Thursday, December 30, 2010

Health matters

Today, as well as doing some proofing on the essay collection, I went to the Club (hospital) for a renal visit. Sadly, cardiology have not communicated with Renal AT ALL. Associate professor ? was disturbed to find that I was only given one course of blood thinners, which have now run out. She thinks I should still be on them so brought forward my cardiology appointment from March to January. She gave me the unwelcome news that if I were on the blood thinners, I couldn't have a transplant for twelve months, though I had previously been told three months, maybe. We'll see.

At least going to the hospital sends me past the Parisienne Pate in Lygon Street, so I got their yummy goat's cheese tarts for lunch. P., who's off work this week for Christmas, also had a turkey sandwich, left over from last night's turkey breast. Shopping tomorrow because of New Year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The proof of the pudding...

I'm spending most of this week on proofing the essay collection, which is very soothing, but boring. Yesterday, P. and Frank went to that Potter movie (Harry), thence to the Gustave Moreau exhibition at the gallery. I wasn't much interested: too romantic and too much bosom. So I stayed at home and kept proofing.

Today, however, was such a nice day, that after a very early Fresenius delivery (of dialysis supplies), we went in Hilary the Yaris to Heide. They had mainly drawings on display, in several lots. There was a small exhibition of Tucker and Hester drawings showing up their interconnections. Then a very large exhibition of contemporary drawings (with a very broad definition of drawing), then in Heide II drawings from the permanent collection (Nolan, Williams, Hester again), which made the contemporary drawings look a bit weak. Then in Heide I, the old cottage, there was a surprisingly good collection of Mirka Mora's work. The drawings and few paintings were interesting, though the dolls were a bit creepy. The historical photos were good too. We had the takeaway Cafe Vue lunchbox in the garden. It is quite good value at $15, though what we got was not what was on the menu. (A small amount of shopping: pharmaceuticals, copy paper and potatoes, followed.)

Monday, December 27, 2010

So that was Christmas

After a very modest frenzy of shopping and preparation, we spent Christmas lunch at my sister's place, where we did the usual routine of one course each. This creates minimum, shared aggravation, with the added proviso that there are no presents for the adults, which we all are, more or less. P. and I did the entree, which was a seafood smorgasbord, with fish cakes and dipping sauce, prawns and crayfish with dipping sauce, oysters natural and a scallop cevish. It all went down very well. It was followed by my brother-in-law's delicious turkey breast with all the trimmings, and we just managed to down some of my father's Christmas pudding with custard. A short snooze followed.

Meanwhile, P. and I had exchanged presents at home. I got a new hoodie and a new DVD recorder device, which P. has just managed to set up, after a lot of angst and cursing. You'd think they could be made easier, but no, anything less than a jumbo pilot's licence is inadequate. I got P. some good chocolates and a guide to the birds of the Yarra Valley. A very lazy Sunday followed during which we did some shopping, but most of the shops, including Toscano's, were shut, so the options were limited. We did have some yummy chicken shaslicks for dinner.

Now back to the essay collection, which has arrived as a Christmas present.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas season hotting up

After a fairly normal weekend shop, it was a quiet weekend, apart from a very nice dinner chez Noel T. on Sunday with Lorraine E. on a very rainy night. Wintry conditions continued into Monday and Sal came for tea (minestrone, cajun chicken and icecream with rhubarb). We are pretty much prepared for a quiet Christmas, apart from deciding what to take for entree to my sister's place on Christmas Day. Something seafoody is the specification. We might take the easy way out and just do a seafood platter.

Meanwhile, it's back to the essays for a 'final' proofread, which will take a while. There are two more still to come in the New Year.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dream of a show

Last night, P., Frank and I went to Midsummer Night's Dream by Britten, presented by Opera Australia. It is a longstanding Baz Luhrmann production, which, on the evidence of last night's performance, has stood the test of time. The magic of the setting, costumes and lighting, not to mention, of course, the evocative music, made for an intriguing theatrical performance, all the better for the fact that there was a brooding atmosphere of malevolence behind it all. In spite of a make-it-all-right ending, there was a sense of real conflict behind the comedy: a conflict of all kinds, class, culture and sexuality.

