A little bit more, at random.




Firstly, I have to ask, "Don't you think that the vegan housewife should have waited in, when she knew that the Waitrose delivery was due?"


You'll recall, of course, that we spent our first couple of nights at the Winter Palace Pavilion while we rectified the desertification of our Luxor home? Well, here's a shot of the exquisite Winter Palace gardens (taken at night obviously!) from our 3rd floor balcony. I love to see the palms, wherever I am in Egypt.


Being a bit pushed for time when we eventually got home, we had Mr Adam's lovely wife cook for us. We thought that a change might be in order, so asked for Chicken Tawook. here's a shot taken after we'd had our fist meal from it, the rest lasted for a further two meals!


Of course, it was delicious, as her food always is. Mind you, it was the first time she'd attempted this dish, which surprised me. No doubt it will be on our future menu.

I was pleased to notice that the site of the collapsed building was being cleared of rubbish; becoming  a rubbish tip is always the fate of any newly created space on the ground in Luxor, wherever it might be!

Oh, perhaps I should mention here that any rubbish dump which has been cleared of rubbish then quickly becomes a carpark! That'll be the next picture of the place.

Our trip up the Nile was as enchanting as ever! How could it not be?



As many of you will be aware, that last pic is of part of the ancient quarries from whence the stones which make up the magnificent tombs and temples were hewn. This next little video is from the same area of the Nile's banks. 


                                   

The scene which slides by as the ships slowly (only comparatively, mind!) navigate up and down stream is a constantly changing, but utterly charming, one of historic rural living frozen in time! Except, that is for the two industrial sites, one on either bank, of the ship repair facility, where they are taken completely out of the water, and the steel works. 

Our ship owner spends his days on the Nile too. Although his mobile phone is seldom away from his ear, he obviously relishes travelling this main thoroughfare of his lovely country. I envy him this opportunity, but not his responsibilities in such a fluctuating economic climate which currently rules in Egyptian tourism!    

The most picturesque temple view from a Nile cruise ship must surely be that of Kom Ombo Temple:


The bloke in the picture was one of the Germans, he kept trying to engage me in conversation, even though it was obvious, by my English replies, that I was English! (I'm sure he was wearing a pair of his wife's sandals in this picture.)

Our cruises seem to approach Aswan in the evening, well, after dark anyway. I'm always struck by the brilliantly lit Mosque on the east bank as we near the town. Of course, it's too difficult to get a snap of it in the dark whilst sailing, but here it is on our outbound journey:


One of the other changes we've seen in Aswan, is the style of the children's little boats, from which they sing to tourists in the feluccas. When we first came to Egypt (in pre-historic times, or so it seems now!) they had little metal built boats, just big enough to squeeze a child into, which they paddled with their hands. Now, they're perched on top of, what look like, surfboards! And they use squares of plastic for paddles; ingenuity and innovation, eh?


                             Mind you, they seems to be able to move a lot quicker nowadays.

Walking back from a bit of shopping the other night, I noticed that the Sheikh's tomb had been recently painted. The group of women seemed to be on guard duty, and I have to admit to being 
reluctant to get any closer to take the pic!


Lastly (for the moment) here's a shot of the renewed soil pipe down the front of Mr Adam's building:

                                                         We're breathing easy again!

                                         Goodnight, Dear Reader, wherever you may be.

Just one more thing; seeing as we've a lot of pics in this Blog. If you click on any picture, you can view them all together, only bigger. In case you'd forgotten.

The Times They Are A'Changing!

Yes Playmates, they certainly are! In our experience, both Luxor and Aswan are, as Bob Dylan's words truly foretold; a'changing, and quite a bit too.

You know, of course, that we're lucky people, don't you? Well, we've just done a little cruise up the Nile on one our friend's Nile Cruisers, again. The Royal Viking isn't the best ship (although I prefer to call them boats because of their more diminutive size) navigating the reaches of the Nile between Luxor and Aswan, but it is eminently suitable for our needs, i.e. it's relatively clean, hygienic, comfortable, reliable and with decent food which is well cooked. (But mainly because we are family friends of the owner and get a reasonable discount, to be perfectly honest!)

Never mind, we had a great few days spending our time either lazing around the sundeck, eating more than we should and "people-watching", which, as you know, is one of our main pleasures, hehe! Our fellow travellers were mainly British (50) and German (40) and then a mix of American and "others". Which made watching the differing manners and general behaviour etc of the different groups very interesting, especially at mealtimes.

