Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday sweet Sunday

This morning, I was up early to go up to the servo to get the Sunday Age so we could despatch the crossword for the last time in a while. Then it was time for some serious checking and packing. In the evening, we had soto ayam (which is also behaving a bit like the magic pudding) but still didn't quite use it up. All ready to go after a bit of a clean-up.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Still packing etc.

This morning, as if nothing was happening, we had a leisurely read of The Saturday Paper and the Saturday Australian, neither yet finished. We did some more organising and I did the end-of-month accounts early including the monthly BAS. Finally, the last of the magic-pudding French onion soup for lunch. After an arvo nap, Frank came round for roast lamb dinner followed by P.'s scrumptious blood orange sorbet, and to say goodbye, for now.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Morning tea

After a few morning chores, P. and I went to Sally S.'s newly renovated barn (it now won't fall down) and had morning tea including some tasty delights from the patisserie in Smith Street (going up in the world Smurf Street). It was good to catch up with her friend, Virginia, and Roger. Home for French onion soup (the magic pudding variety) then a nap. In the evening, P. and I went off to the South Melbourne Town Hall to an ANAM concert, this time by Alex Ranieri, pianist and fellow of the Academy. There were three very intriguing works. The first by Olga Neuwirth was for prepared piano with a CD tape, a haunting piece. Then soprano Jessica Aszodi joined Ranieri for a bravura piece by Helmut Lachenmann in part about a lost laundry basket. Through sounds, face slapping and clicks, Jessica performed miracles. Afterwards, she probably sang a Queen of the Night aria for relaxation. The last piece was Alban Berg's Chamber Concerto for piano, violin and 13 winds, conducted by Benjamin Marks, again another magnificent piece. We also ran across Yvonne, retired from the Health Centre, and Anne M. on old friend. Afterwards, we had a good meal at the Salon de Sushi in Clarendon Street, tasty, good value and friendly people.

Thursday, August 25, 2016


More organising with tickets arriving (electronically) and other stuff. Late this morning, Bryony C. dropped in some borrowed books and regaled us with tales of the Kimberley boat trip which she and Philip took recently. We had a cuppa and a good catch up. P. and I then had French onion soup for lunch. In the arvo, P. went to the quack who put him on hold till we return from holidays, then in the evening, we had experimental soto ayam. It was experimental because I did it the Indonesian way, using up whatever ingredients we had leftover.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Not much getting ready

Apart from a bit of tidying up this morning, I didn't do much this morning except go to the Health Centre to get my pill supplies for being on the road. Then I met P. and we went to Brunetti's for lunch with the S. sisters. The food there is good because they used very good ingredients but the noise hampers conversation. Home again for a nap. Then it was off with P. and Frank to Yoyogi for a quick, cheap meal, then to the State Theatre for the Production Company's 'Curtains', the last show by Kander and Ebb ('Cabaret', 'Chicago'). This show was not up to either of those and was something of a throwback. However, it was good to see and the cast did a marvellous job of making a silk purse... Congratulations for showing us something in a good production which we would otherwise not have seen or not seen so well done.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

More planning

Today, I worked like a Trojan on the memoir and sent it all back to author, so I've now got a few days worth of trip preparing and planning for things like getting the pills I need for travel. As well, I did some more booking, some for 2017 and some for while we're away including a Bonnie Raitt concert in LA. How we'll get to it I'm not sure but we'll manage either on the train or cab. Maybe Uber? Now I'm settling back while P. does a rerun of the pork belly and Asian greens.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Quiet day at home during rain

I went out early yesterday (Sunday) during the drizzle to get the Sunday Age so we could do the crossword. We had leftover seafood pasta for lunch, I did a bit of work and then made chicken Kievs for dinner. Much the same today without the Kievs. I did lots of work today and spoke with the author tonight. P. cooked magnificent pork belly with Asian greens and rice.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Shopping, lunch and not much else

