Monday, February 28, 2005

Variety of cuisine

Late shopping on Saturday, as Frank had choir practice, so I took the opportunity to make the onion soup for dinner. Frank and David came for tea, with the soup, from St Stephanie, and her lamb roast with white beans (okay, but I think I would have preferred a straight roast) and berry dessert. We did some planning for going to Newstead at Easter.
On Sunday, we went with the olds to my sister's, then to the local pub for a very pub lunch (Nyssa stayed with the computer, and Ian was off at some bat colloquy).
Today, I had my interview, which seemed to go well, though it's hard to tell what the competition was. I was happy with my performance. The graduate studies centre is very plush, in the lovely old 1888 building, restored, with gardens at the front, and a bistro bar at the back. A perfect combination! I should hear about the job soon.
Tonight we had more Stephanie: chilli con carne, slightly hot and delicious with a fibre-filled salad.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Peter on television

This morning I took Peter to Fairfield for his colonoscopy: unfortunately, he missed seeing himself on television, as he, like me, went right out to it on a mild anaesthetic. By the time he woke up it was all over. He has diverticuli, seriously, for which it seems the only cure is more fibre. Which seems really unfair, as he eats a lot more fibre than me. The doc wants another look in about a month.
After taking him home, rather groggy, and depositing him in bed, asleep, I went off to meet Alexis in Brunswick Street. We had a good talk over a tea, iced coffee and lamb dumplings. I finally got to give her the Saint-Saens set including Carnival of the Animals.
As Peter is under orders to have only liquid today, we won't have roast lamb for dinner. I'll save it for another day. Frank is coming so we'll have onion tartes from the French deli.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Is Saigon Rose Tokyo's sister?

Sasha has winged his way back to Redfern, and all is quiet at 68 as P. prepares for his colonoscopy tomorrow (lots of opening medicine). I took Sasha out to the airport today. We are amassing guidebooks to Spain and Malta and beginning to salivate, twelve months in advance.
Last night, Sasha, P. and I met Meredith Rose and George and Lou for dinner at Saigon Rose in Victoria Street. It was a bit noisy, but the food was good, and the conversation as good as could be managed in the clatter. We must have the same people to dinner here on one Sunday for lunch, so we can talk in more peaceful surroundings.
Meanwhile, I'm powering through A. Nauthor's ms, while doing a bit of thinking about the interview for Melbourne Uni. on Monday.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Art Gallery

Sasha came to stay yesterday, fresh from the funeral, so to speak. And, predictably, couldn't stop talking about it. "Stop me if I'm boring you!" We had the (becoming) famous curried sausages with rice for dinner last night.
Today, we went into to town to the Gay 50s exhibition at the town hall. This time an excellent leaflet was available with it. Then we had a Chinese lunch in Little Bourke Street and off to the NGV for a look at the standard collection, including my perennial favourites, the Impressionists and post-Impressionists. We are very lucky to have them in this outpost at the end of the Pacific.
Roast venison for dinner tonight, while Sasha went to a rehearsal of The Three Sisters. He is doing some work on the translation for the play which is being produced at the Victorian College of the Arts.
I have an interview next Monday for the job at Melbourne University, so I'll have to do a bit of preparation before then. The interview is being done by three deans and Hilary McPhee (echoes of three weddings and a funeral). It should be interesting. One of the deans is the dean of medicine: we should be able to swap notes.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Brekkie in Willy

After lunch at home yesterday (faux yum cha and remnants of venison), Rochelle appeared late in the afternoon after her orgy of physical activities (farm volunteering, boot camping) in her natty sports car. Peter did oven-baked fish for tea afterwards.
This morning, Peter cooked up some flapjacks to have at the brunch in Williamstown. Sally gave us a lift, and we met Rennis, in her new house, and Polly from England and Polly Pollock from Rosanna. It was a good brunch with croissants, salmon, flapjacks with asparagus, champagne, orange juice and coffee. And lots of gossip about various things including the common factor for all of us, the late Liz Kelly.
Rennis had lots of travel news, especially recommending Malta, which cemented it as a place to visit.
Sasha arrives tomorrow for a few days: the funeral sounds as though it was long and tedious, but I'm sure there's lots of gossip about that too. Simple pasta for tea tonight.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Private viewing

