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Friday, August 16, 2019

Preparing For China

Folks are asking why no posts. We are busy preparing for China. We leave in 5 days.

Everything is good. We got our China visas. Nancy upgraded our tickets to first class for a full flat bed on the long flight. 

I must admit that I am a little timid. We have never traveled to a place like China - and never traveled for such a long period - 5 months.

Beijing's weather is similar to our old home in Tamaqua PA. We will need clothes for all seasons. 

We normally take just a carry-on bag - but this flight will be 5 checked pieces of luggage. We can take 6 free.

We are both in excellent health. After my spine surgery - pain is a distant memory. It had not felt this good in 30 years.

I am excited to see if my computer and iphone function properly over there. We are hoping our home television Slingbox System works. Also Sirius Radio.

You can contact me by email or text message. Our T-Mobil phone supposedly works - but there would be a 25 cent a minute charge on calls.

I look forward to writing more - once we get there.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

German And Italian Prisoners Of War Build Pre-Fab Homes In London

Lulu said - I would take one - on the beach


Beautiful gardens


Someday soon it will all be gone











Kitchen - bath - living room - 2 bedrooms - in 600 sq ft

During World War II - 500,000 homes were destroyed in England by German bombs and rockets. Although the Germans never set foot on Great Britain - a war of terror caused great damage to the British homeland. Even before the war ended - in 1944 - a plan was put into place to use prisoners of war to build tiny prefabricated homes to provide temporary housing for the residents. Today - we would probably use trailers - but Britain build 180,000 small homes out of steel and concrete made from war rubble. They were assembled on site and supposed to last 10 years. Many people were just happy to have an indoor bathroom. 

England was on war rationing until 1954. Coal - gasoline - food - cloth - were all rationed. These things money could not buy without a ration coupon.

On Saturday - our last full day in London - we wanted to see something different. We took the train to Catford in South London. A development called Excalibur at one time was composed of 160 of these tiny homes. In homes that were supposed to last 10 years - people were still living and thriving 70 years later. The village was originally set up in park land. Now that land has become worth millions. An effort is being made to get the people out of the pre-fab homes - and develop the land. 

Excalibur was at one time a happy little tidy community. Now it reminds one of a holiday campground or an almost abandoned company coal town. The little houses are in all states of repair. Many are gone with nothing but a little foundation or sidewalk remaining. Tiny alleys and streets are overgrown in places - manicured in others. After the war - people found community and peace here. Now it is being turned over and erased like an Etch-o-Sketch toy. It was never meant to last this long - but it is still sad to see people pushed out. 

There is a cute modern community of Tiny Houses just opening west of Tallahassee FL. The tiny homes are all pristine lined up like cordwood. Families and friendships are being developed there. Is this how communities come and go? It seems a little sad. Nothing is constant but change.



Roughly 20 x 30 feet = 600 sq ft


This one had a nice yard with a few cars


This one looked closed


The garden was overgrown - owners gone


Thru the window - a coal burning fireplace


Thru the window - a steel bathtub


This old mini fit right in


This person had a Lexus and loved flowers


These alleys served as streets - few cars - just bikes



Excalibur had streets named after Camelot




This church still operates in the old military quonset hut


Poured concrete church school



It used to be tidy and green

Here is how you fit a bathroom - 2 bedrooms - living room - kitchen - porch in 600 square feet

Friday, August 02, 2019

We Were Blown Away By The Tina Turner Play

Nkeki Obi-Melekwe was fabulous


Review by Lulu Everhart

Tina, the play about the life of Tina Turner, just opened last summer when we were in London.
Harry is a magician at getting very good tickets for all the plays I want to see but this one was
impossible. I had hoped it was still playing this summer and was happy to see that it was. Time
was running out as we were going home in 4 days and it would be my last chance to see a
matinee on Thursday after my final class. My ticket magician didn’t disappoint (more on this in his blog) and we were all set for 2:30 p.m. show.
Biographies are my favorite reading genre and Tina’s book in the 80’s was a riveting tale. By
now we all know the story of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband Ike, her rise to fame as a solo artist. The play was getting outstanding reviews and I had a feeling that this
show would be special. I even bought a 12 pound program when I entered the theatre. Let’s just say it did not disappoint. The lead, Nkeki Obi-Melekwe was fabulous. She WAS Tina Turner. She could act, sing, dance (oh, could she dance). My program came in handy for some inside information – the young woman just graduated from the University of Michigan in 2018 – I couldn’t believe she was that young and play such a mature role. I am now a full-fledged fan and will follow her career and try to see her in everything she does in the future. The supporting roles were equally excellent. Ike, Tina’s mother, the Ikettes, all of them. The young girl who played Tina as a child could belt out a song that filled the theatre and was adorable in her dress and pigtails.
The sets reinforced the story and were more elaborate than are the typical in London. And in
several scenes the live band was on stage as part of the story and for the electric finale. As we walked home on a perfect London evening, we talked about seeing one more play on Saturday
but decided to leave perfection alone and conclude our theatre-going season with Tina.


Video ends with Proud Mary.

After thoughts by Harry.

I hope the video I posted shows up here - it may be pulled by the censors. I shot it using an iphone in my shirt pocket - I think it is quite good considering. Simply - at 9 AM I went to the box office. They had first and second row seating left - and sold me two for 31 pounds each. I had the choice of front row end or second row middle. They were smashing seats but sometimes heads got in the way.

At 2:30 - we were in our seats - ready for action. 

Tina's story is compelling but not uncommon for American women - that is - American men being me-firsters. When American women finally get the chance to spread their wings - it will be a better place. Tina has to deal with - being black - being a women - and being poor. She had talent and persistence in spades. I am dating myself but she reminds me of Josephine Baker. Tina is a great American success story.We loved Tina.