Mind you, we didn't waste our time in Aswan, either. How could taking two or three hours over tea etc, two days running, at the Old Cataract ever be considered as a waste of time, I ask you? We spent an afternoon and the following morning there. The hotel is still as beautiful as ever, if not even more so! Happily, having a friend or two there was also very useful, I'll say no more on that subject, though. (Wink,wink!!!) Us invalids really need to be looked after in some style, you know.

Invalids? That reminds me of the book which I've just finished and am embarking on reading again, it was so good! It's a facsimile of a book, actually written in 1895, entitled "Wintering in Egypt, Hints for Invalids and Travellers" and was a Christmas present from my darling sister. (Written by A J McDonald Bentley and C G Griffinhoof and published by Wentworth Press.) It's a great book and I'd recommend it for anyone who knows modern-day Egypt, or for anyone who wants to come here for a holiday. It's full of (what are, with modern hindsight) amusing advices and explanatory background on why and how the modern Egyptian sometimes seems so strange to us foreign visitors.

Back, now, in the thriving hubbub which is Luxor.............you'll remember that building which so tragically collapsed last year? Well, it prompted the Governor to send out his minions to check the other, old and unloved (more to the point unmaintained!) mud-brick multi-story buildings for safety! Old Uncle Mohamed's house is such a building. You must remember him, surely? The old guide who lived his entire life at the closed end of our "haret" (alley). Part of it was two floors and part was three floors. Well, when we returned we found this:

In true Luxorian fashion, it's been knocked down and left! You can see the concrete framework of the building in the rear of the picture, which is how all domestic buildings seem to be constructed now. I've berated the family for leaving the place like a bomb site, and have been reassured that the rubble will be cleared away, but no actual date was given!!! We'll see (again!).

Just across our street, if you can give it such a grand name, the waste pipe opposite, from the toilets etc., has developed a leak; obviously it's not very pleasant. The workmen are there now putting up wooden scaffolding to replace all the old iron pipework with modern plastic stuff. Hurrah! It looks as if we'll eventually be a "twee" little alley! (A mews, even?) Even the old hardened earth footpath has been tiled over. Mind you, the only time the tiles become apparent is when our "cleaner" (that's what he's supposed to be, anyway) has swept and washed them!

Here's a couple of shots of the scaffolders at work, it's actually terrifying to watch them.



I braved walking beneath this lot to do a bit of shopping, as we were almost out of both milks, full cream and skimmed, and Mandolin biscuits (Cadbury's Egyptian equivalent to Twix). I took this snap just for those of you who haven't seen Egyptian cabbages, they're often huge! These are babies in comparison:


Anyway, I'd better let you get off and do something useful, for a change, as my editor says that I shouldn't make these posts too long, or you, Dear Reader, will get even more bored and click on something else!
So it's goodbye from her, and it's goodbye from him, goodbye.

Let's see what I can remember about the changes that have occurred whilst we've been away.

Firstly, I was surprised to be asked for my passport when I went to change some cash at the Egyptian Exchange on Sharia Karnak. Luckily I had Freda's little red European thing in my pocket (no idea why????) and he knew we were married, so
accepted that.

There's a new supermarket on Station Street, about a third of the way up from the Temple. It's a branch of Kheir Zaman (otherwise known to foreigners as Kaiserman). The stock is possibly not quite so extensive as the main local branch, but near enough to save us trailing up to TV street every other day! I've decided to shop more at KZ than the Forty Market, simply because of the difference in prices. The former standard of friendly service at Forty clinched the deal, but not any more, I'm sorry to say.

I was disappointed to see a new metal fence had been constructed around the Temple entrance and the whole of the plaza (the former park with shade trees) outside of the Abu Haggag Mosque. It's probably a good idea to stop the quad-bike boys operating their dangerous hire business, plus the one's who hire out horses to trot around the same pleasant area frequented by families with small children in tow. However, to erect the fence right on the kerb, means that pedestrians have to walk on the busy road or run the gauntlet of the shopkeepers (including little Mahmoud the mad T shirt seller) on the other side. Perhaps that's the whole reason, who knows?