After a few hours work this morning on A. Nauthor's ms, I drove out to Monash University for a part of the recording session of the Elizabeth Whitehouse CD. There was no one else in the auditorium, so I had the rare experience of a whole orchestra (Orchestra Victoria) and a great singer doing a performance just for me. Of course, the Melba Recordings crew were in the control box, but I could ignore that and just soak up the music. It was worth the long drive, and, as a bonus, I took in the Monash Gallery which had a mostly modern exhibition from their own collection.
Home again, vagabond shoes and dinner at Frank's, which was delicious homemade pizzas, and Friday night crime. Frank has decided not to come to the Hotel Tjampuhan in June, so now we have to decide whether to go it alone.
The Polly-from-England engagement has turned into brunch on Sunday, at Rennis' in Williamstown. But before then Saturday shopping as usual. And more A. Nauthor or I'll never get it finished before his return.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Down by the riverside

P. was off work today with more tummy upsets, and this time, at last, the quack has referred him for a colonoscopy to have a look at the problem. About time.
Meanwhile, I had lunch with the olds at the Alphington boathouse, which did its usual tasty barbecue and salad number which was v. pleasant on a sunny day, watching the canoeists falling into the toxic Yarra. What fun!
Rochelle's meeting with Jill, her ABC editor, went well yesterday, and the cover is well on the way. There is a momentary flurry of activity as a 'rival' book, Ms Moran's saga of the crim family is withdrawn because of untruths. The bookshops would be denuded if that were a general principle.
Sasha is now in town for the funeral of his stepfather. He'll stay at Ian H.'s for the weekend and join us on Monday for a few days, either bolstered or shattered by his new role as the family patriarch.
In other news from the front, Ann de H. might be heading to the Kimberley for a temporary job, which would be good for them and for her, and there is a RAR conference in Bundanoon in late March organised by, among others, Anne and Susan. Polly Moloney is in town, visiting from the British Isles, and we should catch up with her at Rennis' over the weekend. Rennis is recovering from abdominal surgery, so isn't too mobile at present. Busy, busy, busy! And tomorrow, I might go out to Robert Blackwood Hall at Monash for some of the recording of the Elizabeth Whitehouse CD of verismo arias (whatever they are). Sounds like a misnomer to me.
Oh, and I've finished the second run through A. Nauthor's ms. and am finally getting somewhere. I wonder whether he will be happy with the result, which might be close to half the size of the original. But it will sparkle.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Too pretty to eat

Pick the reference of the title. Bet you can't. However, today's CD launch was a bit like that: it was at Deutsche-Menzies gallery with Storrier, Shead, Whitely, Gleeson etc. on the walls. The sangos were excellent, and the speeches not too tedious. A good rollup, though whether the media coverage justified it, I'm not sure. All-in-all though a most enjoyable launch. Terry Lane did a good job spruiking for Melba Recordings, and chair of the Foundation, Primrose Potter did a very workmanlike performance. There were two ballet students impersonating nineteenth-century performers, though they didn't perform, just stood around posing. They didn't provide enough visual interest to get us on the nightly news, I think. Richard Bonynge and Elizabeth Whitehouse were suitably distinguished props.
Tonight, Frank came round for tea, and we had the leftover fish curry and rice, followed by rare venison with garlic mayonnaise, bread and salad, then fruit and leftover pannacotta. Not a bad dinner really. Even if Dr Walter wouldn't be completely delighted, it was all right.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Say cheese

A quite busy day: Morris dropped round for a coffee first up. He's bearing up quite well considering Helen's medical condition, and offering the best support he can. Good on him! Then the plumber came, and, as expected, the quote for fixing the two leaks seemed about right, so he'll start work by the end of next week. Then off to lunch with Renata, and the Richmond Larder etc. Cheese toast was my order for the day, and lots of good chat with Renata. She's here for just under three months, and it will be a regular thing as Peter S. has a sinecure at Melbourne University to just 'be' a visiting intellectual (they could probably do with a few). Not much time for A. Nauthor today or probably tomorrow, what with the CD launch and the Writers' Festival. How can I be so busy? with so little income.

