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    December 9. The MSM mounted two one-act operas: I Due Timidi by Nino Rota and Suor Angelica by Puccini. The sets, acting and voices were superb  – an infinitely better experience than the Met’s from the back of the Family Circle. We were enthralled.


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London Birthday Romp

Thank You everyone for your birthday cards and electronic greetings —  they warm the cockles of my heart!

Kim and Rebecca together with Kim’s friend, Sue, were already in London to greet us when we arrived. Kim’s first treat for me the day after the theatre (see sidebar) was a trip down the River Thames to Greenwich. For this, we were joined by Alan (Rebecca’s dad). The ferry’s captain gave the usual commentary on the journey down river; it was less pedestrian than usual and the foreign tourists aboard appreciated the historic information and romance, I imagine. For us, though, there was a brand new joke; the captain told us that he had gone to Brick Lane the previous Sunday to buy two goldfish for his aquarium and named them “One” and “Two”. “”One” died” he said, “but, I still have “Two”!

Upon arrival at Greenwich, Christine realized a long felt want by visiting the Maritime Museum and standing astride ‘Greenwich Mean Time’; one foot in today and the other in tomorrow. She was charged 10 pounds for the experience. But, she said, she felt so euphoric afterwards that it was well worth the money spent. Our primary target for the trip, though, was Goddards’ historic emporium which purveys traditional pie, eels and mash with liquor. I had some of each:

Christine contemplating the menu in the pie shop . . .


. . . Rebecca had made her choice . . .


. . . . so had her Dad, Alan

On the return trip we encountered a very rare hazard in Britain–the sky was clear and the strong sun was shining directly into our eyes. We had to squint all the way back. The light behind me, however, was perfect for photography and I was able to get some very nice pictures of the buildings and structures now lining the Thames. I will show them in the post following this one:

Unaccustomed sun . . .


Returning to Westminster Bridge.

For the annual gathering of the clan (notified by Gillian), Kim had booked room for 25 or so people in the small old pub just a few steps from our hotel. The food was home-cooked and the drinks were handy. Here we all are, greatly enjoying a convivial get-together with my Birthday as an excuse:


Jo, Ken, Gillian, Denis and Tony


Keith, Christine and Denise


Alan and Margaret






sampling the wine . . .


Gillian, Natalie  and her Dad, Dennis, just behind her




Kim with Rebecca




Keith and Denise





Natalie and Ian . . .


Finale from Kim. Candle ratio about eight to one!

On the day following we were treated to lunch at the same pub by our old friend, Ted, supported by his dear friend, Emma. He had braved his constant hospital appointments in order to make the journey. They toasted the birthday boy with Champagne!


Me, Ted, Christine and Emma.

Two days later we had lunch at The Portrait Gallery Café curtesy our friend Alan Reyburn  (See sidebar re Rothko). And two days after that, Gillian managed to return, bringing Jenny, who was unable to make the date of the gathering, with her on a short visit, which we spent in the gardens of Russel Square:


Jenny, me and Gillian


This balloon was not for me, but we celebrated with bottles of Prosecco anyway

Dennis’s younger daughter, Tracey, couldn’t make the gathering either but she came to meet up with me on the Friday before we were due to return. She and I spent happy hours in The British museum viewing the Rodin exhibit while Christine went shopping at Selfridges. Tracey is, inter alia an art teacher and we had a great time analyzing Rodin’s faults and suggesting what improvements we would have made to his monumental works! She discerned a spider’s web on the head of one! She sent me some pictures she took of the exhibit which I will post later on.

Christine, Tracey and me having a coffee in the gardens before going to the British Museum

Tracey was prompted to make another brief visit the following day, this time bringing her daughter Verity whom I had last seen when she was about two years old and was now a young lady of 14. we spent time together in the lounge of our hotel

Verity and me

THE END of this post. I will shortly follow this one with another covering the Thames shore line from Westminster to Greenwich.


4 Responses

  1. Ben
    Are you still in London? I am in London too staying with Colin in Henley. Return to US on May29. Any chance of meeting up? Isobel

    • Isobel. What a great pity we didn’t communicate earlier! Sorry, I’m already back in the US battling the Jet-lag. Love, Ben

  2. Happy belated birthday. Lenore and Larry

    Sent from my iPad


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