Mad dogs and Englishmen!

It has been hot today! Freda says that I cannot get a good reading on the roof terrace because all the surfaces, where I would place the thermometer, are heated up, and therefore I cannot record the actual air temperature. Of course, she's right, as usual!

I took this pic at about three o'clock, as you can see, the thermometer is in the shade, but it's on a foam cushion, which is hotter than the air around it. If you click twice on the picture, you should be able to read the temperature on the screen. (It reads 50.4)

I moved it, and balanced it among the branches of our (almost dead) Jasmine plant. Yes, I know; the reading came down by 2 degrees! But it is still hot at 48.5!

We're all more or less ready for the off tomorrow. We packed and repacked the cases this afternoon, been out for a lovely meal tonight, courtesy of Magpie Linda from TripAdvisor, at the Regal Lounge. I might even get around to placing a review on TA about it. Tomorrow, all we need to do is to give our cleaner, Rashad, his holiday pay and his bag of Ramadan goodies, then make sure that all is secure and everything switched off and hand the keys over to our temporary caretaker Mr Haggag.

Tutti Frutti Christine is picking us up at about 1.30 in the afternoon, to go to the airport, where we'll have to blag a cup of tea out of her as Rashad is getting the last of our cash! So, the next Blog will be from good old Windy Nook, insh'Allah!
Byeeeee.

Lick o' paint, lick o' paint, lick o' paint!

Back to the A/C!

At ten o'clock, I duly went to the carpenter and picked up the wooden insert. Apparently the Arabic word for it (which I cannot for the life of me remember) is the same as throat, logical I suppose, as the A/C goes through it, the same as food goes through your throat!

Got it home, and with a little bit of final chiseling here and there it eventually knocked into place. It wasn't far away from being level either! All the hole needed was a slight adjustment along the bottom.

Then came the tidying up of the hole, using white cement which must be past its best, as it goes hard very quickly. I was mixing a small cupful, dropping it onto my homemade mortar board then rushing up the steps and slapping it into the gaps, but by the time (maybe a minute?) I was trying to get another small trowel full; it had gone hard! A bit frustrating to say the least! But perseverance paid off at the end:

Being that the unit was 'pre-owned' I thought that I'd better clean it out before it actually went into place. I borrowed Adam's blower (pronounced 'blOWer' like flower) to blow the accumulation of dust and muck out of the heat exchanger. Now then; I'd already done this with the other one, and knew that the air would be filled with a very fine dust and that I would be breathing it in, even with a mask on! So I improvised with some sticky tape and a plastic bag or two, to block off all the inlet louvres except for enough space to tape the hard floor attachment of my Kirby vacuum to. I'm no tattie (potato) when it comes to inventiveness! My contrived apparatus worked a treat, there was hardly a speck of dust to see.

With shifting the A/C around for the cleaning, it became obvious that I wouldn't be able to lift it into the hole in the wall by myself, maybe a few years ago, but not now! It was 01.30 by now, so I fully expected some of my neighbours to be in Adam's coffeeshop playing dominoes etc., and went downstairs to commandeer one of the younger men. Alas, there were only strangers there, even Adam wasn't around; he'd left his son in charge!

After some more tea and a bit play on the laptop, I gave up and went to bed.

Today, I was up before the crack of noon, and decided to seek the assistance of Mohamed Saba, the scrap man from a few doors down. Here he is, outside his emporium, where he buys and sells scrap metal and paper, and antiques, as well as a wide range of shisha pipes, both large and hand held, oven trays which he makes out of old liquid butter cans and a host of other metal and wooden kitchen utensils which no self respecting Egyptian wife would ever be without!

Click twice on the image, and then look closely at the items he has lying about at the entrance to his 'Aladin's Cave', you'll be amazed at their variety! That's our street's revered senior citizen in the background, Mr Mohamed (strange as it may seem!) he doesn't pray or go to the Mosque, and some of our neighbours tell him that he'll be going straight to hell!

Anyway, I digress (another surprise there then?), I led young Mohamed into our building and up the stairs. He was a willing help, I've got to say, and in one go, he and I just dropped the A/C into the waiting hole, couldn't have been easier!

So, here it is, now we just need a switch and to get Mr Ramadan to wire it up without damaging the paintwork with his spit or bursting through more walls to run the cables:

Lastly, it'll need to have what Mr O'Reilly says at 2 minutes and 27 seconds in the following videeo. (Just click on the link.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvSzSMg4vqU

Enjoy the video, it's only a few minutes long and is a classic!

What a difference a day makes.

Well, not even a day! While Karen was leaving her comment on the last posting, I was knocking doors out of windows. I trundled down to the souk, where I was confident in finding my little mate Gomaa who would help me out. We first went one way, and then stopped "No, Edward, this way cleaner shop." he'd changed his mind and took me to the flash furniture shop at the junction of Karnak Street and the street next to Cleopatra Street. (I believe they are a 'Christeen' furniture manufacturer.) Anyway, he could have been a tree worshipper for all I cared by now! Mish mushkellar (no problem), the words were music to my ears. When?("Imptah?" Gomma interjected) Ten o'clock tonight. Becam? Khamseen guinea (50le). I set off for home as if I was walking on air!!!!!

Gomaa had been relating to me how dead it was in the souk and that there was no money coming in; we should start a fabric shop together. He just doesn't seem to get it, even after all these years, that I'm in a similar boat to him, cash wise! Never mind, I forced 10le onto him for his trouble, and off I went. Here's what the souk looks like without tourists:


It's that bad, that some of the shopkeepers aren't even bothering to open!