The new pedestrian area paving and all-round decoration along the Nile Corniche looks very good, but until the unpleasant felucca touts and caleche men are discouraged from hassling tourists, the foreign money still won't hang out along there. We've yet to travel Ibn Khaled Walid Street up to the Nile Palace, so cannot yet give any news about the "Little England" area, but that should be remedied on Sunday, as we're meeting a good friend there for tea in the afternoon. I'll keep you posted, no doubt!

Ooh! Another change is that the Egyptian market (running on from the Tourist Market and all the way to Abu Jude) is now a main thoroughfare! All the southbound local buses come down there (it seems to be one-way) instead of  along Sharia Karnak. They then turn right onto Youseff Hassan Street and pass the front of the Emilio Hotel before turn left and joining Sharia Karnak along to the Temple and towards Station Street. Obviously, this change has devastated the traders in the market,  changing the character of the place altogether, irrevocably! No more can the sellers sit on the road with their wares spread for everyone to see and haggle over, those folk have all gone. All that's left are the proper shops, and even they have no ladies underwear or galabeyas brushing the hair of passers by as the garments were draped across the street on bits of string. What will become of the poor souls who've been moved away is anyone's guess. There were three ladies selling tools and general hardware, in the first 100 yards or so, as you enter from Youseff Hassan street. I used to buy from them quite regularly, but where have they gone, from where is their income now derived? Who knows, or should the question more rightly be, "Who cares?"

For all it seems as if more and more tourists are returning to Luxor, my friends in the tourism business aren't seeing any more cash in their pockets. In fact, one excellent English and Japanese speaking tour guide of my acquaintance tells me that he is finding less work than at this time last year! I was quite shocked by this revelation.

My beloved (whom I'm thinking of renaming "Hatshepsut", because she thinks I'm her slave and beast of burden) bought some lovely new curtains for the guest apartment livingroom. I wouldn't dare tell you how much they cost, except that they would have funded my melodeon habit for a couple of years, I'm sure! Anway, I've been tasked with taking down the old curtains and rails and providing and fitting new rails and mounting brackets. Not as straightforward and easy as you might imagine, as the concrete beam is extremely difficult to drill with my super-duper Chinese machine. I got one side done, only to realise that it had been too much for my operation region. I ended up having to get a caleche to bring me back fro the shop last night, as I just couldn't walk any further due to the pain.
Maybe this scar picture could be more than you want to see. Don't look if you're squeamish!


As you can see, there are six of them, top to bottom is abut 13 inches, and they've healed well. I thought that 9 or 10 weeks (or whatever it is now) would have been sufficient time to be able to act normally, but it transpires that I was mistaken!!!! I'm sick of it, I can tell you!

So, now I'm just about laid up again, shoving Paracetamol down my neck and getting bad-tempered. Perhaps Hatshepsut will have to get rid of me, no shirkers wanted around here! Only problem there, is that she'd be lost without me, as I would be without her; 48 years is a long time to grow together!
Goodnight all.
(I'll try to include some more pleasant piccies next time, promise!)

Here we are again, as happy as can be!

Well now, that was a long silent spell, wasn't it? Perhaps I should give my excuses along with my apologies?

We left Egypt in the March of last year (2019) with heavy hearts, as we knew, even then, that we might not get back for quite some time. My mother's physical abilities were waning with the passing of every week, and we knew that she would need more and more help to live independently. Who else could help her but her own family? The vast majority of us only ever get one mother!

Added to that were my own health problems; the four year cough being uppermost in my mind. After eventually getting to see a doctor and persuading her that it needed some proper investigation, I had another chest x-ray. Nothing untoward was seen, except that the sharp-eyed chest consultant noticed something, on the very edge of the picture, which he wasn't happy about! He referred me to someone else who, after scans of one sort and another, told me that it was "inconceivable" that the growth on my left kidney was not cancerous. That sort of announcement makes you sit up, I can tell you!

Cutting a long story short, and after at least 1000 more visits to various clinics at several hospitals, I was given a "Partial Nephrectomy" (some of my kidney chopped out) at the wonderful Freeman Hospital in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in November. (Four days after my mother's funeral, so I wasn't at my best!)

Mam had been ready to go, and was confined to bed for eight days before she finally did. Between us, we managed to be with her all the time until she slipped into unconsciousness in her own bed, and took her final breath at 11.45 at night. Our two girls were on their way to let Freda and I get some sleep when mam drifted away, and missed her by about ten minutes. Mind you, they brushed her hair and made her look presentable after the emergency nurses had been and done what they needed to do. Of course everyone was in a state of deep sadness at her dying, but we all knew it was inevitable. God blessed her in many ways in those last few days.

