Monthly Archives: August 2015

England 1976 Part III

England 1976 Part III

Spending a day at Hyde Park was like spending a day out in the country – well, almost. Hyde Park is one of London’s largest parks. It was the site of the Great Exhibition of 1851 and is famous for its Speaker’s Corner. The day we were there, someone was on his soap box going on about something but when you’re on a two-week vacation you don’t have time for political and philosophical discourse. In 1976, it looked like a beach not an urban park (although now, a lot of urban parks also look like beaches. Visit my August 31, 2014 Cleveland blog by clicking the travel musings link and see what I mean.)

The London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo. It opened in London on April 27, 1828 as a center for scientific stud but it didn’t open to the public until 1847.  The London Zoo was one of the biggest zoos I ever saw up to that point in my life.


Share Button

England 1976 Part II

England 1976 Part II


The weather was in the 90s but my Mediterranean blood didn’t complain. I was here to see London and hot weather wasn’t going to stop me (or my friends, I assumed).

Besides, we could get a lot for our dollars…..

Trafalgar Square was filled with people and pigeons. That was the first stop of many that day.

Later, we went to Kensington Palace (which reminded me of a scene out of Pride and Prejudice), St. Paul’s Cathedral, Piccadilly Circus, Hyde Park, St. James Park, London Zoo, No. 10 Downing Street, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey and more. (What was just as significant was what we didn’t see: Stonehenge, Windsor Castle the National Gallery, and Covent Garden although we did get to see a play.) I was using my Pentax Spotmatic and took photos that will always remind me of my trip to England: the places look like they do on a picture postcard.

Trafalgar Square is a public square located in the City of Westminster and commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, a British naval victory during the Napoleonic Wars. Nelson’s Column is in the center of the square, guarded by four lion statues at is base. The Square is sometimes used for political demonstrations and community gatherings like New Year’s Eve celebrations.

A residence of the British Royal family, Kensington Palace is located in Kensington Gardens (where else?). Today, it is home to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.

Westminster Abbey is a large Gothic church located in the City of Westminster and just west of the Palace of Westminster. The abbey is the traditional place for coronations and as a burial site for British monarchs.

Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the Great Clock located at the north end of the Palace of Westminster.

The Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the Houses of Parliament. Parliament consists of the House of Commons and the House of Lords and lies on the northern bank of the River Thames.

For Art-Lovers: The Emmeline Pankhurst Statue, dedicated in honor of the leader of the British suffragette movement, sits in Victoria
Tower Gardens.

The Burghers of Calais Statue is one of twelve casts by the sculptor Auguste Rodin. Unveiled in 1915, this cast is also located at the Victoria Tower Gardens near the Houses of Parliament.

For those who are wondering, Emmeline Pankhurst does have a head!

NEXT WEEK: London Zoo, Hyde Park and more….

Share Button

England 1976 Part I

England 1976 Part I
1970s Writer as Photographer

The 1970s: Writer as Photographer

In July, 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus which prompted me to travel to England in 1976. What’s the connection? My aunts, uncles and cousins lived in a hamlet called Harcha (sometimes spelled Hartjia or Hartzia) in northern Cyprus. Turkey invaded from the north and my relatives barely had enough time to flee for their lives. Not everyone from northern Cyprus escaped and many Greeks are still listed as missing (as are Turks and Armenians and others). My relatives found themselves living in refugee camps in their own country.

By 1976, some of them had immigrated to England so I went to visit them. I had lived with them for seven months in 1965 in Harcha so I wanted to see how they were doing.

1976 was a leap year. America was celebrating its Bicentennial (200th birthday) making it ironic that I went to visit the country whose taxation policies led to the American Revolution.

1976 was the year of the Entebbe raid, the discovery of Legionnaire’s Disease, and Jimmy Carter’s election to the presidency. The UK suffered the hottest, driest, sunniest summer of its twentieth century (at least, up to that point).

My friends and I arrived during the waning days of summer (Labor Day added an extra day to our vacation). I spent a week or so in London with my friends; then I went to see my aunts, uncle and cousins in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex. Leigh wasn’t anything like Harcha but it was the real England and that’s where my relatives settled. While we were visiting England other headlining stories occurred:

On Sept. 4, Palestinians hijacked KLM DC-9 on a flight to Cyprus.

On Sept.7, US Courts find George Harrison, formerly of the Beatles, guilty of plagiarism.

On Sep. 9, Chairman Mao Zedong of the People’s Republic of China died of a heart attack.

