The following morning after our meal at the Bazaar, we all made our way home from Cairo. I went to the airport with Osman where we said our farewells. He had been a solid member of the crew and a gentleman to boot.
Inside the airport, I went through to the departure lounge. I went into the bar for a drink. I got my whisky and soda and sat at a table. I was facing the bar. At the bar sat a gentleman who could have been picked as being English from half a mile. He had a handlebar moustache, a reefer jacket, collar and striped tie and grey flannels.
He was drinking Gin and Tonics. It would seem that he had had quite a few.
Suddenly, he took a gulp of his drink and then bellowed “This is the arsehole of the world”. I thought someone might have clouted him one, but all that happened was that people tittered. He then fell silent, into his private world, and turned round on his chair to face the bar and resumed drinking his G & T.
I went into the duty free shop to buy a bottle of whisky. I wished to use up all my Egyptian Pounds which one was not allowed to take out of Egypt. I did not have enough and had to make up the price with an English Five Pound Note. That was too much and the man said that he did not have any sterling change. He offered me an American Dollar Bill which I accepted. I was to keep that dollar bill in my wallet for fourteen years.
On a return visit to Cairo in 1992, I went into the same airport departure lounge and wanted a drink. By now, I did not buy bottles of duty-free whisky because the high asking price was not worth the risk of smashing the bottle before getting it home.
I went to the counter to buy a bottle of Perrier. This time, I did not have any Egyptian currency and only had about forty pence in sterling change.
The man, peering into my wallet to assist me in completing the transaction said, “What’s that, it looks like a Dollar Bill”. I said, “Yes, it is, a One Dollar bill”. “ He said “That will do”.
Easy come, easy go. The following year, I told that story to a gold prospector from Canada. He said that he liked the story so much, he would give me another Dollar Bill to replace the one I lost. I still have it.
Back in London, I would sometimes go with my colleague Derek Shepherd for lunch at the Little Venice Restaurant that was in Great Titchfield Street. There I was introduced to smoked mackerel, this was served with slices of granary bread and horseradish sauce. It has been one of my favourites ever since.
In the autumn of 1981, my son Ian had completed his education and he set himself up as a commercial artist and designer. This meant that, within the film and television industry, he would offers his talents in the production of titles and graphics.
His office was fairly close to mine.
One day, I went to lunch with him at the Cosmas in Goodge Street. I had a whisky and soda and had ordered some Hummos when I suddenly realised that I had made a lunch date with a potential client, Mufid Merie, at Efes restaurant in Great Portland Street. I left Ian to his own devices and ran the 250 yards between restaurants. I was a bit red when I met up with Mufid.
Next chapter: Back to the Emirates