Back to my own problems again; I've been under four consultants at three hospitals all through the summer! Some things have been interconnected, like the four year cough and the over production of calcium which was found and retrospectively blamed for the kidney stone which I had in Aswan the year before, and possibly (if I remember correctly) for the onset of the cancer in the other kidney, too. Anyway, we've eventually managed to escape to Luxor for a few weeks in between hospital appointments, and are here now at "Our Luxor" (cleaning, as usual!!!).

Mind you, the journey here wasn't without problems either! After late boarding at London's Heathrow Terminal 2, we had to sit on the plane on the Tarmac for two hours, whilst a "technical fault" was supposedly being seen to. Eventually, we were told that a replacement part had to be sent from Cairo and that we would spend the night in the Heathrow Holiday Inn before finally departing the next day. Oh joy! It's not so bad for us (even though we had to forfeit our first night at the Winter Palace) as we are here for quite some time, but there were other passengers who only had a week in Egypt and were losing a day of their holiday. Obviously, they weren't very happy!

But it's nearing bedtime here in the Land of the Pharaohs, so I'll get back to you in the next few days with more news about our Egyptian problems, and some of the many changes here since we left. Ten months is a long time in Paradise! TTFN.


After the Goldrush?

I'm sure that many of my loyal readers (probably all 7 of you!) can remember the iconic song from the pen of Neil Young, and if you're British you'll possibly remember the version by the NE group "Prelude" even better. (The attractive female lead lived just a few doors away from our friends the Dixons, at Low Fell!)

Well, we aren't actually having a "Goldrush" here in Luxor, but tourism in general has certainly picked up, at last! It's great to see the long, long Pasha Runs of calleches winding their traffic-stalling way through the town again. Even if some of the drivers are only about 8 years old and hardly any carriages display licence plates, it's an indication of something good happening.

We have had the best month (as far as letting out the apartment goes) that we've had for ages; four lots of guests in five weeks! Mind you, it hasn't come without associated extra expense. We've had to replace both of our 50 litre water heaters, a thermostatic shower valve and now a hand basin and mixer tap are due to arrive in the next few days as well. And that's without the new decorative additions! (You can see them on the "personally guided tour" section of the Blog, by clicking on it in the column to the right on this page.) We'll obviously never get rich while my beloved keeps spending every penny we get! (Mind, she would just point to my small collection of melodeons, and I'd be forced to shut up!)  (Editor Freda's comment:- IT IS NOT SMALL!)

Meanwhile, we met up with a friend from before the revolution yesterday. We haven't seen, or heard from, her for absolutely ages, so it was a real pleasure to see her again. Funnily enough, I was trawling through the Blog's ancillary pages yesterday morning, and found that she had sent a Blog comment last summer, which I hadn't even seen. I posted it, anyway, and thought to myself, "The poor girl will have thought that I'd fallen out with her or something, for not publishing her comment." Thankfully she hadn't, and we had a wonderful couple of hours, just catching up and drinking tea at the Winter Palace.

I don't think that I told you about last week's mirage, did I? Well, it was exclusive to Our Luxor, not the sort of thing that ordinary tourists see much of!


Had the table been too close to the fountain (at the extreme right of the picture)? No, it was actually bone dry! It was the type of mirage that we expect the poor, parched and half starved explorer, or soldier to see when lost in the desert! "Water, please, give me water!!!"

Another image from our roof terrace:

I'd just vacuumed the mats and hung them over the parapet, in order to vacuum and wash the floor tiles, when I saw this cheeky little monkey gathering soft furnishing for his/her nest. "Only the best camel hair!" I can just hear the conversation between him/her and their neighbour!!
Not on my watch, matey! Shoo!

If you're really unfortunate, Dear Reader, I might post another short Blog in the near future! But for the moment, au revoir.


Clearing up the collapsed building.

Well, in the tragedy of the four storey building collapse, over the road to us, it seems that a very unlucky German tourist was killed, and two little Egyptian girls from the same family also lost their lives. I haven't been able to ascertain the progress, or otherwise, of the other 13 casualties. Let's all hope and pray for their eventual full recovery.

The clearing up operations have been fascinating to watch, especially the skill of the plant operator who was driving the 360 degree machine with the big toothed shovel on the end of its extending arm. He was magic! I took a load of videos of his work, but I'll just show you a few short clips, to try to impress upon you his ingenuity and skill.


