Another Fine Mess!!!!

We're back! Not a bad flight with our friends easyJet:

I had stocked up with a selection of pies from John the butcher in Pelaw, and thoroughly enjoyed my two, with a relatively large slice of his lovely black pudding! My 'tablet' Christmas gift and headphones were also a great boon, as I now have even more of my depressing music on it (that's Freda's opinion) and I could listen to it without being harassed! Five and a half hours of a mixture of Steeleye, the Watersons, Swan Arcade, Sonny Boy Williamson, Cream, the Stones, Melanie Safka, the Spooky Men, Bob Dylan and the incomparable Leonard Cohen, and many others who don't get much of an airing on today's wireless!

For the first time I can remember, I had a window seat on the port side, so made the most of it by taking a picture or two:

It must be de rigueur to have a shot of the coastline as one passes over? And the desolate wastes of the desert I always find curiously enticing! I cannot help but imagine myself along with John Mills, struggling through the Qattara Depression in that old Austin ambulance in the wonderful film "Ice Cold in Alex".

Did I ever tell you that I used to be a member of the 'Sons of the Desert'? "What, what?" I can almost hear you cry.

Actually, it's the title of a 1933 Laurel and Hardy movie; that just might give the game away as to what and who the 'Sons of the Desert' were and are. That's right Dear Reader, we were and are fans of the most hilarious double act ever created; Stan Laurel and Oliver 'Babe' Hardy. Here's an advert for the film:

The various (worldwide) groups of fans were organised into 'Tents' (pretty obvious, eh?) and held regular meetings where at least one film would be watched, lots of booze drunk (except by those teetotallers [guess who] who would be driving their drunken mates home, of course) and memorabilia pored over and swapped etc.

Our Tent was at North Shields, once the home town of Stan Laurel before he went to the USA and made it big. We also had occasional visits to other Tents, and I remember well going to the Tent at Carlisle, I provided the coach which I drove myself. (I decided to wear my bowler hat, just for effect, and the man who ran the Carlisle Tent asked if I always wore it while driving!) He also ran the 'Laurel and Hardy Museum' at Ulverston, Stan's birthplace, and the 'Cars of the Stars' motor museum in Carlisle, which were both very interesting. I wonder if they're still there?

Anyway, I'm sure that there cannot be many of you who haven't heard, or didn't recognise, that most famous of quotes from our big fat mate Ollie: "That's another fine mess you've gotten me into!" Which brings me back to part of the subject of today's offering; we came back to Luxor, and a right old mess! Although, not in the strictly accurate meaning of the word 'mess', what we actually had (or not) was NO WATER!

Apparently, the water pump had been operating by itself when no-one was in the flat. Being worried that the pump would burn itself out, Adam (Coffeeshop Adam from over the road) had turned off the water and switched off the pump. He also had a 'plumber' out to see what the trouble was. Being a 'really plumber', he checked everything in the flat before fiddling with the adjustments of the electronic 'Automatique' and the pressure regulating valve, whilst not noticing that the water filter, in its see-through cannister, was actually clogged solid! (OK, I was supposed to change the filters and switch off the water before we left, but I forgot; I've already been reprimanded and had my chocolate rations withheld!)

Poor Freda had to cope with the unpacking and initial cleaning (so we could at least get into bed) by herself, while I found friend 'Hani the Plumber' and we tried to get something moving. Eventually, I decided that it wasn't the 'Automatique', which Hani was convinced that it was, but that the pressure regulator had been screwed right down till it wouldn't allow water through at all! After stripping, cleaning and adjusting the regulator, we managed to get the pump to work, but only by switching it on and off manually; the 'Automatique' was actually faulty and has been replaced last night. It was really good of Hani and his mate Ayman to come out and sort it out for us, as they are both Coptic Christians and yesterday was their 'Good Friday'!

Having my dodgy legs, still, I'm not overly fussed about traipsing up and down ladders at the moment, not that I ever was mind you! So we've had our carpenter mate Abdu, from New Karnak, back to do the finishing off of the fascia on the new roof. It entailed another couple of sheets of the Islamic patterned latticework and 20 metres of architrave, but that's not all. He's coming back tomorrow to try and get it finished before Monday. As you should all know, Dear Readers, Monday is the Pharaonic festival of 'Sniffing the Breeze', where both Christians and Muslims join together to welcome in the Summer. (Or, is it more to do with the expected 'inundation' does anyone know?) Whatever! I expect that it'll be difficult to find anyone willing to work on that day.

Here are a couple of pics, just to remind you of how we left the new roof when we went on holiday to Windy Nook:

Mentioning Easter, reminded me that they're getting on with our new Coptic Church! The bell-tower lights are busy being sorted out:

I promise that I'll get you a better picture eventually.

Copy-catting is still as rife as ever here. I was surprised to see the coach in the following picture. It looks brand new, and has Neoplan badges on the front. It's a two axle Neoplan Cityliner, but they don't make them anymore.

 A-ha, all was revealed when it passed me! Although I didn't have time to get a snap, you can believe me when I tell you that the back panel and rear window were all wrong, and it had Chinese badges all over!!!!!!

On top of everything else which is currently going wrong here in Egypt, there is now a shortage of bottled drinking water! The mains tap water is actually quite safe to drink here in Luxor. Although I wouldn't recommend drinking it for long periods (Egyptians seem to suffer a lot of urinary tract problems) I firmly believe that the high concentration of chlorine in it would kill 99% of all known germs. (That sounds familiar, doesn't it?) Our filter system removes the sand particles down to 5 microns, and the activated carbon filter is supposed to remove the taste of the chlorine before it gets to the actual taps. But I still prefer the taste of the bottled vintage!

It seems, however, that at least one well from which the bottled water is drawn has become contaminated, and has been closed down, and Nestle (who produce 60% of the bottled water in Egypt) had a fire which has seriously disrupted their production. It's not looking too good, and it's against the law to import drinking water! I'd better find some before our next guests arrive on Wednesday, hadn't I?

I'd better be off to bed now, or I won't be getting up in the morning. Good  night, and God bless.


  1. "de rigueur"?????????

    Where´s Edward?

    We want him back,not some french speaking namby pamby

  2. Hello Mr J Have you still got your bowler hat badge?

  3. Badge? Cannot remember one at all! Although if there was one to get, I've no doubt that you and your dad had them, the "Never Miss a Trick" Hunters!!!! LOL.
    (How lovely to hear from you, as I missed you when I called at Kingsley's, I hope you're all well.)