Yes; it's just like blinkin' magic!

We've now got a bit of a 'spell' where we have no guests, so it must be time for some maintenance! Actually, that's fair enough, the work has to be done sometime, and it's better done while the guest apartment is empty, isn't it?

A usual, Freda's 'German boys' left the place in perfect order, they'd even stripped off the bedding and put it all in the washing basket , bless them. But, of course, standard procedure and our planned maintenance schedule must be adhered to! All the curtains have been taken down and washed, and the rest of the usual stuff is carrying on as normal. But for me, bigger and better tasks are crying out!

This morning, I've had my old work gloves on and I've been scraping the remains of the varnish off the top surface of the roof terrace handrail, with pieces of broken glass:

You can imagine the muck, can't you? Of course, I'm working without a safety harness, or a shirt, so my sweaty (protruding) belly was well covered with varnish dust, as was the top of the wall and the roof terrace floor! Although I still need to sand the top of the rail, and thereby produce more dust; I'd had enough by the time I'd scraped it all. Out came the Karcher to vacuum up the muck. It being a little breezy, the whole roof had caught some of it. Never mind, after I'd finished I left the vacuum plugged in, and just outside of our door, to save me walking across the nice clean tiles in my, by  now, filthy slippers; and jumped in the shower.

The shower always comes with a little, built-in, snooze. After that, we finished off the very last jar of 'Sardine and Tomato' spread from Tesco, with the last of our lovely finger rolls from the 'little baker' on Madina St, before realising that the wind had 'got up' a bit!

Just look at the new mess I've got to contend with after it stops blowing: Judging by the pattern, we seem to have had a miniature whirlwind!

Another consequence of a sandstorm is that the heat is kept close to the earth, hence we have temperatures which we shouldn't really be seeing for a few weeks yet!.

I'm sitting here, looking out to where the Western Mountains used to be, and it's growing increasingly obvious that this isn't stopping for a wee while yet. Oh, and I've just remembered that it's Monday; flights due into Luxor Airport! Will they be diverted again? Let's hope not, eh? With everything else against us, we don't need dodgy weather as well! I can just hear the gleeful UK newsreaders, ":Breaking news just in, from revolution torn Egypt, has it that flights into Luxor are being diverted, YET AGAIN, due to high winds and sandstorms making the area even more dangerous than usual! Civilised countries are considering  the withdrawal (or maybe even 'withdrawral' hehe!) of passenger air services to the ravaged and windswept land"

It's that magic that you couldn't make it up, Abracadabra, indeed!

Reading and Writing.

Hello again! No; I haven't died of old age, even though I am now 61. But I have been quite busy (more of which later) and since then I have just had no inspiration. It's just as well that I save the more interesting 'Search Keywords', isn't it? Actually, now that I come to think about it, the Keywords are probably more interesting than some of my more usual offerings!

Anyway, here are a selection of the silliest and strangest among them, from over the past couple of months:

bum bags egypt 29/04/2012
modern cancer clinic design 27/04/2012
mr criminal sunglasses 22/04/2012
baladi rabbit 21/04/2012
arabic palace wallpaper 19/04/2012
tin shining hole on wall 19/04/2012
An old man who doesn have bread to give it ti his children 09/04/2012
bedford centre sweets from heaven 06/04/2012
what movies were filmed at the winter palace in luxor eq 05/04/2012
dialysis luxor 05/04/2012
photos swiss roll and custard 05/04/2012
a strong boat made out of foil 31/03/2012
do exes ever comeback after the grass is greener on the otherside 30/03/2012
reports on the killing in our luxor park apt 29/03/2012
jcb dumpster taks 16/03/2012
disused washing machine 13/03/2012
pipes and valves in asda toilets 13/03/2012
american footpath with muhammad 11/03/2012
ideas for the typically wasted space beneath staircases 10/03/2012
Flip flop tree 10/03/2012
The deaf boys for boys group 10/03/2012
camel hoof disease 06/03/2012

They come in several different categories, don't you think? 

