• Upcomimg Trips

    October 14 to 21 Cruise - Bermuda
  • theatre and Concerrts

    June 13 Picnicked on The Great lawn in central Park to the music of The New York Philharmonic led by James Gaffigan. Great program with spectacular fireworks after the concert. The concert included two pieces composed by students from its education program — remarkable works (Bernstein style) from composers  11 and 12 years old respectively! They took their bows from the stage!

    June 20 The forecast rain didn’t happen so, having lined up for senior tickets in the morning, we were able to see an uninterrupted ‘Othello” in Central Park last night. The set and costumes were magnificent and the actors did their best but the direction gave  a somewhat bland production. I personally thought that some players were miscast and this distracted from the illusion.

     

     

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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 . . .

 

Action!

 

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)

THE END

 

 

 

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Bermuda aboard the NCL “Escape” — Historic St. George

Enlarge the pictures to full screen for essential detail.

Christine and I squeezed in a week’s cruise to Bermuda. We were both, just about recovered from the London trip jet-lag and needed an r and r break. By chance, the ship making the voyage was a new addition to the NCL fleet, the “Escape”. At 180,000 tons plus, the “Escape” is one of the super large class of vessels on which we would not normally sail; we hate the noisy, crowded facilities and the impossible activities, like: monstrous water slides, rope-climbing structures and bungie-jumping–none of which appeal to we mature passengers much, nor do they appeal, I imagine, to the increasing number of wheelchair and walker equipped travelers one encounters on these cruises now-a-days. We prefer the much more intimate “Gem” class.  However, we were offered a balcony stateroom for the same price as an outside view one and this gave us a chance to escape(?) the crowds when we wanted. And, the ship did have a piano bar serving 25 draught beers!

The “Escape” — a floating city of 6,000 souls . . .

 

Like all NCL ships, the hulls are decorated by contemporary artists. The Escape’s was designed by Guy Harvey, an artist my memory had denied completely until a passenger from another ship pointed out that I was wearing one of his designer shirts and that his logo was stitched on both back and front of it!

 

Dinner at the Captain’s table — pictures courtesy of Bobbie, dinner companion and now our friend . . . .

 

Photo op with the Captain and His Mate . . .

 

Bobbie with the officers. (picture taken with her tablet)

An unexpected plus from taking the “Escape” was, while docked in The Royal Dockyards, it ran a free ferry service to St. George. We took it together on the first day at port and I went again while Christine was at  Horseshoe beach the next day. The whole town of St. George is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is complete with a ducking stool and stocks. These reproductions get much more use than the originals; Tourists line up to take selfies in them!

St. George was settled in 1600 or thereabouts and became Bermuda’s first capital. Now it is a picture postcard town of pastel-colored buildings with startling white roofs. St. Peter’s church with its historic churchyard is a draw; the present structure stands on the site of the original wooden one which was erected by the first settlers in 1612.

Inside St. Peter’s a simple wooden enclosure has been added. It is named ‘The Queen’s Chappell’ and has the Royal Coat of Arms on the front. Queen Elizabeth II visited the place of worship a few years ago!

 

When I first visited Bermuda, 45 years ago, the roofs were all flat with walls built round them to capture the rain–the only source of water in the islands. Now, by law, they are all peaked with diagonal runnels to direct the rainwater into underground storage vats and painted white . . ..

 

. . .

. . . .

 

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. . . .

 

. . . .

 

. . . .

 

. . . .

 

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Somers dock

 

. . . .

 

This is the last picture of the St. George visit but I will complete the Bermuda story with “Festive Hamilton” in the next post.

THE END

 

Spring arrives!

Christine and I were strolling in Central Park last week on one of the bright days of this odd weather pattern we are experiencing, when we noticed a robin collecting worms. I cautioned Christine to be still so that we could see her fly up into the trees to feed her nestlings. To our surprise, she lifted herself about ten feet off the ground and landed on this apology for a nest!:

Disgraceful workmanship . . .

 

. . . she wakes up the kids . . .

 

. . . and up they pop . . . .

 

. . . the dominant one first . . . .

 

. . . proud mum . . . .

 

. . . feeding hungry mouths . .

 

Thinks, “That didn’t go far — I must get another beakful already!”

