Saturday, March 31, 2018

Shopping plus

This morning, P. and I picked up Barnaby the Yaris (neither Franz nor Billy were free) and Frank and went to Victoria Gardens for our regular shop then dropped Noel's few things off to his place then had a very good brunch at Dr Morse. Sam III went off to his conference which he seems to be enjoying mightily. I'm doing some preliminary checking for our trip. It's oysters followed by fish cakes for dinner.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Happy Crucifixion Day

Today, Sam went off to day one of the Marxist conference while P. and I stayed home for Good Friday (what's good about a crucifixion?). I finished off work on novel II before seeing the author next week so that's done. Now all I have to do, apart from get ready, before going away is finish off reading the non-fiction work. I also did my usual Luminosity, a bit of Spanish and made French onion soup for lunch. After a nap, we had leftover chili beef with bok choy and rice for dinner. Then a night with the teev.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Sam III arrives

Yesterday (Wednesday), P. and I picked up Franz and went to Tullamarina to pick up Sam Watson III. It was the first time we had been to Terminal 4 so it took a bit to find it, but fortunately we arrived before Sam's flight. Sam reminded us that many years ago (probably about 20), his dad, Sam II, had stayed here when he was about the same age. After dropping the bags and Franz at home, we went into town for lunch at ACMI, then watched the Soda Jerk free film, Terror Australis. It is very funny and profound at the same time, consisting mainly of clips from Australian films including Skippy and some raging, ravenous sheep. We also took in the exhibitions at the Koorie Centre in Fed. Square then came home for a nap. It's amazing how you do things you have been meaning to do for months when visitors come. As well, in the evening, we made a long overdue visit to the Green Man Hotel (ex-Percy's) which now does a very good and reasonable vego menu. We left stuffed full and slept well. This morning, Sam has gone off touristing while I made soto ayam for us and soto vego for Sam. P. has gone off for lunch with the Shaw sisters. In the evening, Sam went off to the opening of the conference at the local Town Hall while P. and I had conventional soto ayam for dinner. Sam came home elated by the opening.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Unusual concert

P. and I went off this morning to our second home, the Recital Centre, for a Musica Viva coffee concert. This one was Karin Schaupp on guitar with Umberto Clerici on cello, an unusual combo. for which not much is written, so they did arrangements of other pieces like Kats-Chernin's famous Eliza Aria and Schubert's Fruhlingstraum. Other works by Rutter, Caccini, Sor, Ravel, Sollima, Rodrigo, de Falla and Gnatalli made for a very varied program with a definite Spanish and Sicilian flavour. Home for lunch, French onion soup. In the evening, P. made spare ribs for dinner (delicious), followed by baby cheeses and Easter bilbies from Haigh's in Adelaide.

Monday, March 26, 2018

I like to be in (South) America

This morning I did computer housekeeping, a bit of Spanish then got a call that our South American papers are all ready so I went into town and fetched them (I don't trust Australia Post). Rachel C., the travel agent, went through them and gave me extra info. re luggage, money and food expenses. We're nearly ready to go. I need a new pair of shoes. On the way home, I got two books for plane and holiday reading. The new Llossa book set in Peru should be in by the end of the week. The other virtuous thing I did yesterday was clear out the bottom shelf of the pantry so it wasn't too disgusting for Carmel when she visits. We'll continue with a shelf a day (nearly). We are overdue doing it anyway. Early this evening, P. and I went to Hamer Hall and had a very good (though not cheap) meal at Fatto then went to the ACO concert, 'Death and the Maiden' where the ACO was led by violinist Alina Bragimova in works by Mozart, Barber, Hartmann (which I haven't heard before, very impressive), Part and Schubert. It was an excellent concert but when I finally caught up with our tickets before the show I found that they had given us very lousy tickets (for this one we were in the back row). They can forget about a subscription next year. I definitely had not seen these tickets before so either they were not sent (unlikely) or Australia Post mis-delivered them (very likely).

