Not my words!!!

One of our neighbours, Mr. Mohamed the ancient English speaking guide, has a saying for when the inevitable happens, i.e. the expected workmen, delivery or whatever don't or doesn't arrive…. "Bloody W**s!" he'll shout out. As you know, Dear Reader, I wouldn't dream of using such a derogatory expression, but lately 
I've been sorely tempted. 

I've been told by my editor that I cannot print THAT word in its full form as someone with a chip on their shoulder could take offence and report me to the thought police and I might get locked up

I've been working away quite well, making the frame for the stair window, re-designing the guest bathroom and trying to make good the shoddy workmanship of the Egyptian tilers and plumber. "Now just hang on there for one cotton-picking minute!" I know exactly what you're thinking, because I've been there before you, and asked the same obvious question. "Why didn't I just bite the bullet and pay the first (recommended) tilers and plumber their ridiculous prices?" I've thought long and hard on this, and to be perfectly honest I don't think it would have made a blind bit of difference, except that I would have paid out several times more money for work which I still wouldn't have been happy with! (The situation reminds me of the old undertaker adage, "What's the difference between a three hundred pound coffin and a seven hundred pound coffin?" Answer: "Four hundred pounds!") Never fear though, even though I definitely don't want to add these trades to my ever lengthening CV, I will make their sow's ears into silk purses, mark my words! (What a lot of exclamation marks.)

Here's a shot of a little of the damage that the tilers did whilst removing the old bottom row of tiles, in all they damaged 9 of the tiles which were to remain in 

(The tiles are really white, but my dodgy camera skills are self evident, as usual.) 

I've been using some architectural uPVC (plastic window stuff!) at home in England, and brought a few small pieces with us to Luxor, as I thought that I might find a use for it here to make a small cupboard type of thing to cover the pipework in the shower. Of course, after making some lovely 45 degree cuts for the outside framework, I found that the flat pieces I had just weren't big enough, job stopped   

I had a Paul of Tharsus moment, when I suddenly realised that some could come to my rescue and be used to re-style the lower part of the shower, and without looking at all out of place either. Of course, it isn't available in Luxor, or anywhere in Egypt as far as I can ascertain, so it will have to be brought here via  
our 17 stone luggage allowance on EgyptAir when we return after the summer. Job stopped 

 The other project, making the stairs a bit more sound and cigarette smoke proof,  is also on hold, again! I got friend Abdu, the Karnak joiner, to cut and machine the first and most important pieces of timber and picked them up in the caleche of Mr Ahmed. All well and good! By the time I got around to pretending to be a joiner, and putting into practice some of the skills which Piggy-Man Jenkins had instilled within me at Jarrow Grammar School, some of the timber had twisted. Just a fraction, mind you, but when I had cut my intricate joints squarely, they didn't fit too well. They'll be alright though, don't worry

I have to admit that I was quite proud of the finished result, a bit of Dave King syndrome again, I fear. Eventually, I managed to get Abdu to come to see what I needed him to do next, as there's still quite a few pieces of queer-shaped timber needed to fit in here and there between our well misaligned flights of stairs. (The Egyptian Way, you know!)

Being a self-confessed THICKO, I'd forgotten that, since Ramadan is almost upon us, Abdu the joiner would be stowed-off with work, it's coming out of his ears!!! The Egyptians have to have everything sparkling and new (if the cash is available, that is) for the Holy Month of Ramadan. It's like our Christmas and New Year rolled into one, as far as showing off is concerned. So, that job is also at a standstill!

"Never mind," says I, "I've got plenty of cleaning and the like to get on with in the meantime. It's less than a week till we go home, anyway." Horror of horrors! My faithful old friend; the K'Archer 2101 vacuum cleaner, which I bought second-hand from "Ken the Builder" at Pelaw in 2007, started making an awful noise. Being of an engineering bent, I recognised the sound as that of a bearing having gone West. (Colloquialism: Gone West = broken, worn out.)I stripped out the motor and took it (confidently) to the Christian electrical repair men behind the suq, the one's who re-wind the big electric motors (do keep up!). I was dreadfully disappointed when two of them told me that it was beyond repair, and needed replacing. On returning home, I decided to have a go myself! I got so far, I can see the collapsed bearing, but it just doesn't want to break-down any further! There's a rubbery plastic part, which seems to have fastenings embedded into it, and they are completely inaccessible. Another job abandoned for the duration! I've emailed K'Archer in England regarding the availability and cost of a new motor, but as yet they haven't bothered to reply.  (What I cannot say about them is "Bloody W**s!")

Even with all this frustration and upset, we still had our little holiday travelling around England to see a few of our sadly missed friends, to look forward to. WRONG! As we've had to spend so much recently; we can no longer afford to stay at the pleasant guest houses which we had booked. We might yet still get away, but only if Freda can be persuaded to rough it in the odd Travelodge, and if they can be booked cheaply!

Instead though, Dear Reader, we're having a short break , here in Egypt! At the Winter Palace, no less. (No, not the New Winter Palace, which was demolished six years ago, or even the Pavilion Wing, but the real thing!)

Once upon a time, EBookers were advertising the Winter Pavilon (it's French, dontchaknow) for 71 GBP per room B&B for two nights, including taxes etc. On top of that, booking through "Quidco" Freda could get a 10% cash-back deal, which would bring the price down to 63 quid. Not at all bad for the two of us to escape the twice daily power cuts (the temperatures are crippling at the moment, running in the high 40's) and to pig out on a good breakfast with no washing up or bedmaking to contend with. Then, we realised that the Pavilion Wing was actually closed, and that we would be upgraded to the actual "Winter Palace". Well!!!!! What would you do?

So, here I am, mid-afternoon (when we'd normally be experiencing our first power cut of the day) luxuriating in our beautifully cool (NILE VIEW) room at the Old Winter Palace, while Freda gently snores away taking her afternoon nap. It's like a foretaste of Heaven!

Being the second cheapest room type, the regular cost per night is only 600 Euros, with breakfast adding on only another 180 EGP each. (See the picture below of the rate table on the back of the door, and that's for last year!) Although we don't have a balcony, we do have a nice view of the Nile Terrace and the West Bank. The room is four and a quarter metres high a has about 20 square metres of floor space plus the bathroom. Not huge, but perfectly adequate, and very comfortable. The 180EGP breakfast went down very well, I can tell you! (In fact, it may have even surpassed the famous "Our Luxor" breakfast, but at six times the price, it should have done, don't you think?)

All-in-all, we've ended up having a 530 pound holiday for 63 pounds! Can't be bad, by anyone's calculation! I know that it's bucked me up, no end!!!! Here's a few pics, just to prove to you that we're here:

Our corridor Northwards

Our corridor Southwards

Nile View

Breakfast room

Flower Arranger in Foyer


Our room 

Our room

After all that, it's actually good to be alive, eh?

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