Thursday, June 26, 2008

Away in Broome again

Most of this week has been spent away in Broome, again not in body but in mind, working on the Broome autobiography which has now been sent to the author for approval. All that needs to be done now, if she approves, is to make the amendments on the computer file and send it off to the publisher.

In between times, there have been visits from Carmel B., back from visiting her sister in the country, and a quick visit to Penguin at Camberwell, although most of the people I wanted to see were in a sales conference presentation. However, I've started on revising the research project paper (at last) and am embarking on a 'big tidy' before we have some visitors to stay. The 'tidy' is long overdue.

P. has been home all week, although the doctor has been unable to give an exact diagnosis of his 'infection'. Consequently, he cooked a magnificent moussaka, to which I added the third of Stephanie's poached pear recipes. I've now tried nearly all of them except the one with the raspberries. Add to that a fish meal and venison steaks with pepper sauce, and we have been eating rather well. Off to Frank's for tea tonight.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More outings

After a quick shop at Victoria Gardens, P. and I went to yum cha at the Shark Fin to see Peter Walsh, visiting for a training course in Melbourne. Also present were Maria Van D., her husband Ian and mother Esther and an old friend of Peter Walsh's, Jim. The food was good as was the company. It turned out that both Esther and Jim had arrived from different parts of Greece at age four, almost at the same time. 'Australia has been very good to us,' they both said. The Shark Fin is very crowded so that even though the eating was good, the atmosphere was a bit busy.

In the evening, P. was not feeling well, so after a quick scratch meal, I headed off to Fran B.'s party to farewell her warehouse in Fitzroy and celebrate her nearly 40th birthday. Peter Walsh came too, and spent most of his time explicating the NT intervention to anyone who asked. There were lots of the usual suspects present, plus some unexpected like Sally M. (the author of the art biography) and her husband Robert.

Sunday has been a lot quieter, with a visit from Sally S. the only diversion while P. convalesces. He will probably have to go to the doctor tomorrow.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Roast pork and another hospital visit

It's been a week for hospitals. After a very pleasant roast pork dinner with Frank last night, I went to the Western Hospital to see George P. today. I picked up Red the Yaris in Brunswick Street and we headed west. George, who has ms, has had a fall in his Footscray house and injured his ribs, which are now healing well. Because he is an ms patient, he is in the neurological ward, and has had a succession of dementia patients sharing his room, which is trying of the patience and the patient if you don't happen to have dementia. Apart from that, George is cheerful enough, though he will probably have to move to more assisted accommodation than he is in a present (by himself). But he might be in hospital for another month, which will be a bit of a trial.

As the bathroom light fused last night, I called Tony the electrician to fix that and two other lights which have been kaput for ages. He and his offsider Robert cheerily mended the fused lights, at least temporarily but we will have to get new fittings for one of them. Still, things are looking a lot lighter.

Consequently, I didn't do a lot of work today, but am still making good progress on the Broome book.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lots of outings

As well as working away on Broome, on Monday night, P., Lorraine and I went to Noel T.'s for dinner before he heads back to Sydney for various things. It was a very pleasant evening, followed by an opening on Tuesday at the Gasworks Gallery in Albert Park of a joint exhibition which included David Golightly (who we stayed with at Newstead recently). Afterwards, Frank, P. and I had a delicious meal at Misuzu's Japanese Restaurant in Albert Park. I had soft-shelled crab with noodles which was a triumph, while Frank and P. had tuna and salmon dishes.

The virtue of eating a fair bit of seafood was proven when I went to the renal clinic on Wednesday and found that my renal function is still stable and my chlorestorol is okay! Yay!!However, I do have an infection showing in my urine, so have a course of antibiotics to fix that. Thank you, Dr Forbes.

Before that I met with Jessica R. and Louise P. to do some planning for our research project colloquium/symposium in November. It went well. Now I need to do some writing for it, but first, back to Broome.

Monday, June 16, 2008

More music

After shopping on Saturday (farmers market, Victoria Gardens) and lunch at Clifton Hill, P. and I had a frenzy of cooking for Frank's birthday dinner on Saturday night. A load of goodies from the market and French deli in Carlton for entrees, Stephanie's lamb shanks for mains and her pears in saffron and vanilla for dessert. Lorraine E. came too and we had a very enjoyable evening.

Sunday was Frank's Gloriana concert: an ostensibly gloomy 'In Memoriam' concert turned out to be surprisingly uplifting with a splendid and dramatic modern piece by Eric Whitacre and Handel's Funeral Ode for Queen Caroline with a band, which is always nice. P. and I were in the front row, so got a good serve of the oboes, which were right in front of us. Nearly splashing us with their spit, they were.

