It was my Mother's birthday, a week ago, and I remember one of the few things which used to drive her mad was trying to think of what to get, and cook, for meals. When we were little, I don't think it was much of a problem, as I'm almost sure that our weekly menu didn't hardly change, if at all! Like most fortunate children, I loved my Mother's cooking, except for Sunday dinners when we were forced to eat 'steepy' peas; I hated them!!!!
Even after I started working, and the old man and I would go home every lunchtime for a proper dinner and a substantial pudding, I'm almost sure that we had the same week on week. I can still conjure up the smells and tastes of some of my favourite dishes, mmmmmmmmmm! So, it must have been after Dad died, and she eventually married our good friend and neighbour, Alan, that the menu difficulties started.
We have asked Adam, if his wife would cook some chicken breasts for us, using her special spices, which so enhance the flavour. Eager to show hospitality and friendship, as usual, he readily agreed......but! But they have no butane gas for cooking, that was two days ago and they still don't have any. A man and wife and four growing sons managing on cold fare, and it's still winter here, mind you. The poor of Luxor have very little choice of what to eat, but as long as they get something; they're reasonably content! Our long-time Egyptian friend, Mr Gomah, once told me that in Egypt, 'the life' was very hard, I just thought that it was one of his interminable moans, at the time, but I'm now realising more and more of exactly what he meant.
Enough of that doom and gloom stuff, I didn't get where I am today by concentrating on all that doom and gloom stuff!!!!! (A bit of a sort of a colloquialism there; The "I didn't get where I am today by..." part is lifted from an ancient British TV sitcom called "The Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin", which was hilarious at the time.)
I started the day, today, in thankfulness (again!) that we chose to live right here, on the East Bank of the Nile. This morning, the West Bank had disappeared again!
We splashed out this afternoon, and spent 50le on tea and Nescafe at the Old Winter Palace. I know it sounds rather outrageous, but you do get three teabags and three sachets of Nescafe, with as much boiling water as you want, and also some nice little homemade cookie things. Plus, they're a different type of tourist to watch, and in unsurpassed surroundings!
On the way home (walking, so as I might lose some weight by getting more exercise as well as limiting my bread intake) we came across the current 'City Farm' a street or two away from us.
This scene was quite unusual, in that a special manger, full of food, was there for the creatures, as well a bucket of water. They're being fattened for the Prophet's Birthday Feast on 24th of this month. I only hope that there'll be gas aplenty to go around for the cooking, I couldn't fancy cold and uncooked goat meat, thank you very much!