Views of the Monkeynut

by   Peter R. Lloyd-Davies

Europe 1997 New Hampshire 1998 On Kittens and Cuckoos 2003
Disney 2000 New Hampshire 1999 My Uncle Edward 2004
Europe 2000 New Hampshire 2000 My War Journal 2005
Southwest 2001 Seattle 2000 Amateur vs Professional 2006
Cape Cod 2002 New Hampshire 2001 2007
Opila reunion 2002 Seattle 2002 2008
Christmas 2002 New Hampshire 2003
Honk! - February 2003 Toni in Alaska, July 2008
Memorial Day 2003
July 4 2003
Maine, August 2003
Lake Winnipesauke, 2004
Russell is 90, Sept 2004
Europe, August 2005
A mighty wind, 2006
Turkey, 2007
Xmas 2007 pictures
Mike's graduation, June 2008

Views of the Monkeynut presents a vivid multimedia adventure unfolding the splendor of the Lloyd-Davies and Lynch atomic family, featuring, as the nucleus, Peter and Louise; as the electrons, Madeleine and Toni, along with their perky pets, Volt and Tillie. Discover the agonies and ecstacies of their latest travels, or study the history of their adventures from conception to the present through a vast archive of photographs, scientific facts, questionable rumor, text, graphics and videos.





New from the Monkeynut - To my great distress, my uncle Russell has died. He had a bad year, with heart problems, anemia and an intestinal tumor. He was getting on in years - I attended his 90th birthday last September, where he seemed a little frail but in good spirits and not obviously failing. He elected to have surgery last month to remove the tumor, which is obviously risky for a man of that age. Nevertheless, he came through the surgery with flying colors. After that was over, however, he had to do battle with the various superbugs that hang out in the hospitals. He vanquished one or two of them, but then succumbed to the next one. A call was on our answering machine on Friday, March 11 from Maggie, speaking of "sad news" - it wasn't difficult to guess what had happened. I called Virginia that evening and got the confirmation that I dreaded. On Saturday, I talked to Maggie and Pauline. The funeral was to be on March 21. I was able to fly over on the 19th, arriving on the 20th. The ceremony was very moving - Pauline, Maggie, Bill and Tom each spoke elequently about some part of Russell's life. Of course, there was some focus on his heroic moments, like his deeds in the Second World War as a pilot, saving the lives of Dutch patriots. But mention was also made of his more everyday qualities, his sense of humor, his modesty, his penny-pinching, his love for Nottingham Forest (not as in Robin Hood, but as in FA Cup).

I remember being a teenager in boarding school, visiting Russell and Pauline over half-term holidays. They seemed more like parents than my own parents, off in France. I remember the Leicester Penguins, the swimming club they founded. I remember coming down one morning and breakfasting with my cousins on soft-boiled egg. After we finished, Russell entered the kitchen and announced that there was going to be an egg inspection. I hurriedly scooped up some small scraps of egg white remaining in the shell and was able to get a passing grade, although my heart was beating fast. I remember Russell's distinctive laugh, which I had heard only the day before from his son Tom.

His greatest legacy is his family. He was totally and unconditionally proud of them, children and grandchildren. And even though this pride may have been tinged with the love he bore them, he had a good point. I stick with my observation from his last birthday party - what a remarkable bunch of people they all are and how proud I am to be part of this family.

New from the Monkeynut - We spent the spring break (April 16-24, 2005) in and around Seattle. We first went to Bremerton, which is on the Olympic peninsular, to spend some time with friends Joe Jack and Peggy. They live in a wonderful house on the water with views of the Olympics that are to die for. We spent a lot of time just hanging out with them as well as strolling around in the (uncharacteristically) beautiful weather that we encountered for our whole trip. One of the high points was seeing a bald eagle. We had already seen a couple just flying past but this one had a fish and settled down on a branch to eat it quite close to the deck where we were standing. Joe Jack had a telescope and Toni took the following picture through the lens. Amazing, despite the obstructing foliage.
After three days with Joe Jack and Peggy, we took the ferry over to Seattle and got together with Andreas and Connie, who live in the People's Republic of Ballard. Louise and I actually ran into Andreas on our honeymoon, back in 1982. We were camped in Park Creek Pass in the North Cascades NP when Andreas walked up. He was on his divorcemoon and therefore traveling solo. We struck up a conversation, exchanged phone numbers and have been good friends ever since.

While staying with Andreas and Connie, we toured the EMP. This is a museum dedicated to rock and roll, although I thought the coolest part of it was the building itself. We also took the Victoria Clipper to Victoria, BC, where we spent a day strolling around town, marvelling at its non-American-ness.

On Friday evening, we went to the Teatro ZinZanni, which was totally spectacular dinner and Cirque du Soleil type show, incorporating music, humor, acrobatics and a certain amount of involuntary audience participation that for the most part we were able to avoid. Highly recommended!

On Saturday, we packed up to leave. Our sadness reflected the joy we had experienced in the great American NorthWest, as well as apprehension about taking the red-eye back to New York. But it all went smoothly and we arrived back in Larchmont, wondering why it was that we lived on this coast rather than in the west.

2005 Christmas letter from the Monkeynut - Same old same old. The girls went to camp. We went on vacation. We came back from vacation. The girls went back to school. They are doing great. We love them a lot. Merry Christmas.

Well, as you can see, the only interesting item in the above Christmas letter is whether we will be getting a visit from the PC Police for using the word Christmas. Does it constitute a hate crime to blatantly write about Christmas without caring about the psychological damage this could inflict on the > 1 billion Muslims in the world? And what about the Chinese?

In truth, I have begun to despair of writing a Christmas letter (sorry, Holiday letter) that simultaneously achieves its goal of truthfully recounting the events of the past year while being of the slightest interest to anyone else. The basic fact of any of our recent years is this: the girls got one year older and more mature while Louise and I got one year older and our brains continued more and more to resemble Swiss cheese. Boring! Christmas letters often focus on the positive events of the past year - Madeleine scores 105% on PSATs, Mamaroneck High School awards Toni a lifetime-so-far achievement award for brilliance - but these come across like the bland mouthings of standard-issue besotted parents who have no perspective on their children. At the same time, no-one wants to recount the negative events of the year - Madeleine was revealed to be the brains behind the daring break-in at Cartier's, Toni slays mother with axe - because that would be considered unfair to the girls. We could recount the details of our family vacation - the Lloyd-Davies/Lynch family spent some time in France, then went to Belgium, then to Switzerland, then to Sardinia, then to Outer Mongolia - but these details, while mildly interesting to us, are deadly dull to anyone else. There is also the issue of whether we realate the trip as we wish it had gone - we all really enjoyed the wonderful archaeological exhibits in the London Museum of Antiquities - rather than how it actually turned out - the children mutinied when we tried to get them to enter the 17th museum in 3 days and requested political asylum from the British government.

So, this is about as far as I can go this year. Perhaps next year, I shall have found a more satisfactory formula. Or I shall have taken my medication and will crank out the usual platitudes. But in spite of the grumblings above, we really do love our daughters and our friends and relatives and we really do hope they have a healthy, happy and prosperous 2006.

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