Before I got home, I realised that there was very little in the house to eat, so I rang Freda to ask what she wanted brought in. Seems she's back on the toast diet, so wasn't hungry, but she'd have a bun from the baker if he had any. I got myself a lachma (beef) shewermer and called at the baker for a bun, they're now bigger and 1.50le instead of 1le. It wasn't till I was passing the hardware shop that I thought about masonry nails, to fasten the wooden frame to the wall. Another 1le and I had 4 big nasty nails in my top pocket. "Life doesn't get much better than this." I thought as I neared home.

When I arrived at our corner, I noticed Michael (the watch shop man) standing there grinning like a Cheshire Cat! " Hello Michael." Entering the little alley, Mr Gamal (Wedding shop) was there, and he burst out laughing! "What's going on?" thought I. Then I saw him: The Devil Incarnate, Mr Hassan the electricity man!! Everyone thinks it such a joke when Hassan comes for the electric money. They come and complain about their 150le bills, and then wet themselves while Hassan tells me that mine is 500le or 700le! I thought that everything was going too darn well!

Poor Adam (Coffeeshop) was almost in tears about his bill of 150le, and complaining bitterly about Dr Yacoub's being only 46.50le. When he saw mine he was visibly shocked........85le........I could hardly believe it myself! I rang Freda and asked her if she had the money could she put it in a bag and fling it over the top for me, OK. I was that relieved I had a celebratory cigarette off Adam before I came back up the stairs.

Maybe the tide has turned after all, if we get the 80 odd thousand pounds we're owed, and been promised (insh'Allah) tomorrow; we'll know that it has, won't we?

Well, Freda is struggling on trying to make things clean, so I'd better get on and help her, before she complains about 'that stupid computer' again. Byeee! 

Gaslight.

No, we aren't forsaking our electrical appliances for gas, thank you very much. I cannot stand the smell of Calor or other household bottled gases. Plus they are dangerous, especially in this insh'Allah environment.

I'm thinking James Mason, trying to send that poor woman crackers in the old film of that title!

Well, here we have Gaslight 2, subtitled Egyptians verses Khawagas!!!!!

I've been out armed with the A/C booklet in hand to the two carpenter's shops which are close by. The booklet has pictures in, like a Janet and John book, so that even the simplest of intellects can understand certain parts. e.g. There is a picture of an air conditioning unit and above a picture of the wooden insert into which it mounts in the wall. It's even complete with the measurements in real units as well as metric!

Two Egyptian carpenters failed miserably to come to terms with the fact that I would like them to make such an item for me, and that I would like to know how much it would cost. I admit that I don't have much Arabic, but I do know 'becam di' (how much for this) and I also know the numbers. It seems as though both of the carpenter men had just been dropped in from outer space (rather like Mr Bean!) and therefore didn't have any clue about how humans interact! They stood there, shaking their heads and mumbling unintelligibly.

When I finally gave up and trudged home, I couldn't have felt more defeated! Or frustrated! But, after a magic cuppa and a bit of writing to get it off my chest, I'm off out again!

   I WILL NOT BE DEFEATED. 

Did someone mention 'Famous last words'?

The Hole-in-the-Wall Gang!

Here are a few of the desperadoes who made up some of the legendary gangs:
From left to right: The Sundance Kid, 'News' Carver, The Tall Texan, Kid Curry and Butch Cassidy. Fine looking fellows, I'm sure you'll agree. (Thanks to Wikipedia for the pic.)

But to get back to the present day........

I had a bit of a sickener this morning when I fell off my 'scaffolding'. After a little rest, while I was washing a few dishes (just for a change), I came over all funny. I also felt quite sick all of a sudden. Nurse Jennings said that it might be 'shock', so, after taking a couple of paracetamol and a cataflam (diclofenac), I was allowed to have a nap! I didn't sleep very long, maybe an hour, but felt greatly improved. I intended to not do anything else today, but then I decided to perhaps do a bit of cleaning. As you can imagine, knocking through walls does prove to be a tad dusty! Swept and vacuumed around, not really thoroughly, but enough to stop treading the muck everywhere. Then I decided to empty the vacuum cleaner, then give it a good wash, plus the cable, it's like new! Only problem was that while I was knocking the dust out of the filter; a part of it which I had imagined was fixed, fell off and down onto Mr Mohamed's roof!!!! That's  going to present a problem for another day.

I played on the lap top on and off, but when I sat for a while my hip was very sore when I got up, so I thought that I'd better keep moving. Went out and got some of Chez Omar's lovely Kofta and some nice bread rolls from the baker, along with a couple of little treats for the invalid. The kofta sandwiches were very tasty, a bit extra pepper I would say, but very nice all the same! We watched some of Spartacus, the first disc actually and then I lay down to sleep. Sleep wouldn't come, and also I was a bit worried about the hole in the wall not getting finished. I was imagining my hip seizing up altogether after lying in bed all night!

I thought it best to carry on while I knew that I could. So, I arranged some better scaffolding. This time I used my big steps, but seeing as I was still working in the corner of the roof terrace, and might still be inclined to push against the side wall, if I forgot; I jammed the small dikkeh up against the side of the steps, so that they couldn't fall sideways. I felt much safer and got stuck in!

 
As you can see, the chain drilling seems to be working. I took the bottom section out in two bits, so as not to have any really heavy lumps. Remember that I have to carry them downstairs as well, to get rid of them.

