Thursday, June 30, 2016

Another busy morning

This morning, I reformatted the short stories again (at the author's request). I hope they're all right this time for printing. I also continued proofing the autobiography and checking its contract. All systems seem to be 'go'. The gardener came to dejungle the backyard in preparation for a new fence. Tonight P. and I went to Yoyogi for a good, quick meal thence to Hamer Hall for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. First up was Mozart's 21st piano concerto in a very good performance by Jonathan Bliss whose touch on the piano was delicate and brilliant. The major item was Mahler's Sixth Symphony which was very good to listen to, though Mahler shared a characteristic with Paul Keating: not knowing when to stop. The conductor was Andrew Davis, announced in the foyer first without his knighthood and the second time, with. Perhaps a slap across the wrist was involved. It was a splendid concert, hard to come down afterwards, though SBS obliged with a double episode of 'Follow the Money' which more or less wrapped everything up.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Busy morning

I've had a busy morning, proofing the autobiography, reformatting some short stories and answering some queries. Yay! The insurance company have, after a long wait for a technical report, decided to pay up for the electrical work which we had earlier in the year. It has taken a while but the house account will be back in the black. Thanks to them and to the fixing company (ServiceToday) for providing the initial report. I'll have a bit of a break before cooking the roast turkey roll with vegies. Frank came for dinner to share it bringing a very nice bottle of Scion wine from his latest delivery. We finished off with icecream (two sorts: raspberry and strawberry, and blueberry).

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Culture vultures

This morning, P. and I went to the Recital Centre for the Musica Viva Coffee Concert. Violinist, Suyeon Kang, and pianist, Stephen de Pledge, from NZ performed 'Baal Shem: three pictures of Hassidic Life' by Bloch and the Bartok's violin sonata no. 1. A splendid performance and a good way to start the day. We then went to the Potter Gallery at Melbourne University to catch, just in time, Susan Norrie: Field Work 2006-2016. It consists of two video works, one of fisherfolk in East Java and the second a very bleak view of the mud volcano which is swallowing villages. Upstairs is a very popular exhibition from the NGA showing the work of Olive Cotton and Max Dupain. Home again to check the internet then a little nap. P. cooked David Herbert's baked sausages with potato and onions, plus very delicious spinach for dinner.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Something killed the video

Last night, the video packed up just as we were going to watch episode 5 of 'War and Peace'. This morning after a bit of research (who would guess it is so hard to get a video recorder fixed?), we headed for Greensborough in the wilds and deposited it. The man said our model of Sony was worth getting fixed as it is much better made than the current models. Who knows? We await with interest our next trip to the burbs to pick it up. As a celebration, we had lunch, very good, at the Bluebird Cafe after dropping Delila off. Tonight, the last of the soto ayam for now.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Still cold but good drama

The cold snap continues but it is winter after all. Yesterday, we stayed indoors for most of the day with hot soup for lunch then we joined Frank in Carlton. We had a good meal at DOC Pizza in Rathdowne Street. It was very busy, crowded and cramped though not too noisy. We trundled down to La Mama's Courthouse Theatre for a warming drink then saw 'Tales of Kabbarli' by Geoffrey Sykes. Robina Beard gave a bravura performance as Daisy Bates. The piece reflected back and forwards on various Indigenous issues which haven't changed much since Bates' day sadly. Home again for SBS's Saturday screening of 'Chicago' which we had never seen and was quite creditable. Another chilly day today. We were in all day puttering away. P. made vera bolognese for dinner and we huddled in the warm by the telly for a spate of bonnet programs.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Shopping, very cold

Today is very cold (as was last night) so while we were shopping at Victoria Gardens, P. bought a new doona so he can have double-doonas for those kind of nights. The other day, the City of Yarra kindly installed for free new energy-efficient light globes and blinds for P.'s upstairs windows (which we should have got aeons ago). So he should be a bit more cosy up there even though the rain on the roof clatters (but is also comforting). We did normal shopping at the Mall. The rest of the day will probably be indoors after I take Delila back to her pod near the Vespa shop. In the evening, I made fish soup with the makings from the Mall and we settled in for a warm night of telly. We're up to episode 5/6 of 'War and Peace'. I keep waiting for the train scene, then realise that I'm in the wrong novel.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Today and tonight

