Wednesday, December 31, 2008

McClelland Gallery

Lisa Roet White Ape or Monkey Boy (to get this you need to read the novel I'm currently working on, out in 2009). Pic: Peter
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John Kelly Alien with Bruce at McClelland Gallery. Photo: Peter
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John Doig Icarus with Peter at McClelland Gallery. Pic: Bruce
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Gallery hopping

We headed off in Roz the Yaris early on Eastlink, the new M4. It is very efficient. It only took 35 minutes from Abbotsford to Frankston, but it is also very costly. No wonder it's a bit quiet. Though the total toll each way is nearly $10, Father says it is capped at $4.90 maximum each way. Still would make it nearly $50 per week for commuters.

However, we lobbed at McClelland Gallery for an excellent show on the Meldrumites, called Misty Moderns. So misty that, even though I like Clarice Beckett, her paintings do look as though she needed new glasses. As well, there is Ron Mueck's giant hypernaturalistic Wild Man, which is almost scary, and in the grounds a whole swag of kinetic works by New Zealander, Phil Price. The works are mostly mounted on aerofoil components, and as it was quite a windy day, they all did their stuff beautifully.

It's a very peaceful place and, after a wander round the bush, discovering new sculptures, we had coffee and cake at the cafe. Then off to the Mornington Regional Gallery which had an interesting and instructive exhibition of Mornington Peninsula beach houses. It showed what happens when you partner architects and people with too much money. The results are (mostly) blots on the landscape, screaming, 'Look at me, look at me.' They certainly don't look very cosy as beach houses. A few fibro shacks might have balanced the whole show.

We then went into Mornington for lunch. It was packed with people for a street market and God knows what else, but we had a good lunch at a very efficient and busy sandwich bar/cafe.

Tonight Frank is coming round for tea and New Year's Eve, and we'll find out the results of his search for a place for his Mum, I hope.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Alas, alack...

no break, no rest for the wicked. After reviewing this week, I realised that it is already full up. Today, I had a sense of achievement as I finished the notes on the film autobiography, then spent a bit of time tidying up the tip that is my office. I worked out ages ago that if I spent an hour on it each day, I'd soon get it done, but... So today I started and made good progress. A few more days and it will be done.

I was also contacted by my novel author to say that he has posted the edited version back so that will arrive, probably by Wednesday. The entering of the corrections can wait till next week though.

As well, I have two medical appointments: the dentist tomorrow to check on some more residual bone (lots of Valium beforehand) and on Friday for my regular GP prescription renewals and check.

And on Wednesday, we have booked Roz the Yaris, who is now back from her holiday, to go to Frankston and Mornington to the McLelland and Mornington galleries. Even though opposed to the freeway in principle, if it's there... Peter is off work until next Monday.

So it will be a busy though not too tiring week.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


On Friday night, P. and I went to dinner with Noel T. He has a busy schedule this year, doing his one-man show in Melbourne again for the Midsumma festival, then maybe later in the year in Copenhagen, as well as rewriting it for a group of young Indigenous actors in Brisbane with him as narrator. I hope we can catch the Brisbane version in July. He did a splendid dinner for toothless me with caviar, eggs and asparagus for starters, then fish cakes, followed by mango and coconut icecream. All quite chewable.

After our usual shopping on Saturday, we went to view Sally S.'s new kitchen, had lunch in Westgarth, returned Janie the Wagon (Roz the Yaris is on holiday for a week). In the evening we went to Frank's for a splendid souffle dinner followed by raspberries, icecream and meringue. Yum.

This morning I finished the autobiography and will make detailed notes on it this week. It is a fascinating account of a life in film with all its intricacies and frustrations. I also got the numbers on non-fiction crunched expertly by my father, which revealed some interesting trends, though the 'literary' didn't fare badly at all in the profit stakes. Now that I have a deal of work under my belt, it might be time for a short break.

Friday, December 26, 2008

But once a year, thank god

The memorial arvo tea for Jan McKemmish was on a beautiful day, so it was very pleasant sitting in Helen B.'s backyard sipping pimms. It was a very 'arty' gathering and it was good to catch up with Michael H., whom we hadn't seen for ages, as well as Ponch H. (ditto).

Our family Christmas was at our place, but was actually quite easy. My brother-in-law brought the entree, seafood cocktail, which was an excellent starter. We departed a long way from tradition with a provencal fish stew for mains with veggie accompaniments: a zucchini puree, tomato with peppers and ham and peas. Father brought a delicious pudding for dessert, then there were lollies and cakes. We were all stuffed by the end, and we have enough fish stew for days to come (not to mention pudding, cake and lollies).

An unexpected Christmas gift from my father was the preliminary figures for non-fiction, which are not really surprising. They need a bit of fine tuning, but basically show what I had thought. It will be interesting to see the breakdown into categories, though they might prove to be 'a distinction without a difference' which is what I'll call the paper if that turns out to be true. It was good to have confirmation that the non-fiction program was immensely profitable, and thus, along with children's, supported the much riskier fiction. I'll try to check through some of the figures in the next few days. I'm about two-thirds through the autobiography so should have no problem finishing it, and notes on it, before HardieGrant returns to work on 5 January. It is BIG but very interesting.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

More socialising

Lunch on Sunday with Frank and Lorraine went well. We started with garlic soup from the new Spain: a culinary road trip book, then P. made twice-cooked goat's cheese souffles from Stephanie and we finished with passionfruit and raspberry icecreams (not together).