Several cups of tea and a lot of dust and vibrating of fingers etc. later, we were left with the last piece!


A Few minutes after that, and Hey Presto, we have a new Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, consisting of yours truly and my lovely assistant photographer, Madam Fareda!
 
Tomorrow? Cleaning, I think!
 
Sleep well.

Every home should have one!

Here it is Dear Reader, what every home requires. A marvel of invention, and with a myriad uses!

I should have been a market trader. I've always known it, even from when I was quite young and joined my old mate Harry Taylor selling things like 'Clackers' (those things which were responsible for breaking so many children's wrists) and furry monkeys up and down the land from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Easingwold in the early 70's!

Enough reminiscing!!! Here is what I'm selling today:

It's obviously a handy item, and that's why we bought two of them when we were furnishing our two apartments. I'm not sure whether any of our guests have ever used the 'step' facility, although I cannot really imagine why they should need to. But I use them for all sorts of little jobs where I would otherwise need to get out one of my sets of steps, very useful indeed! Nevertheless, they are only really suitable for reaching up for things, or looking into cupboards etc. which would otherwise be too high. They are NOT suitable for a working 'platform', a fact which I found out just this morning, and to my cost!!!!!

Determined to do a bit more chain-drilling from outside before the sun came around; I placed my step/stool on top of the dikkeh, which is outside, and directly below where the A/C is going.

"Champion!" I thought, "Standing up here on this, saves moving the heavy dikkeh to get the steps near." Here is the result of me leaning to one side while pushing hard on the drilling machine:

"Ooooer! How did that get broken?" I can hear you ask. Well, perhaps the sixteen stone writer's left hip bouncing off the edge of the dikkeh and landing on top of the step/stool (which beat him to the ground) before eventually landing on the tiles, might have had something to do with it! So, listen to your Elf 'n' Safety man in future, if you don't want to have grazed knees, elbows and hips, and a badly bruised sense of self esteem!
I'm taking the rest of the day off from manual labour.

The Devil makes work for idle hands!!!!!!

Not that I'm calling Freda The Devil, or even 'a devil', but she certainly hates to see me idle!

The 'shady' part of the roof had to come down, which I did last week, you saw the pictures! Then I pulled out all the nails, that took quite some time, and I've got them in a porridge tin ready to take down to Mohamed the scrap man. I ended up with over a thousand feet of the three quarter by three quarter laths. Here they are making a right mess of the roof terrace: now you see it:

And, now you don't!

I've magicked it away!

I must admit that I've had one or two days rest after that, but...........
you'll remember the A/C carry-on the other month? Well, in that case, you might also remember that among the wheeling and dealing with the lovely Christine from Tuttie Frutti; we ended up with a spare 'hole-in-the-wall' A/C unit, of the one and a half horse variety.

It's not spare any longer, Freda has me (ME?) putting it in our upstairs livingroom. First job was to shift everything, cushions etc. anyway, from our livingroom to downstairs, out of the way. The furniture which would be in the way, moved outside onto the roof terrace. Then out comes the gear!

I suppose the worst that can happen is that I destroy the wall next to the door/window frame and it will have to be rebuilt, NOT by me, I hasten to add! When Mustafa the A/C man did the one in the bedroom, he and his henchmen (a collection of "Igors" if ever I saw one) just chiselled through the wall, knocking great big lumps of plaster (it's actually cement, and as hard as bell-metal!) off the opposite side when they broke through. I wanted to avoid that, so I had the idea of chain-drilling the wall along the pencil lines. Good, eh?

Here are the pictures, altgough the outside (where I was working from) is just about level, the inside is running off a bit. I'll sort it, I'm sure. Hahaha!

One line was enough for one night though, my JCB (Chinese) hammer drill with a 13mm Hilti drill bit shoved into an ordinary chuck, doesn't half give you some shakes. I've had a shower and tea, and I'm still trembling!

I'm not certain yet if she'll give me a day off tomorrow, we'll see.
Bye for now/

Sad, bad news!

We had a guest from the Nile Palace visit us this evening. That wasn't bad news, in fact it was good news! She is enjoying her holiday, and loves the Nile Palace. We met her there earlier on this evening, and had our usual tea and Nescafe in the bar while we chatted. At length, we decided to introduce her to Mr Osman's falafel!

Being the cheapskates that we certainly are, we took her on the Arabiya.

This is where the bad news occurred. We hadn't got as far as the St Joseph, when the traffic stopped and we could see policemen all over the place and quite a crowd gathering just past the junction. There was a police mini-bus standing in the outside lane, and the traffic was being diverted across the junction and onto the the other carriageway. "Must be an accident." I thought.

Obviously, the vehicles were moving very slowly as they edged into the oncoming traffic, and as we passed the police mini-bus; I noticed that the screen was broken, directly in front of the driver. Then I noticed that the front panel, below the starburst pattern on the screen, was also badly dented in. It was then that I looked forward of where the mini-bus was standing and saw a man's body lying on the tarmac with a small river of blood flowing away from him across the road!

It looked as if the man had just stepped off the kerb and directly into the path of the mini-bus. I imagine that the driver didn't have a chance to stop, and that he was now in a state of severe shock. I don't believe that the pedestrian was still alive when we saw him, and by now, I expect he is in the ground.

It's always so sad to see this sort of accident, as it could have been so easily avoided, but now the man's family will see him no more, and the poor police driver might well be traumatised for life.

