Saturday, June 30, 2012

What did you do in London?

... Rebecca's  camera catching a shot
while waiting for Draw and Learn to begin ..
One of the questions people ask of me is, what did you do in London.

I am always curious about that question as well, for I ask it of others.

For example, when I go to the National Gallery, I rarely go to the event called, Draw and Learn.  But that is the place that Rebecca has chosen three times.

In an email from her, I received this picture saying, "I am waiting for the Draw and Learn class to start.  When it is over, I am going to the 8 hour Gatz performance."

I know she will have spent 1 hour learning to draw and 8 hours listening to theatre in her day.  I call that a nice distribution of time and a good answer as to what one might do in London in one day.


Mormon History Association Conference, Part 2


The day was long – 6:30 am to 6:30 pm.  I was asleep two minutes after I walked in the door at night – I don’t know if it was the hard work of listening to the sessions, or the hard work of sitting for so long that wore me out.  The time I spent in a chair yesterday equals the amount of time it takes to fly to London and back.  Which reminds me of an interesting stat given at the conference by a political geographer.  He said that the average temperature for the year in Calgary is zero.  This was not a good way to get any of the conference attendees from the U.S. to want to live here but an interesting way to create a statistic.

My friend, Ruth Bailey, wrote the following about the conference:

 We ate lunch with Arta and Kelvin today.  Such fun. We love their interpretations of Canadianness in the presentations.  We didn't go to all the same sessions so we shared--Arta can always give the lowdown--and she remembers the jokes.  It was interesting to hear a Canadian history prof talk about Blackfoot polygamy unrelated to Mormon polygamy.  Richard Bushman always speaks well.  My favorite papers were by Richard Hughes, Lloyd Knowles, and Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye--mostly about restorationism in the churches of Christ, Christian churches, and the true Jesus Church in Hong Kong. The true Jesus Church has spiritual gifts where the others don't.  
We did eat lunch with her, and she was right – the plenary talk was in code – Canadian code, and I could translate for her.  For example, all monies collected in Canada by the church are not sent to the mother church in the U.S., but stay in Canada, and Lynn talked a bit about how that happens.  He told of how monies collected by the church, given by the members on a one-day fast to raise money for Ethiopia, had to travel to the Red Cross first, and then out of Canada to Ethiopia. That was curious news to them. 

For now, I can only tell 1/100 part of what I heard.  More tomorrow.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mormon History Association Conference, Part I

Arta and Ruth on campus by the pond
I am going to the 2012 Mormon History Association Conference for three days—held right across the right across the road – so I walked over to the MacEwan Conference Centre to pick up my materials this afternoon, thinking I would have time to make some preliminary choices about where to go and what to see.

I sat by Ruth and Gene Bailey at the Opening Programme and Reception, which featured people I know. Bruce Nysetvold played a violin duet with his little girl – the Orange Blossom Special tune he used to play when he was young, and she was fiddling along with him – very cute. Doug Sherwood and Brad Harker were in a lovely barbershop quartet rendition of Ida Rose from the Music Man. And the Laycock Family Singers (an 11 year old, a 9 year old and a five year old boy) sang some show tunes that would rival the quality of music I have been seeing in London. (The grandfather of this family is Doral Pilling’s cousin, which makes musical talent all the more unimaginable, given Doral’s power to carry a tune.) This family lives in Strathmore, but they might have to think about moving to New York or London – the kids are really good.For the idle reader here, who wants to know who I saw there – Bill and Fiona Hasegawa (Bill saying he can’t tell one tune from another, but Fiona also told him that the Laycocks are good), Peggy Estrabooks, Ches and Joanne Pierson, Doug and Kay Bennion (who live in St. George in the winter), Diane, Erva and Jim Sherwood, George Armstrong (who used to play the piano for me when I lead the singing in Primary), Norma Leavitt (who looked fabulous, like she stepped out of a fashion magazine), Ursula Benedict (was is leaving on a cruise to Alaska next week)

 ... at our feet?... 
rose petals from the Alberta Wild Rose bushes behind us
I didn’t eat at the reception – too busy seeing hold friends and finding out of they were going to the session in the next two days, or if they were just attending the Opening Program.

