Monday, May 30, 2011

Saturday express

On Saturday, we went to the convent market with Frank and stocked up on olive oil, vegies and salmon, thence to the mall for more vegies and meat. Then P. and I met Lorraine, newly returned from overseas, for a yummy lunch at Huxtable. I love their jalapeno balls. Then, after a quick change, it was off to the Nova Cinema to see Mrs Carey's Concert, an excellent doco. about music teaching and students. Well worth seeing! In the evening, to round off a frantic day, we had dinner chez Frank, which was delicious, and watched a French production of La Traviata, acts one and two.

Quiet Sunday at home to rest, followed by dinner chez Noel, with Lorraine. Good food as usual, and good talk. Today, I finished off the Spanish novel and sent it off to the publishers.

Friday, May 27, 2011


On Wednesday, when we were gearing up for the start of the Big Transplant saga, I got a call from Peter's renal specialist (mine is in Austria at some conference) to say that last week's blood matching showed up some antibodies in my blood to P.'s blood. This wasn't necessarily a showstopper but it did increase the risk of rejection: we had to decide whether to proceed. Though the decision-making was agonising, there was really only one result possible: defer and re-assess. So we need to have a conference with my specialist (back from Austria shortly, in about a week) to consider our options. These include fresh bloodmatching and considering waiting for a 'double shuffle' where P. gives his kidney to someone else and I get one from their (incompatible for them) partner. This could take a while. Or: we could decide having weighed all the risks to go ahead anyway as planned.

Meanwhile, everything goes on hold, I restarted the dialysis deliveries (the suppliers were very friendly and helpful) and I have a little more time to complete the Spanish novel and the essay collection. How long is uncertain, but I think I've got plenty of time. The upside is that the dialysis is going well (so far) so none of this is a matter of life or death.


Bruce and Frank with the trusty Aggie the Waggie which took us to Bendigo. (Pic: Peter)
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At Bendigo Art Gallery

Peter the Person with Peter the Artwork (photo: Frank)

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Too busy to blog

As well as being busy trying to finish off three projects for work before the big op., there have been lots of other events. Much time has been spent at the hospital as well, giving buckets of blood for various purposes and having pre-operative assessments and a meeting with my surgeon. P. has had to do much the same things.

On Thursday night, P., Frank and I went to How to Kill Your Husband, the newly commissioned Victorian Opera show. It has unashamedly pastichey music by Alan John, which works very well, though some of the Kathy Lette rapier-wit (if real) has been lost in translation. Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable theatrical experience with great performances by all of the cast, including Tobias Cole as the counter-tenor stud who has a grisly end.

On Friday night, I went to the opening of the Message Sticks film festival, a screening of Here I Am, directed by Beck Cole. A very handsome film, though of unprepossessing locales and depressing content, it features fine performances including Marcia Langton in a tour-de-force as the mother.

We missed the rest of the festival as Frank, P. and I headed for Bendigo in Aggie the Wagon. The main purpose was to see the exhibition of Eastman collection 20th-century photographs at the Bendigo Gallery. It was a fine and interesting exhibition, well worth the trip. As well, we saw some contemporary shows at the La Trobe Gallery opposite (some very gruesome Chinese videos) and had a couple of good meals, at the Bendigo Gallery cafe and the local Bank Winebar.
The motel was adequate though pokey for three, but I managed to get all my dialysis changes done easily as Aggie's capacious boot enabled taking all the equipment.

On the way home, we dropped in to see David G. in Castlemaine and the gallery, then stopped for the obligatory pie in Malmsbury. We did a small amount of shopping on arrival back in town. Now it's back to work to try to finish it all off.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Working and walking

After a hectic week of concerts, this week was very quiet. It was mostly spent on the novel with occasional side trips to the poetry book to keep it moving. After normal shopping on Saturday (it was too muddy and wet to do the farmers' market), we tried a new spot for brunch, the Knife Sharpening Shop in Wellington Street. It was competent and friendly, but hardly special.

On Sunday, P. and I set off early to the Riverkeepers Walk which started at Kane's Bridge. It went round the revegetated Galatea Point, past Dight's Falls (being remodelled). It was a fairly vigorous walk, up hill and down dale, but very interesting with historical commentary and some on the ecology and geology. Thanks to the Riverkeepers for another well worthwhile event.

