Monday, January 25, 2010

Home again.

I told Richard - I love being away, and then I love coming home. And so it is now. Home again, after our holiday. Tired (I need another holiday!) but so pleased that we did the things we did. We ate new food, saw new places, walked through a forest of bare trees which was coated in glistening white snow, and lay on a bench beneath a blazing blue sky. We drove, navigated and sang to Fleetwood Mac and James Taylor. We stood in freezing Time Square, hugging each other for warmth, counting in 2010 together. Not bad at all.

Where to next, I wonder?

Monday, January 18, 2010


Mariel had her first US screening of her film The Solitary Alchemist at Real Art Ways 17.01.10. Here are some pics from her Q&A and of course the Rockstone and Bootheel Exhibit.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie, America's Oldest Candy Company

The company dates back to 1806, when an English woman named Spencer was shipped wrecked and ended up in Salem. When her neighbors learned that Mrs. Spencer knew how to make candy they all got together and purchased for her a barrel of sugar. Her first candy was the "Salem Gibralter," said to be the first candy made and sold commercially in America and carried around the world by sea captains and their crew.

She originally sold her candy on the steps of the First Church but as the candies popularity grew she started selling to the surrounding towns by horse and wagon.
When Mrs. Spencer died her son carried on the business until about 1830. Her son decided to return to England and the company was then sold to a John William Pepper. John Pepper added Black Jack (an all natural stick candy made from black strap molasses).

Chocolate Cashew Turtle

It's great!!! So great that Oprah features it on her website.


seem to be the norm in SALEM. We saw black cats everywhere.



One of the early traders and merchants in Salem, Captain John Turner owned a number of ships and made his fortune in the Barbados trade. He built his house, later to become famous as the House of the Seven Gables, near his wharf. The house remained in his family for three generations and underwent many renovations.


Witch House
The building that would come to be known as the Witch House was purchased in an unfinished state by Jonathan Corwin, heir to one of the largest Puritan fortunes in New England, in 1675. Grander than most homes in Salem at the time, the house boasted three steep gables, a deep porch, and wide, triple-casement windows. Corwin was a merchant by trade, but it was in his role as local magistrate that gives lasting renown to the house: the Witch House is the only remaining house in Salem directly tied to the 1692 Witch Trials.

The Author of the Scarlett Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne was born here.



Before the Rockefellers, the Van Burens, the Kennedy’s, before the Johnson Family made their fortune off hair products and way before bill Gates and Oprah, there was Richard Derby. A merchant and fleet owner, Derby was America’s first millionaire and this was his house.

It’s the oldest brick house still standing in Salem, and one of the earliest examples of Georgian Colonial Architecture in America. The house was built in 1762.


"Salem with a little under eight thousand inhabitants, was the sixth city in the United States in 1790. Her appearance was more antique than even that of Boston, and her reek of the salt water, that almost surrounded her, yet more pronounced. For half a mile along the harbor front, subtended by the long finger of Derby Wharf, ran Derby Street, the residential and business center of the town. On one side were the houses of the gentry, Derbys and Princes, and Crownshields, goodly gambrel or hip-roofed brick and wooden mansions dating from the middle of the century, standing well back with tidy gardens in front. Opposite were the wharves, separated from the street by counting rooms, warehouses, ship-chandlers' stores, pump-makers' shops, sailmakers' lofts; all against a background of spars, rigging, and furled or brailed-up sails. Crowded within three hundred yards of Derby street, peeping between the merchants' mansions and over their garden walls like small boys behind a police cordon, were some eighteen or nineteen hundred buildings, including dwellings of pre-witch-craft days, with overhanging upper stories, peaked gables, small-paned windows, and hand-rifted clapboards black with age." (

The Friendship of Salem (rmr)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Google maps rock.

I have to say it was a great ride out of the city and onto the open highway.
Mariel was driving and I was navigating. Yeah... a couple of geeks on the open road.

We rented a Jeep SUV(we were geting a yellow corvette from the Hertz lady but Mariel said nooooo). Not bad though. Brand new and no GPS. So we mapped out everything off the iPOD and got rolling. Had a great soundtrack too. We were on Sirius satellite radio "Bridge". That's the one with the dog logo.

This was the soundtrack of the trip (when we turned on the radio that is...): Urgent/ Foreigner, Time in a Bottle /Jim Croce, The Beatles/Let it Be, Piano Man/Billy Joel, Joe Rafferty/Baker Street, Bill Withers/Ain't No Sunshine, Elton John/DAniel, Landslides/Fleetwood Mac, Human League, Tears for Fears, Drifting Away/Doobie Brothers, Dreamweaver, Everybody's talking/Nilsson
. It was fun. Total Time NY to Cambridge MA 4.40mins with two rest stops and some gawking. (rmr)

It was perhaps the perfect drive.

When Richard and I arrived at the Hertz centre in Manhattan, it was with the understanding that we were to collect a Hyundai accent for our trip to Boston and Connecticut. I'd made the booking on line, and being the budget traveller that I am, had decided we should go for the economy car. Imagine our surprise and delight when instead of the tiny accent, we were offered a comfortable (and very stable-looking) Jeep.

Richard and I had searched our route on google maps and written out a 28-point list of directions that would take us from Rachel's apartment in Harlem, to Christina's house in Roslindale - just outside of Boston. We were heading up there for a Memorial in honour of my father. The university at which he used to teach - Lesley - would be celebrating his contributions as a writer and teacher of writing.

Leaving Manhattan was simple enough. It only took a minute or two to get used to driving on the right side of the road. And our directions seemed to be spot-on.

Within a few minutes, we were heading north along the banks of the Hudson River - miles of bare trees to our right, the cold and quiet Hudson on our left. White snow glistened and sparkled on the banks and fields, and we drove past frozen lakes that were like magic to me. Although I've lived through many winters in England, I've never really experienced the expanses of frozen water that we drove past.

I threatened to start singing, and Richard turned on the radio! He found exactly the right music - mellow and easy to listen to: familiar but not distracting. And we sang, or sometimes just sat in a sort of quiet elation at this perfect moment that lasted for hours. Until we got to Boston and got lost! Alas... such is life. But I'm certain to never forget that drive.

Guggenheim on the last day

Picture of the Day

Leaving New York (rmr)

Last Day in New York