Mostly, I was happy to see Ruth. I met her on the internet, twenty years ago, and some of us who cut our virtual teeth on Mormon-L and the Electronic Latter-day Women’s Committee went down.

OK. A bad sentence, but you get the idea. Ruth found herself carrying her glass long after she had left the reception and was worrying that she had stolen it. Yes, when you take glassware from an event it is stealing, no matter how innocently you do it. I thought she should have carried off something with at least a U of C logo.

Ruth steals campus glassware -- see her right hand?
Tomorrow is a long conference day beginning with a Newcomers Breakfast at 6:30 am and the last session finishing at 6 pm.

Others will go to a banquet.

I shall banquet at home and write another post for you about ... The Mormon History Association Conference.


Wet? I think so!!!

Here is the boat loading ramp looking at highway bridge and train bridge in Sicamous

From the highway looking down in Sicamous

The "Red Barn" in Sicamous

Sicamous Sands: The park is under water, the parking lot closed, park benches and tables under water

Aiden having too much fun in the flood zone

can you find the cherry tree at our beach?

At our beach looking east

A view of Sicamous Sands from the highway bridge

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


From Wyona

Hello from Ketchican,

Thanks to Dave Wood and Moiya,  Greg and I had a fabulous ride on the train from Skagway Alaska across the border to Canada and back. White Pass and Yukon Route.

Gateway to the Yukon was the name of the train.

... look carefully for those 4 flags ...

This picture is at the top of the pass where the Alaska/Yukon border lies.

Notice the North West Mounted Police Shack and the Canadian, Yukon, Alaskan and US flags which fly together.

This is half way up the ride where there is a siding so trains can pass.

The Steam Engine train is passing our train and there is an engine just like our engine in front of us.

This is a valley picture showing the train track on the left, the car highway in the center plus the valley and creek below. The train route was built to accommodate the gold rush in the early 1900’s by Mr. Close who was advised by his lawyers not to build the railroad. The rights to build it cost him 10,000 pounds and it cost $10,000,0000 to complete it. He sold the railroad in 1951. Now it is a great tourist attraction and a brilliant ride.

I wish all the train lovers like Gabe and Dave could have been with us. We can always keep our nose to the ground and find other steals of a deal in Alaskan cruises.

Such a long train.

There were just nine passenger cars on our train.

Usually there are 16 passenger cars holding 40 passengers and charging $120.00 for the 3.15 hour ride up and back.

We chose the afternoon ride which turned out to the best because the morning ride was foggy.

Are we having fun!!

Greg bought a crushed drink at the dinner table that night because he was so happy that he filled one of his childhood dreams on this day.

His dream was to ride on the outside of a train and up and back through the mountains.


Goodbye London

Goodbye London. 

I will miss you.

I don’t suppose it matters how long I would have stayed here – there would have always been this feeling of oh no, I didn’t get this done or that done ....

Then a person could fill in the blanks: do enough around the house, take the kids enough places, get the final weeding done on the garden, talk enough about the paper Rebecca wants to do next, visit with Steve ... ad infinitum.

This morning Rea and I are planning on transferring pictures from my computer to hers, finding the 1040 EZ American Income Tax Form (I have yet to file mine), carving out the last few minutes to outline a paper, and trying to do what takes us all morning under the best of circumstances – just get the kids off to school.

For the Canadian kids, school is over. But here in Britain there are three week or more left, which puts a new twist on having a long summer holiday.

I have been wishing that I could stay long enough to work my way through the events listed in the 139 page London 2012 Festival Guide.  I have been looking it over.

The Shakespeare Exhibition at the British Museum isn’t due to open for 2 weeks.

