Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Art plus

This morning, I did a quick trip to the Health Centre to stock up on pills, then P. and I went to the Nova to see Rafael, a dramatised doco on the Renaissance artist. Its drama was a bit stilted and thin, but the pics of the paintings and locales of Italy were breathtaking. I could have done without the 3D treatment of the paintings. Though it did highlight some of the foregrounds, it was artificially 3Ding 2D objects. A very enjoyable fillum followed by good brunch at Trotters. In the evening, P. made the leftover chook and roast veggies into a good dinner.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A Day at Home, almost

Today (Tuesday), I did a bit more tidying, got a new job (another report) and generally mooched around. We had the last of the soto ayam for lunch, then in the evening, went to Frank's place for a really nice meal including rhubarb (home grown by one of his colleagues at the radio station) for dessert.

Musical feast

Yesterday (Monday), the cleaners came on their fortnightly whizz through the house. I did a bit more tidying. It goes slowly, partly through my lack of interest. In the early evening, P. and I went to the Recital Centre for a longer than usual Salon concert by Plexus. There were three world premieres of work by Brigid Burke, Andrian Pertout and Andrew Ford, plus a work by Gernot Wolfgang. All were for piano, violin and clarinet and all were absorbing. The highlight was a re-arrangement for the same instruments of Mahler's Kindertotenlieder sung by Liane Keegan. It was a real privilege having such a performance in an intimate space. Home for leftover fish pie.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sunday, sweet Sunday, with nothing to do.

This morning, I got up early to get the Sunday Age for the crossword which was duly completed. I had an overdue catchup with Jill W. on the phone, then pork pies (which P. got at yesterday's market) for lunch. Not much else to do but nap and have P.'s famous chicken for dinner.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Saturday stirrings

This morning was Saturday Paper morning, plus the Weekend Australian. The Saturday Paper had a good piece on the ATO scam revealing that Doug Cameron's office worked it out after a constituent complaint in three days. The ATO didn't for a year. We had leftover beef and mushroom pie for lunch. In the evening, we joined Frank at Salon de Sushi in Clarendon Street for another good meal then went round the corner to ANAM for a brass and percussion concert with guest director, Stefan Dohr. It was a very varied and creative program including one work for percussion which was 'on table' for hands and voices and another for three horn players with only mouthpieces to make noise (plus voices). More conventional works like Fanfare for the Common Man and a West Side Story suite for brass and percussion made up a great program.


Yesterday (Friday), P. and I picked up Delila (Franz was being unfaithful again), then Frank and did Victoria Gardens. We then brunched at the refurbished Bedford Street, now named mysteriously Twilight Terror! The brunch menu is similar but the food section is now broths and Asian-style dishes. It was a pleasant enough brunch but not as good as before. I hope they know what they're doing. After a nap, I made a fish pie for dinner which took longer and much more effort than I thought, but it was worth it, and we have another meal at least left over.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Still tidying up

On Tuesday and Wednesday this week, I have continued to slowly put together the front room and office. It is slow work as at every turn papers need to be sorted or filed. I also began to organise a trip to the King Valley and Bright in June for our monthly trip to the 'bush'. This one looks as though it might be a bit of a low-key gourmet bash in Milawa, Whitfield and Bright. In the early evening, P. and I joined Frank and went for a good meal at Teatro where we indulged in very sweet desserts. Then off to Hamer Hall for the MSO with a new piece by Elena KatsChernin, which, if I were being unkind, I would say was okay but a bit like movie music. Then Tchaikovsky's first piano concerto played by replacement pianist, Alexander Gavryluk, followed by a brilliant performance of Petrushka. It was a very good concert, well conducted by Bramwell Tovey and the orchestra responded enthusiastically.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Home and going away

This morning, I finalised nearly all of the details of our Perth trip later in the year. Then I continued restoring the front office room. In the evening, P. and I went to Yoyogi for a quickie, thence to the Recital Centre for the Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra with a program of Rossini and Schubert. Fiona Campbell warbled a few famous Rossini arias very well and the orchestra played two overtures. Then there were two Schubert pieces (an Interlude Overture and the Unfinished Symphony, the best version you're ever likely to hear). Sadly, Richard Gill was ill and couldn't conduct so visiting concertmaster, Jakob Lehmann took over the baton and produced a wonderful sound (as prepared by Gill). Perhaps the combo worked to the good. Home again.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Rabbits, Home and Away

