"Wonderful things, gold, everywhere the glint of gold!"

That's what Friend Carter was supposed to have answered when he was asked what he could see on first peering into the undisturbed tomb of the boy-king Tutankhamun, in 1922. A far cry from Albert Steptoe's exclamations on seeing what his poor son, 'Arold, brought home on the back of his ragman's cart, after a weary day tramping the streets of old London town! (Young people and the non-English can check out the Steptoe family here.)

The point being, that people have wildly different reactions when confronted with old stuff, or other folk's cast-offs. I'm, almost always, intrigued! I thoroughly enjoy sifting through the things which someone, in days gone by, cherished. Some of the detritus of other generation's lives can be truly fascinating, or so I find. Rooting around scrapyards, or re-cycling depots, or junk shops and auction houses, could easily be my full-time occupation, I just love it!

So, here we are in Luxor, where anything old (and I do mean ANYTHING) is immediately deemed to have high monetary value. e.g. A neighbour (and friend) approached me one day, to tell me that he had a "very old" English one pound note, and that he was sure that I could sell it for him. There'd be enough to give us both a tidy sum, or so he thought. It turned out to be about 20 years old, no longer legal tender, and torn into the bargain! This sort of "opportunity" often comes my way, via some acquaintance or other, and turns out to be a complete waste of time. Freda says that I should just say "No" in the first instance, but I find it very difficult to disappoint people without letting them properly present their latest fortune-making plan first.

But never mind all that, which is only leading up to my own Luxor "Howard Carter" moment. I've found a real junk shop here in Luxor, Dear Reader, and it's wonderful! I cannot claim to have seen gold everywhere, but I certainly did see "wonderful things"! Other than lunatic utterances of; one thousand pounds; three thousand pounds, and the like, the shop man had very little English. So, I asked my caleche driving friend to ask him if I could take some pictures of his stock. You can imagine my surprise when he answered in the affirmative, with no baksheesh asked for.

Here is what I class as "Wonderful things":

OK, I'll admit that it's mainly a load of old junk, I mean, what do you expect to find in a junk shop?! But look more closely, if you will............

I see a Bakelite telephone, and a more ancient looking telephone, there are quite a number of potentially very interesting vintage radios, and a nice set of old shop scales sitting on top of a modern oil-filled radiator. I can also see a brass Egret (or is it an Ibis) and an end fitting for a fire-hose, not to mention electric toasters, table lamps and a computer monitor, an electric fan and a butane gas cylinder!!!! And so far, I'm only two paces into the shop.

Turning around to venture farther in, my way is almost blocked by stock! Boxes galore, stacked on top of a display case. What's in them, if anything? I immediately recognise some as mother-of-pearl games boxes; fancy chequer boards on the outside and plush backgammon boards on the inside, lovely workmanship. Others are more intriguing, but I don't feel able to ask the man for a look, as we both know that I'm not going to actually buy anything! How about a grey wall safe or two, any takers, anyone....? Perhaps a walking stick, or a flashy walking cane; to impress the ladies? A kemenger (a stringed instrument, which imitates the death-throes of a strangled cat) or an attache case, ideal for the discerning business man?

One or two very interesting chests here (no, not that sort, you stupid boy!) and a miniature pool table without its slate bed; very useful! Or perhaps you'd rather buy some genuine old camel saddles?

This is what I like about junk shops, you never know what you're going to find! See the remains of a model ship, near the bottom, and the ancient electric fire, next to it?

I'm no expert, Dear Reader, as you well know. But after having a look at the sword on the right, out of the soft scabbard, I wouldn't take any convincing that it had been wielded in battle on several occasions!

As for the sabre on the left, I didn't ask the man to take it down, but what's left of its scabbard is only the lower metal part, which is quite intricately figured. I've no reason to suppose that it is a reproduction, either.

I'll post a few more pictures, without explanation, which you can look at till your heart's content.

They contain such disparate items as (I think) a key-cutting machine, a very collectible table-fan, rubbishy old luggage, and dated hi-fi equipment.

If anything really takes your fancy, let me know, and I'll check the price for you, or, better still; you could come to Luxor, stay with us, and I'll introduce you to the man himself!

Don't forget, you can click any picture in order to have a better look at them all.


Rain stopped play!

Well, "heat stopped play", actually. It's been a bit on the warm side for the past couple of days, Dear Reader. Here's a few shots of our outside thermometer, just to show you what we're suffering/enjoying at present:

It's not too clear, is it? But I can assure you that the thermometer is reading 48.3C. However, although it is in the shade, it's also in an enclosed position. So, I moved it into a more exposed place, but still in the shade. Here we are:

As you can see, it's dropped by more than one and a half degrees, but it's still rather hot, as can be judged by the next pic which shows the temperature in "real money" (Colloquialism: real money = what we used to be familiar with, in the olden days. i.e. before decimalisation and European interference!)

