My latest brush with fame!

I’ve had a few brushes of contact with famous people in my life. Not many, but some!

My first brush with fame was when I was a 4 year old girl living in Jerusalem and the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, Max van der Stoel, came to visit. They wanted a small Dutch kid to present him with flowers and my parents were approached for this, I think through the mayor’s office. My dad and the mayor knew each other through the work my dad did. I actually remember this occasion! I was very excited beforehand, I remember wearing a light blue dress, but when the time came, I got too shy and my dad had to help me hand over the flowers. That’s Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek grinning in the far left of the picture, Van der Stoel with the flowers and dark-rimmed glasses, shy me with hands in my mouth and on the right my dad, grinning wildly after he helped me hand over the flowers.

Max van der Stoel

When I was 15, I briefly met German president Richard von Weizsäcker once when he visited my dad’s office in Germany in support of the work my dad did in Jewish-Christian dialogue (you can see the back of my dad on the left in this picture)…

1985 Von Weizsäcker in Buber House

Another famous man my dad worked with a lot and whom we saw on occasion was the former Archbishop of Canterbury from 1974-1980, Lord Donald Coggan. Donald Cogggan was a very special and warm man, modest, smart and funny. He used to call my younger brother and sister and me his ‘scallywags’ and there is one picture of us that I treasure…

Scallywags_ed

Another brief moment of contact with a famous person is with Gregory Peck, although I never met him personally. I had once written him a fan letter (the one and only one I have ever written) and requested an autograph from him. I never heard back, gave up on it, until two or so years later I finally received a response! I got an autographed picture, along with a note of apology. Apparently a bag of fan mail had been misplaced, which is why it had taken so long for me to get a response! That autographed picture has gotten lost in this house somewhere and I am still determined to find it, along with the note and the envelope it came in. The picture that was signed looked like this one (found this image on Ebay):Gregory Peck autographWhen I was 22, I went to a book signing in a bookstore here in The Netherlands and briefly met Peter Ustinov! He signed his book for me, which I was getting for my birthday on that day. Esje is my family’s nickname for me and I can’t remeber why I would have told Mr Ustinov that. I do remember him being very personable, maybe he asked if I had a nickname? It’s too long ago, I can’t remember…

I have of course met Richard Armitage briefly at the stage door in London in 2014 and have autographed items and a picture to help me remember that…

I have caught a glimpse of Pierce Brosnan up close and personal and he signed a picture my friend, a huge Brosnan fan, had…

I have spent an evening in the company of Michael Palin, listening to him talk about Ernest Hemingway and, a few months later, received a personally autographed book from him that my husband had gotten for me for my birthday!

And this past summer, I even briefly met and chatted with Lord Charles Spencer, Princess Diana’s brother. He also signed a book for us (but it’s also made out to my husband, so I won’t post a picture of that here, Mr Esther’s real name is not for this blog).

My greatest brush with someone famous on the internet was when actress Sara Wiseman, who plays Carolyn on A Place To Call Home, liked my retweet of her tweet on Valentine’s Day 2016 and I was stoked about that…

Sara Wiseman tweet like 14-02-2016

And now today, two and a half hours ago, I discovered my latest brush with fame: Marta Dusseldorp, lead actress playing Sarah on A Place to Call Home, actually RETWEETED my tweet of yesterday in which I gush about APTCH season 5! Holy crap, I swear my heart stopped for a moment when I saw that! I never aim to have likes, replies or god forbid, retweets of any kind, but this one certainly has me stoked! Here, a screenshot from my phone when I discovered it!

Marta Dusseldorp retweet

So, thank you Marta Dusseldorp for making my day! And may we enjoy your talents for a long, long time to come!

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Colin, Richard and a nun’s blessing

In the midst of a diplomatic row between Turkey and The Netherlands (elections here in two days, this is apparently the best time for rows) I like to focus attention on more positive things. So, here are a few pictures I’d like to share from the past weeks…

Captivating Colin Firth graciously and with big smiles received roses (it looks like he’s hugging them too!) and a kiss from a fan, all nicely caught on camera a few weeks ago:

He was also seen in a turtleneck sweater (I love turlenecks!), filming scenes for the Love Actually revival for comic relief, which will be shown on the BBC at the end of next week, I believe!

I am already looking forward to that!

In addition there are also Richard Armitage pics to share. First off a quick sighting this past weekend at JFK, with Richard striding by in a flash (thanks for the find, Servetus!)

