Tuesday, July 30, 2013


The last couple of days I have been reviewing the revised novellas to see how the amendments sit. Meanwhile, I have had two meetings with authors, both of which went well. I hadn't met today's author before and he turned out to be very pleasant and is off now to revise his small book which he says will return shortly. Monday's meeting was a catch-up and report on the government job, among other things. The plot thickens.

Monday, July 29, 2013

And one for Mahler

On Saturday it was Convent market day so we did some shopping there and at the Mall then had a very satisfactory brunch at Madame Sou Sou's. In the evening, P. and I met Frank at the Southbank Foodhall for a cheap and cheerful meal then moved to Hamer Hall for Simone Young conducting a new work by Brett Dean, The Last Day's of Socrates, a full-blown choral work with baritone and tenor (very small part). It was a moving and splendid work. The rest of the concert was Mahler's Fifth which received a spirited performance with much acclaim at the end (I suppose because it had finally finished).

Sunday was a day of rest at home with cooking and crossword. I baked a whole schnapper which was delicious, even though I say it myself.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Out a lot

When P.'s older sister emailed to fix a time for a call from Brisbane, we had to say we were (unusually) out for three nights in a row. On Tuesday, we went to the Recital Centre for a Brett Dean conducted concert of Australian works with Adelaide group Soundstream Collective. Works by James Ledger, Anthony Pateras, Richard Meale and the conductor were all good in a one-and-a-half hour concert full of riches in The Salon.

On Wednesday, we had an excellent dinner chez Frank and on Thursday, Frank, P. and I went to the Victorian Opera present Sunday in the Park with George. It was as good a production as you could hope to see anywhere beautifully conducted by Phoebe Briggs. The only problem was a mysterious large staircase which was used only about three times in the whole show. It was excellent seeing old stager Nancy Hayes and a mostly young cast do a splendid job with this musical and whimsical work.

At last, a quiet night at home tonight. I've caught up on reading the showbix autobiography and today need to get ready for two meetings on Monday and Tuesday.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Two good meals

After the shopping on Saturday, P., Frank and I went to Backstreat Eating for a very good brunch. Frank and I had the two baked eggs dishes (French onion for me and chorizo for Frank) and P. had the black pudding, fried egg and choucroute. Delicious! In the evening, P. and I joined my Dad, Kit, Neville, Ben and Jack at Movida Aqui for an excellent dinner. We had many tapas plates then a few large plates. Best were the yabbies (messy but yummy) and the beef cheeks but everything was good including the desserts (I had a very tart lemon tart). It was another of those rare occasions of which I've had two in the last month: four generations at once, Ben, his mother Kit, her father, me and my father. As the awful weather persisted, we spent Sunday at home. Today I've done some housekeeping things like the insurance and my E-tax. E-tax is much more tedious than paper tax where you can just pass over the irrelevancies (of which there are many). At least it's done. I returned to the pleasure of the very engaging show-biz auotbiography.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Busy morning

First thing I was off to the vampires at The Club as I've got a Genie appointment next week. I had the modern-art hating nurse who told me she had enjoyed Monet's Garden very much. Monet's waterlilies are not too far from 'modern' art so there's hope yet. I also realised that it was only a quick tram ride and short walk to Royal Park rehab, so dropped off to see Noel T. for a quick visit before he was whizzed off to some kind of OT. Then into town to check lift access to Movida Aqui for tomorrow night (okay) thence to Chocolate Buddha for a nice lunch with Dad, Kit and Neville (who are visiting Melbourne with son Ben and his friend Jack). The two boys are at some sort of gaming funfest at the showgrounds today. Home again. I picked up some beef wellingtons for tea tonight from Jonathan's on the way. An easy Friday night dinner.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Lots of bits and chocolate

On Monday, Frank and I went to see Noel T. in rehab at Royal Park. We went in Harley the Corolla so I could show Frank the way to get there. It looks as though Noel will have to be there for two to three months, and, although the staff members are nice, the food is very ordinary. I suspect hampers will be appreciated. We started with a box of Hahndorf chocolates which we got on the way. The eyes lit up. (Of course, we got some takeaways for home, too.) The rest of the week has been spent on the two novellas (now duly reported), a kind of 'self-help' men's book for its first full read and a 'show-biz' autobiography. I'll think I'll be kept occupied.