We picked up Delila the Corolla this morning, then Frank and went to Victoria Gardens for a quick shop as P. had his U3A film session yesterday morning when we would normally shop. After unpacking the shopping and returning the car, the three of us went to Bedford, a new eatery near the corner of Smurf and Johnston Streets. P. and Frank had been there before separately but it was new to me. They have an odd pricing policy for lunch by charging you a basic price for bread or crumpets, then you add on what you want. The crumpets and the food were very tasty so we'll probably be back. We now have such an array of brunch spots for our once-a-week foray that it is hard to choose. Home then for a nap, now P. is preparing seafood pasta for dinner for a quiet night by the telly. It is a quiet weekend after a lot of outings.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Getting ready then relaxing

I spent this morning researching and getting documents ready for our trip. I still have lots to do, bookings and looking at public transport in LA and San Francisco (a big ask, I know). Tonight, we're off to dinner at Blondie, then to the ANAM orchestra conducted by Simone Young at the Recital Centre. The dinner, in a packed and busy restaurant, was very good indeed. The 'gala' concert lived up to its name. The works were Schoenberg's Verklaarte Nacht, Mahler's Ruckert Lieder beautifully sung by Lisa Gasteen and Schoenberg's arrangement of Brahms' Piano Quartet in G Minor, which was thrilling. The whole was magnificently conducted by Simone Young who brought out the best in the enthusiastic young players. The future looks good.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Getting ready

This morning, I did a little bit of work and went up to Smurf Street to get a memory stick and post bag to send some of it to an author. I then got some NZ and US dollars for our trip plus a diary for next year which I am beginning to fill with subscriptions (to MSO and MusicaViva). By ordering early, we got quite good seats. In the evening, P., Frank and I went to have a quick but delicious meal at Longrain in Little Bourke Street. They don't book, but we were there by opening at 6pm so got in without elbowing aside the many women waiting. (No fellas at all until later.) The food was tasty and filling. Then we headed off to 'Matilda' at the Princess. I'd love to say I liked it, but I felt much of it was too contrived plus stretched a very thin story even thinner. However, it was very well performed by all concerned and wasn't a complete waste of time.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Today was spent doing some research and organising for our trip to California, then doing some work and some booking for next year's concerts (it's that time already). P. went into town for lunch with Robin S. and heated up leftover beef burgundy for dinner. Yum! I've just booked for Alcatraz.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Action packed day

I got up at 6am this morning to head to the Club (Royal Melbourne Hospital) to have my noses checked. The one on my main glasses seemed to be coming loose. I found when I got there that Greg, the amazing cobbler-elf, had made new noses. He did his magic on their colouring then fixed them to my glasses. As well, he produced new rubbery things to keep my glasses firmly in place. We then perused the new cancer centre via the travel way across Grattan Street. It is a really impressive and uplifting building. I then went across the road to see Genie my nephrologist who pronounced me perfect as usual (my readings from my blood and urine test not my personality). I then went into Carlton where I was trapped by Readings into buying Barry O. Jones' new edition of his dictionary of biography. (We use the old edition for crosswords all the time.) I also bought a festschrift for Bernard Smith for P. I then went to Trotters to have lunch with an author whose ms. I made some comments on, who wanted to buy me lunch. We hadn't met before, and had a good lunch and a chat. She has had two bites at her ms. from publishers, which is pretty good going for a fairly esoteric subject. In the evening, P., Frank and I went to St Kilda, had a very good meal at Ciciolino's, then went to the Palais for the Victorian Opera's 'Laughter and Tears'. The first act was a pastiche of commedia dell'arte using baroque music and the talents of Circus Oz plus their own singers. The second act 'Pagliacci' by Leoncavallo also used the Circus Oz performers. The whole show was a delight. It will be interesting to see whether it fosters a new interest in opera performance. Richard Mills conducted and, I assume, arranged and devised the first act. He must never sleep.

