Thursday, November 18, 2004

Musical spices

Most of the week has been spent reading A. Nauthor's vast novel. I'm not sure that I'll get it finished before heading to Adelaide. But I'll try.
On Tuesday night, Frank, Peter and I went to Eureka which was a good performance of a not very distinguished show. However, it was absorbing enough, and had a good Wauthaurong sub-plot. Amanda Muggleton was very good as the Irish/Spanish whore, and it had one memorable number. "That's What Women Do".
On Wednesday, we joined Lorraine at the Books for Cooks shop to hear Mr and Mrs Herbie about their new book, Spicery. Herbie (Ian Hemphill) could talk the leg off a chair, but is quite interesting, and they (the shop) produced four or five little delicacies from the book to try. It was a big improvement on the usual launch, with good food and wine. What a change!
Today, Dad and Mum turned up with their car, to take to Adelaide, and simultanously Morris dropped in for a coffee, so we reminisced about France (where Morris and Helen have just been). It sounds as though they walked their feet off around Paris, which is the thing to do. Tomorrow we should be up to our ears in packing. So the blog will take a rest for a fortnight while we do the Rinse Cycle. (Unless some internet cafe pops into convenient view on the way though I doubt there are many of those in the Coorong. I can just see the Ngarrindjeri Internet Cafe, staffed by a pelican.)

Monday, November 15, 2004

Beethoven and Brahms

I had an easy pickup from the airport of Peter Walsh, and we scooted home for tea and a long chat to catch up on doings in Albury and on the trains. Unfortunately, it was up early the next morning to get him off on the train to Albury. He brought some beautiful pearl shells from Broome and a Sampi carved boab nut (and an uncarved one with the velvety skin). It reminded me of Pat Lowe's surmise about why African boab nuts don't break when they hit the ground (they have monkeys to break 'em up) and ours do (we don't).
In the afternoon on Sunday, we went to see Brett Kelly's chamber orchestra and an augmented Ensemble Gombert do Beethoven's Ninth in the Hawthorn town hall. Apart from the fact that Peter and I were in the younger ten per cent of the audience, it was splendid. The smaller forces and venue made for crystal clear sound, and good playing. It was preceded by two Brahms motets which were by the unaugmented Gombert (sans Frank), which were very good.
In the evening, we went to Frank's for roast chook and commiserated with him about his burglary and he reciprocated about Spencer.
P. threw up on his way to the station and has a couple of days off after a visit to the quacks. No reason, and not related to Frank's chook. I'm fine!
We're gearing up for leaving for Adelaide on Saturday.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Vale Spencer

A fairly normal Saturday, we did the shopping without Frank, because of numerous singing rehearsals and engagements. But sadly first up was a visit to the vet, which was Spencer's last. He has gone to rest in an EPA approved cat burial place near Werribee, so we'll think of him every time we go on the Geelong Road (though we'll think of him more often than that). He leaves a big hole in our lives. It's hard to think of the place without the proud, cantakerous Spencer making a nuisance of himself in various ways.
To add to the sadness of the day, Frank was burgled again! Poor Frank, he seems to be almost targeted. It must be very frustrating and distressing to have to go through it all over again.
Tonight, Peter Walsh is coming to stay. I'm about to head to the airport to pick him up. We'll have beef burgundy for dinner, an oldie but a goldie. It will be good to hear the tales of Broome (where he has been for a week).

Friday, November 12, 2004

Writers - alive and dead

Went round to see George Papaellinas which is always a pleasure. We talked about his new novel and he is going to re-revise it (or at least look at it). If he pulls it off, it will be very good indeed. It was a tonic to have a fairly bracing discussion with George, ranging across the personal and the political (the same thing really).
Then, A. Nauthor dropped in with his novel. It is big, though not as large as I thought. He is planning to self-publish it. I'm looking forward to reading it. He has several versions of this and his next novel, the ones he likes personally, the more adventurous, and the more market oriented versions. However, as no publishers so far want the more market oriented versions, he figures that he might as well please himself. The only way to have a free press . . .
In the afternoon, I trundled off in the pouring rain to the North Fitzroy Star for Peter Mathers' wake. The usual suspects were there for some very affecting and funny speeches about the warmth and quirkiness of Mathers. His daughters were especially moving: "We had parley with chick peas, basil with chick peas, chick peas with chick peas. We then realised how poor Dad really was." Or the trip to the Adelaide Festival by train, to find there was nowhere to stay, so straight back on the train again. The wake probably went on for some time, but by now I was a bit pooped and came home to get ready for Frank coming over for tea. No chick peas, mercifully, but the remaining soto ayam followed by lamb with Mediterranean salad. We discussed a few more details about Adelaide.
Spencer seems stable, though perhaps getting a bit wobblier on his pins.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


A jolly excursion to Ear, Nose and Throat at the Royal Melbourne yesterday resulted in seeing Costello, the surgeon, and a couple of his colleagues. He thinks I do need the additional 'procedure' to cut back the exposed bone and cover it over, but NOT under a general anaesthetic. There was a bit of banter about this but he insisted that I shouldn't take valuable anaesthetic time for a job that was only going to take a little snip. I said I couldn't do it before the Wagner Rinse Cycle, so they'll book it in for January. Something to look forward to! 'We do wonders these days with local anaesthetics,' he said. 'I'm sure you do,' I replied, with some asperity and no wit.
After that, the Olds dropped in on the way to dinner with Jo (at the same joint we had dinner the previous night), so I recommended the mushrooms stuffed with prawns.
Spencer has taken to sleeping under the wood heater, presumably to warm his ageing bones. He seems not to be distressed, but doesn't look very well at all.
A. Nauthor, whom I've worked with before, wants me to quote on a novel he is thinking of self-publishing. This would be stretching my resolution to avoid manuscripts that don't have a publisher. A fine moral point, though, from experience last time with him, he is refreshingly reasonably straight as a person, so we'll see what it looks like. It is BIG, though not as big as Alexis. I'll have to discuss it with him, then read the ms and see.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Side by Side

