Saturday, July 31, 2010

Stonkered by the roo

On Wednesday night, Frank, P. and I went to Charcoal Lane for their degustation dinner on a roo theme. We started with kangaroo tail soup, then wallaby tartare, roo tataki, and their signature kangaroo fillet dish. Dessert was non-roo pannacotta. The whole meal was delicious and not too filling. However, P. and I had the matching wines, which were very nice indeed, but as Frank had judged accurately, a bit much. The whole meal was quite a triumph and we'll certainly try their next one, if they have it.

On Friday, I went to the health centre to replenish my supply of pills, have a blood improving injection and have my feet seen to by the nurse (a split in my heel). Then into town where I meet P. and Frank and we had a yummy lunch at the Journal Canteen. Frank and I had the juicy chicken involtini. Then we went to the Stadel exhibition at the Gallery. As reported, it is not all that coherent as an exhibition, but includes some wonderful paintings including an early Cezanne which was really worth seeing. As you would expect, coming from Frankfort, there was too much German.

No market today, so we had about as normal a shop as we could with the Mall and Red Tongue and are about to enjoy a pasta marinari with the fruits of the fish shop.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Melbourne Open House

The ANZ building. The numbers (Collins Street) are an indication of the general scale of the whole building. (Pic: Frank)
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Sunday adventures

On Saturday, it was a busy morning. There was a convent market, then we had a wood delivery (our second for the season), then did the shopping. After that, we tried the new Johnston Street Foodstore for brunch. It is a good addition to the many fine brunching spots in the area. They have a fairly limited menu but their homemade sausage rolls with Indian chutney were very tasty. P. and Frank had toasted schnitzel sandwiches. They also have a range of pannacottas and mueslis which look very good. The coffee was excellent so it's another place to go on the list of Saturday possibles.

On Sunday, P., Frank and I went to the city for brunch with the Podesta/Lovett family. We intended to go to The European, but they were full so we went to Yum Cha at Dragon Boat. The yum cha was not brilliant but we had a good time catching up with the visitors from Canberra.

Then P., Frank and I went off to a few Melbourne Open House venues starting with the magnificent ANZ offices in Dockland. They claim to the ecologically sound, but they are also incredibly lavish. 'That's where all the money goes, pop goes the weasel.' In stark contrast was the rather run-down Mission to Seafarers nearby. It is a kind of mishmash of Spanish mission style, but looks as though it has rather lost its way in this very modern corner of Melbourne. I went home after that (for a dialysis change) but P. and Frank went on to the Flagstaff modern bowling club and the Royal Historical Society, both of which were interesting.

P. cooked a delicious roast lamb from the market on Saturday for Sunday dinner.

Yum Cha

Michael, Louise, Lesley, Peter and Bruce after Yum Cha in the city. (Pic: Frank)
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Friday, July 23, 2010

Very full day

Yesterday, I started early on a change as I had to go to the Renal Transplant Clinic by 10am. Johnston Street was clogged with traffic (I later found out because of a fatality in Hoddle Street) so I just made it. The doctor didn't have a lot of news apart from telling me that transplant recipients have a high rate of (usually) non-fatal skin cancers, and that he would give cardiology a nudge to do something about my heart. Apparently, with my heart as it is, I would be a low priority for a donor transplant, but do qualify if I provide the donor.

I rushed home to finish off entering corrections to the thriller and send it off to the author. I await its return with interest to see how she solves a couple of crucial problems.

In the evening, it was off to Southbank to meet P. and Frank for a quick meal, then off to the Recital Centre for a very solid performance of Handel's Julius Caesar by the Victorian State Opera. It felt very privileged to be close to the front looking over the orchestra at a uniformly competent cast in a venue with excellent acoustics. It felt (almost) as though the performance were just for us. In any case, though the sets were minimal, the whole thing worked well and showed the benefit of going for voices and the music rather than lots of glitter.

From Tarrawarra

The view across the Yarra Valley from the beautiful Tarrawarra Gallery of Modern Art. It was a sunny day with the mist just rising. (Pic.: Peter)
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Chateau Yering

Looking across the Yarra Valley from the restaurant at Chateau Yering. We'd stopped here to buy jubes and chocolate on the way to Tarrawarra. (Pic.: Peter)
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Monday, July 19, 2010

Britten and bushfires

Last Thursday, P., Frank and I went to The Turn of the Screw by Benjamin Britten at the Playhouse. It was great to see this intimate opera in a smaller venue in an excellent performance by singers unknown to us previously. Conducted by Paul Kildea, the whole production, sets, costumes, sound, singing all worked together well for a stunning night in the theatre.

