In March I had my 87th birthday and during the year I made 6 overseas trips. I will describe them as briefly as I can!In March I took Yasmin and Dave to Funchal, Madeira for 5 days--and we loved it. The last time I was there was for a day on a cruise with my grandparents in the thirties. We stayed in a lovely hotel with a glorious patio overlooking the sea. We were taken on trips round Madeira and all around the island which is very beautiful and mountainous, with a stunning coastline on the North of the island. I remembered from over 70 years ago coming down the cobbled streets of the mountain above Madeira on a sleigh and insisted on doing it again, which I loved but Yasmin and Dave could have done without!
CANADA AND THE U.S.
The next trip was in May. First I visited Peter's sister and her husband in Toronto and had a very wonderful weekend with them. Then on to New York for 3 weeks. There were 2 reasons for me to go in May. When I was evacuated during the war, I went to a college in New York, which I loved and where I learned to be an actress, called Finch. It closed many years ago, but still has a vibrant Alumnae Association which has an annual event in May. Many years ago they awarded me a Lifetime Achievement Award which is where I met many of the younger Alumnae, one of whom I stay with in New York on Park Avenue--a marvellous lady called Ceil Ainsworth. Also in May is the annual event remembering the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, in which Peter fought in the Spanish Civil War. It is always inspiring and important for me to be there.
The plaque, recently erected, reads: "IN HONOR OF THE MEN AND WOMEN VOLUNTEERS IN THE ABRAHAM LINCOLN BRIGADE WHO SAILED FROM NEW YORK TO STAND BESIDE THE SPANISH PEOPLE AND FIGHT FASCISM IN THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR (1936-1939)
FLASHBACK! In the summer of 2011 the Travel Agent who had booked my trip to Ecuador had an event in a beautiful refurbished house in Twickenham. As we were being given a guided tour of the house, the Guide took us to a magnificent room with a gold ceiling where they were drawing the raffle. Man: "The next prize will be a Charter Flight to Greece and a week's holiday". Me to my companion: "I wouldn't travel on a Charter flight" Man: "Ticket bought by Mrs Thelma Frye" Me to my companion: "I would travel on a Charter flight!!!" So in June 2012, I took my friend Helen and we went to Tolon in the Peleponnese. It was very hot but we had a lovely week--our hotel was right on the beach and we went on some most enjoyable trips, specially to the island of Hydra (no traffic, only donkeys) and Epidauros with its famous ampitheatre.
In September I took my nephew Meir to Sardinia for a heavenly holiday. Lovely hotel, spectacular mountainous scenery, white beaches, turquoise sea. We loved it.
In October I went on my annual visit to Israel. Ever since Peter died I have stayed with my surrogate children in Israel, Dedi and Chava. Alas, Chava died last March and it was hard arriving without her there to greet me. Other dear friends, Tali and Nami, invited me to stay and I was very happy and comfortable with them. I have never had a baby, but thanks to my much loved step-daughter, Michal, in Jerusalem I have 10 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren (with 3 more on the way). They give me all the love, care and concern as if I were their real Grandmother. They are a wonderful family. I also have 2 dear nephews and more close friends in Israel than I have in England.
NAIROBI AND ZANZIBAR
Now to the last trip of the year. I was invited to a wedding in Zanzibar, and decided to go. I left on November 23rd and as I had to change planes in Nairobi, I decided to stay there for a couple of days. Which were magical. A unique hotel, a wildlife park, the farm now a museum of Karen Blixen, friends who live there took me for lunch and to see the Great Africa Rift. Zanzibar was only one and a half hours flight, and the hotel was spectacular. Alas, on the first night I slipped and fell and broke my arm! The local doctor said I had to get back to the UK as soon as possible for an operation, so I missed the wedding, and didn't even get to swim in the glorious infinity pool.
OTHER HIGHLIGHTS OF 2012
I was fortunate enough to be invited to see the flotilla for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee from Waterloo Bridge. Athough it was June, it was freezing cold and later came on to pour with rain, and we were there for several hours. It reminded me of the Coronation in 1953 when Mona and I had tickets to watch the procession from an open stand in Piccadilly, and we were there for hours in the pouring rain. Happily, Mona had laced the flask of coffee liberally with brandy!! On both occasions it was well worth it. Both were a once-in-a-lifetime spectacular experience.
I live next door to the famous Wimbledon Tennis Courts where they were holding the tennis Olympics. The security made it a nightmare round here with closed roads, barriers and such, so I went away to a lovely spa called Grayshott. The perfect place to be with a lovely room, beautiful grounds, swimming pools, treatments, cinema to watch the Olympics, good food....I loved it..
In the autumn had a weekend in Bath, including a wedding, staying with my dear friends Tim and Angela, and seeing my mother's wedding dress, dated 1920, which she gave to the Bath Costume Museum.
The year has finished well. My arm is healing, I have had a marvellous weekend in a historic hotel called Great Fosters in Surrey for the wedding of my cousin Ann's grand-daughter---a happy family reunion. And with me to see the New Year in were the couple who were strangers to me when I met them in the hotel in Zanzibar and who were so good to me when I had my accident, Amy and Nick. We all enjoyed the fireworks all along the horizon out of my window at midnight.