To my mind, the strangest one just has to be the 'modern cancer clinic design' of the 27th of April. The most pertinent could be 'ideas for the typically wasted space beneath staircases' of March the 10th, given the work I did on the 'Our Luxor' staircase. Perhaps the saddest would be 'An old man who doesn have bread to give it ti his children', from the 9th of this month, and the most poignant must be 'do exes ever comeback after the grass is greener on the otherside'. What must that poor person be going through?

Then, lastly, there is the most sinister, undoubtedly 'reports on the killing in our luxor park apt', mind you, I hasten to add that it's not referring to the 'Our Luxor' holiday apartment, nor any apartment in the Luxor in Egypt, not even over on the Side of the Dead!!!!! 

A few of the others are quite 'quirky', and can leave us with peculiar impressions of the people who typed them into their search boxes. (I'll bet they never, in  million years, thought that they would end up being directed to my daft Egyptian Blog, and even less that some silly old fool two and a half thousand miles from home, would be collecting them for posterity, lol.) 

Now then, about me being a busy-bee! I think I've mentioned before about my kid brother (he's 50 on the 30th, tomorrow, by the way) being a bit of a genealogist? Well, he's got a bee in his bonnet (Colloquialism: A bee in the bonnet (hat) is like saying that he is rather concerned) about future generations of our family actually knowing what sort of people we were, and what formed our characters and our opinions etc.

To this end, he is making a book which records the memories of those of us who are alive 'now', not necessarily just things like "I remember John F Kennedy being shot!" Maybe more like " I remember George Brown being drunk on the telly, when he was supposedly expressing our nation's sorrow at the news of the murder of the President of the United States of America!" Although it seems like it's only going to be our generation, we'd love to have our mam reveal some of her secrets, from her childhood and youth, which she will otherwise just take with her when she finally goes! I would love to have known more about the little intimate details of my grandparents thoughts and lives, or of any of my forebears, actually.   

So, that's what I've been up to, mostly. I've actually stopped now 'cause I'm up to over 11,000 words and 27 pages. He's done his, as has our Susan, and now I think it's a matter of matching old 'photos to some of the tales, (a daunting task, I'm sure!) before checking (at least my) dodgy grammar and punctuation etc. before getting the setting and printing done. 

I believe that he's going to do it all himself, even the binding! He always was a bit of a clever-b****r, that lad! I don't know if the book has a title yet, even a working one; I wonder what it will be?  

From the 'Birthday Boy'.

Good morning, from a pleasantly surprised birthday celebrant! Although today isn't going to be a very relaxing one, it certainly started off nicely. Freda dumped a bundle of cards, and a package on the bed, just as I had awoken. Here are the contents:

There's a Series 1 Land Rover tee shirt (a genuine 'Land Rover' one), a two hour DvD of my favourite singers (The Watersons), a £20 note (which I was only allowed to look at, before it disappeared into the 'holiday fund'!), a large box of 'Walkers' shortbreads (from our German guests, they'll be gone by tomorrow, the shortbreads, that is!), and something which isn't visible; an audio of Springwell chapel choir singing 'All in the April Evening' (which I happily sang along to; it's funny how you don't forget!). Cards were from Mam, brother and sister and brother-in-law, children and grandchildren. All in all, very satisfying. I was also surprised to find several birthday greetings on Virtual Tourist (from virtual strangers lol) where I occasionally contribute to the Egypt forums.

Anyway, enough of that, how about this:

After yesterday's sandstorms, this is what everything is like at 'Our Luxor'. Freda lifted the scatter cushions from the small dikkeh to reveal their footprints in the sand! After I vacuumed them, off they came and they're now in the Zanussi! Today is guest apartment cleaning day. (I keep getting daggers, as I'm sat here typing!)

I'd better leave this and get cracking, their bed is stripped, but everywhere is to vacuum and mop, and seeing as they had to have their breakfast indoors this morning, I told them to leave the dirty dishes for me to wash.

See you later, alligator!

What a Gray Day!

