• 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 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

Jackie

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

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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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