I always had a feeling that there was "something", but could never put my finger on it!

I think that I once mentioned that I've often (well a few times, anyway) been mistaken for an Arab or a Turk. The first time was in 1976, during our initial foray into foreign parts, in Paris to be precise. It fell to me to ask this old beret wearing French geezer (Colloquialism: geezer = bloke/man.) for directions to St Denis. After a bit of mumbling and grunting out came, "Vous et Arab?" (You are Arab?) I was, of course, indignant!

Nevertheless, since moving to Luxor I'm often mistaken for a Turk, or belonging to some other Middle Eastern country. There's one trader near the tourist souk who always shouts out after me, "Hello Hariri!" Hariri being the murdered Lebanese ex Prime Minister; Rafic Baha El Deen Hariri:


Obviously, the poor beggar isn't as good looking as I am, but there are certain "similarities", I'll admit. But his seemingly elevated position as a mere Prime Minister certainly wouldn't suit me. Oh no!

Did I also tell you that Dear Brother had discovered that on my Dad's side of the family, we were descended from Gypsies? Irish, at that, "so we were"! (So we were, being a typically Irish expression.) Well he's now come up with that which we've been waiting for, although we've known it in our bones for many a long year!!!

My 72nd Great Grandfather was King Lnor Frey of Mesopotamia, now known as Turkey! According to Brother's research, our august forefather was King of Mesopotamia at the time when Pontius Pilate was busy crucifying Jesus of Nazareth. He died in 80AD.

So, if you ever decide to visit us, or even come to stay, you'll need to watch your "P's and Q's". Be warned, we Middle Eastern Royals won't be messed with!

"King Edward", has a certain ring to it, don't you think?

If you brought me one of my cigars, as an act of homage, I might be a little more kindly towards you.

You may go! Actually, no you can't. I forgot something.

While the Queen and I were shopping at Tesco in Gateshead, this afternoon, I noticed that the fabulous old Canadian poet/singer Leonard Cohen had nipped in for a few bits and bobs! I knew that he wasn't there for his weekly shop, as he only had a basket. As usual, he looked immaculate with his silvering hair and wearing a nice black overcoat with his well pressed black trousers sticking out of the bottom. He also had his spectacles on; in order to check the prices, I should think.

Of course, I whipped my camera out, and was about to snap him (as proof, you know?) when the Queen stopped me. Having experience of working in retail, she informed me that it was heavily frowned upon to take photographs in shops, even for a King.

B****r!

The tale of our Alice the Camel.



Hello everyone, I'm heartbroken today! I was saving some news about a new addition to the Our Luxor Holiday Apartment until we got back to Luxor next month, but circumstances have conspired to force me to, reluctantly, reveal all just now.

On 24th November we won an ebay auction for a beautiful green camel, called Alice. Alice lived with her then owners in Somerset, at an old mill house, I expect it was idyllic. But she was destined for Luxor! You know, of course, that Egypt doesn't have its own camels? They're brought in from the Sudan, formerly walking over the "40 Day Road",


but now I believe that they tend to be brought most of the way in trucks:


Well, poor Alice was subjected to the indignity of travelling in a truck, too. But not in Egypt! She was put in the care of the transport firm "City Link", with strict instructions for her welfare. The beasts at City Link didn't look out for her, though, and although she left the lovely old mill house in Somerset in fine fettle, she was a sorry state on her arrival in Windy Nook.

Here she is in her prime:


And here she is; lying on the sofa in Windy Nook, a shadow of her former 44 centimetres height, after the savages at City Link had finished with her:  


My anger at such cavalier treatment is indescribable! 

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance..............or maybe not!

Do you remember that picture? It had three of my favourite film actors: James Stewart, John Wayne and the villain of the piece; Lee Marvin. It was great! Well, what we've got here for you today is actually "The Man Who Inked Our Luxor's Mister Edward"!!!! Here he is:

And, here's his shop:


I know that many of you will be astounded that I would allow such mutilation of my fine body and perfect skin, but it just, quite suddenly, took my fancy! Mind you, it's not one of these intricate designs which cover half of my body, nor yet a "sleeve", which is what they call those which the footballers have from shoulder to elbow. I'll let you have a shuftee before I sign off tonight. 