Monday, August 15, 2016


This morning, after a bit of work argy-bargy, I went up to Smurf Street to get some postage bags to send things off (what else would you use them for?), bought a new shoulder bag as the zips are broken on my old one after giving sterling service and got my hair cut as P. said I looked like the wild man of Borneo. Then I came home for leftover fried rice for lunch. Tonight, P. is doing beef burgundy while I send my things off.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Mostly Mozart

After an easy-going morning doing the Sunday crossword, P. and I headed off after lunch to the Recital Centre where the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra had a mainly Mozart program. The exception was a modern piece by Nicholas Buc, an Australian living in NY. It was premiered in Yackandandah as part of the MCO Victorian tour and now Yackandandians want to commission their own work: perhaps the Yackandandah Symphony or the Serenata Yackandandah. We wait with keen anticipation. The rest were two piano concerti (nos. 11 and 14) well and subtly played by David Fung and his Symphony no. 29, composed at age 18 plus the Serenata Notturna. All were precisely and crisply played. No wonder they went down well in Yackandandah. Tonight, we're having gnocchi gorgonzola, one of my favourites.

Sydney and Moss Vale

Last Thursday, I headed for Tullamarina using a cab to Southern Cross station followed by Skybus. Both way trips showed that this is the cheapest and easiest method for one person, whereas for two, a cab all the way is better. In Sydney, Nick picked me up with relative ease (there are actually TWO public pickups) and we headed to his Sydney posh flat in the finger wharf near Garden Island. It is small but beautifully proportioned and with a superb view and posh neighbours like Rusty Crowe and pricey eateries. We walked up to Potts Point via the Officers' Mess where we had a drink. We ate at the hugely disorganised Fratelli Fresh, though the food was quite good, with some of his Navy work fellows. The cone of silence descends. Next day, after a good sleep on Nick's sofa bed, I met Keren Lavelle at the Art Gallery of NSW just up the steps from the Wharf. We saw the Kahlo and Rivera exhibition which is interesting though quite small, then had a good lunch and a mag in the cafe. In the arvo, Nick whisked me off to Moss Vale where we had a good meal and a chat with the many denizens of their house (there are a couple and their daughter roosting there until the daughter goes off with David to Bordeaux to dance). Next day, we had lunch in Bowral after a country drive, at another new and very disorganised eatery. In the evening, Nick cooked lamb shanks and on Sunday, Nick and I and David went off to an eisteddfod where we had to endure tap, jazz ballet and expressive ballet before getting to classical which David's group won by a mile. We then went on to Sydney and Kit's place where we joined Allie (who had been at a Theatreworks show on Saturday night). We had a yummy dinner and a catchup. On Monday, I had lunch with Kit at a Barrangaroo Lebanese joint. I enjoyed seeing the latest real estate boomer in Sydney with its token tiny park for the people. Home again to Croydon for a nap before another nice meal. I spent Tuesday at home with Neville, then Nick and Fiona P. joined us for cenceless night and a small party where we had ALMOST finished our forms when the site went down. Next day, Wednesday, Kit organised her good cab company to take me to the airport where I had a smooth flight home. Full marks to Qantas for tasty though parsimonious catering both ways. Please resume below. The whole trip was good for catching up on news from two branches of the family, plus Keren. The only person I missed was Maggie who is in South Africa with her grandma.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

At last, a rest

Yesterday, P. and I were up early to pick up Delila the Corolla for the shopping. We bought coffee in Brunswick Street, then went to Victoria Gardens for the bulk of our shopping. Laden, we came home to unload and I returned Delila. We then rested for the rest of the day. I did fishcakes with Geoff Slattery's brussels sprouts for dinner and we watch the 1951 'Tales of Hoffman', courtesy of Frank. It is probably as good a production of this vexed opera as you could expect. This morning, the Saturday Paper and the Saturday Australian were delivered, so all's right with the world. A quiet day at home followed with a bit of work on a new memoir then P. made delicious fried rice for dinner followed by Baby Cheeses.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Hitting the ground running

