Sunday, March 29, 2009

Very arty

I've nearly finished the Dickins' manuscript. We're meeting this morning to finalise some details, then we'll both do a final check. It should be ready by a whisker, before we depart next Saturday. The final bookings are done (triumphantly in French on the phone to hotels in Rouen and Hendaye) and I just need to check through all the paperwork.

There were major developments this week on the teeth front. The cobbler/elves (my nose prostheticians) have put in a good word for me at the hospital, and the head of maxillo-facial will see me with the professor of prosthodontics on our return from Europe. The local health centre have given me a referral to the Medicare scheme for dental work, which I'll be able to take with me. I have become 'funded'. A thousand thanks to the cobblers for sticking their necks out for me. And to the North Yarra Community Health for coming to the party again. Thanks Dr Jay.

Yesterday, Lorraine, P. and I went in Roz the Yaris on the new freeway all the way to Mornington to two splendid exhibitions: the portraits of Jeffrey Smart, and a State Library exhibition of the holiday habits of Victorians. Smart is a wicked portraitist. Clive James asked for a portrait. Smart told him he didn't do commissions, then added a postage-stamp sized James to a painting of a large yellow corrugated iron fence. His Germaine Greer has her knees together clutching a handbag, neither of which, she says, is accurate. His David Malouf is in overalls with a petrol hose.

The holiday memorabilia included some brilliant posters (thirties and fifties) plus postcards, diaries and holiday snaps reminding us of decrepit guesthouses and seedy beach houses of our youth.

After the Mornington art gallery, we went back to the McLelland Gallery for lunch and a wander round the sculpture park. They also had a Sidney Ball colour-field exhibition (not my cup of tea) plus an Epstein exhibition (mainly busts) which I liked very much.

Back in Abbotsford, Frank has been burgled AGAIN, probably by the same burglars, who waited till he had a new tellie, then nicked it using the same MO (Bill-speak). It is very distressing, as there is little he can do about it, besides getting an undesirable alarm.

This arvo, P. and I are off to our first Melbourne Chamber Orchestra concert at the new Recital Hall, which we are looking forward to. We went on Thursday to the Academy of Music in South Melbourne for an all Strauss concert which was excellent. So we are feeling very arty.

Monday, March 23, 2009

All Alone

It's been very quiet here in Abbotsford with Pierre off in Queensland visiting his Ma for her birthday. I've got lots of work done. Barry D. had made lots of amendments to his manuscript (for the better) so I'm about a third of the way through keying them in, and delivered them to him this morning. I should be finished by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, nearly everything is okayed on the film autobiography. I've prepared a defamation report as a checklist for the publisher and just await a few final changes from the author (to soften the defamation).

Frank had to go and get his new tellie on Saturday so I shopped by myself, which was an unusual experience. Actually, not quite by myself: I was travelling in Roz the Yaris. I rewarded myself with a (very expensive) crayfish tail from the fishmonger and we are set for other food on P.'s return tomorrow.

The rest of the week will be heads down on Dickins, apart from a couple of bookings still to make for The Trip.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Eco Warriors

After a very normal weekend of shopping and crosswords, we were invaded by the local council's new eco-scheme to reduce our emissions. We signed up voluntarily to have an 'efergy' meter installed, which continuously monitors our electricity use and makes us feel as if we're on reality television. Soon, a team of workers will come to seal our doors and chimney and encourage us to reduce our energy use by 15%. Yay!! Turn off the lights, don't leave things on standby.

The film autobigraphy is nearly finished and ready for the publisher after an endless check of names, and all I need to finish off before departure is Dickins, which should come back from the author soon for finalisation.

Tonight, we had an old Penguinis dinner, which proved I can at least eat Afghani food, so overseas will be a doddle. It was good to catch up with everyone, and collect some cumquats from Bryony for Lorraine.

Tomorrow, it's off to the cobbler/elves to retrieve my old glasses with a new nose. Pierre is off to Queensland for his mother's birthday.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday the 13th special

Off today to the prosthetic dentist at North Yarra community health (in Richmond). Scott was terrific BUT he concurred with the denture maker locally that he couldn't do anything for me. However, we did advance a little bit: he says I will need a specialist prosthodontist (the ones at the Royal Melbourne won't do it) and should qualify through my GP for a federal scheme. We'll see. However, it does look as though, as expected, it will be a long (and perhaps painful) process.

Meanwhile, I've got back the film autobiography, so have started the final work on that (all 500 pages of it). However, the author has been VERY good and only restored 1300 words of my cuts. Out of 155,00 that's not a lot. Barry D. is working away at his revisions, and seems quite pleased. Phew! The bill has arrived for our holiday home in Dinan, Normandy (almost Brittany), so we have to be off on 5 April come what may. At the moment, it's looking as good as it could be.

The book lady also phoned to say that she was very pleased with my culled books and a cheque is in the mail!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More socialising

On Sunday night, P. and I went to dinner chez Noel Tovey. Also at dinner was artist, Sam Schoenbaum, an old friend of Noel's, who also turns out to be a friend of Elisabeth W. from their time in New York. We had a very pleasant dinner, and much travel talk, as Sam spends a large part of his time in Berlin (where we're not going) but has strong opinions about Vienna (where we are going). There was also a deal of philosophical and experiential discussion about love, especially with reference to the work of writer Robert Dessaix.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the film autobiography illustrations and photographs (copies) have turned up registered post. There are a huge number, so selection will be tricky. I should have the film autobiog. back from the author and the typist around Friday/Saturday.

