Ships that pass in the night?

I find that I'm more easily brought to tears as I get older! What a wuss, eh, Dear Reader? It happens while I watch "pretend" things on the telly, or when I remember particular (mainly family) things. I know that it's stupid, it's just that I cannot control my emotions as well as I used to be able to.

Friends in trouble, of whatever sort, can bring this flood of emotions to the surface too. And then; who do we count as a "friend"? I've always been a bit of a sucker, as far as making friends goes. A few have turned out to never have been any such thing, and cost me cash as well as heartache. But mainly, I manage to rub along with most of the people whom I would refer to as "friends".

This subject has come to light, and to the forefront of my thoughts, just today, after meeting with a friend for a cup of tea at the Winter Palace. This particular friend, we've known for a few years. She's a regular visitor here, we've had no commercial dealings with her, but we have a common love of "Things Egyptian", I don't know how else to put it. We aren't actually bosom buddies, more like the "Ships that pass in the night" of the title, but our relationship is important to me, and I/we do care about her and her situation.

As you can imagine, we've made many such friends through being here in Luxor, and even one or two by them reading the rubbish which I occasionally write on here! So different too. Each and every one seems to have made a little home in my heart, don't ask me why; that would be something else to add to the ever growing list of things which I just don't know!

Two ladies whom we've met here, and grown very attached to, will not be back as they are both desperately ill, in fact, I don't even know if we'll ever see them or hear from them again. That makes me so sad, that if I allowed myself to dwell on it, I would soon find tears trickling down my cheeks again! Another (a real Egypt lover, and I'm not talking Egyptian man there!) is not able to return because she just isn't fit enough to cope with it all. She'd be here tomorrow, I'm sure, if she was able. Her sadness at not being able to travel also makes me so sad. Will we see her again? I very much doubt it. Although we do still email I imagine that she finds even that a bit upsetting.

Other, regular, travelling friends who seemed to belong here (as visitors, I mean) no longer come, and I've no idea why, I'm saddened that they don't reply to my emails and text messages. Ships that pass in the night, again. I know that some have moved on to pastures new, as I see them posting here and there on the Internet, but I'm sad that their ship won't come back this way, and that they seem to be able to easily forget about those whose lives they've touched along the way. I cannot do that!

Twice in the last two days we've supped tea or coffee at the Winter Palace, both times with English friends which we have made here in Egypt. Here's a little video of someone else having "Tea at the Winter Palace", but they didn't have to pay!

Cheeky little Blighter!

Yes, Dear Reader, we've made a lot of these friends in Luxor, many different nationalities, single, married, living in sin even!!!! But they've all made their mark on this overly emotional old man who sometimes records his experiences or feelings here.

We walked back from the WP, out of the back door and along Manchiya, past the station and down our street. On the way, I couldn't help but notice the following anomaly. Only in Egypt, once again, I fear:

Now, I don't find that sad! But I'm not sure of exactly why you would want to build your house around a lamp post/telegraph pole.

I'm off now Dear Reader, as it's turned 1 o'clock. But don't you be content to just pass in the night, like ships on a dark sea, cherish your friends for as long as you have them. They won't always be there!

Why do today, what you can put off 'til tomorrow?

Or perhaps; Procrastination is the thief of time, or yet; The road to Hell is paved with good intentions!

Grovel, grovel, grovel! I truly believe, Dear Reader (if you're still there, that is!) that I have become infected with the seeming Egyptian ailment of having no "get-up-and-go". You wouldn't believe the number of times that I've remonstrated with myself over not keeping you up-to-date with life "on the edge" here in Luxor.

But; enough of this navel gazing and general despondency. I've reached the grand old age of 65 today, and I'm pleased to be here, and as pleased as Punch to be able to write these thoughts and reports for you, oh long-suffering subscriber to this Blog!

If you're in the habit of looking at the various forums (fora? I don't know) about Luxor, you'll be aware that there have been problems for those of us who are here for the longer term, regarding visas. Well, I'm delighted to tell you that we got ours yesterday. So we're reasonably confident that we'll be able to report to you for yet another twelve-month (Insh'Allah!).

