Freda had a bit of a brainstorm today, I think. You've all heard the old saying about being poor but not looking it, haven't you? Freda quoted it at me around teatime today, before announcing that we would get dressed and visit the Winter Palace!
That's three times inside 10 days, but I'm not complaining, I like it there. Also, the cleaner who has lain in wait for me in the Gents for the past 15 years for his tip, seems to have left. It's marvellous to be able to use the loos without having to make sure that you've got change in your pocket! Honestly, we could walk in there at any time of the day or night, and if I needed to 'go', he'd be there. I haven't the faintest idea how he knew, he must have had a small army of spies furtively sneaking about and keeping tabs on me!
Anyway, we sat in the lobby the other day when we went with our Yorkshire friend Melanie, so tonight we had a nosey into the Royal Bar. The staff at the Winter Palace always remember the little quirks of guests' orders. "One tea and one Nescafe, please?", and it arrives with the extra pot of hot water and the hot milk for the Nescafe without another word.
The people watching at the OWP is pretty good as well, even in these lean times! I was rather surprised to see the 'Orbital' rep sitting there with a youngish lady, the only other occupied table had two English ladies and their Egyptian guide (or whatever). The baby grand was being tinkled by the resident pianist.
I'm not sure whether I've told you this before, but even if I have, it's worth re-telling! A year or three ago, they would have a pianist playing in the Victoria Lounge, while guests were taking 'afternoon tea', it could have been really tasteful if the pianist hadn't learned to play at the 'Les Dawson Academy for the Pianoforte'! It used to take me all my time to not laugh out loud! He'd be playing away, not obtrusively loudly, and rather nice tunes, then all of a sudden, he'd hit a series of bum notes, in a minor key or something, which would grate on the ears of any listener with the slightest appreciation for music. Thankfully, this bloke they have now isn't all that bad, but one or two of his tunes, I think he picked up from listening to a Victorian barrel organ!
But that's not all! Our 'travelling to the other side of world, by road, friend', Daft Derrick, sent us a stack of DVD's, and among them was one of Dick Emery's weekly shows from way back when. Keep that in your mind, OK?
These two ladies, with the Egyptian guide, left shortly before us. They were both blondes, one a little older than the other, and dressed up for the occasion of being in the Royal Bar. They both were tottering around on high heels, and wearing mini-skirts, the slightly older one had long, very blonde, hair and the other slightly darker and shorter, she was also slimmer than her older chum. As they walked away from us, it suddenly struck me that the older one (from the back, anyway) could have been Dick Emery's blonde character ("Ooh, you are awful, but I like you!" Remember?) I fully expected her to trip over herself as she left, but she didn't.
Well, after 'splashing the cash' like a couple of mini Rocco Fortes, (it was 40 le, just over 4 quid!!!) we set off to walk home, only for 'Lady Bountiful' to decide that we would also dine out tonight! Our calecheman friend, Ahmed, was lazing about on the corner, so he was commandeered to take us to Karnak for 'Hawawshi'. (You remember that, don't you? Like a haggis sandwich?) He never quarrels with us about this choice of eatery, as he loves it as well, and invariably joins us. 11 le for the three of us wouldn't break the bank, I'm sure.
We usually sit in the caleche and have our food before we leave to come back home, and tonight was no different than usual. Except that; Freda likes to take her shoes (well, sandals) off and put her feet on the opposite seat when we're in the caleche, and she did this again tonight, but when she went to put her feet on the floor, lo and behold; only one flip-flop. It was the first time she'd worn them too!
Ahmed, being Egyptian, drove us all the way back from Karnak on the wrong side of the dual carriageway, facing all the arabiyas and cars etc which were coming straight at us! He was determined to re-trace our steps in an effort to retrieve the lost 'ship-ship'. We didn't, needless to say! Where is Prince Charming when you really need him?
Here's a picture of the remaining one, if any of you come across 'the one that got away', I think there may be a drink in it for you if you return it!!! (Tea, of course!)