This is my 805th post since I first began blogging! I’m taking a short break but shall be back soon.

If you are new to my blog, I especially recommend you to read, “Another Birthday”, “Coronation” and “Royal Protocol”.

You may have your own favourites. I would be very pleased to know which ones they are if you’d like to make a comment below.

Thank you for following my blog and for all your feedback.

I’m always pleased to receive your comments and likes.

See you again soon!

Best wishes, Andrea

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems



If it weren’t for the gates and the crowds it could be any London street. 

But Downing St is no ordinary street. And number 10 is no ordinary house. It vies with the White House as the most important political building anywhere in the world in modern times. For the past 275 years, many of the most important decisions affecting Britain have been taken behind its front door. And some of the most famous political figures of modern history have lived and worked at Number 10.

In addition to being the official residence of the British Prime Minister it’s also the PM’s office and the place where the Prime Minister entertains guests from British Royalty to presidents of the United States and other world leaders.

The façade is deceptive. When you see the front door on TV news you imagine a small town house but in reality it’s much larger than it appears.

In the early 18th century number 10 was joined to a more spacious and elegant building behind it. It’s also taken over much of number 12 which is reached by a corridor that runs through number 11- the official residence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

I actually experienced the inside of 10 Downing Street in 2015 when we were invited on a private tour. It was the summer vacation and number 10 was being cleaned.

We were shown all the public rooms, not the PM’s own rooms or his office but virtually everywhere else.

The public rooms, used for entertaining dignitaries, are the height of opulence. Chandeliers, fine art, porcelain, elegant furniture and the kind of carpets you might see in stately homes.

The walls of the spiral staircase are adorned with framed photographs of all the Prime Ministers down through the years. On the ground floor one can see group pictures of all the different PMs with their cabinets from the past to the present, complete with everyone’s autographs.

The highlight of our tour was seeing the cabinet room, its table covered with a green baize cloth. One chair was not pushed in but kept at an angle and that, we were told, is where the prime minister always sits. In another room, similar in size but grander, we saw the long table that’s used for ministerial banquets.

Afterwards, to our amusement, when we walked back down the street and out through the gates we were photographed by tourists who clearly thought we must have been special visitors. And for a while we had felt that we were.

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

© Photo – Andrea Neidle



This evening – Wednesday 5th April – will be the beginning of Passover, when Jewish families all over the world will be sitting down to the Passover Seder. 

Every year, the Passover story is told.   How we, the Jewish people, were once slaves in Egypt and are now free.

Jesus, who of course was Jewish – as were his disciples – was celebrating the Passover meal (Seder) at The Last Supper.


When you’re celebrating Easter,

it’s Passover for me,

no bread or cake or biscuits,

just matzos for our tea!

We have to eat unleavened bread

that’s matzo don’t you know,

they’re rather tasty crackers

but for eight days it’s a blow.

We cannot bake with flour

so use substitutes instead,

coconut and ground almonds

because there isn’t any bread.

It’s the festival of freedom

when we fled Egypt long ago

but just as relevant today

with what’s going on you know!

If you would like to know about Passover, here’s an excellent link from the British Library: https://www.bl.uk/learning/cult/inside/goldhaggadahstories/goldenhagg.html

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

© Photo by Andrea Neidle



In 2015 we were fortunate to be given a private tour of Number 10 Downing Street.

Much like Dr Who’s Tardis, it’s a great deal bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside!

As you will see from these photos, many of the public rooms are quite opulent. Note, for example, the chandeliers in the room where the Cabinet meets.

The cabinet room – sharpened pencils at each place!
Mrs Thatcher had her own special corner. Her portrait still hangs on the wall over the fireplace.

There are a number of gifts on display, including particles of moon rock from the first moon landing. And, in the same room as portraits of our late Queen, a neon sign created by Tracy Emin.

Unauthorized use of any of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner, Andrea Neidle, is strictly prohibited.

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

© Photographs by Andrea Neidle



I wrote this blog in the early days of Covid. It’s amazing to remember what our lives were like then.

Holidays are upon us.  Where are you going? Will it be Brighton, Bournemouth or Southend this year?

Or maybe somewhere a little less crowded? Barnard Castle perhaps?

Holidaying in the UK is something OH (other half) and I thought we’d be doing when we were too old, too infirm, too tired and too ill to go anywhere else.

We said we’re not getting any younger – let’s seize the day.  Travel the world, explore as much as we can because who knows what’s around the corner? Well, now we know!

I’m not only thinking of the pandemic but also of Brexit which is going to stymie many people’s travel plans. With the increased cost of travel insurance, health cover and flights – Covid or not, travel is sadly not going to be the same in the future.

So here we all are seeking out the best beaches in the UK – of which there are plenty – as long as everyone else hasn’t had the same idea of where to go.  When the weather’s good and the water’s clean then you can’t beat anywhere in the UK for a holiday. Even the food nowadays is better, thank goodness.

A little over a year ago we were in Thailand. OH (other half) had a meeting in Bangkok so we thought we’d travel there a little earlier and chill out on a beach somewhere. We ended up choosing a fabulous resort on the island of Koh Samui, a short plane ride from Bangkok.

When I see someone on TV having what looks like a fantastic meal, I start salivating.  So I won’t get you metaphorically salivating by telling you how wonderful this place was or describing the beautiful pool, the stunning scenery, the glorious beaches and the mouth watering food. I will leave all that to your imagination.

