• 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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NYDay – Watkins Glen

On the spur of the moment, the idea  probably triggered by the threat of 95 degree days in the city, we motored up route 17, passing all my old golfing venues and camp sites in the Catskills, to Horseheads where we had booked an incredibly reasonable motel room for the night. We set out early, 7.30 am, so as to arrive with plenty of time for sightseeing in the afternoon. With the half an hour we used for a late breakfast in the Roscoe Diner on the way up, the journey took about five hours.

        After checking in and a resting up a little, we drove a further 15 miles north to the village of Watkins Glen which nestles at the south end of Seneca lake, one of the largest of the Finger Lakes. We ate a very nice brunch overlooking the lake, looked for the historic shopping centre but didn’t seem to find it, stopped Ethel from gate-crashing a motor-cycle party and then returned to Horseheads. 

      The following morning we retraced our steps to Watkins Glen but this time we entered the State Park of the same name. The lady at the gate was very solicitous. We were too early for the shuttle bus, so she advised us to take frequent rests on the way up and not go further than we could manage. She was so right– we never got to first base! I went ahead a little way to check out the difficulty and within the first 100 yards the steps rose 150 feet or more!  Ethel hardly manages one flight of subway steps and this was like ten of them piled one upon the other.

      We returned to our nice lady and waited for the first shuttle bus. For three dollars per person, this took us on a spiralling road to the very top of the hill where the Glen trail ended. All we had to do then, was to walk down to the entrance 1 1/2 miles away–it took us three hours.  This set of pictures shows off Ethel’s determination and some of the wonderful formations we encountered on the way down.

Signpost for a spectacular body of water


Ethel attracts motorcylists where ever she goes

Ethel ordered mussels

Contemplating the start

Just above us at the start of the trail was the remains of an old railway bridge which had collapsed during a massive flooding of the Glen in years gone by


Natural art

Water-made shapes

Still trudging along


Still going

Homeward plods her weary way.........


6 Responses

  1. It sounds like a wonderful trip, Ben. I did look up Watkins Glen after we spoke the other day. Thanks for posting photos. It really is beautiful. And, it’s true, you have to watch Ethel when she gets around motorcycles. Anybody who has seen her facebook pic will tell you that!

    • Bonnie. You must try to fit in the Glen on your trip. It is surely the highlight of the Finger Lake attractions. We know a cheap motel if you need one.

  2. How absolutly beautiful.

    • John and Ann. Well worth seeing. Perhaps we could show it to you next time you are in NY? You would need at least two days though. Do you have similar
      formations in Texas?

  3. What a great walk! It really reminds me of a place caleed ‘Watersmeet’ in Somerset. It has similar water formations and vegetation. We holidayed there a lot as children and now my Dad is lucky enough to live there. You will have to try and sqeeze in a visit,you get a cream tea as a bonus when you reach the bottom! x

  4. Wendy. Great to hear from you. I was taken by my parents to Watersmeet several times when I was a young lad. Now, I cannot recall my impressions of it. Or, I get them confused with those of Dovedale which I visited in my teens. I would very much like to see it anew. Perhaps we should arrange to visit your Dad in the new year? I could do with a proper cream tea!

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