• Upcoming Trips

    Feb-March None booked as yet
  • theatre and Concerts

    February 26. Saw concert versions of two my favourite Puccini operas at the MSM: La Rondine (Act I) and Gianni Schicchi. Both made the very most of the small stage and were cleverly directed by Kenneth Merrill from the side of the auditorium. The young cast had an hilarious time putting on the show – and so did  we!

    March 2. Saw “Twelve Angry Women”, a play on the well-travelled jury deliberations theme, at the Producers Club. It is fast moving, ding-dong exchange of ideas with “whodunnit” detective analyses interspersed. Sadly, only one of the twelves actresses really could project; the others could not, for the most part, be heard clearly enough for our old ears to pick up the nuances of the dialogue, even in the  Club’ s intimate auditorium.

    March 3.  Carnegie Hall hosted Edith Monaco in a solo piano recital on Sunday evening. She played a nice, but not too exciting,  programme  ending with Moussorgsky’s “Pictures at an exhibition”. She seemed  totally concentrated on the accuracy of her playing and did not glance at, or turn the page of, the music in front of her.

    March 20. The MSM celebrated Pincus Zukerman’s 70th birthday and the 25th anniversary of his ‘Performance Program’. It was an extraordinary musical event: an awesome display of the incredible young talent that the Master and the MSM have nurtured.

    Of the solo violinists performing, the most exciting, for me, was  Jesus Reina who chose pieces by Paganini and played them in a manner reminiscent of Sarasate. But the highlight was Bach’s ‘Concerto for Two violins’; for the first movement, Mr. Zukerman led in his 12 year-old protégé, Nathan Gendler who played opposite the Master with the absolute confidence of an old hand who had begun his concerting at the age of six!

    For the second movement, Pincus Zukerman led in SoHyun Ko, a young lady of sixteen. She played her part with equal talent and confidence.

    The two youngsters played the third movement  by themselves (The Master staying off-stage while they wowed the sold-out audience!).

    The programme ended with Mr. Zukerman conducting the MSM Symphony Orchestra in Dvorak’s ‘Slavonic Dances’ and everybody (Orchestra and audience alike) singing him “Happy Birthday”!






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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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