Amr brought my new bike home last night – all bright and shiny. I had set my alarm for 5am, then breakfast of porridge and fruit because I’ve been told it’s good for cholesterol (and mine is way too high).

Whoever coined the phrase “it’s like riding a bicycle” was obviously much younger than me!

We cycled the back roads towards the other side of town and, surprisingly, it wasn’t my legs that bothered me at all – it was fear! My hand/eye co-ordination caused me quite a bit of concern, plus my stopping ability. To anyone cycling a bike this might all seem ridiculous but I am serious. If I was driving a car I would have described it as “too much play in the steering wheel”.

On the bike, it seemed like my spacial awareness as to how to keep the bike from hitting the nearest kerb or veering onto the road was downright dangerous. Plus I had no awareness of traffic (not that there was much at that time of the morning anyway) but one minibus did pass me out and it was too close for comfort – my psychological comfort! I asked Amr to get me a mirror and he laughed – saying that was only for children… hmmm.

My other problem was pulling the brake – again it sounds stupid but I was fearful of stopping too suddenly and falling off.

What it really amounts to is that I am afraid of falling and hurting myself. I do recognise my nervousness about that is OTT and due to social conditioning I have taken in about the dangers of older people falling. I am regularly surprised at the amount of unconscious programming I have accepted that rules my life.

Apart from all that, I thoroughly enjoyed the wind in my face, the freedom and being in the streets without people constantly calling out to me. Tomorrow morning I am aiming to leave around 5am, just that little bit earlier. I need to build up my confidence more. I will probably annoy Amr because I need to practice with the brakes lol!

Now I am really looking forward to some morning when we can go towards the airport as the flowers along the road are beautiful and also cycling through town (early morning only!!). To be honest I don’t ever see myself going through town in high traffic!

EGYPT

Not much to report.  A bit of trouble in Cairo last night when police were telling restaurant and coffee shops they needed to be closing at 7pm.  Police were trying to explain to people the need to protect themselves and keep their families safe but a few customers were rebelling against it. All have been asked to close between 7pm and 6am.  As far as I know everyone in Luxor is complying

My own street here has been very quiet today – most people indoors and even the children were not playing tog as much as usual.  As I was sitting on my doorstep earlier, a neigbour came to welcome me back but stayed well over a meter away, smiling the welcome while waving a hand and saying “coronavirus” as apology for omitting the customary handshake.

Egypt’s Al-Azhar permits suspension of Friday prayers over coronavirus concerns  but I hear not all mosques adhered to this.  Amr told me the mosque near me were spraying the carpets and everthing inside it yesterday – I assume they are going to continue and it’s not just a once-off.  While a few still went to there for the Friday prayer, it was nowhere near the usual number that would pass my door on the way there.  In fact I actually forgot it was Friday because there were so few passing to remind me of it.

So far I have not heard of any new cases of COV-ID19 in Luxor and I haven’t heard of anyone falling ill.  Prayers it stays that way.

Some exams have been cancelled and alternative procedures put in place for students

Usually when I am in Egypt I have so much to do I don’t notice the absence of contact with friends, feel lonely or be at a loss for something to do.  While we don’t have any guests and won’t for the foreseeable future that still holds true for me.  My family were in always in the habit of sending me little videos of my grand-children and phoning me on a regular basis.  So, I guess I am lucky in that much which will be new to others who are self-isolating, staying at home etc, will not be new to me.

Stay well, everyone.