Saturday, June 30, 2018

Newspaper glut

Today, all three papers arrived: the Saturday Paper, The Age and The Australian. I am fascinated by the story of the single mother of 13 (!) who is taking her right to protest outside the doors of abortion clinics to the High Court. She was divorced by her husband (read the interview and find why this is not surprising) but then because she doesn't believe in divorce, she browbeated the Catholic church into annulling the marriage: after 13 children. I had wondered why there were only 7 of them in the photo, but the older ones have all fled the nest (again, any wonder). I await the result of the case with interest. I hope the High Court turns up its collective nose. We had salmon rissoles. for lunch. In the early evening, we joined Frank and Kitty N. for dinner at Teatro near Homo Hall, then joined the throng of homos going to watch Patti Lupone do show tunes. She was marvellous, though I wish some of the gays were less overheated in their responses. It was a great concert. Thanks Frank for organising it.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Shopping plus Debussy

With Franz, P. and I picked up Frank and went to Victoria Gardens for very conventional shopping, then dropped Noel's shopping in to him. Frank went off on 3MBS secret business while P. and I went home for leftover beef burgundy for lunch (it's finally finished, if you were wondering). Tonight, we're off to the Salon de Sushi in South Melbourne, thence to ANAM for a piano-based Debussy concert starring Ian Munro (remember him: he was at the Coffee Concert recently). Salon de Sushi produced its usual good-tasting and healthy food. At the Town Hall, we were treated to a very clever program: the first half was semi-orchetral, though the first piece was a sonata for flute, viola and harp (guest harpist was the splendid Marshall McGuire); the second half was all piano works, but in between was a recent work by Lyle Chan which used a full orchestra to 'complete' Debussy's six sonatas (he only wrote three) with his projected last: a 'sonata in the form of a concerto'. It was an exhilarating work, not really in the style of Debussy but sort of hinting at it. The first half concluded with Songs of Bilitis which consisted of readings of (phoney) poems by Pierre Louys supposedly by Bilitis interspersed with atmospheric music by another unusual combo: celeste, two flutes and two harps. A very enjoyable evening.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Novel wrapped up

Yesterday (Wednesday), I finished proofing the novel and this morning I entered all the corrections to send off to the author. It might have one more round if the author makes corrections. We had leftover sausages for lunch yesterday and frozen beef burgundy (home made) for dinner. Today, P. went off on secret U3A business while I had left cacciatore for lunch. We're now off to Noel T.'s for dinner with Frank. As always, Noel gave us a delicious chick and couscous meal with spirited conversation.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Shostakovich and more

Yesterday (Monday), I did more proofing on the novel and I'm now about a third through. The cleaners came and whizzed through the house and P. went shopping returning with new cushions. In the afternoon, he did time in the U3A office then it was off to Yoyogi for a quick and good meal. Thence to Homo Hall for the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Steven Isserlis did a bravura performance of Shostakovich's Cello Concerto no. 1 and as well there were premieres of new pieces by Samuel Adams (the son of John, the American composer) and Elena Kats-Chernin which were okay but hardly earth-shattering. We are entering the age of Haydn. Richard Tognetti is up with what's new with the old and they did a good reading of Haydn's London symphony. At the MCO on Sunday they promised more Haydn in their next year's programming. Out with Mozart and Bach and in with Haydn! Also at the concert were Margaret G. and Bryony and Philip. Now (Tuesday), I'm off to see Genie and get some pills at the hospital. As usual, Genie says I am perfect (blood results, blood pressure). Is she lying to me? I also discovered I can get my microphenylate and tacrolimus at other pharmacies apart from the hospital and thereby avoid the wait. Yay! It took only five minutes at the commercial pharmacy at the Club (RMH). I got home in time for leftover vera on toast for lunch plus cakies from the Convent. Tonight, I'm doing chicken cacciatore for dinner using the NSW CWA recipe (how multicultural of them) which turned out a bit bland. The only spices were dried oregano and thyme. Perhaps a bit of chili would help.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Chamber orchestra plays with piano

