Saturday, April 30, 2005

This Limetree Bower My Prison

I haven’t mentioned how pleasant it is, sitting in my front room ‘office’ watching the usually peaceful bottom end of Abbotsford Street pass by, while contacting the world on the internet. Speaking of which, Ann de Hugard has now posted news from Yakanarra and her daytrip to Fitzroy X, and as Peter observed is quite a stylist: dry and vivid, all at once. For those interested my favourite blogs are as follows (as I haven’t mastered links yet):

Lesley Podesta’s blog

Ann de Hugard’s blog

Frank Prain’s blog

Today, we did our usual shop (Peter, Frank and I) at Victoria Gardens, then had lunch at the Gypsy Bar in Smith Street where we caught up with Michael H. and Marc, who have just moved from Collingwood to Northcote. Then it was home for an ‘at home’ afternoon where my parents dropped in, while P. went with Frank to the Bill Henson show at the Potter (Fed. Square) gallery, then Rochelle J. dropped in, followed by Sally S. with various pamphlets and information. The ‘at home’ was fuelled by a cinnamon bun I got at the bakery this morning, some Greek Easter treats from Maria-at-the-shop and some date scones from Rochelle. A very social afternoon, followed by clearing out the leftovers in the frig for dinner.
The limetree bower is a very pleasant prison.

Friday, April 29, 2005

What's Up, Doc?

Last night, Frank came round for dinner and we had roast pork. The crackling was okay, but not top grade, but it was an enjoyable meal. This morning, A. Nauthor dropped by to collect his novel-in-progress for checking, and dropped in three versions of A. Nother novel for an assessment and report. It is very bulky in total. Picking it up is definitely not for limp wrists. It will keep me busy for a bit. We had a good chat about writing and publishing, I think, but sadly didn’t solve the problems of the world.
Tonight it has got a bit cooler, and we’ll have our second fire for the year. Nearly time to get a new shipment of wood. Lord knows what highway robbery price they’ll be charging this year.
Melbourne University have finally paid me for a job I did in January this year (marking a thesis). As Peter said, the bigger and richer an organisation is, the longer they take to pay.
Ann de Hugard hasn’t posted a new blog since her ‘day trip’ to Fitzroy Crossing yesterday. I hope she didn’t get stuck in Fitzroy X (as she calls it) or worse, on the road. There’s a story there, I’ll be bound.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

At last - a new computer

After many false starts and many twists and turns, I finally ordered a new computer from Dell this morning. It will arrive in 10-12 days, probably on the day we leave for Launceston for the weekend. In any case, it's done. I also ordered a nice (very nice) box of truffles and choccies for Nan Wynhausen's 90th birthday this weekend. But I seem to have wasted most of the week on chasing my tail after a computer.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

More on Newstead

Bird list observed at Green Gully near Newstead, Victoria on
23/4 – 25/4/2005

Honeyeaters stole the show with their variety and behaviour. I have listed them in rough order of population size. I had great fun watching Red Wattlebirds, White-naped, Brown-headed, Yellow-tufted, Fuscous and Yellow-faced Honeyeaters making use of a couple of bird baths on the front veranda. Their aerobatic flights among the fruit trees in the front of the cottage were spectacular.

White-naped Honeyeater (20+)
Red Wattlebird (15+)
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater (10)
Brown-headed Honeyeater (8)
Fuscous Honeyeater (5)
Yellow-faced Honeyeater (3)
White-eared Honeyeater (1)
New Holland Honeyeater (1)

In addition to the honeyeaters, I identified

Willie Wagtail (1)
Grey Shrike-Thrush (2)
Eastern Yellow Robin (1)
Silvereye (2)
Crimson Rosella (10+) (mostly immature)
Eastern Rosella (2)
Red-rumped Parrot (3)
Spotted Pardalote (3)
Striated Pardalote (2)
White-faced Heron (1)
Magpie (5)
Galah (3)
Common Blackbird (2)

Peter Ronge

The next day, I (Bruce) had breakfast coffee with Jo B. who was visiting Melbourne from Sweden (Canberra) to do some work on her thesis. All is well in the crazy world of the head office of the Tax Office. In the evening, P. and I had dinner at Frank's with a yummy Irish Stew (Knock! Knock!). I'm just about to go off to the Melbourne Writers' Fest meeting, after an unsuccessful attempt to visit a local computer shop - it was closed and moved to Hawthorn.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Back from Newstead

