• 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 and a Ruby Wedding Anniversary (Part 1)

Following the “best possible” outcome of my surgery, grandson Kiowa treated me to a whirlwind  5-day trip to London by way of celebration. He arranged it cover the period of a family reunion being organised by my niece Linda. Linda had sent me an invitation several months earlier but, with the prospect of serious surgery and its possible aftermath, I was sure at that time that I would not be in a condition  to make the journey.

As it turned out, Kiowa and I had a wonderful grandson/grandfather experience. He was able to meet up with many members of the Thompson family, some visiting from Australia, that he had never seen before, and I renewed family memories spanning more than seventy years!

There was an added bonus–Linda had arranged the reunion to celebrate the Ruby wedding anniversary of my nephew Allan (Brother Les’s oldest offspring) and wife Marie. They were the guests of honour from Australia. The  medical turmoil of the preceding months had completely driven this anniversary from my mind so, I’m afraid, we arrived without even a bottle for a gift.

The celebration was held in Upminster, a fair way out of London in Essex, where many of the Thompson Clan still have roots. Niece, Gillian, picked us up from the railway station and, after Alan’s speech and the cake-cutting, drove us further out to the home of my sister-in-law, Brenda. I reminisced with Brenda over a cup of tea, both of us happy to refresh memories of our late spouses. Kiowa chatted away happily with Brenda’s daughter, Stepanie, and her husband Bob. I would have liked to have seen Brenda’s other daughter, Leslie, but she was out of town.

In addition to all this, Kiowa and I got in two plays and Il Tritico at Covent Garden, several new pubs and a new fish restaurant where the sea food is fresh and on display as you walk in. A small disappoinment was that the only opportunity to see a performance at the Globe theatre happened to coincide with the reunion.

The photographs are intended to be viewed full-screen. Click on them.

Kiowa in Leicester Square

Kiowa at the Bar in Fleet street

St. Paul's from the river side

The 'Cheshire Cheese' just off Fleet Street

Fleet Street with all the newspaper offices moved elsewhere

The "Globe" theatre from the north bank

Tower bridge from the riverside walk

Gillian (centre) and her daughter, Debbie in the Portrit Gallery cafe. It was Debbie who had her flight home cancelled as a result of hurricane Irene and was forced to camp out on my sofa with her friend Nichola.

At Tower Hill on our way to Fenchurch Street railway satation

Tower Hill

From The Bloody Tower?

Refreshment in the railway station

New architecture

Harrods in Knightsbridge was a must

One of many lunches


5 Responses

  1. What a wonderful trip! You look healthy and happy, Ben. Love, Valerie

    • Valerie. It was very satisfying for me to have a grandson look to me as a travelling friend–even though I needed his help much of the way.Strange is the thought that roles reverse themselves over the passing years? Thanks for the message, Ben

  2. Hi Ben

    with was lovely to see you again last week, and looking so well ! I have sent you a couple of photos from the reunion but I am not sure if I have sent them to the correct address, let me know if you don’t receive them.

    • Margaret. Thank you for the photos. They nicely fill in some of the family I missed recording myself. Forgive my memory, but I think the young man on your right is Linda’s Paul and his new bride’s name escapes me altogether–Would you mind e-mailing me so that I don’t embarass myself when I post them? Love, Ben

      • Ben, I am so glad that you received the photos ok. The young man on my right is my son Ian and his 5 months pregnant partner Lorraine. Several people have commented that he looks like Paul, must be the Thompson genes. It is nice to have a photo of the six of us together, I will be sending some pictures over to Eileen and Les for her rogues gallery !
        love Margaret

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