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    Feb 3 - Feb 13 Caribbean cruise
  • theatre and Concerrts

    November 30. Susan, Christine and I saw two of three new Italian plays at the Cherry Lane theatre. I actually thought I had booked the third offer which was a Pirandello revival but we were all glad that we did not miss “The Journey I Never made” and “Story of Love and Soccer”. Both excellently translated and powerfully acted. The first is a thought provoking and somewhat unsettling portrayal of the current social turmoil and the second is modern thriller about corrupt sport and the triumph of evil over good. We were able to chat with one of the actors about the plays after the show. Before the show we ate lobster and oysters at the  “Fish” restaurant which was only two blocks from the theatre!

     

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Latest Watercolors

Here are my latest sketches. The first is a painting of the table decoration I  put together for my refurbished apartment and the second is “Seascape” which features the table decoration on the NCL “Gem”. I am going to adapt it for my Christmas card this year. Click on the pictures for the best detail:

Table decoration

 

“Seascape”

THE END

 

 

 

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The Geriatric “GEM”

I first sailed on the NCL “Gem” when she was a sprightly lass, her hull painted over all with outsize jewels and things. Now, she is beginning to show her years — The temperature of the shower water changes disconcertingly and cabin lights are duller. She still has her bright paint, though, and she set off to the southern Caribbean at a spanking speed; covering more than 2,000 miles in three days. But the effort was too much for her. Her power transfer system developed problems, reducing her speed to a relative crawl. The Captain announced that his ship did not have the speed to return to New York and that we would all have to leave the vessel and fly back home. He pointed out there was a silver lining; we would have two extra days in the sun and we would be visiting Granada which was not on the itinerary. And as always he concluded “this is how it is”.

This was our breakfast view each morning – sometimes we were drinking our evening wine from the same spot!

 

Christine at breakfast . . .

 

Barbados

 

Freighter anchored nearby

 

Christine’s new bathing suit

 

This is where the Terns hang out . . .

 

Granada welcome . . .

 

On-shore hangout

 

Dinner with the Gem’s officers – The photograph was given to each of us as a souvenir of the voyage.

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Silver at The Museum of The City of New York

My friend, Barbara, had a rare gap in her busy schedule, so we took the opportunity to visit the silver exhibit at the City of New York Museum and have coffee in the plaza.

Theme of the exhibit is ‘Modern takes on some of the antique silver held in the Museum’s collection’. Here are pictures of the pieces which impressed me most. (enlarge them for detail):

Animated teapot – elegant but impractical.

 

Atlas reconfigured . . .

 

modern craftsmanship. Function? . . .

 

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Angled coffee set

 

Finely crafted soup tureen . . . . . .

 

. . . . . .but thoroughly impractical–see the beautifully detailed pasta motif inside!

 

Finally, an elegant bowl decorated with hypodermic syringes!

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41B Suffers Renovation

If you have wondered why I have not been so much in evidence this last week  or two, it is because my apartment has been in the throes of resuscitation. Urged on by Susan’s admonishments that I live in more sanitary and up-to-date surroundings and my own dismay at the mounting years of neglect, I made contact with Harry. He and his merry men have completed a major face-lift of the bath-, living- and bed-rooms.

All that awaits now, are new carpets for the foyer and bedroom and vertical blinds for the bedroom window. Here are some “before” pictures. I will post the “after” pictures when the blinds go up. (About two more weeks time, I’m told).:

My poor living room has to accommodate the bedroom furniture at the moment . . . . . .

 

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Bedroom in the throes . . . . .!

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Macy’s Fireworks and memories

When I was an urchin of ten or so, I remember begging my mother to let me have some discarded clothes for Guy Fawkes day, the fifth of November. I would sew or wire the jacket and trousers together and stuff the result with old newspapers. For the face, I’d buy a ha’penny mask, with an elastic band attached, from the sweet shop around the corner. Then I would ball up some more newspaper to the appropriate size and slip the elastic band over it to hold the mask in place. If no cloth cap was available for burning, I would fashion a pirate’s hat out of newspaper and stick that on top of the balled-up paper head.

Incongruous , or not, the resulting effigy satisfied my entrepreurnial requirements so I pinned a notice to its jacket, penned in my best handwriting; “A Penny for the Guy”. If I remember correctly, there was a perambulator at 57 Kimberly Avenue available for the borrowing at that time and I trundled my Guy Fawkes in it to Seven Kings railway station and touted for fireworks money. I would garner, perhaps, as much as ten pence on a good day–as well as a good deal of ridicule from younger passers-by. In those days, small bangers cost a ha’penny, larger ones a penny and canons cost as much as tuppence! Similarly, Catharine wheels cost a ha’penny, a penny or two pence according to size. Keeping my purchases to the cheapest offerings, I was able to acquire a respectable number of fireworks with which to impress (and, perhaps, scare) my school-mates.

My father, who shared my youthful delight in making things go “BANG” and the traditional burning at the stake of historical effigies, supervised the ordained destruction of my handiwork. He would stick an old broomstick into the ground in the garden, then tie my Guy to it and pile twisted newspapers and firewood at its newspaper feet. When family and friends were properly  gathered around, he would pour some paraffin on the pile and, from a safe distance, throw a lighted match at it.

The resulting roar of the flames engulfing my artwork  gave rise to as many involuntary ooh’s and ah’s as I remember at any official display I have seen since! My father usually bought the family a box of fireworks to be let off while the guy was burning. It included one or two rockets, which he fired from empty milk bottles, which would reach an incredible 30 feet up into the air, streaming a trail of golden sparks behind them. Then there were ‘jack-in-the boxes’, ‘Vesuvius’s’ and ‘jumping crackers’ to frighten the ladies with. Heaven on earth for little boys!

Like cigarettes today, fireworks were considered hazardous to one’s health and carried a warning. Quaintly it read: “Light the blue touch paper and retire immediately”! Very few of we onlookers were old enough to retire so we stood where we were, prepared, though, to jump back smartly if any sparks came our way.

The ha’penny days are long gone! I watched Macy’s firework extravaganza from the roof of the Waterford on Tuesday–60,000 rockets  at an average cost of $1,000 apiece were fired into the sky for half-an-hour or more. Very impressive. But I still preferred lighting my own ha’penny bangers!

Enlarge the pictures for best viewing:

. . oooooh!

 

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THE FINALE

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Queen’s transport

On our London trip, Christine and I made a special journey to the Queen’s gallery in Buckingham Palace to see the famous drawing collection. Unfortunately, the permanent collection has been replaced by an alternating one and the gallery was closed for the installation of a Canaletto exhibit. Not to be outdone, we visited the Royal Mews nearby to see the Queen’s carriages.  These pictures were taken on Christine’s pocket camera:

Plain . . . . .

 

. . . . . and fancy . . .

 

. . . detail . . .

 

. . . .  craftsmanship . . .

 

. . . . power train . . . .

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Humming Bird refuels in flight

While I was staying at Luba’s house in Philadelphia, I relaxed for some time on her back patio keeping an eye out for the fauna which reputedly make use of the garden. She has a resident fox and  two resident wood chucks. Deer pass through from time to time too. Unluckily, none of these appeared while I was sitting in the comfortable patio chair, a-watching. However, I did see several visits from a humming bird sporting a plumage of grey and white feathers which I don’t think I’ve seen before. I managed with patience to take these shots of him refueling:

. . . approach . . . .

 

. . . alignment . . . .

 

. . . HOOK UP!   . . . . .

 

These proceedings were observed with a critical eye by a Cardinal from a nearby feeder:

 

. . . . Judge!

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