We are in the middle of a mini-heatwave. The air in Heliopolis yesterday felt like a fan oven. Today, the temperature in New Cairo hit 39C (100F) in the shade, and I can only imagine what it must be like for farmers working in the fields, or commuters travelling downtown.
On top of all that, Cairo has been named by the World Health Organisation as the second most polluted major city in the world, after New Delhi.
In the circumstances, the Jasmine Garden is now, more than ever, our retreat from stifling heat, dust and pollutants.
We’ve had the thunderstorms and sandstorms, the flash floods in wadis (not in our garden, thankfully) and the roof flying off our beehive. Now, the heat has hit us and the garden is, in truth, past its spring best.
The story is mixed, however. There are shady areas where the grass is green, the plants thriving – among the fruit trees, for example. And there are splashes of colour from our faithful shrubs, hibiscus and rose. Meanwhile, the flame trees (Delonix regia) are filling the street outside the garden with a magnificent show, the odd branch spilling over into our garage and filling it with glorious, bright red flowers:
Even so, this isn’t the happiest time in the jasmine garden. Read more
For the past couple of months – bar a short trip to London to visit our two delightful little diversions* – I’ve been working hard in the garden. In winter time in Egypt it’s all go if only to catch up with everything you couldn’t get done in summer with the heat, exhaustion, holidays and so on!