Monday, August 30, 2004

We went to Frank's for dinner on Friday night, and did the standard blobby watching Friday night teev, then early shopping on Saturday. The olds took us all off to the Writers' Fest. where Peter saw Colm Toibin, Dad and I saw Bryony chair Lynne Truss and Janet Mackenzie in a session on editing, and I did Rodney Hall's session. All went well. Then on Sunday, I did the Arts Funding session which was very poorly attended. There was good competition, but I suppose people just weren't interested. Rodney Hall did make some interesting points, and so did Father Ed and Peter Goldsworthy.But it demonstrated perhaps that the Australia Council is not the vibrant force that it was once.
Back to 'normal' life today.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Well, I'm suddenly very busy. As well as preparing next weekend's two sessions for the Writers' Festival, I'm still ploughing away on Alexis' ms, which will take at least this week to finish. As well I have a new ms from ABC books to work on developing, and a novel from a friend which is sitting waiting for attention. There are not enough hours in the day.
On Monday, I had lunch with Renata Singer, who is in good form. We brunched at the Richmond Hill Larder, which was nice, though the parking is so bad I had to keep running out to feed the meter. The doctor's appointment in the afternoon was a waste of time, as the letter from the renal clinic had not arrived. I should have checked beforehand. Never make assumptions! Two other disappointments on Monday: I couldn't contact the place in the Coorong where we wanted to stay in November (phone disconnected) and Tim who was going to take the Kombi has decided not to. All in all, apart from Renata, a bum day!
Today was less ambitious, but more productive with lots of work on Alexis, and little else.
Frank came for dinner tonight, and I tried the prawn dry curry again; thank you to Rosemary Brissenden for a great recipe. We had pears and dried fruit for dessert.
Peter has got tickets for K.D. Lang in February! Talk about planning ahead. She is appearing with the Melbourne Symphony at the Regent, and we will be hanging from the rafters, but it will probably be worth it.
Dad is coming tomorrow with accounts, so I'll have to talk over the Kombi with him. I really don't want to let it go, but I suppose I have to. After twenty-five odd years, it is a wrench. But it will cost more to fix than it is worth . . .
I still have a lot to do for the Rodney Hall session, though I could probably wing it now, having spoken for two hours with him over coffee. I should be able to manage an hour and a quarter in public. But I feel that I need to do him justice. It was nice being told after the family sagas session that many people wanted to read the books.
The arts funding session is shaping up to be quite good too. I spoke to Peter Goldsworthy today, and he is aware of Hall's criticisms of the present Australia Council, so we should have a good discussion. In the end, it is a bit like Aboriginal affairs. As the bone gets smaller, there are more fights over it. However, Rodney's point is that you need to have strategies to make the bone go further. And not waste money. So much to think about and so little time.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Hooray! I finished entering all the alterations to Alexis' ms this week and am now working through checking it and making further corrections. I should finish it by the end of next week. I also did some preparation for the Melbourne Writers' Festival. I had a very nice coffee with Rodney Hall on Thursday in preparation for his spotlight, then on Friday revised the books of the three authors for today and made some more notes. The session, "Family Sagas", turned out well as Larissa, Elizabeth and Steve are all good performers, and I was well prepared, though we ran out of time before audience questions. Never mind! I had a few compliments afterwards, so was quite pleased.
Met Lesley P. briefly before the session. It was good to have a quick (very quick) catch-up.
Also, this week, had a regular ENT check, and got a koala stamp for being okay. The doc this time was the most thorough I've had so far, in terms of checking for lumps and swellings etc. I poked my head in to the cobbler/elves, and Greg said that the next time I come, he'll give me a new nose, as it will probably be time for one.