Lunch with the Olds and my sister's family was good: lots of roast pork and vegies. My sister, Julie, and Ian are just back from Eden and Mallacoota oberving whales and dolphins, among other critters. It was especially good to see their daughter, Nyssa being much more outgoing and lively than she used to be when she was a he.
The Equity bash was especially good, as one would expect from a whole lot of hoofers showing off in front of each other. Highlights were a medley of showstoppers from old troupers like Anne Phelan, Nancy Hayes and Helen Morse (who sang the song for non-singers 'Send in the Clowns'). I liked Amanda Muggleton mugging her way through 'Broadway Baby' in a frightful frock. We preceded it with dinner at Cicciolino's which was splendid bistro food, almost perfect. Frank and I had the thinly sliced veal with caper and anchovy sauce (I can't remember its Italian name). Yum!
Another good meal tonight at Saigon Rose with Jo, Bryony and Pat. Very tasty seafood and not very expensive, and good talk. Jo seems to be going well in Canberra, which she calls 'Sweden'. Bryony has just handed in her last essay for the year for her MA and Pat got A for her piano exam. I feel very second rate in comparison.
I got home to find Fran had rung with the news that Peter Mathers had gone. There is a wake for him on Thursday afternoon from 2 till 5 at the Fitzroy Star, and I'll probably go.
Spencer is still not very sparkling. It will be vale for him soon too.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Social Whirl

Not quite, but almost. On Friday, Peter was using Frank's ticket to the Melbourne Symphony (Frank is rehearsing himself out of existence). I got Halftix to the concert and we joined Margaret and Dick for a bite at Southgate then went to the Town Hall for the concert. It was Markus Stenz' second last concert, and he led a spirited rendition of Strauss' Alpine Symphony, preceded by pieces by Richard Meale and Vaughan Williams. Two of the pieces used the splendid Town Hall organ, and, in spite of the hard chairs, I prefer the Town Hall over Hamer Hall. It is somehow more intimate, and even though the band is crowded on stage, you seem to be more in touch with them. Anyway, it was a thrilling concert, with an encore of the Trisch Trasch Polka, the old theme music for ABC racing. A good joke for Cup week. And they would have had the music on the shelf!
Very pleasant shopping on Saturday with Frank, followed by lunch in Clifton Hill, then in the evening, Peter decided to mind the poorly Spencer, while I went off to TWO birthday parties. Teresa Pitt's was at a Carlton Restaurant (upstairs) overlooking the Carlton Gardens. As I expected for a sixtieth birthday, it was old home week, with people coming from Sydney for the event, plus Jack Hibberd, Evelyn Krape, Terry Moloney, Meg Clancy, Kevin Childs and Maureen, and lots of other blasts from the past. Then I went on to George and Helen's bash in East Brunswick. Not surprisingly, as it was two thirtieth birthdays, it was a youngish crowd, so it was interesting to see 'how the other half live'. Not very differently, it seems.
Today, it's lunch at the Olds, followed by Hats Off to Sondheim, an actors' AIDS benefit concert, which might be fun. What a social whirl!
I've nearly finished entering corrections to the first quarter of Alexis' ms, so I will get it off to her agent by tomorrow, I hope.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Spencer the Cat

Peter had made an appointment for Spencer at the vet last night, as he is still very thin and peaky. He's not eating very much. The vet still can't work out what's wrong with him, apart from old age, but gave him a shot of anabolic steroids to perk him up. It seems to be having a small effect. We await the arrival of Arnie Spencernegger, or perhaps the onset of roid rage. Seriously, we hope it makes him feel better. All the vet says we can do is watch him, to see that he is not suffering too much.
Before that, I went to the first meeting of the programming committee of the Melbourne Writers' Festival. In spite of the turnover on the committee, it was like old home week, with Clare Forster back on, and the others present being Lilian Holt, Jason Steger and me. All ideas are welcome.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Cup Day

Peter had the winner of the Cup in his office sweep, so has won $72, as well as putting in his tax return today. As he put it, we'll be rolling in it soon. Just as well, as we head off for The Ring cycle in Adelaide in a couple of weeks.
Sally came round for lunch today, and oohed and aahed over poor little Spencer being so thin. He'll stay with her while we're away. Peter had made some delicious salads for lunch: rock melon and prosciutto, beetroot and orange, and waldorf salad, plus some of the cheese and bread we got on Saturday. He's now busy making summer chicken for dinner. Burp!

Monday, November 01, 2004

Computer mayhem

On Sunday, I received Rochelle's revisions, checked them over, then tried to email them back. I don't know whether it was the file (with track changes on it) or what but the computer jammed up, and refused to get out of an error loop. I tried to reinstall, but the machine wouldn't accept my product code. This morning, feeling calmer, I contacted Microsoft who were both prompt and helpful, and now, after some hours fiddling to get everything in order, I'm back in the loop. Phew! No more trying to email track changes - it never works the way you want it to.
Meanwhile, a peaceful weekend: a visit to Nicholson Street (shopping for meat and cheese) and a visit to ACCA with Tat and Frank to see/hear the Forty Part Motet by Tallis split up into forty speakers. It is a lot of fun, listening to the voices individually, as well as the choir's commentary to each other in a break ("We always go wrong at the page turn on 19", says one little treble.)
The shopping on Saturday became delicious scallopine on Saturday, and yummy steak and kidney pudding on Sunday night.