Yesterday morning, the Sunday Age didn't arrive so I rang and left a message with the distributor. When it hadn't arrived by 9am I went up to the petrol station to get one. Sure enough, when I arrived back home there was another one. Oh well! The crossword was despatched, we had salmon cakes for lunch and went off to the Recital Centre for a whole heap of Mozart plus some Haydn and Kraus (who?). Anna Goldsworthy did a splendid job on piano and it was good to catch up with Michael H. and Margaret G. On the way home, we popped into the Epworth Hospital in Richmond to say hello to Robert H. who is recovering from an operation. Home for pea and ham soup plus sausages with Greek tomato hot dressing. Delicious. A further instalment of Mystery Road which is looking a bit creaky but still absorbing mainly because of the good performers, then a promo for Muriel's Wedding the musical, then a brilliant program on 'side' musicians who may or may not be also session musicians.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Very quiet Saturday

The Saturday papers all arrived and are thumbed. I missed The Saturday Paper then refound it behind the wire door. The Australian continues to tell us the ABC is bad, bad, bad and that more men are murdered than women (quelle surprise!). I then powered through the new novel to the end and now have to print it out and proof it. Another day! We had leftover beef rendang on toast for lunch then we had oysters and herrings as an entree and a new scallop recipe for mains, followed by dips and baby cheeses. We also watched last night's TV which we missed by being at the theatre. Unlike the previous two episodes, this one of Endeavour was a bit of a dud, all about a failing picture theatre along with a very creaky plot. However, Gardening Australia was very good, if recycled.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Shopping plus

This morning, Frank, P. and I plus Franz the Corolla went shopping at Victoria Gardens, dropped Noel's shopping off and had a quick brunch at Chomp in Trenerry Crescent. Home again for a nap, then leftover David Herbert pork belly for dinner and off to the Fairfax Studio for The House of Bernardo Alba adapted by Patricia Cornelius. A good cast made a much more than valiant effort but the whole failed to cohere. As performed, it was a riveting play but it had not been thought through by anyone it seems; the writer and director must share the blame for a compelling but somewhat incoherent reading of the drama. I would much rather have seen the same cast in the original. Home again for the new season of The Tunnel (English version).

Thursday, June 21, 2018

More novel, gutters cleaned

There was a good bit of work on the new novel today. P. went into town for some shopping but the gutter cleaner didn't come as promised but turned up late in the afternoon instead. At least the gutters are all cleaned and we shouldn't flood as we did at the beginning of last year (or was it the year before?). Now settling in for another night at home. P. made delicious marinated pork belly with rice and Asian greens from a Herbert ever-reliable recipe.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Blood and prose

Up early this morning for a fasting visit to the Health Centre for a blood test, though really two: one for chlorestorol (which is long overdue) and one for a visit to Genie the nephrologist next week. I've finally realised that I don't have to go all the way to the hospital for a blood test, but can do it at the local Health Centre. We'll see whether the results find their way to Genie. Home again, where the revised and expanded novel has turned up, so I started working on that. We had French onion soup for lunch with fresh yummy bread from the Convent plus passionfruit tarts. After an arvo rest, P. made leftover vera bolognese for dinner then regular Wednesday night teev. So-called comedy on the ABC.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Coffee concert

Off to the Recital Centre this morning for a coffee concert by Musica Viva. We were joined by Michael Hurley on the MV freebie (given to entice new subscribers, I suppose). It was good to catch up with him anyway. Ensemble Liaison did a splendid job of trios by Beethoven, Munro and an arrangement of Porgy and Bess tunes arranged for trio of piano, clarinet and cello. Ian Munro, who composed the second piece, stood in for Tim the usual pianist whose wife is having a baby. We then had a naice lunch at the Tea Rooms at the NGV. We all had crotchless sandwiches. Home again for a rest after such an energetic morning. I cooked beef rendang for dinner with rice. There's a bit left over for lunch or another meal.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Sydney here we come

This morning, I finished booking things for our brief Sydney foray in July to see the crew in Moss Vale and Sydney. It involves a long train journey up but a flight back using all my Virgin points. Looking forward to it. P. and I had French onion soup for lunch and he made vera bolognese which we'll have for dinner.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Another quiet weekend

This morning, Franz the Corolla and P. and I went off to Victoria Gardens. It couldn't have been more normal with the (becoming normal) diversion to Noel's place to drop off his purchases and have a bit of a chinwag. Home again for salmon cakes for lunch, then a rest. It is good to have quiet weekends and do more things during the week as Melbourne weekends are becoming quite frenetic. Even last night's concert meant crowded trams and city streets on Friday. Tonight, Thai prawns for dinner plus some new baby cheeses from the mall today. On Sunday, we woke to an enormous downpour. The crossword was despatched quickly and we settled in for a quiet day at home, reading in the warm and dry and maybe a bit of cooking, like the French onion soup I'm making for lunch. We had leftover lasagne for dinner to which P. added a delicious radicchio, pear and blue cheese salad. All topped off with the splendid Mystery Road, part four (I think).

