• 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.

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London–Hyde Park birds

Hyde Park is evolving. Part of the Serpentine Lake is now a reserve for water birds and many of the grass lawns are now uncut meadows. The change in the weather pattern has brought a surprise or two:

Would you believe that this meadow is in the heart of London and not in the countryside?

Great grey herons make themselves quite at home on the Serpentine:

One-legged grooming

Sunbathing and a paddle

The fishing stance

Preparing for the one meter dive

Hoping for a passing lunch

A visitor

And this was my surprise sighting, although londoners tell me that it is now common and that the smaller parakeets have become a nuisance in some South coast towns!

Cherry picker!

And here's a bird normally found on the farm--the magpie


5 Responses

  1. Boy! This is not the London I have ever seen. The meadow looks like a Constible painting. Amazing bird pictures.

  2. John and Ann. Nice to hear from you. London is full of surprises these days. Not least, the astronomical cost of seats in Covent Garden!

  3. Sandy. I replied to your kind words about the birds on your own e-mail but the Rutger’s postmaster was unable to deliver it. Ben

  4. Ben,

    Loved the pictures of the river from your table at the Thayer Hotel. We have great memories of out lunch there with you. Have you watched “Cash Cab”? Two guys won over $2000 on a ride to “Fish.” Ann loves the show because it is full of New Yorkers.

  5. John and Ann. Many thanks. While we were sitting at the table, Ethel and I were trying to recall all the friends we had eaten with (And lodged with) at Thayer
    hotel over the many years we had been going there. Our memories, needless to say, failed us and the list was only partial. But, unfailingly, our memories were all of joyful times. Ben and Ethel

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