Sunday, July 31, 2016

Good mag

This morning, P. and I did the big crossword (after I went up to the service station early to get a Sunday Age: it's a long way to the shop if you want a sausage roll). Then Sally dropped in and we had a coffee and a good mag and exchange of information. Tonight, fish cakes, oysters and telly in the still cold.

A Funny Saturday

Yesterday, Saturday, we had a fairly quiet day at home in the warm until the evening, when we met Frank at Yoyogi for a quick meal, then to the State Theatre for the Production Company (Jeannie Pratt) production of 'Funny Girl'. It starred Caroline O'Connor who gave a hugely energetic performance with God-knows how many fast costume changes. The trouper, Nancy Hayes, played her mother. It was very enjoyable from the front row (I thought EE was five back) though a bit neck cricking and eye glazing (from lights in the eyes). It was good to see the performers close up. I saw the little Jeannie at interval. We had to walk to get there and back to the station afterwards as protesters had occupied the Swanston Street/Flinders Street intersection, so there were no trams. A hapless tram employer told us he was on duty until 5am to tell people. Apparently, the repeal of the police powers to move people on, to protect the East/West freeway protesters, were what prevented the police from acting to clear the intersection. When we got home on the train, we just missed a bus home so had to walk. I suppose it is good exercise, like walking to the corner shop to get the paper now that Maria is no more.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Shopping plus funeral

This morning, P. and I did an early shop with Frank at the mall so that we could make it to Maria's funeral at the Greek Orthodox Church in Lygon St of St John the Forerunner and Baptist. It was a not-overly-long service. We passed on the interment and the wake and had an arvo rest before going (this time with Frank) to Noel's place for dinner. We had a great meal chez Noel and talked about many things including what he might do about his home and his next book.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Energy efficient

Yesterday, Claire, a worker at Yarra Energy Foundation, visited as a follow-up to our energy survey and study carried out by an architect to determine what we needed to do to improve our energy savings. Her main recommendations were to change our gas provider if we could get a lower quote and change at some time in the future to reverse cycle heating and cooling, and investigate their solar energy scheme. The architect also recommended lights (movement activated) on the front and back doors to deter burglars. We'll see. Meanwhile, I did more work on the captions and P. did baked eggs for lunch and a very nice chicken curry for dinner. Today (Thursday), I did a bit more on the captions. In the evening, P., Frank and I went to the Playhouse, Arts Centre for the Victorian Opera's production of 'The Pied Piper'. It was by Richard Mills (words and music). He works like a Trojan, obviously. It was a brilliant piece with a large community chorus of adults and children. It is interesting that an opera company can reflect our society's diversity better than the mass media. Who would have thunk it? Musically interesting with a band of mainly winds, brass and percussion (not a string to be seen, except in the piano), it was an absorbing and exhilarating experience. Well done all, but especially Richard Mills.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Cold and wet

Yesterday (Monday), I did some more work on the autobiography (picture selection), checked that with the author who was okay with my choices. Today I have to work on the captions, some of which will be a bit tricky as the some of the photos are more than sixty years old and the people in them have disappeared into the mists of time. We might just have to fudge a few of them. We had roast lamb last night with newly made mint sauce and gravy, roast veg and garlic spinach. Today looks like another cold day. Good to stay indoors. I did some more work on the captions then in the early evening, P. and I went off to the Salon at the Recital Centre. Almost whenever we leave to one of these slightly-more-than-an-hour concerts I think, I can't be bothered, then afterwards, I think, that was unmissable. This one was pianist Daniel de Borah with violinist Dale Barltrop in a program entirely of Prokofiev. They played his Cinq Melodies for violin and piano and his Sonata No. 1 in F minor which was breathtaking in itself and the virtuoso playing. In the middle, de Borah played seven of the movements from Visions Fugitives for piano. Afterwards we had a good meal at Cafe Italia just off Lygon Street though it was very quiet compared to the full Tiamo and D.O.C. cafes.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Busy weekend

