Friday, June 30, 2017

Home all day

Today, P. and I weren't quite at home all day. In the morning, we got Franz the Corolla and did the shopping, got meds from the health centre and coffee from Brunswick Street (is that the same thing?). We then had soup for lunch and P. went off for dinner with Margaret N. and the Kent Clan. I stayed at home and watched the teev. and had leftovers.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

And one for Mahler

Today I did a bit of work on one of the autobiographies while P. met with the Shaw sisters. In the evening, we joined Frank for a good meal at Teatro in the Arts Centre then saw the MSO do Schubert's Unfinished Symphony. We saw it a few weeks ago with the Romantic and Classical Orchestra, so with smaller forces and 'original' instruments. I preferred the more focussed version, though P. liked the power of the full symphony forces. Both are valid. We then enjoyed Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde which was superbly done with excellent soloists. Mr Rabbit (Sir Colin Davis), the conductor, should be very proud of it; he looked it. Stuart Skelton did a belting good job of the tenor part while Catherine Wyn-Rogers did the alto part very well. We were close to the stage so got the full force and clarity of both singers. Thank you. By the by, I was pondering P. Keating's love of Mahler's work. Even though I never approved of Keating and Hawke's sellout to market forces (whatever they are), nonetheless I miss a prime minister of such wit who was a lover of good music. Where are they now?

Darkest Peru

I was pleased to hear on Radio National this morning that Paddington Bear came from 'darkest Peru'. We now have a replacement for yellow fever territory in Peru. We will see the Andean Condor instead of the Amazon. Yesterday (Wednesday), after a good stint of work (the first for over a week), P., Frank and I joined Jane N. at the new AU79 for brunch. Unfortunately, it was in the Good Food best cafes this week, so it was full and noisy but the food was good. Jane had a monster plate of breakfast greens (the usual suspects) and I had the same croquettes I had last time which were also very large with lots of sauerkraut, sweet corn, salsa and two poached eggs. We had a good mag and it was good to catch up. P. and I had leftover osso bucco for dinner and watched the very satisfying end of 'Fargo'.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Culture vultures

This morning, I contacted Genie the nephrologist to enquire about my possible vaccinations for South America. It turns out I can't have yellow fever vaccine as it is 'active', hence verboten with my anti-rejection pills. So I've had to cancel the Amazon part of the tour as it requires yellow fever innoculation. I haven't had a reply yet on possible replacements. Then, P. and I went into town (with a few public transport hiccups and delays) to see the Musica Viva Coffee Concert, this time with the Consort of Melbourne singing with twelve singers (4 of each) which gave both a unified and identifiable sound. They did vocal versions of works which were originally written as orchestral (mostly) by Mahler, Barber, Bach, Elgar, Haydn and so on. It was a very uplifting concert. We also caught up with Sal, back from her European sojourn. We then went to the NGV for the Van Gogh exhibition. It was good but uncomfortably crowded with some people making pests of themselves with their mobile phones taking pictures of pictures. Because the exhibition didn't have Vincent's greatest hits, it was good to see less familiar paintings and drawings which gave new perspectives on his work. Some were splendid. We then retired to the tea room where I had my favourite crotchless sandwiches and cake. P. had a smoked trout salad and cake. Home again for a short nap and more vera bolognese for dinner.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Quietening down

On Sunday, we did nothing much apart from the Sunday Crossword. We had soup (tinned) for lunch, then leftover vera bolognese, very delicious, for dinner. Today, we picked up Delila (Franz was being unfaithful after spending a week with us) and did some catchup shopping at Victoria Gardens, followed by a good, spicy brunch at the Bluebird Cafe. Tonight, a fish dinner from the Gardens.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Week in the high (sort of) country