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Papers, a bit of work and a muck-up

Yesterday (Saturday), we had our massive paper day then fish cakes for lunch. I made garlic scallops in the evening, followed by icecream. The Sunday crossword happened with another paper delivery this morning and I did a bit of work. After French onion soup for lunch P. and I went off to town, hampered by Grand Pricks rerootings. We got to Homo Hall to find I'd got the date wrong, as we hadn't been sent the tickets for crosschecking. The concert is tomorrow night, so I'll ring them in the morning to check. We had leftover chili beef for dinner then baby cheeses. Comedy gala on the teev was not bad.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Shopping and another great show

This morning, P. and I picked up Frank with Billy the Corolla (Franz was away again). We went shopping for ourselves and Noel and dropped Noel's stuff off in Hawthorn. We then had lunch at a coffee shop in Johnston Street (Bluebird is closed for renovations). In the late afternoon, we met for a cheap and cheerful at Yoyogi then trammed up to Naughton's Hotel in Parkville for a drink, then walked to Ormond College Theological School to Wyeslaskie Hall for a sadly lowly patronised concert by the Song Company. It was moved from Fed. Square because of noise from the dreadful Grand Pricks. The concert consisted of works sung in the style of the Dow Partbooks and was a (good for us but sadly for the company) intimate performance with audience participation (those who could sing a bit and read music). It was a very enjoyable concert, well sung. A pity there weren't more people there.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Not very productive then a good concert

This morning, I did internet housekeeping, Spanish and Luminosity, then went to the Health Centre to get my pill supplies for South America. To my surprise, nearly two months' supply cost only $47. Thank God for the restored Health Card or it would have cost a fortune. Home again for lunch. In the early evening, P. and I went to Barre in the Arts Centre for a quick and quite good meal, thence to the Recital Centre to see Richard Gill's ARCO perform pieces by Mendelssohn, Mozart, Brahms and Beethoven with great applomb. They were joined by Polyphonic Voices for the Brahms Five Songs and the Spaur Messe to good effect.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Still more novel

After the usual digital housekeeping, I have proceeded with Novel II. It is an intriguing work, unusual in its milieu and focus, so I am keen to finish it. P. went off to lunch with Robin S. and to do some errands for Noel T. After an arvo nap, I've finished the novel which is quite good. Now I have to decide what to report to the author. P. cooked delicious chili beef with pasta for dinner.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

More novel

After some Spanish and Luminosity, I did some more reading of novel number two. It is not bad, though has a few faults. At least this one is no obligation. P. went off to help Noel T. with shopping etc. In the early evening, P. and I went to the Recital Centre to see Ludovico's Band who had taken the big step of moving to the main Murdoch Hall for their concert. It seemed to have paid off with a decent audience and they presented an excellent program of The Voices of Women with composers from the 17th century including Isabella Leonarda (a mother superior who composed in her spare time), Francesca Caccini and Barbaara Strozzi. Soprano Helen Thomson excelled in the vocals and Elizabeth Welsh and Shane Lestideau provided violin support to the usual members, McGuire, Anderson, Cohen and Wilkinson. We had a quick and good meal at Blondie to follow.

Monday, March 19, 2018

At last, some work

This morning, as well as Luminosity and a deal of Spanish, I got started on novel number two again (having disposed of novel number one, I hope forever, perhaps wishful thinking). P. went off to get his tax return done. I made rolled roast of lamb for dinner which wasn't bad, followed by icecream and raspberries. Normal Monday night TV and out with the garbage.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Castlemaine plus

Yesterday, P. and I picked up Franz and Frank and went to Castlemaine. We had a good lunch at Fig (highly recommended) then went to David G.'s show in Newstead as part of the open studios program. He has had a good roll-up and sold a lot of his excellent paintings, drawings and collages. We saw another artist and a potter, then went to the Old Gaol where there was a mixed (quality) photo exhibition, but it was also good to see the dismal old gaol which I hadn't seen before. We checked into our accommodation, the Campbell Motel/Units in a fine old house on the hill and Frank departed on the train to Melbourne. In the evening, we had a fine meal at Lola's cafe in the Theatre Royal building. It is highly recommended too and we had a good mag and catch-up with Ann de H. This morning we had a so-so brekkie at Jaff/Kaff's cafe then headed for Melbourne, where we did our shopping and Noel's, delivered Noel's then came home for lunch (just soup). After a much-needed nap, I cooked garlic prawns for dinner. Not bad, if I say so myself.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Headway at last