On Saturday, P. and I picked up Delila the Corolla and Frank and headed for Ballarat in not particularly clement weather. After a very nice morning tea with yummy cake at the Mill in Ballan, we picked up Carmel B. and headed for Merkema, an Ethiopian/African cafe in Ballarat. They have very tasty mixed platters of two meat and four vego dishes which are excellent. After a good mag, we checked in at the Ansonia, then did the gallery which had a number of goodies, including the Rick Amor drawing prize which had excellent entries and a retrospective of the work of Pam Hallandal, an artist whom I have never heard of, undeservedly. Her prints and drawings of Collingwood are wonderful, as well as her sculptures. The gallery also had a couple of historical exhibitions of migration prints and pictures of old Ballarat. After an arvo rest, we had dinner with David G. at Meigas, a Spanish eatery which had very good food and wine, then repaired to Her Majesty's Theatre for the Australian Opera touring production of 'The Marriage of Figaro'. It was a very enjoyable night in the old theatre with good performances and production. David and Frank went back to Clunes for the night. In the morning, after a comfy night in cold Ballarat, P. and I picked up Frank in Clunes then went for Melbourne. We had a very good run until we hit Melbourne. It took nearly half as long to get across Melbourne to home in Abbotsford as it took to get from Ballarat to Melbourne. Weird! It was a packed and enjoyable weekend, or really closer to a day. We arrived home to find that Maria Lelleton had died overnight. VALE, a lifetime of amazing service to the community in our neighbouring shop. More on Maria later.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Shopping and not much else

Yesterday (Friday), P. and I picked up Delila the Corolla and Frank and went to Victoria Gardens for quite normal shopping. Frank has radio duties so couldn't do lunch so we came home for soup and quiches for lunch. Some of the booty, fish cakes, provided dinner plus yummy vanilla icecream and raspberries from the mall. Thank you Toscano's for such good quality fruit and veg. The Tour de France still hangs in the balance for all but first place, so roll on (literally) the large substantive leg tonight.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Ho hum, I hate shopping

This morning I went into town to buy pants for our trip away which I did with great despatch. However, one pair needed to be taken up (for free) so I had to wait for two hours. I also bought a much-needed belt. I went to the NGV Australian gallery where there were some good exhibitions: the Angel family collection of Centralian paintings (100 of them, gasp) was overwhelming so I'll go back. Luminous: Australian Watercolours 1900-2000 contained some of my favourite watercolours and Henry Talbot: 1960s fashion photographer was also interesting. The cafe had no crotchless sandwiches so I went down to NGV International to their tearoom. Both galleries were full of fierce-looking SE suburbs women going to either Degas (International) or 200 years of Australian fashion (Australian). Obviously, the NGV has its finger on its clientele. In the evening, after a quick meal at Yoyogi, P. and I went to the Fairfax Studio for the Bell Shakespeare production of 'Othello'. It has been over-vilified by reviewers of the Age and Australian. In fact, it seemed a workmanlike touring production, with hardly a weak performance and a fair reading of the script. Perhaps the company's PR has not done enough critic-schmoozing as the Melbourne Theatre Company has apparently not done with Peter Craven. Sensitive critters these critics; they are easily offended. The audience seemed to not agree with the critics from the rousing applause at the end.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

To the wilds of Brunswick and the Alps

This morning, I completed my tax return as the ATO had thoughtfully added in all of the automatic entries. I am entitled to a refund. Yay! P., Frank and I headed to Pope Joan in Brunswick to have lunch with Jane N. It was good to catch up on our mutual news and the food was very good indeed. Tonight, an at-home night with P.'s chili con carne which was delicious, then I broke my own rule and watched the Tour de France to the end of the stage because the Alps and their valleys were so beautiful. Chris Froome is still in front, but Richie Porte from Launceston is breathing down his neck though probably not enough to win.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

From the wilds of Slovakia...

As it turned out, Peter Sagan, the wild man of Slovakia, won last night's stage of the Tour de France. Chris Froome is still in the yellow jersey and probably will be all the way to Paris on Sunday. I've now worked out the best formula for watching: see the starting up of the race on the night, then get up for the 7am to 8.10am summary on SBS in the morning. You get all of the best bits that way, without getting wrecked from lack of sleep. Today I've tidied up a few things and P. and I had more leek and potato soup for lunch, plus leftover chicken. P.'s now gone off to his 'Moby Dick' U3A session for the month which was very successful. In the evening, we had leftovers for dinner followed by Baby Cheeses and teev.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Ho Ho housekeeping

I did a few housekeeping tasks today (administrative, not the dusting variety). P. went off to lunch with Robin S. and I made another dent in the potato and leek mountain. It's very nice though; I'm not complaining. Now for an arvo rest then a fish dinner: oysters and fish cakes. The Tour is getting very humdrum: good thrilling finishes but the overall winner is still looking very dull. Chris Froome, Chris Froome, dull as he can be.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday, sweet Sunday with nothing to do

