Friday, January 30, 2015

Shopping etc.

Today, Frank, P. and I did the normal Victoria Gardens shopping, then had a very good brunch at the Rubber Duck cafe in Clifton Hill. They do a mean poached eggs on muffins with caramelised onion, barbecue sauce and bacon. Tonight, a rerun of soto ayam, with oysters (not together) and the invidious choice between 'Midsoporific Murders' or 'Pulp Fiction' on the telly.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Montmorency again

After a quiet morning doing some more travel planning, P. and I went out to Viewbank Gardens, picked up Helen, then Dad and had lunch in Were Street, Montmorency. We then went to look at Helen's unit to see how Dad's furniture might fit in his, then took Dad to the doctor to renew prescriptions and check his throat. Home again for a quiet night as P. is out for dinner with Robin.


After a quiet day, P. and I went tonight to DOC Pizza in Rathdowne Street and had a very fine dinner. We then went to the Courthouse Theatre for a magnificent Midsumma event, 'Homophonic'. Of the six composers performed, four were women, which is very rare and the performances were brilliant. The standout was Laila Engle on solo flute doing Jennifer Higdon's 'rapid*fire' on urban deaths by gunfire. The John Cage Variations 1 was also very impressive. The piece by the (I think) mythical Hildegard von Bingen was movingly sung by Katherine Norman. All in all a great offering by all concerned.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Out to Dad's

This morning, P. and I went out to Dad's place. Dad and I went to the solicitor's to sign some papers and to the pharmacy to top us some of his medicines. we then had a nice lunch at the Were St Foodstore. Back again on Thursday for lunch with Helen. Tonight, roast chook courtesy of P. and Saint Stephanie.

Quiet Invasion Day

While P. made a foray to the shops, I stayed at home on a day in which not much seemed to go right, like travel arrangements, cooking etc. However, when it was eventually made the soto ayam for dinner was excellent, even if I say so myself. This old standby is delicious. Thank you Rita Erlich, whose recipe it is.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Fitzroy Gay History Walk

Today, after the crossword, P. and I went to the corner of Nicholson and Gertrude to go on the Gay History Walk hosted by the ALGA triumvirate Graham Willett, Helen Pausacker and Gary Jaynes. We finished at the old Correct Line Graphics office in Brunswick Street having walked Gertrude, Smith, George and Moor Streets. One of the best stories was about a rooming house in Fitzroy where one of the residents told the landlord his room-mate seemed 'a bit strange'. The landlord said, 'Don't worry, we all are.' The man left rapidly. Various gay and lesbian organisations have grown and flourished in the suburb. After the excellent walk, well-prepared as always, P. and I had a very tasty lunch at Madame Sousou's in Brunswick which is still open in spite of projected redevelopment. Hooray!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Bayte again

Quiet morning, then Rochelle J. dropped in to go to lunch, as well as Frank. We had an excellent lunch at Bayte (which was a bit quiet, good for us but not for them). Frank and P. had the lunch banquet which was more than adequate for the price. We'll be back for more. Rochelle has finished her very busy job with the erstwhile Victorian government and is on the market again. We're going to be in Vietnam at almost the same time, but not quite.

Friday, January 23, 2015

New owners

P. and I did the shopping today at Victoria Gardens, very normal, then I went out to Dad's to be there when the new owners came to measure up for new carpets, tiles etc. They didn't want any of the old stuff. What a surprise! The real estate agent was quite confident that the leftover furniture would sell easily. Dad was full of equanimity as they toured their new property. Home again for fish dinner and clafoutie (P. is making that).


