• 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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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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