Sunday, May 30, 2010

Paste-ups and street art

On Saturday, I had an early start in order to fit in the first dialysis changeover as we had a very tight and busy day. We did a quick shop with Frank using Hilary the three-door-Yaris from Brunswick Street, dumped Frank, then returned Hilary to Brunswick Street and caught the tram in to the National Gallery of Victoria, Potter Gallery. There we watched a film about street art, followed by a walking tour of some of the city street art sites. The two guides were knowledgeable, obsessive even, in describing the ethics and aesthetics of street art. We are now wiser about styles and techniques, though not less confused about the ethics of it all.

Then we had dinner chez Frank with spag. bol, followed by stewed quinces (slightly and deliciously tart) with yoghurt. Sunday has been very quiet with just the crossword and a bit of work. I'm working on the ghosted autobiography of an Aboriginal boxer whose author is self-publishing. A brave venture!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Moments Musicaux

On Sunday night, Peter and I went with Lorraine E. to Noel Tovey's for dinner. He had made a delicious jumbalaya with South African pepper sauce, followed by a truly wicked chocolate mousse. We're looking forward to his Melbourne return season of Little Black Bastard at the Athenaeum Theatre. Then he goes off for a month's season at the Edinburgh Festival. I wish we could see it there too, but sadly not.

On Tuesday, the Early Music Society had another of their soirees, this time at St Carthage's, Parkville, as they (rightly) assumed that the audience and players wouldn't fit in their normal premises. They were being visited by violin guru, Stanley Ritchie, so with players from ANAM as well they presented a program of Vivaldi, Telemann, Bach and Muffat. It was splendid in the intimate setting of St Carthage's, and great to hear a Brandenburg Concerto (no. 6) more or less as scored with two violas, two violas da gamba, cello and continuo. The indefatigable Ann Morgan played harpsichord for all pieces. Afterwards, P. and I had a steak dinner at Naughton's Hotel for old times sake.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Kangaroo fillet

On a sunny but chill autumn day, Frank joined us for the Convent market. After a good shop there, we picked up Nigel the Wagon (Roz has turned into a three-door Yaris) and did the normal shopping, then met Lorraine for lunch at Charcoal Lane in Gertrude Street. The food and service were excellent, and at least this time there were some more customers. P. and I had the great oysters with granita for starters and tender-as kangaroo fillet for mains with rosellas (not the birds) as accompaniment, with a delicious sauce. Frank and Lorraine had the salmon for mains, which looked good. We certainly recommend a visit there to everyone.

In the evening, after a post-prandial nap, we went to Frank's for dinner and ate some of the bounty from the market: a great pie from the pie lady and stewed quinces with yoghurt. Yum.

Friday, May 21, 2010

My horse, my horse...

Last night, in a rare visit to the theatre, P. and I went to Richard III at the Melbourne Theatre Company. Part of the reason was a thumbs up from Andrew P., that excellent critic and friend, and partly because we have not yet visited their Sumner Theatre next to the Recital Centre (where we are frequent visitors). It was an excellent production, uniformly well cast, though not all of the players had a consistent style for delivery of Shakespearian lingo. This is the one contemporary difficulty that they really couldn't get over. However, the whole experience was well worthwhile and for once the use of a contemporary setting really worked except for the tagline ('A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse') where the straining for physical and theatrical effect meant that Richard's feet were not where they should have been: on the ground.

We preceded with dinner at Script, the restaurant at the theatre. This time it was super efficient, and the food was good, though not outstanding. Trying to serve a theatre-full of people (almost) in under two hours is a quite a feat.

This morning, I went with Sally S. to the funeral for Jude Arnold, whom we knew in the late 70s. This meant many of the mourners were people we have not seen for a long time (or never). It was a very moving service, held in the Boulevard Restaurant, just up the road from here. It was an excellent venue for a non-religious service with a view over parkland to the city.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Medical moments

On Tuesday, Dad took me to Parkville for a dialysis assessment which took most of the morning. I did two changeovers, plus a measurement sample in the middle, plus a blood test. The nurse said if everything is okay, I probably won't hear anything. The home dialysis centre is following up with a home visit on Monday to watch me do a changeover in situ. Their service is really very good indeed.

On Wednesday, after a fresh delivery of dialysis supplies, I went off to the Melbourne Hospital to cardiology. The doctor asked why I was there, so I suggested it was a result of my nuclear medicine tests (pre-transplant) back in December. He said he would organise an angiogram to check my veins in the next few weeks. Too much medical. I'm suffering from overload. When I filled in a questionnaire from the Hospital online recently, I told them I was very satisfied with their services, but thought they should adopt a case-management approach in which someone took an overall view of a patient's situation. As things stand, the various departments are not really coordinated in what they do, and it is left to the patient to provide an overall view. This is hardly satisfactory, objective or effective.

I'm halfway through George P.'s translation of The Iliad and enjoying it immensely. It is a very plain translation, hence very direct.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

All's right with the world (almost, for the moment)

The medical supplies arrived, after two days worth of waiting, the new wheelie bin arrived after three days of waiting and my new painting is at the framer for stretching. Yesterday, Frank, P. and I went shopping to the mall then had an excellent brunch at Caballero in Smith Street.