Friday, June 15, 2018

Birthday and dinner

Yesterday, after the usual morning activities (checking emails, news etc., Luminosity) P. and I joined Jane N., Margaret G. and Frank for his birthday lunch at the soon-to-be-closed-to-turn-into-units Pope Joan. We had a great brunch which made the closure even sadder. In the evening, I went to our regular Penguini dinner at Zen in Hawthorn. We had seven at this one, which was moved because many could not attend. Pat, Rosanne, Andrew, Julie, Jackie, Peg and I were there. We had a good chat as usual with some sad domestic news as well. Today (Friday), it's off to U3A for the film: this time Jedda, continuing our Australian season. Jedda turned out to be more interesting than expected in its ideological framework. We then had a small but interesting lunch at Red Bird cafe round the corner. Now we're having a quick meal at home, then off to Berlioz' L'enfance du Christ at Homo Hall. It was a great performance of a rarely performed work, probably because of the large forces involved. I loved Berlioz' chutzpah in having a huge chorus and large orchestra wait for a harp and two flutes long solo, then letting the orchestra wait for an unacompanied finale by the choir and tenor. It's a small wonder it isn't often performed apart from having beautiful music.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Carlton and Collins

Yesterday was a quiet day at home doing a bit of planning of a trip to Sydney in July to visit Kit and Nick and families. Sally dropped in for a bit of a mag and P. and I had quiche for lunch. We had leftover goulash for dinner but it is like the magic pudding and refuses to disappear. The cleaners have transferred to today (because of Queenie's birthday this week) and we are off to use Sal's tickets to the Dames Having Tea or whatever it is at the Nova. It was the first time we've been to one of the Nova's special matinees where they provide tea and coffee plus a scone to scoff. We meet up with Sal's friend, Jannie. The fillum, a BBC number, shows Dames Joan Plowright, Eileen Atkins, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith in rather acid and funny conversation. The film clips, especially the old ones, were fascinating as were the postmodern implications of old actrines talking about acting (were they acting: I think they were). We had leftover soto for lunch before a brief nap. We then went to Collins Street for a good meal at Bistrot d'Orsay before going to Athenaeum 2 for a production of Pygmalion by the Shakespeare Company, directed superbly by Greg Carroll. It put My Fair Lady into the shade using G.B. Shaw's original script. Very well done.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Woodend winter festival

This morning, we picked up Billy the Corolla and Frank and headed for Woodend. We stopped for brunch at Gisborne then had cake and coffee in Woodend then went to Schubert's Octet played by members of the MSO in St Ambrose Church. It was excellently done. After a short walk, we then went to the Rodney Hall/John O'Donnell version of La Pellegrina, a fifteenth century 'masque'. I loved Hall's account of the original production, for a Medici wedding, costing the equivalent of 24 million dollars. 'We are trying not to skimp too much,' he said. They didn't skimp on the musicality, that's for sure, and it was a very enjoyable experience. It is amazing that this festival has survived and prospered, thanks to the good work of those involved and the volunteers. We hurried home to beat the rain, then P. and I had soto ayam followed by baby cheeses for dinner. Now, boring Bill Shorten on Q&A.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Quiet weekend

This weekend is without events except the papers and the crosswords, plus a bit of cooking. This morning, I made some chicken stock in preparation for soto ayam. We had trout fillets for dinner followed by baby cheeses and chocolates from Daylesford. In the morning, we both got up late so the Sunday crossword was late but easy. I then finished off the soto ayam so it's ready whenever we want it. We had leftover beef burgundy on toast for lunch and P. is making goulash for dinner preparatory to tonight's 'Mystery Road'.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Perhaps a piece of Mahler...

