Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Medical moments

Off to see Genie the Nephrologist early this morning. She said all my readings from last week's blood test were perfect. I think Genie is becoming a substitute mother. Back in two months with more blood for the vampires. On the way back from the hospital, I got some French onion soup for lunch from the Parisienne Pate shop in Lygon Street. Recommended. In the evening, P. and I went to Mamasita in Collins Street for a very tasty and spicy Mexican meal, then to 45downstairs for Paul Capsis in 'Resident Alien', a bravura performance as Quentin Crisp in a very finely-tuned rendition of this famous eccentric. Breathtaking.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Busy morning

This morning I called the plumbers who arrived promptly to fix a blocked sink which has been annoying us for weeks. Then when I tried to pay, my card was blocked. Fortunately P. was here to pay with his card. It turns out that ANZ had blocked me because I'd made a charity payment via a U.S. website. Thanks guys. The young twerp I spoke to to fix this up sounded like they'd done me a favour. I hope, having been told, they won't block me while I'm in the U.S. More novel checking this a.m. and just as well as I'm finding a few (not many) mistakes still. In the evening, P. made dinner from the leftover roast pork and vegies.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Even colder

Winter is icumen in, ludely sing goddamn. Today seems even colder and P. is not well so it looks like a good day to stay in with the telly. Probably leftovers for dinner. I feel a bit bereft without the big novel but I will start checking it tomorrow to keep my hand in. Bye bye, Giro d'Italia this evening.

End of novel, almost

Yesterday it was very cold. Even though it was a convent market day, I looked outside the front door and it was starting to rain. I went back inside and finished transferring corrections to the big novel and GOT TO THE END. Now I just have to wait for the author's changes and do a few more spot checks to see I haven't missed anything significant. We had what might be the last of herrings on toast for a while. Herrings in tomato sauce seem to have gone missing from the supermarket, probably due to overfishing (caused by us having herrings on toast among others). In the evening, Frank came for dinner following his work at the radio station fundraising. We had the remnants of the delicious osso bucco with new risotto before he retired to his bed. We stayed up for the deciding leg of the Giro d'Italia where Nibali won which was good for the old warhorse but not for Chavez who we were supporting. Next time maybe. He was very cheerful about coming second. Valverde came third. We might watch a bit of the run into Turin tonight. Now we await the Tour.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Shopping plus

This morning, P. and I went to get Delila who is back from her weekend dalliance with someone else and did a swift shop at Victoria Gardens. Then home for soup for lunch and a rest. Tonight, we are joining Frank to see Luisa Miller by Verdi on Halftix. After a quickie at Yoyogi, we went to the State Theatre to take in 'Luisa Miller' by Verdi. It was a competent production, though the set was a complete waste of time. However, the singers needed that extra bit of oomph to bring the production to the tipping point of being splendid. The tenor and alto duet just missed the boat and the two villains' duet similarly didn't have the punch required. Nicole Car did a fine job as the heroine, but she was let down a bit by the rest of the cast. The orchestra was very fine. And congratulations to Aus. Opera for bringing us something a bit unusual, unlike their other offerings this season (Pearlfishers and La Boheme). It was good to see this rarish Verdi even in a less-than-perfect version.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

More novel

Today I powered on with the big novel and am now over two-thirds through so the end is in sight. Then all I have to do is wait for the author's corrections, enter them and I'm done. It can then go off to the Chinese publisher. Now for an arvo. snooze then P.'s roast pork for dinner followed by some Nordie Noir. Of course, as the Giro d'Italia enters its final days, we succumbed to the superb Italian landscapes and the thrill of the chase. It finishes on Sunday, so only two more nights.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Vampires plus

This morning, I got up early and went to see the vampires at the Royal Melbourne, preparatory to a visit to Genie the Nephrologist next week. Home again to work on the big novel. I'm now over halfway through entering the corrections, so I feel now as though I'm getting somewhere. Tonight, after a quick Yoyogi meal, P. and I went to the concert performance of Follies at the Recital Centre. It turned out to be rather more than that with a full band and fully rehearsed and choreographed performances (not much set, but very fine costumes). All performers were good but the prize goes to Nancy Hayes still hoofing at whatever age she is (boy, can that girl foxtrot). Everyone else was fine and Bert and Patti did very well as a couple of daft old codgers (not much acting required). The principals all did well and it was a very enjoyable night. I can see though why the show has not really been a success. You don't really care very much about the two main couples and their marital difficulties, in spite of good playing and singing by all concerned. Much better than the drama were the famous set pieces.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Very quiet day

Most of today was finally spent on the big novel and I'm now nearly halfway through entering the corrections. P. is getting better at last and we had soup for lunch and he is cooking osso bucco for dinner with risotto, a real treat.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Lots of novel

