Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Blast from the long past

Last night, P. and I went to Jane D.'s for dinner. The occasion was the imminent departure of her youngest son to the northwest, to Lombadina. One of the other dinner guests, another Jane, had spent 15 years, on and off, at Lombadina. The idea was to 'word him up' about the place. I had little to add to Jane's much more extensive knowledge, but it turned out that Jane's father was a buyer at Myers for many years. On the off chance, I asked him whether he knew Frank Churchill, my grandfather. Not only did he know him quite well, but was full of praise for his work as a craftsman. It was a side of my (little known) grandfather I hadn't encountered before, so was very pleased to have this fresh perspective.

The dinner, cooked by William, the departing son, was excellent, and it was a very pleasant evening.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Musical feast

Last night, P. and I went to Faust, put on by Melbourne Opera. We are well served in this burg for opera. It was a pared-down production but with a good chorus in good voice. All the principals did a good job and the orchestra sounded good from the expanded pit in the Athenaeum Theatre, which the program announced is 168 years old (though not in its present incarnation). It is very good to hear opera in a smaller space where it can be both heard and seen.

Today, after doing the Sunday crossword, we went off with my father to the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra. They did a varied program of Shostakovich, Bach, Ravel and Mozart with some excellent soloists: Rebecca Chan and Lerida Delbridge on violin, Calvin Bowman on harpsichord, Prudence Davis on flute and Jessica Fotinos, brilliant on harp in the Ravel. It was an excellent concert.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Anyone game?

On Thursday night, P. and I headed to the Provincial Hotel for their game night: three courses of barely recognisable game: pheasant, hare and venison. All were delicious, though not very 'gamey'. The dessert was a bit missable. We were seated on large tables upstairs in The Salon, so made the acquaintance of some new people, mainly from the catering business. We'll certainly try the Provincial again.

After the shopping today, we brunched at the newly-opened Mothership Cafe in the crescent near the Salvos shop. It's in a very unattractive new industrial/shop development. The food and service were good, but not exceptional. It's not really one to add to the list. It was also Convent Slow Food market day today and we got some goat sausages, a rack-off lamb and some salmon, which is nearly enough for the week (plus some vegies).

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Baroque beauty

On Monday, I cooked David Herbert's slow-roasted pork belly, a very simple but delicious recipe which I'll certainly try again. On Tuesday, P. and I went to hear Concerto Copenhagen perform various pieces by Telemann, Vivaldi, Handel and Roman (a Swedish composer). They were accompanied in the concerti by the wonderful Genevieve Lacey on recorder and piccolo flute and Jane Gower on baroque bassoon. The Australian's reviewer complained about sound problems with the bassoon but from the second row it sounded fine. The double concerto for recorder and bassoon seemed to me to be a triumph.

Sally came for dinner on Wednesday, which was a scratch meal of French onion soup, from some stock P. had made and various leftovers, chicken, beef and vegies. I've just finished the next round on the poetry book and now just have to finish it off in a final rearrangement. It's not so easy when we are talking over 500 poems and 400 pages but I think I've got the basic structure down now and it's just fine tuning: a lot of it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Woody weekend

We had run out of firewood and our normal supplier has halted deliveries because of high demand. So on Saturday, instead of little Diane the Yaris, we got Aggie the Wagon, to pick up some emergency supplies in bags from DeMars in Clifton Hill. That done, plus buying a new hose, we did normal shopping and had a very normal (read undistinguished) lunch in Clifton Hill.

On Sunday, after the crossword, a new supplier delivered a not quite normal-sized load of wood, but which will keep us going till our normal supplier resumes. At least it didn't require quite as much exhausting stacking. The fire is now warmingly spluttering away.

Otherwise, it has been very quiet around Abbotsford, apart from roadmenders fixing the holes left by the removed trees, very noisily. The poetry book continues, being a long haul, all 417 pages of it, but it is three-quarters done, and starting to take some kind of shape which is the job I am required to do. I now 'feel' as though I know a lot more about contemporary China than I did before. Some day, I'll have to go there to find out.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Poetic time

Last weekend, the long one, was very quiet. P. and I had a lovely brunch at Cavallero, with a new menu item, a superior version of bubble'n'squeak which came with a fried egg and spinach. The rest of the weekend was spent by the fire, except on Monday night when we went to Noel T.'s for dinner with Lorraine E. Noel is about to head off to England to perform his Little Black Bastard at the end of the month.

The rest of the week was spent wrestling with the large poetry book, interrupted by dinner with some of the old Penguins at the Afghan Village in Camberwell: very good food and chat. Back to the poetry book!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Haydn's Creation

Last night, P. and I went to see the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra do Haydn's Creation. It was a stunning performance by the same conductor, Bernard Labadie, who did the recent all-Bach program. It was the same soprano, in better form, with imported tenor and bass. All of the soloists were clear and impressive. It helped being in the third row. I'll certainly keep an eye out for a return visit from this conductor as it was a performance to treasure.

Meanwhile, it's on with the poetry in more or less novel form, or more like a diary. Plus a visit this morning to the Club (hospital) for more blood tests for the next stage of matching. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Into the pool

We had a meeting today with the transplant coordinator and the head of transplant to discuss where we're at: it appears we could go ahead as we are with only marginally increased risk, but we have elected to go 'into the pool' in search of a couple to do a 'double shuffle' with: that is, I get one of their kidneys, and P. gives his to one of them. We'll try this for a few months to see whether a match turns up. Meanwhile, it's dialysis as usual, which is a nuisance but not a huge problem so far.

I had a meeting today with the poet about his large manuscript, and we agreed on what needed to be done with it, so I'll have a go. It should be interesting.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Leaving on a jet plane

No, not us. But on Friday night, we had Rochelle J. for dinner, who is leaving for South America and the Andes next week for a series of high level adventures including Macchu Pichu. She had an horrendous car trip over here from her bayside home due to football traffic, but when she got here at last we had a very chatty roast pork dinner. Then, after Saturday shopping, we had a farewell brunch with Frank at Huxtable. The food was good: my fish tartare was spicy and splendid. Frank is off to the so-called United Kingdom for a month or so.

On Sunday, due to a sleep-in, we missed the carbon demo. but went into town anyway to see the Eugene von Guerard exhibition which was a big suprise, not only because it was much bigger than expected, but contained a lot of elements, like the Aboriginal presence, which were unexpected too. It brought home how recent some of these events were: von Guerard was painting in Australia only 130 years ago. The exhibition is well worth a visit and well worth the entry fee.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Lots of Bach

It's been a week of tidying up: settling accounts, shuffling papers and so on, as I expected to be in hospital, and managed to finish all outstanding jobs more or less on time. I was glad of a couple of days extra on two of them, but they are now wrapped up.

Last night, P. and I celebrated our unexpected week of no surgery with a treat at the MSO at the Melbourne Recital Centre. It was an all-Bach program, which surprised some of the patrons ('All Bach? That's unusual.') Bernard Labadie, a Canadian conductor, gave a vigorous performance, sometimes on tippy-toes, a cue to the end of a piece, with contributions from German soprano Lydia Teuscher, who had a very clear tone, but not too much power. She warbled pieces from a few cantatas. Because it was a reduced orchestra, it was, in effect, a band of soloists, who played very well. It was a very satisfying concert, preceded by a good dinner at the ever-reliable Yoyogi in Swanston Street. (Be warned: the buses have shifted temporarily to LaTrobe Street, and, because of this, we just missed one.)