Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bach Mass

On Friday, P. and I headed off to the Gloriana performance of Bach's Mass in B Minor at St Mary's Star of the Sea, much renovated, in North Melbourne. Before the performance, we had dinner at that old standby Warung Agus, which felt like a quick visit to Bali. We had baked fish and nasi campur, both very delicious.

Then off to the church with its trumpeting angels in the roof, to hear trumpets blaring in the mass. It was a magnificent performance from soloists, band and choir, who sang with great gusto. The large audience was very appreciative.

On a very rainy Saturday, Frank was too exhausted from singing to go shopping, so P. and I went to the Convent Slow Food Market, thence to the mall and then to The Commoner for a delicious lunch. We had little crocqettes, a plate of Spanish sausage, and a poached egg with roast vegies and dukka. All delicious. Then we shared a lamb 'brik' with a pea, mint and yoghourt salad, plus goose-fat potatoes and a side dish of baked squash with mint. Yum!

In the meantime, we voted. The huge queues at the polling booth (Collingwood College) were a vote-changing experience. Nothing expressed the government's contempt for the voters like the undermanning of the booths. Tonight, we'll settle back in party mode and watch the result with bubbly and nibblies.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Funereal talk

On Wednesday, I girded my loins and went off to my second Cardiac Rehabilitation three-hour session. This time we had no-salt dietary advice, plus a lesson on how to do CPR (people should come and have heart attacks at our house) then the usual exercise. I'm not sure if I can last another four of them, but I'll try. I need to earn brownie points with cardiology.

In the evening, P. and I went to a bizarre lecture. It was in the Le Pine's funeral parlour in East Kew, put on by the Friends of the Booroondara (Kew) Cemetery. It was a fascinating history of the Studley Park boathouse, with video and oral interviews with participants. The man who gave the talk really knew his stuff and was interesting into the bargain. The boathouse was built in 1963 by a man called Burn, and has been in very few hands since. The great flood of 1934 (?) wrecked its neighbour at Studley Park, and it has been altered several times.

Afterwards, we had a quite passable Malaysian dinner up the road from the parlour (fishcakes, chicken satay, nasi goreng and beef rendang).

This morning, I had a good meeting with Gert (one of the compilers) and Adrian, the designer, for the essay collection. It is going quite well, though there is a bit of making it up as we go along about it. We'll get there.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Picnic by the river

After normal shopping, P. and I went off to a surprise birthday picnic for Alexis W. and Toly S. It was at the Bellbird Picnic Area, off the Yarra Boulevard. We hadn't been there for a while and it is much improved, with walks and a viewing area for the large and noisy flying fox colony. The 'do' was organised by Toly's son and very well organised it was too. He had commandeered a picnic shelter early in the day and a very large crowd gathered. It seemed that it was in fact a surprise. Also present, as well as large numbers of both families, were Ivor I., from University of Western Sydney, and his partner, Evelyn J. (winner of the PM's award for non-fiction) as well as writer and academic, Nick J. Peter had made a delicious potato salad to go with the snags. We christened Alexis a multi., not a multi-millionaire, but a multi-awardwinner.

In the evening, P., Lorraine and I went to Noel T.'s for an enjoyable dinner. Noel goes into hospital next week for exploratory surgery.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mad musical

Yesterday, I had a good meeting with one of the compilers of the essay collection and it seems on track, on time and with all the problems ironed out. On with the show!

Last night, P., Frank and I went to Trades Hall for a good production of the Barry Dickins musical, Squizzy. We had a good Thai dinner first near Queensberry Street, on Lygon. The musical is a crazy vaudevillian piece of work, with a jaunty score by Faye Bendrups who also pounded the piano. The other musos also played parts in the piece, which achieved a sense of style under Greg Carroll's excellent direction which was sadly lacking in the recent VSO/Malthouse production of The Threepenny Opera. The cast, headed by a diminutive Syd Brisbane as Squizzy, all performed with gusto. The show is well worth a visit.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In Berlin they only speak about...

Last night, P. and I went to the Recital Centre to hear the Berlin Philharmonic Scharoun Ensemble with Brett Dean as guest. They performed the Mozart Horn Quintet and Beethoven's Septet as well as Epitaphs by Brett Dean, which included a piece in memory of Dorothy Porter. It was a very satisfying concert, and, even though Melbourne can't have the 'big orchestra' as Dean called it, it was good to have a sample. Beforehand, in the foyer, we met Andrea G. and Helen B. and it was good to catch up.

We preceded the concert with a very good value Japanese dinner (bento boxes) in Swanston Street at Yogiyogi (?) near Haigh's chocolates, which also allowed me to stock up on their delicious ginger bars while waiting.

