• 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.

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Snow-less days and Coastguard to the rescue

Most fortuitously, (for us), the departure of the NCL ‘Gem’ from New York coincided with the arrival of the biggest snowstorm of the season. Our thoughts were with all those unfortunates left behind as we donned our shorts on the second day of cruising!

Click on the pictures for detail:

View from old San Juan

View from old San Juan

Old San Juan has a very special attraction for us. It is the home of the Old Harbor Brewery and we make a beeline for it whenever we dock there. It brews the best custom beer you have ever tasted. Here is Christine chatting to the manager:

 . . . . . . .

. . . . . . .

Our package deal included dining at any of the specialist restaurants. Here we are being fed and entertained at the "Teppanyaki"

Our package deal included dining at any of the specialist restaurants. Here we are being fed and entertained at the “Teppanyaki”

Christine in her "Queen Mum" hat

Christine in her “Queen Mum” hat

Overlooking St. Maarten

Overlooking St. Maarten (Taken with Christine’s phone)

For the second time in the last two years, a passenger or crew member has been taken very sick on a cruise I was on and had to be evacuated from the ship to the nearest hospital. The ‘Gem’ has no deck large enough for a helicopter pad, so this time it was a much trickier procedure.

Coastguard to the rescue . . . ..

Coastguard to the rescue . . . ..

SONY DSC

. . . . . . .

Hovering, dangerously over the moving deck behind the basketball court  . . . . .

Hovering, dangerously over the moving deck behind the basketball court while lowering a basket and hoisting the patient aboard . . . . .

Patient safely aboard and heading to hospital 200 miles away!

Patient safely aboard and heading to hospital 200 miles away!

This incident provoked serious thought . . . . which is never good for one!

This incident provoked serious thought . . . . which is never good for one and should be avoided whenever possible

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