I would have loved a full day there. Last night Steve was dropping lines like, “I guess I will just have to see the Edward Munch Scream Exhibit without you, Arta.”

 I am sad to be leaving, especially since he turned a corner last month.

When he was out with Duncan, they got tickets to see Rock of Ages – no pressure from anyone on any side for them to attend.

 ... Finchley to the west, High Barnet to the east ...
Then Steve took Rebecca to see the show again on Sunday – after they had viewed a showing of West Side Story with a live orchestra at the Barbican the same day.

Too bad Steve is going down the slippery slope of going to musical theatre just as I leave.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sicamous and BC Floods

Just wondering if anyone out at Shuswap could give the rest of us a little bit further away an update on what is happening with the flooding in the area.  I know Sicamous has been hit pretty hard with rain, mud slides, roads giving way, and houses falling into rivers etc.

What is happening at Annis Bay?

An update would be fantastic.

Activism is a Choice

When I read Catherine's letter, I thought to myself that I would write a letter in support of her position.  I also know that the longer I leave that action, the less likely I am to do it.  Today I am packing, tomorrow I am flying ... and suddenly I could see I wasn't going to get it done.

But I wanted to do it.  Especially since I have just been on a cruise where I could not keep my eyes off of the possible immigrants.  Deep in my heart is the picture of those people on the boat who were working to keep the rest of us having a grand time.  I listened to their stories, their vain hopes that someday they can immigrate, I think about the place where I live, the freedoms I enjoy, the prospect for upward mobility for me, their difficult lives -- 7 months away from their loved ones, as was the case for the steward for our room.  He was working there because his daughter has leukemia, having sold his house to pay for treatments and they needed more money.  I know there are stories like this all around us, but still, it seems like there must be something one can do to change the tide for at least some who have a chance to immigrate here.

So I just bit the bullet and wrote my letter to Jason Kenney.

I couldn't make the impassioned plea that Catherine did.  Just a few words from me, and I cc-ed her.

She thanked me, and said I should post it on the blog. Here it is.


Dear Minister Kenney,
I regret to inform you that you are not on the right track with your “crackdown” on foreign criminals. 
Please, give these immigrants a fair chance. 
What you term as endless appeals is actually the justice system at work for all of us.
Do not deny them justice.  That will be the first step toward denying justice for us all.
Rethink the government's flawed position.
Yours for a better Canada,
Arta Johnson
2427 26 Ave N.W.
Calgary, AB  T2M 2H1 
Phone:  403 282-2025

Minister Kenney Invites Feedback

I am blogging a letter from Catherine Jarvis to Minister Kenney.  She hopes her letter will be among those that make the government's initiative on this matter become a public discussion. 

Thank you for reading


Dear Minister Kenney,

In response to your email below, I will absolutely NOT support your petition.  Your declared intention to change refugee laws to "keep criminals off our streets" is a simplification of a complicated process.  Most refugees come to Canada fleeing violence and unimaginable circumstances.  These are vulnerable people who deserve fair and reasonable processing.  To make this processes punitive and difficult for the majority, because of the few who abuse the system, is unjust.  

I am additionally outraged by Bill-31 which is intended to make it very difficult for refugees to access medical care.  You are claiming it is being done to correct a system which gives refugees better health care than most Canadians.  You fail to mention to the public that the poorest Canadians (welfare recipients) do receive the same care that was previously being offered to refugees.   Additionally you fail to mention that refugees in general use far less tax payer dollars each year in medical services than the average Canadian.  You also fail to mention that your cuts will actually restrict basic health care for refugees so that they will now receive care far below the standard offered to most Canadians.  To only allow them to access urgent care will lead to congest of our emergency rooms, which will not be for the good of Canadians, and will ultimately cost the health care system more.  I believe your changes are not justified and will harm the most vulnerable in our society. I do not think these changes are in Canada's best interest. I think this government is absolutely moving in the wrong direction in this regard.  