Today, much to my surprise my computer is working fine under its new regime. There seems to very little difference between Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, even cosmetic. Lord knows what is going on behind the scenes. We had the greem lentil and vegie soup for lunch. It seems a bit like the magic pudding. There's still some left. Tonight, P. and I are going to 'L'Amant Anglaise' at 45downstairs. We started with an excellent dinner at Pei Modern. The play by Marguerite Duras was excellent. Performances by Robert Meldrum and Jillian Murray were outstanding in this 'murder mystery' about a woman who murders who cousin, cuts her up and places the pieces on trains going all over Europe. A number of postmodern critics can be brought into play to describe the piece but it is intriguing without them.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Computer snafu

Yesterday, I tried to fix my AVG antivirus connection. While online talking to the technician in Chennai, he started to reinstall AVG and midway we lost the connection as the program blocked the internet. Catch 22. I couldn't talk to anyone. So this morning I got the inestimable Shane, the computer fixer, to come and sort out the mess. He did but it took over four hours. However, I'm now communicado again with Windows 10 operating AND AVG operating. Yay! We had more soto ayam for dinner last night and P. is doing a rack-off lamb tonight. While in hiatus on the internet, I did manage to finish a new novel, which was waiting to be read in old Word, 8.1, so all was not lost.

Monday, June 20, 2016

At home

Today is another cold, wet day, perfect for staying at home. I finished off the poems after the translator had approved them and sent them back in a clean copy. I did a little more checking on the novel, then I gave it a rest. I've now got through it all but I might make one more set of spot checks. Tonight I made some soto ayam which was not bad but not the best I've ever made. Malfeasance Turnbull did a lawyer's performance on Q&A, doing a good impersonation of Pontius Pilate. Everything was someone else's responsibility, not the Prime Minister's. I'm so sick of this election: bring it on and get it over and done with. There was a good doco. on the ABC about the rise and fall of Lance Armstrong, so I stayed up late to watch it. The Tour de France arrives soon.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sunday with Bach

It has been a normal Sunday with the big crossword (no mistakes this time). After a soup lunch, P. and I went to the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra in a mainly Bach program. It was leavened with a song cycle by Calvin Bowman beautifully sung by Sara McIver who also contributed a few bits from Bach cantatas. The rest of the program was pretty stunning too with the highlights being Brandenburg no. 3 and a violin concerto. Home again for more soup. It is winter after all.

Saturday, June 18, 2016


Because of U3A on Friday, P. and I shopped today without Frank who was busy elsewhere. We did the usual Victoria Gardens which was unremarkable as always. However, we have a break from soup with salmon patties from the good fish shop for lunch plus cheese, ham and tomato toasties (thanks, P.). In fact, it will be almost a fish day with whiting from the Gippsland Lakes for dinner plus oysters.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Strauss plus

This morning was spent on the poetry and the novel while P. went to the U3A film course. After vegie soup for lunch, we went to the Recital Centre for a brilliant short concert from the Australian Piano Quartet. With tenor Andrew Goodwin they performed a new work by Paul Dean using texts by John Donne, Rodney Hall and Judith Wright. Then they did (alone in quartet) Strauss' piano quartet in C minor, a monumental work in which all of the group shone. They finished with Goodwin doing Strauss' 'Morgen!' as a kind of an encore. Home for pea and ham soup and bread etc.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Warm working

I don't intend to go out today and will spend most of the day working on the big novel and the poetry book for a bit of variety. As P. is going for lunch with Robin S., I'll finish off the French onion soup for lunch. We now have a ton of homemade soup: pea and ham, plus vegie soup. Very good for wintry days. We'll have leftover corned beef for dinner plus maybe other leftovers.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Depths of winter, maybe

Though it is sunny today, it is still very cold. I've got a new small job: a short poetry book but of very good quality. So I did some work on that and the novel. The cleaners came and went. For lunch, we had green lentil soup with vegies, a made-up number, but it's not entirely vegetarian as it's made with chicken stock. It's very nice nonetheless. P. has gone off for a doctor's appointment this arvo. while I have a nana nap. Tonight, P. made corned beef with horseradish sauce.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Birthday lunch plus

