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Easter varies from year to year, but it usually comes at the beginning of spring. This year, Easter as celebrated by the Egyptian Orthodox Church will come on May 1. That is quite late as usually we celebrate it in April. The Monday following Easter Sunday is always celebrated by all Egyptians as “Sham el Nessim”, which is really an ancient Egyptian celebration of the beginning of spring and where people surge into the outdoors to breathe the fresh air of spring.
Traditionally I open my house, and especially my garden, to all my friends on that day. This year is no exception. But my garden had suffered greatly over the past few months, and especially during the time when my water was cut off. Looking at it I decided that something had to be done to bring it back, at least partially, to its previous glory.
I am lucky that the annual flower fair started the beginning of this month, so on the hottest day this week, the only day I was free, I went to visit the fair and buy some geraniums. Geraniums are the only plant hardy enough to withstand the scorching heat of summer, and still bloom beautifully in winter. I also need to patch up my lawn which had suffered greatly from the lack of water. So I had to buy some grass which comes in squares and is just laid out, strongly tamped down with the borders filled in with sand. At the fair I contracted for 50 square meters to be delivered to my house the following day.
Early the following morning I got up and with the one gardener there, as the other had a family emergency and had left, we started planting the geraniums I had bought. Thank God the weather was much better so working in the garden was a lot of fun. Of course all the dogs had to be kept in their pen till we finished or else no work would have been done.
By eleven in the morning most of the flowers were planted and that was when the small truck carrying the grass arrived. Two young men, the driver and another were in the truck. We opened the gate and the truck backed in. Both young men got out, opened the back of the truck and just stood there waiting for us to unload the squares of grass. I looked questioningly at them and asked if they were going to help or were they gentlemen of leisure? The driver smirked and said that they were gentlemen of leisure. That made me boiling mad. So I told them to please go into their truck and sit down as they were too delicate to do the work and that I will start unloading with my gardener. They finally had the grace to be embarrassed, got up on the truck and started handing down the squares of grass.
While all this was happening, the dogs were all jumping up and down at the fence keeping them in their pen. They had previously breached part of that fence, so it was shored up by a large, flat piece of wood to keep them inside. Somehow they managed to push that piece of wood aside and in the blink of an eye the front garden was full of seven huge, happy, frisky dogs, barking and wagging their tails, trying to jump up on the back of the truck where the two brazen young men were cowering.
Just seeing the terror of those two made my day. The dogs were going to be rewarded for putting them in their place. After strutting around full of themselves, they were now working at maximum speed to get out of this den of lions. By the time we rounded the dogs up and got them back in their pen, my houseboy had come back with the dog bather so now I had three young hefty guys on my side, as well as seven dogs. I have never seen two people work so fast and so diligently as those two guys. The grass was all unloaded and one of them wanted to go wash his hands but the dogs started moving the piece of wood again, so the guy jumped into the truck and put up the window. I gestured to him to lower it just a bit so I could give him the money, then off they shot out of the gate, which we promptly closed before the dogs got loose again.
It was a very satisfactory morning on the whole. The stuck up young men were pulled down a peg or two. The dogs had their fun, and I got my grass. The rest of the week will be a tug of war between us and the dogs. We put in the plants and they pull them out. All fun and games.
10 April 2016

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