Monday, 5 October 2009

Refreshing the parts that other beers cannot....

BELOW: "Snowy"...a "desert dog" puppy which attached itself to the pack of "Stella", the grey desert dog, and "Ed" a European mongrel...part ridgeback, part chestnut lion, only kidding! All of them are/were rescue dogs from the Hurghadan streets. We brought the dogs with us. We flew them to Holland...then drove them to kennels in Moissac, France, where they were chipped and quarantined for six months. Then we drove them back through the tunnel up North. Sadly only "Ed" is still with us. Desert dogs are essentially wild dogs with a short lifespan....but "Ed" more than makes up for the loss of the other two. We are almost tempted to clone him. He's laidback and adorable!

Above: Some guests getting ready for a day dive. Below: Hurghada and the Straights of Gubal dive maps (also showing some famous wrecks e.g. the world famous Thistlegorm, Dunraven, Rosalie Moller...) Below below: Map of Egypt showing the location of Hurghada.

I feel that I have to go back a bit in time. I've been doing this blog for almost 18 months now. (Crikey...never expected to be doing it this long. I've enjoyed every minute!)

So I'll refresh my own memory (and perhaps yours?) to begin the story of how we moved to Hadrian's Wall Country from Hurghada, Red Sea, Egypt.

Back in 1999 I'd somehow found myself staring out of the 49th floor of Canary Wharf....thinking (yet again) that I'd like to see more of the world out there.

Little did I know that resolving to learn to scuba dive in 2000 through a BSAC (British Sub-Aqua Club) in Islington would mean that my life would change so profoundly. (The club is about to celebrate its 40th anniversary and Mr.H. was one of its star players. We are going to its ruby party soon.)

I wrote a post about how I met the marvellous Mr.H. here. (Above and below: just some of our wonderful diving staff at the original Easy Divers' Dive Centre at The Three Corners Hotel, Hurghada...)

So in late Summer 2000 I said "goodbye" to Canary Wharf, the City and "hello" to Hurghada, Red Sea, Egypt.

We spent three very happy years out there. (Mr.H. had been out in Egypt at least 10 years before I met him. He'd had secure jobs in London especially one at the Barbican. He had been very involved in the birth and early life of the Barbican. By 1990 due to a difference of opinion with a new breed of managers arriving he ended up being suspended on full pay for two years. He, therefore, continued his UK diving teaching and diving in Egypt! This culminated in working with a Dutch tour operator and the setting up of a series of diving schools in Hurghada, Safaga and El Gouna.)
Above: One of the day diving boats, which we often used, called "Princess Hend".

To move the diving equipment around we used jeeps and pickups galore. This white jeep (photo above) was my husband's old (long wheel base) Toyota Land Cruiser jeep. It's seen here outside the apartments where we used to live...the Easy Divers' Staff House at Mr. Lotfi's...

We had a lovely time in Egypt. We had (and still have) fantastic staff, European and Egyptian, working with us. I'm sure I'll be writing more posts about our time out there sans enfants. ("Without children"...Dare I say that? We do love 'em to pieces but it was good to be a couple before our two gorgeous nippers appeared on the scene.)

I even learnt a bit of Arabic both spoken and written. (Mr.H. speaks "docklands" Egyptian Arabic.) We had time to go up to Cairo often and over to Luxor. There were frequent trips into the desert. Safari week diving trips, restaurants, cafes, name it, we did most of it. The one place I never made it to was - Sharm el Sheikh - I still hope to get out there. Mr.H. always preferred the Egyptian authenticity of Hurghada. It was initially a small fishing village and now is a major resort...always getting bigger every time we go back. (It has its own airport.)

We still retain a very small interest in the dive centre. It is now based at the Hilton Plaza Resort in Hurghada. We must definitely take the children there sometime soon....splish! splash!


Dumdad said...

I was also a Canary Wharfer - with The Daily Telegraph (they have since moved). I left the tower block forever in 1992.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Sooo interesting HT! Glad you've had your scan and that the summer has been wonderful for you at the villa - Hope there's more to come! Have you heard about your scan findings yet, my pet?

