Saturday, September 30, 2017

Shopping and a show

Yesterday (Friday), P. and I took Franz on the usual shop (but not Frank who was busy). I also got a good measure of work done before we went shopping. We had leftover potato and leek soup for lunch then a nap. In the evening, we met Frank for an unusual dinner at Colourful Yunnan, a Chinese eatery near Melbourne Uni. It was packed and we were almost the only non-Asian people in the joint. We had a good, moderately-priced meal although there was some difficulty with the wine (there was no white, except bubbly). We then went across the road to the Open Stage (sponsored by La Mama) and Darren Vizer's play/dance/performance Stigma, about post-prep HIV/AIDS and its attendant stigmas and misconceptions. It was an excellent performance and very thought-provoking and stimulating. I won the traditional La Mama raffle: a copy of the poster and a box of condoms!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Good show

Yesterday (Wednesday), Keren went off to the airport after lunch. It was great having her stay. In the early evening, P. and I met Frank at the Malthouse and had a good dinner, though I wish their servings were a little smaller. I had a mountain of very good gnocchi which was impossible to finish. We then saw The Riders, a musical piece by William Burroughs (text) and Tom Waits (songs). The cast were excellent as actors and singers (and movers) in a very good production by Matthew Lutton. The Victorian Opera strikes again. Today (Thursday), I'm ploughing on with proofing autobiography no. 3. I hope to get that and autobiog. no 2 finished before we head to WA. In the evening, I made anchovy and lemon pasta, which I have to say was not bad, followed by an evening of cop shows.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Catch Up

I haven't been blogging, partly because we've been busy with our houseguest Keren L. and partly because we've just been busy. We weren't very busy on Saturday, just having a rest so I didn't blog then. In the evening, we had a very pleasant dinner cooked by Keren with her son, Daniel, visiting. Sunday was busy, with Music in the Round at the nearby Convent. In the morning, P. and I went to the chapel to hear Arcadia Winds, then Sara McIver accompanied by Ian Munro. We would have stayed for the next concert but our bums were sore from the wooden pews. In the afternoon, Keren went to the same concerts and followed up with a piano concert by Anna Goldsworthy while P. and I had a nap. The Music in the Round was well worthwhile and we'll try again next year, I think, especially as it is so close. In the evening, P. and I joined Noel T. and another two of his guests for drinks at the Arts Centre before the Ausdance Awards. We had nibblies and drinks, then went to the Playhouse for the awards. Knowing little about dance, it was an interesting evening. Noel got a Hall of Fame Award which are rather sparingly issued, so it was a great honour. He teared up during his acceptance. The presentation was by his old friend, Robina Beard. On Monday, I got a fair bit of work done, then in the evening, P. and I joined Keren at the Recital Centre for an excellent performance by Latitude 37 of mainly Monteverdi from Orfeo. We then had a good quick meal at Blondie. More work followed on Tuesday followed by a roast lamb dinner. This morning, Keren and I had potato-and-leek soup for lunch while P. headed off for lunch with the still ailing Robin S.

Friday, September 22, 2017


On Tuesday, I picked up Franz and we went off to Werribee Zoo where we enjoyed three-and-a-half hours viewing the various beasties, both African and local. We then repaired to our luxurious accommodation at the Mansion Hotel where we have eaten before but not stayed. We had a dinner, b & b package, so a delicious three-course meal followed with a very superior breakfast. We then walked over to the Mansion itself where we wandered around the house, garden and sculpture walk. Off then to Geelong, where we lunched at the Courthouse Cafe and went to the gallery where we saw the Fred Williams You Yangs exhibition, the collection, a special prints prize show and so on. Further off we went to Barwon Heads where we stayed at the pub. which was spare but quite comfortable and balanced off the luxury of the night before. We had a good dinner at the Boatshed Cafe and a fine breakfast next morning, Thursday at Annie's Provedore. Barwon Heads is blessed with having a good butcher and a packed provedore. We drove back home via the Brisbane Ranges for a nostalgic look at where we used to camp in the Kombi and listen to growling koalas in the night. Once home we settled back and Keren L., who had arrived yesterday, turned up and joined us for chicken curry. This morning, it was shopping as usual. Then after polishing off the remains of the sweet-and-sour pork for lunch, P. and I went off to my Aunt Heather's funeral. It was a good funeral as they go and it was good to catch up with some long-not-seen rellos. In the evening, P. and I went with Keren to Yoyogi for a quickie and then to the Aust. Romantic and Classical 'orchestra' for a night of sextets and quintet by their soloists from far and wide, doing works by Spohr and Mozart. They played well, then it was home for a rest.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fixing things then Francis Bacon

