Monday, June 29, 2015

Nearby concert and George

Last night, P., Frank and I went to the Oratory at the Convent to hear the Letter String Quartet present their Oculus Sonic Suite, a set of songs and quartet numbers about the Convent (or loosely related). The songs were not exceptional, but the arrangements for string quartet and the ensemble numbers were brilliant. Violist, Biddy Connor, who did most of the arrangements and composition, is exceptionally talented. Look out for her and the Letter Quartet. We went home for soto ayam, waiting on the stove. This morning, P. and I picked up Delila the Corolla and headed for Heidelberg to see George P., who is well and relatively cheerful. He had lost some writing on his computer, but didn't realise that I had copies, so he can retrieve them. What luck! We looked for somewhere to have lunch on the way home but parking was impossible on a Monday (!) in both Collingwood and Fitzroy, so it was home for soup and pastries.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Teeth and finances

It's been a winter stay-at-home time except for yesterday when P. went to the dentist for a checkup and I went to the financial advisor in Camberwell. It was a long trek to Riversdale Road, past Camberwell Junction, but it was worth it as the advisor gave some good and unexpected advice about how to deal with my finances. Now we're out again for the weekly shopping, then we'll bunker down for the weekend, apart from a few forays such as the convent market on Saturday morning to buy a roast and some good olive oil.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Cold then Ballarat or Bust

We had a very quiet weekend as it was too cold to go and do anything. On Monday we went to an exhibition called Fitzroy Narrows 1965, photographs by Chris Lermanis of Fitzroy, Collingwood and Carlton at the time the Housing Commission flats were being built and the slums demolished. It was like another world at Colour Factory Gallery in Fitzroy of bottlos, snotty kids and really poor housing. There was also a showing of contemporary photos of Korean street scenes. On Tuesday, with Frank, we caught the train to Ballarat, met David G. from Clunes and went to some fine stuff at the Ballarat Gallery. Thence to L'Espresso in Sturt Street for a tasty lunch where we were joined by Carmel B. of Ballarat. A very fine day, then home again on the train.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Normal shopping and lunch

Now we're really back to normal. We took Delila the Corolla to Victoria Gardens for shopping with Frank, then met Jane N. for lunch at Dr Morse. It was good to catch up with her and her doings after two years or thereabouts. We've got a fairly quiet week coming up with no concerts or theatre, but a day trip to Ballarat on the train.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Culture vultures

On Wednesday, P. and I went to the NGV International to catch the Golden Age of China exhibition before it closed. We were glad we did. We saw parts of the Palace Museum (from the Forbidden City) which we missed in Beijing because of lack of time and exhaustion (the day before we'd been at the Terracotta Warriors, then on an overnight train). The artworks, costumes and artefacts are stunning, and, if we return to Beijing, we'll definitely spend more time in the museum part of the Forbidden City (even if it takes two days). We lunched at the tearooms, and I had crotchless sandwiches and P. had a modern take on seafood cocktail, followed by a really self-indulgent cheesecake (which we shared). Next evening, we went to the Malthouse, had a good meal at their eatery then went to Caryl Churchill's 'Love and Information'. It has been overhyped. It is an acting triumph and the actors have a good workout (and the props and costume people behind the scenes an even bigger one) but the overall effect is of a series of jokes without a punchline. We staggered home, somewhat dazed, to see the Q&A following 'Jocks in Frocks' or whatever it was. Interestingly, the ABC website ignored many sensible comments from the panel (McCrossin, Altmann, Capsis and others) in favour of a looney comment from Fred Nile.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Off to Eugenia

On Tuesday, I went to see my nephrologist, Eugenia. I visited the vampires last week to get an up-to-date blood test. Fortunately, after my pneumonia, all my indicators are back to 'normal' so my kidney function is okay. I'll continue with the extra antibiotics ordered by Genie while I was in hospital, then see how we're going on the next visit in August.