Yes, shades of Mr Larry Grayson! We were in Tuttie Frutti with Phil and Mrs 900, and it started to blow a gale outside. "Shut that door!" went up the cry! The 900's were having their last meal before leaving for the airport and their easyJet flight home.

When we left, we struggled along to Madina Street and the Omar Market, then down to the 'little baker' for croissants etc., before making our way along to Khair Zaman (or Kaiser Man, as some people know it, lol). After working our way around there and filling our basket with the 'must haves' of daily living, we were standing at the check-out when I realised that the dust in the atmosphere outside was getting a lot worse. I could hardly see across TV St!

We eventually got home and I took this one from the roof terrace, just to give you an idea of what it was like:

We had a quick bite to eat, before jumping under the shower to get rid of the dust that we'd collected about our persons! I managed to squeeze in a 20 minute nap before getting dressed to mosey on down to the Etap, to have another few cups of tea, with Suzychuck and her hubby, while watching the new batch of arrivals arrive. As we emerged from the Savoy Bazaar, we both noticed immediately that the West Bank had disappeared, entirely! I took another snap, this one has a recognisable landmark:

If you've been to Luxor, I'm sure you will recognise it! A good chin-wag ensued over much tea and four beautiful (thick) pieces of free English cake. (The Etap has only recently reinstated this, after doing away with the discount on the drinks.)

Then we got an SMS from Phil900; they were stuck in the airport and their flight was being delayed by 2 hours. Suzychuck spoke to Ali (Etap Guest Relations guy) who told her that all the incoming flights had been re-routed to Hurghada, because of the weather problems. Poor beggars! We had a few more messages from Phil, the last one telling us that he thought that the easyJet flight had now arrived at Luxor, and he was still hoping to get away tonight. Let's hope so.

Walking a Mile in Another Man's Shoes 2 (or Too?)

You'll have heard the old saying, that 'You never miss what a friend gets!' (Even I know that it's bad grammar, sorry.) and possibly the (or so I fancy) rather newer saying 'What goes around comes around'. Well here I am to prove the veracity of both!

You remember that last Thursday I gave our cleaner, Rashad, a pair of my rather expensive 'Timberland' sandals. That's fine, and as I remarked at the time, 'Why should my friend go barefoot, while I've got two pairs of sandals?', or words to that effect.

You'll never guess what happened next! In fact, as friend Littlejohn (of various newspapers fame) would say 'You couldn't make it up!'

On Saturday, we got a call from a friend (who also lives in Luxor) to arrange to come and visit us on Sunday evening, bearing a gift. (?????) I knew you wouldn't believe it without a picture; it was another pair of sandals!

And not just any old sandals, Clarks 50 or 60 quiddish sandals! Apparently, the friend had been given them, but had no real use for them, so passed them on. Very nice, eh?

I suppose that they're the modern-day equivalent of what we knew as 'Jesus sandals' in our youth, obviously greatly updated. They're now made to look like the 'sexy' bondage type of thing which Lara Croft might wear; all straps and adjustable Velcro, plastic clips replacing old fashioned buckles, with tractor-like grips to give a firm footing whilst racing about unstable terrain. (Or conversely,  looking like they have been specially designed for the physically and mentally challenged!)

I'm currently wearing them in the house, just to see if I can get used to them. It's funny having all this fashionable (but rough) mix of fabric and leather, and the odd bit of Velcro, next to the beautifully tender skin of my pampered feet. I committed a real faux-pas when I suggested that they would be fine with a pair of my long H J Hall stockings under them! (I haven't dared to mention that again!) (I'll have that Scotchie woman on my back next, for even contemplating it!)

Trip Advisor "Get Together".

You know how anti-social we usually are? Well, last night we were only half as anti-social as that!

Luxor Destination Expert "Phil900", had invited us to a small TA gathering at the lovely Salahadeen Restaurant, along with "Suzychuck" and "Annabell054", who are also pretty regular posters on the Luxor forum. Before very long; he'd also invited "ras2", the owner of most of the other restaurants in Luxor! By the time last night came around, he had also contacted "sbboss", yet another visiting regular poster, and she would come along with her daughter.