My best to you, Fhi xxx

Mark said...

So how from there to Hadrian's wall?

Super photos; I envy your courage in going there to live, even for a few years.

Dan said...

Suspended on full pay for two years!?

Wow! How can I get that to happen to me?

French Fancy said...

I think you must be feeling a bit better Hade because this is a very upbeat post (not that you were moaning, not at all, but I'm good at reading between lines).

How great that you got away from banking and Docklands - first to Egypt and now to the country.

As for the Barbican, I used to go there in its early days. I was working in the Human Resources dept at Gordon's Gin down at the Angel and it was a very easy drive to go there after work. I'd sometimes go and have my early supper there and catch a show - just on the spur of the moment.

Ah, salad days for us both - me doing what I love best (going to the theatre) and you - diving in Paradise.

Love the puppy desert dog.

Lindsay said...

Very interesting post. More to come I hope?

the fly in the web said...

Great that you brought the dogs out with you...well, apart from the blasted quarantine nonsense. I bet you never looked back with regret to Canary Wharf, though. Before the 'regeneration' the area used to a one of our haunts when I was a student, with some nice pubs...I think I remember 'The Gun'.
What sent you from Egypt's burning climes to the Wall?

Sandi McBride said...

What an exciting life you lead. I'm envious! I love Ed...he reminds me of our Mindylou, she of cat fame (she had seeing eye cats, as she was blind). We lost our Mindy Thursday past...wish I had cloned her, too.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

How can Egypt possibly compare with beautiful Northumbria?...Or perhaps you dreamed it all.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Hi everyone, sorry for the late's been hectic lately. Today for instance we went to the St. Jude Church at Knarsdale to see our daughter in the Harvest Festival beside the Kirkstyle Inn. The views were breathtaking. And then onto the Boatside Inn down beside Hexham to see some friends of the family.

DD: Yes..."tower block" is the right way to refer to it. The word "forever" also resonates!

AWoNI: Hello there. Won't get to know the scan findings for months. The consultant is doing the job of two so I'll keep ringing up and pestering them to find out.

Mark: It wasn't really a question of courage. It was more difficult doing the daily commute and pretend that I was enjoying my job. I'd joined one bank which merged with another and I was being sidelined into a job I didn't want. Egypt was fabulous. I learned so much. I'm also glad that I got to experience life in a Muslim country (one of the most tolerant admittedly). Plus the love of my life was there so I didn't need much encouragement!

Dan: Yes...suspended on pay for two years. We could all do with a bit of that. I managed to get one month's gardening leave but Mr.H. can be a jammy so and so at times...

FF: Salad days indeed. I enjoyed the diving but I could never do it was not totally within my comfort zone whereas Mr.H. was teaching diving on his 8th dive. He is so comfortable doing it he easily resembles a fish.

Snowy (as from "Tintin") attached herself to us when I was out walking the dogs one day. She took one look at me and thought that I resembled dog food tins on legs. She was sharp that dog...whereas Ed, bless him, will be the last one doing the Times crossword.

Lindsay: I know I have a scatterbrained approach to my posts but I hope to get it all out in the end...

Fly: A baby in my tummy is what transported me back from burning Egypt to sizzling Northumberland (at least it was in 2003).

Sandi: So sorry to hear about Mindy. Huge sympathy and commiserations. Will be over to yours shortly. :)

Life is a dream, YP, life is a dream. La vida es sueno. For sure.

Suburbia said...

Adorable Snowy :)

Thanks for all your supportive comments at mine. Thinking of you


Lynne said...

Very intersting. I look forward to some more.
Hope you're doing well.
Happy Weekend.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Suburbia, Snowy was adorable and not adorable in equal measure. Once she grew up she was fantastic inside the house...very loving and great with our daughter. Outside she was a nightmare. She was a highly intelligent dog but very insecure and highly strung. She used to bark at every single dog we went past and want to get into a fight!

Thank you for your best wishes. Hope all is going well for you.

Thank you, Lynne, and a happy weekend to you! :)