Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hospital dash and Koori lunch

Had a call on Friday from Noel T., who was running a high temperature post-radiotherapy, so went over to his place and took him into hospital, where he is currently okay, but under observation. We'll pop over to see him tomorrow, but he sounds fine. After my own experiences post-radiotherapy, it's best not to take any chances.

Today, after the shopping, Lorraine, Frank, P. and I went to Charcoal Lane, the new Koori restaurant in the Gertrude Street building which used to house the Aboriginal Health Service. It is run by Mission Australia with help from William Angliss, and is, in part, a training exercise. The service and food were excellent (though they are still waiting on a licence for liquor). I had yam fritters to start, followed by a delicious salmon with beetroot mousse. The desserts were splendid. It is well worth a return visit. It was quite busy for Saturday lunch. My partners in crime had equally nice food, including very good fish dishes.

On the way, we popped into a Brunswick Street carpet shop to look for a replacement for our fairly threadbare livingroom carpet. We have seen one and are waiting to see whether it is available in a suitable size.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Recent authors

The Sally Morrison launch went very well. David Yencken made an impressive launch speech, to which Sally responded with fervour. A good selection of Clifton Pugh paintings looked at us from the walls. There was lots of food and drink on a very windy, rainy Melbourne night, and a very good roll up of attendees ranging from the arty to the well-heeled (some possibly even both at once). Afterwards, P. and I went to a very good dinner at Madame Zou Zou's in Brunswick Street, with French speakers at one next-door table, and three Greek women at the other. Very cosmopolitan and the food was excellent. My baked gnocchi was delicious, followed by chocolate and orange baked pudding with ice cream. P. had slow-cooked beef cheek burgundy.

Last night, Frank and Barry D. came for tea. Unfortunately, the roast lamb was very tough. That will teach me to buy from the Vietnamese butcher and not Safeway. I thought I was supporting local business. However, the vegies were good, and Frank brought some yummy leftovers from an office farewell for dessert.

A new desert manuscript has arrived for report so I've started ploughing through that.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Back at the research project, on Monday we had a meeting of the Melbourne team and firmed up plans for a volume of papers about the research, plus some monographs. We followed with a dinner exchanging all sorts of information, from bushfires to legacies, literary and otherwise. So now I have to knuckle down and finish the paper (which I've almost done) and expand the memoir, which is coming along okay, but still needs more direction.

Today, my FESS procedure was confirmed for 4 September. This coincided with a regular Ear, Nose and Throat appointment, where the doctor told me it should only mean an overnight hospital stay, and there should be no problem going away the following weekend (provided I don't fly). Everything else seemed fine and I got the usual koala stamp from ENT.

Tonight is the launch of Sally Morrison's book on Clifton Pugh, After Fire, with an exhibition of some of his work in Collins Street.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Balconies, near Reed's Lookout. Photo: Peter. The protruding rocks look just like goannas peering over the landscape.
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On Friday, I picked up Denim the Wagon, which now contains snow chains in the boot, to head off with P. and Frank to the Gariwerds (Grampians) for the weekend. We stopped at Dunkeld after a rainy, windy journey, some of it awash behind big trucks, for a very pleasant lunch in the bistro at the Royal Mail Hotel, then went the short sixty km distance to Halls Gap.

Our hexagonal pine chalet was very comfy. On Saturday we went on a walk to the very pretty Silverband Falls, then had lunch with Bron Nicholls at her place. Dinner out at The Tavern followed, and on Sunday we went to a couple of lookouts before heading back to town. Mostly, the weather held off, but it was hardly balmy. However, we had a very good time of it and it was great to get out in the country again (Canberra hardly counts as country, though nearly).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Talkfest success

The AIATSIS Cultural Awareness Training for Editors two days went very well, in the comfortable surrounds of University House, ANU. Indigenous writers Jennifer Martiniello, Bruce Pascoe and Terri Janke all spoke. Particular highlights were Peter Johnson and Mark McLean talking about how the award-winning book, Cleared Out, was put together and Pascoe on Aboriginal dispute resolution methods (as well as fishtraps and agriculture). There was some excellent discussion and a complete lack of real dispute or conflict, but a genuine desire to do the best job with Indigenous writing.

We had a good dinner at a Civic Thai restaurant on Monday night and it was an excellent idea of Aboriginal Studies Press to get AIATSIS to sponsor the event. It was certainly energising, and for the participants, mostly freelancers, it was a good chance to get together to compare notes. Some issues about training and manuscript development were discussed and some recommendations made for further action.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The national (sick) capital

Had quite a good journey to Canberra, in spite of the fact that the plane was a Qantaslink propellor model which felt as though it was powered by elastic bands. Full service consisted of a container of water, a small cake and a coffee. Big deal! Lesley picked me up at the airport and later we went to the National Portrait Gallery where we viewed the permanent collection which is well displayed and absorbing.