Monday, June 15, 2015

La musica

Saturday was Commoner time as we went with Frank to celebrate his birthday (the next day). P. and Frank had the huge 'feed me menu' with God knows how many courses (too many for me but it looked very nice). I struggled with some slippery jack croquettes and the roast of the day (beef with mushrooms again). The Commoner has a new restaurant manager, Hamish, who is very tart and jovial, just like the food. On Sunday morning, P. and I did the crossword, had some leftover fritatta for lunch, then went to the Recital Centre for the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra. They did a Haydn symphony ('Il Distratto'), some film music by Walton and a leftover quartet movement by Schubert rescored for string orchestra. Then, to celebrate his 60th birthday, William Hennessy played Beethoven's Violin Concerto (he knew what he was doing that Ludwig). It was a bravura performance from a sterling musician (the band wasn't bad either). In the evening, we went to Frank's to finish off his birthday celebrations with a curry and quinces and homemade icecream (yum!).

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Old stuff

On Thursday, P. and I went to one of the excellent lectures at the Potter Gallery (Melbourne Uni.). This one was about an exhibition of items from the Vizard Antiquities Collection (on loan) about the Grand Tour to mainly Naples in the nineteenth century to view and collect antiquities and other souvenirs (items carved from lava from Vesuvius!). Dr Andrew Jamieson, an enthusiastic lecturer (I want the drugs that he's on), gave a wonderful and illuminating account of six of the objects on display and the context of the Grand Tour. It was intriguing to see some old Baedecker guides with their fine print. Thank God for Lonely Planet. We followed up the lecture with the wine and cheese on offer at the Potter, then a quick and cheerful meal at bustling Tiamo One. On Friday, it was back to the shopping in Delilah the Corolla, near the Vespa shop, then fortuitously brunch at Bayte. We didn't know it was the day before it closed, but it was. It was nice to have the opportunity to say goodbye to their delicious food. When we passed by on Sunday they were packing the place up.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Coffee concert

This morning, P. and I (Frank was otherwise engaged) went to the Musica Viva Coffee Concert. Daniel de Borah (piano) and Eoin Anderson (violin) did a program of sonatas by Mozart and Brahms, a piece by Schumann (Novelette no. 8 for piano) and three 'trifles' by Kreisler. A new lot of cakes (I miss the carrot cake) and a good concert made for a good morning.

Holiday pics

If you want the URLs for our overseas holiday pics just email me on and I'll send them to you.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Quiet weekend

It's been a quiet weekend, mainly at home. However, we did have catch up with my sister, Julie, and her husband, Ian over lunch yesterday. We had a pleasant chat at Backstreet Eating and partly sorted out some things about my father's estate, which mercifully Julie has been shepherding while we've been overseas, and she is far more competent and able to do it than me. Last night, P. made a very good coq au vin, courtesy of the ever-reliable Margaret Fulton. There are lots of leftovers. Today, it's just the giant crossword, leftover pea and ham soup for lunch and probably more leftovers for dinner.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Settling in

This week has almost been back to normal. One exception was that we caught up with the shopping on Monday. We got a new local car, Hugh, from Trenerry Crescent, though it was a longer walk to get to him than I thought it would be. Then P. and I went to Victoria Gardens where we hadn't been for nearly three months. On Tuesday night, Frank dropped in for a bowl of pea and ham soup on his way home from a shift at the radio station. On Thursday night, my first night out. First, P., Frank and I went to Pei Moderne for a nice meal. Then we were off to 45Downstairs for a Gertrude Opera production of Britten's 'Curlew River'. It was very well sung and played, though some aspects of the production were a bit problematic, but no problem. As it's one of my favourite works, I enjoyed it immensely. P. and Frank were a bit less impressed, I think. Then on Friday, normality reigned. We picked up Delilah (the car) and Frank and went to Victoria Gardens, then had a very good brunch at the Bluebird Cafe in Johnston Street. In between times, I have been doing a budget to see what our finances are looking like post-retirement (yes, I know it has taken a long time). It looks as though they will be okay though we might have to rein in spending on some things, like wine and eating out. We won't be able to repeat an extravagance like our trip to Vietnam and Europe with quite the same length and abandon, but should be able to manage an overseas trip (shorter) every two years.