Yesterday was a fairly quiet day, though some time was spent trying to find out how much was still owing on Dad's new unit (with adjustments, charges etc.). That finally became clear only to find a new uncertainty. However, it will all sort itself out. In the evening, P. and I had a very nice meal at Pei Modern (in the Sofitel plaza), then went to 45Downstairs for a Midsumma cabaret night. First up was Michael Griffiths (who did an Annie Lennox night last year) doing a semi-autobiographical tour using songs from the 80s onwards. It was a bravura performance, followed by Luigi Lucente channelling Jim Morrison with another very energetic performance. It was an excellent night, and a good start to the year at 45Downstairs.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


After a quiet day at home yesterday organising some of the things about Dad's move while my sister did the same, today P. and I went out to Dad's. We had a quick visit to his solicitor to sign some documents, had a cup of coffee then departed. We also talked about some of the logistics of the move. Pesto for dinner tonight.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Foreign territory

Peter and I went for a much more encouraging trip to Montmorency today. Dad was in better spirits, the fridge was full of goodies and we went to the Greensborough mall to go to the bank and have lunch. It is really foreign territory, especially during school holidays but fortunately there is a good sandwich shop. We sorted out a number of things at the bank, so retired content. Tonight, it's leftover Chinese spicy pork with Shanghai noodles. Nostalgia.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


P. and I had a lovely lunch today with Bryony C. and Philip H. at Bayte in Johnston St. We had many dishes: dips, vego kibbeh and raw fish kibbeh, garlic chicken shasliks, baked potatoes and roasted baby fennel. We got their advice about touring in Ireland and had a good mag about various things.It was very good to catch up. After such a huge lunch, we'll have crab and avocado and French onion soup for dinner.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Quiet Day

P. and I went out to Dad's place today. All was okay there and we started to discuss and sort out which of his things could go to Viewbank Gardens and which would have to be disposed of. He didn't want to have lunch, so we came home. There is a deal of work to do before the moving to Viewbank can proceed but I hope it is on its way. P. made spicy Chinese pork for dinner with Shanghai noodles.

Friday, January 16, 2015


P., Frank and I did the normal mall shopping today, then had lunch at Backstreet Eating with Teresa P. She has been well settled for a year in the erstwhile Old Colonists' Homes, now Rushall Park and is involved in University of the Third Age as a teacher and student. She gave some interesting accounts of that as well as good suggestions re Dad's moving.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Took Dad today to the doctor where she said everything was okay, though gave him some antibiotics for his sore throat and blisters on his foot. Doctor Lyndall was delighted at Sussan Ley's backflip on Medicare rebates. She pointed out that their practice would have been destroyed by the changes. Then we went to Viewbank Gardens where everything is okay and ready to move in, except for the curtains. The manager will check whether they can be hurried along. Home again after lunch with Dad and leftover saltimbocca for dinner. Delicious.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


This morning, P. and I went to the Bohemia exhibition at the State Library. It contains some wonderful treasures including material about our friend, Noel Tovey. However, it has a couple of weaknesses. It is conceptually weak: by the end bohemia has degenerated into mere fashion. It seems also a bit sparing on the scholarly side with semi-accuracies and poor checking. However, these are quibbles about an exhibition that obviously took an enormous amount of curatorial work. The video treasures are especially good, though I would have loved to see the extract from 'Pure Shit' with Helen Garner as a speed freak rather than the more mainstream, 'Stork' and 'Alvin Purple' (bohemian?). And where was that most enduring Melbourne bohemian, Barry Dickins? We had a very good lunch at Dr Tulk in the State Library.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Montmorency again

Yesterday, my sister managed to negotiate my father's car on a loan to me and brought it back to Abbotsford after a long visit to him. Today, I took it out to his place and we went to his solicitor to sign the long-awaited powers of attorney (a saga which has been going on for about two months) and to the imaging place in Greensborough for the first of two scans to check his brain function. Just as I was leaving, cousin Les turned up to visit and said he would check on him tomorrow, so I'll try to organise to go on Thursday to visit Viewbank Gardens with him and maybe the doctor if his foot is still sore. I hope he'll rest up tomorrow and not try to go anywhere. He is obviously very tired from all the walking he had done, but puts on a brave face.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Into the Woods

P., Frank and I went to this today (cheap session so it was packed). It is definitely worth seeing and far less mashed around and censored than some people have suggested. What small changes that have been made don't matter very much and probably actually aid the pace of the story. Meryl Streep is okay but could have been better. The two princes' one remaining song is superbly done - a la television commercial. Some of the songs: 'Steps of the Palace' and the Blame song were not fast-paced enough, but these are small quibbles. However, attempting to sell it as a mass-market film was a mistake. Kids will find it slow-moving (and why they can stomach cutting off toes and blindings but not adultery is a mystery) and some adults will find the fabulous elements mystifying. I thought some things it did superbly like making selfish Little Red Riding Hood sympathetic and bringing a tear to the eye at the end, which haven't been achieved in most stage productions I've seen.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Out to lunch

