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November 22, 2016


I am sorry you had traveli issues!! But sounds like it was worth it...sometimes overcoming adversity makes it more special.!

What a nightmare, Beth! So glad you and Jonathan managed to sail through it virtually unscathed. This sort of experience is the kind that makes one wonder whether air travel is ever a good idea1

Ben just went to London--and the start was entirely disheveled, and we ended up having to drive him to NYC late the night before.... and the trip was wonderful, so I'm expecting the same form this story!

Typo, my enemy! "From" not "form."

Strange the relationship we have with music, how it ebbs and flows.With something as familiar as the fifth you ask yourself when did I last hear it all the way through? And it may have been years, yet it seems it was always there. The fifth (Eric Kleiber, Concertgebouw) was the first LP I ever bought, in the early fifties when only mono was available. Played over and over since in those days the cost of an LP was a significant percentage of my disposable income and I couldn't afford another LP for some time. Then, of course, reaction set in and it was left on the shelf. Only to be revivified and rediscovered in a live performance (Klemperer, Phiharmonia) at the Festival Hall in London.

More recently another rediscovery. At my singing lessons my teacher deliberately picks out comparatively difficult pieces (O Isis und Osiris, She came thro' the fair) intended to illuminate different skills. These I practice at home along with other simpler, narrower-range songs I've dug out myself and which I sing for fun. Dowland's Come Again, Sweet Love Doth Now Invite being typical. But the recordings showed I was making a hash of the first three notes which (dotted crotchet, quaver, semibreve) couldn't have been simpler. But where had I first heard the song? Janet Baker, of course. I played her version and she immediately gave me the answer: more briskly, greater emphasis on the third note. But then I played her again, and again... Normally I'm obsessive, wanting to sing all the time, risking hoarseness but this... this was a reminder why, at eighty, I suddenly felt the need to learn how to sing. For the joy of it, naturally but also to be a tiny part of it, better able to comprehend the joy.

Heathrow! And they want to add a third runway! The third visit to New Zealand just over a decade ago left us both with the conviction that that would be the last long-distance flight for us. That there'd be no more panicky stratagems to find a seat with more leg-room, no more hours spent reading simply to pass time. My heart bled for you both but there was grim confirmation we'd made the right decision.

I so enjoyed reading a long post from you again. Looking forward to hearing more about Italy after seeing all the wonderful photos on Instagram.

The Alps. I miss them. We lived in Switzerland for 13 years. They are much more severe than people think and always inspiring.

This photo of the Alps just kills me because I saw the exact same view when I flew from Montreal to Rome via London back in 1998. I was stunned at how close the mountaintops seemed, and amazed at the details I could see. At one point I saw a chalet (literally a "swiss chalet") at the top of one of the mountains and it was so close I felt like I could see in the windows. I wondered what it was like for people in the chalet to see planes fly over so close. One of my standout memories from that trip.

Thanks, Kathy! It all turned out fine.

Natalie, well, we have no choice but to travel to Europe by air, so one just has to put up with the hassles. I was interested to see that security regulations for leaving Montreal were less stringent that for entering the EU.

Marly, yes, it all gets better from here!

Robbie, I understand why you don't want to take long flights anymore. For us, this is the period of life when we've finally got the time and the funds to be able to travel, so we will unless it gets a lot more awful. We flew on BA and they were good this time, on all four flights, it was just Heathrow... but about the music, I love your statement on why you are singing: "For the joy of it, naturally but also to be a tiny part of it, better able to comprehend the joy." That is so much the same for me. Yesterday, all day immersed in Healey Willan and many others, culminating in the 1 1/2-hour Advent Lessons&Carols service - what a joy that was.

Thank you, Mary, for saying that - and there's more forthcoming. I'm awfully glad to see that some people are still reading here!

Hattie - I wanted the plane to land so I could be in those mountains again myself. We will go, I hope. I would love to be in Switzerland again, and also the French Alps near Mt Blanc and Chamonix, which I thought were incredibly beautiful and yes, severe!

Ed, the views on both flights were amazing! I didn't see any buildings but I wasn't in the window seat ;-)

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.