Showing posts sorted by relevance for query devon. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query devon. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, July 28


Mary and Devon, who is a great kid. Devon is the oldest of three and these days his favorite sport is downhill racing which he does about every weekend in the Connecticut mountains nearby Mary and Amado's second home. He is also a swimmer and footballer, which he and Eitan bond over. Devon BTW is Eitan's self-proclaimed BBF and with brother Simon they have a blast rocketing about (there is a bit of a thing against girls right now but this will pass, oh boy).

I'm pretty much out of touch with the news and the world which is heavenly. I did see that Max won his libel case against News Of The World which I guess is interesting. Fleet Street is world class, God bless it, but goes too far on occasion - this why we love it dearly, Brother.

Monday, August 20

Mary's Boys

Mary and Devon and Simon. Devon, the older one, has turned eight and Eitan looks up to him for all that he is - and especially his age. Devon plays football (check), is on the ski team (check check) and lives in New York City (check! check! check!). Simon bops in and out and the boys amuse themselves by "hiding" from us during our walk. Devon and Simon attend a primary school for Columbia profs where Amado teaches maths to 13 and 14 year-olds. He is well respected and serves as a confident, I understand. Without doubt those kids are in good hands.

Monday, August 15

North Devon

Shaka dude
We spend the weekend in North Devon for some surfing and both kids enjoy the beach (picture tattoos, sunburn, babies crying and parents smoking).

The North Devon Coast Area is known for its outstanding natural beauty and Woolacombe Beach chosen as"Britain's Best Beach in 2015  and 13th best in the world by TripAdvisor which says a lot about them. Yes, it's sandy and the water salty but it is not a place I would return to, dear reader. There is no California sunset. I will come back for Madeleine, not doubt. She is committed to the waves.

The beachside chippy, however, totally legit - a line forms along the block from 11AM. Inside, the Brits order fish and chips or sausage and chips or just chips. The order, doused in salt and vinegar, arrives in a card-board box, complete with small wood fork.

Server: "Order please?"
Lady: "I'll be hav'n those chips. And the cod please."
Server: "Order please?"
Lady 2: "Two chips. Make it three chips and the fish."
Server: "Order please."
Man 1: "Chips and a sausage."
Server: ""Order please."
Man 2: "Oy matey, I'll get a double portion of them chips."
Server: "Order please."
Man 3: "Chips and the beef burger."
Server: "Oder please."
Lady 3: "Hmmm. Yes, I'll have the chips and the vinegar, if you don't mind."
Server: "Order please."
Me: "Anyone ever not order chips?"
Me: "I'll have the chips."

Saturday, July 12

Go Pro

Devon is into skiing. He is a skier. Last year he won the Buddy Warner Pacific Northwest Championships for 12-13 year-olds  on Crystal Mountain - there were over 100 competitors.  He qualified for the Jr Olympics this year but crashed out (Nb, Devon's worst crash occurred when he was free skiing and came over blind noll into an inadequate grooming job and flew 40 feet into the trees, hitting tree branches but, fortunately, no trunks, and walked away, more or less. The ski patrol thought he was dead, he tells me).

Devon's long-term ambition is to make the national ski team and ski competitively in college.

Me: "Maybe I will stop my blog."
Rob: "Why? It's your journal."
Me: "It's mainly about the kids, and I can no longer write everything that is going on."
Eitan: "What can't you write?"
Me: "Stuff that will embarrass you."
Eitan: "There's nothing that would embarrass me, Dad."
Me: "Puberty."
Sophie: "Ag, don't say that."
Eitan: "OK, OK."

Sunday, May 24


Devon and Eitan square off. The kids pick up without a missed beat. We arrive yesterday and within moments a water fight. Then game of tag followed by football, that is, soccer here on terre firma. Despite Eitan and Madeleine's jet lag they are buzzing along post bed-time which is fine with us as we are asleep by 8PM. This morning Devon makes a vat of oatmeal and we head for the lake to water ski while I sneak in my long-run. Amado plays a mixer tournament. From there, the swimming pool and now more shenanigans at the house as the children tasked with watering the plants. I think 50% makes soil and we know where the rest to be. Unfortunately for Madeleine, fortunately for Eitan, Kuman follows them to here and they now work away. Devon notes that Eitan lucky: "I have, like, six hours of homework to do. And I am going to do it tomorrow." A boy after my own heart.

From the jacket of "Frankenstein": "Mary Shelley (1797-1851) was the daughter of the philosopher and writer William Godwin and of Mary Wollstonecraft, author of "Vindication of the Rights of Woman." In 1814 she eloped with the poet Shelley to the Continent, marrying him on the death of his first wife. Frankenstein (1818) was written during a stay in Switzerland when she, Shelley and Byron each agreed to write a supernatural story."