The Broome autobiography continues after a visit to the vampires at the Royal Melbourne this morning. It was a fasting exercise as well to measure chlorestorol. Fingers crossed for the appointment on Wednesday.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Week in Broome

Not really, but working mainly on the Broome autobiography which is coming along well, I think. As well, I completed the reading of all the books for the Premier's awards. I'm looking forward to discussing them with my fellow judges. Most of a fairly cold, wet week has been therefore spent close to the fire which hasn't stopped all week, drying the Chinese laundry leftover from the weekend away.

As well, I'm committed to giving a paper at the Resourceful Reading conference in December in Sydney and our 'inhouse' colloquium on the research project in late November. Also in July, I have a date to visit Sydney to 'interview' Brian Johns with Ivor Indyk. I'd better apply myself closely to some of this next week.

The Tasmanian autobiography has been confirmed which will probably involve a trip or two to Tasmania to work with the author, a muttonbirder of old as well as an old muso. P. and I might combine one of the visits with a break at Cradle Mountain, long projected but never accomplished. That more or less accounts for the rest of the year, though some Melbourne University teaching might arise, in spite of budgetary problems there. The new MU slogan, 'Dream Large' should really read 'Dream On'.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Valley at Greens Gully

Kangaroos in middle distance. Left click for larger view. Pic: Peter
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Newstead cottage

Front verandah view at Newstead. pic: Peter

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Four hundred years later

Various activities last week included a coffee with Margaret G., who is working on the revisions to the Penguin 'official' history covering the last ten years and has a fellowship at the State Library to look at their papers. Also had brunch at the European cafe with Alexis Wright and a good mag about her overseas trips for Carpentaria. And went to be rent-a-crowd, which was hardly necessary, for Sophie Cunningham's launch of novel number two, Bird, which became part of my Queen's Birthday weekend reading.

P. and I joined Frank and David Golightly on Friday at Newstead, preparatory to going to Woodend on Saturday night for the 400th anniversary performance of Dafne, an early opera, well directed by Rodney Hall. It was an enjoyable, if somewhat bizarre experience, in St Ambrose Hall in Woodend. Ensemble Gombert provided the chorus in early 17th century drag.

We ate well at Newstead. David provided a yummy lamb casserole on Friday night and on Saturday, after the opera, we had a superb meal at Pizza Verde in Kyneton, where we ran into Sophie C. and Virginia, dining at the same place. Small world. On Sunday we had rabbit casserole from Parisian Pate in Carlton, appropriate for an area dripping with rabbits.

We had to hurry back to Melbourne on Monday, as Frank had an appointment, but Janie the Wagon performed well and is now installed in her 'pod' in the City Square carpark. I'm making good progress on the Premier's Award books, though it is going to be a difficult job to pick a winner from so many different genres.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Ten days in the premier state

Back home again from the Residential Editorial Program, which was framed by visits to the grandchildren. The first weekend was in Nowra, well actually Bomaderry. After my arrival on Monday in Katoomba, I'd spent a lot of time in trains: three hours each way to Bomaderry and two hours to Katoomba from Sydney. But they were quite pleasant, scenic train journeys. Unfortunately, NSW railways provides little in the way of amenities, beyond toilets. I yearned for those Japanese trolleys bringing goodies along the train.

The Nowra mob were all lively, though a family of four children is inevitably a bit noisy. I had a lovely time, especially with little Mark who was a baby last time I saw him. He is now a very real person. When they all went to church on Sunday the house was suddenly very quiet.

I returned to Sydney on Sunday night for dinner with Noel T. and friends. The 'hot' topic was the recent confiscation of a number of Bill Henson photographs by the police, a discussion which continued through the week at Varuna.

The cone of silence must descend over the Residential Editorial Program at Katoomba. We stayed at the very comfortable Palais Royale, where the heating is always on the go, and conferred at the very comfortable Varuna Writers Centre, with delicious and fresh meals provided by the capable and efficient Sheila and her team. The silence is because the manuscript we worked on was confidential, but at the final sessions, it was proven yet again that three independent teams of editors, and the 'real' editors and author come to amazingly similar conclusions. There is some kind of objectivity and 'truth' after all.

It was a very stimulating and satisfying week for me. The future of editing in Australia is bright if the participants in this group are a fair sample.

Off to Sydney again for some time with the Brown clan. It was Neville's birthday, so we had two yummy dinners out, and a visit to the Powerhouse museum. Little Ben is very sharp indeed ('You told us that story yesterday,' he told me.)

Now back to the autobiography, the literary awards and the research project. I've committed to giving a paper at a Sydney conference later this year, so I'd better write it.