A uniformly competent cast and orchestra (onstage throughout) managed an energetic performance which never flagged.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Slow food

Yesterday, I had a morning at the hospital, which Noel calls 'the Club', for another cardiac rehabilitation. This time, we had a talk on what happens to the heart in a heart attack. It was interesting, but not very helpful, as there is nothing you can do about it when it's happening (apart from calling an ambulance). The usual exercise period followed, then I visited the cobbler/elves for a new nose. Greg had thoughtfully brought in some of his homegrown raspberries for me to take away.

In the evening, we had a very pleasant old Penguini dinner at the Town Hall Hotel in Fitzroy. The food was good, but unfortunately the venue shot itself in the foot with ten potential future patrons by being very slow delivering the main courses. Also, it was a bit noisy, so we've decided next time to try somewhere with a private room, maybe The Commoner.

Monday, December 13, 2010

All Australian Opera

Late yesterday arvo., P., Frank and I went to Trades Hall to see the Victorian Opera production of The Cockatoos, based on the Patrick White story. It was by Sarah de Jong (music) and Sarah Carradine (libretto and direction). A uniformly good cast (Cailin Howarth, Daniel Todd, Ashlyn Tymms and Gary Rowley, in the adult roles) acted and sang superbly in this 75-minute piece. The cockatoos were good too. The small ensemble, under Brett Kelly, played with gusto through a very atmospheric score. It is a pity that it had such a short season. It deserves to be repeated. The operatic genre suits the Patrick White tone very well.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Strained Strindberg

On Friday night, P. and I went to see Red Stitch Theatre's production of Strindberg's Creditors. On the positive side, it was good to see a play in such intimate surroundings as the Red Stitch Theatre. The negative was that the acting style was a little strained: intimacy has its own restrictions and the overly histrionic blows out of proportion. However, it was an intelligent production and absorbing.

We ran into Helen B. and Wesley E. who were also attending. It is becoming a regular Friday-night event, running into Helen.

Beforehand we had a good Thai meal near the theatre, though the Windsor shopping centre is slim culinary pickings.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Eat the Rich

A very ambiguous experience on Sunday: a visit (booked about three months ago) to the Lyon Housemuseum in Kew. It is a combined house and art museum, set up by architect Corbett Lyon and his wife, Yueji. They run regular small tours and school group visits to their magnificent collection of contemporary Australian art. The house, with meticulous woodwork and including a custom-made organ, is visually splendid, quite apart from the artworks by some of Australia's leading artists Arkley, Piccinini, Callum Morton etc.

As one of our party said on leaving: 'How fortunate that some people have lots of money.' Well, yes, the experience, of just over an hour, was well worth it, but I couldn't help feeling that we had been invited in (which we were) for an hour to share this abundant lifestyle. It seemed a bit 'nobless oblige', a feeling which you don't get in a public gallery, or even a privately-endowed gallery like Tarrawarra. I don't begrudge the Lyons their glorious living space, or perhaps I do, but I can't help the nagging feeling that there is something a bit unequal about it all.

We retired to humbler quarters in Abbotsford for lunch. P. had made a very rich duck curry. On Saturday, after the shopping, we went to Victoria Street to buy the roast duck and, in place of eggy brunch, had a yum cha which was cheap and delicious.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Ebullient Figaro

After a week working away on the essay collection, I think I'm making good progress. Not far to go on the first phase, then all the essays go back to the authors for checking.

Last night, after a cheap and cheerful meal at Southbank, P., Frank and I went to The Marriage of Figaro, mounted by Opera Australia. It was a splendid production, directed by Neil Armfield, in which a fine ensemble performance, headed by Teddy Tahu Rhodes, impressive in the title role, made a very good fist of this fine work. There were no duds in a uniformly good cast, well conducted at a brisk pace by Marko Letonja. It was good to see a good local production after our enjoyable experience in Vienna at its prequel Barber of Seville.

Now, back to the essays. Only one really difficult one to go.