Madeleine: "Dad, will you itch my big toe there? No, there .. up a bit ... ahhhh."

Saturday, November 29


We awake at the Barcelona Hotel in Exeter and there is only one thing on the kiddos minds: buffet! Sonnet goes for a run on the River Exe and I stumble downstairs with the Shakespeares to have breakfast where they load up three or four times. Me, I drink coffee and watch them stuff their happy little faces. Speaking of stuffing, we will do so again shortly celebrating Thanksgiving. I hope beforehand we will do some walking or visit the seaside - Devon offers some of Britain's most scenic pictures and we have gotten to know it well. In fact, Sonnet and I walked the Northam Burrows in Dartmoor when she was seven months pregnant with Eitan. In fact, Devonshire is home to part of England's only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Dorset and East Devon Coast, known as the Jurassic Coast for its geology and geographical features. Along with its neighbour, Cornwall, Devon is known as the "Cornubian massif". This geology gives rise to the landscapes of Dartmoor and Exmoor, both national parks today.

Wednesday, August 6

MO in 24

Cousins Di Di and Devon
We touch the Missouri River and the Mississippi River in the same day, pretty cool, and now it is St Louis.

We visit Moe's side of the family and cousin Di Di organises a re union at Aunt Ida's Jewish retirement home (next to a Chinese restaurant, of course) which includes Liebermans and Orensteins and Seniors. Ida is 103 years old and sharp - she recalls everybody's face and where they are on the family tree. A highlight is Joy's photo album which takes us back to the 1920s.

Moe's cousin and childhood pal Al is with his wife Alice, a freshman at University City High School when Moe was a Senior. This area was predominantly Jewish until the '70s and so where my Orthodox great-grandfather Horen landed in the late 19th century, speaking only yiddish (Joy tells us). Horen left Russia to escape the pograms of the 1890s and entered America via Ellis Island. Alice tells me Moe was school President, and "very important and so handsome. We all looked up to him."

Devon is a great kid (head connected to electronic toy) and son of Shavon and Danny, who was adopted by Joy and Larry in '72, before mixed adoptions were stopped (says Joy). Danny is 6'4" and Joy 4'11".  Shavon is from Oakland and, remarkably, was a Freshman at Berkeley High School when I was a Senior, though we did not know each other.

Me: "What do you think of the Liebermans ?"
Madeleine: "Huh?"
Me: "Did you know that you had all these Jewish relatives in St Louis?"
Madeleine: "No."
Me: Pretty cool."
Madeleine: "Yep."
The Jew Crew

Monday, July 28


Here is the inside of Mercer Caverns. Without lighting there is complete darkness. Initially Madeleine wants nothing to do with the caves remember Wales but she joins in the end. The children as all sorts of interesting questions: "where do the rocks come from?" (Madeleine); "Why does that look like chocolate?" (Maya); "Is there any gold?" (Devon); "Is there any gold pylate? (Devon) This last question flummoxes our otherwise informed guide. From there we descend 208 steps - despite this depth it is not the bottom, where a breeze enters the caves providing oxygen and cool air. While there is general curiosity where the air source originates, it against California law to dig or damage the pristine below for discovery. Various methods BTW were used including blue smoke which, it was believed, would exit somewhere outside Mercer and provide the source. Fat chance, as the current kept the smoke inside and smoked everybody else out. Eitan BTW reports that there are only 192 steps to the bottom and if there was a bet I would put it with him.

Sunday, February 28

Surf's Up

So, in fact, Madeleine turned 14 earlier this month. Her birthday present a 7' surf-board, for which she campaigned following a family week spent in Marina Del Mar, Oceanside, California in December where the kid stood up. Pictured.

There is, I am aware, good surfing in England - mainly in Devon and Cornwall (about 5 hours drive from London) - but the water is typically below 60 degrees and requires a 4/3 density suit, booties, gloves and a hoodie to be tolerable. The water coldest in the first quarter but such things no deterrent for our surfer girl, who begs me to take her for a weekend or longer. It will come if only to ensure she uses here present once.

Madeleine via text about something: Thankyoooooooo❤️
Immediate follow up: Emoji unintended

Madeline text: Can you do me a favour? Because I don't know how the printer works can u print off 3 different versions of McBeth witches for me?

I send Madeleine a text photo of Vermeer's 'Girl With A Pearl Ear Ring."
Madeleine text response: That's a cool painting Dad.

Sunday, November 23

Happy Returns

Halley and Willem
Halley and Sonnet spend the day preparing early Thanksgiving. Big things are happening in their family: Willem is heading up the Oxford's mindfulness center having built up a similar program and first of its kind at Exeter University. He is two weeks on the job. He is also taking up a Chair at the Univ of Oxford as Prof of Clinical Psychology in the Dept of Psychiatry and notes "that I feel like a young Turk again" and one should always feel on the up and up. [Dad's note: One of the major research programs Willem is working on is mindfulness at secondary schools and Hampton School was one of the first to sign on].