To increase the reach of his machine, he built up an operating platform from the rubble, and then either drove the wheeled machine onto it, or dug the bucket into the rubble and used it to pull the machine up to the higher level. It was great to watch.


Please forgive me for the chuckling on this next one, but I was astonished that the people were still in the houses next door, seeing as the machine was knocking stuff down within an inch of their single-leaf mud-brick walls. It struck me as resembling a Harold Lloyd or Oliver and Hardy movie; if only the little fellah in my video had scratched his head, it would have finished the scene off perfectly!


It has almost all gone now, so much so that it has become a carpark and a new place to dump rubbish, what a surprise!

But, as we all know by now, every cloud has a silver lining! The other day, I noticed four men (well dressed!) nosing about in the main street, and then they came into our little cul-de-sac, they had folders in their hands, the equivalent of clip-boards at home!!! Within a minute or so, they were accosted by our neighbours, of course. It transpires that they were "on the hunt" for mud-brick buildings in poor condition. Old Mr (Uncle Bagheeri) Mohamed's building, next door to ours, is such a building. They told Adam (coffee-shop Adam) that it will be knocked down after 10 days! I'm so pleased that old Bagheeri is no longer alive to see it, it would have broken his heart. Perhaps this new initiative will save some lives in the long run, but where are the displaced residents going to go in the meantime? That's the burning question of the day here in La La Luxor Land!

I'll keep you in the picture, Dear Reader, you know you can always rely on your roving Luxor reporter for the truth!

TTFN.

Shocking Catastrophe in Luxor Last Night!

Hello, this is your (mostly absent) roving reporter from Luxor here. I just thought that you may be interested to hear about last night's main news item here in Luxor.

I don't know just how many of you took any notice of the building opposite our's, over the school yard. It was a very old, mudbrick, building of 4 storeys, with a tilted summer house type of structure on the roof and a fancy design to the front-facing wall top, which all looked quite quaint. Well, it's not there any more, none of it!

I used to have some good pictures of it, as I found it a very interesting doorway into the past history of our area. But I fear they may be lost forever, as they're stuck in a laptop which I cannot get to turn on any more! I found only one photo' with it in, which was taken from on top of our roof when it was being altered, and it's not very good, but will have to do.


At about 6 o'clock, we hadn't been very long back from meeting with two very good friends at the Nile Palace for tea and chat, followed by a bout of shopping, when I heard a roar like thunder, lasting about 4 seconds, very loud! Almost instinctively, I ran outside to be met with a towering wall of choking, impenetrable dust. It was obvious what had happened, but all was lost in the acrid cloud. As it slowly started to clear, we could see people out on the balconies opposite, the building adjoining the old collapsed one. They were screaming with shock and fear for their own building collapsing with them in it. It was truly awful! Of course, their building, although joined to the old one, was made of the more modern type of construction, with a reinforced concrete frame and they were actually safe, thank heaven.

At first (as I was sure that the building was more or less abandoned apart from the ground floor which contained an engineers workshop, with lathes and other machines) I was not overly afraid of a massive loss of life, but then I realised that in the narrow streets around it , there could have been (and probably were) pedestrians etc who would have been crushed by the brickwork filling the street adjacent to the, now disappeared, old building.

As the thick wall of dust became able to be seen through, the scale of the devastation was apparent. Men were clambering over the rubble, picking up anything they could shift in an attempt to reach anyone who could possibly be trapped beneath the debris. Panic and confusion reigned!

Nothing changed in this scene of horror for quite a while, even when the police and fire brigade arrived it looked as if no-one could gain any sort of control over what was happening. I eventually ventured out, to get some bread and a length of curtain pole, and passed at least 25 ambulances waiting on Yuseff Hassan Street; all was still in a state of confusion, with the added complication of half of Luxor's population crammed into the small area to see the disaster unfolding.

I spoke to many of our neighbours and acquaintances as I picked my way through the crowd. One, made the point that the hated former Governor of  Luxor, Samir Farag, had been right after all, when he commanded that so many of the old mud-brick houses should all be pulled down!

I had the camera out on our roof terrace, but it was black dark, and none of the video or pictures were worth looking at. However, I took these two this morning, just to give you an idea of what occurred. The emergency services were there until maybe 3am with heavy machines, clearing the streets.