Blog malfunction

After years of (fairly) reliable service, Blogger is playing up. Not only will it not allow me to paragraph blogs (see last couple below which read like stream of conciousness with no paras) but it won't let me upload photos either. I hope they fix it soon or I'll have to transfer to Wordpress or somesuch.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Too busy to blog

It's been a very busy few days. On Friday, I sent off some notes on the second novel (of two novellas) to the author then did some wrangling about the government job. Every time I talk to a different person, I get a little bit more reliable information. It is all proceeding, slowly. Then I picked up Harley and headed to Wantirna (!) for my Aunt Valda's funeral. It is not as bad as it sounds as the funeral place was just off the Eastern Freeway (which I protested against and now use all the time). The family had prepared a wonderful reminiscence of Valda which was like a social history starting in the Depression and was also full of emotion. However, the gloss soon wore off when the God-botherer from the retirement village presented his obviously well-worn funeral oration. A regular captive audience! Clearly hardly anyone in the place was Christian so it wore thin very quickly.

In the evening, P., Frank and I shared a Wasabi meal, then went to the Australian National Academy of Music. This time it was the wind-based Hindemith Quartet presenting works by Beethoven, Britten, Jean Francaix and, of course, Hindemith. They did one piece by themselves (the splendid Britten 'Movement for Wind Sextet' with one student) then the rest were with various student/Hindemith combos. Again it was a splendid, engrossing concert.

On Saturday, it was Harley again and off to Castlemaine. First stop was Ann de H. whom we hadn't seen for over six months so it was very good to catch up over lunch with all her doings, especially the very successful local writers' centre. Then we visited the excellent Rick Amor exhibition 'From study to painting' at the art gallery. It showed the progression of various finished oil paintings from sketches and watercolours to finished work. It was an absorbing show and a fitting farewell to the longstanding director of the gallery. In the evening, we caught up with David G. for dinner at his place. As well as a splendid meal, again it was good to catch up after a fair while. We stayed at the Midland Hotel, an old coffee palace from the 1860s which was art-decoed in the 30s and was very splendidly decorated in an eccentric style by Mauro the owner, who has been there for thirty years of the hotel's long life. Next day we headed home via the Glenlyon Foodstore for a good shared lunch of ploughman's platter. Good value and delicious. This morning, Frank and I took Carmelita the Yaris (Harley seems to have been relocated) to go to Royal Park rehab to see Noel. We got him some of his favourite Hahndorf chokkies on the way. He is in good form in spite of looking like spending two to three months in rehab. The staff are good but the food looks very ordinary.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Birthday, hospital and Penguinis

On Sunday, Dad picked up P. and I and we went to the Town Hall Hotel, Fitzroy for his 88th birthday lunch. He brought his friend, Helen and we were joined by Frank, Jo B., Julie and Ian. The food was excellent and the service adequate and I think a good time was had by all. Next day, I went off to the Melbourne Hospital (The Club) to see Noel T. He was also being visited by his very old friend, Robina B. whom I had last seen in the early 60s on the stage of the Comedy Theatre in an excellent production of 'The Sentimental Bloke'. The Noel and Robina show was very entertaining indeed. As well some prosthetic nurses from Royal Park appeared to fit a 'hard cap' made of plaster gauze to Noel's leg to protect it, pending their manufacture of a prosthesis. The surgeon also appeared to check the wound which is healing well and looks surprisingly good. He'll be off to rehab within the week. I've been working away on the two novels but am nearly finished my reports on them. On Tuesday night, I joined some of the old Penguinis for a meal at Zen, an eatery in Burwood Road. It was a fine meal and good to catch up at last with some old friends to swap news and a laugh.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Busy Saturday

First up yesterday, I picked up Harley the Corolla, then Frank and P. and we went off to the mall, shopped, then brunched at Backstreet Eating. Ici, across the road, has closed having been 'resumed' by the landlord. When we asked at Backstreet what had happened they said it was probably for non-payment of bills. A very trendy eating place bites the dust. We had a very pleasant brunch at Backstreet from friendly staff.

