• Upcoming trips

    September 7 to 15 Tony and Jo will visit us from the UK

    13-23 January, 2018 Cruise out of New York around the Caribbean on the Norwegian Gem

    October 31st - 11 November Caribbean cruise to break up the winter.
  • theatre and Concerrts

    August 2  I lined up on the geriatrics bench to get tickets for Christine and me at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park last week. I set out early and reached the bench  before 9.30 in the morning thinking that I would be among the first–I did not want a repeat of the great disappointment of the previous week when the last ticket to be given out at noon went to the man immediately in front of Susan and myself! But I was wrong again; the bench was already two thirds full of aggressive oldies and I was once again on tenterhooks until the noon distribution. I was joined by Christine’s friend, Barbara, who , with her husband, were to make a foursome for the event. Both couples brought a bottle of wine to enhance the evening.

    And what an evening it was! Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Nights Dream” has never been done better in my view. Absolutely suited to the outdoor theatre. The set included a fairy forest with changing colored lights which added mystery to the actors who passed in and out of it. The cast included a nightclub singer. The costumes, not confined to one era, included a modern suit and gown.

    The mechanicals were a child’s delight. Part fairy tale, part pantomime the action was played at a spanking pace and was continuously amusing. What is more, Shakespeare’s words came across wonderfully well.


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Queen Mary 2 – Christmas and New Year 2011

Happy New Year to All!

For the third consecutive year we spent our end-of -year vacation on the QM2 cruising around the Caribbean. Also for the third year, we were joined by our dear travel friend, Sandy Troy, who likes to eat late and so was not assigned to our table for dinner. She and Ethel lunched and breakfasted together like class-mates of old. As usual, I joined the watercolour class, but I will make this the subject of a later post.

Each Xmas cruise has brought us new delights to savour throughout the following year and this time it was our great good fortune to have Malcolm and Joy Mills and Bob and Francie Stevens as dinner companions. Cultured, and wonderfully experienced, their conversation made our dinner times last until we were in danger of being thrown out each night in order to allow the late seaters in!

I have photographed the islands and the ship itself many times. I have endeavoured not to bore you with too many repeat shots. Don’t forget to  click on the images for maximum detail.

Farewell from Red Hook, Brooklyn

And welcome from the QM2 Carollers

Engaged directly from "The Wind In The Willows"

Ethel concentrates on her jewelry selection for the first Formal night

As always, the first order of business before we set sail - The lifeboat drill. Seven short and one long. (Two, if you count Ethel)

The Adagio Quartet soothing us in the Grand Lobby

Refitted Grand Lobby

At one of the Platinum Guests parties

Joy, delightful dinner companion

Malcolm, Joy's husband

Roasted tomato soup - orgiastic!

Francie, another delight at the dinner table

Francie's husband, Bob with Renato, our waiter in the background

Mr. Toad and Badger

Wine tasting

Caribbean gazebo

Island resident

Resident of a different colour

The neighbourhood

Francie and Bob waiting for the fun to begin

One of several Gingerbread villages

Ethel, Malcolm, Francie, Bob and Joy -Informal

Chocolate Santas for snacking

The QM2 dress codes are: Formal, Semi Formal and Elegant Casual. This unwitting young lady seems to have added another - Inelegant casual!_

Elegant photo op


Malcolm and Joy

Typical Island scene

Patient freighter

I climbed up the steps to this castle only find that an entrance fee of $2 was required to enter. Since I didn't have a dime with me, I walked around it.

QM2 from the Castle grounds

Ubiquitous Bougainvillea

Puplic transport

War damage?

Fellow artist. Freddy Paul's vibrant work can be seen on WWW.freddysartgallery.com. We had a great chat. His paintings sell like hot cakes. They are not inexpensive!

Dance of the Garfish

5-master in the dock.

View under the bow of the "Royal Clipper"

Expired Finch with amorous red beetles

Stanley Scott with his wares. I swear they are the same ones I saw last year.

Stanley and I chewed the fat for a long time comparing the lives we had lived. At the end he asked me to lend him $20 but, since again, I had nothing on me, I took his portrait. He has already called me at home to ask when he would get his copy!

A pod of cruisers

Too late!

Party shrimp cooked in lemon butter sauce--scrumptious!

Caribbean Crib

New Year's Eve

Up first again!

Young passenger marking her dance card

Here we are with Sandy

Each national group celebrated the new year as it passed the Internaional Date Line- starting with the New Zealanders and finishing at 12 midnight (Ship's time). It didn't seem to matter when you drank your Champagne!

The Cunard ships keep their traditions; The oldest crew member sees the old year out and the youngest one sees the new year in. Pictured is the traditional parade of chefs

And finally, apropos nothing what-so-ever, here is an amusing trio I found on one of the Islands. Dress code: Formal


3 Responses

  1. Ben,
    Marvelous pictures. Wish you had named the Islands. Pictures of the ship life were great ( picture of the 1%)
    You and Ethel look smashing. A friend of mine says the 90s are the new 80s.
    We went to Australia/|New Zealand on the Volendam during November trying to recapture our 87 trip. Can’t be done. This is Ann’s absolutly LAST year to teach Art.so we are home until she is finished.

    • John and Ann, so glad to hear from you – you can’t imagine how many times your names came up during our dinner conversations!. You would have loved Bob and Francie and Joy and Macolm, we all have so many interests in common. Ethel says we are expecting you in NY after your trip to New Zealand, Is this still on? (Ann wanted to see a play before it closed, I believe). We have visited most, if not all, the Caribbean Islands multiple times so that we have reached a stage and age where we prefer to stay on the ship and relax. Ethel is not great at walking anyway, so the few islands I wander about on, quickly become confused with each other in my hardening disc. Can’t wait till we hear all about your trip. Ethel and Ben

  2. Every photo beautifully tells the story of our Christmas cruise. Thank you for the record of our activities and including me in your comments.



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