Monday, February 14, 2005

A Sunday of Lunch

After a morning of furious cooking and cleaning, the guests arrived for lunch. The chillis stuffed with capers and anchovies were a hit, as was Peter's white chicken (Helen actually does it with a meat cleaver, but we haven't got one, mercifully). Especially nice were Stefano de Pieri's gorgonzola pannacottas which Peter also made. Everyone was stuffed full by the end. And I think it was a nice lunch. George P. had a big piece in Saturday's Age which was good to celebrate. Lorraine was going off after lunch to the David Byrne concert, so it will be interesting to hear how that went.
Sasha rang today with news that his stepfather has died, so he might be down for a flying visit soon. for the funeral which is in Collingwood, with an interment in Daylesford. This week is going to be marginally active, with lunch with Renata tomorrow and Maria Vandamme's big launch on Wednesday (P. has got the day off to attend). Apart from that, I'm working away on A. Nauthor's vast ms. which is keeping me more or less out of mischief. Cliche, cliche, cliche.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Shop till you drop

Sally came round this morning, and we trundled down to the farmers' market and did a bit of shopping. Apart from fairly humdrum things like olive oil, we got some venison (low fat) to turn into rare venison and mustard sauce some time. The usual place for the market had been flooded in the heavy rains, so it was a long walk to the far paddock, which was drier. Sal headed off and Frank turned up, we had lunch (the last of the soto ayam almost) then headed off to Victoria Gardens for the supermarketing and the rest of the vegies. We are now all prepared for lunch on Sunday. We just have to cook it.
Both Peter and I had an arvo sleep and didn't wake up in time for Rochelle's visit, but she left a French zucchini on the doorstep, which I mistook for a pumpkin. I'm not having a lot of luck with vegetables lately. I have absolutely no idea what you do with a French zucchini. We'll work that out.
Then it was off to Frank's for dinner, and pork chops a l'Indienne again, which were just as delicious. We rounded off the evening with some opera videos (Berlioz etc.) after The Bill. You can't say we haven't got catholic taste. Unlike George Pell.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Quick entry

Very humdrum Meanjin meeting this morning, with the passing of the annual accounts and the noting that Chris Wallace-Crabbe had passed thirty years on the Meanjin board. How can he stand it?
The rest of the day was spent puddling around with A. Nauthor's ms, though I'm starting to get the hang of how it can really sparkle. Just a few weeks' work, that's all.
Pepper steak for dinner, contrary to Dr Walter's prescription, though I have been fairly good about avoiding the chlorestorol inducing fats. Well, except for the slice of quiche lorraine from the French patisserie. Nobody's perfect.

Auld Lang Syne

The renal clinic was fairly uneventful. My protein leakage is under control with the new pills, and my weight is up to 79kg, which is good or bad depending on your point of view. Dr Walter was very thorough, and noted that my chlorestorol is up. Then he asked how I'd overcome my anaemia: by eating lots of red meat. Then he suggested I might be more vegetarian. I think he's one of those who thinks skinny is good. I said I wasn't about to give up my weekly roast, but I'd try to cut back on meat. Actually, on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night we had fish. Enough dietary guff. I'll just have to (sigh) cut back on cream, cheese and fats.
Lorraine, Peter and I met at the Hairy Canary in Little Collins Street for lots of tasty tapas for dinner, followed by K.D. Lang for dessert. Quite a contrast with the McGarrigle concert of last week, but then you have to be a bit organised with a symphony orchestra. It was actually more like the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra dance band (strings only). The concert was v. good, except for the slightly schmaltzy first act which was the orchestra only doing classical 'pops': Tchaikovsky, Grieg and Eleanor Rigby (really). The double basses and leader of the orchestra retired for the second half, where all the orchestra did was the equivalent of backing vocals.
In spite of awful stage banter (It's so good to be here in . . . Cleveland) and worse stage movement (sort of lolloping round the stage), Lang was very impressive vocally. If John Howard only realised: he could have got rid of the entire lesbian population of Melbourne with one well-placed bomb. I hope someone mopped up the seats afterwards from the general enthusiastic audience response.
A. Nauthor is off to the exotic East today, and mailed me a copy of one of his poetry anthologies, which is very impressive. I even get a thankyou in it for suggesting the title. Never mind what it is; that would be a giveaway.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

