My mom is visiting us for a few days, and yesterday afternoon we went to Wheaton Arts in Millville, NJ where we enjoyed a demonstration of the art of glass-blowing the area is famous for. Here’s the set-up in the glass-blowing center, with the large gas-driven furnace at right, the work area for the glass artisans in the center, and seats for viewing on the left. Continue reading
We’re at Ellen’s sister Ann’s home in way northern New Jersey for our annual Easter visit, and continuing the tradition of many years, yesterday afternoon we colored Easter eggs in a variety of unusual ways. This is a competition of sorts that we enjoy, and a creative activity, too. This year the egg decorators were Ann, Ellen, Zack, Ina, Todd and Tim. We each decorated about six eggs, so three dozen eggs total. I was having so much fun, I neglected to take any pictures during the decorating this year, but I’ll link to some past examples at the end of this post. Continue reading
Our second week in England (and Wales) began with a train ride from Paddington Station, London to Oxford, where we checked into our rooms at the Turf Tavern, a wonderful and very old pub tucked away on a back street. I don’t think they rent rooms anymore, but it was great then. In Oxford we visited as many of the famous colleges as we had time for in one day. Continue reading
In the 1970s I had a group of about a dozen good friends that I spent a lot of time with, one from grade school (Tim W, still friends), some from high school, some from Rutgers College, near where I lived in Highland Park, NJ, where those friends had gone to school. During 1978 we started discussing the idea of a trip to England together. I’m not sure who started it, but by a year-end party at my apartment, I agreed to be the one to make plans. As above, I put those plans into a series of six “British Bulletins” I typed up and mailed out to everyone interested. This was great fun, I think trip planning can be nearly as interesting as the trip itself. Those wanting to go waffled, and by the time I needed to make reservations in April, we were down to three going: myself, and two Lindas. Linda R. made her own travel plans from her home in Vermont, I booked charter flights for Linda C. and myself out of Newark, NJ for June 30th, and we met Linda R. in London. I had written to a few small hotels and bed and breakfasts at each of our trip destinations, and mailed out reservation deposits. Unfortunately, it was a time of great labor unrest in England, with many labor strikes and demonstrations. As we arrived at some of our rooms, we found they either hadn’t received our deposit yet, or it had just arrived, due to a mail carrier strike! But all the hosts were very helpful, and if they didn’t have rooms for us, they found them at a neighbor’s house, so that all worked out fine. Here’s my write up of the places I had made reservations: Continue reading
We’re at Ellen’s sister Ann’s house for the holidays again. This year my friend Tim joined us on Christmas Eve day, where we had some fine meals and played lots of music: Christmas and otherwise. Zack (on left) has become quite a good guitarist, Dave (back center) plays keyboards, Tim and I play guitars also, though this year I was playing auto-harp some of the time, which is easier on my fingers. Everyone sings. It’s great fun.
Ann and Ellen entertained us on their “Music Maker” lap harps, which Tim told us is a form of the ancient Russian instrument, “gusli,” he has one too. One follows the note pattern printed on interchangeable paper diagrams that slide in below the strings, and I wrote a harmony for “Silent Night,” that they were able to do together quite successfully, one following the printed melody, the other the harmony. A link to their performance is HERE.
Cookies are always present at Christmas, Ellen makes some, Ann and Ina make some, and Ann and Dave’s friends give them some. Here’s the cookie tray for Christmas Eve day, with plenty more for the rest of the holiday.
In the afternoon we visited my brother Doug and his family, where a large group always gathers. I never seem able to get many good pictures there because it’s rather a madhouse, but here are all the kids present in a planned group photo, including my niece Haley and nephews Charlie and Dylan.
Nephew Charlie is starting to learn to play the French Horn, and had no problem bringing it out to play a few notes for everyone. He’s not shy. We had another fine dinner there with my Mom, and lots of other members of Doug and Lena’s extended family and friends.
Soon we’ll be heading home to south Jersey, where our cats are being well cared for in our absence, here they are showing what they feel is the best use for a Christmas present: sitting on it. Hope your holidays are merry!