Yesterday morning (Monday), P. and I did various things to tidy up and get ready for Keren L.'s arrival later this week plus other necessary household chores. We had French onion soup for lunch, then in the evening went to Hares and Hyenas for a magnificent performance by Gary Roost, who wrote and performed 'Pope's Head: the secret life of Francis Bacon'. Except it was not very secret, but it was a bravura performance. Afterwards, we went to Moo Chi in Johnston Street opposite for a Japanese-fusion meal, whatever that means. We ordered far too much but it was a delicious meal.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Moving concert

Yesterday (Sunday), I powered away on autobiography no. 3 and got it to a state where I can send it to the co-writer. Peter and I had oysters, fish cakes and salad for lunch, then went to Hamer Hall for a concert by the Zelman Orchestra conducted by Mark Shiell. The occasion was the 75th anniversary of the Babi Yar massacre in Kiev, commemorated in Shostakovich's 13th symphony. Before that there was a world premiere of Harry Sdraulig's Crossway for orchestra and a reprise of Elena Kats-Chernin's flute concerto for Night and Now, played by Sally Walker. The bass solo in the Shosakovich was sung excellently by Adrian Tamburini with a very large male choir to texts by Yevgeny Yevtushenko which were a gigantic finger up the Soviet government which he (just) got away with under the new 'freedom' propogated by Kruschev. Afterwards, we went to Frank's for three of his delicious pizzas.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Brassy but nice

Yesterday I did quite a lot of work on the autobiography (no. 3) BUT NOT ENOUGH. We've got a busy weekend so though I'll try to do a bit, I probably won't get it finished until Monday. Peter went to his U3A film class ('Gaslight', a triumph, he says). In the early evening, we went to CHE, the new Peruvian/Argentinian eatery at the corner of Brunswick and Johnston. It is partly a takeaway joint, but we had quite good empanadas and charcoal chook (beer-soused). As we were early, we then had a cocktail across the road at the pub. Off to St Patrick's of the Holy Hard Pews for an ANAM concert of all brass (plus percussion and organ). All the pieces were rescored for brass so sounded slightly odd. We heard a Neilsen symphony, some Grabrieli bits then Sibelius' 'Finlandia'. It was enjoyable but slightly strange, particularly in this setting. This morning, we went off to do the shopping followed by an excellent brunch at Chomp, our local, which is run by very friendly people. Then Daniel Lavelle, a recent arrival in Melbourne, came round to pick up a key for his mum, Keren, who arrives next Wednesday when we're away. I'm making sweet-and-sour pork for dinner tonight, I kid you not.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Bennelong plus

Yesterday, I did a lot on autobiog. no 3. In the evening, P. and I went to Teatro for a very satisfying, if rather noisy meal, as the joint was fairly full. We then went to the Playhouse for my first view (in the flesh) of Bangarra Dance Company. The show was Bennelong, which has been much applauded and lauded. I can't really comment on the dancing but it seemed very impressive. However, the plot was less so. I did learn that the continent was invaded in 1788 by a crowd of Indigenous hipsters bearing a large number of pairs of distressed jeans. Nothing good came of it. A standing ovation at the end disagreed with me. I suppose I'm just not a ballet fan. Shame I have two grandsons who are ballet dancers, so I'd better get used to it. Today, I'm still working on the autobiog. and still hope to have it off to the co-author tomorrow. P. made delicious roast pork for dinner tonight with roast vegies and vinegar cabbage. The marvellous crackling was all gone by the end of the meal.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Work, work, work

Today, I made a deal of progress on work. I spoke to a co-author in WA, which was very productive. I should finish off my first pass on autobiography no. 3 tomorrow. We had French onion soup for lunch (homemade) and P. has made his delicious osso bucco with risotto for dinner. Frank is coming to share it.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Lovely brunch

Yesterday (Sunday), after essaying the crossword, P., Frank and I went to the new Podesta/Lovett apartment near the Domain interchange. There was an excellent and lavish brunch and a change to catch up with Michael Podesta and his visiting cousin Caitlin from the Gold Coast, here for a conference. It was the day after Michael's 23rd birthday so there was a yummy cake as well. The new flat is very good with a splendid view over the shrine, Botanic Gardens and the east. It is also very convenient to the city. Today, I'll try to get some good work done though there was a slight interruption when Andrew came with the new blinds and had to install them, among other places, in my 'office'. However, I have made good progress on autobiography no. 3, up to nearly halfway through on the first pass. Tonight, anchovy, lemon and breadcrumbs pasta which I mostly made while the blind man was here.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

