The Saga of the Errant Water Heater. By Edouardo Renaldo Jennings.

Yes, here's another "Saga" for you, I hope you're not sick of my moaning yet, but the water problems just get bigger and better!

A few days ago, I captured Hani the plumber, when he was completely unawares, poor beggar. Before I'd even properly explained about the problems I'd been having (at that point, I'd just discovered that the water heater seemed to have sprung an ever so slight leak, to add to my other woes!) he spouted out, "It's the thing inside the tank."

As he seemed to be very confident in his assessment of the situation, I immediately asked him if he could come and fix it. Get in quickly, was my reasoning, before he manages to think up an excuse. He waffled on for a bit, and eventually he promised to ring me, and that he might find someone else to actually do it, as he didn't consider himself to be expert enough. That must have been Friday.

Today, well since it's past midnight; Yesterday, I gave up waiting and decided to do it myself. In for a penny, and all that! After all, how hard can it be? (Plus, it's buggered anyway.)

Actually, apart from making a right mess when draining the 50 litre tank, the job ended up being relatively straightforward. Inlet pipe off, 4 vacuum cleaner rigid pipes shoved over the resulting open connection to take the water away to the drain, disconnect the electrics (noting that the dark coloured wire was the live one) and then undo the nuts holding the heating element etc in the bottom of the tank. Hey Presto, out it comes:

Yes, that was my reaction  too; YUK! You know what it is, don't you? Sand!!! Egyptian sand, it gets everywhere. When I put my fingers into the aperture where the element fixes into the tank, I found a layer of the stuff, an inch thick, lying in the bottom. I scraped out what I could with my fingers, as I was apprehensive about forcing my hand through the hole in case I couldn't get it out again without skinning all of my old knuckles. (I know, I'm a coward!) Here it is:

I then clicked on the idea of fixing the water pipe back on and flushing it out:

What a mess, and to think that this was actually the result of only using the tank/heater for a twelve month before fitting my filter system!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we were meeting another friend who winters here at 10.30, in the Nile Palace for tea and chatter, Sandra (but not the Sandra of Sandra and Mick fame). She's another lovely lady, and a real pleasure to spend time with. As we made our way out, we called to see Mr Hani so that I could show off with my heating element, and find out where to get a new one. He was relieved, I think, that he hadn't had to accomplish this task himself, and pointed us to the electrical repair shop near to Chez Omar's open-air restaurant. I know it well because I buy vacuum cleaner bits and pieces from there, on occasion. "One o'clock" the man barked as he took it from me. Of course, tea and chatter taking almost three hours, and the journey back from the NP,meant that we were about an hour or so late, and with no idea if he would be open of what to find if he was; a new part, or the new part fixed onto our old mounting boss? Who knows?

Here it is, just as the shopkeeper gave it to me:

"Made in Italy" no Egyptian or Chinese rubbish, either!

I have to say that I was delighted to be supplied with the new element and having it and the old housing fitted together for 40LE (about £3.50 at the current exchange rate!).

As I was tightening the five fixing nuts on the bottom of the element, I was pushing upwards. I'd momentarily forgotten that the hot water tanks are only mounted on big nasty hooks in the wall. Disaster struck as I suddenly felt the tank move away from my exertions.

"On me 'ead, mate!" I was like a Premier Division footballer, as the blasted thing bounced off my head, smashed the towel rail off the wall and finally came to rest in my arms after I'd juggled it from one hand to the other on the way down. Sir Brian Rix would have been proud to have played the part in one of his excellent 1960's farces!

Seeing that it was now off the wall, Freda suggested swilling it out in the shower; clever girl that, when she has a mind to be! I'm pleased I did, as a lot of black flaky stuff washed out. I'd be pleased to tell you that all went smoothly after that, but I cannot lie to you, Dear Reader. It didn't!