Then we all went off to the Club (Royal Melbourne Hospital) to see Noel T. who had an operation yesterday. He was still a little out of it on heavy painkillers, but was very lively. In five to seven days, he'll be off to rehab.

In the evening, Frank, P. and I went to South Melbourne for an ANAM concert. After a cheap and cheerful meal at Wasabi (and quick), we went to hear the Brodsky Quartet lead a concert of Stostakovich quartets, numbers 5, 7 and 12. One (7) was performed entirely by ANAM students, 5 by the Brodskys entire, and the twelfth led by their first violin with three ANAM students. This method of working through a week's worth of workshops follows the Brodskys touring worldwide with a full cycle of the Stostakovich quartets then doing them here with the ANAM students. They say that the teaching experience is unique in the world and valuable for them too. Lots of firstrate combos and solo musicians are visiting ANAM. Next week it is the Hindemith Quintet. I'm looking forward to that concert. How could the federal Labor government have considered closing this splendid institution down?

The passion, enthusiasm and conviction of the students shines through and they obviously benefit from the kind of mentoring provided.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Au revoir

Yesterday, I met up with Nick and the girls for a quick lunch at Yoyogi and to say 'au revoir' to Mailise. (I can't do the diaresis on the first 'i'.) We had a very pleasant lunch following their trip to the Vic Market where Mailise picked up many souvenirs. They stayed at Dad's place last night before heading off to HMAS Cerberus thence to Wilson's Prom. They are heading home along the Pacific Highway so it should be a good way for Mailise to see a bit of Australia. She is only two weeks into her Australian visit of ten weeks so still looks a bit shellshocked.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

A very varied day

Yesterday morning, my father kindly picked me up and we went off on the freeway to Healesville Sanctuary where Nick and co. joined us for a wander around the sanctuary. Mailise, the French exchange student, was snap happy as we saw the platypus show and the bird show. Both have been fine tuned and the bird show now includes four kinds of parrots (including the beautiful eclectus) as well as owls and raptors (including the breathtaking wedgetail). Dad and I left after lunch. Today, the Nick crew are off to Sovereign Hill. Fortunately both days are very pleasantly sunny.

In the evening, P. and I went to hear Jian Wang, cello, and Bernadette Harvey, piano, in a splendid concert of works by Bach, Schnittke, Puts and Brahms, a good mix of old and new(ish). By chance, we were sitting next to Max Gillies so had a chat about a few subjects, including Barry Dickins, a mutual friend. Afterwards, we went to Blondie next door for a quick but satisfying meal. I had the softshell crab and the Sticky Date Pudding with variations including very tasty marshmallow in fivespice and yoghurt sorbet. Home again today catching up on various bits of housekeeping.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Octet followed by Septet

On Saturday, P. and I did a normal shop followed by a bar lunch at the Town Hall Hotel to make a booking and do a test run before Dad's birthday lunch on the next weekend. The THH passed with flying colours: not too noisy and good food.

On Sunday, P. and I went in the afternoon (after a good hearty bowl of pea and ham soup) to the Recital Centre for the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra. It was a splendid program of Shostakovich, Haydn and Mendelssohn's Octet in E flat major (one of my favourite pieces). Bryony and Phillip were there on a special deal from the MCO (intended to suck them in). We all enjoyed the concert, especially as we were so close to the stage.

P. and I then went round the corner to meet Nick and his family (minus Kirrilly and Mark, but plus their French exchange student). They are here mainly so David can do a ballet workshop at the Ballet Centre. The seven of us went to the Southbank food hall for a quick meal. It is extraordinary how different the personalities are of Allie, David and Maggie. It was good to catch up and we'll have an excursion to Healesville during the week.