Although it's obviously embarrassing to turn up somewhere as only one half of an invited couple, I wasn't going to let that spoil my enjoyment. So I tripped down to the Etap to meet up with the others for the minibus (also kindly arranged by Phil) which would whisk us away to Zawaggy and the Salahadeen! ras2 hadn't shown up at the Etap, and there was some doubt as to whether he was actually going to be able to come, after all.

The "Mad Lady of Mara House" is currently in Ireland, visiting family and taking a well-earned rest, so we knew our host for the evening would be the ever-capable Amr. He's a really nice kid (well, he's probably about 30+, but being an old codger; I can refer to him as a "kid" if I choose to, right?) and manages the restaurant, and the hotel, with great aplomb. On arrival he ushered us into the bar, where we were to have our pre-dinner drinks. Here we all are:   

L to R are: Phil900, Yours Truly, Mr Annabell054, Mr Suzychuck, Suzychuck, sbboss Jnr, sbboss, Annabell054 and Mrs 900.

The only person missing from the picture is ras2, who did, eventually, arrive before we went in to dine. He looked every inch the successful ex-pat restaurateur; in his white suit. Very smart! 

After a short while engaged in convivial conversation, Amr called us into the diningroom, where he had four of the hexagonal tables set out in a row, just for us. The other diners, on two separate tables, were at the other side of the room. We were a quite large group for a smallish place, but I do hope that we didn't disturb the otherwise intimate ambience for the two smaller groups, well, not too much, anyway.

Part of my reluctance to "join in" is due to my slowly failing hearing, it's a bit of a b****r to be honest! I can be listening to someone's conversation when, all of a sudden, there'll be another noise from somewhere which just confuses everything, and while everyone else is having a chuckle; I'm left wondering what it's all about. Most embarrassing, I can tell you!

As you would expect, the meal was as lovely as always, two soups to start with, piping hot. I hadn't had the tomato before, but found it to be very good! Like the accompanying onion soup, it was very slightly spiced and I thoroughly enjoyed both. Both the tureens on our table went back completely empty, so obviously I wasn't the only one licking my lips! I shared a table with Mr and Mrs Suzychuck, mind; he cannot half shift some grub for a little bloke, it must be the coach driver in him, lol. Here they are:

Freda and I have known Mr and Mrs Suzychck for quite a few years now, they are loyal guests at the El Luxor Hotel, and a lovely couple into the bargain. (I've got to say that, because they bring us "goodies"!)

The meal went off without any upsets or complaints about drunkenness (lol) and we waited for our puddings. Next thing I knew; here was Amr with a great big chocolate gateau! 

I'd forgotten that it was Phil900's birthday next week (and also mine!). It was a nice touch to end the evening's dining.

On the return journey, I got dropped off at the end of the souk, on Youseff Hassan Street, with my two large slices of gateau in a Mara House breakfast box and yet another bag of goodies from Suzychuck, to make my way to the baker's to get some aish fino, and a couple of croissants for the German boys' breakfast. By the time I had juggled them all home, I was just about done in, and ready for bed! 

Walking a mile in another man's shoes!

Mr Rashad came this morning to clean the stairs (just from the doctor's, downover). As you'll remember, he's supposed to come every day and sweep them down and clear the rubbish from the alley. He's the best of a poor bunch, and comes, probably, about 5 days out of 7. Today, I wanted the stairs washed as well as swept. So when he rang the doorbell, I leaned over the roof terrace wall and indicated for him to clear the rubbish away first. This would give me a chance to get properly dressed and fill the mop bucket etc. Seeing as the doctors clinic was closed, I had the front (outside) door locked. When I eventually got downstairs and opened the front door, my eyes met with a sad sight; Mt Rashad holding up his worn out ship-ships (sandals). They reminded me of Mr Laurel in the film "Way Our West", when he put a piece of tough steak in his boot to cover the hole! 

Rashad does this to me whenever he wants something, he manages a forlorn expression which would have gotten him a starring role in many a silent film! Usually, it's some sort of tablets or medicine he's after, and he holds his side and contorts his face. In short; he knows that I'm a "soft touch"! 