On Sept. 10, A British Airways Trident and a Yugoslav DC-9 collide near Zagreb, Yugoslavia (present day Zagreb, Croatia) killing all 176 aboard. (The newspapers carried the headline on the day we visited Big Ben, Parliament and Westminster Abbey.)

On Sept. 10, Five Croatian terrorists capture TWA-plane at La Guardia airport, New York.

While we were in England we saw all the major sites in London. Buckingham Palace was first on our list but the Queen was away at Balmoral. That meant that we couldn’t see the rooms normally open to the public. It was disappointing to us; we really wanted to see the interior of the palace.

I loved the British Museum and the Greek antiquities. Back then, we weren’t sensitized to the fact that Lord Elgin stole these ancient works from Greece.

Buckingham Palace has been the official residence of the British kings and queens since 1837. It is also the administrative headquarters of Queen Elizabeth, the Duke of Edinburgh and the immediate royal family. Great royal ceremonies, state visits and investitures are held there.

For more information, visit

The Queen Victoria Monument was the work of the sculptor Sir Thomas Brock in 1901 and unveiled in 1901. The Monument stands outside Buckingham Palace.

Established in 1763, the British Museum initially housed Sir Hans Sloan’s art collection. Sir Hans Sloan was a physician and scientist. The museum was first opened to the public on January 15, 1759 and until 1997, also housed a national library. For more information, visit their website

Saint James Park sits in the middle of a “square” with Buckingham Palace to the left, the Mall to the north, the Horse Guards to the east and Birdcage Walk to the south. Visit for maps and more information.

St. Paul’s Cathedral, an Anglican cathedral, is the seat of the Bishop of London and the “mother church” of the Diocese of London. Saint Mellitus, a monk, founded the original church in 604 A.D. and dedicated it to Paul the Apostle. Designed by Christopher Wren, the present church edifice dates from the 17th century.

NEXT WEEK: Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Parliament and more…

Below are listed two books on the Decade of Disco Fever:

The 1970s by Tim Healey

The 1970s by Kelly Boyer Sagert

Share Button

Summer Camp: Drawing with Yarn and Starch (or Glue)

Summer Camp: Drawing with Yarn and Starch (or Glue)



Three small bowls


Liquid starch or glue



Cardboard in any color of choice

Yarn in various colors and thickness


  1. Pour liquid starch into bowls.
  2. Cut some of the yarn into 12” lengths.
  3. Soak the yarn in the starch separating the white (if you are using white) from the colored yarn because some of the colors will run. Leave the yarn in the starch for a few minutes.
  4. Lift the yarn out one strand at a time and run your fingers down the length to remove the excess starch. Do this with the string if using it along with the yarn or instead of the yarn.
  5. “Draw” with the yarn by dropping it on the cardboard in a random pattern. Repeat this with the other strands of yarn combining the colors in a pleasing design. Alternate with string.
  6. Fill in some of the shapes that you “drew” with more yarn so that some of the shapes are more solid than others. Consider separating some of the yarn so that white or negative space shows throughout the design. (See the samples.)
  7. Finish the “drawing” and place the art on a flat surface until it dries. Weigh down the corners with heavy objects in the meantime.


Draw a design or object on the cardboard and follow the procedure above.

Inspired by: All-Around-the-House Art and Craft Book by Patricia Z. Wirtenberg

Share Button

Summer Camp: Art Poster Collage

Summer Camp: Art Poster Collage


The best way to understand art is to make art. One easy introduction is to make a poster of photographs of works of art.

Take a trip to the museum with a parent and look at the works of art: paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings. There are many more forms of art, too, as you will see when you stroll through the galleries. These forms of art include the decorative arts such as pottery, jewelry or ceramics. Walk through the gift shop and collect postcards with works of art printed on them. Go to a thrift store or a flea market and buy old books or magazines about art or with works of art in them. Cut out the ones that are beautiful, interesting or meaningful.

Art Poster Collage

Art Poster Collage


Poster board, any size

Pictures of works of art from magazines, catalogs, old books, etc.

Rubber cement or glue stick


  1. Cut out photographs of art works from magazines, newspapers, catalogs, or use postcards from the museum art shop. You can use copies of your art work, too.
  2. Your poster can have a theme like Greek Art (like the sample above) or Modern Sculpture or no particular theme. Glue the pictures to a piece of poster board forming a design.
  3. Study the pictures. Do you know which one is painting or sculpture or drawing or print? What do you like about them?
  4. Tape the poster inside your locker or on the door of your room. Or cut it to 8” x 2 ¼” and use the pieces as bookmarks.

* Art Work by Bridget Riley, Marion Constantinides, Kitagawa Utamaro, and Michel Touliere.



Share Button