Today, I motored off in Janie the Wagon to see George P. in Northcote. He is settling in well to the assisted accommodation, though is threatening to write about it, when he has finished his current project (translating The Iliad). He is not idle. Then I dropped Barry Dickins' revised manuscript in to his place; we had a coffee and discussed titles. He came up with Recalled to Life which fits the manuscript perfectly and is, appropriately, a quote from that other Dickens (Charles).

Sunday, March 08, 2009

A Day Off

Yesterday, Frank, Lorraine, P. and I took the train to Castlemaine to see David G. My travel was free on my annual pensioner freebie. Stupidly, because of being so busy with work, I forgot to ring Ann de H. and let her know we were coming, and equally stupidly, didn't take her phone number with us.

We had a good lunch at the Empyre Hotel, then went to the Castlemaine gallery and an exhibition of David G.'s work at another gallery. His new house is really splendid with a good garden and artist's studio out the back. The train journey was very quick, so we must do it again soon. It was very pleasant having a 'day in the bush'. Because Frank's TV has been burgled, we had him around afterwards for The Bill and a scratch dinner of Muir's prawn bisque and Pierre's Spanish frittata. This morning he and P. went off with their jeeps to shop in Smith Street, and I joined them for a very pleasant lunch at Caballero's. While they were shopping, I did some more work on B. Dickins' memoir which is coming along very well.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

More medical (sigh)

Today, I sent off Noel's autobiography Mark II back to him with some notes and corrections but was prevented from doing much on the depression book by a hospital visit. Greg, the cobbler elf, did a paint match on the nose for my old glasses. As always, a visit to the cobblers is a real cheer-up. He sympathised with my denture problems and suggested that the way through was to keep trying. This is in spite of the fact that he is right in the firing line of bushfires at present. He should have the new nose/glasses combo. on the old glasses ready in a couple of weeks.

Then off to renal, where I got the cheery Professor Becker again. My kidney function hasn't improved with the new medication, but neither has it got worse. After a jolly exchange over our respective overseas trips, I have to return after mine for the next check. Three months, yippee!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Hooray for North Yarra Community Health

I was called back today by Dental at the Melbourne Hospital. They reiterated that they couldn't do anything for me with dentures as I hadn't had any mouth surgery. The nurse suggested trying the Dental Hospital, but I would probably be dead before they gave me dentures, then mentioned local community health. Of course, I thought, at least I can get some advice there rather than plunging blind into the Yellow Pages.

Dr Hall, the manager, referred me lickety-split to their prostethic associate, Scott Randall and I have an appointment for assessment on Friday week. Hall said I probably would have difficulties with adhesion, but the nurse from the Melbourne confirmed what I already thought, that implants post-radiotherapy are not an option.

At least things are on the move, and with people I can trust. Back to work, which is going well. The latest version of the film autobiography has gone back to the author, so I'm charging ahead with the Depression book and the new version of Tovey MarkII.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

New glasses, no new teeth

After getting my trendy new glasses with old nose, I went off to the dental technicians on Friday for a first examination. The man, at a local, very large enterprise, was very nice, but said he couldn't make dentures for me. According to him, there wasn't enough tissue on my upper gums to hold dentures (probably the result of radiotherapy, which was partly the cause of needing the teeth removed in the first place). He suggested that if the Melbourne wouldn't do them, then they should refer me to Peter MacCallum dental clinic because they would 'know what to do' which might involve implants to 'anchor' the dentures.

Fortunately, in my heart of hearts, I had known that if something could go wrong, it would, so wasn't too devastated by all this. I've put in a call to the dentists at the Melbourne (they seem to be absent on Fridays) and await a return call. However, the chances of getting dentures before going overseas are reducing to near nil, so I'll just have to manage, which is difficult but possible. More on this saga to come.

On the way home, a man approached me, saying that the last person he approached spat at him. I assured him I wouldn't, and he told me a good yarn about going to a friend's birthday party and needing $1.50 more for a bottle of cheap champagne. He did have a pocket full of change. Whether the story was true or not, it was a good line, so I gave him the money and he toddled off. If someone really did spit at him, a fairly personable man, I'm disgusted.

On Friday, we went to Frank's to see his recording of the 'bonnet program', Cranford which we missed while watching The Art of Spain on the opposition TV channel, and had a good Indian takeaway dinner, then on Saturday market day at the Convent and normal shopping. On Sunday, P. and I went to the Potter at Melbourne University. The downstairs group exhibition was about as forgettable as it could be, but upstairs was an excellent Louis Kahan exhibition, mostly portraits of writers and academics, including a sixties edition of ABC Panorama about Meanjin, with lots of literary figures and antique presentation methods. The five finalists in the RAKA awards on the top floor were truly splendid and a magnificent field. Both the Kahan and the RAKA are well worth the (free) visit.