Monday, August 16, 2004

A fairly busy weekend: on Friday we had a rushed dinner at the Moroccan Soup Bar in St George's Road, which was quite tasty (and cheap) before the Marion Singer quiz night at the old Fitzroy footie ground. It was a very congenial night, even though our table, consisting of old fogeys, came second last. There was an understandable bias towards young persons in the questions, but we did all right until the last round which was listing as many Johnny Depp movies as you could. Duh!
It was raining on Saturday morning, so we gave the Farmer's Market a miss and went straight to Victoria Gardens. Michael Hurley dropped in in the afternoon, and we heard about his and Mark's travels in North America, then had dinner and The Bill at Frank's along with Act IV of William Tell on DVD.
On Sunday, P and I went to Bundoora Homestead to see their exhibition of the La Trobe University collection which is quite impressive in a low key way. A very nice Ric Amor, and a glowing Fred Williams, and other gems. There were quite a few paintings I would take home if they'd let me.
We also hung the Alice Springs paintings to (I hope) good effect.
In spite of interruptions today of various sorts (wood delivery, getting pills from the health centre) I got a good run Alexis, and, with luck, I might finish the entering stage tomorrow. Then I have to check through the lot for further cuts and adjustments now that I can see the whole thing in its new shape. So far, so good.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

A very much at-home week, tapping away, entering all the changes agreed on in Alice Springs to Alexis' ms. It is taking longer than I thought, and today I have printed out up to page 158, out of probably about 480 in the new format. A fair way to go, but it is looking good. Rose Creswell sent a bunch of red roses today to say thankyou (she is Alexis' agent) so the living room is looking very welcoming with a bunch of desert wildflowers and the roses.
Also, a visit to the vampires at the hospital on Monday, before a renal clinic trip on Wednesday, where I got a koala stamp for being 'stable' though given a suggestion that I should eat more veg, cereal and carbohydrate, and less protein. I like protein! Since then we have had fish for dinner, and tonight total vego dinner. It shouldn't be too hard to have one or two vego meals each week.
Tomorrow night is the Singer quiz night, with dinner first at the Moroccan Soup Kitchen in St George's Road. I think it is totally vego. How virtuous!
Also, today I started contacting people about the Writers' Festival gigs, though I only succeeded in speaking to Ed Campion. No doubt there'll be an onslaught tomorrow. It's all taking shape though, and I'm not too worried about any of them. We can rattle on about families till the cows come home, Rodney Hall should be easy to talk to, and the Literature Funding panel will probably have a frisson of excitement from disgruntled applicants, at least that's what Fr Ed thinks.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Back home again after a fortnight in Alice Springs. It was a very pleasant time staying with Alison and working with Alexis. I didn't do a lot of 'touristy' things, but did manage to go to the Desert Park with Alexis, and Alexis and Toly took Alison and I to Glen Helen Gorge on Saturday. It was a glorious day and we had a late lunch at Glen Helen (everything was off but pies when we got there, 140 plus kms west of AS), but we sat in the sun and watched the plentiful birds. I also did a fair bit of walking around Alice (on the way to and fro Alexis') plus had many social engagements with the cream of Alice society (Tracker Tilmouth, Jenny Green, Philip Batty etc). I also had brunch at the Silver Bullet (the trendy Alice eatery) with the IAD Press mob, and dropped into IAD to see the office again. All in all a very successful trip in very sunny weather.
Came back to Melbourne last night to Peter's Osso Buco, so it was very warming and pleasant. Now onto the hard work of entering all the changes Alexis and I agreed and doing a new ms. All the Alice people were very hospitable, and I returned with a Namatjira print, and four new drypoint etchings by some youngish girls (some of them Namatjira great great grandchildren), plus a big posy of desert flowers and some bush orange seeds to try and grow. I also went to a book launch of a collection of NT stories and poems at the Olive Pink Gardens which was a bit hippy trippy, but very pleasant on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Russel Goldflam, the MC, didn't let anyone go on for too long, the recipe for success at these dos. I'll miss the good folk of Alice Springs, as well as Alexis' dog, Jess, and the cat, Pushkin. Jess would give me a good sniff every morning to check I hadn't been unfaithful with some other dog.