Lottie and me made it safely back to 1930 and managed to get our heads down for a few hours before the roll and pitch of the ship pulling into Port Said woke us from our slumbers.
As you know Lucy, I’m no stranger to Egypt having journeyed here once before on a mission for Maureen during the great ‘pitted date’ crisis of 2018. Ergo, I expected to recognise a few familiar landmarks but not familiar faces.
Having decided to use the remainder of her port excursions to purchase a few bits and bobs for her new room at Millie’s, Lottie asked if I’d accompany her down to the markets in search of a carpet large enough to suppress the drafts that fluffed up through Millie’s creaky old floorboards. Suspecting Lottie to be a similar shopper to Millie in that she’d take flipping ages, I sat down with Montu the carpet merchant for tea … and you’ll never guess what … cheese straws! Yep, it would seem Maureen’s famous recipe has passed down and survived the generations from Munir Alfaar (whom I met in ancient Egypt some 5000 years ago) to his distant relation Montu the carpet salesman, along with the legend of how a time travelling mouse exchanged an ancient manuscript for a bundle of pitted dates. You seriously couldn’t make this stuff up!
Mind-blowing as our little chat was, it wasn’t the most exciting part of our day. Montu had recently purchased a job lot of ‘very reasonably priced’ carpets from Persia (known today as Iran) that had been marked down as ‘seconds’ due to possessing an unusual habit of wriggling about when you stepped on them. Eager to secure a sale, Montu treated us to a complimentary demonstration and we spent the afternoon sweeping over the Sahara on one of his ‘dodgy’ carpets.
After much deliberation (and a bit of haggling) Lottie decided upon a traditional Egyptian carpet for the bedroom, thinking the flying variety might just be a bit too dangerous and prone to stains especially when attempting to traverse with a morning cuppa, but also plumped for a smaller Persian rug that she thought might be handy for getting to work or popping down the shops on and dusting in high places.
Hope this letter finds you well.
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