Saturday, April 30, 2016

Tarrawarra plus

Today, I picked up Sue H. and P. at Constantine the Corolla, then we picked up Frank and headed for the hills. We stopped briefly at Chateau Yering to buy fudge and chocolate, then went to Tarrawarra Gallery where there was an exhibition of landscapes from their permanent collection, plus a special Judy Watson exhibition. All were excellent. Then on to Healesville, where we had a good lunch and a mag at Innocent Bystander. Most of the party had pizzas of various kinds; I had croquettes and ceviche of fish. All good, then back to town where P. and I had roast roll of lamb for dinner, followed by more of the fudge and chocolate. Yum!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Bach and Haydn

Yesterday, I did a bit of work on proofing the big novel, interrupted by buying tickets for a number of shows (two of the Production Company and a Chapel-Off-Chapel show). In the evening, P. and I went off to Fed. Square where we oversaw the vigil for Port Arthur (sponsored by the Madeline and Alannah Foundation) from the tasty confines of Chocolate Buddha. We then went to Hamer Hall for a Melbourne Symphony concert which consisted of two Bach Suites and two Haydn Symphonies. One of the suites had hard-working flautist Prudence Davis as the soloist. It was an enjoyable concert, well-balanced and sensitive, with conductor Paul Goodwin, though I still feel that Bach shits on Haydn. Today, we picked up Constantine (Delila is still in car hospital) and did normal shopping with Frank at the mall then had a splendid lunch at Addict which deserves its popularity. Tonight, P. and I had my (famous?) fish soup which is easier than pie: just some marinari mix from the fish shop at the mall (excellent) with fish stock from Toscanos. Oh, and a little fried garlic and pepper.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

More speech therapy

I went off this morning to Kew to Kaela, the speech therapist. She gave me more exercises. I have more exercises now than I have time to do them, though I must try to find time. Home again to proofing the big novel, now about a quarter of the way through (nearly). Tonight, we had saved vera bolognese for dinner (yum) and P. and Sue H. organised things for her weekend visit to Melbourne.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Quiet Anzac Day, busy Tuesday

Yesterday (Monday), I spent most of the day proofing the hard copy of the large novel. In the evening, P. and I walked around to Frank's where we had well-cooked beef and couscous then icecream and raspberries. Replete, we staggered home. This morning, I resumed speech therapy in Kew, then trammed to my autobiography author where we met with the production guru who is managing his self-published volume. It was a good meeting, to the point, and we should be moving on the book lickety-split. Tonight, 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' by guess-who. It turned out to be a remarkably well-articulated production by the Nothing but Roaring Company. Very fast-moving with breathtaking costume changes, it had Tom Considine as a very uncardboard or slapstick Falstaff. Other cast members played two or three roles. Caroline Lee was splendid as ever as Mistress Quickly and the aussie touches worked well. Beforehand, we had a good meal, as always, at Pei Modern nearby.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

More novel

Yesterday, I did a lot of work on the novel but still have only checked about a third of the stylesheet. I should be able to polish that off today, send the trackchanged manuscript to the author and begin the proofing of the amended text in the 'clean' version. I should have the lot finished in about a fortnight at the latest. I also need to discuss the two endings with the author; they are not very different but I suspect the best version would combine the two. We'll see. For lunch we had very superior leftovers: the last of the soto ayam (I made too much so it has outstayed its welcome a bit though still delicious and good for you) plus some leftover pork belly and yummy stuffing. In the evening, P., Frank and I went over to Brunswick to Lesley and Louise's place for dinner. We were given delicious split pea soup with flat bread, lamb plus a number of vegie dishes, then yummy truffles (not-chocolate sweet balls). It was a splendid lively dinner with lots of political commentary. Anzac Day should be very uneventful with only the quiet sound of proofreading.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Brassy shopping

Yesterday, P. and I picked up Constantine (Delila is still not back in action) and did the shopping. We had a bowl of soto ayam in the late afternoon then headed off to ANAM in the South Melbourne Town Hall for a concert conducted by Ed Carroll, a U.S. trumpeter, who had been preparing a mainly brass and percussion concert with the students. It was very interesting including a version of 'Media Vita' in medieval chant style scored for five trumpets. There were works by Messiaen and Hindemith as well as lots of lesser known composers including David Lang, the founder of Bang on a Can, Silvestro Revueltas and Adam Wolf. The Hindemith was a pseudo-concerto for piano, brass and harp and the Wolf a kind of concerto for trombone and brass ensemble which gives an idea of the tonal variation and novelty. Today, I'll be trying to get the huge novel finished.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Novel and Japanese

This morning, I spent a deal of time on the large novel and am now within 20 pages of the end of this round. I can't wait to see how it will finish, though I already know because of a number of global searches what will happen in general terms. In the early evening, P. and I met Robin and Elaine S. for a pre-dinner drink at Pei Modern, then went to Kenzan for an excellent Japanese dinner (both in Collins Place). After years in business (30?), they are still doing a fine job, stylish, tasty and polite (of course).