The crossword was done with despatch this morning and this week there were no errors that I found. We had some of the monstrous amount of potato and leek soup I made for lunch (hot). Then after an arvo rest we're settling in to P.'s vegeroni (there was no macaroni at the shop) cheese with chicken for dinner followed by 'Barracuda' then the next instalment of the Tour de France. One week only to go but it looks so far as if Chris Froome has it in the bag. We'll see. And sadly for this long-time blogger, I've had to throw out my old Blogger hoodie. Thanks for its long service to Frank, who gave it to me, but it is literally falling apart. Vale.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Another quiet day

I did a little bit of work yesterday, not too much (Friday) while P. went off to the U3A fillum. In the evening, we went to Frank's place for a very good dinner including (after the curries) a delicious chocolate mousse (via Heston) with raspberries. Home again for more telly and Tour de France, a sprint stage which is a bit boring. Now we're off to do shopping with Delila. P. went in the arvo to a talk on whales (it's to do with Moby Dick at U3A) at the Museum, then met Frank and I at the Playhouse for the Victorian Opera condensed version of 'Cendrillon' by Massenet. It was in French with captions in English, which is not much use for the littlies. Two women who need their heads read brought noisy babes-in-arms who wouldn't have even understood English. The production was simple but good (sets and costumes were excellent and colourful). The singers, all from the opera-in-training scheme were very good as was the scratch band (some of them from ANAM). We had a quick meal afterwards at Barre in the Arts Centre then home for the Tour.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Day off

Today I pretty much had a day off. I did a bit of administrative work but not much, had soup for lunch with P. and he is cooking roast chook for dinner tonight. That's it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

At the club

This morning, I got up early for a visit to the Hospital to see Maxillo-Facial for a check-up. They seemed pleased, including the cheery surgeon, who, with reason, had to ask whether he 'did' me back at the end of January. Home again for a call from one of my authors and now off to the Health Centre for some more pills. Then I met P. and Frank and we went to Pr'an to have a very nice meal at Ladro (again) then went to Chapel Off Chapel for Titanic: the musical. The ship sank but the show didn't. It was well played by an excellent cast and was very absorbing. It's definitely worth seeing.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Great concert

Yesterday (Monday) was a fairly quiet day at home with a bit of work and organisation. In the evening, we went with Frank to the Recital Centre for the Orchestra Seventeen88 chamber group who performed works by Haydn (transcribed), Schubert and Hummel (one of my favourite composers and Frank's). The players were Nicole van Bruggen (classical clarinet), Rachael Beesley (violin), Simon Orwell (viola) and the very familiar Michael Dahlenburg (cello). It was good to hear an old clarinet (reproduction) soaring with the strings. Afterwards, we had a quickie at Yoyogi then home on the bus in time for Media Watch. Today, we picked up Delila again and headed to Greensborough to pick up the ailing, now fixed, recorder from the TV which seems to now work at less expense than buying a new one. The repairer claimed that this model is better than the ones Sony is currently selling. His advice is a bit self-interested but seems to be true. We'll see in time. After a lot of activity, tonight will be an at-home night with fish soup and warmth.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Pleasant lunch

Today, after the crossword and a bit of preparing, we headed to Carlton where Sally picked us up to go to Rennis' in Williamstown for the Liz Kelly memorial lunch. Rennis told is it was 25 (!) years since Liz had died which was amazing. We had a monster lunch with four courses (we brought gnocchi gorgonzola and salad nicoise) and had a good mag and catch up with Polly P., Rennis and Sal. Sadly, Ann de Hugard couldn't come from Castlemaine. We'll catch her later in the year. Home again in the rain, full as googs, for a very light dinner.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

A few days away

On Wednesday, we picked up Delila the Corolla and headed for Ballarat where we had a bite to eat with Carmel B. It was good to catch up. We then went on to Dunkeld and the Royal Mail Hotel for their mid-week special. After a rest, we had their five-course dinner including some very posh wine (plus freebies including eel), then a very superior breakfast in the morning. After that, we went to Warrnambool and saw Julie E. who gave us a guided tour of the local sights and sites including lunch on the wharf, then the local community garden and an Aboriginal site. We also passed by the Fletcher Jones garden being revivified. Julie and her partner Bruce are obviously very active in local affairs. In rather dismal weather, we headed along the Great Ocean Road to Port Campbell and eventually abandoned the sites to get to Port Campbell, which had vamped itself up somewhat since our last visit. The Portside Motel was comfy and the pub had a good meal including local Bugs! In the morning, we retraced our steps to the Arch, the Grotto and so on and went on to the much touristed Loch Ard and Twelve Apostles. Molto selfies were in evidence. We proceeded to Lorne where we found another decent motel and had a very good seafood dinner at Maples (?). Next day, we drove up to the Erskine Falls thence to Melbourne. The Ocean Road is really splendid, both in bush and beach.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Nice Lunch