Today, P. and I are off to the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra with soloist, Genevieve Lacey on recorder performing Vivaldi's recorder concerto and Elena Kats-Chernin's invention for recorder and strings.

I am gradually mastering the new Bob iiNet phone system and we got new rechargeable batteries with the shopping yesterday for the handsets (all three of them to litter around the house). Now I need to work out how to program the handsets. Now all we need is effective climate control and the end of Tony Abbott.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Waiting for garbage (bin)

At the end of March, I paid the Yarra Council thirty dollars to 'upgrade' the wheelie bin to a bigger size to cope with the additional rubbish left over from dialysis. I forgot about it until the other day, over a month later, so rang the Council. Oops! I was told, there had been a 'communication failure' and the bin would arrive tomorrow. It didn't. I rang again today, and was told I would have a return call. By lunch time, I hadn't, so rang again. The latest is that the supervisor will bring the bin this afternoon. We'll see. It might be easier to believe in God.

All this waiting has prevented me from taking the painting to the framer as I'm also waiting for some essential dialysis supplies which will run out on Sunday if they don't come by Friday. Being patient doesn't suit me, and being a patient doesn't either.

The Iliad rolls on. I hope I'm not waiting as long for the wheelie bin as the Greeks waited at the gates of Troy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What were we waiting for?

It was a very quiet weekend. Apart from shopping and a very nice brunch at The Commoner on Saturday and dinner chez Frank on Sunday, I was busy collecting bags and urine on Sunday in preparation for a dialysis evaluation in Parkville on Monday. Dad kindly picked me, used bags and 24-hour urine up at sparrow-fart on Monday and we went to Parkville only to find that I'd been given the wrong instruction sheet, and should NOT have done an exhange before I went (for which I'd got out of bed before sparrow-fart). So we have to repeat the whole procedure next week.

Last night, after a tasty dinner at that old stand-by Yamato I, P. and I enjoyed Waiting for Godot at the old Comedy Theatre. It was a very competent, workmanlike production, which some members of the audience found a lot funnier than I did. I thought it actually emphasised the gloomy side of the text.

My new painting arrived from Warakurna in the WA backblocks and it looks very fine. Now I need to get it stretched and mounted. I've also had to pay back a large sum to Centrelink resulting from an overpayment last year due to misunderstandings about the reporting system. I think we all now know what we need to do. Timing is everything. If I'd known about the Centrelink debt one day earlier, I probably wouldn't have bought the painting. But I'm glad I did. It will brighten up my bedroom no end, though according to the certificate with the painting the subject matter is 'the Ngaturn Tingari men travelling and meeting up with other Tingari mobs from Lapaku, Kintore and Docker River. All the Tingari men went together Kintore way to Lake MacKay for business. Something happened to the men in Ngaturn. Something about fire. Nothing more can be said.' Sounds a bit like Centrelink.

Thanks to Frank for helping stack the wood on Friday. With three of us doing it, it took no time at all. And on the subject of epics: when I visited George P. last week, I transferred his translation of The Iliad (that's right, the one by Homer) to a memory stick. I am now reading it.

Friday, May 07, 2010

To and fro

On Monday, I went to the local health centre to pick up some pills, then, later in the day, to the hospital to give blood to the vampires. I followed up with a lecture to the editing students at Melbourne Uni. on Indigenous publishing. I think I pitched a bit high, assuming a fair bit of prior knowledge which I suspect, from the blank incomprehension I could sense, was not present in some of the students. However, from the questions, I did hit the mark with some people at least, which is probably all you can hope for.

I also responded to the latest draft of the thriller, which, towards the end of where it is up to, is really hitting its stride. For the first time, I really cared about the characters, plus got a sense of contemporary Brisbane. I can't wait for the next instalment, which will probably bring us to the new conclusion.

Carmel dropped in for a coffee on Tuesday, en route from her new country residence to pick up some things from storage. She seems fine, and is going for job interviews in the Ararat/Stawell area. On Wednesday, I dropped in to see George P. at the Northcote hostel. He is much the same, well settled by now and making the most of his circumstances, which are not ideal.

On Thursday, it was off to Renal at the hospital. All my indicators (from the blood given on Monday) are good: protein, phosphates, blood levels. My medication was adjusted slightly and I can go off the weekly blood boosting injections. Yay! Next Monday, I've got a full assessment for dialysis effectiveness, but these results bode well.

In the evening, P., Frank and I went to La Somnambula by Bellini. It was a good, but not lavish production, with a great performance in the title role by Emma Matthews and an almost uniformly good cast. Though the whole plot is rather silly, the music is superb and was given a good outing by the Australian Opera. The second good hit for this year.

P. has today off, and we are awaiting our first wood delivery for the season. One tonne of Australia's finest forests. Should we feel guilty?

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Many ultrasounds

I'd been asked by the Royal Melbourne to help with training for medical students, so this morning went along at 9.30am. It turned out to be just being prostrate on a couch while a sequence of medical students (under the supervision of a well-trained operator) peered into my insides. 'That is his spleen, that's his prostate' etc. It was fascinating for a while looking at my guts, but then it got boring. However, for an hour and a half's 'work' I got a Coles voucher for my trouble, and a Metcard. I'll go back again to see if there have been any plot developments in my interior.

Also, today, some more of the Indigenous thriller turned up, so I look forward to reading that. Murder by instalments.