A renewed acquaintance?

Well, yes we're back! Back to our 'other' home, in much troubled Luxor.

I say "much troubled" but in actual fact, and from our experience so far, there isn't any actual trouble to report, unless we accept that the dearth of tourists in itself is trouble, which it most certainly is to those who make their living from the tourist trade.

On our way from the airport to our house, we had a new taxi driver who was keen to update us on the antics of the Brother Muslims and the effects which they had on life in Luxor. I'm sure that you will all be aware of the Horus Hotel, and the two nearby shops on Sharia Karnak, being burnt out. Well, some of the perpetrators were apprehended, apparently; and any further attacks by others of these outsiders were thwarted even before they were attempted, as Luxor residents armed them selves with the ubiquitous 'fighting sticks' (and heaven only knows what else?) and positioned themselves at either end of the town in readiness.

The taxi driver told us that he was a Muslim and although he had never had a beard, he considered himself to be as pious as the next man, but after the past year or so of Muslim Brotherhood rule; he hated 'Islam'! (The inverted commas are to differentiate between the Islam of the common people and the corrupted 'Islam' which the Brothers have been trying to force upon Egypt's timid population.) But the saddest thing he said was that he was appalled now, that for the first time in his 40 year life, he no longer wanted to attend prayers at his Mosque. Isn't that dreadful? I could have cried for him!

Our neighbours seemed very happy to see us, with Mr Ramadan the electrician slobbering all over me in the street! I have to admit that we're very happy to be back, not because we were sick of being at home in Windy Nook (although our son was glad to see the back of us, for sure!) but because we always miss the home that we're not in at any given time. Is that a concept that you can grasp, Dear Reader? Perhaps it's a measure of the unreality of our existence, or is it a case of the grass being eternally greener? Who knows?

Almost everyone to whom I've spoken would like to see General el-Sisi accept a nomination for the Presidency, but they all doubt that he will. Many would just love to turn back the clock, and give President Mubarak the 6 months which he asked for to put everything right! They aren't all that bothered that he was stealing their money left right and centre, at least they had enough to eat, and the opportunity to make a living without too much interference.

In reality, though, they are thanking Allah that the Egyptian Army answered their call, and came to their rescue. They are overjoyed to point out the armoured personnel carriers dotted about here and there, which are guaranteeing the safety of all the folks in Luxor. Terrorists are not welcome here, no matter whether they dress in Savile Row suits, army fatigues or Sayidi galabiyas.

Like many Egyptians, I suppose, I had honestly hoped (even believed?) that Mohamed Mursi would prove to be a man of his word, a man of vision and principle. But it transpired that whether he was or not was immaterial, as he was rendered unable, by one stumbling block or another, from bringing about his much vaunted 'Promised Land'; of inclusion, and fairness, and justice for all. What a pity! And how sad for the people of Egypt, who are even now suffering from a gross misrepresentation of their situation in almost all of the foreign press. Their only political fear now, is that the deluded apologists for 'democracy' who run the USA and Great Britain will back the 'Men with Beards' like they are in Syria!

So, it seems as though we've 'renewed our acquaintance' with the supporters of good-old 'Umbarak'! Is there no-one else, of stature, to lead this benighted country to the freedom and security that the population so crave? 

Tea's up!

You'll be getting sick of these tea-dious posts by now, I suspect?  (Sorry, couldn't resist that!) But I'm sure that all of our regular's are aware of my tea 'fetish', I can't help it; I just like to drink tea!!!!

Hence........on our little run out yesterday (while our Benjamin's on nightshift so that we can use the car during the day) we called at a place that was new to us in Tynemouth. Here it is, 'No. 61 Guest House and Tearooms'.

It's between the Priory and the old church which is now called the 'Land of Green Ginger'. The tearoom part is right at the back; indeed, it stretches out right into the delightful back garden.

As usual, we were no sooner seated than the place started to fill up! (I think we should ask for commission wherever we go, as this has been a common occurrence for many a long year.) The young waitress soon took our order for tea, coffee, a muffin (ridiculously known to foreigners as an English muffin!) with ham and melted cheese and a cherry scone. All was quite delicious, as expected, I might add. Here's the muffin, half way through:

It seems that rabbit food is obligatory, wherever one goes; but I did manage some of the coleslaw which was quite palatable.

While we wandered around among the shops and cafes, we came across a shop in a house! I think it was called the Razzberry Galleries or Gift Shop or whatever. But it was a treat inside, jam-packed with lovely things. A little plus for me was that they had a portable CD player playing real blues/jazz music! It wasn't intrusive, just there in the background, and stuff that I didn't recognise, either. I cannot begin to describe the wide range of stock, so it'll have to suffice to say they had beautiful, new, ladies silk jackets, antique copper kettles and toys, and almost everything else in between!!! The four ladies who 'manned' the shop were most helpful too, I like people who help.

After lolling around near the Priory for a while, just watching the holidaymakers on the beach and seated outside the various eateries in the vicinity, we made our way back to the car and determined to carry on up the coast to see where we ended up. 

We made several detours from the main 'Coastal Route' to have a look at one or two small villages, or to see just how close we could drive to the actual beaches. It was all quite diverting (no pun intended) and we eventually found ourselves heading out of Amble and towards Warkworth, which is a delightful small town with its very own impressive castle. What do you think?