I have no intention of supporting this online petition and am offended that this government is using government email addresses to invite members of the public to sign such petitions.  At your invitation below, I will absolutely forward this email to my friends and invite them to protest against this governments proposals.  

Every medical association in Canada has now denounced these changes.  It is shocking that these organizations were not consulted about this legislation nor offered an opportunity to work together with the government to suggest changes to the refugee health care system, if changes are necessary.  I am hoping you are willing to dialogue with and listen to Canadians who disagree with your position, not just to those who think like you do. 

Dr. Catherine Jarvis

Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2012 12:56:14 -0400
Subject: Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals

This month we introduced the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act (Bill C-43). Convicted foreign criminals and fraudsters should not be able to rely on endless appeals as a loophole in order to delay their deportation from Canada. That only endangers ordinary Canadian families.

Below is a link to a media report about the proposed legislation:

Critics for both the Liberal and NDP parties have strongly criticized this law, choosing instead to defend the flawed appeal process that keeps foreign criminals on our streets.

If you disagree with them and want us to go ahead with this new law, please sign the petition at

It is important that you let me know if you think we are on the right track.

Best regards,


PS: As always, please forward this e-mail to your friends. Ask them to sign the petition if they support this legislation.

Woodside Park High Street Market

Mmm.  Love the words “in haste”.  Was shopping today in a small local market, looking at purses.  An older man (means older than me) was told by the proprietor, “I will be right with  you.  Can you wait five minutes.”
“I don’t know,” said the man.  “At my age, I am not sure I will still be here in five minutes.”

I  determined to remember that line.


Monday, June 25, 2012


When I was five, we moved into a house on the brow of the hill at the far limits of the edge of Calgary. Now that spot would be called inner city. In a house across the road was another five year old, Adrene Paul. Her dad ran a bowling alley. When we got older, we were allowed to go there, on days when there wasn’t much business. Adrene could bring two friends. One of us would set pins while the other two bowled, and then we would switch around, everyone getting a chance to play a few games ... and getting a chance to be a pin setter. Adrene went on to become a champion bowler.  I gave up bowling, but I am back at it now.

Duncan and I have been going bowling – three times last week. I didn’t want to count the number of years it has been since I was in a bowling alley. The smooth round black balls are gone and in their place are bowling balls of different weights and colours – all of which can be held by the three holes that help secure the ball to one’s hand.

The chance to go to the back and set pins is gone as well.

I didn’t get the shoe size right the first time. Nor the second time. After a few frames, I went to ask for a short lesson on how to hold the ball. My thumb knuckle has increased in size, making it impossible for me to get my thumb into the hole of the x-small ball. While the knuckle has been widening, my arm strength has been decreasing, so I don’t have the strength to hold an x-large ball, I was to find out. I finally got the ball in my hands the right way, but on my swing backwards, its weight was too much for me and it escaped to roll backwards to where Duncan was sitting. I was hoping I could retrieve the ball without anyone seeing, but his head was already sunk deep between his knees. Still he chattered and cheered me on through the rest of the frames, sometimes throwing the ball for me, if he thought I was weakening.

The electronic score board is fantastic. Duncan wanted to be called Nacho Cheese, up there. That was fine. I also took it as a hint as to what he would like for supper.

Perhaps I will see if Zoe wants to go bowling sometime this summer, now that I have the knack for the game again. When I have accompanied her only to watch her, I notice that there is a place on the screen that tells how fast the ball is going down the alley. The electronics wasn’t quite that sophisticated yesterday, but if Duncan or I got a strike, we did get the short 3 second video celebrating our achievements. His score was 97 and mine was 86 – and that is with the side barriers up so that no balls went in the gutter. It is redundant to say that both of us could use some improvement.


Sunday, June 24, 2012


The Art of Horiyoshi III
Dragon on Rocks / sumi on silk
At Somerset House there is an exhibition called Kokoro: The Art of Horiyoshi III.

