Sunday, April 30, 2017

Chamber orchestra

This morning, I got the Sunday paper for the crossword, then did some organising for our WA and overseas trips. In the arvo, after a soup lunch, P. and I went to the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra for their Baroque concert with violist, Christopher Moore, as soloist. It was a concert of various Bachs and Telemann including a very unusual symphony by Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. The concert was extremely satisfying as was the social content as we met up with Bryony and Philip, Frank and Margaret G. and Neil D. and Sally S. I mistook Neil's brother for him as a final blooper. Home for fishcakes and baby cheeses.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Quiet day then chamber opera

This morning was just a quiet, read-the-papers kind of day with soup for lunch. In the evening, after leftovers, we joined Frank to go around the corner to the Gipps Street Masons for our local opera, Massenet's Werther, performed in a minimal production with piano and cello, but very well done. Unfortunately, the Masons have a few disadvantages, like a woeful acoustic which makes the singers (who were very good) sound as if they are in the shower. Also, an old pic of Betty Battenburg peering down from the wall doesn't tally with much in the opera. However, I enjoyed it in spite of the drawbacks, but I'm not sure I will return to our 'local' opera. I think there were very few genuine audience members there. Most seemed to be related to the singers.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Shopping, lunch, art and Shakespeare

This morning, P. went off to office volunteer for U3A and I picked up Franz the Corolla and Frank the person and went to Victoria Gardens to do the shopping. After we dumped the goodies, Frank and I picked up P. and we headed to the nursery in Heidelberg to get plants and compost. We then had a good brunch at nearby Heide and went to the Charles Blackman Schoolgirls exhibition, a good chance to view the creepy schoolgirls en masse. There was also the bonus of a showing of Fred Williams and Bert Tucker landscapes of Springwood in Queensland. I'd have to say Tucker's landscapes appealed a lot more than some of his grimmer surreal pieces. There was also an airing of works by the little known (to me) Australian NY-based artist Denise Green. Tonight, P. and I are off to see Bell Shakespeare's Richard III. We had a good meal first at Barre which was very busy with Friday-night revellers. The production was excellent with a bravura title performance by Kate Mulvaney. The three old queens were also very impressive in their venom and pain.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

To the club

I went early this morning to the Club (Melbourne Hospital) for my usual quarterly visit to the vampires. They were very efficient and I was in and out very quickly ONCE I GOT THERE. On the way, however, our limping bus services kept me waiting at the corner of Grattan and Lygon Street for half an hour at what was meant to be a ten-minute service. The driver, when he arrived, said airily, 'Oh, I'm half an hour late.' On the way home, the 200 bus was a mere ten minutes late, a bagatelle on this joke of a service. I've complained to the minister, though that will do no good at all. I also got some quiches for lunch, plus some cakes. An arvo. nap after lunch, and P. is making pasta for dinner.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Home again from Blackwood

On Monday, P. and I picked up Franz the Corolla, packed him and headed for Blackwood. We were suprised by the autumnal colours, both in the town and at the Garden of St Erth nearby. We enjoyed the beautiful gardens (if a little soggy underfoot) and had a cheese plate at their cafe, followed by less healthy chips at the town pub while waiting to check in to our cottage. It was a very comfy one-bedroom place with a very well equipped kitchen (though the oven was a bit mystifying). On Tuesday morning, we went into the Wombat State Forest to see our old kombi camping spot at Nolan's Creek. There was a lone man camping there in the 'new' rotunda but apart from that it was much as it was. We then went through Bullarto to Trentham Falls, gushing from the heavy rain overnight, then into Trentham for morning coffee and cake and a glance at their Anzac march. We bought a meat pie for dinner having established that the Blackwood pub wasn't really a goer. We then went in search of lunch, but most things were closed, as was the Greendale Pub till 2pm, so we went to Ballan where we got a very reasonable lunch plus ANOTHER Anzac March. We escaped just in time to get home for an arvo. nap. The pie was good for dinner. This morning, we awoke to the ducks and kangas, plus numerous birds and parrots. A quick trip back to town, then in the evening, we went off to the Recital Centre for Zoe and Joey (Zoe Black on violin, Joe Chindamo on piano) performing American works by John Adams, Ives and Copland. It was a warm and intimate performance in the Salon, which deserved a larger audience.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday lazing

Well, not quite lazing. I got up reasonably early to get the Sunday Age for the crossword. That will be the major loss when newspapers bite the dust. Then I did some more tidying, which I hate doing, but must get the front room back into working order again. Tonight, it's Billy Bragg and his mate, Joe Henry, in a three-hour concert (including interval) at the Recital Centre. Beforehand, P. and I had a very good, leisurely meal at Blondie. The concert was beautifully constructed and brilliant from two great pros on a rail journey across the U.S.A.