On Monday, P. and I picked up Franz the Corolla, packed the car and headed for the Hume Freeway. We went off the freeway at Tallarook and headed via Yea (for morning tea) to Merton, where Anne and Joe gave us some lovely soup for lunch plus tea to speed us on our way. We went via Mansfield on the magnificent Mansfield to Whitfield Road (apparently very popular in the weekends for motorbikes and car rallies) but very peaceful during the week. We paused at the Power the Bushranger's Lookout over the King Valley then descended to Whitfield where we booked into the comfy pub. The food was very good there for our two-night stay as was the breakfast at the Whitty Cafe across the road. On the second day, we went down the road to Cheshunt where we caught up with Chris Arnold and his partner Virginia, who sadly had received a Bali bug from a returning fellow Cheshuntian. We went with Chris to the beautiful Chrismont winery for lunch, reminisced about La Trobe in the old days and left laden with goodies (limes and preserves). Their house and property on the King River is superb. On Wednesday, we went off on the back road (unsealed) from Cheshunt to Dandongadale, a beautiful drive and contrary to some maps, a very good road. Up the Buffalo Valley to Bright and a checkin to the not-very-distinguished Riverside motel where the aircon for heating was quite asthmatic and noisy and the shower very leaky. However, we stayed more or less warm and at the owner's recommendation had a very good Thai meal in town. Next day, we went up to Mount Buffalo and the Ladies' Bath Falls walk, plus the plateau with sprinklings of snow. Sadly, the Gorge View was shrouded in mist the whole time. We had a refreshing drink at the revamped Porepunkah Pub. We had a very good dinner at Thirteen Steps, a local cellar eatery which was quite lively. Next day (Friday), we took a short drive into picturesque Harrietville for breakfast (no poached eggs here) then headed for Milawa and its attractions (cheese factory and mustard shop and gin distillery), thence to the Lindenwarrah Hotel where we had a one-night package in a very luxurious room, to make up for Bright, and an excellent dinner and breakfast. On Saturday, it was back to Melbourne down the Hume and a nap then off to Yoyogi with Frank the Victorian Opera's splendid production of Janacek's Cunning Little Vixen. What a good week!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday and Melbourne Chamber Orchestra

This morning, I got the Sunday Age and we completed the crossword with only a little difficulty or two. After beetroot and cabbage soup for lunch P. and I went to the Recital Centre for the MCO 'Night' concert. Works by Wagner, Schoenberg, Schubert, Bartok, Mendelssohn, Strauss and local composer Lachlan Skipworth made for a varied program, directed by Rebecca Chan with tenor Andrew Godwin belting out the songs. Peter has made osso bucco for dinner with risotto to go with it.


Yesterday (Saturday), I had a quiet morning, with a little bit of work after perusing the Saturday papers. I had leftovers for lunch while P. did some shopping in town. In the early evening, we joined Frank at St Crispin for an excellent Scion dinner. Rolley, the winemaker and co-owner, was there to talk us through the matched wines from Scion, Rutherglen, while the restaurant produced an excellent five-course meal with very fresh, tasty produce. We rolled home replete and look forward to the next one in, probably, November.

Friday, June 16, 2017

A bit of work

This morning, I did a bit of work on the Sydney autobiography and contacted the subject/co-author for the first time. I can't say our discussion was very fruitful, but I've left a message with his co-author. I had leftovers for lunch while P. went to his U3A film course. Then Frank, P. and I went off to Noel T.'s place for a very good dinner with Darren the theatre maker. We had lots of good disagreements and Noel T. is working on book three! More to follow.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Medical matters and Creation

This morning, I went off to the Health Centre to get my prescriptions renewed and make enquiries about inoculations for South America. That down, I came home for pastrami sandwiches for lunch (we got yummy pastrami from the Smokehouse in Lilydale on our way back from Healesville yesterday). In the evening, we joined Frank at Yoyogi for a quick meal, then went to Homo Hall for Haydn's Creation with the MSO. It was an excellent performance with fine soloists and a fairly disciplined orchestra. The choir was a bit big and fuzzy therefore but the whole was very impressive.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