Today, I did some work on the novel then went to the health centre for some pills. Off then to the Builder's Arms for lunch with P., Frank and David G. for Frank's birthday. It was an excellent lunch and good magging. In the early evening, P. and I went to the Recital Centre for the Salon performance by Latitude 37, a trio concert by Julie Fredersdorff (violin), Laura Vaughan (viola da gamba) and Donald Nicolson (harpsichord). The very keen audience were all lined up outside when we arrived about 20 minutes early. Apparently there was a harpsichord malfunction at the last minute (broken string) which had to be fixed. It was and the concert of works by J.S. Bach and his contemporaries and mentors (Buxtehude, Erlebach, Handel and Telemann) was splendid. We'll get there early next time to get ahead in the queue of crazed early music enthusiasts. Home for more pea and ham soup after our big lunch.

Very quiet

Yesterday, (Monday), was another cold, quiet day. P. and I went up to Brunswick Street and Carlton for a bit of shopping, then had pea and ham soup at home for lunch. A little bit more novel and then beer-battered fish for dinner with fiery potatoes. Both recipes from the ever reliable David Herbert. Oh, and happy birthday Betty Battenburg, even if it really isn't your birthday. And I've discovered your secret. King Bhumibol of Thailand is the longest reigning monarch in the world. He's been 70 years a king. Betty wants to outlast him, and he's looking a bit frail (though saying that is banned by lese-majeste in Thailand). If she can do what her gin-soaked mother did, i.e. last until over 100, she'll do it assuming Bhumibol drops off the twig soon.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Quiet cold day then outing

Yesterday was another quiet day reading the Saturday papers and proofing a bit of novel (not enough). In the evening, P. and I joined Frank on the bus to Commercial Road and thence to Greville Street. We had a very tasty meal at Toko Japanese restaurant where we all had a couple of 'small' dishes. A quick walk took us to Chapel Off Chapel for a performance of 'Songs for a New World', a kind of song cycle by Jason Robert Brown, who also wrote 'Violet' which we saw earlier at the same venue. The small three-man band and the cast of four did an excellent job, though I must say I prefer a plot being a plot junkie. In fairness, the show consisted of a large number of small plots (that is, each song) but there was no overarching plot. I also object to the increasing trend to refer to the production team as 'creatives' as though the performers are not (creative, that is). Grumpiness is over. Today was really same again, without the outing. The Sunday Crossword was done, plus a bit more novel (not enough again) and we had leftover P.'s chicken curry for dinner. Uneventful but relaxed.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Normal, normal, normal

Well not quite! Frank couldn't come shopping this morning as he had a dental appointment. He joined us for brunch at Addict, which was excellent as always, but couldn't eat as he still was numb. Coffee only for Frank. Home again for an arvo rest then curried chook for dinner courtesy of P. All in all a very quiet restful day.

More Mendelssohn

Yesterday was a quiet day at home for me, though P. went into town for lunch with the recently retired Robin S. In the evening, we gobbled up the rest of the Healesville shepherd's pie then went to the Recital Centre for a scaled-down Melbourne Symphony Orchestra who performed pieces by Richard Strauss: his youthful 'Serenade for Winds' and a rearrangement for nine instruments by Brett Dean of 'Til Eulenspiegel'. As well there was Stravinsky's 'Pulcinella' suite and the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor, well-played by MSO co- concertmaster Eoin Andersen, who directed the whole proceeding as well. It was a very enjoyable concert of old and new.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Not-so gourmet but very bushy