Yesterday, I made some headway on the novel (mark 1) at last and should, I hope, finish it off today. P. went off to lunch with the Shaw sisters. Again, he had a cooking triumph with some very nice chicken curry for dinner. Today, we went off to see 'In the Wake of the Bounty' by Charles Chauvel and Errol Flynn's first, very wooden role. The film was fascinating, mainly for its documentary shots rather than the rather hamfisted dramatised bits. It was an early talkie and they didn't quite know how to do it. Before that a plumber came to fix the leaking tap in the kitchen which we wanted done before we go away and Carmel houseminds. I've now sent the novel back to the publisher and wish it well. In the late arvo., we had a visit from Sally S. and caught up on the goss. Then P. and I went for a quickie and a goodie at Yoyogi followed by the MSO with a very powerful Mahler's Ninth.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Pills and more pills

Today, I was off early to The Club (Royal Melbourne Hospital) to have my new glasses (reading and normal) fitted with noses. Greg, the amazing cobbler/elf, and I magged away as if we hadn't been apart for 2-3 years since last time. It took about 2 hours we nattered so much. I also got a supply of pills to take to South America. Then into Carlton for quiches (note alliteration) and a guidebook for Buenos Aires, though I doubt we'll have trouble filling two-three days there. Unfortunately there is nothing on at the famous Teatro al Colon, though we will probably do a tour of the magnificent building. Then anchovies from Woolies for dinner. P. went to the Health Centre for some pre-trip things, thence to Noel's to help with washing and shopping. My anchovy and lemon pasta didn't work very well this time. I think I didn't use enough anchovies or they weren't very good. I'm not having a good cooking week. Thank goodness P. has come to the party.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Not enough done

This morning was mainly occupied with getting Spanish up-to-date so I got little work done. However, I'm back up to 42% fluent, so-called. I also, while we're talking seedy, completed my bowel cancer screening and will send it off this afternoon. I've also made an appointment with Greg, the cobbler elf, tomorrow morning to fix my glasses. After a bit more exhausting Spanish, I'm up to 45%. Yay! After a nap, P. made roast lamb with everything for dinner followed by my icecream (plus some bought stuf), then baby cheeses. Frank came for a long overdue dinner (though we did spend much of last week in Adelaide together).

Monday, March 12, 2018

Shopping and food

Yesterday (Sunday) we picked up Franz and Frank and headed to Victoria Gardens for an unusual Sunday shop, We also got Noel's stuff and dropped it at his place. P. and I came home for quiche lunch and in the evening went to Noel's for a very nice curry dinner. This morning, I've still been catching up on things missed while we were away in Adelaide, like Spanish lessons (my ratings have dropped back), banking and so on. Now for a bit of work. I cooked beer-battered fish for dinner which was not very successful, then we had baby cheeses. It was a normal Monday night's TV, unimpressive starring Bob Carr!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Back from Adelaide

