Sunday, July 25, 2004

Last night's dinner at Frank's place included David Golightly, and we had the aforementioned stew followed by stewed fruit and cream. Yummy! After The Bill we watched Act One of Sweeney Todd in a concert performance by the San Francisco opera.
Today we went post-Age-crossword out to my parents where my sister and her husband joined us for lunch, thence to Heide for the narrative painting exhibition which is well worth a visit. A couple of very nice Blackman Alice-in-Wonderland pics are worth the visit alone. (See Bryony, we do other things apart from eat!) A bit of a stroll in the wintry gardens at Heide with the jonquils just peeking out.
Tonight roast chook, and tomorrow Alice Springs. So the blog will be a bit erratic if not non-existent over the next two weeks. See ya!

Saturday, July 24, 2004

On Thursday night, I went to an old Penguins dinner at the Carringbush. Unfortunately, Andrew P. was ill, but Jo, Rosanne, Bryony and Pat turned up, plus beforehand some friends of Jo for a drink. It was a very convivial dinner with good tucker and very welcome warm fires to keep us warm. We heard about Rosanne's Spanish and Portuguese adventures. She's off again in March for even more European frolics.
On Friday, off to the doctor, to replenish my pills before going to Alice Springs and get my sickness benefits extended. I just caught Dr Tamara, who was on duty at Peter Mac when I was there. She is about to do a country stint in Warrnambool for some months.
Shopping was as normal today, though we had an unusual lunch, at Ikea. We avoided getting lost in the labrynthine Ikea at Richmond, though it is a bit scary wondering if you are ever going to find your way out of the maze of furnishing bric-a-brac. We had the inevitable Swedish meatballs, and I had some smoked salmon. Tonight, we're heading back to Frank's for warming beef stew and something with cream, as he bought some in the shopping.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Yesterday, Dad came over with the GST June quarter return and my tax return which are now signed, enveloped and posted. I cooked fish for dinner (slightly undercooked, but not too much) with chives and lemon, so we've had our fish for the week.
Today was Rosemary Tribe's memorial service in Canterbury. It was very impressive with a huge rollup, and a very moving account of a rich and full life. There was not too much Godbothering from the clergy. Most of what they said was unexceptionable, and the testimonies about Rosemary's life were warm and full of life. Bryony, George and Lou, Linda, Debbie and Lisa came from Rosemary's Penguin time.
Peter cooked lamb shanks for dinner tonight and they were delicious with parsleyed mashed potatoes (cooked the Jill Dupleix way, in their jackets then peeled and mashed, with Peter singeing his fingers when peeling them).
I'm on schedule with Alexis' ms, and have now made contact with Alison who has offered me a bed in Alice Springs. So it's all go! I'm not sure that there's much else to prepare to go to AS, but I'm sure I'll think of something. Just throw some clothes in a bag, and work out a way to take the huge ms and not have it lost, as it is marked with weeks of work. It's my first big trip (that is for more than a week) since losing my nose, so it's a bit intimidating, but not too much. Speaking at the memorial service today was a step forward too, though I can't say I gave a thought to the nose while doing it. It was a good 'rehearsal' for the Writers' Fest at the end of August.
It is still very cold, and Spencer is hugging the fire (he was cheesed off that it died down while Peter and I were out today at the memorial service). My glasses are still fogging up frequently but it is not too much of a hassle.

Monday, July 19, 2004

The opera was a little bit old-fashioned musically, almost as though we weren't yet in the twentieth-first century, and was weak dramatically. Who cares that Rupert Brooke was killed by a mosquito bite and not in action? However, it was diverting enough, and very well sung and played.
Today, I went to see John Tribe to make arrangements for speaking at Rosemary's memorial service on Wednesday. He is holding up well at present, probably because he is very busy organising everything. It was good to see him and have a chat, even though the circumstances could have been better.
In between, I went to the health centre to pick up some medicaments, but I have run out of repeats for two of them, so will have to see Tamara on Friday for extras, plus a review of sickness benefits.
Tomorrow, Dad is coming with a swag of taxation and GST stuff, and I'm going great guns on the Alice Springs ms. Today, Tullamarine was fogged in and lots of flights were cancelled, diverted or over two hours late. I'll be really cheesed off if I get out there for a 6.45 am flight, then wait for two hours!

