Wednesday, February 28, 2018


This morning I was late starting because of the late night with the teev. I have done my routine computer things, though still not quite enough Spanish but I had to get on to the novel (1). It is a lot better than last time but still not quite up to scratch I fear. We'll see when I get to the end. Meanwhile, P. went to the Health Centre for more shots for the trip and then to Robin S.'s for lunch. I finished off the leftovers in the fridge. I also had a burst of energy during the Frog program last night and made French onion soup (appropriate) and chicken stock. We had the French onion soup for dinner tonight followed by baby cheeses, dips and cold meats. Berlin Station was surprisingly good tonight, though still a bit off the wall. It was very nice seeing a Spanish town we have been to, and loved, in this episode: Ronda.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Medico plus parrot and Thai

This morning, I went to Genie the nephrologist. She had my tests which show I am perfect as always (at least for the present). She gave me a travelling letter to exempt me from yellow fever and giving my medicaments. Home again for more novel 1 and Spanish. After cheesie toast for lunch (thanks P.), and a nap, we went off to the Nova for a special screening of a one hour film about the Orange-Bellied Parrot. It was a fine film which covered all bases including a mad Jeff Kennett (calling the parrot a 'jumped-up corella'). We then had a good meal, at last, at Lemongrass in Lygon Street, which lived up to its fame. Home again for the last episode of 'Spin', the very good French drama about the presidency and PR.

Monday, February 26, 2018


This morning, I did some work on novel number one (there are now two) for report, then thought I would try the Brazilian visa one more time. Bingo! This time it worked, took my money so I wait to see whether at the last barrier, granting a visa, computer says no. If it works, Peter can try his the same way. Then I went to Smurf Street to get more stuff for Japanese pancakes. Unfortunately, the Japanese Pantry was closed, so no dashi. I'll substitute. I also got a much overdue haircut and beard trim and other supplies. Home again for lunch and a nap. The Japanese pancakes turned out okay, but would have been a bit bland without the sauce. Usual Monday night TV, not much enlivened by predictable Q&A though MP O'Neill shone.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sunday crossword then theatre

P. and I did the Sunday crossword, not in record time as I got up late. We had soup for lunch then headed for town to the Playhouse for 'A Curious Incident with a Dog in the Night Time' in a National Theatre production imported by the MTC. This was the last performance in Melbourne and, contrary to some reviews, I thought it was absorbing. My only criticism was that the production in the first half was overly busy. Rather than letting the story unfold, there was a lot of rushing about, moving cubes etc. to no good purpose. This would have then contrasted with the strident trip to London in the second part. However, this is quibbling. The performances were fine and the gist, taking you into the world of someone on the 'autism spectrum' was achieved. Whether accurately, only the autistic can tell us. Home for leftover chook and the visit to a vigorously fast-moving and comprehensive trip back to gay and lesbian life in the late 70s in 'Riot'. Well done, ABC.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Surprise visit

Today, we had the usual Saturday rush of papers. I had a call from an Alice Springs author who is in town briefly, so we met for brunch at Barry in Westgarth. They do a very good, but overlarge, eggs florentine. We had a good mag about the book and I came home. In the early evening, P. and I had a cheap and cheerful at Yoyogi then a splendid concert at the Recital Centre with the Brandenburg orchestra and choir doing mainly Elizabethan works by Gibbons, Byrd, Purcell, Handel. Locke and Tallis plus a good rendition of Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis. Counter tenor/alto Max Riebl was exemplary as the soloist, and the choir had an all-male alto line. Home again for grisly spooky music then Phrynne Fisher.

Friday, February 23, 2018


First up, we picked up Billy the Corolla (Franz is being unfaithful) and picked up coffee and headed for Victoria Gardens. We did the shopping and dropped Noel's shopping off to him. Then we dropped Billy and had a good brunch at the Bluebird Cafe. In the evening, we went to Noel's for dinner (fishcakes starter, then lamb casserole and chocolate mousse, to follow). Yum! Home again for a very good Vera.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Trundling round town