More music

This morning, the Saturday papers arrived on the front verandah for the third week in a row! After a quick squiz at the offerings, I got back to work and sent off autobiography no. 2 to its co-author for checking, then started on powering through autobiography no. 3 which is going well. We had the last of the soto ayam for lunch and now are about to go into town to Yoyogi for a quickie before going to the Recital Centre for the Brandeburg Orchestra. It was a brilliant concert with fine solos by Jamie Hey in Haydn's cello concerto in C major, and Bert Aerbeydt (a Belgian) in Mozart's concert no. 4 for horn in E flat major.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Penguini dinner

Yesterday (Thursday), I worked on autobiography no. 2, and sent off the latest Chinese short story. Then I went up to Smurf Street to get a new battery for my watch, to the Health Centre for more pills and the shop for the paper and bread. In the evening, I headed off to Hawthorn for a very pleasant dinner at Zen with a new guest, Bill F. It was good to catch up with him and other old Penguinis. Sadly, a few people were away for various reasons but it was still an enjoyable night. Now, it's back to a bit of work before going to pick up Franz the Corolla for the shopping. We went shopping today with Frank then had a good lunch at nearby Chomp, near where Franz lives in Trenerry Crescent. In the evening, we went to a Plexus concert at the Salon which included THREE world premieres plus three other interesting modern pieces. Frank then went home, while P. and I went to Tiamo for an exceptionally good and cheap meal in Carlton. They were justifiably very busy.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Next episode

More work yesterday morning (Wednesday) while P. went off to a U3A committee meeting. I had leftovers for lunch, then Sally S. dropped round in the late arvo for a mag, followed by Frank who came for dinner (soto ayam again). Frank, P. and I went to the city for part II of Angels in America, which was even better than part I. It was a bit longer so we didn't leave until after 11pm, musing muchly over the meaning(s) of the play. One thing is for sure, it hasn't dated.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Angels in America

This morning, I did more work on autobiography no. 2, but not enough. The same old mantra. P. and I had soup for lunch, then met Frank at Tazio in Flinders Lane for a quite good dinner. It was recommended by 45downstairs where we then went for episode one of Angels in America, a two-part play. The rest is tomorrow. It is a marvellous play with never a dull moment in the first three hours with a superb cast. I can't wait until tomorrow night.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Sublime music

Yesterday (Sunday), I got up early to get the paper for the crossword which was completed with great despatch, I did a little bit of work and sent an interim report on Novel 2 to its author. We had pea and mint soup for lunch, then went to the Recital Centre for the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, curated by Genevieve Lacey who played in many pieces including recorder concertos by Vivaldi and Sammartini. Other highlights included Beethoven's Grosse Fugue and a beautiful pared-down version of Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis. We went home and I made a broad bean and anchovy salad which we had with leftover moussaka. Today, I just worked on autobiography no. 2. It is not far from being ready to send back to the authors. P. went off shopping while the cleaners came and whizzed through. I had leftover pea and mint soup for lunch, very refreshing and made soto ayam for dinner.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

A fair bit of work

Yesterday (Friday), I finished off the end of month with great despatch and got a fair bit of work done on Autobiography no. 2 and Novel no. 2 but NOT ENOUGH. In the evening, P. made a moussaka which was delicious with lots leftover f'rafter. More cop shows and Vuelta (a bit). This morning, P. and I picked up Franz the Corolla and Frank the Person and did the Victoria Gardens shopping, then had a very good brunch at Dr Morse after the hipsters got over the pain of dealing with grey-haired customers. Now P. is off to Noel's to help with the washing and I'm attempting to catch up on some work on Novel no. 2. In the evening, I made not-very-impressive curried sausages for dinner, then we had lots of cop shows.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Lots to do

Yesterday (Thursday), I went up early to Coles near Brunswick Street to get some stuff I needed for recipes, then got some pills from the Health Centre. Helen the nurse had just got back from four weeks in Sri Lanka which was a bit of a mixed bag, possibly a bit long when one temple looks a bit like another and one curry is just as hot as the last. We had pea and mint soup for lunch (made from the Coles stuff) then headed off to Melbourne University for a Chado (Japanese tea ceremony) demonstration. This went for two hours rather than the usual four but was fascinating nonetheless. We consumed sweets (Mt Fuji and Cherry Blossom) and a cuppa drunk in the more-or-less approved fashion. It was a very well-organised event. Then after a quick sojourn at home, we joined Frank at Yoyogi for a good quickie thence to Hamer Hall for Andrew Davis giving an analysis of Bruckner's Seventh, then playing the whole thing with gusto. Bruckner seemed to have learned about longeurs from Wagner but it was an enjoyable concert which the orchestra seemed to enjoy too, perhaps because they don't do it very often. The only problem was that I didn't do much work so I'll try to rectify that today. The only problem is, it is the end of the month with all the arithmetic that goes with that.