Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Much munga

After two night's out for dinner (Noel's and Frank's), on Monday we finally got into the goodies from shopping. What might have been pretty ordinary grilled salmon skewers were made magic by P.'s mango salsa (with chili and mint). Then on Tuesday, P. cooked a freerange turkey breast from Bairnsdale (bought at the Convent market) which eclipsed the pallid stuff they sell in the supermarket by a mile. It was moist and very tasty. And there are lots of leftovers.

Meanwhile, I had an excursion in Roz in the Yaris yesterday to deliver a copy of Noel's manuscript to him, then off to see George P. at the hostel in Northcote. Again, George is holding up remarkably well in difficult circumstances. However, it was a beautiful sunny day with spring in the air at last, so it was good to be getting out and about. Now back to work.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Coming up roses

A quiet but social weekend. Frank, P. and I did the shopping and had dinner chez Noel T. which included his signature watermelon salad and a goat curry which was tantalising with great tastes. Frank returned the favour on Sunday night with a beef curry and pear dessert (yum!). It was good watching Yellowstone Park on his big TV. Apart from that, we spent a very cold weekend huddled by the heater.

Meanwhile, the author of the history has responded well to the proposed restructure, and is trying it out, and a new project, a novel, is turning up at the end of October. It's a good case of 'what goes around, comes around' as it is a novel I did a report on for a friend about two years ago. It has now won a manuscript prize, and the publisher has asked me to work on it.

I've finally made contact with Lilitu B. via Facebook, of all things. It turns out we have two mutual friends. Facebook does have its uses.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Very quiet week

It's been a week of head down over the new manuscript, or more accurately eyes ahead at the computer, as I haven't printed it out yet. I've been rereading it carefully and trying to work out whether it could be structured differently. I believe it can. The author has been away, but we finally touched base on Thursday and I've promised to talk about structure next Monday so it will be interesting to see how she responds to my suggestions.

Apart from that I've done very little, apart from recycle some leftovers into shepherd's pie, and find that P.'s pot-au-feu is a bit like the magic pudding. There is still some left after about three meals. I've also made leek and potato soup and passionfruit icecream. The little whole whiting from last week's shopping were sweet and tasty, just baked with lemon and white wine.

Today was market day, and, apart from normal purchases, like whole milk and various vegies, P. bought a turkey breast. We then did the mall shopping and got white asparagus from Toscano's, which will probably turn into Dutch-inspired boiled egg and butter coated delights. We then, with Frank, had Saturday lunch at the Commoner, which has been a long time coming. The food was delicious with me having baked eggs with spicy lamb and chickpeas, P. had a gourmet 'sandwich' and Frank a very exotic French toast with goat's cheese and pear.

As well, this week a finished copy arrived of Sally Morrison's biography of Clifton Pugh, After Fire, which looks splendid. It's a huge tome and it made me wonder how I worked on such a huge manuscript. Not as much as the author though. Also, copies arrived of Tasmanian Songman Ronnie, the autobiography of Ronnie Summers, which I worked on last year. It also looks good and contains (in the back) an excellent CD of Ronnie and others playing Cape Barren Island music. It's a real treasure, like Ronnie. And I know a lot more about mutton-birding than I knew before and a whole lot more about Clif Pugh.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Opera in the shard

Luisa Miller turned out to be a very creditable performance of the early Verdi opera. The BMW Edge is an odd venue in which the orchestra takes centre stage (of which there is hardly any) and the cast and chorus have to work around them. However, the orchestra played well and the singers were mostly competent especially Gary Rowley as Luisa's father who was excellent. It was really more like a partially staged concert performance. The hero and heroine were melodramatically poisoned at the end, but not before skewering the villain. The flimsy plot hung on a phony letter, which could have been cleared up very easily if anyone had bothered.

We had a tasty and efficient dinner at Chocolate Buddha in Fed. Square beforehand. The weekend was very quiet, with normal shopping and brunch in Clifton Hill, dinner at Frank's on Saturday and him coming here on Sunday for the same. P. made a pot-au-feu with artichokes, broadbeans, carrots, potato and chicken which was delicious.

I also read the new manuscript and started thinking about what needed to be done with it. P. and I returned the keys to the Inverloch beach house and thanked Bryony and Philip for a great weekend.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Three reports off

It's been a busy week completing three manuscript reports and sending them off, but it's all done at last. Just as I neared completion, a new job popped up in the email box. So I'll be busy through the rest of September and October. The three reports were very satisfying to complete, and it will be interesting to see whether any of the three get to publication. They are each very worthwhile but none are going to set the commercial world on fire.

As well this week, I had a meeting and lunch (at home) with Father about the end-of-year financials, and a return to Centrelink on my finances which has gone off today, with my tax payment for 2008/9 which was revised down by the Tax Office after an initial error. Phew! Also, yesterday, I had a coffee with Jessica R. for a natter about future plans and recent weekends away.