Now back to the essay collection before meeting one of the compilers tomorrow. I think it's proceeding well.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Small walkathons

After a farmers' market and normal shopping, P., Frank and I had brunch at Huxtable, a very tasty one, this time with the brunch menu. P. and I had dashi poached eggs with salmon and sesame spinach. Yum!

We then went on the Collingwood Historical Association's annual walk. Unfortunately, this one was in the pouring rain. The Collingwood residents are hardy types and there was a very good roll-up to hear Gary Presland describe the environs of the Yarra River and particularly the Indigenous history of the area, as well as something of the geology. In spite of the adverse conditions, it was fascinating as we trudged through puddles along the unusually swiftly flowing river.

On Sunday, Frank joined us again for the Melbourne University Treasures Day. We took the informative walk around some of the sculptures and landmarks of the university. We then took in the glass collection at the staff club, then a concert of Percy Grainger music at Melba Hall. The concert, by the Melbourne Consort, was excellent and entertaining. A highlight was the slightly ridiculous Stephen Foster tribute suite with the choir accompanying on glasses of water (it works!!). Next year is a Grainger anniversary, so we can expect lots more Grainger music coming up. We are already booked for an MSO Grainger concert.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Too muchas medical

It's been a very medical week this week. First, on Tuesday, I had to repeat my adequacy test for the home dialysis people because the lab. mucked up the last one. So, the day before I had to collect a 24-hour urine and all my change bags to take on Tuesday morning. Also, I had to give fresh blood. Today, they rang to say that I was 'adequate'. All my measures were fine except that my phosphates are up, so I have to slightly adjust my anti-phosphate medicines, which I don't like.

On Wednesday, I went off to Cardiac Rehabilitation, which you get if you have a stent insert. Most of the other people there had had heart attacks or at least severe angina. We had three hours of dietary advice, pharmacological information and exercise. It was actually quite informative, but six weeks of it might be a bit of a stretch. I've been let off the first hour each week (that's the dietary stuff, as I've already had heaps of dietary advice from renal).

Then, on Thursday, wearying by now, I went for my second stress test at Nuclear Medicine. The State is spending lots of dough on me. The stress test and associated scanning showed what I already knew. I have slight angina, but the doc. won't know exactly how much effect the new stent has had till he compares with the last stress test. We await with interest.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I have managed to do some work on the essay collection and will meet with one of the compilers next week to iron out any problems. Frank came for dinner on Tuesday night, a delicious roll of roast lamb from Jonathan's, and Sal came on Wednesday. She had leftover chicken which P. had cooked from a Karen Martini recipe on Monday, while P. and I had beef wellingtons from Jonathan's which were a bit ordinary.

Tonight, I went to the Braille Book of the Year Award, sponsored by Copyright Agency Limited. It was won by Alexis Wright, so I was very pleased. The braille version was there, all seven volumes of it, looking very imposing, as was her trophy.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Art in the gloom

On Saturday, we did normal shopping and had a tapas-style brunch at The Commoner, excellent and tasty as always.

On Sunday, P. and I went first to the Potter Gallery at Fed. Square, avoiding numerous cops there to protect Hillary Clinton and La Gillard. We went for lunch (the delicious sangos on the third floor) and the landscape photography exhibition, which is well worth a visit. Then we went to ACCA for their Mortality exhibition of various artists. The exhibition is quite good. Unfortunately, there is some sort of weird principle of lighting. It gets progressively darker as the exhibition continues, presumably as an emblem of mortality. Unfortunately, it isn't possible to see the exhibits or read the captions in the dim light. I complained, and the young woman at the desk agreed that there had been a lot of complaints. Some people, she said, bring a torch to read the labels. 'That's ridiculous,' I retorted.

In the evening, we went to Frank's for his new vindaloo recipe, which was delicious, followed by fresh mango. I'm now working away on the essay collection and wrestling with bibliographies. It is not much fun, but is oddly soothing.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Signifying nothing

After a very quiet weekend with just normal shopping and a very good brunch at Caballero in Smith Street, on Tuesday we had a 'picnic' at home on Cup Day. Frank brought his homemade pakoras (delicious) and P. made his prawn, chicken and melon salad.

On Wednesday, Dad took me to the hospital for angioplasty number two. This one seemed as easy as the first, except the stent refused to go round a ninety-degree angle in my heart arteries so couldn't be inserted. However, I still had to go through the ten-hour, on your back, resting process afterwards. I'm now home again, and will be reviewed by cardiology in a few weeks, possibly after a new stress test. If I pass the stress test, I'll be cleared for transplant. I'll have to go into training, I suppose. It seems that, as I haven't had any angina attacks, my heart might not be as bad as at first supposed. Who knows?

The Melbourne hospital was as efficient and effortless as possible, and I'm very grateful for the good treatment I received from all concerned especially the hardworking nurses and doctors. You deserve a medal, or even sainthood ahead of that Mary McK.