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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Come From Away - the Story of Gander Newfoundland on 9/11

Rachel Hunter played the Captain

The box office at 11 AM

It is almost 18 years since the airplanes slammed into the World Trade Center. It is still one of the most shocking moments of our lives. Lulu was teaching in New York City then at St Johns University. She was driving to work when she got a call saying don't come in. The news said two planes hit the city and we were at war with someone.

We heard that the play "Come From Away" was about 9/11. Details were scant - but we heard it was a great play that got a lot of awards.

Wednesday morning I walked to the Phoenix Theater box office. I am usually lucky getting day seats - seats sold on the day of the show at a discount. I lucked out and got two tickets in the front row for 20 pounds each. I love it up front because I can see the characters' faces - and boy was this a great play for that. I texted home to Lulu saying - I got nice tickets for the 2:30 PM matinee - we're in the front row!

We got dressed - then walked to Japes in Soho. Japes makes a fantastic deep dish pizza for 7 pounds. We had a slow lunch - then went to the theater at 2 PM. I was surprised that the matinee was packed.

The sign said the show is 100 minutes long - no breaks - so this was time to visit the rest rooms. We walked down to the front row - nice seats - plenty of leg room - but the stage was about 4 feet high.

The play started promptly at 2:30 PM. There were only about 20 players - if you count the full orchestra of 8 that never left the stage. Gander Newfoundland must have a strong Irish influence as much of the music and accents were Irish.

Simply - when the World Trade Center was hit - all planes coming toward the USA were detoured to other places. Gander Airport was built in 1938 - one time it was the biggest airport in the world. Gander has only 9000 people - but it is right on the great circle route from Europe to the USA. We pass it every time we come to London - coming and going.

On 9/11 - 38 planes - almost 7000 people were forced to land at this one time important airport - now just a fading relic - like many cities in the Rust Belt of the USA and the UK. Imagine 38 planes parked at your local airport - not moving for 4 days.

The play is all about how the locals rolled out the red carpet for their guests. They set up several barracks in the schools - fed everyone in the cafeteria kitchens - even the SPCA took care of the animals on the planes.

Rachel Tucker - a West End legend - plays the first female captain of an all female crew on the American Airlines jet that landed there. She was sensational.

The play went on exactly 100 minutes - I loved the music and dancing. It was a blend of blue grass and Irish rock - lots of hoofing - and every member of the cast participated. Adding to all the choreography was a 20 foot stage circle that turned along with the dancers and the props. Just action all over the place.

Our seats were perfect - the sound was good - every character was face-miked. Most of the players seemed 30 to 50 years old. Lulu said - imagine - they have to do it all over again at 7:30 tonight.

After 4 days - the guests were allowed to take off to their original destinations. The main flight we were following was London to Dallas - a common American Airlines flight we have taken.

The play opened in San Diego - then it sold out more than any play ever in Seattle. It played Toronto and even Ford Theater in Washington DC - before it went to Broadway. It was the longest running Canadian play on Broadway ever. Now it is running on the West End of London - a few blocks from our home.

I remember that day in 2001. I swore I never wanted to fly again. In 2004 - most of the NBA stars refused to fly to Greece for the Olympics. We did not start our summers in London until 2008.

This couple married - he was from London - she was from Dallas
The band stayed on stayed and hoofed along
Beautiful garnet and gold theater
The first all female flight crew
We sat in front row - notice the high stage

A Weekend Of Nothing In London

London - 3 PM and 69 Degrees - Just A cool Place To Hang Out in July

When they asked Marlin Brando in Rebel With A Cause what he was protesting. He replied - What Do you Have? I feel that way sometimes. I have carried a picket sign many times. This time - the people of England want a final vote on the Brexit deal. I am in favor of that - probably the FBI and CIA are watching me and pulling my passport

On Sunday - Regent Street was closed to cars. I met these two lovely Wimbledon hosts. We did not get to the grounds - but it is still a big deal here - and worth a picture.

Peppa Pig - when we were in grade school - kids would draw that on the rest room walls. It was pornography then - now it is art.

What a great use of this Airstream Trailer. This young 40s band could really swing it. Regent Street was closed to cars - note the grass carpets.

Sunday at Piccadilly Circus. Someone said - if you no longer enjoy adventuring through London - it is time to die.


This store sold two things - canes - and umbrellas. So far- I have not needed either one.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Taking The Eurostar To Paris Next Week

The Eurostar goes to North Station in Paris

It is a little over 200 miles - London to Paris

Lulu just bought our tickets to Paris on the Eurostar - the train that goes under the English Channel. We have done this many times before - but this time is different. Keith has taken a job with It is his dream job and he is in the process of moving his family there. He flies tomorrow - by next week on Thursday we will be zooming over at 200 miles per hour through the layer of chalk that makes the bed of the famous waterway. 

Tickets were about $200 each round trip. We could have saved money if we bought them sooner. We will be staying three nights - then one of the hardest departures ever. Liz and family will join him in a week or so. 

They have leased out their home and adjacent apartment in Washington DC for the duration. They expect to be in Paris two to five years. Our trips to see the grandkids will be just a little longer.

