• 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.

    October 20. Thanks to the invitation of our friend Francia, who is a member, we went to the Diller-Quaile School of Music to listen to a chamber concert given by the Diller-Quaile String Quartet. The program was comprised of Haydn and Debussy quartets; played magnificently by very experienced and talented musicians in an intimate. and perfectly designed, music space. Chatting with the musicians after the concert added to a first class evening.

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Family outing on the “Gem” and poor “Stirrup Cay”

The Easter school holidays gave us the rare opportunity to cruise with my daughter, Susan, and  husband Craig and her grandchildren, Jeremy and Zoe, plus, her son and my grandson, Kiowa, with, of course, Christie and Kelsey. Ethel and I have taken the cruise many times before so there was little left for me to photograph except the family enjoying the outing.

NCL have their own Caribbean island, ‘Great Stirrup Cay’.  The highlight of this cruise is the tendering of the passengers to visit it  while the crew prepare a barbecue lunch and serve cold drinks. Several years ago when we first visited the coral island it was quite an adventure. The ship’s boats were used for the tendering and Ethel’s unsteady foot work required the help of two crew members to get her aboard the bucking tender when the seas were rough. Entrance to the small lagoon was through a tiny inlet  and, once inside,  passengers had to wade a little to get ashore to the palm strew coral beach. Sometimes, the ship’s schedule required an evening stay in the romantic light of gas flares. Once, I remember being thrashed at beach bocci by one of the old inhabitants of the island (who turned out to be the area champion of the game).

Sadly, the popularity of the cruise has required ‘development’. A great new entrance has been chopped throught the coral reef, large enough to accommodate the 400-passenger boats now used for tendering (which are stationed permanently at the island). A series of deeper-water docks have been built for them to efficiently disembark and embark passengers. Concrete buildings have replaced much of the natural scrub and shade plants; and nearly all the palms have been uprooted and placed in more convenient spots.  The lagoon has been sanitized–no more sea urchins or baby sting-rays to watch underfoot! Shade is provided (at a cost) by canvas shells over lounge chairs. Rows of unshaded lounge chairs are provided for the younger sun-worshipers. Ethel and I returned to the ship after an hour or so!

Happy cruisers Kelsey and Dad, Kiowa

Cruising down the river

Kelsey relaxing with a book on her balcony

Perks of Platinum membership

Great-granddaughter Zoe ordering her dinner

Kelsey entertains the serving staff

Formal night

Young gentleman, great-grandson, Jeremy

Young lady, great-granddaughter, Zoe

Kiowa and Susan

At Cape Canaveral, Kiowa and I had a quiet beer at a bar . . . . . .

overlooking the beach . . . .

A Nassau alley

Under development . . . .


9 Responses

  1. Beautiful family!

  2. Lovely Great Grandchildren. Claire and I have not been blessed with any to date. We took an NCL trip the beginning of February with my brother and his wife from Tampa to Mexico. Celebrated Bob’s 80th birthday. The ship was wonderful especially the dining. Bob requires a scooter to get a- round and being on shipboard works very well for him.

    John and Claire

    • John and Claire. Does “to date” mean that you that you are expecting a joyous occasion? We have always found NCL ships to our liking for free-style cruising and we are now ‘Platinum” members. For us, Sailing from NY and back is a great plus for our old bones. When we feel the need for more refined sailing, we still take the QM2 (Also out of NY). Perhaps you could join us again sometime? Love, Ben and Ethel

  3. Hello, lovely photogenic family. I thought this was a cruise to Bermuda? I see Nassau mentioned. Anyway love to all.


  4. Ben,
    Great looking progeny! Must be fun knowing kids that will likely live into the twenty second century. We loved the phone call. New York is definitely on our agenda for the Fall.

  5. Lovely photos of 3 generations of my cousins Ben, great to see. Gill

  6. Gillian. So glad you like the family photos–They maybe add faces to your researches of the family tree? Love, Ben

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