Early this morning, I went hospital-wards and saw the vampires before a Genie kidney appointment next week. Then I tried to make a cobbler/elf appointment to get my nose on my new specs but Greg was off today so will ring me in a day or so. Then I went into town to pick up said glasses, both pairs. They gave me free glasses cleaner but I had to buy a holding strap. Home again, to farewell P. on his way to lunch with Margaret N. After a really good day, it got better when I was able to get the Brazilian visa site to accept my photos, only to have it tell me on the next page (personal details including my monthly wage, why do they need to know that?), when I pressed 'continue' that they already have an application from this passport number. I went to the progress in my application to be told that all that was missing was my payment. At this point I exploded and rang the Brazilian consulate in Canberra. I was polite until the man told me to send a screenshot of the message, which would involve going through the entire process for probably the sixth time. He relented and said just to send an email about what had happened. I did including the probably counterproductive news that I was going off going to Brazil, a country with an obviously over-zealous bureaucracy. After a nap, I've calmed down a bit and P. is making consolatory roast chook for dinner which was delicious especially with preserved lemon brocolli. We settled in with an historical drama/doco. on pre-Wolfenden Britain.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Health centre plus

This morning, I went to the Health Centre for more innoculations before going away. I got the scrip for pills for altitude sickness but have to go back in a week or so for malaria. I already have whooping cough and can't have a shingles jab because it is an active serum. I also got some top-up pills. Then I posted Noel's parcel after a long wait for a woman getting a passport authorisation. We had soup for lunch, and are off to the Recital Centre for dinner with Cathy L. and her friend Rod at Blondie outside. We had a good meal and chat then went to a concert which was a sort of mix of Spanish music and South American colonial response. It turned out to be a wonderful concert with Jordi Savall and his own group, Hesperion XXI and another Tembembe Ensamble Continuo with harpist, Andrew Lawrence-King, all of them riffing away on baroque tunes. There was a madly enthusiastic standing ovation from a partly Spanish audience.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Novel novel

This morning, I've continued working on reviewing the novel for the third time. It is much improved this time. I'm about a quarter through it. I'm also reading and enjoying a non-fiction ms. which is for pleasure not work. P. went to the health centre about, among other things, vaccinations for South America. And I made anchovy pasta for dinner, followed by baby cheeses.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Family Barbecue

Yesterday (Sunday), P. and I polished off the crossword fairly early, picked up Barnaby the Yaris for the first time (I couldn't resist booking a car called Barnaby when Franz was being unfaithful with someone else). We went to Officeworks to get some online material for our Brazilian visas (the saga continues). Then we went to the Bellbird picnic area to the annual family barbecue, which apparently is now 15 years old, and 10 years at the current venue. The turnup wasn't as good this year for various reasons and it is fairly obvious that when the current generation (mine) dies off it will stop. However, it was good to catch up and probably like barbecues all round Australia have a good laugh at Barnaby Joyce's expense. We went home for a nap and had leftovers plus new French onion soup for dinner. Today, I'm getting back to work with another Chinese translation to check plus a new report on a revised novel I've reported on twice before. I also had a vain go at applying for a Brazilian visa. There seems to be a new obstacle at every turn. P. is making eggplant parmigiana for dinner which turned out to be delicious if a little salty from the Italian cheese in it. We have been very virtuous having three days of mainly vego food (prawns, onion soup and eggplant) though tempered by lunches of lamb soup and after-dinner baby cheeses with cold meats. However, it's better to be a bit virtuous than not virtuous at all.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Movies and music

Yesterday (Friday), P. and I went to the Collingwood Library for the U3A film session run by Teresa Pitt. This year's flicks are Australian, and the first was the silent version of 'The Sentimental Bloke'. It was very enjoyable in an historical sense, though set in Melbourne it was filmed in Sydney, looking rather more tropical than its southern neighbour. Manly was also very recognisable. We had a good lunch at a nearby cafe and a mag. Then in the evening, joined Frank P. and Michael H. for another good mag at Yoyogi. We then all went to the Recital Centre for a fine concert by the Australian String Quartet with quartets by Glass and Dean (Brett) played contiguously (?) then a bravura performance of Mendelssohn's first string quartet. Now, on Saturday, we have an avalanche of papers to plough through, unfortunately with a bit too much Barnaby Joyce. We then picked up Franz the Corolla and did the shopping for both us and Noel and delivered it to Noel. Then home for lunch (soup) and a nap then I did seafood dinne (garlic prawns) then a night of TV cops.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Busy day

