Thursday, October 28, 2004

Putter, putter, putter

I've spent the week puttering away on various things: a bit of finishing off on Rochelle, a bit of revision on Alexis and started some work on George P.'s novel. In the middle of this, Rochelle, P. and I went to The Charcoal Club, a show by Richard Frankland at the (famous) Spiegeltent. The tent is very atmospheric and Peter's prediction of little tables with tea lights turned out to be just right. The show was very good, too, with video and film clips and songs and narration, all of which, I think, worked. Though I would have liked more speculation about the future and the Germaine Greer vision.
Tonight, Frank came over for dinner which was Seafood Cocktail Supreme (in honour of Kath and Kim) and Sour Fish Curry (again!) and Lentils (again!!) and rice.
More puttering tomorrow.

Monday, October 25, 2004

More culture

After a couple of days quiet work, on Saturday Frank had a morning rehearsal, so we did late shopping after lunch at our place (French goats cheese quiche, lentil mix and ratatouille). I got Halftix for Winterreise in the morning. Frank had seen it on Thursday, so P. and I went on Saturday night. The ballet part was a bit superfluous, but the singing was superb, and it was nice to see it with surtitles in English. Afterwards, we had dinner at EQ in the Arts Centre. I had fishcakes, and P. had a chicken salad followed by banana pannacotta (for me) and fragotta (?) for P. The waiter kept trying to take our plates too early, and finally said, "I always come too quickly." "Don't tell us your problems."
On Sunday, we went off to the ancient Victorian Artists' Society in Albert Street to see a group exhibition which contained pictures by Barry Dickins, and one by his son, Louis, which was the only one that was sold. We ran into Barry and Louis outside, Louis all proud of having made his first sale. A chip off the old block indeed! Then a walk in the gardens, and a trip to Bridge Road. We didn't exactly shop till we dropped. All we bought was a spice grinder (disguised as a coffee grinder) and looked for garden chairs. Dinner at Frank's place followed with two delicious curries, and poached pears with a 'creme caramel' toffee top. Yum.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Culture Vultures

After back to normal shopping on Saturday with Frank, we had dinner on Saturday night at the nearby Park Hotel with him and David Golightly to, among other things, discuss our trip to The Ring cycle in Adelaide in late November. It looks as though Frank, Peter and I will drive over together, stopping at the Coorong, then David will join us there (by plane) but drive back with us. The dinner at the Park was pleasant and tasty.
On Sunday, P. and I went to Heide. It was a sunny day, and the Gabrielle Pizzi collection of Desert Art was a knockout. I wish the same could be said for the one in conjunction with the Melbourne Festival, but it was a bit of a wank. The garden and old Heide were in springtime splendour.
On Monday, I had a coffee with Andrea Goldsmith, who was fascinated by Lesley and Louise's trip to Chiva Som. She thought it was some kind of plot, and, indeed, I found out that it was sponsored by Hallmark Cards, a subversive organisation if ever there was one.
Tuesday brought a perioperative visit to the hospital, which was pretty much a waste of time as by the time I'd got through the nurse and the anaesthetist pretty promptly, I waited two and a half hours for the ENT man, Damien, who informed me that they hadn't discussed my surgery yet. They'll call me! I won't wait up.
In the afternoon, Dad brought the painting so it is here AT LAST. Now I have to decide where to put it which involves a rethink of all the paintings. (Sounds like a gallery - it isn't!).
I've done a bit of work on Alexis' ms, and read a new one (a very good novel) which is on offer but I can't do it on reflection. Rochelle has dutifully sent her revisions which will occupy me for the next day or so.
Tonight, P. and I went to The Producers, which was enjoyable if not stunning as it might have been with a bit more wit, and less pratfalling hamfistedness. Well cast and well performed, and very well mounted, it deserved a better script and faster moving action.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Error upon error

On Thursday, I went to see Dr Hiran to extend my sickness benefits, which now are until early January. This is just before Hiran moves on to whatever doctoring he does next, or maybe stays, at least part-time. The Health Centre was in the middle of its Annual Meeting preparations, and busloads of people were turning up, so I made a hasty escape for fear of being roped in somehow. I have already said to the committee member, Brian Stagoll, whom I saw at George and Helen's launch, that I would help with the history of the health centre if I could.
In the morning, I made a false trip to the airport to pick up Frank. It turned out his itinerary was wrong, which I should have figured out. How was he meant to get from England by leaving at 22.30 on Wednesday and arriving in Melbourne at 5.30 on Thursday, virtually the same time.? Via the Tardis? However, I had visions of him being strip-searched by customs as I waited, then gave up. When I got home, I worked it out, and went off on Friday morning instead. Frank was about third off the plane, so there was almost no waiting. He came round for dinner after a little snooze for leftover fried rice and new sour fish curry. See his blog for bits of his trip: Also, see Lesley and Louise living it up in Thailand, with blandishments like towels with lemon water:
My father came round at lunchtime, bringing end of year (financial) statements for Centrelink, and to take the certificate for sickness benefits. He rang later to say that he had the famous painting in the boot, but forgot about it. So did I. Some time.
Meanwhile, Spencer gets thinner and thinner but doesn't seem distressed. It could be anaemia; it's not thyroid or renal.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Back on the Table