Saturday, April 22, 2017


This morning, P. and I picked up Franz the Corolla and did Victoria Gardens for a very normal shop. Afterwards, P. made guacamole for brunch, very spicy and nice. Now for a nap, though I didn't do most of the tidying I promised myself. Frank is coming for dinner for soto ayam.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Work away

I did lots of work this morning and got the questions off to the authors of the autobiography. What I didn't know was that the one with the internet has been off the air for two and a half weeks since connected to the NBN. Thanks Mal. We caught up later in the day and re-established communication, I hope. P. meanwhile, went off to his U3A film course, this time The Blue Dahlia, film noir with Alan Ladd of the famous standing on boxes or in trenches. P. made Italian sausages with potato and onions, plus salade nicoise for dinner which was delicious.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Working hard

This morning, I did molto work on the autobiography, as well as made soto ayam for dinner. So feeling very virtuous. I should have the questions for the authors ready tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Yesterday (Tuesday), P. had a long lunch with Margaret Noonan, then we had his brand new Vera Bolognese for dinner. Meanwhile, I finally got a bit of work done. I doubt I'll keep to my (self-imposed) deadline, but I'll try to have it done before we head off to Blackwood. Today, I went off early to the Hospital for a check up with Maxillo-Facial. After a deal of misunderstanding, it seems that they actually did the tongue surgery which is why I keep seeing them, but now they are happy for my supervision to be under Ear, Nose and Throat. So I've now got rid of Plastics and Maxillo-Facial after twelve months, and have only one regular hospital visit (plus my Nephrology with Genie). Phew! Tonight, it's off to shortlisted Hannah Gadsby after a cheap and cheerful at Yoyogi. Her show, somewhat misnamed Nanette, was a tour de force which not only made many strong personal points, but also skewered the stand-up medium itself and 'interrogated' how it works and gave reasons for abandoning it and heading back home to Taswegia. She really deserves to win the Barry, though given the content of the show, it would be a huge irony to win an award named after a bloke.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Colour plus

P. and I went to the NGV Australia after breakfast to catch the last day of an exhibition Sue Horton recommended: Who's Afraid of Colour? It is a showing of work in many genres apart from painting, batik silk, bark, pottery etc. all by women artists. I'm glad not to have missed it despite not feeling the best. We also saw a Brook Andrew show, mainly centring around issues of racism and colonisation. Some of it is opaque but the general drift is clear. We had a good, quick lunch at the Gallery cafe, then home for a rest.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Shopping plus brunch but not much else.

This morning, I was feeling a lot better so P. and I picked up Franz the Corolla and went to shop at Victoria Gardens. After dumping the produce at home, we had a very fine brunch at Dr Morse (10% surcharge for public holidays). Time for an arvo nap then salmon for dinner. This morning (Sunday), I got up early and got the paper for the crossword, then had a morning AND afternoon nap. I'm feeling a lot better but my Luminosity (mind games) scores are below par. (They are not that brilliant anyway but are down about 40 points). I should be pretty right by tomorrow, especially with P.'s beef curry for dinner followed by Mr Bean as Maigret. Well, it will be novel.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The lurgi

On Wednesday, I was hit by the dreaded lurgi. I haven't been able to do much except stay in bed and sleep until yesterday (Thursday) when I cooked and ate some of the roast lamb after I felt a bit better. Today, I feel much better but might still stay in bed resting, at least for this morning.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A little of everything

I did a little (teensy) bit more tidying today, plus a visit to the health centre for more pills. I then made French onion soup (for lunch and more), then did a bit of work (tiny) on the autobiography. So I can feel virtuous, but when looked at carefully it does not amount to much. In the evening, P. made a Margaret Fulton pork chop recipe for dinner.

Monday, April 10, 2017

New job and great concert

I started work today on a new autobiography (which I'd previously done a report on) and spoke to both of the authors. It is quite a difficult job, but fortunately the authors don't look as though they are difficult at all. P. and I did a bit more tidying up and had the last of the leek and potato soup for lunch. In the early evening, P. and I went to Fatto at Hamer Hall for a good, quick meal, then went in for a great concert. It started with Rhiannon Giddens and her band for an hour. It wasn't nearly enough for such a great performer but she made way for Bonnie Raitt and her band who gave two hours of a very varied program from rock to blues to ballads. It was an excellent value concert and made up for missing Raitt in Los Angeles (my fault, she was actually in San Francisco. I wasn't aware that there were Greek Theatres in both cities. Who knew?). It was also the first instalment of P.'s birthday presents.