P. and I picked up Constantine this morning and went out to Montmorency, picked up my Dad and his friend Helen and had lunch at the Old England Hotel in Heidelberg. It was not bad, though not brilliant, but the place was packed for Sunday lunch. Dad has retrieved his car which is something of a miracle after about four tries to find it. After such huge servings as they had at the Old England (they seem to think people eat like elephants), we might have a very light dinner.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Shopping and lunch

Yesterday, P., Frank and I took Constantine for the normal shopping at Victoria Gardens then did a foray for lunch. A lot of places were either full or still closed so after a long walk down Johnston Street we got to our neighbourhood where Dr Morse was open. Frank has been there before for coffee but P. and I haven't. It's a very hipster-oriented joint but we had a good lunch: me, jaffle and chips, P. a burger and Frank, pork belly. You get the drift. In the evening, we had leftover soto ayam. This morning, we had a leisurely walk over to the Farmers' Market at the Farm where we didn't get much except good milk, peaches to poach, flowers and fish. We'll have two fish meals this week, pan-fried whiting and battered flathead. Unfortunately, we'll probably have one or both of them with unhealthy chippies. We're trying for three meatless meals per week and nearly making it. Probably a very quiet rest of the day, just reading.

Friday, January 09, 2015


Yesterday, P. and I spent a good part of the day sorting lots of things at Dad's place in Montmorency including a visit to his GP whom I hadn't met before, Lyndall Whitecross. She is very good value. We then had lunch at the culinary capital of Australia, the Were Street shops in Montmorency 'village'. In the evening, Frank came for dinner and P. made a delicious spicy pork spare ribs.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

On the (suburban) road

Today, P. and I picked up Delilah the Yaris (now our closest car, on the bus) and popped out to Heidelberg West to see George P. who is doing well. I took some of his recent writing on a memory stick and look forward to reading it. We then continued on to Dad's place and had lunch which we took (pea and ham soup) and left some for after. While we were there he made the first of his appointments for scans (the Austin had sent an appointment for the second) and checked his medication. We also got new powers of attorney as the old ones have gone missing in a welter of auction documents (I suspect). Now home again for roast chicken with pureed parsnip.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Hodie ho hum

Today, P. and I hiked off in the cooler weather for cheap day at the Nova Cinemas to see the much-vaunted 'Mr Turner'. It's 2 and a half hours overlong and for much of the way lacks dramatic tension, though the Academy hanging scenes are good. The set decoration is excellent though, as is the scenery when we get to see it. Performances, costumes, paintings and props are all good. It is a pity the movie doesn't tell you much more than the reviews did, and the structure is 'and now we'll have the scene where he's lashed to the mast, and now we'll have the scene where he refuses to sell his painting collection etc.' We then had an overslow lunch at Trotters. Ah well!

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Still quiet

I'm taking advantage of Abbotsford being like the grave over New Year to catch up on reading (Dino Hodge on Don Dunstan to be followed by Sophie Cunningham on Cyclone Tracy) and cooking. Last night, I made Andrew O'Connell's garlic and scallop soup (a version of potato and leek); today I'll try a fish pie which I've made before, a bit fiddly but worth it. The burst of heat has made going out unappealing, even to airconned cinemas.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Back to normal

P., Frank and I went in Marion (the librarian) to the Victoria Gardens mall this morning to resume normal shopping. Thank God for Toscano's, having subsisted on inferior fruit and veg for the last week. We then checked which eateries were open and not filled to overflowing and settled on Backstreet Eating, where we had a splendid brunch: steak sandwich, waygu burger and chorizo fritatta. Match the meal to the person. Now for an afternoon nap.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Quiet New Year's Day

We had a quiet day at home then went to Victoria Street for a Vietnamese dinner to prepare for our trip later this year. Very tasty it was too with cold beef salad, delicious and fresh crab and corn soup, rice paper prawn rolls and duck with sesame and prawn.