A very pleasant weekend at Newstead, very relaxed with good, simple food (most of which was bought at the busy Castlemaine market) and lots of sitting round outside watching innumerable honeyeaters (which P. was able to identify), parrots and wattlebirds. On the way home, we went via Blackwood and the Garden of St Erth, which was much improved under its new management of the Diggers Club. The paths were better formed and the garden seemed much more cared for, even though the ha ha was missing.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Friday's post

This machine has been playing funny buggers, so at long last, here is Friday's post: Even though it is way past time for a new computer, tonight was not going to be the night that it happened. We had a loose arrangement to go round to Frank’s for tea (a Friday night takeaway) but Frank came round here instead. My old computer, sensing that a new computer was in the offing, and it was destined for the scrapheap, refused to let me into the Dell site to order a new one. Frank suggested going round to his place to use his computer, but by then the Dell special had expired. Perhaps all of this indicates that the Dell offer is not what I need, or want.
On a brighter note, I am making good progress on A. Nauthor’s ms. and this afternoon Louise L. and Michael P. dropped by (they are in Melbourne for a few days) and we went for a very pleasant late afternoon walk around the farm and the river. They are gearing up for their trip to Europe in late May which should be very exciting, especially for Michael as it’s his first trip overseas.
This weekend, P. and I are off to Newstead to join David Golightly for an Anzac weekend in the bush.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Hotting Up As It Gets Colder

Just when things were looking a bit quiet on the work front, two things turned up on the one day: an invitation to be a judge in the non-fiction section of the Vic. Premier’s Literary Awards (it pays), and a non-fiction memoir for possible editing. Just as well, as a new computer is becoming a necessity, and P. and I have decided to go to Launceston for the weekend in May to see the French exhibition from Réunion. I’m calling it our Two Islands tour: Tasmania in May and Bali in June. We’re travelling on the two Qantas cheapies, Jestar and Australian Airlines respectively. It’ll be interesting to compare them with our old mates at Virgin.
Meanwhile, I’m still plugging away on A. Nauthor’s novel. It is still vast, and needs to be less so. But I’m nibbling, rather than slashing and burning, which I think is right. Trouble is, nibbling is not reducing the size much.
Last night, Frank came for tea with Elisabeth W., who’s in town for a story. We had the old standby, soto ayam, which went down a treat, and I think a good night was had by all.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Bad Education

Went to the movie this arvo, and really enjoyed it. It is very clever plotting and keeps you guessing right to the end, which I like. I thought that though it was absorbing, at the end of the day, it didn't mean very much, and wouldn't bear too close an examination. For example, picture the film within the film, about Zahara, the drag queen. Would that film have been very interesting by comparison? Does it matter? The entire film was peopled by not very pleasant folk.
Anyway, a good time was had by all.
Before the movie, we almost finished the crossword, except one word (old nickname for Kings Cross, 5, 4-4), and Peter went into a cleaning frenzy. Only later I realised that it is because Elisabeth is visiting this week. Whatever the reason, the living area is looking spic and span, and is back to its winter configuration, for the fire.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Very Normal Saturday

Well, not quite, as Pierre went to the quacks first up to renew his chlorestorol pills and check up on a pain in his leg. Bursitis! He's trying to catch up on my pills. After that it was shopping as normal, followed by lunch at Clifton Hill. In the afternoon, I had a rest while P. and Frank went for a walk (they saw lots of rosellas), then off to Frank's for tea.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Don't bug me!

On Thursday, I finally got the results of my test at the Health Centre. I have got a bacterial bug (the name escapes me) which is a notifiable disease, would you believe. So I am now taking a course of pills to eradicate the little bugger. Of course, the minute I started taking the pills the diarrhoea stopped. However, I'll finish off the course to make sure that it is gone for good. I'm probably the first person to have Bali belly before going to Bali.
Also on Thursday, I whizzed in a quick report to Maria about the Ring bits and pieces, but haven't heard anything back yet. This morning, I went off to a Meanjin meeting. The cloak of silence descends, but everything there seems to be going quite well.
The usual trip after a Meanjin meeting to the French deli to get a tart for dinner (onion this time). Yesterday I made potato and leek soup, which we'll have cold tonight with the tart and salad. Life's tough!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Hidden Histories