Four storeys collapsed into a pile of mud-brick and old timber in a matter of seconds, and with apparent loss of life and serious injury. What a sad return to Luxor for us, and an extremely sad beginning of 2019 for many Luxor natives!

I'll see you again, goodbye.




Just a little catch-up and a few new pics.

If I was your father, Dear Reader, I'd be getting locked up for neglect, and I know I've been very remiss in my lack of communication. I'm sorry!

But here we are, still struggling on in this abandoned African/Middle Eastern backwater. Still enjoying the strangeness of it all, even after more than 20 years! I'm amazed that we're still coming across new things.

We've have had a few guests staying, and I think they've all had a good time. But we had one quite unwelcome guest, he was under one of the roof terrace carpets when I took it up. I've never seen anything like it! Hands like Edward Scissor-Hands, just look..........

He was dead, of course!
Do we have an entomologist reader, perhaps, who can tell us what the little beastie was? He was about 2 inches (5 centimetres) long.

Since the last Blog, we've had a weekend at the Old Cataract in Aswan, this has to be one of my favourite hotels. In fact, it probably is my favourite. We had a suite in the old building, again. It was beautiful, as usual. It was so relaxing and welcoming that we never left the premises in the four days we were there! Idle, or what? I took a few more pics, as if you haven't seen enough in other posts, hehe! This was our room, this time, on the 2nd floor;



It's a joy to have breakfast on the famous Victorian Terrace each morning, with plenty of choice but no bacon, of course, this being Egypt and the hotel run by Muslims. We spent an inordinate amount of time just people watching, as is our wont. Our favourite seats are just to the left of the central pillar in this next pic;


The two doors on the left lead on to the Terrace, and are opposite the main hallway leading to the main entrance. Beyond our seats is the bar and exits onto the other terraces, where residents can enjoy snacks and drinks from the bar. It's all soooo civilised!

We travelled up to Aswan on the VIP train, it was only about an hour late. When we were about an hour from Aswan, I started to get a pain in my side, it got worse and worse. It was so obvious that the concierge at the Cataract wanted to get a doctor for me straight away, but I told him that I'd be fine after a rest, and I was. But not for long, honestly, I didn't know where to put myself, and was yelling at Freda to find a doctor. Dr Phillips arrived and quickly diagnosed a kidney stone, I was shocked. Anyway, an injection and a couple of tablets later, I was fine, except for a large hole in my wallet!

On returning to Luxor, I went to see Dr Al Mallach, the surgeon on the 2nd floor, who just happens to be a urologist too. How handy could you get? After jumping the queue, he gave me the ultrasound thingy and showed me a 10 mm stone in my right side kidney. He reckoned that the train vibrations would have started the pain. Anyway, to cut a long story short, he prescribed some tablets and some fizzy stuff, and it dissolved in about a week.

As a punishment for being ill, I've been given a series of tasks to complete, like finishing off the fountain on our roof terrace, what do you think of it now?


Note the not-so-subtle Christian cross? But notice, too, the shadow of the crescent moon and cross combination from the pinnacle of the roof. (After all, we are in a Muslim country!)

While we were away, our alley has been dug up and resurfaced with concrete blocks. Quite a difference from the dust you can see here in this picture of our good (but now sadly deceased) friend Mr Mohamed;



And then, Dr Ashraf, the dentist on the 2nd floor has moved his sign on the corner of the alley, which meant that the street sign had also to be shifted. Here it is, with the arrow pointing at it and another closer up.





We've also had some workmen in to do the jobs that I'm getting too infirm to do myself, or because they're competent specialists, like the A/C men, Mr Mina and his mate, Mr Mina. They've serviced the two big A/C units downstairs in the guest apartment, and I taped the windows up in the guest bedroom to stop the dust coming in through the gaps while they were blowing it out of the machine;


They are my new lightweight aluminium high steps on the right, I love them after spending years humping the old wooden ones about, such a relief! We also had our two small A/C units serviced upstairs in our little hovel, one had to have a new motor. Horror of horrors, more expense!

We aren't finished there though! We've also had the excellent, but expensive, Mr Muharib the painter back again. This chap was introduced to us by our great friends who have an apartment at the Egyptian (Non) Experience Resort just to the South of Luxor Bridge. He's a great find; tidy, almost punctual and does a good job, (and one which I hate with a venom!). This time, he's been varnishing the Our Luxor front doors and the Arabesque work in the apartment. It looks good, but the stink is truly awful! I hope it's gone before our final guests of the year arrive. (You'd expect 2 weeks to be long enough, eh?)

