Saturday, December 30, 2017

Quietish day after the storm

The lamb went down very well last night. We all slept quite well, though the girls slept very well till after 11am. We're now off to yum cha. The yum cha, in the Emporium building, went very well with Lesley and Michael P. plus the rest of us. We came home and had pizza for dinner after Nick and the girls went off shopping with Michael. On Sunday, P. and I did the crossword as usual then we all went to the zoo. (Allie went off to brunch with a friend on the way.) We had a good, if hot, time at the zoo and came home for French onion soup. We collected some nibblies and champers and went off to Lesley and Louise's place for New Year celebrations. Unfortunately, two buses were missing and the public transport was in chaos, but Allie found a way to get there on her device. We had good nibbles (Lesley had some superb nibbles too) then crossed the road to the Shrine to view the ten minutes of absurd extravagance which were indeed spectacular, then home by cab. Today we a very quiet day, with Nick, Allie and Maggie going off to a movie while P. and I made dinner: gazpacho and pea and bean salad with anchovies followed by two icecreams (homemade). Then they headed off for the Tasmanian ferry while we settled in for a very quiet night. It was a very welcome visit which we appreciated very much.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Shopping and an early arrival

P. and I picked up Franz and Frank this morning (the car and the person) and went to Victoria Gardens for normal shopping and Brunswick Street for coffee beans. Nick, Allie and Maggie arrived a bit early so we went off to Dr Morse for a good lunch. The visitors went off to the city for shopping and the blood bank (!!) and P. and I went home for a nap. Down came the rain, which stopped the cricket among other things, while we prepared roast lamb for dinner. Nick had forgotten to tell us that Maggie is now vego. but fortunately we can accommodate that. I forgot to tell him to remember the Mykis, but fortunately he did that himself.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Movies

Yesterday (Wednesday), I did lots of proofing on the novel and finished it off, bar checking the smart quotes. Some of them (not many) are not smart. The cleaners whizzed through the place while P. went off to the gallery which was packed. I made anchovy, lemon and breadcrumb pasta for dinner and we watched a very boring Mrs Simpson. This morning (Thursday), P. and I went to the Nova to use our tickets (thanks, Sal) to see 'Call Me By Your Name' which is not a very good title as it is not memorable and only makes sense after you have seen the film. The film itself has had huge praise from usually reliable critics but in fact it does not amount to even a tiny pile of beans. It is a brilliant exploitation movie (of the audience) and Mr Ivory knows how to squeeze every smidgen of emotion out of it. I enjoyed it, I was sucked in, I cried but am I a better person? It is not an ART film as described but a great big melodrama. We had a very good brunch at Trotters, then home for a nap. P. made a vegetable bake for dinner with the leftover pork. Eveything (almost) set for the arrival of Nick, Allie and Maggie tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Jingle Bells

This morning, we slept in a wee bit, having exchanged presents last night. We tidied up a bit and got ourselves together, more or less. Then we picked up Franz and drove to Dandenong to my sister's place where we joined her, Ian, Nyssa and Jerahmy for lunch. She and Ian had been cooking up a storm including lobster tails, ham, turkey, various salads plus make-your-own pavlovas for dessert. Even without us bringing a food offering, there was miles too much, so we motored home later in the arvo and had a very light dinner of leek and potato soup and watched 'The First Wives Club' till stumps. On Boxing Day, we had another small sleep in, then I did a bit (not too much) proofreading on the novel. One more session and I'll be finished that part, then on to the place names for the possible map(s). Around lunchtime, Sally S. joined us for lunch and we had a good Christmas mag. In the evening, P. served leftover roast pork with yummy potato salad and, among other things, we watched the ending of 'Jaws' which we have never seen, and which was very slow moving. Lord Lucan was much more intriguing. We don't often watch commercial television and were appalled by the number and ferocity of the commercials. McDonald's seem to think that bludgeoning works as a technique.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas weekend

Having decided to stay home all weekend because of frenetic Christmas shopping going on, we still went to the Convent market down the road to get olive oil but it wasn't all that busy. I did some proofing on the novel and we had leftover soto for lunch and battered fish for dinner. On Sunday, I got the crossword early and it was all finished by not far past nine. I did a bit more proofing and we had the new leek-and-potato soup for lunch, hot this time. In the evening, P. made roast pork with vegies and we had a telly night and at midnight exchanged Christmas gifts.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Novel, pills and dinner