Today, I did a bit more proofing on the autobiography, then P. and I went into the city to join Robin and Fiona for lunch at Pei Modern. The lunch and the talk were good, with lots of post-election speculation. I had my usual croquettes then steak tartare. Everyone else's meals looked good too. Now, on a dismal day, to stay at home with roast beef (small) for dinner. Will anything happen in the election results?

Very old strings

Yesterday, Monday, was very quiet. I did a bit of organising for our trip away to Dunkeld and some proofing (not much) on the autobiography. After a soup lunch, P. went into town to buy shoes then I met him at Blondie for an excellent three-course meal, not cheap but yummy. We then went to the Australian String Quartet in a very varied concert including Funf Satze by Webern, string quartets by Haydn (C major, opus 20, no 2) and Mendelssohn (F major, opus 80). There was also a quartet called Tempesta by Australian Joe Chindamo. All in all a wonderful concert. I now agree that having classy stringed instruments does make a difference. Then home for some political humour on Q&A and Lateline. It's fun watching Liberals like Josh Frydenburg try to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and failing. Then we watched a bit more Tour de France in Anjou but not to the finish.

Sunday, July 03, 2016


In the post-election commentary the result is becoming even shakier. We await with interest. Meanwhile, First Dog on the Moon mentioned a charity worker and a papier mache expert in his election night journeyings. Who can they be? The Sunday Crossword proved a welcome distraction from all this psephology. Now for a restful day before going to Pr'an. Frank, P. and I went down in the bus and had a very good meal at Ladro (Greville St incarnation). I had a pizza but P.'s duck and Frank's lamb were equally good. The secret is good quality ingredients. Not so good was the offering at Chapel Off Chapel: 'Butch Masters'. Some of the cast tried hard and were excellent especially the Fag Hags. But it was a one-joke show. Instead of an hour show doing the musical numbers, they changed their minds and did the (rather limp) dialogue as well. We left at interval. Better luck next time. Meanwhile, the Liberal/NP angst and aggro heats up, with the Rabbott telling his colleagues to reflect on the last few days. If they did, they might realise that it is the Rabbott's policies which survived the Turnbull ascension which have put the whole crowd on the nose. They all try to blame anyone else except themselves.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Voting plus a late night.

I did a little bit more end-of-financial-year work this morning, plus tidied up some work work. Frank arrived from his radio shift round the corner and P., he and I went off to the polling booth at the Elderly Cits near the Town Hall. There was a huge queue but after about a three-quarter hour wait, we got to vote. Labor and the Greens were out in force. Other parties had only a token presence. The Senate paper was indeed like a hall runner and I got up to 35 or thereabouts below the line. May the best dog-on-the-moon win. In the arvo., P., Frank and I went to South Melbourne to have a quick Japanese in Clarendon Street which was very good. Then to ANAM at the South Melbourne Town Hall for a very brave concert with Howard Penny directing the orchestra from the cello in Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream suite and Schumann's third symphony. It mostly worked which was amazing. Included as well was a brave performance of Schubert's Fantasy in F minor for four hands on piano. It was a fine night. Then home for the election wrap-up and no dog has won yet. We'll see later in the week. The contrast between Shorten and Turn bull couldn't have been greater. We were reminded by Antony Green about the Tour de France so watched the finish of the first day which Mark Cavendish won, winning the yellow jersey. It's been a long day.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Shopping and brunch

This morning, P. and I picked up Delila the Corolla, then Frank and went to Victoria Gardens for a very, very normal shop. Afterwards we had a very good brunch at Dr Morse, near the Victoria Park station. We are so boring and predictable. I also did a fair bit of the end of month accounts but still have to do my Business Activity Statement, and then I have my tax return to do. However, the ATO have said not to do it straight away to allow time for all their 'automatic' fill-ins to occur. I am breathless with anticipation. When shopping today, I got some nice whiting fillets and oysters for tonight's dinner. Unfortunately, the fillets turned out to be not quite fillets but were tasty nonetheless as were the Coffin Bay oysters. Cheese and dips to follow, and (guilty pleasure) chocolates and jubes.