But for us bystanders and rubberneckers, life has to go on, so we carried on till the railway crossing, where Linda and I got off to go and see Mr Osman. Freda stayed on the 'bus to make her way home and up the dark stairs to put on the lights for us getting back. We had a lovely evening, even though the imagining of the grief of the poor man's family has now returned.

We have another convert to Osman's falafel though! We talked and talked, (interspersed by the odd cuppa, of course) until we realised it was twenty minutes after midnight! I escorted Linda down to the Emilio, where we found her a taxi and said "Goodnight".

And now, it's goodnight from me!

101

I've just stopped for a quick cuppa, don't have much time today, as I'm doing interesting things like clearing the timber off the roof terrace and sorting out my tools and tool box etc. I've had the box emptied and vacuumed out the four years of dust, and put all the tools back in that belong there, plus, I've made room for my farouk (angle grinder) as well. But I've now got a pile of assorted screws, toilet seat hinges, vacuum cleaner belts (new and old) pins out of broken electric plugs, small springs out of defunct door handles, etc........... you know; things that I might just need one day! But where to keep them? That, Dear Reader is the burning question of the day. I don't want to clutter up the tool box again with them, and Freda won't let me keep them in a jar on the sideboard (typical woman!), I'll have to ponder for a while!

Freda is also keeping busy, she's just finished washing the clothes line and pegs. What fascinating stuff you get on this Blog! I'm about to nip downstairs to see if the spare toilet seat hinge I've found is the same as the part which has snapped on the guest apartment toilet seat. I'm soooo excited!!!!! If it is, I'm going to get one of the girls to buy me a lottery ticket this week!

Well, I'd better get on, time and tide wait for no man, and all that.

By the way, 101 refers to the fact that we had our one hundred and first country looking at the Blog today: Zimbabwe. So only another 95 (or so) to go for a full house!

EDIT: Don't get me a lottery ticket, girls!

All that glisters is not gold!

I've been putting off writing this piece, as I think some readers might judge it to be 'petty', but after due reflection; I believe that that isn't so. The subject matter is what reputations and the consequent trust of potential clients is based upon, so our livelihood could be put at risk by this cavalier behaviour!

No doubt you regular readers would have noticed my 'crowing' in the Blog of 11th July, entitled 'I'm a Winner!' At the time, I think I was perfectly justified in my state of proud happiness. Nevertheless, all was not as it seemed!

The day before yesterday. I happened to notice that another of the FlipKey Vacation Rental properties in Luxor (well, on the Side of the Dead, actually) had added to their heading 'Award Winning'. Well, you have to look, don't you?

Lo and behold, they are also deemed to be the 'Top Vacation Rental Luxor' Awarded by FlipKey! That's really clever, isn't it? Maybe we could try having two Miss Worlds, or two Football League Champions, I wonder how well they would go down?

To say that I'm 'hopping mad' would be the greatest understatement since Brother Noah said "Looks like rain, boys." I'm currently waiting for a reply from FlipKey, about this shabby attempt to gain some free advertising for FlipKey on the websites of their paying customers!

I freely admit that this other rental property has slightly more overall 5* ratings than mine does, but when the star ratings for the specific aspects of the property or service are calculated, it's a different story altogether.

Our Luxor is one apartment, and has had 690 stars awarded out of the 700 which were available. The other 'Top Vacation Rental Luxor' is three flats and has had 518 stars awarded out of a possible 540. Now; I'm not really as big headed as the late great Dave King was, but the figures would speak for themselves, I should think?

We'll just have to wait and see what the man at FlipKey has to say when he gets around to answering my email. A company like that will come up with a nice smooth answer, no doubt!

You can be sure I'll keep you in the picture.

I didn't see a brush in the Governor's hand!


Well, today was to be the day! Luxor Clean City!

We were to meet in the Abu Al Haggag Square at 09.00, to be issued with gloves and T shirts and brushes and shovel things, oh and a mask! I originally thought that the mask might have been so that no-one knew who you were whilst wearing the disgusting 'baseball' type of cap, which was issued at the last meeting with the 'Bossman'. But it wasn't, it was the sort that the Oriental visitors to Luxor wear, the one that has elastic loops which go around the ears, and eventually looks like a windblown handkerchief which has attached itself to your face!



Anyway, there was a good crowd of Egyptians, mainly youngsters, a veritable army of Amoun men with trucks and their little bin-carrying barrows. But not many foreigners, or not many that I could see. I was wearing my ridiculous headgear, so that I would be recognised as one who was there to participate, but no-one seemed to be available to deal with anyone who wasn't Egyptian, how strange! Freda and I took a seat and watched the people milling around, then saw the Governor and his deputy, who shook hands with those who approached them and then, gradually, made their way back towards where the official car (the Merc)  was standing. One of the foreign organising ladies bustled past with a small group, armed with brushes etc, but still there was no sign of anyone distributing cleaning equipment or protective gear. After speaking to one or two people who seemed to be in the same boat as us, we moseyed on home!

We walked back through the souk and the back streets, and I snapped off a couple of shots on the way. I don't think that the Governor will get around to these locations very often! 

This corner plot of land is two streets back from the tourist souk, just off Cleopatra Street. In fact, it was one of the possibilities which we were looking at before we actually bought our present home! The whole plot of land is about one and a half metres deep in refuse. When it was shown to us six years ago, it wasn't quite so deep, and there were sheep feeding among it.

Just a little further along; we found this enchanting small cat having a snooze!

Then, a little farther again, just before we turn towards Mustafa Kamel Street, we came upon this pleasantly arranged group of black bags, and accompanying accoutrements.



