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    May 2 to May 14 London vacation. We will be staying in the President Hotel, 56 - 60 Guildford Street, Russell Square, London, WC1N 1DB. Telephone : 020 7388 4443. Hope to see you all then.
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    February 20. At Christine’s prompting, and, offer to go to the box office for Family Circle tickets, we went to see the Met’s production of Parsifal–from 6.00 to 11.30! It is a modern production for the new generation of opera-goers (the ones that hoot and holler at slightest excuse to the detriment of all others’ listening concentration). Modern dress  clashes horribly with the ancient myth of the story line, and state-of-the art lighting and staging effects  enlighten and intrigue the semi gloom in which the action(?) of  all three acts take  place. I was pleasantly impressed with the singing cast and  thought that it compared favorably with the greats of my younger days.

    The new conductor was enthusiastically welcomed (The Levine era is now forgotten completely) but I thought the sound he produced from the orchestra did not quite evoke the agonizing pathos that I remembered.

    February 21.  Saw “Amy and the Orphans” at The Roundabout Theatre. It is a story of parents’  tussle with the agony of caring for a child with Down syndrome and the adult siblings’ efforts to atone for their parents’ weakness. Wonderfully convincing acting all round and written with great humour to counter the guilt dialalogue of the characters.

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Artwork — Don and Inge

Don Horrex and Inge Olson are among my dearest friends. I met them in Albufiera in the Algarve more than 40 years ago. Dorothy and I were among the  rush of people who were determined to escape the dreary climate 0f Britain and to eventually retire in the sun. Our move to the USA allowed us the funds to buy a small villa in the sleepy fishing village overlooking the sparkling sea. But Don and Inge were just in another phase of their exciting lives. They had moved from living on Long Boats on the canals of London (Don had been a sailor in the RN) to building their own restaurant out of an old farmhouse! I envied their freedom of spirit which contrasted sharply with my own conformist routine.

Trained in a film studio, where illusions of reality could be constructed from plywood and coloured cement, Don used his artistic skills in re-designing the jerry-built villas to make them a little more comfortable. He painted as a pastime then, if I remember. I do remember, with great joy, the marvelous meals of Piri-Piri chicken and chips we shared, and the wine-soaked conversations which accompanied them!

Retired now, to Inge’s native land, Denmark, we see each other only by the grace of Skype. Our diminishing travels always seem to be in different directions. Don obviously has more time for his oil painting and his subjects are everywhere. His artistry shows in the following 10 examples, which Inge photographed and e-mailed to me:

Don didn't supply titles


We sold the pretty little villa in the sleepy fishing villa in disgust 25 years ago. Highways and shopping malls had overrun the place,  and one was accosted at each corner by Time-share agents! So much for retirement planning!


10 Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing Don’s artwork, Ben. Absolutely beautiful! I also loved reading the story of your friendship with Don and Inge, one to certainly be treasured. Hope you are well. Love to you and Ethel, Bonnie

    • Bonnie. I wish you could have visited us way back then. The coasts were an artist’s paradise–Yellow ochre and burnt sienna cliffs, lining empty beaches,and topped with umbrella pines–idyllic! The grilled-sardine picnics were out of this world! You would so have enjoyed the company of Inge and Don. Love, Ben and Ethel

  2. I agree with Bonnie. What a special friendship! Love to you and Ethel.

    • Valerie. You too! We would all have made a wonderful team at the wine-stamping parties. I can see it now! Love, Ben and Ethel

  3. I love his gentle depiction of animals, and wherever that stream resides and the wintry road meanders, I’d love to live there! Thanks for sharing Don’s paintings, Ben, alongside your own. Such a wonderful story of friendship, and such a loving picture you create with your prose. Thanks, and love to you and Ethel!

    • Nancy. So happy to hear from you. You are right–I think the paintings do reflect Don’s nature. Although our meetings were spasmodic (Don and Inge lived in the Algarve, while we only spent a month each year there) I cannot remember that he ever lost his even temper. I am so glad you are impressed with his work and he will be pleased too. Inge is so proud of him–he sold one of horse paintings recently. We do hope that you are feeling much better, Love, Ben and Ethel

  4. Dear Ben

    Thank you so much for posting Don’s painting on your blog – and thank you to your other friends for their kind comments.

    Yes, we also have very fond memories of spending time with you and Dorothy all those year ago. We always looked forward to your visits. We remember many wonderful nights spent standing around the bar Don built in your little house in Albufeira! I only wish that you had not mentioned chicken piri-piri – now we will have to make a trip to the Algarve!!!

    How lucky we are, to have such lovely memories and to have experienced the Algarve before it was overrun by tourists and the uninhibited building of apartment blocks everywhere.

    Don wants me to tell you that he is impressed with your prose!!! (as am I but I was not going to tell you!).

    Love from us both

    • Hi Don and Inge,
      I didnt realise Don was such a talented artist!….bumped into these pictures whist surfing the web.We last met you in 1986 for a delicious meal at your farmhouse restaurant whist on holiday in Albufeira.I have many fond memories of your brightly coloured cosy houseboat moored by Richmond bridge and those exciting weekends renacting Civil War battles as loyal Pikemen…(my wife Janice struggled with those water bottles!)
      I hope you are both well and life has been kind to you both.

      Love from Mike and Janice Lovekin

      • Dear Mike and Janice,

        We can’t believe it – what are the chances !!! That you should stumble on Ben’s blog and recognise our names !!!

        Yes, we also have fond memories of our friendship in England. Who would have thought that working for Russet Instruments would lead to so many fun hours together !!!

        Thank you for your kind words on Don’s paintings (I totally agree) and your good wishes. We are both well as we hope you are.

        We would love to hear more about your situation – and tell you more about ours – so would suggest that you contact us by e-mail: ingeo@kabelmail.dk.

        Incidentally we are still in touch with Des (now without Dave) who is living in Herefordshire.

        Lots of love to you both from us.
        Don & Inge

        To Ben: Thank you for being instrumental in bringing us in contact with old friends !!!

  5. Don and Inge. Happy to have been of service! The wonders of the Net! Love, Ben

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