Today, I had a bit of tidying up to do on the autobiography which is now off the agenda, at least for the moment. Then I did a bit of work on the big novel, but it needs a major offensive, perhaps tomorrow. P. is still not feeling well, so it will be French onion soup for me for dinner, though I love it. Also, no Giro tonight as it's a rest day, so it should be a restful night for me too. All of the U.S. trip is now paid for, apart from on-the-ground expenses which is good. Now all we have to do is make it plus get visas etc.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Boyd townhouses and apartments

Well, they weren't by Boyd (at least not the ones we saw) but organised very well, as usual, by the Robin Boyd Foundation. We picked up Constantine this morning and scooted to Armadale where we saw three joints. The first two were ultra-modern and a bit soulless. They didn't feel comfy like a home should. The bad side of Armadale was P. being bitten on the bum by a vicious dog being walked down the street. Damage seems to be light and his pants and skin didn't seem to be broken. The older flat was very much the opposite of the modern ones with lots of collections of nicknacks. The only bad features were the light fittings. We then went to some flats in Collingwood, near Smurf Street, which would drive me made as there were five (!) floors with one room on each which reminded me of similar flats in Trenerry Crescent. What happens when you get to the bottom and remember you left the car keys four flights up? After a filling lunch in Collingwood at Bebida, we went to two city flats, one from the early nineties and one from 1999. Again, they didn't feel very comfortable in spite of having spectacular views, and bear in mind that these are millions of dollars worth of flat. However, it is very generous of the owners to let a couple of hundred people tramp through their living rooms, albeit without shoes on. Home for a nap then dinner.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Morning shopping and culture

This morning we picked up Constantine (Delila seems to have gone away for the weekend, the floozie) and did the mall shopping then got some veal shanks at Andrew McConnell's meatery in Smith Street (gold-plated). We had lunch at Rockwell and Son as the other brunching places were chocka being Saturday. It was okay but not very special. P. had the burger and chips and I had a so-called devilled egg then a prawn bun. All a bit bland but maybe that's how folks like them. A quick visit to the pharmacy and the bank then home for a nana nap. After that, we had a quick meal of leftovers while watching ancient Midsomer Murders then went in to the Recital Centre for the last of our Metropolis concerts. It was the noisiest and most challenging of the lot with works by Knussen, Conyngham (a world premiere), Messiaen, Bakrncev and Goebbels (not that one). It was not the best of the concerts. The middle one was probably the best. However, it was very stirring and the Goebbels' Surrogate City: suite for sampler and orchestra was the best and gave many orchestra members a chance to shine.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Busy working day

Today, I've done some corrections on the novel, some organising on the autobiography as well as finalising most essentials for our trip to the U.S. Not bad for the morning. We have some leftovers for dinner including pea and ham soup and battered fish.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A more auspicious day

The day started with a trip to the Health Centre to get new pills, offload some medicaments I no longer take for safe disposal and some leftover dressings to the nurse. After a bit of work correcting the big novel, P. and I had pies for lunch from the Convent then I went to a meeting with the autobiography author and his distributor. We settled a few questions and posed a few others but it was a good meeting. Meatloaf with tomato relish for dinner cooked by P.

Computer trauma and good music

Yesterday, I spent FIVE hours on the phone to three different Microsoft helpers after Microsoft tried, the night before, to force Windows 10 onto my computer. When it got to the end I disallowed it and it reinstalled Windows 8.1 on which I am working on two important jobs. The result was various things which didn't work: websites like my bank showed as not having valid security certificates (which they have), pictures and videos on Facebook didn't appear and so on. After long and painful argybargy with the Philippines (where the Microsoft helpers are located), my computer is now working though I still have to fix up some issues with my virus protection provider. I must say that the three people I dealt with at the Microsoft call centre were patient and helpful: Sarrina, Robert and Jiggs. Coincidentally, my service provider had outages in my area for emails. All-in-all an awful day in which I got NO work done. By way of compensation, in the evening, P. and I headed for town for a cheap and cheerful at Yoyogi, and then to the second main concert for Metropolis. The Song Company joined for three pieces based on street cries of Paris and London (Janequin, Gibbons and Berio) and there were works by Copland, Kurth and Higdon, all enthusiastically received (and accessible). In the tram on the way home, we sat near one of the violinists who gave us the inside gen on being in an orchestra.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Ploughing on

Yesterday (Monday), I did some more work on the big novel. We had leftover soto ayam for dinner and it is finished at last, but I do love it. Thanks Auntie Rita for the recipe, an oldie but a goldie. Today, again I'm ploughing through checking the novel and have got the costs from Carmen for the reprints and print of the autobiographies. And Bruce Pascoe has won the NSW Premier's Award for 'Dark Emu'. Perhaps at last that groundbreaking book will get due recognition. Tonight Frank came around for dinner and we had rack-off lamb which I cooked and was very nice even if I say so myself, followed by raspberry and strawberry icecream. P. and I then got sucked in by the Giro d'Italia and watched to the end. As usual, it was very satisfying.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sunday, sweet Sunday

