July 16, 2004


Why is it that the most enjoyable days are the ones where you have played hooky or have made a last minute decision to go somewhere? Today, Nina and I decided to take a break from weekday drudgery and go into town to see the ‘Russian Landscape’ exhibition at the National Gallery.
Mast-Tree Grove (1898) - Ivan Shishkin

I have never been so ‘blown away’ by an art show. The sense of space and nature in many of these landscapes truly gives a feeling of observing the vast expanse of Russia. I was carried away into a world that I felt was the one that Nina’s Grandfather had once tried to describe to us. This was the land of his childhood, and we were now being allowed to experience just a small part of that life.
Midday in the Countryside (1864) - Petr Sukhodolsky

The pictures I have placed on this page cannot be fully appreciated and I urge anyone who has the opportunity, to go to see it. Previously, I had never heard of Levitan, Vasilev, Shishkin or Kuindzhi (pronounced ‘Kin-gee’) or even Klodt and Polenov.
Spring Flood (1897) - Isaak Levitan

How can I ever again forget names like that! apart from the piictures on this page, click on the National Gallery link and look at the preview and the videos available until 12 September.

I came back down to earth on the train home with the realisation that I must be getting old. For the first time in my life a young man got up and offered me his seat! How does one cope from now on?

Posted by jeff at 05:15 PM | Comments (0)

July 04, 2004



It is three months today since Buki died and it is only now that I feel able to write about him. He was my Cousin Janet’s husband and was the nearest I ever came to having a brother. Buki, Janet and I were all born in the same year and it felt as though we had been a threesome forever.

Buki’s real name was Simon Henri Boekebinder, but for the last 50 years he has only been known as Buki. He was born in Amsterdam in January 1935. During the war he was separated from his two brothers and hidden in a windmill in Northern Holland. This was to be his life for four years until 1945 when he and his brothers were reunited, both their parents having died in the concentration camp of Sobibor. After another two years in an orphanage they eventually found their way to Israel with another 30 young Dutch children and made that country their home. He and Janet married in 1956 and had three wonderful children.

Unfortunately his health never fully recovered from the deprivations suffered during the war and in 1994 his heart was only working to some 16% capacity. He found the heat of Israel too much to bear in the summer, and established a home in Rotterdam to help him cope. It was also felt that the chance of a heart transplant would be greater in the Netherlands. This did not however materialise. Having been told that year that he only had 6 months to live, he decided that he was going to enjoy whatever life had in store for him. He actually lived for over ten years from that time and had another three grandchildren making a total of nine. They were to be his greatest joy and I know that they will become a great credit to him and Janet.

Nina and I saw him last October and knew that it would probably be the last time, and when he returned to Israel in December he was very weak. He died on 4 April this year and we are still finding it very hard to comprehend. The photograph at the top of this page was taken in 1995 in Rotterdam, and I like to think that it is one of the last taken prior to his gradual deterioration.

God Bless You Buki, Nina and I miss you but you will always be in our thoughts.

Posted by jeff at 07:36 PM | Comments (1)