Even with a housekeeper I am a lousy housekeeper. I probably should have suggested it be cleaned - but then I hardly ever use it.
There was a big pool of water on the balcony.
Now, bear in mind that we have had a couple of weeks of over forty degree temperatures (over one hundred for those in the United States)followed by a week of comparatively cooler weather - around thirty two to thirty five degrees. It has not rained. The balcony has not been washed in weeks.
I stood for a moment looking rather stupidly at the puddle. It was a good six feet across and deepish near the drain. It just should not have been there and my brain was having trouble accepting that it was. I even looked up but there was nothing but dusty sky.
I had to accept that somehow the water had actually come out of the drain. It had climbed a floor level to do so, so it was obviously very determined.
I rang the Embassy and they called in a plumber. He removed a large supply of rocks and sand and builder's debris, declared the drain unblocked and proceeded to pack up his tools. I asked where the water had come from. He pointed to the drain. Well, I knew that - but why was it even in the drain when the balcony had not been washed in weeks. He told me that it was fixed now and left.
I went out next morning and came home to the dubious sight of piles of listing cardboard boxes with ominously soggy bottoms on the lawn. Veronica reported that there had been a flood in the basement, but she had cleaned it up. When I queried this, she said it was from the drain that the plumber cleaned, because it had been cleaned out.
Next day Bob went down to the basement to get some wine for a felucca ride. He shouted for assistance - and was assisted by Ahmed to clean up the now mounting pool of water with yet more cardboard boxes ankle deep (can a box be ankle deep?) in it. Unfortunately some of these were full of curtains, now very wet and heavy.
The plumbers came again and diagnosed a broken water main in the wall - hence the constant supply of fresh water in our new indoor swimming pool.
It will be fixed in two days - and meanwhile we mop regularly and often. At least it might help to soak some of the salt out of the walls.
Now wouldn't you think that water appearing from a drain on a second floor would be a clue to the fact that something other than a blocked drain was wrong?
Not in Egypt!