One of the lovely parts of having leisure in London is to be able to wander the shops and galleries at my leisure.

I came across Somerset House by accident.

My regular bus stop by the Waterloo Bridge is not available because there is road construction going on.

Details from Somerset House
So I wandered to the east, looking for another place to catch the bus and when I looked up I was in front of the that lovely building.

Having fond memories of being there with Glen and Janet, I wandered in over the cobblestones and then along the halls, and even to the back of the building.

I watched the Thames for a while before going back in, thinking I would enjoy at least one of the current exhibits.

Details from Somerset House
One is never enough, it seems.

I mean, looking at one exhibit.

I found a display of an artisan jeweler, and then looked for another exhibit

I could not finding that hallway easily.

Details from Somerset House
Being impatient,  I went outside and did as Wyona does -- hopped any bus.

But not before taking a shot of a crow on a statue.  That would be an essay in itself, since one of my less interesting observations is that there is a raven/crow/pigeon on the head of every statue.

This observation might be what gave Hans Christian Anderson the idea to create his story that involved a statue and a bird.

I found out this is not a good idea from this spot unless I wanted to cross Waterloo Bridge.

...testing equipment for a show...
Still I got to see acrobats, testing out their outside equipment at the National Arts Outside event, happening along the south side of the River Thames.

I only saw this by accident, leaping off the bus mid-bridge and looking around to find a way to get under the bridge and try to get to the north side of the bridge.

I don't think there is a way to describe what it is like to stand there, hanging my head over the bridge, enjoy the air coming off of the river, and think that I have no agenda.

...testing equipment for a show...
I can watch all day, if I wish -- and probably see the whole show.


Dining at its best

... watching the sea through the dining room window ...
Rebecca’s dream cruise was that we would eat dinner together.
And this is what it looked like – for fourteen nights in a row.

I have no idea how we got a table by the window – Wyona and I have never been able to swing that!

So there it was, either the Bay of Biscay or the Mediterranean, floating by us every night.

Today Mary asked me if the Johnson-Carter group got to feel the wild turbulence on the Bay of Biscay.

... and what shall we do after supper: ...
I had to tell her no – while the barf bags were taped to the banister at every landing, we did not get thrown against walls as we walked down the halls, nor did we have to lay on the floor, hoping that this part of the cruise would be over soon, as Mary and I had to do.

What is always the same seems to be the fabulous menus presented to us every night.

... The Menu -- new every night ...
I am only at a loss for the internet, for when I read something like white gazpacho soup,

I want to know immediately what is in that soup, what is making it white and what the spices are.

I want to do a search and google ten to twenty questions every day of this sort listed below – ie give me a recipe for this, a definition for that, a review on something else.

... orchids on the table, chandeliers on the ceilings ...
It was really fun to eat together all of those evenings.

The Carter-Johnsons run a lot of games. If they are going to a local British restaurant, they take a deck of cards and play for the 20 minutes while their meals are being cooked.

On the boat they would play a form of 20 questions.

 ... white gazpacho soup ...
Or more accurately, a form of “I am thinking of a word that rhymes with irresponsible, to which the other person asks back, “Does this word mean something that you are trying to establish in court, but not doing a good job,” to which the other person has to say, “No, the word is not indefensible”. And the game goes on.

We play that one so much, and we don’t have a quick way to name that game, yet. But on our variations of it, we sometimes say, name as many tunes from the musical, Wicked, as you can – and then the list starts to build up.

Another variation that Duncan thought of it, “What statue ...” and then say something about a statue an see if other people can guess which one you are thinking of.

... today's choice?  top sirloin ...
Another topic of conversation at dinner was around ... what we were going to do after dinner.

The ship always published a list of things to do at every hour – sometimes with as many as four choices.

So we would try to figure out who was going where, and who would have the most fun.