First up this morning (well, at 9.30), P. and I picked up Franz the Corolla and Frank the birthday boy and headed to Tarrawarra Gallery with a stop at Chateau Yering, to stock up on caramel fudge and marmalade. The main game was an exhibition of William Dobell artworks plus some works from the Gallery collection by people who were his colleagues and friends. It was a very absorbing exhibition with some fine works I hadn't seen before (the Sali Herman streetscapes were splendid). We then lunched at Giant Steps remodeled eatery and had an excellent lunch. I had spicy scallops and spicy prawns (not together). After having three different desserts, we departed replete.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Bachwards and forward

This morning, I spent quite a deal on one of my autobiographies (the NSW one) and the Thai cleaners came and whizzed around. P. went off to U3A and in the arvo retired sick. So I went with just Frank to the Song Company doing a very unusual program based around Bach, Luther and modern works inspired by them. It was beautifully performed with cello and organ and some extra singers, including the splendid counter-tenor Tobias Cole. But it is unfair to single out anyone in the wonderful ensemble. Beforehand, we had a very good tapas meal at Movida Nextdoor which we got into by arriving early before it filled up.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Brunswick Street

A quiet morning catching up with WA, where it isn't Betty Battenburg's phoney Birthday. P. and I then went up to Brunswick Street to Hares and Hyenas where we made their day by doing a few purchases, then went to the Fitz in B'wick Street for an excellent brunch. My meal had REAL pesto and hollandaise that tasted of lemon not bottle. Home again for a nap, then for dinner we had frozen dumplings followed by onion and rosemary fritatta. Then the grand guignol of Four Corners recapping the Twilight State. Scary.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Cold Sunday

It was freezing this morning as I went to get the Sunday Age. The rabbits are still hopping around the corner of Paterson Street and Valiant Street, apparently quite unperturbed by humans passing by. We had fish cakes for lunch and P. is making borscht for dinner. A very impressive array of cop shows on the teev tonight including some on Ivoo. 'Forgotten' is probably the pick of the bunch, though it remains to be seen how it unravels but I really liked the final episode of my favourite 'Line of Duty' where a suitably ambiguous but somehow just finish occurred.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Too much Vivaldi

This morning, after a quick scan of the Saturday papers, P. and I picked up Franz the Corolla early then Frank the real person like yourself and headed for Woodend. We stopped for morning tea in Gisborne but still got to Woodend too early so went on a very pleasant forest drive to Mount Macedon. We returned for an excellent concert by the Australian Guitar Trio in a program varying from classical to recent. Best thing was a segue from Bach to the Beatles. It was in St Ambrose Church, a very unimpressive pile with typical plaster statues and humdrum stations of the Cross. After a good lunch in the main street of Woodend, we returned for what should have been a good concert of Vivaldi vesper pieces. The first 'half' went for an hour and three-quarters. All of the performers were brilliant and I admire their stamina but by the sixth Gloria I was gasping for air. What had started as enjoyable became cruel and unusual punishment for both the audience and players. We left at interval, unable to stand any more. It was a great pity that, as happens in many rock concerts, no one told the main players when to stop. Home for leftovers for dinner, plus oysters from Coffin Bay, supposedly.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Shopping plus musical innovation

After a bit of administrative tidying up this morning, we picked up Franz and Frank and went to Victoria Gardens, then had brunch at Chomp near Franz's parking pod. An oddity is that Rachel B-S. sent me a copy of an invitation to a launch of a book of Elizabeth Durack's scribblings, edited by Perpetua Durack-Clancy (or whatever she is calling herself this week), published by Conor Court (publishers of Barry Dickins, George Pell and Cory Bernardi), launched by Bill Reed (!) at the Kimberley Bookshop in a coupla weeks. What a cast!

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Work, work, work but not all the time.