In the evening, we went to Frank's for a delicious dinner. In the next day or so, I should have finished the novel, which I am enjoying a lot and will speak to the author in Spain to clear up a few minor points (I hope).

Monday, May 09, 2011

Vienna by proxy

P. and I have been to four (I missed one while in Brisbane) of the 'Metropolis' concerts conducted (mostly) by Brett Dean in honour of Vienna, mostly modern. Every concert included at least one piece by Webern and one by Dean. They were in the Malthouse Merlin Theatre, so it was great seeing a full symphony orchestra is such a small space. The concerts were excellent and varied. Dean played his own viola concerto. The place was packed out which was an encouraging sign for more modern music.

On Friday, we got a freebie to the Raga Dolls Salon Orchestra. With great chutzpah, composer/conducter Osborne programmed an entire night of his own work which is contemporary romantic, but really was more like Percy Grainger 100-years too late. I'm glad we didn't pay, though the soloists (cornet, violin and piano accordion) were good.

Then, to complete our orgy of orchestral concerts, on Sunday we went to the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra for two Ravel, Bach, Couperin and Vivaldi. There were oboe solos from Diane Doherty and Jeffery Crellin in two concertos. The whole was, as usual very satisfying.

We had a wood delivery on Friday, so the fire is alight and burning bright. The academic book is proceeding apace and I can't wait to get to the novel.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

In Melbourne, back at it

Settling in after Brisbane, I had a talk to the publishing students at Melbourne Uni. It was the same one I have given before, more or less, on Indigenous publishing. I was surprised to see a face in the audience that was the same as one in Brisbane on Saturday. A real deja vu. It went quite well I think, but next time I think I'll rewrite it with less presumption of knowledge.

Back at work, I read the new novel which is terrific and probably the easiest job I've ever done, apart from some formatting problems. I need to finish off the poetry collection and the references on an academic work before D-day, or should I say T-day (transplant day). This seems possible. The essay collection still has two essays outstanding, but that has been waiting so long that I can't really worry about it. I've warned them that if it doesn't appear before June, it will have to wait.

By way of recreation, P., Frank and I went last night to Verdi's Macbeth, a workmanlike production which was very enjoyable. A uniformly competent cast and good conducting made for a quite stirring evening. Well done, Opera Australia! Oh! and the large chorus was splendid.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Not quite dizzy Brizzie

Last Thursday, my father ferried me to the airport to head off to Brisbane for the History of Australian Reading and Publishing conference. After arriving and checking into the Benson Court Motel, Toowong, I had a coffee and a chat with Judith L-A, who had kindly come down from the Glasshouse Mountains for a meeting. It was great to catch up with her after a long break.

Next morning, I checked in at the conference then caught the rivercat back to Southbank to visit the art galleries. The river trip was very pleasant, though the advantage of river frontage has lead to the development of rather featureless flats all along the river. Distinguished architecture is not to be seen.

Both galleries had interesting material. I loved the finch installation, with live finches in a soundscape and other good pieces at the Gallery of Modern Art. They were beginning to set up for their big surrealism exhibition in July. At the 'main' gallery, there was a small, but good, Lou Rees exhibition which mainly featured drawings from his early career in Brisbane but there was some later work including paintings. A special exhibition of E. Phillips-Fox and his wife, Ethel Carrick, demonstrated that she was really the more talented painter, but devoted her life after his early death, to promoting his work.

I went back to the conference to catch a very good an informative session on children's publishing presented by Robyn Sheahan-Bright and Mark McLeod.

Next morning, I went to Morningside to visit Joan and Simon R. It was very pleasant sitting on the veranda looking across Brisbane. Back to the conference and the final event, which was our group of papers which went well, in spite of everyone seeming to suffer from conference fatigue.

On Sunday, it was back to Melbourne, this time with Virgin (Qantas on the way up) and father appeared at the airport to bring me home for which I am very grateful. The whole trip went well and was the first interstate trip I have made on dialysis. The motel facilitated delivery of the dialysis bags and were helpful throughout, so it all worked well.