Well, I think it's probably time for bed now, if I drink any more tea, I'll burst!
Nighty night.

Whitby Folk Week

At last, something that I find interesting enough to share with you, Dear Reader!

Yes chums, we're here in Whitby, at the best looking lodgings we could afford (Bagdale Hall Hotel) and which had room availability. It's really quite nice, although a touch on the warm side in our room.

I wanted to come to this week of folk music, and dance etc., primarily to attend some workshops (a series of learning events) for the  two row D/G melodeon led by the inestimable Mr Steve Dumpleton. He's a great player, if you ever get the opportunity to listen to him. You can catch him here:

https://soundcloud.com/steve_freereeder/pavane-mille-regretz-tielman-susato-1551 )

Anyway, I attended the first of of his three sessions this morning, and really enjoyed it; we'll see what the morrow bringeth. Afterwards, I met with Freda, and we had a bite to eat before I tripped off to my next venue. It was an old (had been) church and was advertised as a "Presentation", by someone I'd never heard of and the Wilsons, a family of singers from Teesside whom I've seen many times at our local folk club; they're marvellous! The place was lovely, with a large gallery (closed) and chairs where the pews used to be. Along the sides, against the walls, were sofas and other comfy seats, obviously I grabbed one! The great pity was that the "Presentation" was this old bloke (Taffy someone or other) rambling on, and interspersed with the Wilson's singing and another chap playing the fiddle. They were very good, but the old chap didn't project his voice at all, and I just couldn't make out what he was on about! (That's the reason I said he was "rambling on"; I'd no idea what he was saying.) I left, and didn't get a refund!

Freda and I met up again and I bemoaned the fact that I hadn't gone to see Jim Mageehan and others singing sea shanties and the like, instead. We live and learn!

We sat around by the Bandstand, right next to the river, until the dancers came on. They were super-duper. I took a few little videos for your delectation:









That part of the town is overrun with eateries. I noticed one that must have been very popular, judging by the queue:


As we wondered back to the hotel, I saw something which tugged at my heart; we're missing Egypt! It's been a long summer. And it also made me think of the wonderful stick dancing which we have in our little square, back in Luxor, during the Moulid. Not really comparable, but equally fascinating to watch!


Talking of Luxor, I've just remember that I've got that video which one of our guests made! It's too long to put on here, but here's a link to it, if you're not video'd out!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzULcGa5xJI

Bye for now.

Our Luxor visits Marrakech.........yet again!

Yes, as you'll no doubt recall, we love the Arab style architecture, and it abounds in many of the places we visit and revisit. Marrakech is no exception!
This time, we're staying in a riad owned and managed by an English gentleman called Gary. It's delightful! He and his partner have spent a lot of time (and, I suspect, a considerable fortune) on converting the place from a family home to a guesthouse/B&B establishment.
The style is obviously very traditional whilst everywhere we look we see "newness". New doors, frames and windows, new modern-standards wiring and plumbing, new tadelakt walls and intricately carved plasterwork, along with the fabulous detail in the painted woodwork it all adds up to an exquisite example of just what can be accomplished with a good eye and the wherewithal to find and enthuse enough skilled craftsmen to carry out your dream. It's beautiful!






 

We're only here for 4 nights and our hectic programme includes much strolling about the souks and from the Jemma-El-Fna and the surrounding eateries, as you can imagine!
Of course, it wouldn't be a holiday without shopping! And we like to come across bargains to make use of in our own exquisite holiday apartment; the famed Our Luxor. We've managed a couple of items so far, and have high hopes of making another purchase today before we head off back to Blighty. I couldn't possibly tell you what these are though, loose lips sink ships, you know?

Our eating has been confined to (mainly) the Chez Bahia restaurant, just off the square, where we have thoroughly enjoyed tagines and couscous etc,



and the Seven Saints restaurant, actually on the square, where our main delights have been tea and tartes citron, or hot chocolate and eclairs.




We've used both of these establishments previously, and are remembered and looked after by the staff, which (along with the delicious food) is the main draw. I'm perfectly sure that the many other restaurants scattered around the square are also quite adequate with equally friendly staff, but we've been patrons of these two for 6 years now, and feel very comfortable there watching the world and his wife go by whilst enjoying our grub.