You load sixteen tons and what do you get?

I believe that you've heard (well; read) me say about labour being in vain here in Luxor. Well, it's not! Whatever I do leads inexorably to even more work needing to be done, like today, for instance:

For a week or so, we've had a slight water leak in the bathroom, around the hand basin somewhere. It hasn't been very much, but nevertheless needed to be cured. I decided, yesterday, to have a proper look and determine exactly where the moisture was coming from. I had thought that it might have been one of the flexible pipes leading to the mixer tap (faucet, for our American friends) but on a closer inspection found that was not the case. It seemed to be seeping from the bottom of the actual tap, strange?

I had begged some blue cleaning paper, from a car repair friend in England, especially for this scenario. It clearly turns from light to dark blue at the slightest touch of moisture, all I needed to do was to remember where I'd put it!!!! Of course, it eventually turned up in one of my myriad tool boxes. I do have some helpful ideas at times, no matter what anyone else might suggest!!

Anyway, it transpired that the leak wasn't from there at all, it was from where the on/off/mixer lever fastened onto the main body of the tap, and was trickling, almost imperceptibly, down and through where the tap fastened into the basin, past the seals and on towards the floor from there. I'd have preferred to strip the tap down and repair whatever needed repairing, but...........

When I was cleaning out the whole system, after the last debacle with the filters the other week, I crushed the screw-in filter/aerator thing in the end of the spout while getting it out with my trusty "Peterson's Vice Grips", and couldn't get a replacement for love nor money. So I imagined that getting anything else for a cheap and nasty Chinese tap would be like searching for hen's teeth. I determined to get a new tap.

Good old Mr Shawky, although, after dealing with him all these years, I found out today that he is really called Mr Shokri! I blamed the fact that I hadn't had hearing aids before, and that is why I must have misheard. (That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it!) After a good deal of discussion and bargaining, I came away with a new tap which was much the same as the old one, for 125LE, and a free roll of PTFE tape into the bargain. (Only for this one, ALL the parts were available! Hallelujah! "Even the aerator?" I piped up. "No, not that, but everything else!" [It's Egypt!!!!!]) All I needed to do now was to turn off the cold water supply and the supply to the hot water tank and change the tap over, easy-peasy, eh?

Well, it didn't prove to be too difficult, and here is the proof:

Just to digress for a little Egyptian minute: You've seen "Who wants to be a Millionaire", haven't you? You know the bit where Chris Tarrant says "Here's your cheque for £125,000, but I don't want to give you that!" and he then goes on to encourage the contestant to try the next question? Well I feel a bit like that, when I say that it "wasn't too difficult". Indeed, I don't want you to go away with that impression! Because it actually wasn't too difficult, but it led onto something else, just like Chris's next question!

When I turned on the feed to the hot water tank, and then tried the new tap, "Hey Presto!" it worked fine, but the tap below the basin, which fed the hot water from the tank to the tap was now weeping!!! (A bit like me! GGRRRRR!)

Time for a cuppa, obviously!

On returning to the bathroom, I noticed that the floor was wet below the hot tank? On closer inspection another leak had appeared! I could hardly believe my eyes! There it was, just the odd drip from the joint where the tank flexy pipe screwed into the angle coupling where the pipe then disappeared into the wall, thus:

I was nearing the point of despair by now. But after a nip with my medium shifter, it seemed to stop. A new small tap was sourced at Mr Shokri's shop and, after a straightforward fitting job, now all was well with the world. Or so I thought!

The bathroom light went out! It's an old-fashioned bulb, not one of these new-fangled curled-up strip lights. No problem, I'll just nip up the ladder, whip off the cover, and replace the bulb. Not on your blinking Nellie, mate!!!! As soon as I started to try to unscrew the bulb (yes, I hate those screwy-in ones too) it came on, and it wasn't unscrewing either, just turning and turning, and getting hot! I put the cover back on, and left it. It went off again just a few minutes ago, but I'd had enough, and just left it.

Now I realise that you, Dear Reader, will be thinking that this sort of conglomeration of problems and set-backs wouldn't usually "phase" me, but these are not the only problems with which I've had to contend today, this is Egypt, after all!

We got up this morning Internet! After clarting about (Colloquialism: clarting = messing. Clarts being mud, or dirt in general) for a while and getting nowhere, Freda opted to plug in our old Etisalat "dongle", which isn't all that good, but it's better than nothing, eh? On ringing Telecom Egypt I was informed that, due to a technical problem, our line had been suspended, but would be re-connected as soon as possible, and that the lady was VERY sorry.

As tea-time approached, for a spell (Another colloquialism: spell = rest, in this context) from contorting myself under the handbasin in the bathroom and traipsing backwards and forwards to Mr Shokri's plumbing wares shop, I decided to ring TE Data again, about the lack of Internet. (TE Data is the Internet arm of Telecom Egypt). It's one of those "Press two for English" Press 3 to lose the will to live!" jobs, you know the type! Eventually, after pressing 2 for English, a woman spoke to me in Arabic for a full five minutes, while all along I kept interjecting with "I  c a n n o t  u n d e r s t a n d  y o u,  I  n e e d  s o m e o n e  w h o  c a n  s p e a k  E n g l i s h ! Until I decided to hang up before I ran up the National Debt on the telephone bill. I know it's more my fault, for living here and not being able to speak Arabic, but when you've "Pressed 2 for English"; English is what you expect!

After utilising my blood-pressure machine, just to make sure that I wan't going to have a heart attack after all,  I dialled 19777 again, and pressed the right buttons until I was speaking to someone who's English didn't seem to be really very much better than my Arabic. It took about an hour for him to guide me through the process of changing my user names and passwords; to no effect whatsoever, and then, when I plugged in the cable from the router to the laptop I got the old password and stuff up and managed to get online that way, but still no WiFi.

Now that I could at least connect through TE, I got their site up on screen. From there I downloaded their "Super Support" tool, which does everything for you. It even puts things right before they go wrong! Lo and behold, I then found the WiFi to be working, although through the new user name and password, what a carry-on!  I now have four user names and passwords for different sections of my account with TE Data, I think that's ridiculous, don't you, Dear Reader?

After all that, I'm completely exhausted. Welcome to Egypt!


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