Saturday, July 25, 2009

It Was Hot!

My family and I enjoyed temperatures in the low to mid 40's C the entire two weeks we were in Port Ghalib, near Marsa Alam in Egypt. We had a fantastic time!! As in our other visits to Egypt, we found it to be a very welcoming place. There wasn't one single incident where we weren't felt welcome. We felt safe too. I even made a trip into Port Ghalib by myself a couple of times and didn't feel the slightest bit worried or hassled. If you know us at all, you will not be surprised to learn that we spent 10 out of the 14 days diving. Some days the sea was like a mirror.

Weather the sea was calm or had a little swell to it, the visibility under the water was always good. Some days, the water was like gin and we could see for over 30 meters, other days it was slightly cloudy. I must say that even on the worst day, the visibility was still at about +15 meters, which by UK standards is pretty fantastic.Here we are - I know that the Man of the Place looks a bit like he's sinking or trying to pull us down. Really he is a fantastic diver and is v. graceful under the water.

The hotel was wonderful! We stayed in the Marina Lodge formerly Coral Beach. The dive company we used, Emperor Divers (and have used in the past) have a centre on the ground floor of the hotel.
The rooms were lovely! The rooms were spotless and bordering on luxurious! On top of that, everything worked!The days we didn't spend diving, we lounged by the pools, and met up with new friends for drinks.

I got to wear my new hat! Me and Jean Luc and his delightful wife Sylvie. Jean Luc and I were dive buddies for almost a week. Our dive styles suited each other as we are interested in the small fish, nudibranch and other small things that are found in coral reefs. Mocktails at Pizza Hut - I cannot remember the name of the blue drink, but it was cold and refreshing.Mojitos (doubles) and beers at TGI FridaysWe also took advantage of the free WiFi to check who Sunderland has signed for the upcoming season.Henry was concerned that Peter Crouch was going to be signed.

I know that he is under age. We were unsure of the alcohol laws in this very relaxed and friendly country so we assumed, as did the waiters that George is allowed the occasional cold one in the company of his parents. Coming up . . . . Mum is a fish nerd, karaoke and sharks!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Tropic of Cancer

We're off on our annual family holiday. You can be certain that it will include lots of diving.
We will be very close to the Tropic of Cancer -

This one:

Not this one:

With regard to Mr Miller's book. I am ashamed to say that I've never read it. I checked out a copy from the local library and am taking it with me to read during the non-diving days.

I discovered that WiFi connections are the equivalent of 10 Euros an hour - so forget that! I'm not taking the laptop. I may post while I'm away if there is a convenient internet cafe.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Annan Riding of the Marches

During the first Saturday in July, in conjunction with the Riding of the Marches, or Annan Common Riding there is a pipe band competition with a parade at the end. Pipe (bagpipe) and drum bands the world over come to the small town of Annan to take part in this competition. The benefit to us is that we get to see a very high standard of marching when we attend the parade.

The Marches or boundaries of Annan have been ridden since the town was created a Royal Burgh more than 600 years ago. Each year in early July more than one hundred horsemen and horsewomen Ride the Marches to ensure that the landmarks, cairns and other features have not been removed or tampered with and all is safe

The past several years we have missed this parade as we have already departed for our annual summer holiday. This year, due to scheduling, we're not leaving on our holiday until the 8th of July and we were able to travel into Annan to see the pipes. Although I can ride, I haven't ridden in years and I don't have a horse. I would love to go out with the riders one year. It looks like great fun! The High Street (main street) is blocked to traffic for a couple of hours. It seems that the regulations for drinking in public is relaxed as well.

The pavements get crowded with spectators and competitors. There are lots of kilts around. Competitors are getting ready for the first march down the street.
The riders!

We had a good spot near the beginning of the parade. We were just in front of the Annan branch of our bank and across the road from Mr Graham's where George has always gets his hair cut. We've had an exceptionally warm and sunny week but the luck didn't hold out until Saturday. Saturday was overcast with occasional showers. Thankfully there was no wind with the rain and the showers that came during the parade were light and warm.

There are pipers of all ages, sizes and from all walks of life.

The second group of pipers - playing Scotland the Brave - I love to see them getting into step at the beginning of the video clip.

The third group of pipe bands - neighbour girl Laura's head in the bottom of the frame.

Even with a small amount of rain everybody had a great time. Pipe bands make such a stirring sound. I love that I live in a place where I can catch a bit of it from time to time.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Successes and Confessions

It's about 30 C here today! For those of us who live year round in our jeans and fleeces, this is HOT! We've dug the shorts and t-shirts from the bottom of the dresser drawer. Usually when it is this hot, we've spent a small fortune and we're in the Greek islands or some other lovely vacation spot. I just love it! I'm glad I'm here to water things!

Here are a few successes so far:

Lettuce! Isn't it beautiful?! We've got about twelve or more of these still to pick. I wish they were ready to pick in stages instead of all at once. My neighbours will get a few of these.Here it the lettuce again, this time with the cucumbers! The cukes are lovely with no hint of bitterness! There are about four on the vines that could be picked any time now.The potatoes (the ones that managed to come up that is) are exploding with vigor. (note that they have been weeded!)Cabbages are doing well too. I think I will cover them now with agricultural fleece before the cabbage white butterflies start laying their eggs on them and they are reduced to skeletons!

Then there is the untimely death of one of the tomato plants. It wasn't looking very clever and now it is gone. I may have over-watered it.

Confessions: I know I can be quite selective about what is shown on the blog. Who can blame me for framing a photo so that all the work yet to be done is out of shot. If I do that too often, people start to form the opinion that I am actually an industrious person. HA!The area between the two greenhouses - full of weeds and perennial plants in pots that should have been put into the herbaceous borders last year!The larger greenhouse is used a lot in the spring to grow on seedlings - but by July - it is a glorififed parcel delivery site with a grape vine taking over.

The weedy side of the house that nobody sees: Complete with punctured ball for tormenting the dog.

The front of the house doesn't look too bad. . .. .just a few weeds in the gravel . . . .but if you take a look around the corner . .. . This is where the patio is supposed to get put down. I've been waiting about three years for this.So, I can still call myself a lazy gardener! There is plenty of work to be done!