I am on the trail of a famous man, a Great man, indeed…in all senses of the word. Here in Egypt he performed many feats and faced many fears, witnessed many triumphs and tragedies. I have come north from an island, where he triumphantly snatched one inscribed block from the depths of disaster, and sorrowfully discovered others to have been spoilt.
This place was his favourite stamping ground in Egypt – where he did most of his manoeuvring and collecting (plundering, some would call it), but where he faced his greatest threats. He generally stood up for himself, and got the job done. Heads will roll, he might have said, and I am now on the site where he is most likely to have said it, looking at his name on the wall – along with those of some of his colleagues.
Now I travel into the west. Here, surrounded by majestic mountains, and fantastic rock formations, it is peaceful. Was that Mrs T I saw over there? Perhaps she is keeping an eye, in case Mr. is dabbling with yet more court girls. The trail continues to the head of the valley and the main ‘site’. I want to turn to my left, however, and visit a tomb with a great deal of history: much of it modern! Was it first cut for a pharaoh who changed his mind and decided to be buried in the land of the rising sun? It seems likely, and the entrance stairway leads only to a short, unfinished passage. Our hero claims to have broken in here using Roman siege tactics, and found the floor filled with coffins. Now it is littered with blocks of polystyrene and chunks of plaster from when it was mocked-up to look like a more famous vault. Mortified, I witnessed this sacrilege; and then, two weeks later, saw a scene enacted, as on BBC TV.
Now, however, it is time to visit a busier place. Here we are to view a certain des. res. occupied by the man and his wife. And maybe befittingly, entrance to our hero’s house is a bit (sharp intake of breath) ‘special’. Ravaged, damaged, blackened, and plundered it may be, but yet it is still beautiful. The one real treasure was found deep in the vaults. Our hero was saddened since only his enemies made him a decent offer for it: his adopted homeland proving indifferent. At least it may be said that where it now resides, it is, unlike its original ‘house’, a priceless sight.
a) Who was the Great man?
b) What is the name of the island?
c) Where did I look at the hero’s name?
d) How is the tomb with ‘a lot of history’ usually known?
e) How is out hero’s house better known?
f) What is the priceless treasure &/or where is it today?