Room on top!

You'll probably find this difficult to believe, I certainly did!

While we were standing on Sharia Karnak, waiting for the arabaya to ferry us to our favourite watering hole, a convoy of privately hired mini-buses came blasting past. Obviously a wedding party going on somewhere, as they were all full of women and children, with the usual shouting and yelling and hand-clapping.

What my usual lackadaisical self hadn't been ready for, were the three young boys (between 8 and 12, I should think) sitting at the very back of one of the buses, ON THE ROOF RACK!!!!!

I used to carry the camera around in my trousers pocket, but the extra weight kept stretching my braces ('suspenders' for those of you in the USA), which are difficult to replace in Egypt and increasingly expensive in England. I remedied this by shoving it into the breast pocket of my shirt, with the short carry strap fastened around one of the shirt buttons, in case it fell out of the pocket. I've recently changed again! This time to using the 'bum bag' which I first bought for our initial journey to Egypt in 1997. Freda came across it when she was tidying somewhere the other day. So it now carries my camera and my phone. It's quite handy really. Although I cannot see to fasten it, it fits quite snugly under my overhanging belly, and is quite inconspicuous. Problem being, that I forget where the camera is, and by the time I've remembered and struggled (blindly, of course) with zips and stuff to get the stupid thing out; the picture opportunity has been and gone! Story of my life, I suppose. Never mind.

The scene reminded me of old Jim Musgrave, the signwriter who used to work in my garage. He loved to tell us tale of the 'olden days' and one was of the Craghead omnibus when it became a double decker. Open top, of course, and when it came towards the low bridge on it's route somewhere, the conductor would shout up the stairs, "Mind your heads!" and all the upstairs passengers had to dook down, or get their heads knocked off!

I expect the 'bus would have been something like this one at the famous 'Beamish Museum' which is just a few short miles from Craghead. Old Jim died 22 years ago, I wonder what he would have thought of us living in Luxor?
Happy days!

Now, let's get cracking!

Freda is busy using the sewing machine, and I'm busy (on and off) cleaning the staircase walls. You wouldn't believe the muck that's coming off them!

I've just come indoors to have a drink, and Freda is going mad because the needle has just dropped out of the machine and she cannot get it to go back in. "Ford Transit Gearbox Syndrome" I said. Which in practice means that if you leave it for a short while and then go back to it; it'll drop into place with ease! I learned this in my youth, when I replaced a lot of clutches in Ford Transit vans. The gearbox was quite heavy for one person to hold above his head, or more likely on his shoulder, while trying to get it to slide through the clutch plate and into the spigot bearing in the crankshaft. After a half hour of lifting the stupid thing up and down and a bit of cursing here and there, your arms and shoulders would be about to give out. The remedy was to go away and partake of a slavery bacon sandwich and a cup of tea, before trying again. Invariably, on this attempt, the gearbox would fly in, and you would be left wondering why it wouldn't go before. Needless to say, when Freda went back to the sewing machine; the needle almost fell into place!

While I'm indoors, I might as well tell you of the fabulous idea we had! We had a little excursion to the Nile Palace last night, as well as having a couple of magazines to pass on to our friend Alison (Guest Relations Manager), we thought we were due a break, and what better place to do a bit of 'spotting'?

Actually, we were surprised at the number of people there, also very encouraged! There were quite a number of Americans and the usual spattering of English. We can normally spot most of the English from a mile away. The fact that their football shirts aren't colour co-ordinated with the socks they are wearing with their sandals, tends to give them away! (Hahaha!)

Many nationalities are given away by their facial shapes, I haven't yet managed to distinguish between all the oriental peoples, although I'm told that most of them have unmistakable features, according to country. The French are often easily spotted because of the 'style' which many of their women seem to have, while puffing away on a Gauloises or two. Also, many of the Frenchmen have the same habit as Italian men, of wearing a pullover draped across their shoulders!

Nevertheless, none of these spotters' clues are infallible, the obviously French couple might give us quite a turn, when a broad Brummy accent utters forth as they pass closely by, but it's still good and harmless amusement for poor people who don't have a telly!

So, while we were sitting and sipping, and sighting, last night, we came up with the ideal solution: We are going to petition our friend Mr Gamal (Chairman of the Board) to require all his new guests to wear National Costume while inside the hotel.

Isn't that a great idea? I can just imagine the lederhosen wearers, with their meerschaum pipes and silly hats, slapping their thighs as they go around singing; "Falderee, fadleraaaaah, faldereeeeee, falderahahahahaha, falderee etc etc." it would be a scream! (Just found the following, half an hour after publishing, can you imagine them at the N.P.?)

Those people whom we thought might have been from a South American country, could have had sets of pan-pipes hanging around their necks, as a hint. Or if they had, in fact, been Mexicans, they could have worn their sombreros. 

I've only ever seen one English gent in what might actually pass for national costume (I think I told you about him at the time). He looked really peculiar at Luxor airport in his pinstriped trousers and bowler hat!

Khalass! Enough of this timewasting! I'm being worked around as I sit here, so I think I'd better move and get back to it myself.

TTFN. (Ta-ta for now; an old Jimmy Young saying, from the wireless.)

Well, what do you think?

Hopefully, we won't have anymore guests getting sunburnt while they're having their breakfast! The new extended sunshade is almost twice the size of the old one, just over 20 feet long and about 10 feet deep.

If you want a closer look, you can either come and stay with us, or you can click once for a bigger picture, or twice to go full screen.

The next big job is floor tiling, so if you're a really good tiler and would like free accommodation in Luxor for a couple of weeks, you know who to contact, don't you?

It's Finished!