In the meantime, I've been to see and hear some famous folk singing types of late. The other Wednesday Auntie Susan had bought us tickets (for Christmas) to once again see her mate Maddy Prior singing with the Carnival Band in their regular Christmas concert at the Sage Gateshead. It was as enjoyable as ever, with Maddy still having a tremendous range to her voice. 

Next was the turn of the Wilsons, a harmony singing group of brothers from Tees side, they're marvellous, if like me you appreciate that sort of music. They've recently been singing with that other well known North Easterner, Gordon Sumner (otherwise known as "Sting") in his show in New York. (Do you remember that we had another of Sting's mates stay with us a few years ago, the fabulous Darbukka player, Souhail Kaspar?)

Number-One-Son has also been attending concerts. The daft happ'orth (Colloquialism: happ'orth, pronounced hay-porth, = half penny worth = half-wit of very little value.) forgot about going to the Sage with us, and managed to get tickets for him and his friend to see Seasick Steve in London on the same evening! He did enjoy it though. And then; Number-One-Grand-Daughter and her friend from Harrogate went with him (N-O-S, not Seasick Steve) to some young girls' pop concert sort of thing in Newcastle on Sunday, too. Busy Bees, eh?

The Folk Club we go to after Chapel on a Sunday was too cold last night! The guest singer was OK, but not good enough for us to suffer the cold for another 90 minutes, I'm afraid, and we left at the break. A bit shamefacedly, I've got to admit!

That's probably enough boredom for you for one night, so I'll sign off with a glimpse of the Tat:


They wrap them in clingfilm, apparently, to keep any muck out. That came off after a day or two, and I'm getting quite used to it now. It's a Coptic Christian cross, so that if I snuff it in Egypt, then I won't get dumped in a Muslim cemetery. When it eventually gets a scab, and then heals properly, I might show you a pic of the finished article. We'll see.

What have you been up to?

Or, as the "Wenches" from Wolverhampton might say (or even sing!) "What's the story in Balamory?" (The Wenches being any number of four sisters from that area, who were regular visitors to Luxor, before the revolution and great friends of ours. One in particular would sing along with our youngest while parading along the Corniche. Much to the amusement of passers by.) Balamory was a children's TV programme set in the fictional utopian Scottish seaside village of the same name, populated by children who were seemingly of every colour and race under the sun, and likewise the adults; of every colour, sexual orientation and level of physical ability. So, much like every other utopian village in Scotland, eh?


I'm not naive enough to believe that you're all going to write in and tell us all about your day-to-day goings on, I'm just trying to flannel you into thinking that, like Balamory, I'm also being a bit "inclusive" while I bore you to death with what we've been doing!

Well now that I've got that admission of guilt off my chest, let me tell you about our visit to the "Christmas Markets" in Edinburgh. If you just look on it as a review, then it mightn't seem to self-important or boring, eh?

The trip was all arranged online whilst we were still in Luxor; clever things computers! It all started when Freda decided that she wanted to make more use of our "Old People's Rail Cards", before they ran out on 15th of December. York, maybe? No, Edinburgh, where she'd seen this European Christmas Market advertised somewhere. We invited sister Sister Susan and Uncle Roy to join us, as we usually have a good time when the four of us are together. Freda arranged it (including high tea at a particularly nice looking hotel) before you could say "Jack Robinson". (Although I've no idea why most people would want to say "Jack Robinson", it's a rather silly saying, isn't it?)

I'm getting to really enjoy train journeys, and this one wasn't an exception. Starting with a short car journey to the Metro Station at the Felling and on to a crowded Metro train right into Newcastle Central Station. I was rather apprehensive, as one of our four return tickets had mistakenly not been sent out in advance, and the ticket which we got from the machine was for "Off-Peak" travel only, and 08:45 certainly isn't "Off-Peak"! But after the ticket inspector gave our tickets just a cursory glance before stamping them, I breathed a sigh of relief, and got down to enjoying the day properly!