On Wednesday, I got back from my (nearly) week in Sydney. I barely had time to bring P. up to date with my doings there than we were off to the Malthouse Theatre for Edward II, a 'distillation' of Marlowe's play by Anthony Weigh. We had a good quick meal beforehand at the theatre. The production has been mightily slagged off by Peter Craven in the Saturday Paper. He seems to be getting grouchier than ever. It was reviewed more moderately in the Age and the Australian. Most of their criticisms were valid, but more worrying was the play having no apparent coherent understanding of what it was about which was not illuminated much by the flashy but fairly incomprehensible production. Never mind. It was an entertaining enough night and who can object to so much male nudity. Still running, on Thursday morning, I went off early to the Club (the Royal Melbourne Hospital). First up, I lodged my scrip for Tachrolimus at the pharmacy, knowing they take an aeon to fill them. Thence to the vampires, where a familiar Filipino vampire did an excellent job with my recalcitrant veins. Then to the Ear, Nose and Throat clinic where they were happy with me, and have now put me on a routine of three-month appointments with them, followed by three-month appointments with Maxillo-Facial. Plastics and Cardiology have been dropped off the list. Then I went to the Health Centre for more pills. I will have to recheck my supplies before we head off to the U.S. In the evening, P. and I joined Frank for Syzygy at the Recital Centre. It was a varied concert with works by five Australian composers, three world premieres and one an Australian premiere. The highlight was Kate Neal's Piano Trio no. 1 'Dead Horse Gap' but the other works were splendid too. Home for Thai soup afterwards. There'll be a recap on what happened in Sydney when I get a moment to rest.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Lunch with Barry

After a morning of mainly administrative tasks and booking tickets, Barry D. came to lunch and showed us the illustrations (some of them) for his new book and we had a good mag. Now for getting ready for Sydney, but not before roast beef for dinner.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Arty farty day

This morning, P. and I went to town to the Recital Centre to a coffee concert put on by Musica Viva. This one was the Arcadia Quintet (winds) with works by Ibert, Carter, Vici and Nielsen. The Vici was by Gabriella Vici, a local woman, under their Hildegard (remember her?) program to promote and nurture women composers given that most concerts feature works by men. The Arcadia Quartet are also the first recipients of their FutureMakers project to give upcoming Orstralian musos a leg up. In this case, Genevieve Lacey (who introduced the concert) is their mentor. We then went to the NGV (International) to stuff our faces in the tea room (more crotchless sandwiches, plus more cake) followed by the Degas exhibition. It was more than you ever wanted of Degas including endless pictures of nude sheilas wiping themselves, or, as they put it, drying. It was a very well curated exhibition about Degas' rather tragic life. I thought his early portraits were the best part. We then went to the NGV (Australian) for what was for me a reprise of their wonderful watercolour showing plus the Indigenous 100 paintings donated to the gallery. Then back to the Recital Centre for a quick meal at Blondie (very good) then a concert called Destination Naples by Ludovico's Band with guest Rosanne Hunt on cello. Works were by Durante, Popora, Mancini, Matteis, Falconieri, Bononcini and Lonati. Never heard of them? Me too, but they were very impressive. Home again for the last of 'Babylon'. What a pity it didn't tie up a few more loose ends.

Monday, August 01, 2016


I spent most of this morning organising my trips to Sydney and the U.S., including visas, accommodation. I also made appointments with the Cobbler Elves about adjusting my nose and also organised a transfer of our gas supply as suggested by the Yarra Energy Foundation. All of this took longer than I thought. Now for a nap. In the evening, P. made a pork chop casserole with cider and fennel. It was delicious. We are nearly at the end of a DVD series of the U.K. 'Babylon'. It is a bit off the wall (even ridiculous at points) but it is absorbing.