• Upcoming trips

    13-23 January, 2018 Cruise out of New York around the Caribbean on the Norwegian Gem. Note : this trip has been cancelled altogether because of the damage caused by the hurricanes to the Caribbean islands.

    October 31st - 11 November. Caribbean cruise to break up the winter. Note: The itinerary has not yet been determined owing to the havoc wreaked by the hurricanes.
  • theatre and Concerrts

    October 8 Went to BAM, for the first time since Ethel died, to hear a wonderful modern opera composed and written by Matthew Aucoin called “Crossing”. It is based on Walt Whitman’s experience and the libretto is largely taken from his poetry.

    The story is multi-themed, as modern plays tend to be; the first is a harrowing anti war depiction of the suffering wounded seen through Whitman’s eyes when he volunteered as a nurse during the American civil war; the second is Slavery and its effect upon a run-away slave who fights on the Union side; the third is treachery portrayed by a guilt-laden deserter who spies for the South. And forth, inevitably these days, is the (entirely fictional) homosexual one.

    The powerful music fits the story perfectly and the voices of the lead singers and the chorus is magnificent; Rod Gilfry, bass-baritone, sings the part of Walt Whitman, Alexander Lewis plays John Wormley, the deserter, and Davone Tines, whose baritone reminded me, distinctly, of the sound of the legendary Paul Robeson.  Both Christine and I were extremely moved by the work. We newly discovered Walt Whitman’s poetry, too.

    October 20. Thanks to the invitation of our friend Francia, who is a member, we went to the Diller-Quaile School of Music to listen to a chamber concert given by the Diller-Quaile String Quartet. The program was comprised of Haydn and Debussy quartets; played magnificently by very experienced and talented musicians in an intimate. and perfectly designed, music space. Chatting with the musicians after the concert added to a first class evening.

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Fort Lauderdale

You may remember that before Ethel and I were to embark on the “Jewel” out of Miami, we were invited to stay with David and Amy in Boca Raton for five days. As it turned out, David was taken into hospital a week or so before we were due to arrive and Amy arranged with us to stay at her brother’s house in Ft. Lauderdale. Raymond and Janice Schuck were fabulous hosts: they not only provided us with the run of their house but gave us the use of a car and GPS so that we could visit David daily! (The hospital was about 15 miles from their house). And, Ramond delivered us to the ship on time. They made us feel absolutely like family members and we shall be forever grateful to them.

Florida living

View from Ray and Janice's garden


Ray took us out in the boat for a nighttime ride. Very romantic!

Ft. Lauderdale natives

Within a few hundred yards of  Ray’s house is a Mangrove swamp reserve. Here are some of the denizens I found there:


Florida duck

Mangrove swamp

Crab with one outsize claw. What purpose, I wonder?

Racoon saga. In daylight they were sporting in the water!

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Racoon scratching post

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Balancing act!

Fishing bird?


4 Responses

  1. great pics – what an eye – enjoyed your visit.

  2. Janice. Many thanks for your kind comment. Our travelling friend, Sandy Troy identified the birds for me. In order, they are a molting Sandhill Crane, a Muscovy duck (which you know quite well I imagine) and a Yellow Crown Night Heron. No one has identified the crab yet. Best wishes, Ben and Ethel

  3. Beautiful setting. Ethel and the swamp creatures look good! Hope David is feeling better.

  4. Thank you Valerie. I spoke to David who is home now and he sounds quite chipper. He is slill using a walking stick for support, but he thinks he will be free of that too after week or two more of therapy. Best wishes

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