I don't want to be disparaging, or seem defeatist; but the Governor and the Luxor Clean City team certainly have their work cut out! The local population don't give two hoots about cleanliness, or hygiene, or bad smells! That's just how Luxor is, love it or loathe it!

Apparently, Qena was like Luxor until the Governor there decided that it WOULD be a clean town, and instructed the police to fine anyone causing any sort of litter or rubbish problem. They tell me that it is now a beautifully clean place! It's such a pity that the only way to get things done here is to be particularly nasty to people, and frighten them into doing what should come naturally! But, then again, who are we to impose our cultural 'norms' onto an independent (and very old) civilisation?

I honestly don't know what to think any more, I give up. (And, I'm going back to bed!!!) 




That Was A Week That Was.

Good evening and welcome!

Well, it has been a busy week, with one thing and another. Today was the final day of the Moulid and also the meeting of the Luxor Lunatic's Association (aka the ex-pats) with the new Governor of the 'Luxor Governorate'.

It was obvious that I couldn't be in two places at the same time, so I delegated the photography and filming of the Moulid to my deputy, and trotted of to the 'Office of the Supreme Council of Luxor' to see what the story there was all about.

It was relatively interesting, but as time got on one or two people wanted to get their points across by shouting across the room at the Governor. One uncouth (I'm ashamed to say, British) man was actually swearing at the Governor! I caught quite a bit of the proceedings, but (as you know) my hearing isn't what it should be, and when there were people talking over each other; I couldn't make hide nor hair of what was actually being said. Bit of a bummer really, maybe I should have delegated this instead of the Moulid?

By a happy coincidence, there was another Luxor Blogger in the room also, and she went straight home and blogged the whole of the proceedings. She heard, and reported upon, a few bits and bobs which went straight over my head! So I should probably (in this instance, anyway) direct you to her account of the afternoon's discussions. The other Blogger was, of course, the ubiquitous Mrs Akshar, and her Blog address is:

http://luxor-news.blogspot.com/

I'm sure that she's changed the whole look of her Blog page recently! Surely she couldn't have had a similar problem to mine, where I really made a muck up of the design which I originally had? Anyway, I would say that her recollection of what went on at the meeting is pretty good, and certainly better than mine. (But she's a professional, isn't she?)

Now to my deputy's work with the Moulid!

Needless to say, the Moulid procession is utterly crazy, unutterably loud and raucous, and very dangerous for participants and onlookers alike! You've really got to be careful in the streets as the 'Carnaval' comes your way.

Freda and I came out of the house at the same time, she on her way to "Snake Time" to meet a couple of friends and watch and photograph the Moulid from one of the upper floors, and me, to make my way to the Council and the 'Meeting'. It was absolute Bedlam in Mustafa Kamel Street! Our little alley was crammed at the entrance, with women and girls, mainly using their mobile phones to take as many pictures as possible. I clicked off a couple of pics before we squeezed our way into the street and plodged through the puddles of water from the 'Drinks Station' outside the coffee shop just to our left. I was too afeared to ask Freda about the state of her clean white linen pants, lol. So, one of the first pictures shows a large flame, which some headcase youth is producing with the aid of a cigarette lighter and an aerosol can! (Now I'm no jobsworth Elf 'n' Safety man, but that's got to be dangerous!!!)

Freda was going to kill a man who tried to save her life! We were only two or three yards from the entrance to our alley, and squeezing alongside the footpath with a horse and cart slowly but surely edging its way past about a foot from the kerb. This man was really panicky, you could see it in his eyes, that Freda was going to have, at least, her feet run over by the cart wheels! He wasn't very big, but was straining valiantly to bodily pick her out of the gutter and on to the footpath, where there was no room for her anyway. I was enthralled! But I could see her expression, and the poor man couldn't. Luckily, I managed to grab her hand and gently lead her off into the crowd before she had a chance to remonstrate with him.

I had a little English money to change at the Etap before I went into the Council Offices, and I knew that Freda had a 20le note, with which to get a drink or whatever at Snake Time. So you can imaging my dismay when the apparition of the widowed Aunt of a friend suddenly appeared in front of us? She is always 'on the lug' for money, and we always give her a little, but I didn't think we had any apart from the 20le and my English. Freda had a fiver tucked away somewhere (?) which she willingly handed over. But that's where the problem begins! Like so many Egyptians (and not only the poor ones) once you give them some money, they think they have a right to everything you have! Every time we see her, it ends in a row. Never mind, Freda handled the situation very well without actually resorting to violence, well, just about! ( I think she might have given the old bag a 'dead leg' or something similar!)

Anyway, enough of all that, here are a selection of my understudy's pictures and videos of the final parade of the 2011 Moulid of Abu Al Haggag, mostly taken from the first floor of the famous 'Snake Time' restaurant opposite Luxor Temple and the Abu Al Haggag Mosque.

                                      







 


video

Well, that's that bit of excitement over for another (Lunar) year. Ramadan coming up, where I won't be sad to miss our friends and neighbours struggling through the day without so much as sip of water passing their lips, as we sit in the (hopefully) lovely warm atmosphere of God's country; Windy Nook!

Just before I go, I thought I'd leave you with a bit of a question. You remember the Extra Fizz, Extra Lemon Sprite? Well, being the kind and loving husband that I am, I treat my wife to a bottle last night, and as I had a small drink of it today, I wondered what it might be like to try adding some to a couple of teaspoonsful of Andrews Liver Salts???? You do remember that lovely refreshing (and stomach clearing out) drink of our youth, don't you? I have some here in Luxor, and might yet give it a try. I'll keep you posted on that.