The Liz Kelly lunch went off very well in a quiet room at the North Fitzroy Star Hotel. It is very chintzy but comfortable, and Rennis, Polly Pollock, Ann de Hugard, Sally, Peter and I made a lot of noise. So much so I think that other possible customers were put off because they thought there was a function in that room. Well, there was! Sort of. It is well over ten years since Liz died, and it's a fitting memorial as we reminisce about her and her politics, especially sexual ones.
Frank and Tatt dropped in for a quick soto ayam leftover dinner on their way to a Gombert concert. Tatt is off to Broome this coming week, so I gave her some 'don't miss' tips. She is camping near Cable Beach, but might make some forays into the hinterland or to Cape Levecque.
On Sunday, we picked up Frank and trained into town for a workshop production of bits of a new Australian opera The Hive.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

A fairly quiet week: just working away on Alexis' novel, while occasionally answering accounting questions from my father, who came on Wednesday to pick up some statements. All is well on that front: I even get a GST rebate this quarter. The ATO and I play pingpong with GST; one quarter I pay them, and next quarter they pay me. All piddling amounts.
The Dickins family (Sarah, Barry and Louis) came for tea tonight (pea and ham soup, corned beef, potatoes and peas, and bananas and so on for dessert). It was a very pleasant night, with Louis going to semi-sleep on the couch.
Tomorrow, it's the Liz Kelly memorial lunch at the North Star in Fitzroy, after the normal shopping.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Several blasts from the past yesterday. Andrea Goldsmith came round for a coffee in the morning, and we had a great chat. Dot Porter is coming along well after the usual round (now radiotherapy). They are planning a trip to the Barrier Reef (Heron Island) later in the year to recuperate. Then a wood delivery in the afternoon, unexpected, and as I was stacking the wood, who came along the street but Jane Arms! Brian is away fishing with one of her sons, and she has just come back from the south of France. They won't be back in the Clare Valley until Christmas after various writer-in-residence bashes at Mudgee, Manning Clark House, Bundanon and in Europe. So we won't see them when we head to the Ring Cycle in late November. It was great to catch up with Jane and have a good mag about various things. Then . . . it was dinner at the Standard Hotel in Fitzroy. A Bryson jamboree with John, his friend Theresa, her children (grownup) Siobhan and Liam, John Timlin and Bridget, Fran Bryson, Morris Lurie, Sally Semmens and Peter and I. It was a bit noisy, but not too much so. John's film on juries is on the teev on Thursday night on SBS, so it was good to catch up. The food and wine were good and not too pricey, and the noise from the trivia night next door was not too overwhelming, except during 'guess-the-song'. Sal seems to have had a very enjoyable European jaunt, including running into John Bryson's friend, Henry and his son Henrique.

