"The grass is always greener on the other side" and "Worse things happen at sea!"

Well, we've now progressed from conversing in proverbs to living in proverbs!

Today, we have had a really lovely time, even though we were on the "Side of the Dead"! Of course the poor folk who have to live there think it's much better than the "Side of the Living", they tell us (and everyone else too) that it's much quieter, much greener, there's no hassle etc etc till you're sick and tired of hearing it!

Actually, I'm sure that there are parts of the West Bank which are much quieter, greener and even less hassle, but there are also quieter, greener places and some with  less hassle on the East as well. What the West Bankers don't tell you (of course) is that they have power and water cuts on a regular basis, or that their lovely gardens and nearby sugar cane and banana plantations are a lovely breeding ground for mosquitoes and other biting insects! Or that scorpions can sometimes be unwelcome guests in the apartments and hotels.

Even though we had a really good afternoon's chin-wag with WitchHazel, I don't believe that the grass actually is greener on the other side. Sorry! Mind you, they do have a baker over there who makes speciality breads for the many ex-pats who live over that way, and WitchHazel was kind enough to get us some for our visit. After consuming copious amounts of tea (to keep the old voice boxes going) at WitchHazel's house, we moved on to the rooftop of the Masala Hotel, for more tea! We also had the guided tour of the place, as we have friends staying there next month. It's very nice! We crossed back over the river by motorboat, hoping that the "worse things that happen at sea" wouldn't happen on this titchy river. They didn't, but little did we know; they were waiting for later on!!!!!

Back at home, we had some of the new bread with Sardine and Tomato Paste (an Asda vintage, I believe) and more tea, while we watched a dvd of Spooks.Then we had some of the onion bread, I had spready cheese on mine and a few crisps with it (and more tea) while we watched another episode of Spooks. It's a very good programme, and we're on to the fourth series.

Two hours, or thereabouts is enough televisual type entertainment for one night for us. So, the night being still quite young, Freda suggested that I might get on with some painting on my latest project, to save some time tomorrow. Good thinking, as usual. Before I went out to start, I changed into my working shorts, as my trousers were clean on this morning.

I had the 'piece' on the back of two bamboo chairs on the roof terrace, already filled, rubbed down and primed. Apparently, primer in Luxor comes only in bright orange or brown, no idea why, but I'm assured that that is the case. Never mind.

To save the laborious job of stirring paint, I always grasp the tin, and holding the lid firmly, give it a good shaking for a few minutes, this seems to get the stuff mixed adequately. So there I was, shoes and socks (knee length, of course) cut off trousers and singlet vest, shaking the life out of this 'jallOn' (actually three kilos) of Sipes 'Luxury Emulsion'; when all of a sudden my vest felt wet! "Eh de de?" (What's this?) I thought. As I stopped shaking the paint bucket, I realised that there was white paint all over my shoes! My vest! My pants! The floor tiles! The plastic lid hadn't been 'clicked' into place properly, leaving about an inch where the paint was being forced out by the violent shaking which some bonehead was giving it!

I whipped off the vest and shorts, and asked Freda to shove them straight into the washing machine. Well, water based paint wouldn't do it any harm, I'm sure. She'd already given me the kitchen roll, with which I was trying to get the paint off my stomach and shoes. I've drastically cropped this picture, so as not to traumatise the young or impressionable!! 

 It looked as if half the bucket had spilt onto the floor:

Never mind, we managed to get it all cleared up, and I did my Magnus Magnussen bit, in deciding that "I've started; so I'll finish!" and carried on in my underpants and slippers. It didn't take very long to coat the piece I was working on.

Got back in, hands washed and tea made and as I was taking Freda's tea (and English cake from theWest Bank baker) through to her, where she sat on the bed, we heard a strange clanking noise coming from the washing machine! This time, I didn't think "Eh de de?" I thought "Where's my telephone?" You've guessed it, haven't you? In the panic, neither of us had checked the trouser pockets, and consequently my phone was getting a good wash!!!!!

Worse things happen at sea? You don't need to tell me that, I already know: that's why I would never go on a sea cruise!

I once dropped a phone into a full mop bucket, (in Lincoln) retrieved it immediately and stripped the coach demisting ducting where I placed the phone, and drove back to Gateshead with the demisters on all the way. It worked! So I've stripped the phone down as far as I can, dried it off with Freda's hair dryer, and I've now put it on charge and crossed my fingers!

We'll see what the morning brings? Now, it's time for tea!


  1. Pleased Lincoln came in the comment.I have a husband like you when it comes to painting yes when!!

  2. "Comedy is not pretty." Steve Martin