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Speech, novel and pork belly

I went off this morning to see Laela the speech therapist. We moved on to sentences today, some of them nearly tongue twisters, which is an irony considering my tongue is already pretty twisted from the surgery. Home again for lunch then tonight Frank is coming round for P.'s 'stuffed' pork belly, which turned out to be delicious. The stuffing especially was divine, which Frank also agreed to. There is lots left over so it will probably turn into rissoles.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Everything okay except the wedding

This morning, I went off to see Genie the Nephrologist to find that everything was hunky-dory (thanks Peter) with my kidney. She gave me a new scrip for some of my anti-rejection medicaments and I trundled over to the pharmacy at the Melbourne Hospital, the only place that I can get them. As usual, I had to wait an hour and a half at the pharmacy there, the most inefficient place in the world. I'll write a letter to the manager of the hospital, even though I doubt it will make any difference, as the pharmacy is notorious throughout the hospital for being inefficient. Tonight, it's off to Her Majesty's for Donizetti's 'Lucia de Lammermoor' where a wedding goes badly awry. It turned out to be a well-sung and -played production maligned by some critics for being to bland and traditional. They used an old English production which was serviceable and more than they could have afforded to originate. It was well acted and quite gripping, I thought, even if it wasn't very innovative.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Therapy and lunch, a perfect combination

This morning, I did a small amount of work on the big novel. I should be moving faster but medical matters get in the way. Sally S. visited with P.'s birthday present, then, after a coffee and a walk to the convent, she took me to Cotham Road to the speech therapist. Kaela gave me some useful exercises (I hope) and I'll see her again on Wednesday. Then I hightailed it the Town Hall Hotel in Fitzroy for lunch with David G. and P. for their birthdays with Frank. The food was good if rather slow in coming (perhaps they wanted us to drink more). We had plenty of time for a good mag though. Then it was home and I made soto ayam for dinner which was delicious (even if I say so myself).

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Gypsy music

After we completed the Sunday Age crossword, I did a small amount of the large novel. We had chicken, avocado and mayonnaise sangos for lunch then went off to see the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra in a lively concert at the Recital Centre called 'Gypsy Palace'. In between works by Telemann, des Prez, Vivaldi, CPE Bach, Gesualdo, Haydn and Vine were bravura arrangements of melodies from the Uhrouska manuscript collection (Slovakia) of a Romany kind. It was fun and the musos seemed to enjoy it a lot. Emma Sullivan's double bass seemed to take a fair bit of punishment and guest director, Rebecca Chan, kept things moving right along as well as playing a mean fiddle. Tonight: fish cakes and leftovers.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Old School

Today, P. and I picked up Constantine the Corolla and did the shopping, then, after unpacking the goodies, went out to Reservoir to my old high school, once called Merrilands High but now the William Ruthven College. It has had many changes since the fire of 1977 but is now having the asbestos removed before the old buildings are demolished and replaced. The old shelter sheds and tuckshops are still there, just, but will be removed rather than being preserved as the sole remaining shelter sheds from the 1950s. The original school was built in 1956 as a temporary building but is still there over 60 years later. The school fortuitously had a 'walk through' to allow old students to see the place before it is demolished. It is intriguing to see signs calling for no homophobia and respect for transgender students. When I left, in 1965, you probably would have been expelled if you raised the question of homosexuality.

Friday, April 15, 2016

At last, some work

Yesterday, I went to the speech therapist at the St Vincent's Rehab joint in Kew. She was quite nice and gave some tips for improving my speech. I've got to go back for six appointments in the next three weeks and she will reassess then. Meanwhile, I have to talk MORE SLOWLY, LOUDLY and OVER-ARTICULATE. Okay. I've also got some exercises to do from the other speech therapist at the Melbourne. Last night, Frank came for dinner and P. made a yummy quince and lamb tagine. I did a lot of the large novel today and I'm now two thirds of the way through. Probably another week to go before I can send it back to the author for checking. Tonight, P. is doing roast chook.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Yesterday, after returning Hugh the Yaris (which was more difficult than usual as there were no spare parking spots) and a rest, P. and I went off to the Recital Centre to see Songmakers Australia perform songs by Mozart, Beethoven (To a Distant Beloved) and Schumann (the original and gorgeous Spanisches Liederspiel). The original members, Merlyn Quaife, Sally-Anne Russell and Andrea Katz (piano) were joined by Andrew Goodwin (who has the requisite of all solo tenors, great cheekbones) and Nicholas Dinopoulos who was in fine voice. It was a splendid concert followed by a cheap and cheerful meal at Yoyogi.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Lake House and Peter is 60

On Monday, we picked up Hugh the Yaris and headed for Daylesford via Ballan and a very dry Sailors Falls to Lake House. We celebrated P.'s 60th birthday with their gourmet package which included two nights' accommodation looking over the lake, a three-course dinner on Monday and a degustation menu (which included 8-9 courses depending on how you count) on Tuesday. Their eatery and service are impeccable (not to mention good-looking). We had a great time including a bottle of rose bubbly on arrival (which I ordered) and a bottle of white bubbly the next day (his birthday) courtesy of his sister Marcia and husband Anton, thanks. We came back today via Trentham and on Tuesday, after P. had his birthday massage, we went on a drive around the back roads near Daylesford which had lots of picturesque but crumbling stone houses. We stopped at Anderson's Mill at Smeaton which is restored and well worth a visit. Our lunch in Creswick at the pie shop was not up to Lake House!