Yesterday (Wednesday), I went into town for a few errands: I had my eyes tested at Specsavers and ordered new pairs of glasses, general and reading for quite a good price, then went to post my DNA to the U.S. for my sister's researches, then went to get an electronic and hard copy passport photo at Michael's for the South America trip. Home again for lunch (sardines on toast). In the early evening, P. and I caught a sardine train to Windsor where we had a surprisingly good meal at a bar, called Lover, appropriately for Valentine's day. We then went to Red Stitch theatre for Hir, a play about gender roles. It was a fairly grim play by Taylor Mac, with excellent performances by all the cast. This morning, I did lots of routine things like more Spanish (I'm now 41% fluent, believe it if you will). In contrast to yesterday, it is a quiet day at home. P. went to have lunch with Robin S. and we're having leftover chicken couscous for dinner.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Lovely lunch

After a morning of Spanish (I'm now supposedly 40% fluent), P. and I had lunch with Kerry B. at the farm cafe. We had a very good lunch and an excellent mag. P. made roast pork belly with cabbage and roast potatoes for dinner. It was delicious. A new novel (revised) has turned up so I must look at it, dispassionately.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Back to work

Just as everything was going quiet, a couple of stories have hoved (hoven?) into view for editing, so I've started on that as well as doing heaps of Spanish, so much that it makes my head hurt. In the early evening, P. and I went to ACMI where we had a good meal at their cafe, then saw Agnes Varda and JR's film Visages et Villages (Faces and Spaces) which was intriguing and enjoyable. Home again for a combative Q&A.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

More Midsummer

Yesterday (Saturday) was monster newspaper morning. For the second time, we got three papers on Saturday so had a huge reading feast. Leek and potato soup for lunch, then early in the evening, we went into town for a very fine dinner at upmarket Vietnamese eatery, Uncle, in Collins Street, then to 45downstairs for an excellent play, Strangers in Between by Tommy Murphy who wrote the play and film script for Holding the Man. The three actors gave bravura performances in the story of a young man from the country hitting gay Sydney. It is only slightly dated and a very absorbing and moving show. I also discovered that the second Q in LGBTIQQA+ could be 'questioning'. Go figure. I think inclusiveness is going a bit far, so I think I'm becoming a fan of SOGI. Today we finished the crossword very early. More soup for lunch. We finished a quiet day at home with P. making chicken couscous with harissa for dinner. Delicious! Double Shetland on the teev tonight but it still hasn't finished. Next week!

Friday, February 09, 2018

Shopping, shopping

P. and I picked up Billy the Corolla this morning (Franz was being unfaithful and Frank was busy) and did our normal shop at Victoria Gardens, then dropped off the shopping and went to Noel's place. Sadly, he wasn't up to going out so we took his shopping list and went to the Swan Street Coles and got his goodies. Then we took Billy home and had a very good brunch at the Bluebird Cafe in Johnston Street. Home now for a nap before a seafood dinner.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Great show

Yesterday, I had a quiet day at home while P. went off to a U3A meeting bash all day. In the early arvo. I met him and Frank and we caught the train to Greville Street where we had a good meal at Ladro, where we had been before. We then repaired to Chapel Off Chapel for a production of Falsettos, a musical about a husband who finds he is gay and the effect on his wife, son and lover. Neighbouring lesbians appear in the second act, one of whom is a doctor, which is handy as the lover finds he is HIV+. The ending is fairly predictable and very tear inducing. The show was beautifully performed and is well worth seeing. This morning, I toddled off to the Health Centre to get some pills and my typhoid shot which was completely painless. Now I'm home doing Luminosity and trying to get a bit ahead on Spanish. After a nap, and P. going off to lunch with Robin, we went to Noel's for a very nice vego. dinner with Jenny F.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Quiet day

More admin. stuff this morning and I made good progress on Spanish. I don't know how much of it I will retain though. We had leek and potato soup for lunch, home made with our very own chicken stock. Peter made beef stroganoff for dinner. Delicious! As telly was so bad, we watched i-vue: Shetland, two parts.