After the usual Sunday morning working on the crossword, we phoned Frank, after his return from his usual Sunday lunch with his Mum, and arranged a visit to The Hidden History of Homosexual Australia, which had some interesting footage, and some familiar talking heads, but lacked a serious focus.
Monday was spent on A. Nauthor's ms. and some shopping and cooking the venison for tea. Tuesday was P.'s birthday, which he had as an RDO, so in the middle of the day we went to the Darebin wetlands and gazed at the ducklings and ducks. In the evening, we went to the Carringbush Hotel with Lorraine and Frank for a very pleasant birthday dinner.
I'm now working through the various Ring essays which Maria has sent to check on their quality and viability, and am also working through A. Nauthor's ms. for a third time, checking and refining. The two make a nice complement.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Last burst of summer

At last, the weather has smiled on the Farmers' Market. Peter, Frank and I went down to do some gourmet shopping, including some venison, in brilliant sunshine this morning, then off to regular shopping at Victoria Gardens.
I've made good progress on A. Nauthor's ms in the last couple of days, and The Ring has resurfaced. Dear readers, any ideas about what would make you buy the Australian Ring on Cd, complete or in parts, and at what price, are welcome on my email address. Now is your chance to change the way Wagner is perceived. Do I detect a tremor of excitement over the internet?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

At last, a normal day

It is amazing how good it feels to be more or lesss back to normal. It was very nice to receive another bulletin this morning from Ann de Hugard in the wilds of Yakanarra (80 km south of Fitzroy Crossing). Maria from the shop is back from hospital (after a knee operation), and the car is back from the menders, taking up its valuable carparking space opposite. Today, I even managed a few hours work on A. Nauthor's ms and only have about 80 pages left to go on this run through.
It seems an awfully long time ago to go back and recap on Sydney, but I suppose I should try the highlights version. After a troublefreee flight up, I caught the airport train to Central and the train to Bomaderry where Nick met me. The next day (a Friday) I went on a 'forty minute' walk which he suggested and returned two and a half hours later. Their new house is very commodious with a spare guest room, and lots of room for the kids to play in, both inside and outside. Down the road, there is a unit development called Wisteria Court, which is no doubt full of Deperate Housewives. We also had a very nice barbecue at Minnamurra Rainforest Reserve near Kiama which hasa splendid rainforest boardwalk.
A real contrast then to go back to Sydney and stay with Sasha in his Redfern public housing, which is in the heart of burgeoning trendiness (malls of art galleries, trendy eateries and boutique Italian importers, I kid you not). Caught up with Keren Lavelle (in the middle of renuvations) and had a nice Indian meal, and Japanese the next night. Then saw Jo Upham whom I hadn't clocked for years, so we had lots to gossip about, then moved to Elisabeth's where I had dinner with her mum (at a Hungarian joint, count your fingers), then moved on to Kit's in Croydon, after a nice lunch with Anne Deveson one day and Sara Dowse at Manly the next.
Unfortunately after a very classy pizza dinner in Haberfield with Kit, Neville and Ben the dreaded diarrhoea set in, though not before having the chance to see Ben's hilariously chaotic circus training on Saturday morning. The man who runs it is a saint or a fool, probably both.
Then back to Melbourne to take to my bed for the best part of two weeks.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Back on track

Well, with any luck. At last I'm starting to feel better, and today took the poor old car off to the menders where the diagnosis was not too dire, just a new water pump , then off to the hospital with me where Ear , Nose and Throat gave me a big tick and asked to see me in four months. They also gave me a small jar to preserve some fecal matter for analysis at the Health Centre. At last I'm starting to feel normal. The penny has finally dropped that the source of the gastric problems might have been the walk I took in Nowra along the Bomaderry Creek. I did drink of the waters of the creek, as I didn't take Kirrilly's offer of water to drink on the walk. Maybe that was a bad mistake. Jo Upham says that a gastro was going around Sydney at the time, so perhaps that was it. Let's see what the lab can produce by way of solutions. Meanwhile, hooray, it's back to A. Nauthor, at last.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Not exactly doing cartwheels

but back on deck after a week or so of debilitating diarrhoaea and inability to eat very much apart from beef consomme. Today, however, I managed to help with the shopping and consumed a seafood lunchpack, followed this afternoon by ice cream and quince juice. I think that I am on the mend, but the next few days will tell. I'll recap over the trip to Sydney, which was on the whole successful, and its aftermath when I feel a little better.