We will leave from San Pancras Station in London
It zooms through the countryside and into the tunnel.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

The Birthday Girl Wanted To See "Sweat"

Supper at the Saint Janes Tavern on Shaftsbury Avenue before the show
Friday was a busy day in London for Lulu. She had a birthday to fill - I will not say which one - but Panther Valley threw her off my Blue Cross - Medicare sent her a card - and she went onto Florida State's Blue Cross. She officially joined the club. Now all she has to do is retire and schedule visits to the podiatrist to get her nails done.

At 10 AM - I got up and went to the box office. I landed two nice seats in row 7 - the exact middle. 20 pounds each. Lulu had the day off so next we went to the Oasis Sport club to swim. It was 6 pounds - there were two pools - inside and outside. I only got one picture before they waved me - no cameras.

After that - we went home and dressed for the theatre. Bus 14 - starts in front of our apartment - and goes right down Shaftsbury Avenue and the theatre district. We got there early and had supper at the Saint James Tavern. Lulu had fish and chips - I had chicken and chips. Lulu chose Pimm's - I had a Symond's Cider.

After supper we had time - so we sat on the monument in the middle of Piccadilly Circus. It is busy with traffic all around. I do not get the circus name unless it is all the entertainers acting up. Last time we were here - Rod Stewart sang a song for the Queen. It was recorded by me and BBC One - and was on TV that night.

At 7 PM - we walked up the street to the Gielgud Theatre. We have seen many shows here including Chariots of Fire in 2012 during the Olympics.

The show Sweat is closing down on July 20th. Our seats were great. The theatre held 900 people. The seats were very tight :-)  The show did not need a sound system - the characters were very loud.

It was a show about Reading PA - but it could have been anywhere in the Rust Belt. It could have been Tamaqua PA. The mills were closing down - strikes - plants moving to Mexico. Immigration. Race. Prejudice. Change.

It reminded me of our favorite play - Billy Elliot - except there were no show tunes - no dancing - and way way too much cursing. There was no happy ending. For me there was.

I had not read up on the play - I went in with no background. In the first half I even dozed off several times - to be awaken by loud dialog. The best scenes to me were the changing of sets live - the characters moved stuff around with good music.

One girl looked very familiar - a short pretty loudly profane blonde - my kind of girl :-) - She carried the play thru the rough spots. At intermission - I looked her up. We were both correct - it was Martha Plimpton - daughter of Keith Carradine - and granddaughter of John Carradine. The second half picked up - maybe because I was aware I was watching an award winning - movie - stage - and television star.

After the play - we caught Bus 14 home. There is nothing like the West End - when all the theaters let out at once. Cabs - buses - rickshaws - all over the place.

When we got home - there was tea and a birthday cake. It was approaching midnight for Cinderella.

We got to bed after 11 PM - and both slept the whole way through to 11 AM. It is now 1 PM - I am still at the breakfast table typing this.

It is all gong fast. It has been a week since we left home - three weeks left. 

For the next two weekends - we are going away - so this weekend we relax. Next weekend is 2 nights in York - the next weekend it is 3 nights in Paris to see Keith.

Ordering Chinese

Gielgud Theatre

It was called the Globe Theatre once

Martha Plimpton in Sweat


He looks so happy.

Afternoon swim at the club

The club is close to our apartment

Friday, July 12, 2019

Taxi Charging Up At Lunch

 I love the new LEVC electric taxi. They hold an 80 mile charge. In 25 minutes they can recharge to full. The taxi does have a backup generator.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Wednesday Lilting Around London

Lulu taught her first class Wednesday morning from 9 to 12.  After that we went roaming.  I love the scooters in London. With $7 a gallon gasoline - people conserve. The big red L means you have a learners permit. It lasts a year.

I love to sit in the top of a double decker bus and take pictures out front. this is Shaftsbury Street - the theatre district. 

The yellow buildings on the left are the FSU Study Centre. The British Museum is up the street by the trees.

99 Great Russell  Street is the FSU address. Taken from the top of the bus.

We went to St Paul's Cathedral for Evening Song.

We saw Wimbledom on the big screen at St Pauls. Great place to sit and have a beer. 

 Lulu's favorite is the Bagel Bakery. I just love these Salt Beef Sandwiches.

You are going to get sick of pictures of these new electric cabs. This was in front of Buckingham Palace - right before some guy tried to break in and meet the queen.

Niece Sharon Celebrated Her 50th - That Is - She Ran Her 50th Half-Marathon On Her 50th Birthday In Her 50th State

This is my niece Dr Sharon Williams. She is Judy Everhart Scarborough's daughter. She is as much Everhart as Drew and Keith - our sons. 

Above - she is celebrating her 50th. She just ran her 50th half-marathon on her 50th birthday - if that is not enough "different" for you - she ran it in Alaska. She ran a half-marathon in each of the 50 states. 

Sharon lives in New Jersey with her husband Vaughn and her two sons. Sharon is a Doctor of Audiology.

A half marathon is 13.1 miles. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Our London Home - 18 Bedford Place

This is our home for July. Lulu teaches a course at the FSU Study Center in the Bloomsbery Section of London. She has been doing that every summer since 2008.

18 Bedford Place is just south of Russel Square - and just east of the British Museum. 

We are here from July 6th to August 5th. We will spend a long weekend in Paris to visit our son who is starting a new job at

New Food Containers

In the short future - you will be seeing mustard - catsup - and all sorts of sauces - in these new containers. They are stand upside down squeeze pouches. The container will prevent oxygen from going inside to cause spoilage. Gravity will help - the product will flow better.