Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Sweet Country

Partly to avoid the hot day, but also because we wanted to see it, P. and I went yesterday (Monday) to Sweet Country at the Nova. Warwick Thornton's film is absorbing and very telling. I don't agree with Christos Tsiolkas' criticisms in a largely laudatory review in The Saturday Paper. The dialogue is fine and while he doesn't lay on the violence with a trowel, to me it works well. We followed up with a cool brunch at Trotter's nearly next door, then went home for a nap to await the cool change. I made anchovy pasta for dinner. Today I'm catching up with some administrative things, some relating to our South American trip. P. went into town to do some banking and business. In the early evening, P., Frank and I met at DOC Lygon Street for a good quick meal then went to the Courthouse Theatre for Homophonics, the now 7-year-old performance of music with a queer edge as part of Midsumma. It was booked out, as usual, and the inestimable Miranda Hill compered an eclectic program including a large cast of performers including a gamelan orchestra! And a brass ensemble. And a choir. How does she organise it all. It's a splendid miracle. Home again, for the French drama, Spin, which is excellent but is on too late.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Hot, hot, hot

This weekend is so hot that P. and I had an argument about whether it was Sydney or Brisbane weather which we were having. Rather than Melbourne's very hot dry heat which we are 'used' to, now we have humid heat which is much more difficult because you feel sticky all the time. So we have stayed indoors most of the time except for yesterday (Saturday) when we picked up Franz and Frank and went to Victoria Gardens. We dropped over to Noel T.'s at the end with a few bits of shopping and to collect his mail. We had leftovers for both meals as it seemed too hot to cook much. There was a slight imbroglio with the papers as the Saturday Paper didn't turn up but we had the Saturday Age and Australian to keep us going, though disappointly the later didn't have its weekly comedy column by GaGa Gerard Henderson. The Saturday Paper turned up with the Sunday Age the next day very curled up, obviously from being wrapped for 24 hours. We had a very good lunch on Saturday with my sister and her husband at the Elephant and Wheelbarrow in the city where we had a good mag before our two proximate birthdays. Today I've done very little apart from a bit of organising around social events and our Adelaide visit which is starting to look very crowded. And of course the Sunday Age crossword has been completed. We had fishcakes and forked avocado (not smashed) for lunch and P. is doing dinner, bless him. It was a very good steak dinner with grilled zucchini.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Good talk, good munga

Today, we had a very quiet Invasion Day. I did quite a few administrative things this morning and we had French onion soup for lunch. Early in the evening, we went to the National Gallery, St Kilda Road. It is open late for a couple of weeks for the summer exhibition and was booming with several bars open including in the Great Hall with its Antarctic installation complete with sounds of ice melting and crashing. Unfortunately the food on offer was 'off love'. We then went to a talk on Where's History At? with speakers Genevieve Grieves from the Melbourne Museum Indigenous part and Rami Pramesti, an Australian-Indonesian artist. Both were very impressive speakers partly about intergenerational trauma occasioned by massacres. It sounds gloomy, and it was shocking but both were very accomplished speakers with some humour which leavened the tragedy. Even Rami's eating of a very large banana helped to lighten things. The moderator Shinen Wong was very PC with trigger warnings and all, and probably would have gone on forever except the venue called a halt. Afterwards, P. and I went to Sake near Homo Hall for the first time. A Neil Perry franchise, it was not cheap but the food was very tasty and the service impeccable. I had miso, ceviche and chicken yakitori while P. had a delicious salad with fish, followed by pork cutlet with spicy sauce, very tender. Unfortunately, we didn't make it home for the NZ movie except for the ending.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

You give me the shots

Well, she didn't. I went this morning to see Dr Jessie, who gave me a scrip for a typhoid shot which seems to be the only thing I now need for South America, apart from malaria which she will investigate. So I'll have to see her again before I go. And I'll have to make an appointment with the nurse for the typhoid shot and a precautionary flu shot (last year's which I didn't have). I also need to get some mozzie repellent from the Traveller's store in the city. Meantime, I'd finished the autobiography and sent it off to the publisher. I'll see it again when it is typeset for further checking. P. and I are still eating leftovers in the longest continuous lunch. Now it's off to Noel T.'s for dinner. We had a very good dinner with Noel and Fiona P. which left a lot to think about. Noel is almost Shakespearean in his magnificence.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Lovely lunch (even if I do say so myself)