On Monday, we collected Delila the Corolla and headed for Healesville. We intended to collect some gourmet delights from the Healesville Hotel-run cheeserie and takeaway shop which I had checked to see whether it was open on Monday. It was closed for renovation so we had to make do with what we could get from Coles. It was okay, but hardly gourmet. We then went over the magnificent Black Spur road, surely one of the best drives in the world but given hardly any publicity. We arrived a bit early for our accommodation so went to the Cathedral Ranges State Park. The streams were bubbling away beautifully but it was a bit damp. Needless to say, there seemed to be no campers. Back to our cottage in Buxton, which was very spacious and well equipped. It had a gas fire and an airconditioning heater so was very cosy. If we had had both on it would have been over warm. Next day, after the well-provided breakfast of tomato, bacon, eggs and toast, we went to Marysville. Guess what: the famous patisserie was closed for lunch so we had to make do with the vastly inferior bakery. We went for a forest drive along the Woods Point Road to the site of an abandoned village. The forest was really splendid, if a bit dripping with water. Today, we returned with a trout from the Buxton trout farm for tonight's dinner, and stopped at Tarrawarra Gallery for the second stage of their Panorama series. (We saw the first part a few weeks ago with Sue H.) This one was even better, very well hung, with lots of surprises and some artists who are less than fashionable (Juniper, Pugh). Home again after a very nice little interlude. The Acheron Ridge cottage is highly recommended.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

A boring life but maybe not

This morning, we did the normal Sunday thing: the Age crossword and a French onion soup lunch. In the early arvo, P. and I headed to the Recital Centre for a trio concert with Hoang Pham, piano, Anna Da Silva Chen, violin and Eliza Sdraulig, cello. They performed Schubert's 'Nottorno in B flat', a new work by local Noel Fidge, and piano trios 1 and 2 by Mendelssohn. I doubt that Fidge will set the world on fire though his trio was pleasant enough. The rest was splendid and I feel comforted that these three young players will outlive me, so I am assured of good music as long as I live. The concert attracted a strong Asian audience which is encouraging. There were lots of mothers with their prodigy children, though the fathers were mostly absent. Afterwards, we had a good, quick meal at Blondie, very tasty and not too filling. I had sashimi, oysters and chippies. P. had a black burger. We weren't sure why the bun had to be black, but so be it.

Saturday, June 04, 2016


P. and I had very normal Saturday morning with the Saturday Paper and the Weekend Australian followed by a pleasant lunch at Chocolate Buddha with Stuart and Tricia from Sydney. Good to catch up with news of travels and so on. Home again for an arvo nana nap then I made rolled roast of lamb for dinner with vegies, mint sauce and gravy. A warm night at home with the telly.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Shopping plus brass

Today, P. and I picked up Delila the Corolla and Frank and went to Victoria Gardens for a quick shop. Then we brunched at the very reliable Dr Morse near Victoria Park Station which has established itself as a good bar, brunch and dinner spot in the 'hood. In the evening, P. and I went to South Melbourne, had a good, quick meal at the Indonesian eatery then went to the Town Hall for the Sydney Symphony Brass Ensemble, conducted by James Sommerville. They were the guests of ANAM as part of a three-city tour. They performed modern works by Williams (John), Turnage and Lauridsen. The Lauridsen was inspired by a work by Gabrieli, a motet 'O Magnum Mysterium' which they also performed with his Magnificat in 12 parts. They finished with a West Side Story suite, which, in the words of Hoffnung, gave them a chance to let their hair down, 'those of us, that is, who are lucky enough...'. The percussion especially seemed to have a good time. It was a great concert, short and au point.

Old Penguinis

Yesterday, I finished rechecking the second half of the big novel so now back to the first half. That will have to wait till tomorrow though as it's shopping this morning. Last night, I went off to join the Old Penguinis at Zen in Hawthorn. It was a very cheery night, made more cosy by the power going off for nearly half an hour: candles all round. Lots of travel is going on soon: Costa Rica, Guatemala, California, Thailand and so on. I'll have to miss the next one, as I'll be away.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Cold and quiet

Winter is with us. Today, P. went off on a fruitless journey to the podiatrist who turned out to be on maternity leave. A snafu if ever there was one. He was not well after all that and retired to bed. I got on with the big novel checking and am finding a few things, refinements mostly though a few essentials so I'm glad I'm doing it. It will take a few more days to finish. Tonight, a Quentin Crisp dinner for me, as P. doesn't want anything, but I'll get tomorrow night's meal ready as I'll be out and P. won't.