We went back to Lesley, Louise and Michael's place and had takeaway Indian dinner as Louise and Michael are both unwell with viruses. Later in the evening, Lesley came down with something (maybe food related or maybe not), so by Sunday everyone but me (so far) is ill. We've therefore had a quiet Sunday, just going to a local coffee shop and doing the crossword. Tonight I'm off to University House to get ready for the seminar tomorrow.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Production company scores

All of the material is ready for Canberra and I'll be off on Saturday for the national capital. It will be good to catch up with friends there before the main game on Monday and Tuesday. I'm looking forward to it.

Meanwhile, the memoir is proceeding slowly, though I'm not finding my life all that interesting so I doubt that anyone else will. Yesterday, Carmel B. dropped in and we went down to the Convent for coffee. Though the coffee shop was quite busy, the vast amount of traffic discussed on Monday night was nowhere in evidence.

In the evening, P., Frank and I went to The Boy Friend in a very creditable production by the Production Company. The piece has survived remarkably well and made for a very jolly, if inconsequential, evening. The musical certainly held together a lot better than the last pastiche, which made sense in no way whatever.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Unaccustomed shopping

Three days in a row with little Roz the Yaris. On Friday, I went to see George P. in Northcote. He seems fine, though was a bit dozy having just been to the dentist. We did normal shopping on Saturday, but added some sofa shopping to replace the old couch, now very old and decrepit. By Sunday, we had deliberated and chosen and went to order a green number which will take nearly six weeks for delivery. We also had a look at a few new rugs, though recoiled a bit at the prices. We'll have to haggle better.

All of this retail activity was framed by a yummy Saturday night dinner chez Frank, with a splendid lemon delicious, and a visit to our place on Sunday by Peter B. from Broome and his friend Anna. It was good to catch up after a long absence. P. made a pork casserole with noodles, while the fridge yielded leek and potato soup for starters and passionfruit icecream for dessert.

What caused the furniture shopping was a hard rubbish collection on Monday, which got rid of a lot of old stuff, including the couch. As well, I went into the city on a drizzly Melbourne day to see the Lyneham High School band performing in the portico of Parliament House, staring Michael Podesta on trombone. There was only a small audience of half a dozen, given the day, all relatives of some sort but the band played well.

In the evening, P. and I went to a public meeting about local traffic at the Fitzroy Town Hall. A local Moaning Myrtle and her whining husband dominated with emotional and exaggerated pleas. Let's hope that the road closure goes ahead, if only on a trial basis. There were certainly a majority of residents in favour (apart from MM). Now back to work: Canberra looms next weekend.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Stormy weather

It's been a bit bleak this week, so good to sit by the heater or the fire. However, on Monday, we had a research team meeting, mainly to discuss publication of our efforts. It seems we might have a summary publication at the end of the year, followed by various monographs, including a 'biographical' one containing memoirs of various participants. I am charged with writing a short memoir of publishing life, which I'll try, but it's a bit daunting. We'll see.

Also, a visit to the hospital to the vampires to give blood, plus the results on Wednesday, after P., Frank and I went to the excellent Dali exhibition at the National Gallery, St Kilda Road. Dali was an old conman, good at making money, but the exhibition well established his credentials as an artist, albeit a pretty variable one. We had a quick lunch at Southbank, then I went off to the hospital.

I scored Professor Becker of Renal this time, which is nice, because he is. He says my longterm kidney function is decreasing (though variable) so has upped my medication slightly. However, my chlorestorol is 4.9, which is not brilliant, but better.

Last night, I went to a session at Readings about Bruce Pascoe's new novel, Bloke, which went well, and I am now enjoying reading it. Frank came for dinner afterwards, and P. did a very tasty roast lamb. On with the memoir.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

People Power?

Fairly normal weekend with dinner chez Frank last night and a re-run of his excellent braise, followed by filo-wrapped baked apple. He is starting retirement (Facebook readers will have delighted in a countdown at his erstwhile work this last week).

As our grey-powered activism revs up, governments everywhere should be very (well, just a little bit) afraid. Today, we joined the local residents action group for a photoshoot of protesters over a five-storey residential development in a two-storey area. The picture will be part of evidence at a VCAT hearing this week towards which some residents have contributed. Let's hope there will be some modification of this monstrous development or the whole area will become 'unit city' or a sort of mini-Southbank. The People United Will Never Be Defeated. Or maybe not always.