Richard JFK march 2017 crop

Whereas there are regular Colin sightings at airports, there are only a few Richard ones, so I really lap these up! There were also some riveting Richard pictures, shared last week, of him with Michelle Forbes and Tamlyn Tomita and dogs…

RA march 2017RA2 march 2017

Apparently shared on Michelle’s instagram account, I first came across it via Moose Turd’s twitter. Especially that first picture with the three of them laughing with the dog has me riveted… A very nice and handsome man laughing with women and a dog – it hardly gets better than that!

And there’s more feelgood stuff! Last night was the season 6 finale of the BBC’s Call the Midwife. One of the main characters, Shelagh Turner (played by Laura Main) gave birth to a baby. After the baby was delivered by Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter), she smiled and said the following blessing (I have put the words on my screencaps):

Call the Midwife Aaron's Blessing

I am not religious but this blessing (called Aaron’s blessing, from Numbers 6:24-26 in the bible) is very special to me. It’s a little longer than the part Sr Julienne says…

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

… and it was my dad’s favourite blessing to say to his loved ones. He said it at my wedding, at my oldest brother’s grave and every Christmas to all his grandkids.

In all the turbulence of the news out there right now, it is comforting to know there is still (memories of) happiness and warmth to go around. 🙂

Esther-Daddy Day

This evening the Jewish festival of Purim starts, celebrating the Persian Queen Esther who saved the Jewish people from genocide some 2500 years ago. My parents gave my siblings and me names from the Hebrew bible (old testament). So, my brothers and sisters are called: Rachel, David, Daniel (in fairness, Daniel wasn’t named by my parents; he came to our family age 11 and fit right in, name and all!), Joel, Rebecca and Jonathan. And then there’s me, Esther, named after Queen Esther herself! Hence also the title of this blog – I am named after the biblical queen in The Book of Esther and books tells stories, which in a way I do here as well, sharing stories and experiences in my life.

My parents always enjoyed giving me Queen Esther themed gifts. Many of them I don’t have anymore, or are scattered throughout the house and I don’t know where they are, but I do have two paintings still hanging on my walls here. One of the them, called “The town of  Queen Esther” was painted/printed by an acquaintance my parents had many years ago…

Queen Esther 2

It’s not my fave painting ever, but I like it enough to keep on my staircase wall.

A second piece of art I own hangs in my living room and was once given to me by my parents. It’s an absolutely fascinating ink drawing they got me when we were all visiting the artistic town of Tzfat (Safed) once in the north of Israel…

Queen Esther 1

If you look closely you’ll see that the figure of Esther and the pillars next to her are made up of tiny Hebrew lettering. We were told that the whole text of the Book of Esther is worked into this ink drawing! I just love this. This drawing is not only connected to my name and that bible story, it is also forever connected to my parents who picked it out for me. I can still see myself standing outside this artist’s atelier together with my parents, deciding on this particular work of art.

Tomorrow is not only Purim, the festival of Esther, but is also the second anniversary of the passing of my father. I am happy to have such mementoes as this one that keep me connected to him. So, as this evening/tomorrow is the happy festival of Purim as well as a day during which I commemorate my dad, I am dubbing March 12th, 2017 “Esther-Daddy Day”!

According to Jewish custom you say “May his memory be for a blessing!” and I can honestly say that although I will miss him forever, my father’s memory truly is a blessing. For tomorrow I wish for my family and myself to be filled with not only sad but also many happy memories and in Yiddish I wish to those who celebrate (my Jewish brother and sister among them) “A freilichen Purim”!

Tall dark handsome men…

Warning: tall dark handsome men pictures overkill ahead! I may be overcompensating for the depressing times we live in… a girl has got to do something to cheer herself up!

So, I have a very definitive type of man I always fall for. It’s an Oedipus thing – the first man I loved was my dad. He wasn’t particularly tall but he was dark and handsome and smart and caring…

Then I discovered Roman Holiday in my early teens and Gregory Peck…

I adored Peck (and still do), in hindsight he was big time daddy-issue material. Dark and handsome and smart and caring… and tall. I even wrote him a fan letter once! I received a reply about 2 years later with an autographed picture. Apparently a mail bag had been misplaced and found again and I got my reply after all. I have been searching for that autographed picture ever since I discovered not too long ago that it isn’t in the drawer that I thought it would be in…

I also had a soft spot for Richard Chamberlain in those years…

… but I was never as obsessed with him as I was with Gregory Peck.

After Gregory Peck and Richard Chamberlain I fell in love with a real life tall, dark, handsome, smart and caring man (and luckily he fell in love with me) and I’ve very happily hung onto him for the past 25 years

At the end of 1995 I discovered Colin Firth! He walked out of a lake in Pride and Prejudice and straight into my heart…

… and as regular readers here know I still love the man and blog about him!

