• Upcoming trips

    Feb 3 - Feb 13 Caribbean cruise May 1 to May 14 London vacation. (Hotels and details later). Hope to see you all then.
  • theatre and Concerrts

    December 7. Went to the Met to see the abridged version of “The Magic Flute”. We have seen this production before and still the charm of the great puppet characters keeps the children in awe and their parents happy with their parenting. An amusing interlude.

    December 9. Saw the Manhattan School of Music’s production of “Cendrillon” by Nicolo Isouard at the Florence Gould Hall. The MSM is having both its concert halls renovated and is using outside premises like the Alliance Francaise’s hall. The School and its talented young students put everything they have into this production; Scenery, lighting, costumes and acting was superb. As was the directing and conducting. Refreshing also, was that the cast was of the age to be convincing in their parts.

    December 10. The first of the “Peoples Symphony Concerts” this season (Their 118th year!). “The Variation String Trio” did the honours accompanied by guest pianist: Orion Weiss. Their programme included a new work by Nina Young (b.1984) Very interesting, but not, I think, a world-beater.

    December 31 Went to the Kaye theatre at Hunter College  to see the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players’ production of “H.M.S. Pinafore”. Cast and orchestra captured the high spirits of the musical romp and the sets were surprisingly professional. Reminded me of the old Sadlers’ Wells days,

    January 2, 2018. Saw the Met’s “The Merry Widow”. During the first act, the acoustics left a lot to be desired and words were difficult to hear, even in English. But all went well in the second and third acts; the Russian style dancing was rousing and the sets were spectacular. There are usually only six ‘Grisettes’ (Can-can girls) on a regular stage, but the Met’s vast space seemed to be full of them; three, even, descending from the top of the proscenium arch! All with their frilly knickers a-shaking


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London Reunion

Thanks to Gillian, who is a world-class organizer, our trip to London blossomed into a marvellous reunion of the Thompsons. My birthday was the trigger. Kim and Rebecca were booked at the hotel to greet us as we coached in from Southampton; Jenny Orchard took us to the Portrait Gallery  in Trafalgar Square for lunch on the fifth May (my actual birth date); Ted (a nominal Thompson) and his friend Anita took us to the Charing Cross Hotel for Lunch on Friday and  the flurry of Thompsons in the first picture (below) treated us to a bang up brunch complete with a candle-lit birthday cake at the Greek Taverna opposite the hotel and, thereafter, took us to the Old Vic Theatre to see Terrence Rattigan’s “Cause Celebre”. Since most stayed overnight at the hotel, we were able to return to the Portrait Gallery on Sunday for lunch and discuss future meetings, Perhaps in New York. Bravo Gillian, all your arrangements worked without a single hitch.

Left to right: Ian Thompson, Ethel, Tony Kelly, Jo Kelly, Maureen Broyd (Penny) (front), Pam Thompson, Gillian Legrave, Dennis Broyd, Debbie Legrave (Click on the picture to enlarge it for details)

Kim and Rebecca supporting the "Friends of Russell Square" by buying a pile of books.

The beautiful Russell Hotel

Sicilian Avenue. It was here, in a little Italian restaurant, long since defunct, that Dorothy and I bade farewell to our friends and colleagues of the Government Printing Office (HMSO) nearly 50 yars ago!

Wardour Street, Chinatown restaurant. Ethel and Kim's long-time friends Jackie and David


Hostess and guest of honour

Rebecca caught unaware shows her natural beauty

Fitting finale to the meal-- a fruit bowl in a dense mist-- on the house!

Covent Garden from the Opera House Cafe.

Sneak view of the auditorium from our seats.

Some of the entertainers in Covent Garden:

British Museum

Antique crepes

Jenny's picture of us in the Portrait Gallery restaurant

My pictures of Jenny talking to Ethel

The "Coal Hole", our pub in the Strand

Ethel between two London gentlemen in the Embankment Gardens

Ted, host in the Charing Cross Hotel restaurant

Anita, Ted's friend

Charing Cross Hotel staircase

View from Charing Cross walkway

View from Waterloo Bridge taken by a passer by

I painted very little of note in the cold light of the Atlantic. My ancient eyes need maximum light. Kim liked ths well enough to take home with her and the one below was an exercise painted on the return journey


4 Responses

  1. Hi Ben

    Great photos, so glad it all came together.

    One error however on the Thompsons photo, it’s Debbie not Wendy! ha

    Gill xx

    • Abject apologies to Debbie. I don’t seem to be able to separate the two names in my old memory bank. Love, Ben

  2. Happy Belated Birthday, Ben. What a wonderful reunion!

    • Valerie. Thank you so much. I had a glorious memory-provoking time thanks to my niece Gillian and the family. Love, Ben

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