It was a typical Sunday: the Age giant crossword with no mistakes from either side (them or us) this week. P. made egg and bacon sandwiches for lunch; I did a bit of cleaning up on the vast novel and we are having fish and chips for tea. What could be better: add three murders in Midsomer Murders. I probably won't stay up late tonight for two reasons: the Giro d'Italia is having time trials, usually pretty boring, and Tom Dumoulin has lost the pink jersey.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Sunny Saturday

First thing this morning was the Saturday Paper which has again paid its way, especially with a good article on endangered species. It must have driven the LCP mad to lose a dam because of a couple of endangered snails. I can see them spluttering over their beers or chardonnays: 'A snail! A snail!' The legislation which allows this was passed by John Howard as part of the GST deal with the Democrats. They have tried to repeal it but can't because of Senate resistance. Then, after breakfast, off to the Farm Market for fish, milk, turkey roast and quiches for lunch. A very good crowd was there this morning and the flowers had run out before I got to them. In the evening, because P. was still not feeling well, Frank and I went to a Metropolis series concert at the Recital Centre. Conducted by Robert Spano, it was a well-judged concert with works by Unsuk Chin, Alex Turley, Michael Daugherty and Steve Reich. Turley's piece was wonderful for a 21-year-old from Perth or anyone. As Frank said, Sculthorpesque, but what's wrong with that. The rest of the concert was good especially the Daugherty 'Sunset Strip' which some members of the orchestra got right into for its zesty exuberance. It perhaps should have been the finale rather than the rather cerebral piece by Steve ('that's the least you can do') Reich. I thought it was quite a good work but not to finish with. Home for a bit more Giro d'Italia, but not too much...

Friday, May 13, 2016

Shopping, ho hum

Because P. is still ill with a virus which the quack says will last about two weeks, Frank and I did the shopping in Delila the Corolla who is now back in action after a long repair caused by being vandalised in the street. Useless punks who did it. ('They're psychologically distoibed.') After dropping off the shopping, Frank and I had a good brunch at the Bluebird Cafe, near where Delila lives. The rest of the day will be quiet and I wish I could find a way to nurse the sick, but I can't apart from buying Panadol and Tim Tams for him. I can make food, so it's seafood soup for dinner, followed by a night with the telly: that long survivor 'Silent Witness' just won't wind up on the mortuary slab and then maybe the Giro d'Italia if we're really stupid.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Admin. things

Today, I've been doing some organising of our trip to Californiay plus some work on the autobiography. Then I went up to the Health Centre to get some pills and found the pharmacy closed temporarily for renovations. Fortunately it re-opened so I got what I wanted at the old rate as my subscription lasts till June. In the evening, as P. was still feeling ill, I went by myself to Melbourne Uni. to a talk by Prof. Eugene Wang from Harvard on Chinese art relating to ocean. There is not a lot of it and it was a wide-ranging lecture starting with the ceiling mural in Tianjing, commissioned because the mayor saw the Sistine Chapel and wanted something similar! Issues like the relation between public art spaces and subjective art practice were explored as well as the relation between abstraction and socialism and much more. Home then, for soto ayam and the new financial thriller on SBS and the end of Janet King (a bit neat).

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Today, I got to the end of this round of proofing the big novel. I now will need to wait for the author's corrections, though I suppose I could start making the corrections on the master copy. I might have a rest first. P. went into the city today for lunch with Robin S. and did some shopping. We might try the whiting fillets for dinner again tonight. A quiet day at home for me, on a dismal day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The last of speech therapy

This morning, I went off to the last of my speech therapy sessions (for now). Kaela the U.S. speech therapist (although she has spent a deal of her life here as her Mom is Australian) was very good and has helped me a lot. Thanks, Kaela. She also had some advice for our forthcoming trip to Californiay. The big novel proofing is getting close to the end, for now, until the author's corrections come back. Tonight, P. is not feeling too well so we just had Chinese dumplings for dinner and I'll make the chicken stock (for soto ayam).

