AAHA = Amicale
Alexandrie Hier et Aujourd'hui : www.aaha.ch
I am conscious that the
last time we met we had not yet been plunged into December darkness and the
sound of Christmas cheer well on its way with the unprecedented snow falls and
the total city grinding to a halt as a result.
was Halloween and I was pleased to see that so many of you did not, in fact, go
Trick-or-Treating. Instead you contended with the small plastic beasties and
skeletons crawling onto your napkins….
I had to mark the occasion somehow!!
Some of you could not make it because of the change of date. Apologies went in
particular to Alex BENAKIS whose sister Daphne KRAMPS was booked to come from
in time for the 7th
November but could not change her dates. A la prochaine Daphne inchallah!
October brought with it, sad long goodbyes to our friend Stuart Gotkine,
Arlette’s husband, who religiously came to meet her after each of our lunches in
time for his coffee and group photo.
We’ll miss his shy appearances.
Goodbye also to Gérrard de Botton who passed away
while in France
a couple of weeks before. Our condolences, on behalf of the AaHa group were sent
to their close ones.
used to be my favourite month.
We would still be staying in our house in Agami
when the first rain would wash out and cleanse the dates from the few Palm trees
which were allowed to grow in Bianchi – it was called ‘ghassil balah’.
bedouin would then come with his ‘sabat’ (basket) full of red and yellow dates
to give us the first crop.
We used to crunch the red ones there and then and
slave over the many kilos of yellow dates to make ‘merrabet balah’ for the e3la
(the entire family)! I am still craving for the date jam… my brother Flavio went
and came back without it!!
So, if anyone knows where I can get hold of a
bartaman (jar) of Egyptian date jam please let me know.
There were many Hellos:
(Micky) CAPAITZIS was
introduced to us by Michael and Loutfia HAAG - they could not make it this time.
Micky is a historian/writer/traveller who told us
about his rich and interesting experiences around the world – I have heard him
debate on contemporary issues with Michael and Flavio and believe me it was not
to get a word in edgeways!
BENAKIS told us that he too is writing a book, a collection of memoirs around
experiences and times which have inevitably
brought him to his colourful years in Alexandria.
He was also very keen to tell us about his friend
Philip Mansel whose latest book, ‘Levant:
Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean’
is to be published very
Alex will be bringing Philip Mansel to our next lunch. We
are looking forward to it.
Welcome to George and Marie-Therese BUHAGIAR
cousins of our mascots Marlene and Marie-Therese
GRECH. George and
Marie-Therese introduced themselves and talked to
us about their time in Egypt.
to Albert DASSA and his cousin Youssef
ISKANDARANI (I think we have no doubts about where
Youssef comes from!!)
Albert told us of his long friendship with Teddy
how much he misses him.
We were all very moved
because this was
Teddy left us.
to Dr Janice McCAFFERY who is Herbert and Veronica’s friend and Dentist – so,
any of you not too fond of your local dentist?
again to Alex CARUANA (long time no see) and Hello Edward MARSLAND
both had just come back from
Crete in time for
Alex told us about the time when he went to the Cottesloe
(National) Theatre in 1991 to watch
white Chameleon’ by Christopher Hampton .
Remember, I sent you all the link on Radio 4 when
it was being aired
a few months ago. He told us of the amazing
occasion during one scene portraying the BBS school play. Alex actually saw
someone playing himself on stage.
Alex wrote to Christopher Hampton enclosing a
cutting of the Egyptian Gazette of 30 April, 1956 with the review of the play.
The writer wrote back to Alex confirming that he
remembered him as a boy and how happy he was to have heard from “the star of the
very first play he ever saw”.
anyone is passionate about the Tramway of Alexandria
- Tony PULIS is your man,
He is an expert on the subject and has enlightened
me on many tram stops I didn’t know existed… I have to alert Sandro Manzoni that
Tony would be very interested in issue No. 5 entitled “Les Trams d’Alexandrie”
The photocopy I did for him
the piece de resistance : Claudie NEWNHAM –COHEN
to us about her book ‘Il etait une autre fois’ following her recent book launch
She introduced it
evoking the blue cover of her book representing the blue skies of her youth in
Needless to say, it was a great success and many of
us had to have our own copy – even two!
When do you start on the next one?
again to Suzy HOWSE and Bryan SMITH who were looking forward to meeting
But Margherita was not there.
Hopefully next time.
was very nice to see Rosaria GRECH COOMBO-PATINIOTT with us.
She made a huge effort to be with us. Grazie Rosie.
BRIFFA very elegantly thanked us for organizing the lunch and gave us an
interesting account of his recent well organized trip to Egypt.
microphone passed on to Harold BEATON who, as usual, kept us amused with his
very special anecdotes.
HAROUNOFF who, together with Suzy WEBB, had gone to Egypt
earlier in the year with the group organized through the AAHA also gave us a
brief account of their pleasant experiences.
Hello to Natasha & Spyros KONIDARIS-STEPHANOU who are now my neighbours in
Nice to see you again.
Hello again to Marlene and Marie-Therese GRECH we missed you!
to Herbert and Veronica MAGRI-OVEREND.
Herbert is so natural with the microphone and is
always so good at remembering to thank the staff of EFES on our behalf for the
are a professional Herbert – I have a lot to learn from you!
Thank you Piero CENTOFANTI for making such a special effort to be present when I
knew you had so much to be getting on with.
I appreciate it.
he could not attend special mention has to go to David HAZAN
for his lovely CD ‘Vaya con Dios’ in memory of our
beloved Teddy Nahmias who left us at around the same time two years ago.
I know some of you have received it. David sent me
a couple of extra copies which he has asked me to give to anyone who wanted it.
This I did.
The CD played throughout our lunch David!
Thank you for a very nice and valued gesture.
thank you Gaby again for being there – I know
you’ve had a few tough weeks prior to the lunch.
Hello Philippe ISMALUN it was nice to see you as
you ALL you regulars who come each time.
You are the backbone of this group without whom it
just would not be the same!!
I have been asked by all
who were unable to come to say hello to you and ‘a la prochaine’!
You will find the photos
of our nice lunch if you click
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AAHA = Amicale
Alexandrie Hier et Aujourd'hui : www.aaha.ch