Surprise, surprise!

Are we sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.

I had a queer sort of day today! Got out of bed at about 10 (again), and by the time I'd had breakfast and got ready; Rashad (the cleaner) was ringing on the doorbell. Freda put together his 'packed lunch' and pay, as I finished off getting dressed. After getting rid of him I did a little local shopping and struggled back up the stairs.

With the dishes washed, and the little chores all done, I suddenly got the urge to finish off filling up of the holes in the walls on the stairs, which the A/C men had left. Of course, by now the sun was just starting to shine into the stairwell, but it probably wasn't more than about 42 or something, so that was OK! They're all done now, but 'Houston, we have a problem'. The two colours of paint on the stairs were mixed by the painters, and there's as much chance of matching them again as the man in the moon!!!!! Never mind, that's a problem for another day. A shower and a snooze seemed more important just then.

After waking, I had another urge! This time it was for scrambled eggs on toast. With that particular lust satisfied, it was time to venture out into the world which is Luxor. Nile Palace tonight. When we got there, who should we find but ElizabethH55 and Magpie Linda (both TA contributors), so we sat with them and called all the other TA contributors under the sun! For about an hour or so, before it got boring, lol.

Anyway, after just about spending the electricity money on tea and Nescafe, we all decided that it would be a treat for Linda to see the stick fighting. We had intended to take her on the local bus, but it was very noisy outside the Nile Palace as there was a wedding going on, and we had waited ages (about 5 minutes actually) for a bus and they were all full. so we decided to take the offer of Oscar's taxi.

When we got back home, I managed to get Linda a good place at the very front of the crowd, so that she could have a good view of the stick fighting, but no-one would give up their seat for her or Freda. I was a bit peeved at that, I've got to admit! ElizabethH55 and I just hovered at the back for a while. We then had some Egyptian tea in Adam's Coffee Shop, which was quite busy with visitors to the stick fighting as well as some of the locals.

I must have had a premonition this afternoon, because after visiting the Coffee Shop, we came upstairs to our flat. If I hadn't finished my work and shifted the tools and rubbish, they would never have got up the stairs! Mind you; those two can talk! I don't think the conversation flagged once before they took their leave at about a quarter past midnight. I walked down to the Emilio with them to find a taxi to whisk them back to the 'Meridien'. ElizabethH55 couldn't resist a kilo of Turkish Delight from Ahmed's stall at the entrance to the Egyptian Souk, even though she had to give him 15le for it. (He'd started off at 20le!!!) He gave me a bit to sample, and I've got to say that it was very nice
By the time I'd called at the other Ahmed's for 4 bottles of water (he talked me into taking 5, to save him having to give me change out of my tenner) and speaking to our neighbour Radwan, I couldn't be bothered to get any more pics of the stick fighting, sorry. It's now 02.18, and they are still at it, I can hear the drums and bugles! That must be nearly 12 hours that the band have been playing, with time off only for their prayers and the odd slurp of water, sooner them than me
Talking of Radwan, I was telling him about English Stick dancing, and how very different it was to that which he knows here in Luxor. I found some on You Tube and gave him the link, here it is

It's the Upton-on-Severn Stick Dance, do you think he'll enjoy it? I hope so, and I hope you can enjoy it too.

Busy Bees!

Hi, we've had a busy time today. We breakfasted about 10 o'clock and then did our usual morning chores and seeing to Rashad the cleaner and getting ready to trot up to good old Tutti Frutti. We went there particularly to see a long time English resident (and Muslim convert) Ahmed. He used to be called John, and he speaks good Arabic, so is indispensable in finding out about everyday things like wriggely tin sheets and expanded polystyrene panels. You know what I mean! He's been here for about sixteen years, has friends in the local police, and knows many very useful people.

We waited and waited, had tea, had chicken pie (absolutely lovely, cannot recommend it enough) and waited a bit longer while talking to the lovely Christine and two new people we'd never met before. He didn't show! Mind, we hadn't arranged to meet him there, it's just that he uaually calls in.

Never mind, we got some bread and chocolate etc. at Arkwright's and hopped on the bus down to the Etap. It is Wednesday, and (as you surely know) Wednesday is English flight day! Sadly, the Etap didn't get many new guests, I think we only saw about six or so. Although there were a few coaches came along from the airport, very few were more than half full. A dismal afternoon all round, in fact!

After hurrying home and having another shower, we headed down to the Language School on Youseff Hassan Street to meet up with other foreign residents for a meeting with someone from the Luxor Supreme Council. We thought it may have been the Governor himself, but it turned out to be his deputy. About 50 people turned up, most of whom I didn't know and quite a few that I hadn't even seen before! We eventually gathered in what seemed to be the actual Council Chamber, with a typically Egyptian non-working microphone, lol. Here's a quick pic of the gathering, spot anyone you recognise?

Of course, the meeting was a bit chaotic, not having a set agenda, or even a fixed idea of topics. But, nevertheless, it went off reasonably well and ended up with the Governor telephoning and promising to meet with us on Friday at 1.30pm, for more discussions etc. I've been told this evening, though, that he has to attend the solemn carrying out of the sheiks tent from the Abu Al Haggag Mosque, see it fitted to the camel, and inaugurate the 'Carnaval', (the Moulid procession) at 12.30! So that might not run exactly to plan, methinks. We'll see.

