• 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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95 in London Town

Susan and Kim with the help of Gillian, organized a fabulous ninety-fifth birthday reunion  for me in London. First, they arranged a celebratory lunch cruise for eight, aboard the ‘The Symphony’, on the river Thames! Susan, Kim, Kiowa, Rebecca, Craig, Sue (Kim’s friend), Christine and I enjoyed a gourmet meal  whilst gliding up and down the river–in brilliant sunshine! To add to the party atmosphere I wore a Union Jack bowler and a birthday button. Each of us received a surprise package which included noise makers and a balloon. For me, it was the greatest treat ever! And I am ever proud that the two ‘girls’ think so much of me that they were inspired to the  arrange such a memorable treat!

 

This is the mouth-watering cake they gave me . . . . .

This is the mouth-watering cake my daughters gave me . . . . .

 

 . . . and here I am eating it!

. . . and here I am eating it!

 

 . . . . . .

. . . . . .

 

 

 The co-conspiritors

The co-conspirators

 

Granddaughter, Rebecca and Grandson Kiowa frame me

Granddaughter, Rebecca, and grandson, Kiowa, frame me  . . . .

 

 . . . . our table . . .

. . . . our table . . .

View of the dining deck of 'The Symphony'.

View of the dining deck of ‘The Symphony’.

 

View of The Tower of London as we glided past.

View of The Tower of London as we glided past.

Secondly, they organized a reunion party at the small Greek restaurant opposite the Royal National Hotel where we were staying. Forty-one relatives and friends arrived to take part! They had travelled from the USA, Scotland, Germany and the south of England. Beatrice, whom I met on a cruise ship twenty years ago, braved the journey  in her wheelchair (pushed by Ruth, her caring Mum). The following picture was taken by Ruth on Beatrice’s smartphone. I was discouraged from carrying my weighty camera bag with me and told to rely on the pictures that everyone would be taking on their phones. They will be too late for this post but I will show them later on.

 

Beatrice, Kim and me

Beatrice, Kim and me

 

This is another of Beatrice's pictures. Her mum, Ruth, is flanked by me and my nephew Steven

This is another of Beatrice’s pictures. Her mum, Ruth, is flanked by me and my nephew Steven in the hotel bar

On another day, my very  good friend, Alan Rayburn, took Christine and me to lunch in The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. Ethel and I had met up with Alan on ‘The Trollfiord”, a passenger/merchant ship plying the Norwegian coast up to the Arctic Circle, many years ago He and I have kept in touch ever since:

 

SONY DSC

Here he is talking to Christine in the restaurant

Fresh artwork in Trafalgar Square

Fresh artwork in Trafalgar Square

 

Looking very dapper, as usual, Alan chats to Christine in the Square with St. Martins-in-the- Field back right

Looking very dapper, as usual, Alan chats to Christine in the Square with St. Martins-in-the- Field back right

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This wildly happy young lad rushed around catching the bubbles!

This wildly happy young lad rushed around catching the bubbles!

 

We were in London  when the 400th Birthday of Shakespeare was being celebrated. All the public institutions mounted tributes to him–Christine and I took in the King’s College exhibit. It consisted of nine original documents which, for us shed new light on the Bard’s life:

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Last year, Christine and I saw a wonderfully gory performance of “Titus Andronicus” at the Sam Wanamaker’s reconstruction on the south bank.

 

. . . and a very proper bequest too!.

. . . and a very proper bequest too!

 

Christine and some alens she met . . .

Christine and some aliens she met . . .

 

Kiowa patiently waiting for the party to start . . .

Kiowa patiently waiting for the party to start . . .

Since I will not be able to answer every one individually, I wish to thank all the friends and family members who sent me birthday greetings by card or via Facebook: Thank you, I love you all!

 

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8 Responses

  1. Happy happy birthday, dear Ben!

    Love,
    Chi & Florence Sun

  2. Happy birthday. Looking forward to number 100! Best wishes, Lenore and Larry

    Sent from my iPad

    • Lenore, thank you for your good wishes–maybe I’ll be seeing you two in Florida before I score a century?

  3. Ben you look excellent, sorry I could get there but I have a chect infection and thought it best to avoid you 4 weeks after your operation. take care, Alan

    • Alan. Missed you this year. Sorry you weren’t able to join the reunion. Best wishes, Ben

  4. Dear Ben. A belated happy birthday from us. You do look fantastic, handsome as ever ! Love from Don and Inge.
    P.S. Hope you are back to your normal self after the operation.

    • Don and Inge. I’m flattered! I am nearly back to normal–it’ll take a few more weeks yet. Many thanks for your good wishes. Love, Ben

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