Business being as it has been, we're a bit short on money ourselves, so I showed him my empty pockets, which seemed to do the trick. He always washes the stairs in his bare feet, the bleach probably being good for his skin! I took the opportunity to snap his ship-ships while he was up the stairs, you can see the holes.

I told Freda about his plight, when I went up fetch his bait bag (yes, we also have to feed him!) and she suggested giving him a pair of my sandals. I have to admit that it took a minute to sink in, but really, why do I need two pairs when my friend doesn't have any? I'm pleased to report that he was delighted with his new acquisitions! If I ever find out that he's sold them, I'll punch him on the nose!

Really though, you would think all his birthdays had come at once! We both know what he felt like, as we have been in a similar position three times this week! Both on Monday and Wednesday English friends have arrived and brought us parcels of goodies from various family members, along with lovely little unexpected gifts from themselves. People are so kind. Then, today, Freda's "German Boys" landed with more unexpected presents, including a tin of "Walkers Shortbread" and two solar lights for the roof terrace!  

In between giving Rashad a hand by getting the dirtier bits of the floor or stairs properly clean (he's Egyptian, so finds it impossible to get any weight behind the mop) I was hanging around the end of the alley, outside of young Michael's watch and clock shop. Obviously, being called Michael, he's one of the local Christians, a nice lad, all the same. I was therefore a bit surprised to see this "must have" clock displayed in his window:

It's a pity that the Muslims don't use one of these instead of deafening all and sundry every morning! I was wondering who, at home, might like one for Christmas, as Michael always gives me a little discount!

Then I heard a hawkers trumpet blowing, it was the candyfloss man! I don't know how much it is, but it cannot be all that expensive; our Charlotte once gave him 5LE for some for our grandchildren, knowing that it would be far too much, but it's only 50 pence or thereabouts! The bloke proceeded to force the stuff onto everyone in sight, with no further payment being asked for!

I do love being here!

To+Too+Two = The Road to Absolute Confusion!

Yes folks, even though our maths master at Jarrow Grammar School (one George Adie) could really make 1 and 1 add up to 3; the "sum" above is an utter nonsense! Nevertheless, the sentiment is quite true, in my opinion. Misspelling is turning the world upside down. I'm growing slowly madder each day, as I keep reading the Egypt forums on the Internet! Never mind, you don't want to know about that, do you Dear Reader?

The Conservative and Unionist Party of Great Britain has a member named David Willetts. Legend has it that he is known as David "Two Brains" or "Two Brains" Willetts, simply because he's soooooo clever! When I was a small boy (yes, yes, before I became a small man, OK!) I had a hero called Billy Two Rivers! He was a professional wrestler, on the telly. Looking back; he was an overweight joke with his Mohican haircut and flabby belly, but I have an autographed photo of him somewhere, unless Freda has chucked it out! (This is leading somewhere, honest Guv!) When we first moved into our last but one home, in England; I was known for a very short time as "Edward Two Sheds", I was even presented with a book all about sheds to celebrate my newfound status! But, for the moment, we'll leave the saga of "Two" and I'll tell you about our changing weather etc.

The lefthand pic was taken yesterday in the afternoon, and the righthand one; today, at about the same time.

We don't know where we are with the weather, it's been brilliant sunshine for most of the day, but with a quite strong, blustery wind, and it's also been raining off and on for the past two hours. See the rain spots in the dust? 

We're contemplating getting the winter gear back out of the storage bags if it gets much colder! 

