Wednesday, December 31, 2014

And as well

P. made some salmon and avocado canapes for starters before the chook, then baby cheeses to follow, so very full though not as well fed as the people at Lesley's, where the menu sounded a little excessive (barramundi, prawns, crays, asparagus risotto etc.). We also watched Rosalind Russell in 'Auntie Mame' which Frank brought and which was very entertaining. Now the ABC countdown to midnight, maybe. Am I called Josh or Toby? Am I a tool?

Quiet days

We're having a quiet time at home before New Year, clearing out the fridge with merguez frites, frittata (onion and rosemary) and tonight P. is doing a roast chook for New Year's Eve. There's lots of time for reading the Christmas books and travel guides.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Barbara Niven's 80th

Today, Frank, Peter and I went to Libby Niven's place for Barbara Niven's 80th birthday party. A very various crew of people turned up to celebrate. Thanks to all of the Nivens for a wonderful day. There was a great barbecue and lots of revelations about family history from all quarters. A good time was had by all, I think.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Lamb leftovers

As I expected, I finished checking the novella today and will send it back to the author tomorrow after another quick look. It is, I think, much improved over the first version by the amendments they have made. Now to make Stephanie's lamb sweet and sour from the leftover roast lamb (quite a lot).

Friday, December 26, 2014

And now it is not (with God on our side)

A very quiet Boxing Day, with leftover ham toasted sandwiches for lunch. With great alacrity, the novella has returned rewritten and expanded slightly. I've started to look at it and will finish, probably tomorrow. It seems much improved, though it was nearly fine to start with. Now, roast lamb for dinner. No rest for the wicked on both counts.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

And so this is Christmas

P. and I went off with Dad to my sister's place for Christmas lunch. We were bearing the first and last courses. Ours was the seafood entree which we thought might be a bit excessive, but it was hoovered up, all except for two oysters. Then Ian, my brother-in-law, followed with a superfluity of turkey, ham, vegies and gravy, which everyone had a lot of barely leaving room for my father's pudding but still leaving lots for after. Home again after a very convivial day then a light supper chez Frank of ham, potato salad and watermelon salad (courtesy Nigella) followed by berries and Nigella's icecream (thanks Lesley P.), then cheese. Off to bed very full.

Happy Christmas bah humbug

Yesterday, P. and I went to the mall to pick up our pre-ordered seafood for today (Christmas Day) and do some shopping for the week. We've sorted the seafood, made the sauces (oyster, tartare and seafood cocktail). Well, the tartare is actually Rosa's pre-made remoulade, but P. made the Andrew O'Connell recipe for the oysters and I made the ever-reliable Margaret Fulton cocktail sauce for the crays and prawns. Actually people can use whichever sauce they want on whatever. My Dad is coming around 11.30 to pick us up and go to my sister's place. I suspect our seafood course will be enough, but my brother-in-law Ian will have made chicken or turkey roast as well, plus my father is bringing pudding. We'll be stuffed little bears by the end.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A social day

Yesterday, Barry D. came for lunch. We had the same as when Dad came, French onion soup followed by ham with potato salad and a green salad. It was good to catch up. Then in the evening, Frank, P. and I went to Noel T.'s where we had the usual fine meal and gave presents for his birthday (which is on Christmas day). Today we did our final Christmas shopping and normal shopping for the next week.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Early last evening, Frank, P. and I met Lesley P. and Louise L. for dinner at Supernormal in Flinders Lane. This bustling eatery was excellent and good value (relatively). My oysters, ceviche of whiting and (yum) crayfish slider were excellent and we shared other goodies like well-cooked lamb and fish plus duck pancakes. No dessert as we were all too full. The only problem was, again, the noise. Being pre-Christmas there were lots of raucous diners, but I think anytime this restaurant with queues would be noisy.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Quiet weekend

On Friday night, I was just finishing off the dinner (garlic prawns) when the oven door stuck. No efforts to fix it worked, so the stove man is coming today. This meant all meals for the weekend had to be stove top, so we had vera bolognese (from the freezer) and very yummy steak. For the rest, I worked on the novella, which I think is very good and we didn't do much else, except P. did a bit of gardening. As well, I've been to the health centre this morning about a pain in my side which the doctor says is probably muscular pain and prescribed mild painkillers.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Cobbler elves

Yesterday, I was summonsed to the cobbler/elves (the prostheticians) at the Royal Melbourne for a fitting for a new mould for my new nose. It didn't take too long, but Greg and I had a good mag. He gave me two punnets of his own freshly picked raspberries (delicious) and I gave him a box of choccies for his great support through the year. In the morning, P., Frank and I did normal shopping and had a very good lunch at Addict, which keeps on giving, at a price. As well, I got an additional chapter for the biography to cut (just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water) and just when work was drying up for Christmas, a novella. Just for comment and report but there is no rest for the wicked.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dad for lunch (not literally)