THE END

 

 

Turmoil on Thames (Part 2)

Continuing the “Thames’s banks” story, here are some more pictures of the rapidly changing skyline: Enlarge the pictures to full screen for essential detail:   

Upholding her 350 years, St. Paul’s Cathedral defiantly faces off against the upstarts!

 

A  Dome in Greenwich. The old Royal Observatory is now a museum.

 

A B&B on the river

 

Historical plaques at Greenwich . . .

 

New flats on the river . . .

 

One wing of the Royal Naval College with a glimpse of The Queen’s House in the background

 

Luxury flats to be . . . . .

 

Luxury flats that were (Note the wonderful chimney stacks and think of the pollution they used to emit!) . . . .

 

Greenwich — Royal Naval College . . .

 

. . . south wing showing obelisk

 

Sinking problem?

 

Crowding-in and battling for space

 

Some modern, some recycled

 

The monstrosity on the right is nicknamed “The cheese grater building” by Londoners — It should have been used on the architect first! The people walking over the footbridge are on their way to the ‘New Tate Gallery’ which is housed in an old power station complete with industrial chimney. It makes an ideal space for large exhibits.

 

All that remains of the old ‘Blackfriars’ railway bridge

 

Town Hall. now a theatre and shopping centre

 

Poor Westminster Palace a.k.a. Houses of Parliament. It is undergoing yet another round of renovation–Big Ben will be silent for , at least, a year!

 

Urgh!

THE END

 

Memorial Day at the Waterford

Since the weather forecast was not propitious for a long drive out of the city, Christine had a spur-of-the moment urge to invite a few of our friends over for a Memorial Day barbecue. I concentrated on concocting a large bowl of my world-famous Sangria, which I set out on the balcony, while she went hammer and tongs at a table laden with corn-on-the-cob, sliders (mini hamburgers) and hot-dogs. To go with them, she made bowls of tomato salad and cucumber salad and a mixed fruit and berry platter–Cheeses and crackers to start with. All the guests brought lots of wine and some of them brought extra food! Enlarge the pictures for detail:

 

Margaret,  Barbara (Christine’s friends) and Christine look over her handiwork

 

Tuck in!

 

My friend, Barbara standing, Stuart her husband and Nereida sitting

 

Genie and her mum, Nereida

 

Nosh galore!

 

Genie samples the barbecued fare– She cooked, and  brought to the party, a dish of spicy chicken wings and drumsticks which greatly added to the variety of food–they were HOT and delicious!

 

Christine and Genie swap recipes?

 

Barbara and Nereida (Courtesy Nereida’s camera)

 

Viewing the artwork . . .

 

What’s up there?

 

The three tennis ladies . .

 

Barbara and . . . .

 

. . . husband, Stuart (Courtesy Nereida’s camera)

 

Margaret and Barbara

THE BALCONY scene:

Paula and me (Courtesy Nereida’s camera)

 

Genie . . . .

. . . .

Barbara

 

Genie

 

Christine

THE END

Turmoil on the River Thames shoreline (Part 1)

The Thames river banks are undergoing feverish change; sky-line abusing architects’ whims are being frantically constructed and ancient Inns, homes and docks are being restored or recycled, creating, in this ancient viewer’s mind, a mixture of pride, nostalgia and plain disgust. In the next two posts, I have put up some of the pictures I took on a return ferry journey from Greenwich to Westminster Pier. Two posts because there are too many representative images for one.   CLICK  ON EACH IMAGE FOR DETAIL:

 

Wheel of unfortunate change

 

interim sky-line

 

The latest sky-line . . .

Pregnant couple with offspring

 

. . . .

 

American style apartment blocks

 

Enduring London

 

Cutty Sark at Greenwich

 

More and more construction

 

Completed new blocks

 

Old jewels repolished

 

All mod. con

 

Squalid old docks awaiting recycling . .

 

Recycled . . .

 

Enduring London — Top of one of the towers of Tower Bridge . . .

 

More and more construction!

 

Recycled . . .

 

HMS Belfast, cruiser of the 2nd World War–now part of the Imperial War Museum. Tower Bridge in the background . . .

 

Ugly flats . . .

 

London’s new hub.

TO BE CONTINUED . . .

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

 

Jo

 

Tony

 

sampling the wine . . .

 

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

 

Sue

 

Kim with Rebecca

 

Ian

 

Keith and Denise

 

 

Pam

 

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.