This morning, I went to get the Sunday paper for the crossword. As often happens when I leave early on Sunday, there is a fluffy pet-type rabbit in the street. There's a grey one and a brown one. It is NOT an hallucination. After the crossword, I continued making the soto ayam for dinner. Meanwhile, P. made 'sliders' for lunch out of leftover pork belly plus newly made slaw with yummy dressing and brioche buns. Very tasty. In the late arvo, we went to the Malthouse for a fresh production of Michael Gow's 'Away'. It was a very engaging play (eat your heart out, David Williamson) which was funny, penetrating and enjoyable. We then went home for the soto ayam and a detective night on the telly.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Rare opera

I spent most of yesterday morning (Friday), tidying up the huge number of emails which accumulated during a mere four days away. After French onion soup for lunch and a nap, I went into town for the Oz Opera doing King Roger by Polish composer, Szymanowski, a co-production with Covent Garden and Dallas Opera. So short of travelling to Dallas or London, this was my chance. After a quick bite at Barre, I enjoyed the show which was beautifully played, sung and acted. It is quite a powerful account of the turmoil around the first world war and the Russian revolution when old worlds fell apart. P. was not feeling well so stayed home. Today, shopping and not much else. We took Franz (without Frank, who was at his radiothon) and did normal shopping at Victoria Gardens. After French onion soup for lunch (the last of it for a while), we had oysters and beer-battered fish for dinner and just a night with the telly.

Friday, May 19, 2017


On Monday this week, P. and I went via Virgin to Sydney town. We got the train from the airport to Circular Quay which was a short walk to our hotel, the Sir Stamford which was very comfy. We had a short walk in the Botanic Gardens opposite before going round the corner to Ananas for dinner with Nick, David, Kirrilly and Jo U. We had a great diner and a very good mag. Next day, we walked across the Gardens to an exhibition of botanic drawings thence to the art gallery to see various things including an Andrew Warhol exhibition of his stuff before he was famous. We had a good lunch but the National exhibition of recent art was a bit opaque. In the evening, we went out to Croydon where Kit provided a very nice meal and we caught up with her, Neville and Ben. Next morning, Wednesday, we took advantage of the fine day to have a short harbour trip around past Barangaroo to the Maritime Museum which was quite interesting. In the evening was the main purpose of our visit, seeing David S. in the Nutcracker: Clara's Story. It was a fun experience and David was great. We had a good quick meal first at our hotel, then a pre-theatre drink with Nick. On Thursday, we went to the Museum of Contemporary Art which is always reliable both for accessible exhibits and a good lunch. In the evening, we had a quick bite at Movida at the airport (very good) and a smooth trip back to Melbourne. All in all a great short trip.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Lunch and dinner

Yesterday (Sunday), P. and I did the Sunday crossword as usual, then I did some more booking for WA. It is not yielding any marvellous finds for accommodation in the SE near the National Parks unless you are into self-catering. We then headed citywards to the Elephant and Wheelbarrow (corner Exhibition and Bourke which Frank has confirmed was once the site for Thomas's records) for lunch with Ian and Julie which was very pleasant indeed, catching up. In the evening, P. cooked delicious pork belly and Frank came for dinner, followed by homemade icecream.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Saturday music fest

Yesterday (Saturday), P. and I spent a quiet morning reading the Saturday papers. I did some more booking for Perth and SW WA getting more and more discouraged by the poor quality of the accommodation in the sticks (the comments are especially dire: shower leaked, cold tap didn't work). We had French onion soup for lunch then a nap then went to South Melbourne for an excellent meal at Salon de Sushi and an invigorating concert at ANAM. Richard Tognetti energetically conducted the student orchestra (much supplemented to make 52 strings) in works by Penderecki, Greenwood and Brahms. Contrasting they were but so much the better. It was a bargain at $39! for such a wonderful experience.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Shopping, brunch and not much else

This morning, P. and I picked up Delila (Franz was being unfaithful with someone else) and then Frank and did Victoria Gardens shopping. We then did Bunnings in Victoria Parade for variety and for potting mix, pea straw and pest bombs (for Frank and P.). I then went to the Health Centre for pills and we finished with brunch at the Bluebird Cafe which was good as usual (Frank and I had the pulled pork, poached eggs and waffles and P. had the burger). Then it was home for a nap, battered fish for dinner and a night with the telly for once after all our gallivanting.