Today, Dad came down for lunch. I served the last of the French onion soup and P. served the ham (with mustard), potato salad and a green salad. Dad looks as though he will get movers who pack everything up, even the small things, though he'll still have to do a deal of sorting out of his stuff. He has also had a bad fall while on a walk the other day, but fortunately, though he is a bit bruised, he didn't do any major damage.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Two fancy dinners

On Monday night, I cooked the part turkey bought at the market on Saturday. It was a fairly straightforward roast, but there is about half of it leftover for tonight. Then on Tuesday (last night), Frank came for a dinner of a glazed leg ham (whisky, marmalade and honey glaze) made by Peter from the ham bought from Gipsy Pig at the market. Of course, there are lots of leftovers from that.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Much medical action

Yesterday, I went with Dad to see a geriatrician, Carol Chong, for her to do an assessment. She did a battery of tests with great kindness and grace. She has prescribed medication which is a bit of a lottery as it only works in some cases, but it is better than nothing, plus two scans to check what is happening physically. Today, it was my turn to revisit ear, nose and throat about my hearing which has improved mightily in three months of its own accord, probably from an infection caught in China in March. It is certainly functionally adequate at present. They'll check again when I do my annual cancer check in twelve months. And at last I've continued my clean-up by deleting useless stuff on my computer and saving the remains to hard disk.

Monday, December 15, 2014


Yessterday, P. and I joined my sister and her husband at my Dad's place for his auction. A lot of bidders had dropped out but with a lot of cajoling from the auctioneer it finally sold. What a relief! We then went to the burger joint on Were Street for a serviceable lunch. Last night, P. made a Middle Eastern chicken dish with couscous and Nutella's watermelon and fetta salad. Delicious.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Falstaff: workmanlike but not wonderful

Last night, P. and I had a good quick meal at Yoyogi, then off to the State Theatre for another good production from Opera Australia. Unfortunately, 'Falstaff', like 'Don Pasquale', was competent in the singing department but not excellent. It really only revved up to full force in the final fugue, which is a bit late really. I won't be subscribing to next year's season and probably only go to one or two operas. Insult was added by a $20 lavish program containing pictures of last year's Sydney production with a better cast.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Lunch at Montmorency

Yesterday, P. and I went out to Montmorency in Constantine the Corolla bearing P.'s vera bolognese for lunch. We also had arranged to meet the real estate agent for the sale of Dad's house for a 'pre-auction' meeting to discuss the price ranges which were acceptable and for his report on the potential buyers. They seem very focused on detail with the buyers with remarkable recall for their attributes and needs. We'll see on Sunday. We left some vera for Dad to have later, maybe on toast.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Joan Armatrading

Last night, P. and I had a snacky dinner at the Blondie bar (outside), then went to a solo show by Joan Armatrading. The less said about the support act the better. I hope Joan gave her some good advice. Joan's performance was one and a half hours+ of excellent guitar and keyboard work with her greatest hits (some of them) and some less familiar but very good work. Her stage presence, informal and disarming, captured the audience. It was a splendid concert.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Very quiet weekend

After a busy, and in some ways tumultuous, week, we did little over the weekend apart from read the papers and do the crossword. I made my first ceviche (of tuna, not ideal as not white, but very tasty nonetheless) plus my version of coquilles saint-jacques in ramikins. P. cooked up a batch of vera bolognese, part of which we'll take to my father's. Then on Sunday night, P. and I went to Frank's for a delicious dinner of Indian stuffed peppers followed by marinated berries and icecream. The ABC has moved into the silly season so unfortunately the TV programs didn't match the food.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Nice end of a rocky week

Today, P., Frank and I did our shopping at Victoria Gardens, then had a very good brunch at Addict who are maintaining a high standard of reasonably priced tasty dishes. My Dad went to see a local solicitor to get him to represent him in his real estate matters after a conflict of interest with the old one (who was also acting for the vendor of his unit). So that is now on track as well as it can be, I think, before the auction. P. and I will go to see him early next week with some vera bolognese.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Don Pasquale and the rest

It's been a fairly busy week with lots of activity about my Dad's moving house and the upcoming auction. Last night, P. and I went to the ever-reliable Yoyogi. I like it because it gives me an extra fish dish for the week (and it's tasty). We then went to the State Theatre for 'Don Pasquale' by Donizetti. Gripe, gripe, re the Oz Opera. Programs at $20; very large, very glossy with pics from the Sydney (!) production last year. The production, directed by Roger Hodgman, was excellent and was as good as one you could see anywhere. The conducting of Orchestra Victoria by Guillaume Tourniaire was superb and the orchestra obviously loved him. The set, costumes and chorus were excellent. The cast were uniformly good, but not excellent, and this is where Oz Opera lets us down. If they want to do these classic pieces, they have to do them very well, not just competently. The other gripes are: one set of surtitles in a neck-craning spot, rather than multiple round the place which is and can be done electronically by other companies, and the irritation of the black legs to adjust the size of the stage to fit the tiny Sydney Opera House stage. I am beginning to think we might be better off if they stayed in Sydney and the money was used by the Victorian Opera to better effect. This morning I went to the hospital to see the vampires. For some reason, the first vampire had trouble extracting any blood but the second was successful. Yay!