I have mentioned Cecil’s bar in Port Said Egypt in one or two I of my stories before this one.
In the other tales the bar was mentioned peripherally as somewhere that expats could go for an alfresco beer in the evening.
It was a place to relax, yet experience the vibrant street life that is Port Said on a busy shopping street.
Cecil had a fenced off area where customers could sit to avoid being tormented by shop owners, seemingly desperate to sell their genuine Egyptian ‘knockoff’ papyrus and carvings to tourists she you or oil workers like us.
This exclusion zone was very, very important when it came to the protection of Cecil’s clientele.
In July 1989 the diving company A, asked me to take a diving team to the Red Sea, for a civil engineering job.
I readily agreed, because a new environment would break up those excruciatingly long 110 day trips.
My day rate was increased by $50.00 as I would be supervising the job.
There was a lot of paperwork, identity passes, Saudi driver’s licenses and letters of permission to travel within the kingdom, all in Arabic with photos attached, to be applied for and secured before we could go anywhere. Those bureaucratic formalities took several weeks, but eventually the team was ready to go.
In any worldview, printing has to be second only to the creation of writing in the top ten of humanities pivotal cultural milestones.
Can we possibly imagine a world without printing? Even in this day of instant media, e books, i pads and smart phones, could our culture have developed to the point where these innovations would have been possible without books? I doubt it; certainly our World would be a very different place without the printed word.
Jims Theory on the Evolution and Development of Homo
I will write this as if I am speaking directly to you. Of
course, this gives me the writer, the advantage over you, the reader (listener)
because I can just keep talking without interruption on contentious points, of
which there will be a few (many) I can only leave you the option to stop
reading or listening.
It was like a kick in the stomach when
I received a BBC alert on my phone last year in April, telling of the fire at
Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
The Great Rose
I felt physically sick watching the
news reports as the spire collapsed and the fire consumed those ancient timbers
and who knows how much irreplaceable artwork. The drone shot of the entire
cathedral roofless and blazing from end to end filled me with despair. I
thought it was a total loss.
From the age of five until I realized that I was never going to be a professional player (Around the age of 40), I was obsessed with football, and when that realization dawned upon me, I became an enthusiastic participant until I was too old to play anymore. Now I am just a huge fan!
The other day, I heard the song ‘Only a Rose’, sung by the Swedish tenor Jussi Bjorling and while I listened, I was transported backwards in time to the early 1970’s, when my mother and I would listen to ‘Your Choice and Mine’, a weekly half hour Opera show on RTE radio, presented by the incomparable Tommy O’Brien.
The closer we get to a no-deal Brexit, with its implicit threat of a border, either hard, around the six counties of Northern Ireland, or wet down the Irish Sea, the more my dock running PTSD affects me.
Hard or wet, the imposition of a border between Ireland and Britain, means the re-imposition of customs formalities, hence my Post Traumatic Stress Disorderdness..
In 1976 I was 19 and working as a customs clearance clerk for a shipping company in the port.
Mostly my job was writing customs entries in the office, bringing them to the various landing stations around the docks, and picking up clearance slips.
For the first eight months working there I had had a company supplied Honda 50 which was fantastic (once I learnt how to change gear) because my girlfriend lived in Churchtown which was a two hour walk (once I learned that there was another shorter way than the bus route) from where I lived.
Having transport in those days was important because buses were notoriously unreliable, and taxis out of the question.