Zoe is in her AS levels preparing for her exams and running cross country (she recently won a race in East Devon) while Ava continues to pursue top level football with the Oxford United FA Center of Excellence. Halley keeps it all together and moving forward in a most forceful direction. Halley is also involved with CIC which offers mindfulness courses in Exeter.

Me: "Give me a quote."
Zoe: "Lower your voice and strengthen your argument." 
Willem: "I can respect that."

Sunday, July 13

Beautiful Child

So there is the usual split between the kids : teenagers (Devon, Sophie, Eitan) the tweenies (Madeleine, Jaimes, Simon, Darya) and Maya who is really, like, the oldest kid in the group yet the youngest by age. And so it goes.

The teenagers are practicing adolescents and we keep an eye on the on-goings : lights that are off are turned on, sleeping arrangements monitored and babysitters advised. Usual stuff.

And Rob says, "Jeff, we have beer."

Sunday, May 26


Ava is a crack footballer so no surprise she makes to trip from Devon to see the women's EUFA Champions League at Stamford Bridge.  The final between Lyon and Wolfsburg, who win 1-nil, preventing the defending champions from three in a row. I have known this kid her whole life and she is a good one.

Sunday, February 24

One More From The City

Queen Victoria St and Cannon St

Sonnet back from Devon and not without drama as she has to add oil to the car en route. I take her through the steps to open the hood.  We re-union with hugs and kisses and my peaceful long week end comes to an end (I would be lying if I told you, dear reader, that I did not enjoy it. Madeleine: "Nice, Dad.").

Simon, the father of Billy, in Los Angeles to win an Oscar for the sound work to 'Les Mis.'  He has already won the BAFTA.

Fauja Singh, age 101, completes his last race, the Hong Kong 10K, in 1:32; in 2011 he celebrated 100 by running the Toronto Marathon (his eighth since turning 90).  Says he: "I am happy that I am retiring at the top of the game."  And there is hope for us all.

Thursday, February 21

Good Bet

Sonnet and the kids in Devon with Halley.  I take advantage of the evening to do some work, blog, watch TV .. .usual stuff.

On the walk home I pass Ladbrokes, a bright and vacuous gambling storefront with multi media showing the horses or dogs, a cash counter+betting papers to keep track of the action. A radio's broadcast incongruent with the sports screens.  Always there are middle aged men betting nickles and pounds. The enticement ads have not changed in 15 years (Andre Agassi with hair; some ancient rugby match). I imagine sitting in a KFC for five hours. This is what these guys do.

Ladbrokes the largest betting company in the UK and largest retail bookmaker in the world with 2,400 retail betting shops in the UK, Spain and Belgium.

Friday, October 12

Self Portait XXVIII

And so another Friday.  This time, Sonnet to Devon to spend the weekend with Halley leaving me with the Shakespeares and, boy, it is non-stop : Eitan runs a 5K, both swimming and football practice and an Elm Grove match. Conveniently all these things miles apart and at different times.

I arrive home to find Magda, Madeleine's hair-cutter for years, in the kitchen snipping her to a bob.  She sits there grinning and I agree : it is a fab look. I tell her she looks like a Beatle.

For all those worried about Rusty, the dog has his wag back.

Tuesday, November 23

Zoe And Fuzzy+A Party Date Set

Zoe has settled into her grammar school in Devon - one of the country's best. Last year she was working like mad but now it is under control - the shock behind her.

North Korea attacks South Korea. Ireland falls apart. Main news story : wedding date fixed for Kate and William in April, 2011. The PM grants a bank holiday week end. We are going to par-tay dude.

Thursday, April 8

Freedom And No Freedom

Spring has arrived and how quickly life cheers up. Here I am before an Anish Kapoor.

Since Sonnet in Devon with the kids, I spend my evenings with Tommy, drink red wine and read books. Does this make me an alcoholic? Probably so. My clothes piling up in the corner or on the bed post. The mornings are luxurious - two hours peace before going into the office .. whenever. The sunlight floods our bedroom from 6AM and, I must admit, I am feeling pretty good with myself. Last night I am out until past Midnight with Arnaud and his fiancee- we have dinner at a trendy Brazilian-Sushi restaurant in Chelsea - did you know that Brazil has the largest Japanese population outside of Japan? According to the IBGE, there is somewhere around 1.5 million Japanese in Brazil vs. 1.2 million in the US. Go figure. So .. Arnaud is from Paris and a fund investor whom I was with recently in Chantilly. He is clever and I respect his judgements of people and their situational circumstances. While most (and especially MBAs) consider themselves a good "read" of character, Arnaud is.