Sunday, April 09, 2017


Yesterday (Saturday), P. and I picked up Franz the Corolla and went to Victoria Gardens for normal shopping. After unloading the shopping, we went to Officeworks to get a few things, mainly a new filing drawer for my front office. We unloaded at home, returned Franz and had leftover beef burgundy for lunch. I made fish soup for dinner and we had an orgy of murder mystery shows: Broadchurch, Spooky Music and Jack Irish. Today, we went on restoring the front room. The computer is working (obviously) without too much angst and trouble. P. is cooking avocado (unsmashed), ham and egg on toast for lunch. After an arvo. nap, we had P.'s leftover vera bolognese for dinner.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Tidying and double bass

P. went off to U3A American Literature while I continued, somewhat lazily, tidying up the stuff in the front room. I've got as far a reassembling the desk and moving a few things. Now, the paintings. After an arvo nap, P. and I went to South Melbourne where we had a good meal at Red Petite Thai cafe in Bank Street with a whole lot of other ANAM-goers including the Inevitable Barry O. Jones. The concert, On The Double was a tribute to the double bass with guest Matthew McDonald. Following the advice of Gypsy Rose Lee, they had a gimmick, a resident team of coffee makers doing double espressos and double espresso martinis (very tasty). The concert was the one time in your life that you'll see a quartet of double basses (a piece oddly called Finnish Tango, who'd believe it). Then there was a Concertante for bass and orchestra by Rota. Delightful pieces by Mozart (Serenata notturna) and Stravinsky (Pulcinella Suite) rounded off a satisfying program.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Carpet and consequences

This morning, I finished off work on the short story and sent it off. The carpet layers arrived for the front room and did their job in about an hour, so now we have to clean and restore everything including this computer to the front room which will probably take most of today and some of tomorrow. Ho hum! However, the front room does look very spiffy and almost new. P. is cooking Robin's pork spare ribs recipe for dinner.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Surveys and reports

First thing this morning, Larissa arrived from RMIT University to do an interview for an ACOSS survey of energy usage and other issues. It was good fun and she was an interesting person. She arrived from Preston by bicycle! P. went off to his U3A architecture course, this time a walk down Swanston Street. In the evening, I went to the Riverkeepers' meeting at the Convent to hear progress on the Yarra Plan by the State Government. There was a spirit of optimism, but it was in contrast to some of the horrors going up on the river nearby. Home again for leftover beef burgundy.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Hi ho Mormons

Today I did some work on the short story which I only need to check tomorrow. I cleared the front room in preparation for the carpet layers on Thursday. Lunch (leek and potato soup) then nap and in the evening P. and I went into town. P. has been running a series on Labor Party elders. Yesterday, he saw Brian Howe in the tram. Today we passed Paul Keating on our way to dinner. After finding several places didn't open early we finished at Punch Lane, which was a bit more upmarket than we had planned. It was a very good meal though and we had two entrees each then P. had a yummy cheese course and I had a meringue and panacotta dessert. We then headed up the road to the Princess for the Book of Mormon. It was entertaining enough but of no significance whatever. The less said the better really. I can't see why it has been so highly praised except for the energy of the cast. I can't imagine how they do days with two shows.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Bach, Bach, Haydn

A quiet day today with just the three cleaners with their giggling (I think they are laughing at us) while P. went to take back his costume to the lenders. Then in the evening we went off to Fat Oma, the very good, very cheap Indonesian eatery in Swanston Street. Afterwards, we went to Hamer Hall for the Australian Chamber Orchestra. It was a program of mainly Bach with his violin concerti for one, two and three violins plus two symphonies by Haydn. It was a wonderful concert (we had to change from yesterday because of the party).

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Arrivals and departures

Yeterday (Friday), we picked up Jacquita, P.'s younger sister, from the airport, then came home and had lunch and a good chat. P. and Jacquita went into town to pick up P.'s costume for tomorrow while I had a nap. In the evening, we went to Mr Ottorino for a meal for the interstate people: Kit, Nick, Michael, Jan, Jacquita, Susan. Frank joined us and we had (I hope) a very good meal and somewhat riotous chat. Home again and bed in preparation for today. This morning, I finished off the beef burgundy. We'll be off about noon to the party. The party went very well, except for two no-shows by people who thought it was at night, not the afternoon. Charcoal Lane did a wonderful job, having turned over the entire ground floor to us. The food was plentiful and excellent. Sue H. gave an excellent speech and everyone seemed to have a good time. We went home afterwards with Jacquita and had the pre-prepared beef burgundy and a good mag. In the morning, I got Franz again and the three of us went to Wastelands to Gold Leaf for yum cha with Kit, Nick and Michael. It was a good farewell. P. took the tram home while I dropped Jacquita, Kit and Nick at the airport with Jacquita going on Virgin and K. & N. went with Deathstar. After a short arvo. nap, P. and I went to the city to have dinner with Sue H. and Jan H. They took us to Supernormal in Flinders Lane where we had a superb multicourse meal, the highlight of which was lamb shoulder, but everything else was delish as well.