• 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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Sandy interferes with horses and dangles cranes!

The event started off well. Susan had entered the the New Jersy Horse Trails Association competition to be held in the New Jersy Pine barrens. After four hours dragging the horse-box through Philadelphia and every other town on the GBS route, we passed through picturesque cranberry bogs and strategically set up our tent under the picnic shelter. (The sandy soil gave little purchase for the tent pegs). Playdoh was corralled in an area next to the horse-box which we had contrived out of three metal fence panels Susan had hired for the purpose. The sandy soil, lacking grass, was not to her pet’s liking. We grilled some sausages and opened a can of baked beans for dinner.

Early Saturday, Susan and her two trail companions set off for the 15 mile ride. They completed the distance well within the allotted time. and received their completion certificates. Susan was satisfied–Completion is success enough for a high-stepping horse like Playdoh.

She had enrolled for the 10 mile competition to be held the next morning (Sunday). Other riders were to  complete their 50 and 100 mile trails. But. in the early evening, the Forest Authority announced the closing of the trails because of the impending storm. We hurriedly struck the tent, loaded the truck and coaxed Playdoh back into the horse-box and Susan drove back, in the dark, to York, arriving about 10.30 p.m. All pretty much exhausted. I returned to Manhattan early Sunday morning.

Click on the pictures for the best detail

Susan’s trail companions, mother and daughter on cute Icelandic mounts

Carriage-horse competitor

Playdoh, alert to everything

Stylish braids


Trail buddies

Accommodations for three

The Club which lent their premises for the Horse Trail event belongs to a hunting association. The shooting ranges in the grounds and the hundreds of shell-casings littering the sand was evidence enough. The skull of these remains is probably decorating a den somewhere.


On Sunday, Craig (Susan’s husband) who had a meeting in NY and I drove back to Manhattan where we filled buckets with water, relocated some flashlights and generally battened down to meet Sandy’s worst. Ethel elected to stay in my apartment for the duration. The Waterford shook a bit and strange noises eminated from the apartment walls, the swinging chandeliers made residents feel seasick. Our glass revolving door was broken and a tree fell into Ethel’s building but,  otherwise, we suffered little of the damage that others living south of us, did.

Sandy took a dislike to this tree

. . . . .she threw it into Ethel’s garden!

Sandy took a capricious delight in showing how puny our constructions really are!

Dangling crane!


4 Responses

  1. Enjoyed seeing the pictures and reading the story.

  2. Dear Ben and Ethel
    So nice to read that you are both well. We have been thinking about you and have been trying to catch you on-line for a Skype.
    We have been following Sandy’s path on TV here in Denmark, and some people have certainly suffered. But thankfully not you, although it must have been frightening. Hope to talk to you again soon. Take care. Love from Don and Inge.

    • Dear Don and Inge. What a wonderful surprise. We fared a great deal better than many living south of us–We even managed to get to the Met Opera last night! (Wednesday). I hope you both are in good shape? But Skype me so that I can see for myself. Love, Ben

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