Sunday, April 10, 2016


It was the usual Sunday morning with the Age crossword, then a little bit more work on the novel to keep it going. In the late afternoon, Frank came and we caught a bus and two trams to Hawthorn Town Hall for 'Ariadne auf Naxos' by Richard Strauss presented by Citiopera. It was kind of a 'chamber' version with a reduced orchestra (20 instead of 36, small for Strauss anyway) and a simple setting which also made good use of the restored Town Hall's auditorium. It was a very effective staging, not badly sung and performed, which made for a very enjoyable performance of this fairly rarely done opera (in Melbourne anyway). Afterwards, we had a good and very filling meal at Zen Japanese eatery nearby and retired replete with music and food. We came home by train for variation.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Camilla Tilling

Yesterday (Friday) more work on the autobiography (entering corrections) then an early quick meal at Yoyogi with Frank and P., then off to the Recital Centre for a splendid concert by soprano Camilla Tilling with pianist Leigh Harrold doing songs by Schumann, Berg and Berlioz. It was a breathtaking performance, all the better for the good acoustics of the hall allowing her to do a good pianissimo. Today is likely to be more of the same (corrections) plus a fish lunch and dinner. Which indeed it was. Corrections finished on the autobiog. and sent back to the author. For lunch, salmon patties plus wasabi sauce and for dinner battered whiting (with the same sauce).

Friday, April 08, 2016

Author visit

Yesterday (Thursday), after a bit of morning administration, I went to visit the author of the autobiography and sort out a few remaining questions from the current proofing. We did this with great despatch. I now have to enter all the corrections plus continue on the mammoth novel. Back home I had lunch and a nana nap then cooked a very traditional bangers and mash for dinner with pepper gravy.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Lots of novel

Today I got halfway through the vast novel. What an achievement! It was only this pass though. When I finish, I've still got to print it out and proof it (and send it to the author for approval). Oh well! Peter made a really nice chicken pasta for dinner and we had my French onion soup for lunch so we're eating well.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Song company

Today I got a lot more done on the big novel and, yes, the protagonists have finally 'done it'. Phew! In the evening, P. and I went to the visiting Song Company (from Sydney) do a program of supposedly Easter-related music, mainly Monteverdi (Gombert, Byrd etc. plus some moderns). The six voices were splendid and very good in the intimate setting of the Salon in the Recital Centre. Afterwards, we went to Blondie for a quick meal as they were closing up but it was very tasty and I extended my range of foods a bit with some roast duck and a bao dumpling of pork belly. Very trendy but nice.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Work and dinner

Today, I finished the current proofing of the autobiography then did a bit more on the large novel. In the evening, Frank came for dinner for roast lamb followed by icecream with raspberry sauce. Yum! Now for some extra effort tomorrow before Songmakers in the evening.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

A bit of editing

At last, several things were achieved this morning. I'm nearly at the end of proofing the printout of the autobiography and did another ten pages of the vast novel. I also sent my Business Activity Statement to the ATO who finally opened their portal or whatever they call it. The vast novel is about one third done which is quite an achievement as that represents nearly one normal novel. There are a lot of words per page, so ten pages is quite a lot. I wish the protagonist would start bonking his current ladyfriend. If he's hanging out for it, so am I (in a literary sense, of course). P. is making a new rack off lamb recipe tonight with garlic and rosemary.

Saturday energy

Yesterday (Saturday) I spent all morning doing the 'end of month': accounts etc. However, when I tried to submit my Business Activity Statement the Australian Tax Office site was 'down for maintenance'. I'll try today. In the evening, P. and I went to the recital centre to see Ed Kuepper (plus drummer) do a fairly long survey of his work plus his new album (his fiftieth!). The concert went for 2 hours and fifteen minutes, without interval, but it was well structured and didn't feel overlong, except perhaps for the last fifteen minutes. The woman next to me was an Ed superfan and had an irritating laugh and whoop, but even so I enjoyed the concert, especially the music. It seems very common for so-called singer-songwriters to not articulate their words very well, which is a bit self-defeating. I couldn't understand at least half of Kuepper's no-doubt precious words. It was a very good value show nonetheless and it was good being close to the stage to eyeball the Kuepper who bears a stunning resemblance to Barry D.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Busy day

Yesterday (Friday), P. and I got up early and picked up Frank and Constantine the Corolla to do the shopping. Later, Michael from City of Yarra retrofit came to check the house out for energy efficiency. He'll produce a report in a few days. Then we went to George Dale's funeral in Kew. It seems odd to say but it was a good funeral. Many people spoke very well of George's life and there was an excellent rollup. It was good to catch up with people though there were too many to see in a short space of time. In the evening, Frank, P. and I went to Noel's for dinner with Susan N. As always, it was a good meal and a good night. Oh, and it was also P. and my 39th anniversary.