The element went in OK, and the whole thing went back onto it's hooks again, without further ado. But when I came to reaffix the pipes, one of them leaked!!! The rubber washer had perished and wouldn't seal, so it was off again to Mr Shokri for yet another 8LE stainless steel reinforced pipe. I sometimes think that I keep that whole blinkin' family in employment!

Anyway, it's working again. Please keep your fingers crossed that it continues to do so? If I don't get some respite from these ongoing problems soon, I think I'll burst!

I'm a rambler, I'm a gambler, I'm a long way from home, and if you don't like me then leave me alone!

Now then, who remembers the Clancy Brothers, with their Arran jumpers and diddley-do-da songs along with the banjo fiend Tommy Makem? I'll eat when I'm hungry and I'll drink when I'm dry!" and on it goes.

Well, as most of you know, or perhaps have realised by now, I'm certainly not a gambler! But I am a long way from home, and (as this Blog amply proves) I could ramble for England, eh?

Do you remember this picture, and the corresponding Blog post from February 2014? You could look it up in the Blog Archive at the bottom of the bits and pieces on the right of this page, if you wanted to refresh your memory. Or, I could just give you the gist of the story, anyway.

It's a picture of the 3 inch water main as it comes out of the ground just outside our building. It had burst, flooding the street, and the Luxor Water and Wastewater Holding Company men had come out and repaired it by wrapping a bicycle inner-tube around the hole and taping it up with electrician's tape. I was very unhappy about it, and sure that it wouldn't last for more than five minutes.

The day before yesterday, our neighbour, Mr Gamal, stopped me in the street and said that if we didn't get the pipe fixed, he would turn off our water altogether as it was seeping, and he was afraid that it would wash away the foundations of his building, which is next door. I commiserated with him, and explained that I had asked the other neighbours and the two Doctors in our building to arrange to have it repaired and I would willingly stump up my share of the cost. (Many times.) It would obviously be easier and cheaper for them to get it fixed than me, me being unable to converse with the Water Company people sufficiently well, and being a Kawadger into the bargain. (Colloquialism: Kawadger = [I think] a white skinned, or possibly Christian, foreigner.) All to no avail, I'm afraid to say, for the past 20 months! After making my apologies etc, I asked Mr Gamal to speak to the two Doctors, Abd El Malach and Ashraf, and see if he couldn't galvanise them into some sort of action.

Coffeeshop Adam spoke up and said that he would force Mr Edward (remember, Dr Abd El Malach's assistant) to accompany him to the right place, on his motor bike, the next day! (FYI, Adam promised to have it repaired while we were in England, a year gone March!!!! I even left him 100LE as my share. So I wasn't going to hold my breath this time!) Never mind.

Yesterday, we went out in the morning to have tea with a couple of friends who have just returned to Luxor for the winter; Ann and Robert, a lovely couple. We met in the Cafe Latte at 10.30, and had a good old chin-wag, in between the noise of the Mosque and the motor bikes and other traffic rushing past! (It's not a place for me, I'm afraid; tea was awful and even with my new hearing aids I was struggling to make much sense of the conversation.)

Afterwards, we had some real tea in the Winter Palace and did a little shopping before returning home at a little after one o'clock. Imagine my surprise to come around the corner to this sight:

Yes Dear Reader, a brand new plastic pipe in less than three hours, all done and dusted! It's amazing what can be accomplished by threats. And my share of the cost was 115LE, not bad, I thought.

As I made my way to the offices of the Luxor Water and Wastewater Company in order to attempt to pay for my water, I came across yet another ingenious temporary repair which would probably outlast the original article:

I know it's difficult to see when you've no idea of what you're looking for. Look at the plastic bags adhering to the wheel. They're meant to be there, look again:

I'm not 100% sure, but I believe that they're sealing leaky wheelrims, where the tyre should seal onto the wheel. Never seen it before, but Egypt is a place where the strangest of things crop up.

I'm sure that you'll agree that that's enough rambling for one night. Tarra!