We got back today after a very easy flight from Adelaide where we have spent the week at the Adelaide Festival with Frank. I'll post about it over the next day or so until we catch up. We left on Monday at a reasonable hour (an 11.30am flight) and arrived at our apartments, Miller, in Hindley Street very easily. It was a very good two-bedroom flatette, quite spacious, at the back of the building, so it was very quiet away from the Hindley Street argy-bargy at night. After a nap, we had a good Japanese meal near Her Majesty's Theatre near the market, soon to be closed for renovation (the theatre, not the market). The play, 'The Far Side of the Moon', was a Robert Le Page production, an excellently played one-hander, full of theatrical innovation, but of very uncertain import, except it reminded us of the space race, especially from a Russian point-of view. On Tuesday, we ventured into Writers' Week for an illuminating session with novelist Alan Hollinghurst. I had recovered from my extreme dislike of Writers' Week formed when I had to go professionally. Then we went to the Art Gallery where we viewed their normal showings and the Biennial (part of it) which was quite interesting. We then had a very pleasant lunch with Kay and Warwick whom I haven't seen for years since they moved away from Melbourne. It was very enjoyable catching up. In the early evening, after a quick dumpling and noodle meal, we went to Brett Dean's 'Hamlet', the opera. It was engrossing as he, the librettist and director, Neil Armfield and everyone else concerned had conspired to make the most of operatic conventions into a moving, though very melodramatic show. Well, that's what opera is really about, isn't it? On Wednesday, Peter and I went to the Museum, parts of which are very good, but parts of which are showing their age like the moth-eaten mammals and the Pacific display almost devoid of context. However, the Aboriginal display and the South Australian wildlife were both excellent. The library next door had a good display on entertainment during world war I. Sadly, we couldn't have lunch with a SA author as she had to go into hospital for an operation. We had an excellent dinner at Africola on East Terrace, then wandered to the Town Hall where Anne Sofie Van Otter gave a splendid recital including some music from the Nazi concentration camps written by Jewish internees. On Thursday, we slept in a bit then went off to Writers' Week again to hear young historian Nick Brodie talk to his book 'The Vandemonian Wars' which I had just finished. He was very impressive. We joined Liz and John T. for a good catch-up at the Museum cafe. In the evening, we had another good meal, this time at Shuboso in a nearby lane then went to the Space Theatre for 'Us/Them' a Flemish play about the Beslan school siege. It was moving and thought-provoking and athletically played by the two young actors. We picked up Elena the Yaris on Friday from the city and headed to McLaren Vale, where we had an enjoyable day. Wirra Wirra winery was very impressive though the much vaunted Cube at d'Arenberg was a bit kitsch and over-rated. We had a good lunch in the main drag then went home for a nap. In the evening, we had a good mag and dinner at Apothecary 1878 wine bar with Jill W. then rounded off our visit with a Cathedral concert with the Adelaide Singers in late night at the Cathedral. It was a very well structured concert which took older works and placed them with modern reworkings.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Sunday with MCO

Today started normally with the Sunday crossword and some preparatory work on our o/s trip. Leftover lunch, then a trip to the Recital Centre for a Melbourne Chamber Orchestra concert with works by Verdi, Mendelssohn, Dvorak and Schumann, with solos by a violinist and pianist. The whole concert was very enjoyable. Home again and P. made a very substantial lentil and sweet potato soup while we viewed Howards End (part one) and a bit of the 40th Gay and Lesbian Muddy Gras.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Shopping and Lunatic Asylum

First up we got Franz the Corolla and went shopping (sans Frank). We dropped Noel T.'s shopping at his place then Frank came to our place, we had lunch (French onion soup which is like the magic pudding) then went to Willsmere, the old lunatic asylum in Kew. It is now apartments but its fabric has been restored. Unfortunately it's a gated community so not readily accessible but this was a series of Open House guided tours. It was fascinating to see the old buildings, the cells and the magnificence of what housed a terrible institution. In the evening, Frank, P. and I went to Noel T.'s for a magnificent curry plus the trimmings followed by chocolate mousse with strawbs. Thanks Noel.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Novel and Night Music

This morning, I did the usual Spanish and Luminosity then some work on Novel 1. A quick lunch and then a nap. In the late arvo, Frank joined us and we bussed to St Kilda for an excellent meal at Cicciolino's (my tuna entree and duck liver entree were superb), thence to the National Theatre for an excellent production of A Little Night Music. Nadine Gordimer and John O'May made a good fist of the main roles (she can sing, almost( and the whole cast made the drama work (no mean feat for such a silly plot). The buses worked for us till we got back to Hoddle Street when we had to get a cab home.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Travel meds again

This morning, I started on the end of month accounts but then went to the Health Centre for more travel meds. I've now got the altitude sickness pills which will be sufficient for P. and I both. I also found that malaria is not likely in the places we're visiting, so no need for any of that. Plus Dr Jessie gave me scrips for pills for travel diarrhoea and skin infections plus the name of a useful fungal infection cream in case of ball crud. Home again for a wine delivery and more work on the novel. I have got to the end but have to go back and do more work on it, especially the more problematic bits. I've also finished the end of month accounts. February was quite quiet. In the early evening, P. and I went to ACMI for the launch of A White Hot Flame, the biography of Mary Bennett by Sue Taffe, which I did short report on a while ago. There was also a film called Letters Across the Desert sponsored by the Women's Trust. It was a good launch by Jackie Huggins who generously acknowledged the work of white authors and activists. Afterwards, we had a good meal (our first) at Traffic upstairs with a good view of the rower buggers on the Yarra.