Monday, May 09, 2016

Giro d'Italia

On Saturday night, we made a big mistake: staying up to watch the end of the day's race of the Giro d'Italia in Holland. It was very exciting but made me mincemeat by the morning to the extent that I transposed one across and one down in the crossword. Too little sleep. However, the crossword was completed but only just in time for a quick lunch and a nanna nap in the arvo. to catch up on sleep. In the evening, P. did a superb roast chook and Frank came to share it and some new heteronormative durif called Boy and Girl. It was quite nice though and will be put down for later. In spite of vowing not to make the same mistake again, we stayed up until the end of Sunday night's as well. Such nice cyclists are very tempting and somehow the thrill of the final contest grabs you every time. Fortunately, tonight is a rest day while the whole sideshow transfers from Holland to its home ground, Italy. However, I did manage to get a fair bit of proofing on the big novel today, at last. Steak for dinner.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Greta Bradman

This morning (Saturday), P. and I read the papers and I managed a bit more work on the big novel. In the early evening, we were picked up by Roger D. and Sally S. for Peter's birthday treat, the Greta Bradman concert at All Saints, East St Kilda. It was a good concert, even with her throat infection which only caused one bum note in a Queen of the Night aria. Her best were two arias from Trovatore and Rigoletto ('this is the story of Il Trovatore'). Two encores later we left for a quick Chapel Street Thai, not bad and cheap and cheerful.

Busy Friday

Yesterday morning, we picked up Constantine the Corolla and Frank and did normal mall shopping then had a good lunch/brunch at Dr Morse in Johnston Street. In the evening, P. and I went to Yoyogi for a cheap meal this time including slow-coming desserts unlike their normal fast service. We still got to 45Dowstairs in good time for 'Shit', a one-hour play by Patricia Cornelius about three foul-mouthed 'slags'. It was an acting tour-de-force, but I do wonder about the virtue of a middle-class audience watching a depiction of extreme lowlife. What does it do for anyone? Make us more empathetic? More judgmental? I'm not sure what the point is.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Medical moments plus China

Another morning 'wasted'. I went to the hospital to be checked out by Ear, Nose and Throat, the principals in my recent surgery (other participants included Plastics, Maxillo-Facial, Cardiology, Renal; still in play are Plastics and Maxillo-Facial). Renal is dealt with by my nephrologist, Genie the Genie. I seem to be okay and I was okayed by the dieticians as well, who signed me off. My continued stiffness in the neck needs more exercising, which I'm not good at. As well, I was given the go-ahead by cancer to go overseas in September so we might just go for it. But I got no proofreading done. I did have time to check out my current assets and it seems I won't be caught by any of the nasties in the budget but neither will I benefit from anything. I wish the budget were carbon neutral, but it seems as though it is Bruce neutral and it is probably Peter neutral as well. In the early evening, P. and I went to Melbourne University where the Asia Centre presented a seminar on 'The Longer-term Impacts of the Three Gorges Dam' by Dr Brooke Wilmsen of LaTrobe University. It was fascinating as we had boated down the Gorges during our China trip. Brooke had researched effects of removal of people to higher ground in one province. It was a closeup and revealing view of China, sharpened even more by probing questions which highlighted the role of the World Development Bank and other agencies in shaping policy and holding positions which are not necessarily true on the ground. It was a very informative session. I'm not sure we are any the wiser about China but we are certainly more aware of the issues. Home for leftover gnocchi and onion soup.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Same again

Back to Kaela this morning for what will probably be the second-last speech therapy session. I'm still not practising enough. Then home for more novel proofing but not enough and I've got another hospital appointment tomorrow which will take up time. Also, we booked on a special at the Royal Mail, Dunkeld for a flash dinner and a night's stay plus breakfast and ducks (in the kitchen garden). We might follow up with a trip down the Great Ocean Road which we haven't been to for a while. I made French onion soup for dinner followed by baby cheeses.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

More big novel

Yesterday, P. went off to do galleries with Sue H. who went back to Brisbane later in the day. They had a good day and lunch at Supernormal (I'm jealous as we tried there first the other night when we finished at Coda). I kept on with the large novel proofing. I'm now over halfway through but it's heavy going, just because it's so long. We had roquefort gnocchi last night for dinner and we're having traditional bangers and mash (except for the bangers which are a bit trendy). This morning, I went to speech therapy with the persistent Kaela. I am improving, though I'm not practising enough, I know.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Proofing and good eating

Today it is a quiet day at home after a big storm last night with a huge clash of thunder and one of the fuses being tripped by something. In the morning, I began proofing the large novel and got a bit of that done in between helping to finish the Age big crossword. I am still more than a third through the novel but am not yet up to half. In the evening, P. and I went into the city for dinner with Sue H. from Brisbane. We couldn't get in to MoVida so tramped up to Flinders Lane where we got a missed booking at Coda. We had an excellent meal with very (perhaps over-) attentive waitrines. I had dishes of scallops, ceviche of fish and a boiled egg concoction plus a souffle dessert. The dishes which the others had looked good too. It is uber trendy with everyone there looking more hip than us, except a woman with what looked like ten-inch heels and an ultra-short skirt and a boyfriend who looked strange to me. Afterwards, P. said he thought the man had makeup on. Oh well! the world moves on or goes backwards. Whichever. In any case, in spite of being outhipstered, we had a very good time and a good mag. and it wasn't too fierce in price, though not cheap either.