On Monday, Mum and Dad dropped over for lunch, ostensibly to bring Joan Eatock's painting, which they successfully transported back from Canberra, where it came from Sydney via Kit at last, who kept forgetting to bring it every time she has met them for two years. Because they'd been to the docs with Mum first, they forgot! It will get here eventually.
On Tuesday, I went off to the cobbler elves, who (Greg) seemed happy with the way the nose is going, then off to Ear, Nose and Throat. I thought it would be the usual routine checkup, but Dr Damien is very thorough and noticed that a small piece of bone is exposed from the surgery. This could become infected and be very troublesome. He thinks it needs to be covered over, which would involve day surgery and another general anaesthetic "to avoid discomfort". You can say that again! He will consult with Mr Costello, the surgeon, but if he gives the go-ahead it could happen any time. Otherwise, I've got a fresh checkup in a month.
I just made it in time for my meeting with Rochelle at the library, and she is now ploughing away on the last of the chapters to revise before sending it back to the ABC.
It's Spencer's turn this afternoon. He's off to the vet for a checkup. He really enjoys that. The caterwauling in the car is heartrending and pathetic. I think the vet will just say he's getting old, but it's worth the check to try to find out why he's eating less and being a bit lethargic.
Meanwhile, our overseas correspondent in Thailand has finally posted. Lesley and Louise are lapping up the luxury at their health resort: hot rock therapy, flower arranging, Pilates, fruit sculpture (Louise will be in her element), cooking classes and massage. Plus lots of fat-and-oil-free vegetarian food which is apparently delicious. Good for them; they need it after all their recent bereavements. Frank, on the other hand, is strangely silent from the UK. Perhaps he's too busy having fun to post.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Woe is Us

Election night turned into a real fizzer, even without any sparkling wine. Our local member was not even forced to preferences, though the Green vote is so far 18.5 per cent. However, it will be a tragedy if in the Senate the Family First candidate gets the last Victorian Senate seat ahead of the Greens. We sat and watched with glum fascination, and there were precious few bonuses, though Hetty Johnston and Pauline Hanson not getting Senate spots in Queensland was one, as was the possible demise of Larry Anthony. But that is not much to get.
So we have to face up to the Rodent again, perhaps with a Senate which will do his bidding. Helen Coonan was already talking about 'fair dismissal' legislation, which shows the extent to which they are prepared to fracture language and truth.
Today, we've retreated to the garden and the crossword. Anything to take our mind off it.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

A week of launches

On Wednesday night, P. and I met at the State Library for the launch of Gardenseque, their exhibition of gardening items. The honours were done by Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, who was punchy, albeit a bit tottery (not bad for 96). We had a couple of glasses of white, a savoury pancake nibbly in a marquee on the forecourt of the Library. I waited to see the exhibition till Friday when it was sparser, and it is very interesting, with a beautiful drawing by Spooner of the September 11 explosion with a foreground picket fence garden with a wistful kangaroo and a John Howard gnome.
On Thursday it was time for the Mumma's Kitchen launch at the Brunswick Street bookstore in its new more spacious incarnation (the art books have gone upstairs). Stefano di Pieri spoke affectingly and well, and numerous other contributors were there. It was a rainy night, but that didn't seem to affect attendance.
After a good meeting with Rochelle on Friday, P. and I met accidentally at a Little Bourke Street bottleshop and went off to Lorraine's for dinner, which was, as usual delicious. It was a very good end to the week.
Today was market day, so we did all our necessary shopping there including lots of salad stuff and a roast pork piece. The pork man (from Jindivik Smokehouse) insisted that his free-range pigs were very happy. "But they're dead!" The narcs from Yarra Council were doing the rounds checking the temperature of fridges. Why can't they go after the big end of town?
Then we went off to vote, which was uneventful, except for having to fill out 65 (!!) squares in the Senate in order to get the preferences right. I hope Jacinta Collins notices the preferences for Labor stop after Stephen Conroy on at least two ballot papers. There are such a lot of parties (One Nation, Family First, Fred Nile) to put last, not to mention the Liberals.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The National Capital

We didn't do quite as much as I anticipated, but were still very busy. After a bumpy Virgin flight to Canberra, we settled into Olims for the night, then in the morning went to the Dinosaur Museum (sic) to meet up with Kit and Ben, and all the Nick mob. Very noisy with tacky dinosaur bits all around. We had lunch at the nearby Olde Englishe pube, which was actually quite good, and kid friendly luckily since we had four of them.
We then retreated back to Olims for a rest, and then Nick cooked a roast beef dinner back at the flats in Kingston which was delicious.
On Saturday we went to Lesley, Louise and Michael's, thence to Floriade. We had a picnic lunch by the lake, and admired the swans and cygnets. We all had a ferris wheel view of Floriade. It was not quite as damp as Friday, but nearly. The tulips were, well, tulips, and suitably garish and it was a worthwhile diversion. We went back to Lesley's for arvo tea then Thai dinner. Michael had a friend, Sam, for a sleepover, so we made a very odd little sextet.
On Sunday, Dad picked us up (Mum was still resting her sore leg), and we did the library which had a very good Chinese exhibition, Xanadu, then to the gallery for the usual round of 'masterpieces'. It is enjoyable to see the old favourites, though. Then Dad headed off, and P. and I went for lunch at Old Parliament House. The exhibition on the Petrovs was good. Plus ca change, I thought. We called a cab to go back to Kingston, but just then Dad sailed up in the car. What happenstance! P. went off to the airport after a quick dinner, and I went off to Jo's in O'Connor.
We had a nice fish dinner, then in the morning took Nellie for a walk along the O'Connor Ridge, then the Olds and Nick and Kirrilly and the kids arrived, and we headed off to Albury. It was a beautiful day at last, and the country was very green. We arrived at Jill and Peter's, the Olds headed off for the Boathaven Park to stay, then we (Peter Walsh and Jill and I) went out to dinner with her sister and brother-in-law at a renovated bloodhouse in North Albury. It was delicious food. Then I went to bed, and Peter W. woke me in the middle of the night (3.30am) to go with him on the train to Melbourne. He snaffled me a sleeper, so it was very comfortable, and brought me breakfast in the morning. Such luxury!