Friday, June 30, 2006

Everything's coming up noses

This morning, I went off to the cobbler/elves at the Hospital and Greg fitted a new nose, freshly painted, to my glasses. I am very lucky to have such competent and hardworking prostheticians. It's a bit hard to tell whether it is working well through the remains of a heavy cold. P. has come down with a cold, too, almost inevitably, which has wrecked his rostered-day-off. A very miserable little household we are, huddled by the fire, and the hardly-working TV, though we did manage to watch Guys and Dolls on DVD last night. Frank Loesser is a very good songwriter.

The rest of the day has been spent in bed.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I spoke too soon,

as the telly was working perfectly, UNTIL the upstairs telly was turned on, then the downstairs telly went bung again. The tellyman is coming back on Saturday morning to review things. (Hey, Mr Tellyman, telly me. . .) Meanwhile, we have to go upstairs to watch telly. Ain't modern technology wonderful! We can watch DVDs or videos on the downstairs TV. Go figure.

I've been stricken with a dreaded lurgi, some sort of winter cold, so spent all day in bed today, some of it reading, so it wasn't very productive. We have got our first meeting for the Premier's Award on Monday night, to compile our first shortlist so it's handy for that. And I'm enjoying it, though I just feel like sleeping the day away.

Frank's pushka is not well either, so we're off to the vets on Saturday morning, before the tellyman comes.

Also, had the first call about publicity for Darby today, which is a good sign. Sent them in the direction of ABC Books, but at least something is happening.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Celebrate, it will be so nice

Last night, I trundled off to the North Fitzroy Star to join the makers of Darby: the author, designer extraordinaire, production and colour sep. And, yours truly, the humble editor, considerably longer in the tooth than all the others, who are not much older than my older children. It was excellent to have a kind of debriefing on a very big project, and, of course, a good mag about everything. We're all into new projects but maintain a very special affection for Darby, as it was such a cooperative endeavour, with great communication and understanding on all sides. We all felt we were never likely to have such a good experience again, but we'll try. I think the real Darby was smiling on us from where he is, with Wapirra, no doubt. I hope so. (Oh, and the food and plonk were good too, though we hardly noticed for talking our heads off which was also in honour of the garrulous old man.)

The TV man came today and put in a new aerial connection in the wall, and IT WORKS. The digital age has not quite struck: he said for perfect reception we'd need a set-top box, but it's pretty good, and we can now do DVDs. Frank bought a couple as a gift. Now I need to figure out how to work the remote(s).

In news from Canberra (not on the TV), Michael P. got top marks for his cello exam, and did well in his other exams. Well, he has good genes from all sides. Congratulations to Michael for good work. Soosie A. was asking after him in the weekend in Castlemaine, too. He has a very impressive collection of aunties.

Because of incipient cold or flu, I'll have a lie down before the Writers' Festival (which may not be spoken of) meeting this afternoon. I can say things are firming up well for a ripper program.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Kelly Lunch

Around Queen's Birthday, we try to have a memorial lunch for the late Liz Kelly, so a group of her friends gather. This time, we again headed for Castlemaine. Rennis and Polly P. came to our place, and the four of us headed off. An easy journey later, we arrived at the excellent Bold Garden Cafe with its roaring fires, and were joined by Ann de H., Sally S. and Soosie Adshead. The food was good, Australia's politicians got an ear-burning and the day was sunny but cool. All the non-Castlemainians trooped back to Melbourne well satisfied.

Now, it's back into the Western Desert (a list of exhibitions, grrr) and various other little tasks, plus the final sorting of the Premier's Award Books: lots of quite good books, but only a few that are outstanding. We meet next Monday to make a combined shortlist.

Tomorrow night is our get-together to celebrate the arrival of Darby. All responses to it so far have been very positive.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Lentils continued

Last night (Friday), P. and I went to Frank's for dinner, taking the leftover lentil dish, which is assuming the proportions of the magic pudding. It was even nicer after a couple of days worth of infusing, but after a hearty meal, there still seemed to be a lot left. We finished off dinner with Frank's pancakes with stewed quinces.

Today, it was time for a Brunswick shop: the Mediterranean Wholesalers for olive oil, grana padana and pasta etc. There is also a good butcher, who has good steak and kidney, bacon bones for ham and pea soup and racks of lamb: all good winter recipes. Not to mention La Mana fruit and veg nextdoor. We finished off with lunch in Clifton Hill.