Busy old day: 'There's a cafe on the corner'

Yesterday (Friday), I spent most of the morning complaining about non-delivery of P.'s birthday present (the CSIRO bird book), the long delay configuring our solar power by the distributor Citipower and Allianz insurances refusal to give us travel insurance because of the kidney transplant. I then joined Frank on the bus and tram to ANAM in South Melbourne for a rehearsal by Richard Tognetti of the ANAM orchestra of parts of Brahms first symphony (which we're seeing on Saturday night). It was a fascinating process and our estimation of Tognetti certainly went up for his careful and respectful marshalling of the young orchestra. We then shared lunch at Salon de Sushi in Clarendon Street. I departed for the NGV where I spent some time having a look at the permanent collection (Chinese and European). I also sneaked some crotchless sandwiches and an iced coffee for arvo tea. In the evening, I joined P. at Yoyogi for a good meal. The sashimi is back on form after an unfortunate lapse last time. Thence to the State Theatre for the Oz Opera with Carmen. It was a good production and performance. John Bell's direction and concept worked well and most of the cast were excellent. Carmen(Rinat Shaham) had a good lower register but was a bit underpowered in the higher notes as was Escamillo (Shane Lawrence), a bean pole on chicken hormones, though not so much on the lower notes. On the other hand, Don Jose, Dmytro Popov, is someone to watch as is local Stacey Alleaume as Micaela. As well, Jane Ede and Sian Pendry gave unusually strong and delightful Frasquita and Mercedes. A good night. We got home to find that P.'s bird book had arrived.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Cabaret and lunch

Yesterday, the gas man cameth to service the gas heater, whose pilot light has been going out, and Barry D. came for lunch. We had a good mag and he gave us copies of his new book on Ronald Ryan which is selling well. In the evening, we met Frank at Bistrot d'Orsay for a good meal which was a bit slow in coming in spite of us arriving very early. Then we saw Cabaret at the next-door Athenaeum which was a bravura performance starring Paul Capsis with a uniformly good cast including Kate Fitzpatrick as Frau Schneider. It was a gritty performance, well sung, danced and acted.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Coffee Concert

Yesterday (Monday) was a welcome quiet day at home after a few days of frenzied activities. I did a bit more organising for our WA trip and made very simple fish patties for dinner. This morning, P. and I went to the Recital Centre, our home away from home, for a Musica Viva coffee concert. I actually got two cakes this time before the middle-class locusts devoured all of them. We then saw Emma Black (oboe) and Caroline Almonte (piano) perform French works by Saint-Saens, Dutilleux, Olivet and Poulenc. The great thing about these short concerts is that you see combos you probably wouldn't go to an evening concert to hear. Both these musicians were excellent. We had lunch at the new AU79 in nearby Nicholson Street which was excellent if a bit filling and P. went off to his U3A art appreciation class. Budget night tonight, though we might give ScoMo a miss.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Confession time

This morning, I went and became a complicit scab by buying the Sunday Age. I just can't cope with a Sunday without the big crossword. One day it will cease publication and I'll have to withdraw. The newspaper without staff was extremely thin and uninteresting. I've sent off the copies of P. and my passports to the travel agent which will set in inexorable motion the going to South America (well, not quite. It would be possible to extricate without too much pain). This afternoon is the supposed last performance of Noel's Little Black Bastard but so said Madame Melba. It was a tour-de-force with a bravura performance under the pressure of exhaustion and possibly pain. Certainly, the emotional pain shone through. It might or might not be the last time Noel Tovey is on stage but it was very powerful, emotionally and technically. As it was a late afternoon show, we went home to P.'s chicken casserole, prepared under less than ideal circumstances, that is, cooked in the morning and reheated. A series of TV copshows completed the evening.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Shopping and new music part two