Yesterday (Tuesday), I did some proofing of the autobiography, then went up to Leo's to get some more 'stuff' for lunch. Barry D. and Ouyang Y. came for lunch as Barry had never met Ouyang (and obviously vice versa) and he wanted to, having heard about him. I made French onion soup and P. made a vast salad nicoise and we had cheeses, cold meats, quiches and pork pies. The talk was the main attraction. In the evening, all we had to do was eat the leftovers and there are still lots left. Sadly, the Leo's quiches were a bit disappointingly bland. I should have gone to Parisienne Pate or the French joint in Smurf Street. This morning, I did more proofing and finished. Now all I have to do is enter the corrections. P. went to Noel's to help out with a curtain quote. Tonight, we're going to Midsumma: a talk on Gay Hidden Histories whatever they are. Two of the speakers couldn't make it but the replacements were excellent including an hilarious account of a nearly two-hundred-year-old gay tortoise. They did deal with more serious topics like whether GLBTIQA+ should be replaced by SOGI (which we agreed should be pronounced 'soggy' at least in Australia. Apparently the Canadians pronounce it 'sO-jee'). It was a great talk. Frank joined us but not for dinner which was excellent at Fatto.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Very normal Monday morning

This morning, I did my Luminosity 'brain' exercises, my Duolingo Spanish exercises (I've slumped to 28% fluent somehow) then soldiered on with proofing the autobiography which I'm getting close to finishing. I'm not finding much wrong which oddly makes it more difficult and tedious. The cleaners came and whizzed through while P. went to South Melbourne in search of Japanese chawan mushi dishes but didn't find any at the Japanese supply shop there. He is making rack-off lamb for dinner tonight so I'll continue proofing until that's ready. The rack-off lamb turned out very well, if a little over-generous.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

ALGA history walk

Today was the first day the Sunday Age was delivered and there it was, more or less on the doorstep. Miracolo! We did the crossword and headed citywards for the ALGA 40th anniversary history walk (it's the gay archives 40th anniversary, not the history walk's). It was an entertaining and informative trip around the CBD to gay landmarks from the library to the library (State Library to City Library). Along the way we were treated to drag queens atop the Regent (not provided by ALGA but accidentally synchronous with the walk), the erstwhile University Club and many other features including St Francis' church which married two sets of women without knowing it. Home again for a nap after two cheap and cheerful bento boxes at a sushi place in Flinders Lane. We finished off the leftover soto ayam for dinner and settled in for soporific television. For two nights in a row, Alzheimer's TV has served up repeats of Grantchester, Father Brown and Midsomer Murders in case we were having trouble sleeping.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Pottering around

Yesterday (Friday), we did normal shopping with Franz and not Frank.We had quiches for lunch and I made beer-battered fish for dinner. Today was our first feast of The Age on Saturday as well as The Australian. Next week they will be joined by The Saturday Paper when it comes out of recess. This arvo. after fish cakes for lunch, P. and I went off to the Potter Gallery for a talk on Reimagining the Classics based around an exhibition by artist, Angela Brennan. She does works 'inspired' by classical motifs and designs, though her modesty and unassuming persona reminded me of Mary Leunig ('they're just my drawings'). Other panelists argued against too much 'intervention' by artists in collections and that chronology is important just not all the time. One argued against 'momafication' of display methods. It was an intriguing session. Home again for a nap. P. made schnitzel with scalloped potatoes and zucchinis for dinner, delicious.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Mr 36%

I'm now 36% fluent in Spanish the duolingo app says. I don't believe it. I'm having great trouble with the prepositions which are not at all logical, to me at least. I am also still struggling to improve myself overmuch on Luminosity. Elder son Nick's scores are miles better than mine. I also did a bit more but not enough proofing on the autobiography. We are having soto ayam for dinner which is appropriate on this very hot day.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Return to Royston

