Self just returned from a loooong trip overseas: Northern Ireland, London, and Oxford. It was her first overseas trip in three years.
In 2020, The Penn Club closed its doors forever, ending 100 years in its Bloomsbury location. Self mourned! This building was her home-away-from-home whenever she was in London. A haven. Just off Russell Square.
As soon as she got to London, in early May, she rushed to Bedford Place. She found that the building remained unchanged: the red door even seemed freshly painted. She walked right up to the door and peered through the glass: she saw the narrow lobby, the stairs leading to the upper floors.
She took a picture of the main entrance: who knows if it will still be there, the next time she’s in London:
I’ll say again, no one can write naval battles like James D. Hornfischer. When he died, June 2021, the world lost many stories, still begging to be told.
On 27 February 1942, the world had its first taste of the “astonishing range” of a new type of torpedo, the Japanese Type 93. An international flotilla of carriers, cruisers and destroyers (American, Australian, English and Dutch) were in defensive formation, trying to stop the advance of a massive group of Japanese battleships heading towards the strategic Australian port of Darwin.
The first to be hit was the HMS Exeter, but the Australian captain of the Perth raced towards it, “firing floating smoke pots into the sea that churned out white clouds” and bought the Exeter precious time. The next to be hit was the Dutch destroyer Kortenaer, which was screening the Allied flotilla from the west and “found herself broadside to a spread of Long Lances.” After one “tremendous explosion” produced “a tower of seawater that swallowed her nearly from forecastle to fantail,” the ship lay “broken in two, jackknifed and foundering . . . a few men desperately scrambling to cling to her barnacled bottom. A few of them” were still able to flash a thumbs-up sign to the passing Allied ships. “No ship stopped to take survivors,” there was no time.
Not sure how old she was here: perhaps in her 40s?
Self’s desktop this month is Dearest Mum, wearing traditional Filipino formal attire (the scoop back, the butterfly sleeves) at her beloved piano.
Her name was NENA DEL ROSARIO. A graduate of Curtis Music Institute in Philadelphia (which she entered at 11), she won the New York Times International Piano Competition at 14, played twice at Carnegie Hall, passed away 4 June 2021. Long, hard fight: she got covid in Manila in March.
Thanks again to Cee Neuner for hosting this wonderful challenge. I love the picture of wild daisies she posted today.
This gorgeous bouquet is from my oldest best friends, Bob and Diane Varner. We lived in side-by-side apartments in Menlo Park, when we were in our twenties. She and Bob moved to El Granada many years ago, but we kept in contact.
Yesterday, I broke the news to them that Dearest Mum didn’t make it. She fought a long, hard battle in Manila with covid, lasted three months. She was admitted to Makati Medical at the height of the latest surge, in March.
I’d been having weekly FaceTimes with her since the start of the New Year. When she missed one week, then another, I called and they said she had a fever. Then, dread test results: positive for covid. She was sent home from the hospital in May, no longer with covid, but she never quite recovered. She lasted till June! She passed very peacefully in her sleep, two days ago. She was 85.
In the afternoon, I was rushing out the door when I stopped and was dazed. Amazed. Speechless. Aren’t these the most GORGEOUS roses you have ever seen?