Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Highfield House, Stanley

In the background, is The Nut, a feature of Stanley, which occupies most of the village. We weren't the only gays in the village. Pic: Peter
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The view from our kitchen window at Stanley, in the old post office (still in use). Pic: Peter
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Highfield house

We saw lots of historic houses including this one near Stanley. Built by the convicts, of course. Pic: Peter
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A visit would not be complete with a Devil. We did see one in the wild (fleetingly) but this one was in a zoo waiting to be fed. Pic: Peter
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At Corinna we stayed in a cosy cabin. There was a lot of wildlife including this Bennett's wallaby. The car is Red, our Mitsubishi Colt. Pic: Peter
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Corinna rainforest

White's Track took you through the rainforest and then along the White River and the Pieman River. There were lots of ferns and fungi. Pic: Peter

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Cradle Mountain Lodge

The Lodge was very comfortable but had a gas heater which was very cosy, as well as some illuminated logs for the illusion of woodfire.
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Waterfall walk near the Lodge

Pic: Bruce
Pencil pine falls and Pierre
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And a long walk to Crater Lake via Lake Lilla and Wombat Pool

Pic: Peter
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Monday, September 22, 2008

Back on the air

We're back, the house is painted and all's right with the world, or at least the bits of Tasmania we visited. There was only time last night for a quick dinner and a bit of a tidy up. The painters left spring flowers and a new light fitting in the kitchen and glowing new walls. We certainly found very good places to stay in Tasmania, including a unit in the old post office at Stanley with panoramic views of the bay. The Corinna 'wilderness retreat' was very cosy in the temperate rainforest with good walks and we had a touch of luxury at Cradle Mountain, as well as a fairly stiff four-hour walk through the snowy remnants to Crater Lake.

Back home, I had my first hyperbaric treatment this morning. It is painless, though not quick. It takes four hours from leaving the house to returning. Wearing a 'diving' helmet means that it is difficult, but not impossible, to read and work during the two hours in the 'chamber'. I suppose I'll get used to it, and have little choice. The staff and other 'patients' (the word has real meaning) are very friendly.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Almost spring in Tasmania almost

Well, not quite yet. For Father's Day, my father and sister's family came for lunch. We ate a version of Stefano di Pieri's excellent minestrone, P. made ras el hanout roast lamb and we finished with Stephanie pears and passionfruit icecream. I hope a good time was had by all. P. made the ras el hanout himself which was a big effort, involving lots of grinding and pounding, but it was delicious.

On Monday, as a 'last meal' at home before heading off to eating out for a while, P. made on request his excellent Stephanie roast chook which Frank shared, then we settled in to eating up all the leftovers in the fridge, helped by Lorraine, who dropped in after she and P. went to crash the Ric Amor opening.

I also went to Preston to see George P. in his new accommodation, which is not bad. He has his own quite spacious room with ensuite. However, most of the other inhabitants of the assisted accommodation have acquired brain injuries, and, to put it mildly, are not great conversationalists. George will need lots of visitors to help him to stay sane and take him out for excursions. He is amazingly resilient but there are limits.

Now having tidied up everything to a reasonable state, it's off to Tasmania. A lengthy visit to the Ear, Nose and Throat at the hospital resulted in some new antibiotics to liven the trip, and more nasal spray. What fun! It took about four hours for about three minutes of medical attention. I did get a lot of my book read.

There will be a brief pause in blogging as there are not many broadband connections in remote Tasmania.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Several Winter's Journeys in Spring

Last night, P., Frank and I went to the Australian National Academy of Music (in the old South Melbourne Town Hall) for a performance of A Winter's Journey, an adaption and reworking of Schubert's Winterreise for tenor and orchestra. Some of the audience left at interval, presumably because it was not their Schubert. However, the modern version by German composer, Hans Zender, adds some remarkable orchestral colour to the works as, in the course of the performance, the distance increases from the original. The students from the Academy loved it, and so did we. We had a nice Japanese meal across the road first.

Earlier in the day, I had a visit to the Melbourne Ear, Nose and Throat day surgery to get the results of my audiometric test of the week before. Clear, as expected, with some minor faults in my left ear. The surgeon cleaned out some wax as well. Then I said that the 'flora' in my nose was not responding to saline washes, so with expedition he took some more swabs, did some suction (not very pleasant) and prescribe antibiotics (more pills!) and some nose drops. I now have a very impressive medication regime to cart off to Tasmania!

The afternoon had some theatre of the absurd with the winding up of Meanjin, or rather of the Meanjin Company Limited. As a number of the shareholders have passed on, there are only a few left, including Ray Marginson, Professor Poynter and Jessie Serle. They are a feisty bunch, and, as the University's shareholding can't be used for voting because of conflict of interest (they are the sole owners of Melbourne University Publishing), they have all the say in the winding up. They specified that the money from the old company has to be directed by the University for the sole use of Meanjin and that the back copies may not be disposed of (e.g. by remaindering). We had a very pleasant arvo tea at University House (scones, teacake and biscuits) while the liquidators' money clocks ticked over. All is not finished yet. A further meeting is needed to tie up some loose ends before the dough can be handed over to MUP.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Work Away

It's been a very successful working week. The tape transcripts were approved, with amendments, for the Tasmanian autobiography and I've sent the final version of the manuscript back for approval before we hit Tasmania next week for a meeting. I've also made good progress on the Research Project fiction files and essay.

Diversions included the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards on Monday. The dinner was fine with a good talk by Alice Pung and gracious award recipients. Lynne Kosky, Arts Minister, and Premier Brumby lauded Melbourne's new status as City of Literature, though Ms Kosky didn't mention her other role as mismanaging the City of Public Transport. They also presided over an evening on which the grog didn't flow very fast. Perhaps this was inherent Presbyterianism, or a desire to make sure things didn't get out of hand, but my glass was not refilled after the main course arrived. However, the evening was very pleasant. I was sitting next to Henry Rosenbloom of Scribe Press, one of whose books got a gong. Also had a pleasant conversation with designer Chong, who confessed to being a voyeuristic reader of this blog. I'll have to spice it up a bit.

Ron, of Ron and Robin the painters, got in touch to arrange a speedier paint of the hall and bathroom, conveniently while we're away in Tasmania. Ron is part of the gay network in the neighbourhood down here in Abbotsford. Our little block has gays on every corner, plus some. However, I doubt that St Maria of the Holy Milk Bar is a closet lesbian. I can't vouch for the nuns who live across the street.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Busy weekend

Frank was away at Newstead, so P. and I did a quick shop then headed to the Western General to see George P. Again, George was in surprisingly good spirits, having been trapped there for TEN weeks while waiting for alternative accommodation. He was tapping away on his laptop when we arrived. P. was supplied with a basket of cherries as a gift. He is much more thoughtful than I am. George says that the hospital is nearly broke. When another visitor, Brian S., wanted to take him for a spin outside in a wheelchair, he was told that they had run out of wheelchairs. After all, it's only a hospital.

Frank returned for his Gloriana concert on Sunday which was mainly 2oth century works from Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and the Baltic. A highlight was the Ligeti Lux aeterna, a fiendishly difficult piece, but the rest of the concert was very enjoyable as well. In the evening, we joined Lorraine for dinner at The Commoner. On Sunday night, they have a 'feed-me' dinner, with no menu and many courses (small) arriving. There were a variety of taste sensations, including everything from anchovies to yoghurt cake. It was very tasty and satisfying.