The Queensland novel has gone back to the author, who responded with indications that it is all right, so it will return for quick completion after Christmas. Meanwhile, I'm ploughing through the big autobiography, also from Queensland. It is very engaging, though a little overlong.

On Tuesday, I went early to Ear, Nose and Throat to discover the results of my sinus CT-scan. Dr Ho was called away on an emergency, and the replacement doctor simply said that my sinuses were clear. So, no result really, and I'll just continue with saline washes for the flora infection. Greg the cobbler/elf says that eventually they just go away. I hope so.

Sal turned up in the afternoon for the twilight slow food market where we got lots of goodies, but alas no tomatoes. Frank came for dinner for Stephanie's roast chook a la Pierre.

Today, we're off to a memorial arvo. tea for Jan McKemmish, who died a year ago today. Vale again.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

More visitors

The new nose got coloured on Wednesday and installed early on Friday. Greg, the cobbler elf, also produced two punnets of wonderfully fresh raspberries from his own plants, which have now become flavoursome icecream. The new nose fits better than the last (temporary) one but is slightly heavier so takes a bit of getting used to.

Sally S. came for dinner on Wednesday night for Peter's delicious goulash, and I have discovered that the smoked salmon from Parisienne Pates is delicious, though a bit pricey, so we had some of that as well. On Thursday, P. had a rostered day off and Anne Miller dropped in for a coffee. We hadn't seen her for years, since we shared a house with her in Fitzroy. She has acquired a now teenage daughter, and after years in advertising now works as a freelance designer. It was very good to catch up with her.

On Friday, Jo B. came for lunch at the Farm and we had a good chat about her thesis, my research and her new job.

After a fairly normal shop with Roz the Yaris, we picked up Morris' new drawing from the framer and on Saturday arvo had a giant and somewhat fraught hanging of the new gallery. All of the new framed paintings are now 'up' in time for Sunday lunch with Lorraine and Frank. I think they look splendid, and the house at last feels like home again, with all the old paintings and drawings back in place, plus some new ones, especially in the entrance hall.

I have been working through all this both on non-fiction for the research project and on the Queensland novel, which yesterday winged its way to the author for approval, so it is nearly finished. Now I can start on the (vast) autobiography, again from Queensland, this time far north, so it might be difficult to meet the author.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Back at work, back at play

The last week has been spent mainly working on the Queensland novel, with a bit of work on the non-fiction side of the research project. As well, last Monday, we had a very nice dinner chez Jane D. in Kew, with Rosanne and someone who turned out to live in the next street, Kathy K. who works for Readings bookshop. It was a very pleasant night. Jane's business landscape gardening is going very well.

The next night, Frank had organised tickets at the Australian National Music Academy for an all Strauss concert. They had been slated for closure by Arts Minister Garrett, but the good news was that they had a twelve-month reprieve. The concert was splendid with a very large orchestra in a not very big hall, so the sound was huge and clear.

We did normal shopping on Saturday, including a brief foray in the pouring rain to the Farmers Market to get various goodies for the week, including Sally's Christmas pudding. It was much more pleasant in the mall in the dry for the rest of the shopping.

The big event of the week was the sad death of Dorothy Porter, and on Sunday we hiked out to Springvale for the funeral. It went well (if funerals can go well) with the family giving moving and concise tributes. Andrea Goldsmith read a few of Dot's poems and Tim Finn sang a couple of songs from the rock musical they had been working on up until Dot's death.

Yesterday, for the third day in a row, I got Roz the Yaris (Phoebe seems to have been retired) and took files back to Jessica at Melbourne Uni, and had a good chat with her, among other things about the non-fiction classifications, then trundled out to Northcote to see George P. who is settling into his new home at Glenhaven industriously writing on his laptop. Carmel B. came for a quick coffee yesterday and today I'm off to the cobbler/elves to have my new nose colour-matched. It should be able to be installed before Christmas.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


The NSW floral emblem. Even though tourist information told us that wildflowers were 'finished', we found lots of them including flannel flowers and trigger plants.
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Little cabin in the forest

Our very peaceful little cabin in the middle of nowhere. We were rewarded with a magnificent light(ning) show one evening across the valley. Pic: Peter
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We're back

After ten days touring and conferencing, Father picked us up from the airport last night. Qantas cancelled my flight and put me on an earlier one, so I arrived over an hour before Pierre on Virgin. Them's the breaks.

The Resourceful Reading conference went well in Sydney, though it was novel being in a room full of professors. I wasn't overwhelmed by their intellect and my paper seemed to go over quite well. At least it more or less made sense, unlike some of the other offerings. When I said to someone that some of the speakers looked as if they were casting around for something to do, he said, 'That's cruel!' But true.

The rest of the touring, Katoomba, lunch with Roger Milliss and Rose Creswell at Blackheath, Mt Victoria, the Wollemi cabin, Wiseman's Ferry were all very rural and restful. The family in Nowra were predictably noisy but all well. The organised chaos of Little Athletics is an experience.

Tourist cliche

Iconic Blue Mountains pic. showing the Three Sisters of Koori legend and the valley behind
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