It crossed my mind that a very old friend now lived there, somewhere. We haven't seen him in the flesh for going on forty years, although we have seen him on the telly and in newspapers etc. He disappeared from our circle when he began to realise his political career, as a Conservative Member of Parliament, but he was never forgotten. One of the reasons that he will forever remain in the collective memories of the Chapel Folk of Windy Nook, is that he managed to 'gas' the pies which were meant for the Carol Singers when they returned frozen and exhausted after 5 or 6 hours of singing carols around the neighbourhood. We didn't even go out to start singing until midnight in those far-off days, so you can imagine how we looked forward to our hot pies etc when arriving back at the Chapel! Can you really imagine someone being daft enough to NOT light the gas? I think the incident even put some of our number off from ever voting Conservative!!!! Maybe I shouldn't tell you his name (the shame, you realise) but here's his picture: 

Mind you, in his youth (like yours truly) he had more hair and fewer chins.   

Never mind, as we approached Warkworth, I jokingly said to Freda, "Keep a lookout for Derek". Bless my soul! "That could be him there", I said, as we came on to the main street. A man was talking to some builders, with his back to the road, but he was the right sort of size and age. As we drove past, Freda caught a glimpse of his face, but only from behind his ear and forward. "It might just be him", she exclaimed. When I pulled over to the side of the road (on the double yellow lines, that is) and looked back, I thought that it could well be him, so I got out and made my way back along the road. Sure enough, there he was; about the same size and shape as me, I was absolutely delighted! Of course he didn't recognise me until I introduced myself, but then we were away, with him particularly eager to know how things were in Luxor. We only chatted for a few minutes, for as well as me being parked on the double yellows, he had to shoot off somewhere for 3 o'clock. I did threaten, however, that the next time we were in Warkworth we'd be knocking on his door for a cup of (can you guess?)...............


We started to slowly make our way back South, and suddenly! we were following the road in to Morpeth, and you know what's in Morpeth, don't you? That's right, and here's a different picture of the interior:

Surprisingly, the Cuwick Manor Tearooms were empty when we arrived, but of course that soon changed after we were seated! We enjoyed lovely refreshments, which comprised tea, coffee and a ham sandwich in stottie cake (with rabbit food, obviously). The ham was soooo thick cut, and there must have been five slices in the sandwich, even I could hardly get my mouth around it! (And that's saying something!!!!) 

Why Hurghada?

Hi, one of the questions that we're often asked when we are at our 'other' home in Luxor is, "Why don't you have a short sea-side break in Hurghada?"

Here's the simple answer:

This is a stretch of beach at Seaton Sluice, which is about a half hour's pleasant drive from where we live in England. If I'd turned around, it's about the same length in the other direction too. Hurghada couldn't hold a candle to this! (Colloquialism: To hold a candle to = to compare favourably with.) That concrete block to the left of middle of the picture is a tank trap, when we used to go there, they were spread all along the beach to make sure that if 'Jerry' ever managed to land, he wouldn't have been able to get his tanks off the beach! I expect that this solitary reminder has been left for posterity.

This is where sister Susan and I spent many a lovely warm day in our childhood, along with our glamorous mam in her red ruched swimming costume, her mam and dad, and of course our dad too! We've loads of photo's from those long lost days, a lot of them have the 'car-of-the-moment' in them as well, which was always a Vauxhall Velox. We had three Velox's consecutively, the first one was FT ????, LS 5317 was the second and the final one was XTN 370.

Yes, that's LS 5317, at Seaton Sluice, and that's 'yours truly' sitting in the boot, where I'd been purposely posed with a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale in my lap! It must have been about 1954 or 55.

Dad usually drove very quickly, and I remember sitting on the front armrest in the middle of the bench seat, seat belts hadn't been thought of then !

It's a great beach at Seaton Sluice; the sand isn't too fine, so it's easier to walk on than that at South Shields. The sand dunes are tremendous for all sorts of fun and games and I've never seen the beaches crowded like those that we see on the telly, on the South coast.

Although it's been a bit overcast today, the temperature has been OK, and even though there was a bit of a wind at the coast, it was still very pleasant. After our stroll on the dunes and the beach, we had a slow ride further up the coast to Blyth. Then we cut across country, ending up in......Morpeth! There were several market stalls scattered about the square, and I was surprised to see this one:

'Papa Ganoush.......Middle Eastern Street Food'. Freda got her eye on the board:

That's right Dear Reader; the Shewermers were £4.50 and even the Falafel was £4!! (Like 45LE and 40LE!!!) Oddly enough, we gave it a miss, and carried on to the Cuwick Manor Tearooms, where we were, thankfully, still in time to select from their luncheon menu, how fortunate!

Ooooh, the choices! We eventually plumped for the Pan Haggerty for me:

   Pan Haggerty
A tower of delicious Pan Haggerty topped with bacon
brittle served with the finest locally produced
Gold Award pork sausage from Moorhouse Farm
and a softly poached egg

And Freda decided on the Lindesfarne Chicken:

Lindesfarne Chicken 
Tender Chicken Breast, golden sautéed potatoes
served with fine green beans and a honey
and mead jus
Being a dutiful wife, Freda left me a forkful of her chicken and potato, with a little of the honey and mead jus, just to taste; it was superb! Really, I cannot possibly do justice to the excellence of these two meals by trying to describe them, they were absolutely astounding (and that's not over-egging the pudding, honestly!). 

Dining at Cuwick Manor at weekends is becoming a habit! It's such a shame that we've only got a few weeks left before we travel back to Luxor. But never mind, eh? At least we'll be able to buy falafel for a few pence again!

See ya!