• 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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London in May

My annual trip to London, this year, was overshadowed to some extent by the deaths of Tom (Kim’s husband) and ‘Penny’ (Dennis’s wife and my cousin). However, Gillian, as usual, did her magic and gathered some of the family together for a 96th birthday lunch. Gillian and I appeared together in one of the photographs which was tagged on Facebook and attracted a great many tributes from well-wishers all over. I would like to extend my heart-felt thanks to all you good people!

In between family meetings, I took Christine  on a leisurely tour of my old haunts in the Fleet Street area–The wedding-cake church, the Temple Inn and The Temple Church where the Knights Templar are buried, before taking her to the Tower of  London to see the crown jewels and the head-chopping block.

My cousin Tony and His wife Jo very generously  invited us to stay overnight at their house in Folkston on the south coast so that Christine could see the White Cliffs of Dover and Canterbury cathedral. They also drove me on a nostalgic trip to Ramsgate where my parents took me for seaside holidays. Memories of sticks of sugary rock with the name of the resort running throughout its length, eight-year-olds with tin buckets and spades, sand castles, cockles and jellied eels! But this part of the trip warrants a post of its own and I will put it up after this one.

Click on the photos for detail:

On our second day, Kim and her friend Sue came to eat with us at the President Hotel which we were using for the first time. We all fancied the ‘Carvery’ (Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding). It was not like my mother used to make!


. . . the next day we took the Thames ferry to Greenwich where Christine adjusted her watch and we sampled pie and mash and jellied eels and liquor at the last authentic pie shop left in London . . .


. . . while we were there, Christine dressed up in period clothes and managed a good likeness to Queen Elizabeth . . .


. . . on the following days, we met up with Alan and ate lunch  really fresh fish at a favourite restaurant. Alan is an old friend of Ethel and me–we met many years ago on a trip up the Norwegian coast . . . .


This is Christine in the crypt of St. Martins-in-the-field where we ate sometimes . . .


. . . however. This is our most favourite eating place–an Italian cookery in Russell Square. We all prefer breakfast here rather than the hotels’
poor offerings–The coffee is also first-rate! . . . .


. . . it is also a place for quiet contemplation and Happenings! . . . .


. . . . for instance, Pagans have their rallies here . . .


. . . this dedicated Pagan told me a great deal about the different chapters of Paganry–They are legion. Not just the obvious Stonehenge groups, but some very obscure ancient followers . . .


. . . . . .


. . . . .

. . . . .


. . . .


. . . . Ian and Pam also gave us a celebratory toast in the square . . . . .


In The Temple Church, I took a few pictures of the 12th century Templars . . .


. . . .

. . .


Finally, Kim and Sue gave me a private celebration in our hotel room. We toasted with a Malbec much-admired by Kim’s late husband, Tom.

In addition to the material shown  above, pictures were taken of my birthday lunch and I will have to retrieve them from e-mails and Facebook posts later. Also, Christine and I spent a very interesting visit to the Royal Mews and, on Christine’s little camera,  there are some shots of the impossibly lavish carriages which have been (some still are) used on Royal occasions. I will put these on a later post.





One Response

  1. looking forward to the other pictures.


    On Fri, May 19, 2017 at 5:57 PM, Thompson’s Travels wrote:

    > Ben Thompson posted: “My annual trip to London, this year, was > overshadowed to some extent by the deaths of Tom (Kim’s husband) > and ‘Penny’ (Dennis’s wife and my cousin). However, Gillian, as usual, did > her magic and gathered some of the family together for a 96th birthday lun” >

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