I know why we don’t do this every night.

At our house we don’t have someone buying the food, someone else, cooking it, another person serving yet, yet someone else to sweep away the crumbs before dessert is served, and then a whole clean up crew.

But that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t like to eat this way every night.

 ... soft blue cheese on top of tomatoes ...
There is nothing like having someone open a white linen serviette, drop it in your lap and then place a menu in front of you, on which are written no prices.

Yes, at the very least, I am missing our cruise mealtimes.


Trafalgar on Saturday

...crowd at the bottom of Trafalgar waiting to get into the square ...
one group walks west, one group walks east
After buying my ticket for the theatre on Saturday morning, I went to see how the West End Alive Concert was faring in Trafalgar.

The area was closed in by a wall and there were two doors through which the concert goers could enter: one on the right side of the National Gallery and the other on the left side of the National Gallery.

The first line snaked down Charing Cross Road and around the perimenter of Trafalgar Circle and then wended its way back up to the west door.

The West door entrance line-up went the opposite way, down to the circle and then back up Charing Cross Road to St. Martins-in-the-Fields Church.

There must have been enough concerts in the square for the crowd control police to figure out how to pack the biggest number of people into queues that would work.

telephone booth painted as BIG BEN
can be seen at Trafalgar Circle
created by Mandii Pope
All bags were being search for alcohol, and for the two and a half hours I stood there, watching, the line just kept entering the square, though I rarely saw anyone leaving.

People sang to the music, swayed to the music, some danced on the streets to the music.

... the Jersey Boys dance at Trafalgar...
The performers came on stage – a full dress tap dance sequence from Top Hat.

That was followed by the clip from  Ragtime going on at Regent’s Park, done with actors in black t-shirts

The Mama Mia people were there with their “Dancing Queen” costumes on.

The Jersey Boys were resplendent in their red jackets.

The Wicked people were not costumed but held the crowd spellbound, on and on the performances went -- 7 hours one day and 6 hours the next.

... the Jersey Boys sing at Trafalgar...
The sound was good, and over-laid with the sounds of the streets: Big Ben ringing on the hour, the bells of St. Martin’s chiming a few seconds Big Ben, the sound of airplanes going over head every two minutes, an ambulance siren screaming by ... and the noise from the happy crowd.

At the bottom of the square is another of those telephone booths, this one painted to look like Big Ben. I did go to take a closer look at it.

... flags across from Trafalgar at Canada House ...
At 11:30 am I did the taster tour in the National Gallery again.

I am hooked on that event and was amazed at how few people were there – the smallest crowd I have ever seen – maybe less than 15 people.

Mattaeo's Assumption of the Virgin
“As you can see, we are doing ‘theatre’ in the square today”, the tour guide so, “so we will do it inside the gallery as well, and show you paintings that have to do with theatre and performance.”

What a fabulous hook through which to view a Lorenzo painting (1407), Reuben’s ‘Autumn Landscape’, a work of John Constables and then a Mattaeo, ‘The Assumption of the Virgin’.

Hogarth's Marriage-a-la-Mode
He had chosen paintings that had a theatrical backdrop, or a proscenium arch, or ones that had captures a satirical sequence (Hogarth’s ‘Marriage-a-la-Mode’).

There was a woman in the tour with a wheel chair. I didn’t pay much attention to her until we were leaving the second painting.

I was one of the last to leave to move onto the next spot and noticed that her wheelchair hadn’t moved.

I went over to see if she was asleep ... or dead. Luckily, it was the former and I woke her and told her that the tour was moving on and she should come with us.

I hope someone will do that for me as well, someday, whether I am in a wheelchair or not. I finished off my time in the National Gallery by seeing a new exhibit: Titian’s Flight into Egypt which usually hangs in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, but which has been borrowed by the National for an exhibit that gathers together all/some of Titian’s other work leading up to that famous painting.

