Dad’s Coffee Cups in Cairo

In the Cairo bazaar Dad watched an Armenian man making coffee cups.

He worked on a wooden lathe that his father had hand-made, he said. He was spinning silver – thin sheets of silver – a wheel presses the silver onto a wooden cup-shaped form as it rotates.

wooden lathe_2.jpg
I’ll check with the ole man what the lathe looked like – maybe like this?

He imported porcelain inserts or inlays from Czechoslovakia and added them to his silver coffee cups for his signature look.

Dad bought two from him, and paid him 5 Egyptian pounds (“worth way less than English pounds” he says).**

That was back in 1943. Nowadays Saad of Egypt are Cairo’s best-known silversmiths. Saad was born in 1939. He says he still forges his own silver “in the tradition of Zorayan the Armenian, which his children unfortunately discontinued”. You won’t watch his skilled craftsmen spinning silver on a wooden lathe, though. He regards them as a rare commodity and takes precautions against losing them, concealing them, as he explains, “in our workshop away from the Khan, in the (Cairene) district of Ghamra. After all, a competitor could come in and lure them away”.

Saad’s advice on the best way to polish silver is a combination of “soap, warm water and a toothbrush — forget all the polishes promoted on the market; they just aim at making money…”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

So where does this story come from? It started on LindiLou’s rose farm this weekend. She had her big annual Tarr Roses Open Day, selling roses and teas and all sorts on the farm, but especially roses.

Tarr Roses Open Day2.jpg
A previous Tarr Roses Open Day

An old Harrismith friend was there and Dad remembered selling her mother his Egyptian (Armenian) coffee cups! This brought back memories of buying them in a market in Cairo 74 years ago!

Now he wants to buy them back from her!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

**The official rate at the time though, was £1 = E£0.975 (‘from 1885 to 1949’ according to my source) so maybe Dad got a special soldier’s price?

The internet picture says ‘Turkish Greek Coffee Cups – Porcelain Cups with Tray and Saucers – Vintage Tulip Design Ottoman Arabic Gift Set, Silver’. Close? I dunno – we’ll see if and when Dad gets ‘his’ 1943 cups back! I’ll photograph them and put up the pic.

 

 

 

Bass Straits and Dire Straits

Early Sunday morning I roust the lil bastids. C’mon, Up! Let’s go. Off to Inanda Dam where they’re going to slay the bass. Tom, Jose & Ryan. 45yrs of trouble on six legs and, according to them, fishermen of note.

We hire two canoes from Msinsi and off they go. “See you in about two hours, Dad!” shouts Tom as they wobble off.

Inanda Dam fishing (12).jpg

I chill and watch the terrific birdlife. Wrynecks, woodpeckers, waxbills, prinias, canaries, sunbirds, geese, a fish eagle, herons, neddicky, bush shrikes, etc.

Six hours later a weary and sunburnt crew return. They had flattened the eats and drinks I packed and it’s lucky I did: No fish were harmed in the filming of this movie (none were even disturbed).

Lugging the boats back to the boathouse (with much help from Dad) they unanimously decide they would not be doing the Dusi anytime soon.

Inanda Dam fishing (16)

Dusi – The Dusi Canoe Marathon, 120km 3-day river race from Maritzburg to Durban passes by this point on the Umgeni river.

 

Tommy Burgers

Jess has gone ice skating with friends. Tom says “I’ll cook Dad”. Suits me.

“Come and get it!” he shouts after a spell of loud gangsta rap music blasting out from the kitchen.

“Tommy Burgers!” yum

Tommy Burgers.jpg

 

Mfolosi Aerial Dogfight

It looked like a standoff. At a small pool of water in the dry sandy riverbed of the Black Mfolosi river a male Bataleur and a Tawny Eagle contested the scarce resource. Both stood on the sand at the water’s edge and hunched their shoulders at each other.

I watched a while then scanned all around. Suddenly I heard a cry above me. Two birds circled each other in the air just above our vantage point on a bluff overlooking the river. I looked back at the waterhole. They were gone, this must be them. It was. The eagle was dive-bombing the Bataleur shouting a hoarse kraak kraak. The Bataleur screamed defiantly, dodging the move.