Yesterday, I spent most of the day at home while P. went to get new specs then had lunch with Margaret N. at a Carlton pub. We met up at Yoyogi for a quick meal then went to Homo Hall. The first half of the program was all Mahler: 'Totenfeier' then Thomas Hampson sang the Songs of a Wayfarer with aplomb (I think he's done it before). The second half of the show was Messiaen's 'Le Tombeau Resplendissant', getting its first ever outing with the MSO, then Richard Strauss, 'Tod und Verklarung'. All this stuff about death might have been gloomy but the huge forces at play belied that and, after all, Strauss and Mahler were only in their mid-twenties when they wrote huge pieces about death while they were in rude health. They'd beefed up the orchestra with guests including, oddly, Sharon Grigorian on cello, from the Australian String Quartet (perhaps she wanted to do a bit of Mahler) and our 'friend', Emma Sullivan, on bass, from the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra. Now, it's off to do shopping for ourselves and Noel but without Frank or Franz (who has gone missing) so it's Billy the Corolla again. We dropped off Noel's stuff and Billy and had soup for lunch. In the evening, we met Frank for a good meal at Chocolate Buddha, then went to the Song Company at The Edge. It was a semi-dramatised rendition of one of the works of Guillaume de Machaut (c.1300-1377). Unfortunately, singers don't often act very well and this proved to be the case here. They did sing well, though there is a certain sameness about fourteenth century hits which can become boring very quickly. They definitely didn't last for an hour and a half competing with the hard wooden seats of The Edge which verge on those of cathedrals and churches for lack of comfort. The company is very accomplished: it's a pity they have become fixated on scholarship rather than entertainment.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Gourmet Daylesford

Away on Monday with Billy the Corolla (to avoid babyseats in Franz) with P. to Daylesford. It was a good run after the horrors of the Western Ringroad. We lunched with Carmel B. in Ballarat by the lake and dropped her goods, left after her stay here while we were in Peru. Thence to Daylesford and to the Royal Hotel which was fine except their reception does not include the ABC (RN or TV). The room was capacious and warm. In the evening, we went to Kazuki for our first gourmet meal, two courses of Japanese fusion which were delicious. We both had bugs for starters. Next morning, we did the attractions of Daylesford after brekkie at Larder which was okay but not brilliant. We saw the Convent which we hadn't for years with its superb views of the surrounding country and its splendid chapel and reception facilities (wedding anyone?). We also went to the Wombat Hill Gardens and the lake, plus the splendid Chocolate Mill and Hepburn Springs. After an arvo nap, we went to Mercato which was a bit of a hike up the hill but worth it. The much-awarded eatery was excellent. We did the coat of arms as I had roo carpaccio for starters and P. had emu for mains. I had entree prawns instead of mains. Both were excellent as were the desserts. The carpaccio was one of the best I've ever had. The two nights' dinners were a touch extravagant but probably cost less than one at Lake House and were a bit more manageable in size. This morning, we had a splendid brekkie by the lake with grebes and ducks at the Boathouse. Home again, lickety-split, after a fine break in Daylesford, all the better as it was during the week and not crowded, plus we've still got the chocolate from Chocolate Mill. We had leftover beef burgundy with new apple-and-cabbage plus mashed potatoes for dinner cooked by P. Late night TV involved catch-up on Four Corners and Media Watch which we couldn't access in Daylesford.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Slothful Sunday

The crossword was knocked off quickly, though we were up late having watched a biopic on loan from Noel: Judy Davis as Judy Garland. Her performance was superb and it was a good precursor to her appearance in Mystery Road TV series tonight, but the movie was fairly tedious: it was too long, P. went to sleep before the end and I kept hoping she would die soon.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Quietish day

Yesterday (Friday), I did more travel planning to Te Waipounamu while P. went off to U3A for what sounds like a very successful session on Paul Auster's New York Trilogy, for which he led the discussion. In the evening, we had takeway Thai for dinner from Kew. Now we're off with Franz and Frank for Saturday shopping. We successfully swapped Noel's lampshade which didn't fit for a new one, got a few supplies for him and did our own shopping. Then we had a good, but late, lunch at Dr Morse. I'm doing prawn skewers for dinner then a night huddling by the heater with the teev.