Tonight, Frank, P. and I are off to Verdi's Luisa Miller in Fed. Square. We'll dine at Chocolate Buddha first.

Monday, September 14, 2009


We set off in Denim the Wagon on Friday morning with lots of food for Bryony and Philip's beach house at Inverloch. We had a very quiet weekend, with a few beach walks, a trip to Cape Paterson (sleepy hollow if ever there was one). We also had a very good dinner at Vella9, the new restaurant in Inverloch. My venison carpaccio was very tasty (with beetroot and horseradish). Apart from that we lazed around the very comfortable house and ate and drank.

Now, back to work.

Seascape, Cape Paterson

Photo: Peter
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On the way to Cape Paterson

Lorraine and Bruce back from the beach. Photo: Peter
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Thursday, September 10, 2009

New rug

Proud owner of new carpet (on floor) soon to be transported to Abbotsford. Photo: Anthony Zois, Melbourne Rugs, Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
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In the depths of WA

The two manuscripts for report arrived on Monday, so I've been busy reading them and taking notes. Both are set in far off WA, so with the other report I'm doing (set in the Central Desert) it is a case of 'Go West, not-so-young man.' At least two of the three are absorbing reading and should find a publisher, though none are really commercial propositions in a big way, but each is significant in its own way. Writing a report on this kind of manuscript is very difficult, when it has significance, but is not going to set the cash registers ringing.

As well, P. and I went last night to a special screening of Bliss, where producer Tony Buckley spoke of the making of the film and his own book (which I worked on). The film stood up very well after all these years. Afterwards, P. and I went for a very filling meal at the Czech and Slovak restaurant in Johnston Street, which I had been meaning to try for a while. The food was good and, well, Czech. I think we were the only customers not speaking Czech so it was a cultural experience as well.

Now, off to the hospital for a check after the FESS procedure, then preparations for our trip to Inverloch.

Saturday, September 05, 2009


Home again after an overnight in hospital which was relatively good. The only problem was some difficulty finding a vein pre-surgery, but apart from that everything was okay, even the food. The staff were quite attentive and now all I have to do is heal up. It is very nice to be back home a little over 24 hours after the event and in time for a nanna nap.

I have to go back to the hospital on Thursday for a checkup and review, but at the moment it looks like it's all go for the Inverloch weekend. Meanwhile, Tony Buckley's memoir has arrived and looks splendid in its finished state. He is speaking at the Nova on Wednesday at a special screening of Bliss.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

FESS up time

The Penguini dinner at Afghan Village in Camberwell was very tasty, but better still, the company was good. It was great to see Reg F. looking thin but well after a severe struggle with cancer. He's off to Darwin and Alice Springs next week, and to Europe next year. Good on him. Also good to catch up with the other old Penguinis who could make it. I realised I hadn't seen George and Lou for over twelve months. Mea (and them) culpa!

Today did some work and as well got ready for admission to hospital tomorrow for the FESS procedure. They say it is only overnight, but I doubt I'll be out till Monday. We'll see. I've also cooked up a storm so P. has plenty of food while I'm in the clink, not that he can't cook for himself. There are two soups, one mine, potato and leek, and one his, sweet potato and spicy lentils. Some beef burgundy might be left over after Frank comes for tea tonight, and there's some steak and kidney ready for the pudding to be added.

I feel quite sanguine about the surgery tomorrow, so I hope it's as minor a procedure as they say it is. I don't trust doctors too much to tell the truth.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Confluence of consumerism

The carpet man proved to be very obliging. When I picked a carpet from the two on offer at the right size, he offered to bring it home straight away. This meant that it was on the floor when the couch was delivered in the afternoon, so we now have a very plush livingroom. (The old carpet has migrated to my bedroom.)

As well, three new manuscripts are turning up for report, and I have been busy for the last couple of days on the one that has already arrived. It's a whitefella account of a desert program and is quite absorbing and well done. Whether any publisher will see that it has a market is another matter, but it is a great and positive story, with some great material about crosscultural 'tactics'. The memoir is going slowly.

Tonight is dinner with the old Penguinis in Camberwell which I'm looking forward to.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Much Mozart

On Sunday, after doing the big crossword, P. and I went to the Melbourne to see Noel T. who is stable, and was quite optimistic, though still in some pain. We then went to the Melbourne Recital Hall to hear an all-Mozart program, including the 'Masonic' funeral music and two concertos, one for violin and viola, and the other for two pianos. The concert finished with a flourish with Symphony no. 25. The whole was very satisfying, with a lot of variety, and kept up the high standard of this concert series by the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra.

The house improvements are continuing with the new couch arriving today, and a visit to the carpet shop, possibly to choose the new livingroom carpet. We won't know ourselves.