• 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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Seattle and Portland – part four

Valerie and her husband, Steve, live in the suburbs of Portland with their two very lovely, and talented daughters, Erin and Morgan, and Gwen, the family pet. They were all lovingly welcoming to Ethel and me and  filled every minute of our time with them with interest.

Val drove us to Cannon Beach, about three hours away on the Pacific coast to view the ocean. As it happened, a great fog-bank had rolled in a we could see very little but the ride was spectacular. We visited the Chinese and Japanese Gardens in Portland and the Waterfront Park, and ate at several of their favourite restaurants. One evening, Steve prepared  a glorious feast of fresh Halibut and Sea Bass for dinner, which we ate in his garden warmed by and outdoor heater and a bottle of wine!

Erin. Just about to start her college life

Camp 18. We stopped at this logging musem cum restaurant on our way to Cannon Beach. This is the road sign.

Tattooist at work

Steve, Val and Erin taking good care of ethel



Portland oyster bar

Portland’s see-through twin towers

Dockside structure

Ethel and Erin


Lan Su Chinese Garden

Seal-carver at work

Lotus blossom

Lotus seed pods

Steve’s garden

Erin and her (about to be married) friend, Hanah

Morgan and Ethel

Nighttime in Steve’s garden

River valley view

Valerie on the balcony of the observation tower

Bridal Veil falls

Steve and Valerie on the trail

Morgan at Marco’s for breakfast

The Rose Gardens at South Waterfront Park

Koi pond


Portland Pet

Epilogue: Bonnie and Valerie and their respective families gave Ethel, the aunt, and me, a stranger, a most wonderfully caring visit–which we will never forget! Thank you all so very much.


4 Responses

  1. Gorgeous pictures, Ben! I also loved getting a glimpse of the delights you encountered on the second leg of your journey. And, we certainly don’t consider you a stranger!! Love to you both, Bonnie

    • Bonnie. I certainly didn’t feel like one in your homes. Thank you again. I have mailed you a disc with all the pictures I took during our visit, including the ones I chose for the blog. I hope you find some of interest. Love, Ben and Ethel

  2. What a wonderful time I had vacationing with you and Ethel! I’d sleep on my couch anytime for you. Love, Valerie

  3. your flower photos are wonderful! I miss you all.


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