I’ve had a little flirtation with Pierce Brosnan (even saw him up close and personal two and a half years ago!)…

… and have made a few fan videos with him in them.

I’ve also had a little flirtation with Keanu Reeves (including a fan video I made of an interview he did on Graham Norton and I loved him in that)…

Since 2006 the actor of my heart has been Richard Armitage, of course – the actor I blog about most on here!

And now, since a few weeks, there’s Lucas… No, not this one…

… I was never a huge Lucas North fan (or Spooks fan, for that matter), even if he was portrayed brilliantly by Richard Armitage. No, the Lucas I have discovered is named Lucas Bryant!

I have been watching Hallmark movies and I continue to watch them and Lucas Bryant was in two of them that I actually quite liked. I had seen them before a few months back and I had noticed him then as well. He was instantly on my “oh oh, there you go again!”-radar, but, as I often do when I discover someone new, I try to resist them. If I don’t resist, then I binge-watch and who has the time and energy to binge-watch?

Anyway, I don’t quite remember how, but I happened upon a Syfy channel series called Haven (based on an original story by Stephen King) that aired for 5 seasons but is finished now. And who should be in that but Lucas Bryant, the guy I’ve been trying to ignore?  The series is not quite my kind of thing – supernatural powers that often lead to deaths take over people in a small town. These ‘troubles’ as they are called have to be brought under control by two agents, Audrey Parker (who is somehow weirdly connected to the ‘troubles’) and Nathan Wuornos. His trouble isn’t that dangerous to others, only dangerous to himself: he has lost the sense of touch, he can’t feel anything, and is eventually shocked to find that when Audrey touches him he can feel her! Audrey, in turn, is immune to the ‘troubles’.

I watched a few episodes of Haven and while the stories of these ‘troubles’ didn’t always grab me, the story of Audrey and Nathan did. And so I have been binge-watching and skipping through 5 seasons of Haven episodes (each season has 13 episodes, 5th season has 26).  In the first series it’s still a bit of a baby-Nathan, the actor Lucas Bryant looks so young!

What attracted me in this first series is how Nathan deals with not being able to feel anything. I love how Lucas acts those Nathan moments when he suddenly realizes he can feel a touch from someone for the first time in years. He first feels something when Audrey gives him a brief kiss on the cheek.

He keeps it to himself at first (he confesses it to her later in the series) and especially in one episode he seeks out these touches (skip the first 1 minute and 15 seconds of this following video if you like, it’s not really essential). I like baby-Nathan in those scenes!

But as the series progresses (and also becomes more weird, especially regarding Audrey) he matures and yes, as the lines deepen a bit in his face, he becomes sexier to look at! Here, some pics of Nathan at the end of the series…

I don’t know what it is about him. He’s a bit too GQ handsome (just like Pierce Brosnan was in younger years) but there’s this boyish, almost shy, charm about him and a bit of goofiness and, of course, hidden heartache and then there are the forehead crinkles and the eyes and the hesitant smiles that light up his face… I think what finally tipped me over the edge into new obsession mode was this little love scene in season 4 that makes me grin widely each time; it happens soon after they have finally been able to become intimate in a previous episode. Nathan wants to kiss her, Audrey keeps on talking ‘troubles’ and he makes use of her ‘troubles’ obsession to persuade her to think of other things…

So, after Haven I re-watched those two Hallmark movies and I liked him even better in those than before. There is Tulips in Spring about an interior designer who must halt her work on a big project in order to return home and assist her injured father at her family’s tulip farm in rural Washington state. When she gets there she meets a handsome and kind flower broker (yep, that’s my Lucas)…

And there is Summer Love about a widowed mom who gets a summer internship at a tech company and draws the attention of two very different executives while learning about accounting, app designs and finding love. Lucas plays the accountant and is of course the true love.

Men who look that smooth aren’t normally my thing, they seem vacuous to me, but as he matures Lucas becomes even more mesmerizing to look at. There is just something about him and it’s not just the looks…  I think it’s in the eyes and in the smile, they seem to suggest something more to me. Here are some more pics, the woman in the one picture is his real life wife, an Australian actress and personal trainer called Kirsty Hinchcliffe who also had a small supporting role as a police officer in later episodes of Haven.

Lucas Bryant is Canadian-American, born in 1978, he and his wife have a daughter born in 2008 (all according to Wikipedia). He is still quite unknown, I think, and there is yet more to research and more roles to find… I’m not sure if he’s more than a temporary infatuation (I may be projecting a wish onto him that he can stop the troubled person who is sitting in the White House now) but I guess time will tell. In the meantime, I am having fun and can happily distract myself when the need arises. 🙂