Actually the roof has been finished for a few days now, it's just the cleaning up and tidying things away that's taking the time now. Today I've been washing (scrubbing actually) the walls on the roof terrace, and they've come up quite well. The 'muriel' was filthy, I suppose that it caught a great deal of muck off the old roof, when I took it all down before our holiday.

Just a few little pics to show you what I'm up against while I'm trying to get anything done.

Yes, I'm afraid that the cup of tea is one of the biggest stumbling blocks, but it's not just me, you know! Freda often stops the job by demanding tea, and, of course, she cannot make it, so I have to. 

I'm sure you all know what that is, don't you? It's a high speed twist drill. It's for drilling holes in metal, and this particular one is 3 millimetres in diameter. Trouble is; they aren't supposed to bend, I snap these sort of size drills regularly, as I'm not a very good driller. I think this is the first time I've managed to bend one, though, it must have been real junk! It's typical of the quality of tools and hardware etc. which I've bought in Luxor, and sometimes take up as much time, by the trouble they cause, as if the job had to be done twice over!

Yes, that's 61.1c. Actually it was in the sun (like me, when I'm working) and by the time I picked it up, came indoors and grabbed the camera and then went back outside, it had dropped from 64.3! So you see, it's not all that easy; working without stopping for refreshment etc.

On top of all the work on the roof, I still have my normal duties to perform as well, cleaning and shopping and washing the dishes, the list is endless!

Actually, the roof work entailed rather more than I had imagined as well! More curtain pole had to be bought and cut, new brackets had to be designed, and made at the local blacksmith's (the bought ones are made of double thickness silver paper) and the curtains had to be altered too. The decorative cross motifs along the roof edge had to be copied, as there weren't enough of the originals. Of course they aren't the right colour, as the varnish on the old ones has been weathering for the past 5 or 6 years! I suppose they'll darken down with time.

I expect that the unveiling ceremony might take place tomorrow, so I'm hoping that it will stay fine for some good photography, haha!

Duck's off!

I'm sure one or two of you will recognise the title of this post as the final line in one of my favourite situation comedies. That's right; Fawlty Towers!
But that's only secondary this is where the real inspiration came from:
A nice little duck fanily, resting on a small Nileside beach perhaps? Not quite! Have a scroll down to see.

That's right, they're on the roof of a bulding a couple of streets away. So it looks as if duck might just be 'on' for some lucky family over there!

I promise that I'll bring you some  pictures of the new 'Shady Roof Terrace' soon. Goodnight.

Indian summer?

It's been over 43 degrees again today!

At first, I thought that I must be a bit ill or something, as I was running with sweat while I continued working on the roof. You know how it is, an ache here and sudden flush there, and the next minute you're remembering where the Aspirin are, because you're sure that it's the start of a heat attack! Well, I am like that sometimes, it may be an age thing. LOL.

I've been in and out all day; guzzling water, making tea and sandwiches, checking for enquiries (haha) and keeping abreast of the latest developments regarding the new visa regulations for visitors to Egypt. Have you seen them? I'll not outline them here, but if you're interested you could look here:
I have to admit to having a couple of short naps as well, I like a good nap!

I read somewhere that the nutters in Cairo were kicking off again today with a proposed 'Million Man March' with the slogan 'The Day of Anger', and that something was being organised, by busybodies from Qena, to coincide with it here in Luxor. As it happens, we'd just watched the first half of an episode of 'Waking the Dead' in celebration of our son getting a new job, and I had been on the shower during the 'interval' when I heard them! At first I couldn't tell from where the noise was coming, then it dawned on me that it was getting closer. I went out onto the roof terrace to try to ascertain which direction they were coming from. "I must get downstairs and take a picture or two", I thought. Then I realised that they were getting too close for me to get dressed and traipse downstairs in time. I hung over the wall so that I could see a small sewction of the main street.

I waited for a minute or two, and then noticed the people over the main road watching the approaching crowd. Then I saw the first ones, young men, carrying banners nearly the width of our main street (about six metres). There were quite a few different banners and many Egyptian flags, then came the pick-up truck with several of the world's biggest speakers standing in the back! Then the rest of the procession. All in all, I would estimate that the whole lot took about a minute and a half to pass by. There weren't very many of them. As I've said before, Luxor isn't really a hot-bed of political discontent, or even dissent.

Getting back to more important things; the roof is finished, except for the 'decoration only' bits, upon which we haven't yet decided. I'll take some pictures tomorrow, insh'Allah, after we've cleaned up my mess a bit.

Next it's back to painting, my very favourite task! (NOT.)

And all for the want of a horseshoe nail!

You all know that little ditty, I'm sure. It's not literally true in today's circumstance, but it might as well be.

The new roof for the shaded part of the roof terrace is coming along slowly, but I like it so far. The two visitors we've had this week have also commented on it in a positive manner, so that also pleased me!

I'm not too skilled in handling 4 x 4 bits of plywood up a ladder, with a staple gun in the other hand. So, I set to and designed and produced an "extendable roof panel holder upperer" which is only to be used by fully trained and properly attired (the correct safety workwear being a short satin slip) beautiful female assistants. Here is a picture of said extendable roof panel holder upperer (patents pending) in use, the beautiful female assistant declined to be photographed.

                                   What do you think of the fabric, then? Not too blue?

The only reason I haven't got farther on with it today, is that the mains electric drill has "gone west". (colloquialism warning!!.....gone west = gone wrong, broken, or gone away)  The wire, where it goes into the handle seems to have broken, as the power comes and goes when it is wiggled about. I took it down to the 'no speak English' repair shop at lunchtime, and expect to collect it again tomorrow lunchtime. (Insh'Allah) It's so frustrating! Two drills gone down on the same job, you couldn't make it up, could you?

So, "for the want of a horseshoe nail", becomes "for the want of a strand of copper wire!"