Monday, February 05, 2018


Yesterday (Sunday) was my 70th birthday. I got up early for the Sunday Age and the crossword and P. was soon up with my present, a suitcase for travelling, which was very welcome as I haven't been able to make up my mind what kind to buy, so I was very happy to have my mind made up. After the crossword, we had leftover frittata for lunch, then a nap. Then off to the Windsor Hotel where we were joined by Frank, Margaret G. and Sally S. for a fixed-course delicious meal by Maha who are in residence during their renovations. It was a very enjoyable dinner with a good mag. This morning is back to normal with the usual Luminosity practice and Spanish lessons I'll have a tidying up day while the cleaners are here, both on the computer and the filing. I polished off the leftover French onion soup for lunch while P. did some business things in town to escape the cleaners. In the (very) early evening, we went off with Frank to St Kilda and had a quick, good pub meal at the refurbished Village Belle at the end of Acland Street. Then off to the Palais for Melbourne Opera's production of Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, which I've rechristened Tristan and his old cheese. Sadly, they had to cancel the first performance on Friday as the Isolde (Lee Abrahmsen) was ill. That meant a much larger audience tonight. She performed beautifully though understandably was a bit fatigued by the end. Neal Cooper as Tristan was excellent particularly in his last dying act (it took over an hour for him to die). Also excellent was Steven Gallop as King Marke. It was a bravura performance with fairly simple staging which showed a production without all the bells and whistles can work well. It was much better than the old Aus. Opera production where the performers had to wade through water to no good purpose.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Paper Time

This morning, the newspaper distributor at last got it right. We got the Saturday Age, the Weekend Australian and the Saturday Paper. Now all we have to do is read them. Unfortunately, we now can't go to Mauritius, as Planet Janet (Albrechtson) said she has holidayed there, possibly with her 'amour', Michael Kroger (sorry if that vision makes you feel ill). Good news! Ga Ga Gerard Henderson is back telling us why we don't need a Federal ICAC. His reasons weren't compelling. Why does he want to defend crooks? And that old leech pedlar, Alfred Felton was mentioned twice in the papers today. All this gleaned from today's press. In other news, on the web, NZ warbler Lorde is being taken to court by three Israeli young women for their hurt feelings over her cancellation of her Israeli tour! It is apparently illegal to even recommend boycotts against Israel. Fish cakes for lunch. Tonight we joined Frank early in Carlton for a good meal at Tiamo's, ever reliable. We then had a drink round the corner at old Brunetti's, now a very swish place called I-don't-know-what, with a motorbike theme including the toilets where the architects did the usual feat of making their washrooms distinctive, this time with motorbike wheels as washbasins and petrol bowser nozzles as taps. After this frivolity, we went to La Mama for another Midsumma offering, La Nonna, a gay man's tribute to his Nonna with song, dance and food. It was superb and enjoyable. Home for the cop shows: the grisly Spooky Music (Silent Witness) followed by the lighter Miss Fisher.

Friday, February 02, 2018


This morning, P. and I and Franz the Corolla went to Victoria Gardens for the usual shop. They had half lobsters at the fish shop for a reasonable price so we've got one for tea. We then picked up a new fluorescent tube from the lighting shop and returned for a leftover lunch (chook and roast vegies). In the evening, we ate the lobster plus some rosemary and onion frittata, so we are keeping up our at-least-once-a-week vego regime.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Art Queery

Yesterday (Wednesday), I spent most of the morning on admin. things which I'm catching up on. P. went off to Uncle Noel's on various errands. In the early evening, I toddled over to the convent to a Midsumma/Convent talk on Art Queery. It was moderated by Daniel Santangeli (convenor of Midsumma) and had panelists (not sure of any of the spellings) Zvonamir Dobrovic, Croatian entrepreneur/art curator, Jacob Boehme, convenor of the First Nations Art Festival Yirrumboi, Simona Castrocomb, a transgender singer/performer/architect and Maddie Clark, curator and editor of Un- magazine. They were refreshingly down-to-earth (I was expecting artspeak) and signalled this when they described their 'heroes' as Elton John, Boy George, Silvester and George Michael, respectively. They talked a lot about practical things, like funding. Zvonamir said that 'all money is dirty' even State money but he had less to worry about with funding as he lived in a socialist state. He did say he was good at fundraising though and said he would fuck someone to get money out of them. Jacob talked about the need for good business sense and marketing for both fringe and mainstream performers while Simona called for more visibility. Zvonamir said if your audience was getting too big, you were doing something wrong. Maddie, a Yugambeh person, said having never had any money, quibbling about its source was a bit pointless. It was refreshing having such a straightforward panel. It was even better coming home to find a beautiful cooked chook which P. had prepared in my absence. Today, I went into town to complete payment for South America (I don't trust Australia Post any more). Later I joined Frank and Jane N. for lunch at Pope Joan (P. was off with Robin S.) We had an excellent and wide-ranging mag across the world and locally. I kid you not. Then, in the evening, I went for an old Penguinis dinner with Julie, Maryanne, Pat, Andrew, Jackie and Peg. The conversation focussed on family and travel rather than publishing.