Instead I will tell you about our penultimate day.

There were kayaks on the beach so we thought we’d go out in one.   That was our first mistake. OH (other half) had paddled (if that’s the right word) a kayak a few weeks previously. But that was on a calm lake in the Cotswolds.  The water here was calm. Or so we thought. That was our second mistake.  We had spent most of the holiday swimming in the pool because the sea here – although beautifully warm – turned out to be incredibly shallow.  Or so we thought.  It was evening. No one was around aside from the guy who was manning the kayaks.  He made us put on life jackets which we did reluctantly.

Out we paddled to the line of buoys (our third mistake) – over which one was not meant to cross because there was a coral reef.  As we drew closer to the buoys something odd happened.  Waves started to roll towards us. Waves in the Pacific. Who knew?  OH attempted to steer the kayak so that we did not cross over the buoys. And you can probably guess what happened next.  The boat overturned and we fell out. And instead of the shallow water we had been expecting the sea came right up to our chests. Or, in my case, being only 5 foot one and a half inches tall, up to my neck. But we could stand. So that was good. We upturned the kayak and took off our life jackets as they were pretty cumbersome.

Then OH let out a yell. (He may even have sworn.) The camera! Before the holiday OH had bought a waterproof camera. Unbeknown to me he had brought it with on this trip and had left it on the floor of the boat. It was gone. Somewhere beneath the Pacific ocean was our camera with all our holiday photos. Lost and gone forever.  We were distraught.  We looked around for a while but the water was getting deeper and the night was beginning to fall. So we headed back with the kayak in tow. Not swimming but walking. Not waving but drowning.

Our man on the beach barely spoke English. We tried to explain about the lost camera. He tried to explain that the beach staff would try and find it in the morning when the tide had turned. Yet another mistake on our part. Who knew there were tides in the Pacific? No wonder he had insisted on the life jackets.

That evening I googled – as you do – lost cameras and found this incredible story of a camera that had been lost and found two years later.


The next evening was our last night on the island.  The staff hadn’t found our camera so we decided to have one last look.  This time, no kayak. No life jackets. Just face masks. Not the Covid kind. Think big goggles.

We walked out to where we thought the kayak had overturned. Again the water was very deep. We started diving down to look.  We swam and dived all along the side of the line of  buoys. But no joy.  It could have been anywhere. We had not expected to find it. Nevertheless I felt disappointed at the loss of all those wonderful photos we had taken. Sights we would never see again.

OH suggested that we separate. He would look a little further in while I stayed closer to the buoys. And thus we made our way swimming and diving back towards our starting point. All of a sudden there was a loud yell from OH. Not a yell which said I’ve been stung but a yell of joy.  He had found it!  Looking down he had spotted the camera’s lanyard floating on the sea bed.  We could not believe our luck. Who would have thought it?  To say we were overjoyed is an understatement.

And amazingly, it was still working perfectly.

Have a good weekend – wherever you are in the world. Thanks for reading my blog. See you next week! 

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

As Kyle sang in South Park: “It’s hard to be a Jew at Christmas.” 

Growing up, Christmas to me always felt like I was looking into a toy shop or sweet shop window at things I couldn’t have.

I enjoyed the Christmas parties and the festivities – still do – but, being Jewish, I always felt like the outsider at the party.

At home, growing up, we neither celebrated Xmas nor Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights, which takes place around the same time. Father Christmas didn’t visit Jewish children and my parents treated Christmas just like any other day.

When I had children of my own, not wanting them to feel left out, OH (other half) and I experimented briefly with Christmas. We left out mince pies at bedtime and crumbs on the plates when they awoke.

Our children had pillowcases rather than stockings which we filled with goodies. I would stash these away until Christmas Eve.  One year our six year old son found my hiding place.  He marked all the things he’d found with a felt tip pen so, when they later turned up in his pillowcase, he was able to prove once and for all that Santa did not exist!

As our children grew older, Chanukah replaced Christmas. So our kids wouldn’t feel left out we gave them a gift every day. Something special at the beginning or the end and small presents in-between such as you might put in a stocking. As Chanukah lasts eight days it more than compensated for Christmas!

Each night of Chanukah we light a candle on the special eight branched candlestick known as the Chanukiah or the Chanukah menorah. At the end of the eight days all eight candles are lit. Actually nine – because there is an extra candle on the Chanukah menorah that’s used to light all the others.

There are Chanukah parties, songs, games and special Chanukah foods such as donuts and latkas. A spinning top – “the dreidel” is spun. Raisins are won or lost depending on where it lands.

Our son, when he was seven, wrote this poem about Chanukah:

“How I love to go to bed with the candles shining in my head.

And when I have dreams, how lovely Chanukah seems.”

He’s now a father himself.

Each year, until the pandemic, he and his wife have made a Chanukah party for their children, friends and family.


Last week they held another Chanukah party – the first since Covid. The story of Chanukah was told and acted out with costumes, arts and crafts. Latkas and donuts were eaten. The dreidel game was played. Each child present made, decorated and lit their own Chanukiah.

It was a beautiful moment. One I think the children – and I – will remember for a long time to come. At least, until next Chanukah when we will do it all again.

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems