• Upcoming trips

    Feb 3 - Feb 13 Caribbean cruise May 1 to May 14 London vacation. (Hotels and details later). Hope to see you all then.
  • theatre and Concerrts

    December 7. Went to the Met to see the abridged version of “The Magic Flute”. We have seen this production before and still the charm of the great puppet characters keeps the children in awe and their parents happy with their parenting. An amusing interlude.

    December 9. Saw the Manhattan School of Music’s production of “Cendrillon” by Nicolo Isouard at the Florence Gould Hall. The MSM is having both its concert halls renovated and is using outside premises like the Alliance Francaise’s hall. The School and its talented young students put everything they have into this production; Scenery, lighting, costumes and acting was superb. As was the directing and conducting. Refreshing also, was that the cast was of the age to be convincing in their parts.

    December 10. The first of the “Peoples Symphony Concerts” this season (Their 118th year!). “The Variation String Trio” did the honours accompanied by guest pianist: Orion Weiss. Their programme included a new work by Nina Young (b.1984) Very interesting, but not, I think, a world-beater.

    December 31 Went to the Kaye theatre at Hunter College  to see the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players’ production of “H.M.S. Pinafore”. Cast and orchestra captured the high spirits of the musical romp and the sets were surprisingly professional. Reminded me of the old Sadlers’ Wells days,

    January 2, 2018. Saw the Met’s “The Merry Widow”. During the first act, the acoustics left a lot to be desired and words were difficult to hear, even in English. But all went well in the second and third acts; the Russian style dancing was rousing and the sets were spectacular. There are usually only six ‘Grisettes’ (Can-can girls) on a regular stage, but the Met’s vast space seemed to be full of them; three, even, descending from the top of the proscenium arch! All with their frilly knickers a-shaking


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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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