Another subject which came up as a point of information, really, was the 'Luxor Clean City' initiative. This is something that has been dreamed up as an attempt to help in the drive to restart tourism. On this coming Sunday, the world's press (?) are supposed to be coming here to see and record the Governor and others (along with some of the 'ex-pats') start on a clean-up campaign. They want to show the world that Luxor is a safe city, cleaned of dirt and litter as well as the dreaded hassle etc. I've no idea if it will have any effect, but at least they are trying to do 'something'. Participants will get gloves, a mask and a free T shirt, as well as cleaning equipment. (I might go along for a free brush! They cost about 10le, you know.) Here's the logo:

We got back home about a quarter past nine, and were surprised to find that the stick fighting had already begun! But we were in desperate need of TEA. So we headed upstairs to slake our thirst before I ventured back out alone to see what sort of pics I could get this year.

Here they are, with a couple of short videos to whet your appetite!

The first one is of the band. This is the first year that I've been able to get a good shot of them, so this one is BIG!



The other stills which I took have come out blurred due to my shaking grip on the camera, but here's a couple of short videos. (I hope!)




video
The first one is obviously of two men acting out their 'fight'. But in the next one, I managed to catch one of the incense men, going around making everywhere smell nice and chasing away the flies. Only problem was that the band had to have a rest for about fifteen minutes afterwards, while they got the heavy smoke out of their lungs!


video
That's about all for tonight Dear Reader, another quick shower and bed, I think.
Goodnight.

What's going on in Luxor now?

I don't know about you Dear Reader, but I'm getting rather peeved at what I'm reading in other places regarding the horror stories about the 2000 people demonstrations, and counter revolutionary thuggery in Abu Al Haggag Square in Luxor!
I was quite shocked to read these reports, as I had passed the Square on the same day and seen nothing amiss, and had not heard any gossip or actual news about anything at all which could be described as 'untoward'! I asked our neighbours, who are all concerned about the political situation, and how it is affecting all their livelihoods, if any of them had heard anything about these happenings. they were mystified as to what I was referring to. "Oh Mr Edward, you must tell us about all this! We haven't heard anything, which newspaper was it in?" And we are less than 5 minutes walk from where it was all supposed to be going on!
I had to go and have a gander!
As you all know; it's Moulid time here in Luxor. In fact, there was a rumour that the annual stick fighting outside our door was to start tonight, but it seems that it's actually tomorrow night instead. nevertheless, all of Luxor is preparing for the event. Sweetie shops are sprouting up like weeds, everywhere, selling the most appalling looking confections. Heaps of monkey nuts are appearing along the roadside on Sharia Karnak, along with the tents for the Zikrs and the various traders who are hoping to recoup some of their losses from the sudden death of the tourism. The men with the bundles of smiting sticks are lolling all over Station Street and the Abu Al Haggag Square, but Freda wouldn't let me buy one, not even to protect her from the throngs of revolutionaries and counter revolutionaries which we were certain to come up against at some point during the evening.
'Revolutionaries and counter revolutionaries' that phrase reminded me of a film I saw the other week. It was about Russian involvement in the Second World War, and starred Jude Law as a Russian sniper.  Very good, but harrowing as well! Of course, I've no idea what it was called, but you wouldn't really expect me to, would you?

Back to present-day Luxor, where the revolutionaries staging the sit-in in Abu Al Haggag Square, seem to consist of 4 or 5 adult males, accompanied by 4 or 5 boys. Sorry to disappoint, but the Moulid is getting far more attention from the locals than the revolution ever did. I cannot comment whether that's the right way for things to be, as I'm not Egyptian, and can have no influence whatsoever on the politics of the country, even if I wanted to!

Anyway, here's some of the photos I took while hunting around for unrest:

This one was taken just past the Egyptian Exchange on Sharia Karnak, and shows some of the traders stalls going up. I think I'd just passed the bigger tent which is used for the Zikrs.




This next one is a bit farther along towards the
square and next to the Temple coach park, and is
another tent for some traders, I believe, isn't the tent
fabric a lovely pattern?

A few paces further and we have the Horus Hotel on our left and an abundance of stalls on our right, between the big Mosque and the roundabout at the bottom of Station Street (Sharia Mahatta) including a monkey nut stall, how would UK food hygiene regulations fit in here, I wonder?
 
I particularly liked the running Egyptian, something you rarely see here, where it's too hot for such foolish exertions!
Next point of real interest was the 'Sit-in Encampment', situated directly opposite Snack Time, on the small piece of grass, among the picnicking families.



As there was obviously nothing going on that was worth bothering about, we made our way up Station Street and turned right onto Mansheya Street. There is always a good crop of temporary sweetie shops along here, no matter what the festival is!
  
This last picture is of one of the new shops towards the new Mosque on Mansheya Street, if you look closely, you'll see another one going up right next to the Mosque as well!
I think that's probably enough revolutionary hunting for one night, don't you, Dear Reader?

Idiocy!

When I was younger, I could quite truthfully say "I'm not very clever, but I can nor'alf lift heavy things!" Well, now that I'm knocking on a bit, I can't lift very heavy things any more, so where does that leave me?

I'm broaching this subject as a prelude to, hopefully, giving you some good news. As you are already aware; I've messed up the blog, losing the Followers and the Feedjit gadget, and heaven knows what else. But, in my searching around for ways to either correct my folly or to disappear the Blog altogether, I came across something entirely different! With a fiddle here and a diddle there, I think I have made it easier for you to post a comment! Although it will not appear immediately, as it comes to me first so that I can 'yea' or 'nay' it.