I've just been reading Mara Vaughan's Blog (
and realise that we two aren't all that far apart with our view of safety here in the Land of the Pharaohs. However, it seems that the rest of creation isn't on the same wavelength, as tourists are very thin on the ground here. So few and far between are they, that life is becoming boring for the likes of us, that's what I blame my lack of enthusiasm excitement or entertainment!!!!!

Never mind, that's got my rant for today out of the way. Now let's see if I cannot find some pictures or prose to grab your interest?

Ah, yes! We travelled to Hurghada to fly home for Easter! It's all coming back to me, as if from a half-forgotten dream.

I don't like the road to Hurghada, and I'd rather just not bother going there at all, but when the flight price is half of what you'd usually pay, and the destination airport is more than a hundred miles nearer your home and accessible by your son's car; the figures just take over!

But the journey, in itself, was quite uneventful, and boring! Except when going through Qina, when we came across lots of old Eltramco mini-buses!

Now then, I hadn't seen one of these for many a long year, they were manufactured in Cairo by the Egyptian Light TRAnsport Manufacturing COmpany, and used (nationwide, I should imagine) as local public service vehicles. We had them in Luxor when we first came here; always with the bonnets (hoods, to our American friends) open to try to cool the engines. I cannot find out very much about the company, but it seems they stopped trading in 1972, so these mini-buses are likely to be almost 45 years old! Mind you, I take my hat off to the Egyptian coachbuilders and repairers, some of these old things looked brand spanking new, alloy wheels and everything!

One or two, I noticed, had Isuzu badges stuck on, they probably had Isuzu engines, one would think.

In Luxor, they've been replaced by (almost exclusively) Toyota Hi-Ace micro-buses. They're more practical, with their sliding entrance doors; especially when there's a need to carry standing passengers!

I really don't think that Her Majesty's Traffic Commissioners would take kindly to carrying passengers on the step of an outward opening door!

The next point of interest (for me, anyway) was two dead buses at the half-way rest point.

A queer little pair, I'm sure you'll agree.

It seemed as if it took an age to get to Hurghada, in fact it was only about 4 hours, but too long! The airport is pleasant enough, but with a lot more alcohol swilling going on than we're used to, or care to see! On the plane (Monarch) quite a number of passengers only stopped slurping to either yell at their friends or go to sleep. All very well if that's your "bag", but we won't be doing it again in a hurry.

The holiday at home in Windy Nook was great. Great to see all our family, great to see friends, and for me; great to be able to join the Chapel choir to sing The Crucifixion on Good Friday! We had help from a couple of other local chapels, and new soloists. (The tenor was fabulous!) If you're interested, here is a recording of the whole thing: It's a very emotional piece!

I was also delighted to be able to join with many of the same folk when we went to the fantastic Beamish Museum, to sing old hymns in the reconstructed Methodist Chapel there one Saturday, The many people who wandered in to hear (and some also joined in) these great hymns seemed to enjoy themselves, so it was well worthwhile.

Of course, I haven't mentioned (yet!) my new melodeons!!! One is still in bits, that's the one I published the pictures of. It has a major problem which I haven't been able to do anything about, as yet, but time will tell. 

Another one also had some major problems, but I was able to fix them with some advice, ingenuity and homemade tools. Here's a few pics of some of the repair work and one of the melodeon itself. It's roughly the same age as my first one, I think, about 100 years old. 

The other (latest) melodeon is a more modern (and higher quality) Hohner 1-row. Number-One-Son bought it for me as an early birthday present, it's so loud that I'm afeared to play it sometimes! But I love it. It even came in its own box!

I've brought that one with me, to play here in Egypt in order to stop me going mad with boredom. It's kept in the bathroom, so the bits of leather won't dry out and start to leak air, it's a terrible thing to have leaky bellows, you know.

I'd better get some shut-eye, I think, as we're off to the Nile Palace at about 4 o'clock, to meet with some long-time tourists whom we haven't been able to meet with for a few years.

I'll be back!