That's Uncle Roy's nut in the foreground, with the seat reservation ticket stuck in the top of his seatback.

On exiting Edinburgh Waverly Station, we were met by a rather frightening sight!

Can you see those flying around things? They've got people in them Aaaarrrggh!

After such a long journey, some of us needed refreshment. Jenner's (the big, world famous, department store on Princes Street) did me an acceptable breakfast of bacon, haggis and egg on a hugely thick piece of toast. (I don't usually have two breakfasts, but hey, I was on holiday!) The other wimps only had a drink and cake, which was rather a waste when you're in such a nice place:



This is the real Christmas tree stretching over the whole three floors of Jenner's store. (How did they get it in?????)

Then we ventured the short distance across the road to view the first of the Christmas Markets. Here was the "European" Market. Actually, it was a collection of stalls, most of which were repeated over and again about five or six times! Although they were interesting and relatively "foreign" the repeats did get to be a bit boring after a while. (I mean; just how many "Hot Apple/Drambuie Toddys" can one man take?)

There were one or two distinctly individual stalls, like the one selling wooden ties! I thought that they were quite novel, but at £20 a go, they were a bit rich for yours truly!


Another was selling decorative thingies made of very thin metal and cut in concentric circles and hanging so that they could spin. But they were bent in to such shapes as to create different patterns whilst they span! Actually amazing, but watching them for even a minute or so made me feel quite queezy! No thanks.

High tea was booked for 3 o'clock, but by 2 we were getting chilly. It wasn't really raining, but it was cold and dismal and various feet and backs and legs were starting to play-up. We made our way, via Penhaligon's (where they had some lovely men's fragrance called Levantine (or something like that) which I tried and coveted, but which was £120 a shot!!!!!!!) and several other smellies selling boutiques, whilst admiring some of Edinburgh's beautiful architecture (Edinburgh has a boatload of lovely buildings), to the Howard Hotel: http://www.thehoward.com/   Freda wanted me to slip one of their chandeliers into the poacher's pocket of my Barbour coat, but I didn't want to hump it around for the rest of the day:


We arrived about a half hour early, but it wasn't a problem. The tea was very nice, and filling too. (We'd eaten most of the sandwiches by the time I remembered to take the picture, lol!)


We were thoroughly warmed through by the time we left some two hours later. The Howard was only a ten  minute walk from Princes Street, in an area dominated by arty establishments, more galleries than you could shake a stick at! And unexpected places too:


Who would ever have thought that there was such an organisation as "The Trout Anglers Club", never mind that they would have expensive premises in Edinburgh?

This is the "Royal College of Physicians", stunning, eh? 

We made our way back towards Princes Street via the so-called "Scottish Christmas Market". What a disappointment, there wasn't even a piper!!!! But at least the stalls weren't repeated every few yards! There were a few stalls which were genuinely innovative in my opinion. I bought an apposite Christmas present for Number One Son (which I obviously cannot tell you about, in case he looks on here) and Sister Sue bought some dear fudge for our dear mother. There was a helter-skelter in the middle of the gathering, and plenty of opportunities to get drunk.

I thought that I was drunk when I noticed this:


El Dorado brought to Scotland, perhaps? They must have got special permission from the Queen to do that, surely?

By the time we got back to the main event, the crowds had truly arrived, There was a good atmosphere as the people roamed around or queued in the dark for the fearsome rides:

video


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There was also another ride specifically for softies like me, but I didn't fancy it either:


The Scotchies had some pretty impressive Christmas lights too:

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And some of their lovely buildings were draped like Christmas trees:


Whilst others relied on their usual lighting to emphasize their grandeur:



By the time we had meandered back to Waverly Station, I was ready for a sit down, as were the others I believe. The waiting train was a sight for sore eyes!


Nighty-night!