A quick trip followed to JB Hifi in Camberwell to get a DVD/VHS player to replace the old one which is dead, plus a new cheap TV in their sale. Then off to drinks at Andrew P. and Ann D.'s place for the winter solstice, and their birthdays.

Home again: for more lentils, this time resuscitated with the remains of the roast pork included.
A cooking frenzy followed from some of the above purchases.

Tomorrow, it's off to Castlemaine for the annual Liz Kelly Memorial Lunch.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Canary and Faure

Last night, Frank, P., Tat and I had a quick dinner at the Canary Club in town. We're so trendy. Unfortunately, the tapas didn't measure up to the Smith Street Spanish, or dare I say it, the tapas in Spain, but it was pleasant enough. Then off to Wesley Church, for a concert with the Fullarton Chamber Choir from California State University. They did a first half of North and South American repertoire which was very fresh, then the Melbourne Philharmonic did some Venetian numbers, then the two choirs combined with orchestra for Faure's Requiem which was very impressive. The soprano solo was particularly good, and moving. The venue, on the other hand, was not at all impressive. Packed out, too few toilets and freezing cold on a wintry night.

Today, off to the Hospital again to have a new nose painted (it has to be colour matched to the real thing, me). It then has to be fixed and I'll pick it up in about a week. Then off to the Renal Clinic: my protein is down, which is good, so I go back in three months. I hope our vego weekend didn't bring it down artificially.

Tonight, P. made a Spanish chorizo and lentil dish, which was filling and delicious. On Monday night, we had the full bit of roast pork with crackling which worked a treat, with potatoes, carrots, baked tomato and Jane's Nepal spinach as a green. Yum! I'd already had the blood test, so the protein didn't show up.

Monday, June 19, 2006

An (almost) healthy weekend

After Frank's birthday dinner on Friday night, we thought we should do a bit more healthy eating. We had yummy fish for dinner on Saturday night, after the usual shop, which this time included a visit to Ikea at Victoria Gardens. The best news was that we escaped with some ease, a difficult feat, then had Svedish lunch in their cafe which has pretensions to be being a restaurant, but isn't. But it does have tasty, good value food.

On Sunday, we had a group of very high-octane women for lunch, Adele, Jane and Teresa. For this we had made the Stephanie onion soup, white cashew nut curry and dahl. Jane brought some delicious spinach a la Nepali. Berry icecream for dessert. It was a very noisy lunch, and a lot of fun. The last guests left at sixish, and P. and I had leftovers for dinner.

Today, back to the desert, plus a quick trip to the hospital to see the vampires, preparatory to Wednesday's renal clinic. I also dropped into the cobbler/elves, to see about a nose clean. I might get a brand new nose instead on Wednesday.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Possum postscript

Chris the Possum Man has been to take away his one-way doors, and seal up all holes. The possums, he says, quietly, have gone to other lodgings. The brushtails that is. The ringtails have taken advantage of their absence to recolonise the backyard, but not the roof. They are cuter, but they are still denuding the pittosporum. We'll just live with that.

Happy Birthday to Frank

This week has been fairly humdrum, except for one thing: Frank's birthday. Tonight, P., David and I (and Frank) went to dinner at the Carringbush for his birthday and had a very pleasant dinner, good food, good service, good wine. The previous night, Frank came round for tea (corned beef and cabbage, I kid you not) and Sally joined us for a very convivial night.

The rest of the week has been spent in the Western Desert, as usual, and relieved only by the arrival of a finished copy of Darby. I drove over to Camberwell to pick one up, and it is SPLENDID. A beautiful design by Sandy Cull has made for something which is a wonderful memorial to the old guy. (Some others had something to do with it, like the author, production person and colour separator, not to mention the printers.) We'll have a dinner in about a week's time to celebrate and toast the new arrival.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Wintry Newstead

On Saturday morning, P. and I headed off to the familiar cottage in Newstead to meet up with David and Frank, who arrived the previous night. It was quite chill, tempered by the fires in the livingroom and kitchen, and, of course, lots of good food. P. made a lamb and quince casserole on Saturday night, and David and Frank did ribs and bullboar sausage barbecue on Sunday. We also had lots of pies, quiches and other goodies for lunch. Very little activity because of the cold, but lots of reading and some peering at the bush creatures: wallabies and the like.