The eagle circled to gain height and folded its wings and took aim again, the agile Bataleur dodging with a sideways roll.

The Bataleur then landed in a tall dead tree while the eagle was climbing again. Soon the Tawny was on his way down again, zooming straight at him and knocking him off his perch. They banked and circled and strained to gain height again, the Bataleur’s wingflaps surprisingly noisy. Once again the Tawny won the climb and launched a dive.

The Bataleur folded his wings and flew away low over the tree tops away from the river.

The Tawny landed back at the pool where it all started, victorious.

High above a white-backed vulture and a Yellow-billed Kite, witnesses to the dogfight, still circled in the thermals.


Wow!! Who needs a lion kill?

Oh, Jessica. Yes, dear. I didn’t realise how long we’d been here. We’ll drive now and look for lions, honey.

pics from https://willemkruger.wordpress.com/ and birdguides.com – thank you!

Grave Problem, DIY Solution

The ole man is thinking burial sites. He has found out it costs around R11 000 to be cremated and he thinks that’s an awful waste of money. Someone also told him you can bury yourself anywhere. Especially in your own backyard, “There’s nothing to stop you”. As a mad-keen DIY guy, he thinks that’s a helluva good idea.

I said “Maybe, but the hard bit will be reaching up and shovelling the soil on top of yourself”.

“YOU can do that” he says.

I said “I don’t think I’d be allowed to. Maybe your friends meant literally YOU can bury yourself in your backyard, but maybe it would be illegal for ME to do it?”

“Oh” – That’s got his active 94yr-old brain thinking. He’s plotting something, you can be sure.

Stan the Staffie

Our first dog TC was the product of a romantic liaison – a match made in heaven. Staffordshire Terrier Stan Hill jumped Jack Russel Terrier Mouse Hill and she produced a litter. Dave and Goldie’s Sir Stanley Staffordshire of Melrose Farm in Mid-Illovo was a semi-handsome, tuxedo-clad, almost-pedigree Staffie who’d lost his papers but we were assured he was in the country legitimately.

tc-from-melrose-farm.jpg

The Hills once took Stan on holiday to hoity-toity Plettenberg Bay where they met people with a very stressful holiday job: To look after a fine pedigree Afghan bitch on heat. Big responsibility to keep it away from all lesser dogs and avoid an unwanted pregnancy.

afghan Plett

Well, good luck with that with Stan the Man around. When they looked again, there was Stan on the beach, publicly locked in holy matrimony with the long-haired beauty. Something like this (Staffies are known more for their enthusiasm than their class):

Staffies_R_Gross

A legend in his own lunchtime was Stan.


Now read just how faulty memory can be! Here’s the details from someone who was there: Stan’s owner, Dave hill:

nice
It was actually at Mbotyi on the Wild Coast and the femme fatale was a nubile young Spaniel sent there with the owners’ mother because she was on heat!
Bad idea!
Stan left our cottage after supper every evening only coming home late late late.
One morning we couldn’t find him………..so we went a-searching.
Lo and behold! right on the main beach, in front of quite a crowd was young Stan the Man in flagrante delicto with this young virgin Spaniel.
In flagrante delicto in dogs, as you know, means dog-knotted.
When Stan saw us he belted up the beach with the damsel stuck fast around his underbelly!
My solution of course was to pick em up hurl them into the water which caused great mirth and unknotted them.
We often wonder about that liaison and the end result . . . . .
Kind regards,
Dave

 

Last Maputaland Beach Drive

No more driving on the beach!

Our Environment Minister Valli Moosa had at last grasped the nettle and was closing the beaches to hooligans! We approved and time and research has shown it was the right decision. It has had a positive impact on the ecology of the coastal zone, with a recovery of resident reef fish species.

Regulations for the control of use of vehicles in the coastal zone

(Government Notice 1399 of 21 December 2001) published in

terms of section 44 National Environmental Management Act (No. 107 of 1998).

Bruce Soutar was quick to spot the opportunity for a Last Drive before the regulations came in to force, so he gathered a bunch of people to both celebrate and mourn the closure.
Beach Drive (1).jpg

Beach drive-001

We had the Soutar kombi, Kemp Jeep, Gail Pajero, Duncan __ and Swanie Ford and one other –?