That took longer than I thought, and I was getting tired of being on my feet for so long, but I knew ... coming up 8 hours of sitting at Gatz, so I soldiered on past my giving up point, knowing that I would soon be sitting in a theatre and having time to revive myself.

The Titian’s "Flight" exhibit was actually interesting – they showed his early portraiture, then his early landscape work, and then showed how he put the two together in the ‘Flight into Egypt’.

My brother-in-law, Ralph Sabey, told me the truth when he said that retirement is the best of all jobs.

Yes, the best of all jobs, rewarding and exhausting at the same time.



"Caustic intelligence":
Scott Shepherd, Jim Fletcher and Lucy Taylor in Gatz
Photograph: Tristram Kenton
I got to go hear Gatz yesterday – 2:30 p.m to 10:30 p.m. – read right from the book, The Great Gatsby, and acted by a company from the U.S. called the Electric Elevator Repair Service – sounds like the name of a band, doesn’t it?

Noel Coward Theatre is the venue, a theatre where my knees are squished right up against the seat in front of me.

The actors were fantastic. Four standing ovations – and this is after being there for 8 hours.

People my age are just lucky if they can stand at all after 8 hours in a theatre seat like that, which is reminiscent of the danger inherent of being in a cramped airplane seat for the same amount of time.

But no, the patrons of the theatre could stand ... and clap their hands at the same time – and whistle and shout bravo.  I was among them.

I was wary myself of buying the ticket at the box office at 10 a.m., but the fact that I could get £77 seats for £25 appealed to the sale-seeking side of my personality – and 8 hours meant that would be about $4 an hour. And I had read enough reviews to know that the piece is a highly acclaimed re-working of The Great Gatsby, an off-Broadway smash hit last year. The production is not an adaptation of the book, but a complete reading of the text. It opens in an office, where a man discovers a copy of the novel in a Roladex, takes it out and begins to read it.

One by one, his 12 office work mates assume the parts of the characters in a marathon read-through the book. The reader, the voice of the narrator is Nick. But when he quotes what he says himself, he changes the timbre of his voice. Sometimes he read the voices of other actors, even when they are on stage. So we were hearing him read his own voice, the voice of the narrator, the voices of others, as well as listening to the 12 others take their own parts – mixing it up for me, but keeping me on my toes.

... walking toward Picadilly Underground at night ...
... look for small red circle with white line through it ...
When it was 10:30 pm and the clapping had died down, I made my way to the tube, wondering as I walked, “What is it that made me hesitate when buying the ticket? The long 8 hour show? Going alone? The fact that I like musical theatre more than regular theatre?”

I think what trapped me was a blurb in the Official London Theatre Guide: 18 June to 1 July.  Ben Brantley of The New York Times is quoted as saying this show is "The most remarkable achievement in theatre not only of this year, but also of this decade."  That line is what made me get out there and buy a ticket.

I read The Gatsby years ago.

I saw the movie.

Now I have heard the book read and seen it acted at the same time.

Oh, thank-you sweet Electric Elevator Repair Service.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Going Home

 From Rebecca:

The sun still in the sky at 11pm on July 21!

I am in the Maple Leaf Lounge in the airport in Edmonton. 

I just left Yellowknife (or rather, "Dettah" in Chief Drygeese Territory), after spending a week in the land of the midnight sun.  Amazing!

Now, I am waiting for my flight back to London (yikes to a 7 hour layover in Edmonton....)

...looking down on the North Saskatchewan River...
Believe it or not, though I lived here for 3 years during law school, I never ONCE flew into or out Edmonton before today!

Here is the view from the sky approaching Edmonton.


Decorating London

Union Jacks decorating Victoria Station
I was running two agendas today: getting tickets for some show, any show and secondly, doing some walking.

That is how I found myself in Victoria Station, early this morning, watching the wind blowing through the Union Jacks that float from the ceiling girders.

The pigeons were flying low through the station amidst the travellers hurrying from the trains to the underground.