I forgot to mention in posting about yesterday, the return to Royston Vasey, which P. and I enjoyed very much. But why did the ABC show it so late and bury it on the comedy channel? To protect the vulnerable kiddies or why? My Spanish is now up to 35% fluent - I wish. We had more cheerios/little boys for lunch today, probably the last for a good while. And as well as Luminosity and Spanish, I got a bit of proofing done but not enough to meet my target of finishing in a week. For dinner, P. vamped up the sauce for the roast beef which we had with leftover vegies and yummy zucchini with sweet vinegar.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Mostly Monday

This morning, I got more done on printing out the autobiography. Then I started proofing it as a crosscheck as I'd already checked it online. P. went off into town for lunch with Robin S. In the evening, I made croque hawaiians to use up the remaining pineapple. They were not bad. Today, Tuesday, I've gone on with the proofing and should get it finished in about a week. I also made soto ayam which we had for dinner. It was not a bad one, though perhaps a bit short on the chili. It is impossible to tell how hot the chillies are until you use them.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Softly Sunday

This morning, I went up to the IGA for the Sunday Age, possibly for the last time, as The Age has a special offer for six months of the weekend papers for the same price as we currently pay for the Sunday paper. I signed up and we will see how the hapless delivery people can muck this one up. We had the last of the leek and potato soup for lunch and I am now 28 per cent fluent in Spanish. If only! I've just discovered that there are differences between Spanish Spanish and Latin American Spanish. What about South American Spanish? P. made roast beef for dinner which was delicious with mustard and horseradish.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Shopping et al.

This morning, P. and I picked up Franz and Frank, you know the drill and went shopping at Victoria Gardens. As Frank was oversupplied he didn't want lunch out, so P. and I had 'little boys' aka Cheerios (in Queensland) which was a huge irony having had gourmet food in Dunkeld a couple of days ago. It just shows how catholic we really are. Now for a nap followed by fish dinner, a curry again. The teev is awful right now: full of repeats and tomorrow night SBS and ABC have competing shows about the dead Lady Di! Who cares?

Friday, January 12, 2018

Home again, vagabond shoes

On Wednesday, P. and I picked up Franz the Corolla and headed for Ballarat. We had brunch with Carmel B. at the Yacht Club on Lake Wendouree then went on to Dunkeld where we had booked a package at the Royal Mail. First, we did their cellar tour which was very informative about their magnificent collection founded by Allan Myers (the owner of the Mail). In the evening, we had the five-course meal at their new Wickens Restaurant with views over the Grampians (we had matching wines which were very interesting including one from Hungary, a tokay with dessert). We started with various canapes: freeze dried chicken parfait with mushroom plant and mayonnaise; zucchini flower with panzanetta (whatever that is); fig leaf jelly and goats cheese; scallop tartare steamed bun with rocket; cheese and pickle. Then fennel and celery, old and young. Then smoked tomato, gazpacho and sheeps milk (powder) with 2016 tomich, gruner veltliner, Adelaide Hills; then blue eye, blue devil (wildflowers) and blue mussels with 2016 hochkirch blanc, semillon blend, Tarrington Victoria; great ocean duck, leek ash puree, leek and black treacle with 2014 la crema, pinot noir, Willamette Valley, U.S.; then royal mail lamb (very tender) with yoghurt cherry plums and malabar spinach with 2011 craggy range, te kahu, merlot blend, Hawkes Bay, N.Z.; a blueberry amuse bouche followed then grilled apricots, lemon thyme and white chocolate ice cream with 2016 royal tokaji co, late harvest, Hungary, followed by jelly baby vegetables. All in all, a stunning meal and rather more 'earthy' than they've previously done. Next morning, after a delicious breakfast we did their equally interesting kitchen garden tour. The garden(s) supply all the vegies for the restaurant and 20% of the goodies for the bistro. Off then to Halls Gap where we had a restful time looking at Brambuk and watching the birdies and beasties. This morning, we went to Bunjil's Shelter, north of Halls Gap. It is the only representation of Bunjil who looks a bit like a giant cockroach. We then dropped into Stawell but unfortunately Bron N. had gastro so couldn't be visited. A lunch stop at Ballan followed then home to the city traffic which was a bit overwhelming after a time on the freeway, though the early part of the journey from Stawell was in driving rain with trucks up Franz's bum for part of the way.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Lunch with the S. sisters