A period of adjustment,

well, not really. The usual in most respects: on Monday a quick trip to the Royal Melbourne for an episode with the vampires in preparation for the Renal clinic on Wednesday. Check that protein leakage! Then a quick visit to the cobbler/elves, who are moving premises, and gave a quick tick to the nose, and, as usual, asked for me to get in touch if there were any problems.
The rest of the time was spent getting ready for a meeting today with A. Nauthor, and a quick check on progress on his ms. before his o/s trip. I hope to have it finished before his return in early March. We also discussed job prospects for both of us, which was quite helpful, to me at least. It moved me to put in a job application in the afternoon, which might come to nothing, but could lead to an interesting three years (the term of appointment). It is part-time, so would suit a return to work, though the job description is anything but part-time. The title is very Harry Potterish: Director, Writing Centre for Scholars and Researchers (and wiccans and witches perhaps). Anyway, if I get an interview, at least I'll find out more about it. The 'Centre' consists of the Director and an equally part-time offsider. Some Centre! More like an off-centre or offside. We'll see!

Monday, February 07, 2005

Hobnobbing with the rich

The McGarrigle concert on Thursday night was pretty much exactly as Louise had reviewed the Canberra concert earlier in the week. Ramshackle! But quite enjoyable, in its way. The sound was a bit crook, but the diction of the younger Wainwright's, Rufus and Martha, was worse. Also, there is a tall gene in the family somewhere and Martha has an alarming habit of stooping over the mike, sort of like 'I'm really a beanpole but I can make like a dwarf.' Dinner first with Lorraine and Frank at Cicciolino's. Food was v. good. Then we joined Margaret and Dick at the theatre.
On Friday, P. and I headed off to Mornington via the McLelland Gallery which has a beautiful Fred Williams water landscape exhibition. We also had a more generous walk around the sculpture garden than we have before. It was very pleasant in spite of being a bit overcast: the ducks and coots were very cute too on the lake.
Then off to ritzy Mornington to book into the motel. A yummy fish and chip tea by the telly completed a very satisfying birthday.
On Saturday, we headed off to Cape Schank, after breakfast in Dromana, to do the lighthouse tour and take the walk down the boardwalk to the ocean (really Westernport Bay). Then a walk through Green's Bush, a remnant bit of forest on the peninsula, with orchids and butterflies. The weather had picked up by now, and we actually got a bit sunburnt.
We meet my olds for dinner which was good, but too filling. I couldn't finish a huge steak, but everyone else managed to gobble up their serves. My father and I shared a pavlova to finish off.
On Sunday, we went to the Mornington gallery to a splendid exhibition of Streeton water paintings. The early ones were the most impressive. As he became the grand old man of Oz painting they become more finished, but less interesting somehow. Though it was interesting how concerned he was in the 1920s about the ugly white flats being put up everywhere in Sydney. Plus ca change.
We drove back via the beach road, which, being Sunday morning, was quite quiet, except for a lot of lycra loonies who eschewed the bike path for the road, like they were pretending to be in the Prix de France. We stopped briefly at the Edithvale wetlands, a real surprise. It was a very ducky weekend, as there were lots of ducks and geese at the Mornington gallery park too.
The only blot on the weekend was the shopping when we got home. Victoria Gardens was hell. However, it resulted in Peter cooking delicious fish cakes (Thai) for dinner so it was worth it.
Quite a busy week this week, with hospital visits, and meeting with A. Nauthor. Plus later in the week, K.D. Lang.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Teahouse of the February Moon

Have been working through A. Nauthor's ms for a couple of days, and am still to crack a really good idea, but it's coming. Meanwhile, the OAM celebration was quite good. The local MP pointed out that my uncle was the first person EVER to get an Australian honour from Broadmeadows, so that's something. The food was good (roast beef, pork, cold ham, salad, roast vegies with pav and cheesecake for dessert). Some of the rightwing Labor apparatchiks like the sound of their own voices too much, but my cousin, John, did a great job keeping them under control. My mother made the best speech, simply, "My little brother!"
We've booked to go on Friday to Mornington to see the McLelland art gallery (Fred Williams) and the Mornington art gallery (Streeton beachscapes) and do some walks on the peninsula. We'll catch up with my parents, who are holidaying at McRae.
And tomorrow, Rochelle's piece from the train will be in The Age.
Just in case I was getting bored, it's Melbourne Writers' Fest. meeting tomorrow, and on Thursday night, the McGarrigles et. al. at the National Theatre.