Hard to know where to walk in London – since there are so many options. I decided to go from Oxford Circus down Regent Street, just on a sight-seeing tour that would get me some exercise.

... a wind-up telephone booth at Piccadilly Circus ...
At Piccadilly Circus I saw a gold telephone booth and then this one that looks like a wind-up London telephone booth. This is part of BT’s Art Box Project.

 By the time I got to Trafalgar Square I was so tired that I walked on by the National Gallery, hoping to find an underground line that would point me toward home.

Then I wondered what kind of insanity is that? To miss the 11:30 am Taster Tour, just because I was tired.

So I got a little bit of Mattaeo, Reubens and the pre-Raphaelites before heading up Charing Cross Road toward home.

But I passed by another theatre and noticed that Horrible Histories was about to begin a performance.

I must be suffering “London pre-withdrawal symptoms” because I was compelled to stand in front of the ticket wicket, just to ask the price. Then I thought it only right to check out the performance to see if Duncan would like to go see it later in the week. Yes. The show was made for him.

I was interesting in the range of prices when buying my own ticket at the Victoria Theatre for tonight’s performance. The day seats (21 front row seats where you have to lean back and look up at the stage) were £19.50. They had to be purchased with a credit card, and the clerk was only handing out a receipt, not the ticket, which was to be picked up at 7 pm, just before the performance. “For good reason,” the clerk said. “People buy these tickets and then sell them to someone outside the theatre for twice the price they paid for them.” So I had to come back with the same credit card later in the evening. I asked the German girl in front of whom I was standing in the line up, “Have you seen this show before?”

“This one? About 100 times,” she said.

 ... multinational flags decorating Regent Street ...
That makes my addiction to musical theatre seem like a minor one.

Tonight was my first time in the front row. I was always conscious of the musical lines the trombones were playing, for they were right in front of me in the pit.

I was covered with the fine snow that falls when Billy Elliot’s dad has the solo song at Christmas time. . Previously I thought Row F was the best row in the house, but there is something to be said for Row A – the expressions on the actor’s faces are right there.

A lovely evening after which I walked home alone, a fine mist falling on my umbrella ... and knowing I had completed enough exercise in the day to come home and have a midnight snack of dahl and lime-chili chutney.


West End, Live

I am having fantastic days that just won’t stop.

Who wouldn’t want to go down to the Victoria Theatre early in the morning to see if she could get a ticket for Billy Elliot.  Just to wake up and think I can do that is pretty amazing. I stood in line beside a woman from Cologne, Germany who was replacing a ticket that had been stolen from her, but said she had come to London specifically for this weekend to see West End, Live, in Trafalgar Square.

Apparently songs or skits from West End shows appear live on stage in Trafalgar Square on Saturday and Sunday. The performers from the current shows are on stage. People jam the square and stand and watch, just as they would at a rock concert.  All of this for free!

I can confirm that the booths are being set up and that the square looks exactly as depicted on the web sites.  The second link gives the times that the shows will be playing.  

I am worried sick that I won't have the stamina to stand 7 hours a day for two hours watching shows.

See Festival London or West End Live for more details.


Hubbard Glacier

Photo: Wyona Bates
Wyona here:

Right now it is 10 p.m. at night.

We spent the day from 6:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. seeing amazing things as we cruised Hubbard Glacier in Alaska.

Photo: Wyona Bates
We were just one half mile away from the glacier, the closest the captain has gone for the last 30 cruises.

As we went in there were a few icebergs but not enough to stop us.

However, as the captain went to exit Yukatuk Bay, the iceburgs had gathered behind us so he took a second route out around an island close by.

Photo: Wyona Bates
Here are a few of the pictures.

It was beautiful, amazing and cold!!!!

For the last three hours today we have been engulfed by thick fog so the captain pulls the fog horn every five minutes.

We had a lucky, clear and sunny day.