Monday, July 12, 2004

It was a fine and busy dinner for Dad's birthday on Friday night. The Nowra mob, my sister and her husband, Peter and I and Jo Bramble, who is about to head off to Canberra, another victim of The Cold. Nick and Kirrilly have headed back to Nowra with their brood, and Nick got a High Distinction for his last essay: on addiction.
The weekend was very quiet: a walk down to the Farmers' Market on Saturday, but unfortunately the rabbit people did not make the long trip from Ouyen this time, so no fresh rabbit casserole. Top-up shopping followed at Victoria Gardens (there are not many gardens in evidence) then the rest of the weekend was spent by the fire.
I've finished the third run through of Alexis' novel, and am starting to get a good grasp of it. The pieces are all falling into place.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Last night, the olds picked us up to go out to Nick and Kirrilly's caravan park, where they are in a unit to have dinner. N & K had been with the kids to the market during the day to buy fish and prawns and octopus to make a superb dinner. So we got our fish dinner after all. It was Dad's birthday, so we had a cake and sang Happy Birthday. The children were very well behaved and sank into bed without protest. Even Miss Mags! They had all bought small presents for themselves at the market: Allie a music box, David a laser gun and Miss Mags little figurines (one already broken a bit). Tonight it is dinner at Montmorency with my sister, a second birthday party! Still, 79 is pretty good. Next year, the big 8 0.
I'm close to the end of the Alice Springs ms. I should get there today, and won't go to Scienceworks with the Nowra mob. They are doing the planetarium as well. I'll go out early to Montmorency before dinner.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

The Nick and Kirrilly show are in town. On Tuesday, we trundled down to the Children's Farm to see the animals. It was crawling with people, as it is school holidays, and they had a Professor Somebody show which demonstrated amply why Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin kept their mouths shut. However, the kids seemed to like it. After that, we went to the Kew Boathouse for lunch in rather blustery weather. As it started to rain, they retired to my parent's place at Montmorency. Yesterday, they went to Puffing Billy, again in the rain, but found a picnic shelter that was unused (surprise! surprise!) and had a dry picnic. Today, they are doing the Vic Market, and throwing a barbecue at their caravan park with seafood. At least today is looking a bit nicer.
We finished the Writers' Festival program at our meeting yesterday, and I wound up with three sessions (Rodney Hall, Family Sagas, and a session on Australia Council funding). There's a fair bit of reading involved for the first two, and some research for the third, but it's not a very heavy load on the whole. One on the first weekend, then one on each day of the second. At least it will tell the world that I'm back in business.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

On Thursday, my father dropped in with some completed accounts (for May). I am still going through the Alice Springs ms, slowly, though I am accelerating now that I realise that it is only three weeks away, and a lot of next week will be spent with Nick and family down from Nowra. Lorraine and Frank came for tea on Friday, and the beef burgundy went down quite well, and we had a very pleasant evening, even though outside was cold and rainy. On Saturday, it was time to do a Sydney Road shop, at the Continental Deli. to stock up on Grana Padana and Virgin Olive Oil and so on. We lunched on leftovers at home (cheese, pastrami, rabbit and prune terrine and smoked chook)then had a lazy day doing not-very-much. The same today, though Sarah Brenan dropped in with some books I'd left at Melbourne Uni. One of them, the one-volume Macquarie Dictionary, will be quite handy to take to Alice Springs. I'll have to try to do a lot on that tomorrow, as Nick, Kirrilly and the kids arrive in Melbourne on Monday night, though I won't see them till Tuesday.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

A very uneventful week so far. My father dropped round to pick up various accounting things on Monday. We had takeaway lunch, then I made a delicious rich mushroom soup for tea. On Tuesday evening, our local council had organised a public meeting on the future plans for Victoria Park oval, so I went out in the bitter cold to do my bit. Pierre decided to stay by the fire after work instead. The plans were unexceptionable, more trees, more park, retaining the historic buildings and the turf of the oval.
Peter had Wednesday off, so we had an art gallery binge. There were huge queues for the Impressionists so we gave that a miss and did early photos of Paris (stunning photos of old pros and buildings), Zen bric-a-brac, then we went to Fed. Square for the 2004 contemporary art exhibition, most of which was fairly ho-hum. P. went home and I went to ACCA on the way to the Writers' Festival meeting. Again, more ho-hum. An exhibition called 'Swoon' was decidedly non-erotic. I think we had been spoilt by the brilliance of the Tarrawarra showing on the weekend.
I arrived home cold and wet from the Writers' Fest (we are nearly there with the program) to find P. had cooked a roast roll of lamb, with lots of really nice roast vegies. Very warming!