Last night, we met up with our friends Phil and Alison, at the Nile Palace.The hotel happened to be hosting some sort of conference thingy, about getting the tourists back to Luxor. I only know because one of the blokes in charge (Hamdi, whom I've known in passing for a few years) told me so. As you can imagine; with a foyer full of Egyptians, you couldn't hear yourself think! Phil and Aly are here for 9 days, and we expect to see them a couple more times, insh'Allah! But what I wanted to show you, was the Nile Palace Pantomime Horse! It's the best one I've ever seen, and I finally got a reasonable picture of it:

Anyway, back to mundane reality! Springtime means spring cleaning at "Our Luxor".Vacuuming in every nook and cranny, cleaning everything with bleach and finishing off with clean water before applying the anti-Creepy Crawly stuff. My back is just about broken, I can tell you! Never mind, I had left half of our livingroom to finish off the following day, and when I got started, there was the most horrible smell coming from the Karcher vacuum, it didn't really smell like an electric motor burning out, but what do I know? I took it down to the electrical repair man and pointed to my nose while making a bad face, he immediately made it plain that a bad smell meant the the motor was gooshed!

I eventually got them to plug it in, and sniff the smell while it was running.(That reminds me; isn't next Monday the "Sniffing of the Breeze"?) To my surprise, I could hardly smell it myself, and them: not at all! I was sent packing with a proverbial "flea in my ear". When I got home, I picked up the vacuum filter which I had taken out earlier; it stunk to high heaven! "It must be the contents of the bag", was my next thought, so I had a sniff of that, and sure enough: Yuuuuk! This was rather strange, as I had only cleaned the bag out the other day. 

Never mind, I emptied it again, very little came out and the bag felt stiff, somehow. I realised why when I had a proper look inside, it had been wet, and the inside was caked with this foul smelling mud! A job for our big Kirby Legend. 

I turned the bag completely inside out, and used the Kirby hose end to scrape away at the mud and vacuum it up at the same time. It took quite a while. The next one is just to show you how thick the mud was.

I've no idea where the moisture came from, but the bag was well stained from it, or why it smelled so bad. Afterwards, I took the disposable bag out of the Kirby (I had to put a new one in anyway, to vacuum the guest mattresses before Freda's "German Boys" arrive in a day or two) and was surprised to see a small hole in it! Of course that meant that there was muck in the outer bag, as well!

You know what's coming next! That's right, I had to get the Karcher put back together in order to use it to clean out the Kirby outer bag. Aren't I pleased to now be called "Edward Two Vacuums"?

Another reason that I need both machines is to keep the Karcher filter clean. I've had the two filters for five years; I just vacuum each of the 90 folds of filter paper, once on each side, every now and then with the Kirby.

So it's actually worth its weight in gold, even though I find that the Karcher is more convenient for use on the tiled floors and stairs. 

Now then, if you think that that was the most boring post ever, send £200 immediately, and I'll delete it! Can't say fairer than that, can I? Tomorrow's another full day of cleaning, I'm afraid, so I'd better make my last cup of tea and get to bed.Goodnight and God bless.  

Man does not live by bread alone..........

I'm certain that many of you will know that partial quote from the Scriptures, and I normally don't like to take scripture out of context, but on this occasion I don't really mind.

In Luxor, there are a few types of bread which are usually readily available. Our staple is 'aish fino' (white finger buns, in various sizes) straight from the baker's oven. Often, and for the guests' breakfasts, we also get a normal white sliced toasting loaf, but not from our baker; we have to get this from the supermarkets. Then there is the bread which comes from the mud-brick ovens, and which can be bought on the street in various places, direct from the women who bake it. This is 'Baladi' bread! I posted some pictures of it being prepared, just a few weeks ago.

Then there is the subsidised brown flat bread from the Government bakeries, which is scoffed by the barrow load in nearly all Egyptian homes. I may have mentioned before that it costs one pound for 20, but it used to be one pound for 40! A normal family can easily get through 40 a day.

Our aish fino is often very hot still, when I get it. In fact, it has been known to be so hot that it's melted through the plastic bag I was carrying it in! The brown flat bread (sorry, but I cannot for the life of me remember what it's known as) very often seems to have coarse material in it, a bit like Osman's falafel, which we joke about; how much sand is in his mix!

Well, the recipient of the bread in the following pictures won't have to be surprised if his bread feels a bit gritty:

Both of these photos were taken farther down our street, towards Sharia Karnak. Straight from the Government ovens, it's too hot to handle, so it's put out to cool.And where would anyone place it to cool off, on the footpath, of course!

It's obvious that this lot is not for private use, but for re-sale.(I doubt whether that's actually legal, mind you!) or to go to a restaurant. It's often strewn about the place like this, and when it has sufficiently cooled; it's put into white plastic bags. You can see some of them next to the motorbike, ready to go.

You and I, Dear Reader, both know the state of the streets in Luxor, so I ask you, "Would you be happy to eat this bread?" I don't think that I would be, but how or why would we ever know?????

Coconut; it brings a tear to the eye!

When asked what she would like her new brother to be called when he finally gets here in August (Insh'Allah), my beautiful six year old granddaughter said "Coconut!"

After giving her choice due consideration, I do think that it's a perfectly adequate name for the young chap, in fact, that's what I  intend to call him!

I can just imagine myself dandling young Coconut on my knee, "Dance te yer daddy, my little laddie....."

In the meantime, we'll just have to wait and see what his parents come up with. I don't suppose that they'll really consider Coconut, but it would be better than some of the handles which the "celebrities" give to their poor children!

It's probably an omen of some sort, that our favourite chocolate manufacturer has come up with this new char of bocolate, I wonder if it's exclusive to Egypt? We decided to sample one last night, and the verdict was that it was most acceptable!

Come on Alice girl, bring on the "Coconut"!

How else?

Yes indeed, how else am I supposed to get ordinary, sane people to keep reading the rubbish I write?

I'm sorry if you feel a bit cheated, or let down, after reading the last post about the "artefacts", but here they are, in pictures with brief explanations about them and where they came from.

Honest Guv, they're all kosher; no actual "antikahs" here!

I noticed an advert, on the Luxor4U "Living in Luxor" forum, for a household sale. Being a complete sucker for other people's rubbish, and the generous sort of guy that you all know me to be; I thought that the mentioned "clothes airer" would be an ideal present for  Freda (she spends so much time washing and pegging out etc.). But, of course, having no money except that which she gives me; I had no way of obtaining such a luxury gift myself. I eventually persuaded her to venture over to the "Side of the Dead", after arranging with WitcHazel to meet us and guide us to the place where the stuff was.

The house was situated at Gabawi, a village on the edge of the desert, with a good number of foreigners living in flash villas, with gardens and cars. The house was very nice, if you like that sort of place, and the view from the open seating area was fabulous; straight over the tiered gardens and across the open desert towards the Valley of the Kings, and looking the pyramidal shape of the "Meretseger" mountain straight in the face! The lady who was selling the "artefacts", was also known as Meretseger, I suppose because of her love of the view.

Anyway, the things which she had for sale were mostly piled around the large outdoor seated area, where she graciously offered us drinks and biscuits. My fingers were itching to get started with the rummaging!

Freda was nosing around the various plants, "Oh, I like the look of this succulent, what a lovely colour" as she fingered this vile looking cactus type of thing! She eventually plumped for an Hibiscus plant which looks like a small tree! That's it, in the first picture.

The one below is of two incense burners we both got our eye on at the same time, they're for the cone shaped incense, but very picturesque, don't you think?

Here they are again, but this time displayed alongside a nice little basket with fancy work and pretend coins around the top.

Meretseger had quite a lot of gold coloured fabric things, I wouldn't pretend to know what they are actually called, but they are very pretty, and what we couldn't find use for, Freda is confident that her sewing machine could turn them into something we could use. The bedspread is very heavy, and looks quite opulent!

I noticed the mirror in the following picture as soon as I stepped outside onto the terrace, it would take some missing; I'm sure you'll agree. The biggest problem it presents is whereabouts to hang the blessed thing!

Next comes the much coveted clothes airer. Since we've got it; it's never been idle! It's standing in front of the long mirror which also came from Meretseger, something which Freda has been wanting ever since we came here..

Oops! Here are the incense burners again, along with the basket! This time they're showing off some of the smaller pieces of the "cloth of gold" which was among the bundle of fabrics.

Last, but certainly not least, comes the darbukka! Remember the advert for the Post Office in England? ("I saw this; and thought of you!") Well, I saw this and immediately thought of a former guest (Mr Souhail Kaspar) who is right into this instrument. Although it's only a tourist type of thing, I'm sure he could have a bang at it if he gets withdrawal symptoms, the next time he visits.

Artefacts from the West bank arrive at "Our Luxor"!

Well, well, well! Isn't it a to-do?

We've wrested some nice specimens from the edge of the desert, in full view of Meretseger and the Valley of the Kings. Unlike the Egyptians, who are constantly digging and tunnelling under their homes and workplaces, we didn't have to do any spadework, the precious artefacts were just lying around, some had even been sorted and catalogued! No actual ages were given or guessed at, but I'm sure that they are all genuine.

The seller wouldn't haggle over prices (obviously not Egyptian then!) and was well aware of the scarcity of some of the finds, and what they could fetch on the 'world market'. Take it or leave it was the order of the day!

Although (as you all know) times are tight; Freda just couldn't resist the temptation and went way over our proposed budget. I'm not even sure that I should be Blogging about this, remember "Loose lips sink ships"?

I think I'll change the subject, Dear Reader, and seek advice before I tell you any more! Mum's the word!

Money Well Spent?

How many of you remember all the fancy new traffic lights, which were erected all around Luxor a few years ago? I do, and I remember noticing them all start to lose a bulb here and there until none of them were working at all. Now they've come up with another fine idea; almost every second lamp post along the Corniche has sprouted one of these (or similar)!:

There are different signs, of course. This one is just outside of the Etap,and you can see just how professionally it has been erected; partly obscuring an advertising sign, for which someone is actually paying good money!

The sign itself has about twenty 'cycles' of flashes and movement, computer controlled, I should imagine.

I would also imagine that such fancy technology would not be cheap, but how long will they last before they inevitably start to break down?

I haven't a political bone in my body, as you all know, neither could I be viewed as an agitator of any description; but to see very large sums of money obviously wasted on such unnecessary rubbish as these when so many people here are on the verge of starvation, makes my blood boil! Has Derek Hatton moved here, or someone like him?

Money Well Spent...Number 2? 

Have I told you before about the problems we've had with motorcycles parking in our little Alley, Dear Reader?

I thought not!

On the ground floor of our building, we have Dr GerisYacoub. Even though he's a prominent Coptic Christian, our Muslim neighbours regard him as a 'Saint'! Honestly, they cannot speak highly enough of him,  his compassion, and also his treatment, of course. He charges 33le for a consultation, but if the patient doesn't have it; then he doesn't pay.This leads to his clinic being constantly busy whenever it's open, and what is the main personal transport for Egyptians? That's right; the Chinese motorcycle!

It's not usually a problem for us or our guests, or even for Adam's coffeeshop across the way. The main sufferer is poor old Mr Mohammed, who lives in the single storey mud-brick house at the bottom of the Alley. Occasionally, he's been almost a prisoner down there, with the street blocked altogether! He's been going on and on about getting 'something done' about this situation for about two years now.

I came out of our downstairs door the other day to behold this:

Not very artistic, I'll agree, but it seems to be effective! Typically, it doesn't quite balance. I've no idea why the uprights weren't at the end of the crosspiece, or even equidistant from the ends, except that it might have looked out of place in Luxor if it had been 'right'. The cut ends of the tubing had been left quite raggy, with several sharp bits which might have damaged the soft hands of the Egyptian men, so I took my file downstairs and cleaned them up, much to the amazement of the neighbours! "Ah, Meester Adward, the engineer hahaha!" Honestly, I could kill them all at times!

It turned out that it was Ahmed (Adam's brother) who had arranged to have it done. He fully expected us all to chip in to cover the cost, and I was pleasantly surprised when he told me that the total had been 100le. Even Freda didn't mind coughing up our 20le to get rid of the menaces. Now all we need is to persuade Mr Edward (Dr Al Malach's assistant) to shift his old push-bike from inside the entrance, and we'll be as happy as Larry. (Who knows who 'Larry' was?)