Yesterday I had the pleasure of recording a new piece for the BBC programme From Our Own Correspondent. It was already just after 12pm and the sun was directly overhead. It was going to be a sticky 25-minute walk and I didn’t feel like turning up panting so I took a taxi to the BBC studios near the Serail. The driver clearly decided I was fair game for a story or two. “I want to welcome you to this country and ask you to pray for me,” he began. I sighed. I’d thought using my few words of Arabic would spare me being taken for a witless foreigner. “My wife has just given birth,” he went on undeterred. So far nothing new. “She’s had quadruplets!” I must look more stupid than I thought. “Mabrook,” I told him, “Lucky you.” We had arrived. I paid making sure to get my full change before tipping him. It reminded me of a funny piece by BBC correspondent Owen Bennett-Jones for FOOC, Taken for a ride in a Cairo taxi, except his yarn-spinner was a good deal shrewder than mine. I wish I could find the audio version as I remember it being particularly lively, but it makes a great read too.