It’s 2.30am and I can hear the blender start up. It happens every night, I could just about set my clock to it when my neighbour starts clinking pots and pans. It’s time when the Muslim women of Cairo get up to prepare sohoor, the last meal before first light. If they are observant of the Ramadan rites, their families won’t eat, drink or smoke again until after sunset, at about 6.30pm tomorrow. It’s a case of ‘nil by mouth’, so everyone’s eating up big beforehand.


Today I went to my local butcher. Do you have lamb? I asked him? No, tomorrow, he said. I walked out of the shop and past its storeroom, which faces onto the street. To the handle of the room was tethered an ignorant-looking sheep. Tomorrow.