David and Kathy

David Ferré and Kathy Childs Website

Greetings from Dave and Kathy. With our move to Europe from July to December, 2012, we're going to maintain a blog of what we're up to (see below). We'll return to the US in December to our winter home in Tucson. After enjoying a few months in Tucson, we'll head back to Europe in May, 2013, returning to the US in August, 2013. Our homes in Germany and France are via Home Exchanges with corresponding German and French families.

| July | August | Sept. | Oct. | Nov. | Dec. 2012 |

Dec 1

We're at the Frankfurt airport for our flight to London (pix) and Kathy jumps up and says, "something's wrong." Sure enough. At the very last second the gate was changed. Thanks Kathy! Then all went smoothly right through to check-in at the Premier Inn (Southwark) and then on to a leisurely dinner at a nearby restaurant, The Refinery. Weather is cold but dry. Thanks London!

Dec 2

Bright, sunny day today, which is amazing for London in December, albeit cold and frosty at -2c (28f). After a Starbucks breakfast by the Tate Modern (art museum), we went to Westminster Bridge to enjoy big, bright views of Big Ben, Parliament, River Thames and the iconic London Eye (pix). Westminster Abbey was reserved for Sunday services so we'll visit Poet's Corner later.

We visited Dave's friends, Judy and Michael Arnold (pix). Judy knew André Tchaikowsky extremely well and we had a lovely lunch together and told and retold our favorite André stories. Judy then showed us where André used to live, first on Wood Vale (when André lived with the Arnolds), and then 29 Waterlow Court, a house André owned. Judy impressed us with her ability to deftly maneuver her car through narrow roads and dense traffic!

Dec 3

Lovely breakfast (and best cappuccino ever) at Caffè Fratelli, then on to the British Library to search for André Tchaikowsky items in their archives. On to lunch at Pizza Express and then a walking tour of the Camden Lock Market. The event of the day was the play, Constellations (pix) at the Duke of York's Theatre in Leicester Square. Dinner first at Hakuba (Japanese).

Dec 4

We started with breakfast at Carlo's Kitchen and then a short walk to the Tate Modern Museum. This amazing complex, except for small special exhibits, is totally free and covers many floors and then special areas like "The Tanks" for multimedia presentations including the (video) by William Kentridge, "I am not me, the horse is not mine." Then in the main galleries, sculptures like Autumn (pix) by Henri Laurens, and paintings by Miró, etc.

Next, we shifted to the Knightsbridge area and the world-famous Harrods department store, which has an amazing 11 restaurants, where we selected Caffè Florian for luncheon. We just had to stroll through a few of the many departments, via the center Egyptian escalator (pix), and be totally overwhelmed. Then outside, walking by a few of the display windows, we came across some Christmas music and a dancer to be (video).

Back to the hotel for a brief rest, out again to a concert in Hampstead at the Hampstead Arts Festival, enjoying a lovely concert in the Hampstead Parish Church, hearing Mozart, Brahms, and Shostakovich. We chose this concert because the featured pianist was Stephen Kovacevich (pix) who was a great friend of André Tchaikowsky, but also violist Krzysztof Chorzelski whom also has an André Tchaikowsky connection.

Dec 5

Dave's André Tchaikowsky website was the focus today with a meeting at Weinberger Publishers with Sean Gray and Lewis Mitchell (but lunch first with the lovely Anastasia at Gaylord Restaurant), then on to Caffè Anbaine to meet the TV production company (pix) creating a documentary about André, where we were joined by the amazing Martin Anderson, publisher and owner of Toccata Press, who will be publishing Anastasia's book about André.

Dec 6

Excellent breakfast at le Pain Quotidien, then back to the hotel to catch up on e-mails. Later, lunch with pianist Norma Fisher (pix) and her husband, Barry at la Strada. Onward to the British Library to meet Anastasia but nothing of interest was found, and then an appointment with a key person in the André Tchaikowsky world, Eve Harrison, who was easily one of the best friends André ever had. Dinner at Obikà (Canary Wharf).

Dec 7

More André Tchaikowsky activities today with a meeting at Weinberger Publishers with Lewis Mitchell to review their André Tchaikowsky Archive (breakfast first at Benugo), then lunch with Judy Arnold at Ask Italian, finally visiting Wigmore Hall (London's version of Carnegie Hall) to meet with the violist of the renowned Belcea Quartet, Krzysztof Chorzelski (pix). In his hand is an unknown Viola Sonata by André that he brought to show me and Judy. Our last dinner was at Level 6 Restaurant (Tate Modern).

Dec 8

Look at this blue sky! Just typical of the great weather we had while visiting London. After breakfast at the Tate Modern Starbucks, it was time for a brisk morning walk across the Millennium Bridge (in the background by St. Pauls) (pix). Then pack, leave the hotel and head to Heathrow Terminal 1 for our trip back to Schwetzingen. Everything went smoothly and back home, all was well. It did snow a bit while we were gone, but no problems.

Dec 9

A cold morning with overnight snow, continuing into the morning hours. Beautiful in its own way. It didn't stop those who love to walk through the Schwetzingen Castle Gardens (pix). We started some early cleaning, sorting, and preparing for our Wednesday departure. With no food in the house, breakfast looked a little bleak but then... our next door neighbor brought us some Christmas cookies. Thanks Frank! (He is a retired baker.)

Dec 10

We mailed Christmas cards today, cards that came from the Tate Modern museum, but, the envelope size did not meet the German envelope standard DIN 678, which means they were not 11.4 x 16.2 cm. We were close, just 1 cm off, nevertheless, the regular postage of €.75 cents ($1 each) went to a penalty postage of €3.75 ($4.85 each). Things are precise in Germany, and right now, our rental car tires do not meet standard M+S-Reifen. (Shhhh.)

Dec 11

Just one of Kathy's art photos today (pix). We picked it because it looks like something from Thailand and we had Thai food for dinner. ANYWAY, just cleaning and packing today for our departure to Frankfurt tomorrow. We have this great feeling of appreciation for this wonderful experience over the last 5 months visiting so many countries, so many languages and memories. We feel very fortunate to have had this experience.

Dec 12

Nothing much to report today. We arrived at the Frankfurt Hilton (pix) for our overnight stay, also, turned in our leased car where we traveled 18,000 km (11,200 miles) during our time in Europe. Great car (Peugeot 207) and wish we could take it to USA.

Dec 13

We departed Frankfurt right on time on our Icelandair flight. We gave a thought to stopping in Iceland to see the Northern Lights and stay at the Blue Lagoon, but this will have to wait for another flight. Dave was excited that before we took off, we were able to enjoy the Iberia Business Lounge at the Frankfurt airport because we upgraded our tickets to Economy Comfort.

Dec 14

2877 W. Desert Crest Drive, Tucson AZ 85713, our final destination! We love the palm tree shadow across the front of the garage! Of course, sunshine and 22 C (72 F). Tucson has one of the best winter climates in the world. We bought this as a foreclosure in 2011 for $70,000 (€ 50,000). Learn more from our Renovation Slide Show.