Monday, January 28, 2008

A Close Shave

On Sunday, Frank, P. and I went to Sweeney Todd, the movie, which is a creditable translation of Sondheim's musical, very well done and absorbing with lashings of fake blood. We won't be eating pies for a while. Particularly good performance from Ms Bonham Carter as Mrs Lovett the pie maker. She managed to get the combination of naivety and hard-headedness just right. Afterwards we came home for a grazing dinner, the highlight of which was P.'s version of a Beverly Sutherland-Smith prawn with mayonnaise concoction. Delicious.

Apart from that, the Imparja book is flying to and fro in its 'final' stages. The designer is doing a very good and swift job getting it together. The art biography is revving up. Not much respite in sight before our March trip north.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Mild-mannered Reporter

The weekend was fairly quiet as I had three reports on manuscripts to complete which were duly despatched this morning to the far corners of the country (well, Broome and Canberra are fairly far-flung). In between, Frank and Lorraine came for a very good dinner on Friday night. P. used the cazuelas which Lorraine had bought for us to make an egg and asparagus entree, the venison ragout was quite good (even if I say so myself) and we finished with berries and icecream. Frank returned the favour on Saturday night with two curries and poached fruit and yoghurt (not together, he's not that nouvelle).

Now back to focus on the art biography and the research project. The writing part of the research is proving very difficult. It is very hard getting the tone right.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Beavering Away

Apart from dinner at Frank's on Monday night (delicious roast chook), it has been full speed ahead on various things, mainly the Imparja book, A Remote Possibility. As well, I had the first meeting with the author of the art biography, which I think went quite well and she is busy redrafting. In the little time left over, I've been reading the manuscripts for assessment which have been very satisfying.

There don't seem to be enough hours in the day at present (cliche, cliche, cliche), though I can't say that a certain, limited amount of frenetic isn't fun. Lorraine and Frank are coming for dinner tomorrow night and I'm trying a new recipe: venison ragout, replacing the tamarillos (out of season) with pomegranate. I hope that works. There isn't a great deal of either in the recipe anyway.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Bit Tired

The fun part this week was going to Rumi restaurant in East Brunswick (Lygon Street) for Lorraine's birthday. The food was good, the company good and it is a place to recommend highly, even though the serves are a little too small. Or perhaps we were just too greedy. It is very tasty indeed. And Lorraine is now on the internet!

Apart from that it has been full steam ahead. By about lunchtime today I had 'finalised' George P.'s novel, after a meeting with him in Footiscray yesterday. That seems like a million years ago, as since then there has been mucho material flying between Abbotsford, Alice Springs and Sorrento on the Imparja manuscript. Keeping track of the various versions has been quite difficult, but so far so good. We might even make the opening on 7 March if several miracles occur.

Now it is time to launch into the art biography with a vengeance, and complete the two assessments for Aboriginal Studies Press. As well as put together a proposal for working on a Magabala manuscript. Life isn't dull.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Quiet weekend with lots of work

So far, so good: the head is above water, just. Two more manuscripts arrived for assessment early this morning, which will be interesting and not too time consuming.

For shopping on Saturday, we stuck in the air-conned Victoria Gardens Mall and even had lunch there to avoid the heat. Then Frank came for dinner. I lowered the tone completely by presenting an entree of deli-bought potato salad and little boys (cocktail franks) in some sort of hommage to Kath and Kim. P. raised the tone again with a very tasty fish and asparagus pasta. I've started making sorbets for summer instead of icecream as a gesture towards lower chlorestorol (the sorbet omits the egg yolks and cream) so we've so far had an orange and lemon one, which is delicious, and a blueberry and brandy one.

Frank returned the compliment on Monday night with yummy curries (one pork, one vegie) with berries and passionfruit yoghurt to follow.

On Tuesday morning, I had a very good meeting with Di Gribble about the Research Project. She was very helpful, nay inspirational, in some of her views and suggestions. It has given the writing-up fresh impetus. It was great having a good mag over a Brunetti's coffee.

Meanwhile, it's a case of ploughing through the work systematically, which is fine as it is all quite pleasurable in different ways. P.'s leave in March has been approved so a flurry of bookings has resulted in a projected visit to Brisbane for his Ma's birthday, followed by a Cairns short holiday as a reward. The opening of the Imparja building has been confirmed as Friday 7 March, which gives a slight amount of breathing space to get the book ready, but not much.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Normal busy

The New Year started very quietly, but by the end of the week, everything had descended upon me. My predictions were correct: it all came at once. Lurking during the Christmas period, it emerged to bite me. However, it seems quite manageable so far and I've only lost my temper twice, which is not bad, and so far not in public. A Remote Possibility heads to conclusion, and the biography is, so far, a pleasure. George P.'s novel has returned (The Trip) and his revisions seem excellent. I just have to do a fair quota of work each day to keep the head above water.

Last night for dinner, I cooked a goat's cheese and spinach souffle from a Gourmet Traveller recipe P. had found. It was definitely not chlorestorol-free (lots of creme fraiche, egg yolks and cheese) but it was delicious.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Culture consumers

It was very pleasant to catch up with Lesley, Louise and Michael from Canberra on Sunday. Michael is now at Lyneham Junior High School for a few years. They are off to Anglesea, Apollo Bay and thence to Tasmania in the next few days.

Sally S. followed bringing her small volume of St Stanton, the patron saint of nutritionists, to aid my low chlorestorol quest. (St Stephanie is the patron saint of cooks.) She also brought two tins of 'good' chlorestorol seafood for lunches and a short lecture on nutrition.

On Monday, in the blazing heat, P. and I went to the Nova in Carlton to see No Country for Old Men, a Tarantino-like plot-driven movie by the Coen brothers, based on a Cormac McCarthy novel. A very bleak view of the backblocks of the US of A. Though our motive was to hide in the air-conditioning on the bus and in the cinema, it was also cheap day, so it was good value for $5.50 per ticket.

I went to Frank's for dinner on New Year's Eve and had delicious curry followed by berries & cream. He retired early, so P. and I saw in the New Year with both the Sydney (TV) and Melbourne (real from the upstairs window) fireworks.

On New Year's Day, we escaped the heat, first in Phoebe the share-car, then at Heide Museum of Modern Art, which had a very good exhibition of portraits of people involved in Heide. Some obvious conclusions were that Sid Nolan didn't like anybody very much, and Albert Tucker liked himself a lot. They are well worth seeing, especially for two portraits of Max Harris, one corker by Joy Hester. There is also a very impressive exhibition called Power and Beauty, of contemporary Indigenous work. Much of it is very powerful, in ways both overtly or subtly political. We also had a very nice lunch at the cafe at Heide, chicken sandwiches and a cheese platter.

Tomorrow, things should get back more or less to normal, though after the mild cool change there will be more hot weather.