This morning, after a quick read of the Saturday papers, P. and I picked up Franz the Corolla then Frank and got photocopies of our passports for the travel agent, coffee beans in Brunswick Street and the usual shopping at Victoria Gardens. We passed on a brunch out because we're all meeting tonight for tea. We had a very quick meal at Fat Oma, the new Indonesian eatery in Swanston St, then went to the Recital Centre for Metropolis part II. This included what the compere called palate cleansers of Bach's Harpsichord Concerto no. 6 for harpsichord and two recorders and a Vivaldi Violin Concerto rescored for oud and recorder which gave it a novel timbre. There were also two new works by emerging composers under the Cybec program, Ade Vincent and Connor D'Netto, and a Recorder Concerto by Willem Jeths, ably performed by uber-recorder player Erik Bosgraaf. There were some supplementary oud pieces by Joseph Tawadros. Both Metropolis concerts were well-crafted and balanced and, by the end, full of fezzes.

Friday, May 05, 2017

The Sleepwalker

This morning, P. went off to his U3A American literature session on 'Death of a Salesman', while I tried to fix up the itinerary for WA (the hirecars don't work fulltime on the weekends; why did I imagine that they would, WA is only trying to attract tourists). That done, I had lunch, P. returned and we had a nap. In the evening we joined Frank at Teatro at the Arts Centre and had a good meal then went to Hamer Hall for a concert performance of Bellini's 'La Sonnambula'. Richard Mills had done a great job of putting it together and it sounded splendid. The women outsang the men by a mile: Jessica Pratt, Greta Bradman and Roxane Hislop, though the men were not bad either. Greta Bradman was probably the best Lisa you'll see anywhere. It was great stuff with never a dull moment which is amazing for such a lame story.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

More housekeeping

Today, I did more stuff on both our West Australian trip and our South American trip. It seems odd planning things six and twelve months in advance, but early bookings are essential in both cases. P. is still crook but might still make the Metropolis concert tonight. I've got to make a trip to the Club (Royal Melbourne) for an ENT visit. I hope they will tell me I'm perfect too. They did and want me to come back later in May as a demo model for their surgery students. So long as they don't want any prac. work, I'm very happy to help with training as I did once or twice with ultrasound students. I met Frank (P. was still unwell) for a quickie at Yoyogi, then we went to an excellent Metropolis concert with ouds, harpsichords, recorders and full orchestra. A funfest of unusual material. Saturday's follow-up concert looks just as good.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Medical trivia

Yesterday (Tuesday), I went off to see Genie the Nephrologist. I shouldn't indulge in hubris but she said all my indicators were perfect and sent me off until Ausgust. We had quiches I bought on the way home for lunch but P. was feeling fluey so had to pass on his U3A art session. We had leftover fishcakes for dinner. Today, it's a bit of housekeeping and getting more of our trips sorted out (WA and South America). First up, I went to the post office and Officeworks for stamps and copies of our Seniors cars for a Sydney Opal ticket (I know it is ridiculously complicated). Thence to the Health Centre for a pills top-up and then to the petrol station for a restock of milk. All of this took around two hours which seems ridiculous and is. Now, home again to go on with the housekeeping. We've now got a revised version of the South American trip and P. has made delicious lamb shanks for dinner.

Monday, May 01, 2017

End of Month

Today is the end of month day when I settle the accounts and do my Business Activity Statement. I am very petty and take delight in getting a small refund from the ATO, even if it is only nine dollars. Also, the cleaners came and spread cheer and cleanliness. We had soup for lunch, then in the evening went into Yoyogi for a quickie then to the Recital Centre for the Tinalley Quartet who played very well through Janacek, Beethoven and Dvorak. We meet up with Cathy and Rod in the foyer beforehand, and the barman (Irish) gave me a discount for being a frequent flyer.