Very normal shopping on Saturday, with a good brunch at Delish in Smith Street, then on Sunday it was off in Aggie the Wagon to Tarrawarra, via Chateau Yering to pick up some yummy jubes (I kid you not). The main Tarrawarra exhibition is of bushfire art, both historical and contemporary. It is a powerful exhibition which can't fail to move. As well, there was a room of landscapes from the permanent collection which was also impressive.

On then, to Healesville, where we (P., Frank and I) had a good lunch at the busy Innocent Bystander/Giant Steps. I had various tapas (oysters, sushi and pate), while Frank had a reported spicy pizza and Pierre twice-cooked chook, which looked good. The day was also notable for me doing my first dialysis on the road, in the carpark at Tarrawarra. It seemed to work well and is the first step in going away for the weekend.

We rounded off with a quick visit to Badger Creek reserve with its tinkling brook and lots of parrots.

Monday, July 12, 2010

On the move

On Saturday, we managed to fit in the Farmers' Market at the Farm, the Mall shopping and a dialysis change and still got to Charcoal Lane in Gertrude Street by 12.30 for my father's birthday lunch. It was his 85th birthday and my sister and her daughter joined Sally, Helen, Peter and I to celebrate. The lunch 'special' was excellent with some of us having the juicy kangaroo fillet and some the fish.

On Sunday night, P. and I went to Noel T.'s for dinner. As usual, it was delicious and preparatory to Noel heading to Edinburgh to take his performance of Little Black Bastard to the Festival.

The transplant coordinator, Belinda, rang last week to say that P. and I need yet another tissue matching sample (I think we're up to number three) as it has returned positive (not good) but it might be a false positive, so another check is needed. She is sending the paperwork. There are probably buckets of our blood in storage somewhere.

Meanwhile, the thriller is nearly coming from Sydney. The author says there are only one and a half chapters to go so it should arrive any day now.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Things that have disappeared II

A temporary mural in the old City Square by John Wolseley, a magnificent depiction of birds, now replaced by a new mural. (Pic: Peter)
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Things that have disappeared I

The old dental hospital (opposite the Royal Melbourne Hospital), now demolished. What will it become? (Pic: Peter)
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Monday, July 05, 2010

Heigh ho for Heide

After a little bit of car trouble (the car I had booked had its immobiliser switched on), P. and I went to Heide to meet son, Nick, and two of his friends in Melbourne for the football. We had their fixed price lunch which has a fairly limited menu (two choices for each course) but is very tasty indeed. For starters this week was a curried parsnip soup or pork rillettes, followed by a quail concoction (in pastry) or mackerel fillets in ginger sauce. Dessert was either a souffle or an unusual variation on sticky date pudding. Their winelist is good, but a touch on the pricey side. Also at Heide you can get a Shannon Bennett lunch box for $15 a throw. We might try that next time.

On Sunday morning we did the shopping with Frank which we missed on Saturday, about as boring as possible including brunch at Red Tongue in Fitzroy, reliable as always. Then in the early evening, Sally picked us up to take us to Glenfern in East St Kilda for an early evening violin and piano recital. The friends of the Team of Pianists had a welcoming brazier glowing in the vast garden and inside it was warm for works by Mozart, Chausson, Chopin and Beethoven performed by Kristian Winther (violin) and Rohan Murray (piano). As well as performing at Glenfern, an erstwhile dwelling of Arthur and Minnie Boyd (the beer heiress), the Team of Pianists also does similar gigs at Ripponlea, so we must go to some of those. It is very enjoyable seeing a recital in these quaint Victorian surrounds.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Large launch and quiet day

Last night, Sally, P. and I went to the launch of the 2010 New Poets series, which included Ann de Hugard's A Question of Translation. There was a very large attendance and the auditorium at the Wheeler Centre was packed. The four poets read from their work which was launched by the very impressive Rosemary Mackenzie (Mrs Brumby in mufti). Ann read very well, as Sally said, as a whole person. The series is packaged very well and it was good to see Ann's excellent work so well presented. Afterwards, we had a quick Japanese dinner in Little Bourke Street.

Today was a very cold and quiet day, mainly spent by the fire. I did emerge to go to the Health Centre for a check with the amiable Lyn Mackenzie (my usual doc. wasn't available) who said my angiogram wound was healing well. I could tell that myself, but the hospital had urged a visit to my GP within two days. The best part was a good conversation about The Threepenny Opera, where I had spied Dr Mackenzie in attendance. She felt that it didn't achieve the Brecht/Weill style very well, and I agreed saying that a lot of running around and shouting didn't make for a stylish production.

I also made my appointment for the required CT scan next week, unfortunately early in the morning, but then it's better to get it over and done with.

Frank is coming for dinner tonight for roast lamb from the market, and tomorrow, son Nick and friends are arriving for the football and lunch at Heide.