Time out at Newstead is very soothing, away from the computer and the TV, though we did watch DVDs of Forbidden Planet and West Side Story, two blasts from the past.

Also, dropped in on Ann de H. on the way home, and it was good to see her too. Now, back into the routine.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Penguins and Possums

Last night was one of our regular old Penguini dinners, this time with some guest appearances, George and Lou and Julie W. We met by the fire at the Carringbush, and the food was good, and there was lots of nattering about old times, new times and what the latest gossip is.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the possums have had a new run. Their persistence paid off and they made it back into the roof by gnawing a hole in the fascia board at the front. Chris the Possum man has sealed that one up, so we wait with interest. So far, so good, but we've said that before.

Tomorrow, P. and I are off to Newstead to join David G. and Frank for the weekend. Last night was -3 degrees in Castlemaine, so it was probably colder in Newstead. We'll take a spare doona or two, and lots of woollies. P. is currently cooking a lamb tagine to take, and I went today to the Parisienne Patisserie in Lygon Street for some lunchtime supplies.

The desert will have to do without me for the weekend but it is getting close to final.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Singers and Brahms

After normal shopping on Saturday (Victoria Gardens including a tacky lunch there to soak up Mall culture), in the evening I hiked off to St Kilda Bowling Club for the sixtieth birthdays of Renata and Peter Singer. It was a come as the sixties, so I thought my basic black would do, but some people wore silver lame minis and silvery caps and big boots (women) and fright wigs (the men). It was a good cover band which kept most people rocking. There was lots of food (vego of course) and drink, and as usual the six degrees of separation applied: I thought I wouldn't know anyone, but in fact knew quite a few, including the inevitable Carmel Shute, and the other grandfather for the Singers new grandchild (who stayed asleep through a very loud band).

On Sunday, Gloriana was on at St Mark's Fitzroy, doing Brahms German Requiem with organ and limited band for a rescored version. The choir was in fine voice, and for once was able to let fly with a big sound, fortissimo in places over the organ, brass and timpani. Very thrilling. Sally came as well on a break from her essay writing round the corner.

Then we went to Frank's for dinner of goulash (mild because he was running out of paprika), and long-cooked quinces to follow.

Since then it's been more desert, plus catching up on my reading of mss and Premier's Award books.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Biographies and Dickins

I'm still frantically trying to finish off the first phase of the biographies by Monday. It looks achievable: only 39 to go.

Last night, Lorraine joined P. and I to head off to the William Mora Gallery in Richmond for an opening of a show by Barry Dickins. There was a terrific rollup of B.'s friends and relations, lots of yummy sandwiches, and a BIG surprise. Dickins is sharing the gallery with an artist from Bidyadanga, near Broome. I got the full spiel from William Mora about how the folk at Bidyadanga had been displaced from the desert and were now remembering their country through painting etc. etc. Apparently, all the paintings have been sold before the exhibition even opened. Dickins hopes the same will happen to him. I wish him well.

Back to the desert. I'm remembering the desert by editing books about it.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Pramoedya and Papunya

I've spent most of the work immersed in Papunya, and I'm now halfway through the 200 biographical accounts of the artists. Phew!

By way of light relief, P. and I went to a tribute to Pramoedya Ananta Toer on Wednesday night at the Asia Centre at Melbourne University. Five speakers gave various accounts of his life and work, plus a mystifying (mercifully short) theatre piece. It was actually very interesting, and, for a tribute, quite varied, with not all of the speakers in full support of the great author politically. Dinner afterwards at an old and goldie, Trotters in Lygon Street.

We still have stacks of Vera left over, but tonight P. made Stephanie's french onion soup. He had a rostered day off, and bless him had a cleaning frenzy, followed by a cooking frenzy.

The possums are very cheesed off at not being able to get back into the roof. They are doing things like sitting on the chimney outside Peter's window and hissing at him, and even coming up to the glass and pawing at the windows. P. was feeling guilty about evicting them in winter, but I said that they normally go out at night anyway and sleep during the day. It looks as though Peter the Possum Man, in the person of Chris, has been successful.