I just thought I'd put this pic in, as I used to be daft enough to be a member of the North Shields "Tent" of The Sons of the Desert".

Please, someone have a try, to test it out, so to speak?

Who remembers Andy Stewart?

"I've just come doon frae the Isle of Skye" and all that jazz!

We'll come back to that in a minute. Last night, for a change, we had a mosey down to the Sonesta St George. It feels like going up-market from the Nile Palace, but I think that that's just 'cause we're not really used to it. Although it is also a lovely hotel, I think that the Nile Palace might just have the edge over it.

For our purposes (i.e. Tourist watching) the Nile Palace offers more scope, and possibly a bigger variety. But not last night!

For the first time ever in Luxor, for us at least, we came upon a real Scotchie, wearing a kilt! Here's the proof: 


Maybe I shouldn't actually name the gentleman, but I will say that he's called George, and while he's not from the "Isle of Skye" I can confirm that he is "no vary big and he's awfy shy"! We had a word or two with him and his son, and they are definitely enjoying their holiday in Luxor. Although he only had time for the photo and a few words, I didn't get any sense that he and his family had come across anything untoward in the town. So, that seems to be another visitor who thinks he's safe here in the "Badlands"! Maybe you should come here yourself, to check it out properly?

I cannot leave the matter of the Nile Palace and our spotting activities, without telling you who we saw there the other night, I didn't feel able to take a snap, but I'm sure it was Rod the Mod's Mam! She had exactly the same hairstyle as Mr Stewart (Rod that is, not Andy lol) had in the 70's, it was amazing! On the same evening, we saw a Desperate Dan lookalike too. He was only young, maybe 25/30, but all he needed was the cowboy hat and gun to complete the effect!

I'd better get back to pulling nails out, no not finger nails (although at times I feel like doing that to some of the people I have to deal with here) nails in wood, off the roof!

I'm a Winner!!!!!!!!!

I just thought that you'd be interested (well, hoped, actually) in the news that FlipKey (with whom we have our property advert) have awarded us a winner's badge as a 'Top Vacation Rental'. I wanted to display it on our two adverts (FlipKey and TripAdvisor) but neither site allows it. So, I thought that I'd display it on here, down the right hand side where all the little bits and pieces go. But, I ended up losing my Followers and my Feedjit thingy, and not being able to get them back!!!!! So, eventually; I'm going to try and place them in the body of the text... here goes........................

Find Luxor Vacation Rentals on FlipKey


Find Luxor Vacation Rentals on FlipKey

That's better! Let's try someting else?




And, something else?


Find Luxor Vacation Rentals on FlipKey

I see the moon, the moon sees me.

That's the first line of the first song I can ever remember! Although I could be very wrong, I seem to remember my Mam and our Susan singing it when I was quite little. Anyway, the last demolition picture brought it to mind. (If you blow it up by clicking on it twice; you can see the stars as well.)



"Please let the moon that shines on me, shine on the one I love." God willing, we'll all be under the same moon in 17 days time. I'm not really counting the days, or anything like that you know. LOL.

Well that's the end of the Shady Corner project for the minute, until we get some money, at least. Now I've got the lovely job of taking all the nails out of the laths, which will probably take me 17 days anyway!

Keep popping in, and I'll see what I can find which might be of interest. (Or might not!)

Destruction at Our Luxor!!!!

Well playmates (yes, still on that Arthur Askey kick, I'm afraid) the second night of dismantling went well, but I couldn't be bothered to blog it, so it's getting bunged in with the third nights work.

Just to remind you where we started:


And this is where we finished after the first night:



The second night was where it started to get a bit on the heavy side, and VERY dirty and dusty. There's four years of Mummy Dust up there, blown over from the West Bank. (The Side of the Dead) Here's the pictures, the first one is where the plinth for the central support was mounted:


Next comes the front main cross member, which with it's Christian cross motifs and the triangular fascia board, made up the front section of the roof, the bit that everyone sees. It looks easy enough to take to bits, but the inch square laths which are fastened to the four cross members are each nailed with four nails of about two and a half inches, and there are a great many laths. I haven't had the time nor the inclination to count them.


So this is the end result of two nights work.


By the third night, I had realised that Mummy Dust isn't very good for the chest, and as I was working actually under the timber whilst knocking it to bits, I thought some protective head gear would be appropriate, so out came my trusty Egyptian head protection and a dust mask from good old Blighty. Some cheeky bird got a snap of me!


I nearly got my own back on her when the head flew off the rubbishy Chinese hammer!!! But it missed and she scuttled back indoors, with that evil chuckle that only women can perfect! Anyway, bit by bit and with the odd cuppa to help me along; it's now just about down altogether. Here's the pictorial progress:




I can hear you complaining, "Why has he left it like that, when another 20 minutes or so would have seen the job done?" Well, Dear Reader, I'd had enough! And when you're fortunate enough to live here in Luxor; when you've had enough, you stop. We mightn't have any money, but we can do as we like. LOL! It reminds me of the words of a piece we used to sing in the chapel choir at suppers and things, called Linden Lea. "Let other folks make money faster in the air of dark roomed towns". Well, God has looked kindly on us, and here we are in our very own little Linden Lea, but we call it "Our Luxor".
And now, we're going to watch the second half of the 'Special Edition' of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, and we might even try some more tea.
Maybe I'll do some more tomorrow, we'll see!