Today, I spent most of the morning working, then went with P. to Carlton at lunchtime for a meal at Trotters, which was quite good. We then went to the Potter Gallery at Melbourne Uni. P. went to his U3A gallery tour while I did a quick peruse through a very impressive set of galleries: two video installations: one about world migration catastrophes, one about oceans; one about Indonesia, including refugee stories and historical dioramas; an antiques exhibition about Syrian relics being disrupted by the present wars; and an exhibition of American and Australian early colonial landscapes which were fascinating but a bit murky from not having been cleaned for a while. Then home again for a nap and leftovers for dinner.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

More novel then Hello Dolly

This morning, I finished working through the revised novel and tomorrow I'll do the report for the publisher. It looks like a goer to me, so I hope that they'll do it. I had some leftover rosti for lunch while P. went for lunch with Robin S. in Carlton. We're off to Fatto for dinner with Frank, then to the Production Company for Hello Dolly. It's not Bette Midler, who's reviving it for Broadway, but this is Melbourne after all. Beforehand, we had a quick pre-theatre dinner at Fatto during their Negroni special week, so we all started with cheap Negronis. The show was excellent. Marina Prior is not Bette Midler but was very good. More to the point, the rest of the cast including the hardworking chorus were full bottle so it was a great performance with minimal staging but high-coloured costumes.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

More novel

A much more substantial go at the revised novel this morning. I have to do a detailed report so I'm going through it carefully. I must say I am impressed by the improvements the author has made to it. P. has made sweet potato and lentil soup which we'll have some of for lunch and I've begun the makings of a chicken and cider dish with celeriac and spring onion rosti as an accompaniment for dinner.

Guitar plus quartet

Yesterday, I did a bit of work on the novel, then we had soup for lunch. In the early evening, P. and I went off to Yoyogi for a quick meal, thence to the Recital Centre for the Australian String Quartet. The first half of the concert was for quintet as they were joined by guitarist Slava Grigoriyan, the spouse of the cellist, Sharon. The works by Ralph Towner and Australian Iain Grandage were engaging rather than splendid. What was breathtaking was the quartet playing Schubert's string quartet in G major. The balance achieved was truly remarkable, especially in the quieter sections.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Simple Sunday

It was a foggy morning this morning so it was very cold when I set off to get the Sunday paper for the crossword, especially as I had overstayed in the double-doona bed to take advantage of the warm. P. made sardines on toast for lunch as well as soup for later on, and I'm making simple salmon cakes for dinner with more, and with luck, better detective shows.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

'Normal' Saturday

P. and I read some of the Saturday papers then picked up Franz and went to Victoria Gardens for the usual shop. Frank was occupied at 3MBS. We then took Franz back and noticed that Chomp in Trenerry Crescent was open. It is now open 7 days a week. The brunch was excellent; P. had a hamburger which was real and had probably the best chips in Melbourne. I couldn't resist the smashed avocado and fetta with poached eggs in dishonour of Bernard Salt. We'll return. P. is making seared tuna for dinner with smoked eggplant (a precarious enterprise involving burning the eggplant on the stovetop). It turned out to be delicious, if a bit too much as we overbought the tuna. Speaking of delicious, I watched the first two episodes (one on i-vue). Some quite ridiculous plot triggers. Even 'The Coroner' and 'New Tricks' were more plausible and that's saying something. I think it might have been a case of cast first then worry about the plot.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Gutters and so on

Peter the Gutter Man came (or at least his Middle Eastern workers did) this morning to remove (I hope) all the plane tree leaves from our gutters and prevent any overflowing causing damage in the roof. I then did some more on the revised novel and P. went off to U3A American Literature. Tonight, I'll make anchovy pasta for a quick dinner and we'll laze with the detective shows.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

A little bit of work

This morning, I did the end-of-month accounts with great despatch, then a bit of work on the report on the novel. I'm about a third of the way through the book and it is a HUGE improvement on the first draft. We had trendy carrot, ginger and kale soup for lunch. It wasn't very nice. In the evening, P. and I went to the Recital Centre. We had a drink and some fries then saw Syzygy play four minimalist works (very quiety) which were meant to stretch our auditory capacities. They were haunting indeed. Then I caught very prompt trams and trains to the old Penguinis dinner in Hawthorn. This was a small one, of five, Jo, Andrew, Jackie, Rosanne and me, but was very enjoyable. (Sadly it coincided with an important children's book launch in Carlton, which explained two absences.)