                 That reads 116.1F, for those of you who cannot make it out.

To save us having to go tramping around the shops in this sort of heat, we're making do with what's in the cupboards, or can be sourced very locally. Sardine and tomato spread (from Tesco), for example and/or meals prepared by our favourite Egyptian cook; Mrs Adam. Here's her latest offering, Kofta, spaghetti and potatoes, with the obligatory tomatoes, of course. It lasted three meals and was, as usual, scrumptious!

We've also got crumble mix and Bird's Custard Powder in the cupboard, so fruit crumble drowned in steaming custard is also the order of the day. Just what we need to keep our body temps up to match the weather.

Living in the centre of town, as we do, we're very fortunate to have so many suppliers of many of the different types of foodstuffs which we need, almost on our doorsteps. Just up the street, we have our favourite egg man. Although we only buy half a tray at a time (15 eggs) he's quite happy to fill our home converted egg carrier for us:

13.5LE there! (£1.125) And they're big ones. And, they are more flavoursome that the free range ones we pay a fortune for in England!

We're also fortunate enough to have air-conditioning! Poor Uncle Mohamed, next door, doesn't, and he's really quite ill, even without the extreme heat that we're experiencing at the moment. I don't know how he's managing, and it's flummoxing as to why he doesn't spend a little of his vast wealth to be more comfortable. But that's Egyptians for you, I suppose!

I think it's probably time for a cuppa now, so I'll say "tarra", and settle down to watch something from YouTube, as we enjoy it.

What's that place called? Dignitas, is it?

No, friends, it's really not quite that bad!

The water seems to be fine now, except that I'm going to have to re-adjust the pressure regulating valve at least one more time before our next guests arrive. The pressure of our shower is starting to be rather uncomfortable in our roof-top eyrie, so I expect that it's enough to take a layer of skin off down in the guest apartment! But that's for another day.

Today, my work plan was to give our doormat a good vacuum, then fix a Moroccan plate to the stair wall and then to have a go at getting all the functions of our web-site to work properly. (With optimism like that, I should be on the telly!) Of course, these trifles must be accomplished in between washing dishes and napping etc. As you know, Dear Reader, I'm also known as "Edward Two Vacuums", as I'm in the very fortunate position of having a choice between my Kirby Legend 2 and my K'Archer, which had a new main bearing fitted in the motor last year. The K'Archer is the ideal tool for vacuuming our tiled floors and mosaico (Colloquialism: Mosaico [mo-zyco] = a common type of inexpensive, hard wearing and decorative finish for floors, consisting of a plaster (?) base with small decorative stones mixed in.) stairs, as it's light and has a good suction. Whereas I wouldn't be without my Kirby when it comes to carpets and mattresses! So, out it came to vacuum the doormat.

"Ah", I thought, "best put a new bag in first". With the dust being so fine here, I find that the Kirby loses some of its suction before the bag is full. (This may just be a case of my imagination, but it is very heavy even at about one third full.) No problem, I went straight to where the spare bags are kept, first time! My heart sank as I became aware of dust and fluff coming out of the outer bag as I unzipped it! Had the paper bag burst, or was it more sinister than that? Yes, you guessed rightly, Dear Reader, it was something more sinister!

I cannot imagine how that came about, but it did! Never mind, you know that I won't be beaten, and I had it fixed in a few minutes. Hurrah!

The doormats catch a LOT of dust. So I vacuum them on both sides, over and over and over again, until there's hardly anything comes out when I drop them, up-side-down onto the clean tiles. It takes a long time, believe me!

After a while, I was surprised to hear a funny, high-pitched squeal coming from the vacuum cleaner. Obviously, I switched it straight off, and carried it to a table, where I could inspect it. After burning my finger end on the brush roller, I realised that the bearing had failed. This called for drastic measures.........a cup of tea!

On returning to the job in hand, it transpired that it wasn't a bearing as I expected, but a funny sort of thing altogether. It had a brass bush in the middle of a thin metal sleeve housed in a plastic "space-frame" type of thingy, which had melted with the heat! I destroyed it as I managed to get it to bits.

Here's the brass bush back in place. 

 And here's the two-part epoxy mix which I used to take up the gap.

The epoxy stuff has been in the toolbox for about four years, so I hope it's still OK.

After the epoxy resin stuff hardened, I gingerly tried the Kirby out, and much to my satisfaction, it seemed to be Ok again, enough to get today's job done, anyway.

So now, it's time to reward myself with a slap-up meal, courtesy of Mrs Adam, across the street:

Mind you, we won't manage to get through all that in one go, even with the best will in the world! Yes, Labour brings it's own rewards, especially if you vote for Jeremy Corbyn, lol!