Yesterday (Thursday), I went early to the Health Centre for pills to see me over until New Year, then went home to continue proofing the novel. We had French onion soup for lunch and in the evening, Frank came for dinner. P. cooked his excellent summer chicken courtesy of Sutherland-Smith, we had raspberries and ice cream for dessert followed by baby cheeses. We also exchanged Christmas presents. Today, we picked up Franz and Frank and did normal shopping then had an excellent brunch at Dr Morse which was, unsurprisingly, full of Christmas work parties. Work continues apace on downstairs at Maria's old shop. I managed to extract from the very non-English-speaking workers today that, unless I misheard, the shop is turning into offices. As we are not concerned about parking, that should not be troublesome (famous last words). We'll see.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Mountains of Art

Today, P. and I picked up Franz and headed down Eastlink to the McClelland Gallery which has an excellent and varied exhibition of LANDscapes. We also had a short wander around the grounds as the wind was especially good for Paul Price's wind sculptures. Then we went on to Point Leo Estate on the Mornington Peninsula to see their sculpture garden which is on a truly magnificent site overlooking the sea. Virtually all Australia's best-known sculptors and many overseas ones are represented. It is definitely worth a visit, especially for overseas visitors. We didn't try the eatery as we didn't have time, but it looks worth a visit. After a quick lunch at Balnarring, we finished at the Mornington Gallery which had an exhibition of SEAscapes, a perfect complement to the McClelland show. They also had a splendid touring exhibition of glass in lots of forms from houses to bric-a-brac. Home for a much earned rest.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Working hard

Yesterday (Monday), I did lots more on the autobiography and a bit on the novel. I won't get either finished before Christmas unless I concentrate on one, so it's all systems go on the novel today. P. is off for lunch with the S. sisters. I've defrosted some soto ayam for dinner, perfect for a hot day, and I had leftover potato pieces to go in it. Much royals on telly tonight. Sigh! I suppose it is P.'s heritage.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Crossword plus

Today I got the crossword early so it was all finished by 10am because P. did most of the work on it. I've started printing out the novel for a final proofread and it's looking good. I also did a bit on the final edit of the remaining autobiography. There is not a lot left to find though I doubt I'll finish it before Christmas as I hoped and promised. We had the last of the leek and potato soup for lunch. More work in the afternoon, fixing a problem I created myself this morning (formatting problem), then P. served his prawn and mango mould for dinner. It's a cold dish but delicious. Now for soporific Midsummer.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Novelling on

The last two days (Thursday and Friday) were mainly spent on the novel which is getting near a final proofing. P. went to U3A film course on Friday and we had leek and potato soup on Thursday and delicious lamb rolled roast, cooked by P. on Friday. Today (Saturday), we picked up Franz but not Frank and did Victoria Gardens. I did some more work on the novel, nearly there on this pass. I made fish cakes for dinner with oysters beforehand. Then docos on SBS, especially the Vietnam war which just confirmed everything we already knew.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Charging towards Christmas

While P. went off to the U3A committee meeting I went on with the last autobiography, then lo-and-behold, the novel popped into my inbox, amended by the author's friend ever-so-slightly but enough to fix a hole along with my small amendments. So we're ready to go, once I tidy the text up and proof it again. It is so hot today that we'll have leftovers for dinner.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

At the Health Centre

This morning, the Health Centre phoned me to bring forward my appointment with Dr Jessie by twenty minutes. When we finally got together (actually at the original time), she did a very careful assessment of my vaccination needs and what I could not have because of my anti-rejection medication. I have to see her again in mid-January to finalise it all. Home again to do some administrative tidy-up and a bit of work. P. was off having lunch with Robin S. In the early evening, P. and I went off to the M Pavilion for a Conversation from The Conversation between Amanda Dunn (one of their editors) and veteran Michelle Grattan, who gave us a good serve of her very sharp wisdom. We retired to the Arts Centre for their pop-up Lobster Shack crayfish tail roll and chips plus a glass of champers. A real indulgence, but I think not overpriced, given the price of lobster at the fish shop ($139 a kilo!). Home for a quiet night.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Crossword day

I slept in this morning, so whereas last week we finished the crossword by the earliest time ever, this week it took till nearly lunchtime. Hence, no work was done and will have to wait till tomorrow. We had leftover fish curry for lunch but the fish had not survived very well. It was a bit tough on reheating. P. is making polpette for dinner as we settle for a night of Gently. My Spanish lessons seem to have reached a glass ceiling where I can't get past 15% fluent in Spanish (and even that is not true).

