• 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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Over the Sea to Skye – part 1

Kim and Tom met me at Edinburgh airport. Fortunately, Tom had tracked the progress of my flight, which landed four hours late due to the wild weather over Newark the night before. From the airport we drove straight to Earlston and to their newly extended and fitted house.

Kim and Tom are very happy in their comfortable new home. Its mod-cons. include a wood-burning stove in the  living room and three bathrooms. Kim’s garden fell hostage to the back hoe during the re-construction but she already has a Cox’s Orange Pippin fruiting  in the front yard, laden with several first-year apples! The way things grow in Scotland, her gardens should be a blaze of colour next spring.

The house is a mile or so outside downtown Earlston, in farm country.  Their neighbours are a few farm workers and a million free-range chickens. The views from their windows are stunning–changing with every light and season.

Kim’s daughter, Rebecca, was away in Aberdeen University studying archaeology so I was able to use her bedroom and en suite bathroom. Rebecca now prefers books in her room rather than the stuffed animals of yore!

The day following we started on our journey across Scotland to the Isle of Skye. Tom drove a thousand miles or so, much of it on single lane roads and in pelting rain. During the course of the journey we called in on Tom’s aunt, Dorothy; Tom’s sister and brother-in-law, Kitty and Douglas and also Rebecca in her apartment in Aberdeen. We passed through many villages with quaint names such as Uig, Methlick, Aberfeldy and Sligachan. All were  charming and at one with the countryside, but some of the bigger towns have suffered from the march of modernism and the most disappointing was Inverness. In my romantic youth my parents took me to Inverness and I retained persistent memories of a gallant city and Scottish knights. Today, the salient feature of downtown Inverness is a giant Cosco supermarket!

Never-the-less, nothing could detract from the magnificent scenery, and, given the wildly changing weather, we saw it in all it’s moods.  I hope the following photos do it some justice.  The sheer number will require more than one post.  Click on them for greatest detail:

Kim invoking the Fire gods . . . . . . . .

Kim invoking the Fire gods . . . . . . . .

. . . . .Success! A comfortable glow for the evening.

. . . . .Success! A comfortable glow for the evening.

Morning view from the bedroom  . . . . .

Morning view from the bedroom . . . . .

. . . . . . later on.

. . . . . . later on.

Rape seed field. It will be a vast expanse of bright yellow when it flowers--what luck to have it growing next to your home?

Rape seed field. It will be a vast expanse of bright yellow when it flowers–what luck to have it growing next to your home?

. . . . evening mood.

. . . . evening mood.

Windy afternoon

Windy afternoon

Just up the lane from Kim’s house are the chicken sheds. The farmer has a very modern set-up. At a certain time the shed doors open and the hens swarm into the adjacent field to feed on the  local insects and worms. The hens are quite domesticated and, at a given signal, they all pour back into the sheds to go about their business of laying eggs.

For their convenience, a conveyer belt is provided so that the eggs are rolled away, underground, to the packing station across the road. The hens are thus saved the bother of having sit on them for long periods as would be their natural bent.

Free-ranging hens en masse . . . . . .

Free-ranging hens en masse . . . . . .

. . . . detail.

. . . . detail.

 Waitress

Waitress

Stylish mushroom

Stylish mushroom

Inviting footpath

Inviting footpath

Kim among the bamboos

Kim among the bamboo canes

River scene

River scene

 

This is the front porch of the Minaig B & B run very comfortably by Valerie and Ian Forsyth. We stayed here overninght before taking the ferry to the Isle of Skye

This is the front porch of the Minaig B & B run very comfortably by Valerie and Ian Forsyth. We stayed here overnight before taking the ferry to the Isle of Skye

 

Valerie's hens

Valerie’s hens

To be continued

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