This morning, I got up to 25% fluent in Spanish which is definitely not true though I can say, 'I don't eat turtles.' Spanish pronouns and other connecting words are very difficult, especially if you have to remember whether they're referring to masculine or feminine nouns (how heteronormative!). Contrary to expectations, I got the autobiography finished and sent it to the co-author for approval. P. and I then joined the S. sisters, first with Robin for a coffee at Brunetti in Myer's, thence to a Japanese cafe in Emporium which was not bad and at least had beef tataki, which Yoyogi seems to have given up on. Home again for a nap, then leftovers plus leek and potato soup for dinner.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Back to normal (almost)

This morning, things were getting back to normal. I did my usual morning things (Luminosity, Spanish lessons, Facebook, news) then got to work on the remaining autobiography, which I won't finish before going to the Grampians. The cleaners came for their usual whirlwind visit. I love the way they always turn up the corners of the toilet paper as though we're in a hotel. P. made delicious spare ribs for dinner.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Sunday as (almost) usual

This morning we finished the crossword fairly early as it was not difficult. I started work again on the remaining autobiography and am now about halfway through this pass. We finished the rest of the fish curry for lunch. In the late afternoon, we went with Frank to Pentridge (yes, Pentridge) for a 'street opera', Serenading Adela, a free centenary celebration of the life of Adela Pankhurst, exiled by her mother, the famous Emmeline, to Melbourne for being a socialist. She became a strong anti-conscription campaigner and was jailed in Pentridge. As the custom and technology of the times favoured public meetings and demonstrations, a group of her supporters had a 'sing-in' outside Pentridge to help her morale. This excellent community performance commemorated that and a lot more. It was inspiring, especially after last night's conclusion of the series on the Vietnam war which showed that no lessons have been learnt. We had dinner at the nearby Post Office Hotel afterwards, then met Rennis W. and her friend, Shirley on the tram after their after-show dinner.

Saturday, January 06, 2018


This morning, after having a quick look at the ravings of the neo-con. columnists in The Australian (I miss The Saturday Paper, back at the end of the month), I have got nearly everything in the new improved computer back the way I want it, so I finished off the end of month things, the business activity statement, paid the Tax Office what I owe them and am ready to go back to work. I finished my proofing and correction of the novel and it's now ready to go back to the publisher. P. and I finished the leftover 'shepherd's pie' for lunch. The house has stayed relatively cool because of pulling down all the blinds and P. is making spaghetti carbonara for dinner as it doesn't use the stove. It was really delicious.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Sob! Computerless

I've been without my untrusty computer for four days. I got up on Tuesday to do my end-of-month things like closing off accounts and doing my business activity statement for the ATO and the computer said, 'NO'. It wouldn't let me in and put me in an endless cycle of repairs that could not be done. Fortunately, my trusty computer man, Shane, was able to come the next day (in spite of being on holidays) and took the bastard away. Meanwhile, Peter, Frank and I had dinner on Tuesday night chez Noel who had made a delicious spread as usual (we shouldn't take him for granted, but he refuses to let us bring stuff, apart from plonk). On Thursday, I went to the Health Centre for pills plus to give blood for testing my immunity to the pox (chicken), measles, mumps and polio. I also made a time to see doctor Jessie to get the results and my jabs for South America. I made a delightful Croque Hawaiian (I'll leave that for your imagination) for dinner. This morning, P. and I picked up Franz and Frank and went to Victoria Gardens followed by a usually good brunch at Addict. Shane then brought back the computer which now says, 'YES' as is obvious from this post. It seems my expired AVG driver update subscription had mucked around with Windows to create a stalled situation. It seems to be all fixed now and I've backed up all my files which I hadn't well enough before but Shane managed to save all my data. Yay! Now we're about to have oysters followed by fish curry for dinner to celebrate.