hemp into the fitting and then soaking it with Sipes "Varno" before scewing it onto the pipe end, perfect!

Eventually, I managed to get it all back together. Now, all I need is a "Farouk" (angle grinder) to trim the floor tiles which I intend to use to make the small benches at either side of the sink. So here's another picture to finish off with.

Well, not quite finish off with. Feeling quite proud of my efforts and their results, I had a nice long shower, followed by watching a film on the telly downstairs and some lovely chicken and honey mustard sandwiches in those soft buns with a fresh strawberry trifle to top it all off. The end of the day would be taken up with typing up this rather long and boring saga. But as I was doing it, just now..........water started to leak out of the hot tap fitting, running down the wall and puddling on the tiled floor!

I've turned off the hot water and I'm going to bed.

No comments:

Post a Comment