Archive for September, 2009

To Birmingham

The third highlight. After Wigan I visited my friend Simon Prais in Birmingham. When Simon visited me last year, his daughter Ronit came along and asked me, if she wrote a book, would I bind it. I agreed of course. This year they came again, and Ronit brought three copies of her book for me to bind, which I did.
When Simon heard that I was going to the SoB conference at Warwick University, he kindly invited me to visit him in Birmingham to see some of the wonderful samples of Hebrew printing that he has. I had a chance to see Ronit again and to meet the rest of his family and I spent a very pleasant evening with them. However, when it was time to retire, I found the most lovely ‘Thank You’ card next to my bed. It has a photo of Ronit holding one of my bindings of her book and a sweet message inside, complete with drawings of Ronit and her friends admiring my work.
The next morning Simon drove me over to the University and left me with the bookbinders.

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On to Wigan

When I mention to Brits that I’m going to Wigan, they usually say “For what?” Well, my eldest sister Kay lives there, with a number of her 11 children. But, to be honest, I have grown to like Wigan. I know it quite well – where the shops are and such.

This time I had a wonderful visit. My niece Marie and her husband Dave have taken over Kay’s house and are looking after her. They made some great improvements on the house (which are on-going) and the situation there is ideal. Of course, the amazing collection of wine which they have smuggled in from Spain is not to be sneezed at. We ate out (Indian) and Dave took me to St Helen’s to buy some materials for our beer-making club. Basically, it was a very nice visit. A pity that Adam was not with me – he loves Wigan and the relatives there love him.

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Warwick Conference 2009

People are asking me: “What was the highlight of your trip to England?” and the only answer I can give is that there were six highlights.
Here is the first: London.
I had the great pleasure of staying with my friends the Guthartzes (Gutharcoj in Esperanto). They are (in)famous for putting up out-of-town guests. Someone refered to their home as the Guthartz Arms. Unfortunately for me, Lindsey and Rachel were in Cornwall with Lindsey’s Mom so I didn’t see them, but I had a great time with Norm and Sarah. Norm and I tried to out-talk each other and I’m not sure who won. There’s nothing like being with another reconteur to keep you on your toes.

yabl1Which reminds me… my brother Ed once told a joke at his office:
“Did you hear that the Pope raised all the urinals in the Vatican?”
“Because he wanted to keep all the cardinals on their toes.”
Everyone chuckled but one woman, so Ed asked:
“I suppose that you don’t know what a urinal is.”
She replied: “How should I know – I’m not a Catholic!”

Back to the topic.
Norm, Sarah and I went out to a vegetarian Indian restaurant where we ate so much that Norm and I could barely move. We were invited out for Shabbat which was great – firstly to the neighbours next door Friday night and then to others for luch.
My niece Annette came up from Brighton for a visit and spent Shabbat afternoon with me.

I met up with our friend Aviela Barclay ( and we went to the British Library together in search of the Great Omar. We didn’t locate it but had a good time and a two-pint lunch. Then I visited their new house.

I visited the V&A museum on my own and saw many wonderful things, including a marvellous hammered silver binding by James and Stuart Brockman.

I also had dinner with Dina Newman, the esperantist who wrote the report about Esperanto in Israel in which I appeared (see previous message). Dina is a LIVE esperantist and it is a pleasure talking, laughing and joking with her.

Then I was off to Wigan…

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