Saturday, December 09, 2017


Started the day with a brief perusal of the Saturday Paper and The Australian. Father Kelly and others are still smarting from their gay marriage and religious rights defeats but Bettina Arndt managed to celebrate the right of marvellous Milo to free speech bashing women in universities for being neo-Marxist and blinkered, both at once. GaGa Gerard Henderson drew a comparison between John Profumo and Sam Dastyari which is unfathomable. I then spent the rest of the morning checking the (online) proofs for an earlier autobiography. After an arvo nap, P. made chicken skewers with satay sauce for dinner, which were delicious. Then we watch cop shows, including a re-run of last week's Endeavour to try to figure it out. We almost could, but not quite. Is it clever scripting or bum scripting?

Friday, December 08, 2017

Work plus hospital

Yesterday (Thursday), I worked on the novel and autobiography, a bit each, then P. and I had pork pies for lunch plus French onion soup (the last of it for now). Then, while P. had a nap, I went off to the Club (Royal Melbourne) for my regular checkup with Ear, Nose and Throat. I waited about an hour and a half for a three-minute consultation with a very handsome young surgeon who told me I was fine, and adjusted my appointments to quarterly. Home again to where P. was making very nice pork spareribs for dinner with roast vegies. Today, we picked up Billy the Corolla (a new car at the Vespa place as Franz was being unfaithful) and went with Frank to Victoria Gardens where we did a good shop then had brunch at Addict which again proved its quality and invention. A nap followed, then I cooked a pea, fish and coriander curry while we watched cop shows on telly.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

A day in the country

This morning, P. and I went to Frank's, then we all caught the train to the city where we got the train to Castlemaine. David G. picked us up and whisked us off to his (relatively) new house in Newstead where he plied us with a delicious lunch and we had a good mag. Back to the station and home again after a splendid day. Back to work tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Christmas AGAIN

Yesterday (Monday), I managed to finish off the current pass of the novel and send it off to the author and his mentor. They will do their stuff and get it back before Christmas. P. went for lunch with Robin S. and in the evening, we had a quick meal at Yoyogi, then to Homo Hall for Bach's Christmas Oratorio performed by the ACO and the Choir of London. It was an excellent, if lengthy, performance including some spectacular horn playing. In the sixty-minute interval, we had a quick drink and snack at Teatro, who were very efficient with the sudden influx of part of an auditorium-full of people. Home for a long come-down after a concert lasting from 6.30 to 10.15pm. Today, temporarily free of the novel, though I need to proof it again, I am starting further work on the remaining autobiography.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

A busy day out

I got up early this morning to go and got the Sunday Age for the crossword. A minor mistake: Ludke was German PM from 1959 not 1956! Then there was time for a bit of work on the novel before going out for lunch. We met up at an Irish pub (O'Reilly's in Southbank?). There was one more than the old Penguinis (8) this being the old ATOs (plus the odd partner and child). It was a good lunch, except that the kitchen lost our order and lunch arrived about an hour-and-a-half late. The talk was good though and it was good to catch up. We went home far too late and almost straightaway left to meet up with Frank and Noel T.'s place for a very good curry and dessert and a good mag there too. Home again for the Easybeats and Alberts drama and doco.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Work and a grouse concert

Yesterday (Friday), I managed a bit of work while P. went to his American Literature U3A. In the evening, he and I went to Yoyogi for a good meal then went to the ANAM annual going-home concert (or that's what it felt like). Anthony Marwood directed a show with Prokofiev's Classical Symphony, a Haydn Trauersinfonie and Beethoven's Violin Concerto. It was full of the usual ANAM enthusiasm as we say goodbye to this batch and welcome a new batch of young players next year. This morning, we went off to Victoria Gardens for the shopping then bought new clothes drying racks (one wood, one plastic) and got keys cut. Home in the rain for the rest of the day with beer-battered flathead for dinner.