The Times reports that President George W Bush knew that hundreds of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay were innocent, but covered the fact up for political reasons. Retired Army Col. Lawrence B. Wilkerson, who served as chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, has testified that officials "knew that they had seized and were holding innocent men at Guantanamo." and "They simply refused to release them out of fear of political repercussions." The Times reports that Wilkerson's assertions are supported by General Powell. This inglorious period will not be remembered kindly by history. I sometimes wonder what it was like during McCarthyism or Vietnam, Watergate or other self-inflicted dark periods. Now I know.

"I discussed the issue of the Guantanamo detainees with Secretary Powell. I learnt that it was his view that it was not just Vice-President [Dick] Cheney and [Defense] Secretary [Donald] Rumsfeld, but also President Bush who was involved in all of the Guantanamo decision making.
--Lawrence Wilkerson

Monday, April 5


Madeleine leaves the worst for last and tonight that means broccoli. I promise her "no desert" unless her plate clean and she calculates exactly how much she must finish to the nibble (pictured). Joe joins us today, a bank holiday, and with Eitan we kick the ball around until dinner time, but not before they and Madeleine chase water rowers on the pond. Joe's family is off for Spain tomorrow while Sonnet and the kids to Devon Wednesday to visit Halley. Two weeks, no school. Ah, yes, to be a kid.

Sunday, January 17

Martin, Helen

Madeleine bravely announces she reduces her "buddies" from 115 to 30: "I want the best buddies, not all the buddies that I don't like. I am keeping all the buddies given to me by you and mum."

We have our neighbors, Helen and Martin, to afternoon tea. Helen quite serious - proper- and Martin loquacious. He is filled with stories of the area as he should be having been born in the house he now lives in. Actually born, Sonnet points out. Martin in his 70s, I would guess, and probably 20-years older then Helen - they met via their parents who played tennis together. (side story: Martin's mother, Kitty Godfree, ranked Top Ten in women's tennis from 1921 when rankings began to 1927; she won five Olympic medals at '20 Antwerp and '24 Paris still the most medals ever won by a tennis player; Godfree also won Wimbledon twice. A blue plaque on their house).

Martin an electrical engineer and advises Big Projects on electrical rigging which takes him around the world like Brighton, where he advises on ten miles of undergound traffic tunneling. We talk about the Shard of Glass, soon to be Europe's tallest at 72 floors, rising above London Bridge. Martin tells me he plans electrical platforms every twenty stories for the building phase.He notes "a perfectly nice" 42-story demolished next to Tower Bridge station to make way for .. progress. "A frightful waste of good materials" he adds. "We used to use wonderful materials on our buildings, like local timber and stone, that moved together allowing the properties to age."

I ask Martin about World War II and he recalls being relocated to Devon during the air raids."Only one house on the block had a bomb-shelter" (on our cul de sac). "After the war, it was not very practical for the garden, you see, so he had it removed. He dug it up and drove it away." Sheen was spared most of the Luftwaffe's destruction since we are West London while the planes followed the river in from east, destroying the docklands (now Canary Wharf) and looking for juicy targets in the city's center. A bomb did flatten a part of nearby Palmerstone Road and five new houses recognizable. Martin recalls a bomb falling through the roof of number 53 "but it did not blow. (interned) Polish workers probably did a number on the fuse." By us, pilots dropped their left-over payloads or went after a now defunct electricity plant. Or maybe the Stag brewery to demoralize the public. "The Putney (train) station or Barnes bridge targets- they always want the bridges." How unusual to learn that massive anti-aircraft guns in Richmond Park on top of a hill.

Strange factoid: George Orwell's given name Blair. How 1984.

Wednesday, July 29

Ocean Pacific

Shot of the OP from several moments ago, sent to me by surfing and investment buddy Hans (note the order). I cannot compare to Britain having never surfed here, but I do know there are good breaks in North Devon - here is a description of Cambeak from Global Surfers (dude!): "Left hand point breaking over rock. A hideously shaped stand up barreling sledge hammer lipped peak. Take off is free fall into a dredging pit, the wave then chills to a fast vertical wall. If the bottom turn from take off doesn't rip the fins out then you have pretty much made it. " Sounds about right.

There is no feeling that compares to knowing a swell hitting the following morning and you, up at 4AMwith your best friends, to paddle into 60-degree water to .. surf. Or boogey board. It is like being eight years old all over again - and sadly, very few things in life compare to that. One day I will return to my beloved ocean but it won't be for a while.

Sonnet with the kiddos today as Madeleine having her neck lump scanned to make sure not dangerous. Sonnet reports back nothing - absolutely nothing - to worry about.