Thursday, October 29, 2009

When history reads like a novel...

Alison Weir is one of my favorite authors and she was our guest speaker at the AWC meeting this month. She is best known for her richly researched and impressively detailed novels of the Tudor period of history including two best selling novels, Innocent Traitor and The Lady Elizabeth, but my personal favorite is Mary, Queen of Scots. Her new book, The Lady in the Tower is about the imprisonment and execution of Queen Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife.....unprecedented in English history. She engaged us with her storytelling, signed books, and then, over lunch, graciously answered every question we could throw at her. It is her opinion that the present Queen, Elizabeth II, is not going anywhere and that Charles will be the oldest King in history to take the crown.
Before I left the States I also downloaded The White Queen by Philippa Gregory on my Amazon Kindle.....I just love it when history reads like a novel!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A fallen leaf..


The boat has been trailered and wrapped, the hard cover is back on the Jeep, the oil tank has been topped off, the patio cushions stored......oh Haley, we forgot to put out the snow stakes before the ground freezes!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

U2 Spy Pilot

One of my "New Year's Resolutions" this year was to record some of the interesting stories my Dad occasionally enlightens us with about his days as a U2 Spy Pilot in the 60's. To honor his 80th birthday my sister has been collecting pictures of our Dad in his glory days for a slide presentation and while combing through old trunks in my basement I came across several news articles about his FAMOUS "Half-way to Hickham" story. Now, all I can do is print the facts as they appear in these various's not the same story without Dad's animated expressions, his hands imitating the wings of a plane, and lots of cursing, as all pilots do when they are telling a "flame out" story...but it's the best I can do on my public blog!

In the News- November 24, 1960
A boy, weighing 6 pounds 3 ounces is born to President -elect and Mrs. Kennedy........
Cheating the Pacific Ocean, a Laughlin Air Force Base pilot flying a U2 aircraft made a deadstick landing at Hickham Air Base in Hawaii Thursday at 6:01 pm after a flameout caused brief engine failure......


"Captain Robert (The Deacon) Hall's plane had a brief engine failure about 1,100 miles northeast of Hickham before 3 pm. He was able to complete a normal air start and continue toward Hawaii but the fuel was exhausted several minutes before he reached there. The pilot established a glide pattern and a T-33 jet trainer was launched from Hickham to guide him through the overcast into the landing pattern. An SC54 rescue aircraft from the 76th Air Rescue Squadron at Hickham was dispatched to intercept and rescue the U2 when Captain Hall reported the possibility of fuel shortage which was caused by the high rate of consumption which caused the original engine failure"

Here's the humorous part...
While waiting word on her husband's arrival, Mrs. Hall stayed by the phone and entertained her children...."When they called me, I told Colonel Wilcox that I knew Deke wasn't going to get all wet. He has too many babies at home to think about!" Officials notified her as soon as the message reached Laughlin (Del Rio, Texas) that he had made a safe landing.
(I'm sure, She and Miss Kay poured themselves a stiff one, babies or not!)

A great story, a great career, a great man...
Happy Birthday Dad!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Still Away!

If you caught a glimpse of the Patriot's game last night you know that it was snowing in Boston so I am posting a few pictures from Boca Raton last week to remind me of warm sand, sunrises, and iced tea under the umbrella. Just shows how quickly the cold creeps into my bones!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

7 AM in Hyde Park

My goal is to get up early with Rick and meet "the walking group" at 7 AM in Hyde Park. It is also the time when the Household Cavalry Regiments head out for their morning strolls. It is a sight to behold and one I have grown to respect and expect as the sun breaks through the early morning mist.

Intertwined with joggers- their suits tucked into back packs, flashing bike riders- wearing skirts and heels, a few bench warmers - still carrying their half-empty bottle of vodka, and the exercise fanatics who subject themselves to military style training....we walk from Knightsbridge to Speaker's Corner, along the Serpentine where we always say good morning to our favorite new statue, Isis. I've also been keeping my eye on this artist - his painting is a scene of the early morning in Hyde Park...just before the street lights go off and the sun rises. I'm going to ask him about it next time!

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Ah...Grand Paris......for the day!

Our first stop in Paris was Angelia's on Rue de Rivoli for a purely decadent cup of thick hot chocolate and pastries. Just the sugar rush we needed to jump-start us for our guided tour of the Musee du Louve. Our guide concentrated on the Renaissance collection (the Denon Wing), including Leonardo da Vinci's portrait of Mona Lisa. She was wonderful and I was able to draw on what I had learned on our trip to Verona last spring. Without her guidance we may still be wondering around...lost in the Louvre!

A walk across the Seine took us to the Left Bank where we found a quaint bistro and enjoyed a long lunch. Next on our sightseeing list....the Eiffel Tower.

The long walk to the Eiffel tower took us down cobbled streets off the boulevard and along the river. We are sure we saw someone famous associated with Fashion Week in Paris. Do you recognize any of these people?

As evening approached we ended our day with a stroll down the Champs Elysees, starting at the Arc de Triomphe and ending at the Metro station. We had a little drama at the Eurostar train station - avoid a first class ticket -
but boarded our train for London with lots of fun memories. It was a great day in Paris with friends!