• 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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. . . . Festive Hamilton and Royal Navy Dockyard

Enlarge the pictures to full screen for detail

To continue the Bermuda story: After finishing our tour of St. Peter’s and its ancient churchyard, we took the local ferry to Hamilton immediately after getting off the shuttle from St. George, in order to see the Hamilton festival, which was about to take place that very evening. Before leaving, we did make a brief tour of the  Historical Museum and its Printery but it was too sketchy to be of much interest to us:

Christine enjoying the ferry ride


This tree was used by the original settlers as the bell tower for the old wooden St. Peter’s church — which is the oldest Anglican church outside the UK — It was toppled in a hurricane many years ago.


St. Peter’s graveyard–Not many stones still standing and they are mostly too worn  to be able to decipher the inscriptions.


Christine trying out The Queen’s chapel – Her hat, I fear, would not be suitable!


More Bermudan roofs . . .


. . . .


. . . .


The Ladies and Gents


Hamilton Festival — something for everybody . . .


. . . young, very young and tourists . . .


. . . .


Dance leader . . .




All together!


Parade leader . . .


. . . .


Follow me . .


. . . .


. . . .


. . .

Farewell Hamilton . . .


. . .


Back at the Royal Dockyard, we were not alone–the “Celebrity” ship shared our dock and added another 3/4 thousand tourists to the throng


Evening view of the Dockyard


Day time view of the Bar  (which is open all night). . .


Christine at lunch in the Garden Café (The ‘Escape’s” buffet restaurant)






7 Responses

  1. As always, you do a great blog! I’ve been to Bermuda a couple of times and I always enjoyed it. Ben, it seems you cover a lot more ground than I have… other than I did a race there, a few years ago!
    Thanks for sharing.


  2. Hi Ben,
    Perhaps this isn’t the appropriate feed, but I can’t find any other way of contacting you.
    I have just read your POW tales online and realise that my late father was amongst you in Shamshuito. He sailed on the Tatua Maru in January 1943 and ended up in Amagasaki.
    Would be interested in having a chat and sending a few more details if OK with you. If so perhaps you could let me have and email etc.?
    Kind regards
    Richard Howell.

    • Richard, Hi! Thank you for your message. It is almost certain that I knew your father–we were such a small group–perhaps no more than 200 on my draft! What was his name and regiment? Best wishes, Ben Thompson

      • Hi Ben,
        His name was also Richard Howell. (same as me)
        He was RAF LAC 979266.
        Born 12/1/15 was from Withington, Didsbury, Manchester. Religion RC.
        Captured 25/12/41, as everybody else.
        Records show:
        ShamShuiTo 29/12/41 to 12/1/43 Detachment/Block Leader W/O Butt.
        Amagasaki 23/1/43 to 20/5/45. Detachment/Block Leader W/O Divett.
        Takoaka 21/5/45 to 3/9/45 Detachment/Block Leader W/O Andrews USAAF.
        Looking at the dates he was obviously on the Tatuta Maru in January 1943.
        Unfortunately he died in 1975, when I was 23, of Cirrhosis of the Liver, directly attributable to his diet etc in the camps. (My mother was awarded a war widows pension)
        He never talked about it all really, but did confide some details of the atrocities to me when I was a teenager.
        In recent times I have done a bit of research using current internet facilities etc. I just feel that such events should not be forgotten and am trying to compile a record so that his grandchildren and great grandchildren, (which of course he never knew) will realise what their grandfather/great grandfather, together with the rest you, went through.
        Finding your ‘POW tales and other stories’, was really a ‘pot of gold’ from my perspective, so without wishing to be intrusive any other information you have would be most appreciated.
        Best regards

  3. Richard. Surely your father, Dick Howell, and I were comrades in Amagasaki–Divett was my O/C too. I have been struggling to recall his features but no success so far. However, I am out of town at the moment have only my Surface to work with. Tomorrow, I shall be home and have access to my PC where all my details are stored. If you send me your e-mail address, I will be able to send you a photo (taken be the Japanese on the day of our release) of all the POW’s left in our group. If he is among them, you could, perhaps point him out to me. In addition, I could let you have the Curator’s address at the Imperial War Museum, where my POW diaries and artifacts can be viewed. Best wishes, Ben Thompson.

    • Dear Ben,

      Yes, I think I may have that photo you refer to. If it is the same one I think he is the second row down from the back, 4th person in from the right. (Directly underneath the ladder)
      I have some better photos of him before and after the confinement which I could also send you if that helps.
      My email is: info@howellsail.com
      The details at the Imperial War Museum would be of great benefit to me also.
      Thank you very much.

      best regards

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