Saturday, July 17, 2021

Bye Bye Billy Goat

Good fences make good neighbors is an old saying.  I was reminded of it on returning home on Monday afternoon to be greeted by an irate visitor.  It seems the goats had figured out how to get through the fence and had eaten his mother-in-law's cabbages.  He was quite worked up so I let him rant and rave, agreeing with everything he demanded.
So the next morning our friendly local goatherd turned up with his van.  I don't know about you, but I had never seen anybody hold a goat down with one  hand while he tied their legs up with the other.  The goats were a bit startled by all this, but apparently they settled down during the drive back to the farm.  Once there, they were mostly interested in rubbing noses through the fence with the female goats.  I think they'll be all right.

 The start of the week was a bit crazy.  I saw the goats off to begin with.  Other things included the authorities want my doctor to certify I'm fit to drive, my health plan has to be reviewed, I need to get my flu shot as well as my second Covid jab, they won't re-insure my car till I fix the door where I drove into the gatepost,  I didn't make it to croquet this week, I spent $250 at the hardware store, we came last at the Tuesday night quiz, an acquaintance is dying of cancer and I lost a tooth.  Apart from that, all was calm and peaceful.

On the road again!  Thursday I had an invitation to go up the country, which seemed a reasonable way to have a break from the events of the week.  It was a nice change to get out in the open air on a fine sunny winter afternoon, driving up the Derwent Valley.  Coffee at New Norfolk and a stop at the Bushy Park market to buy a couple of books.  Then on into the bush, passing kookaburras and  wallabies, not to mention sheep, cattle, horses and (of course) goats.
We visited my two goats, but I wasn't that surprised when they ignore me in favor of watching the female goats on the other side of the fence.  What would you do if you had to choose between a slice of bread and the company of the opposite sex?

Tuesday 13th July
Took the bus into the city for a doctor's appointment.  Part of the downtown area was cordoned off because of the fire that seriously damaged the 200-year-old Brunswick Hotel.  I hadn't thought about it being a problem for the bus system until I went to catch the bus home and found a sign telling me the bus stop had been moved.  I ended up walking up to North Hobart before I could get a bus.

I have a bad habit of answering questions honestly.  When I gave my doctor the form to say I was competent to drive, he asked me if I had any trouble driving and I told him I didn't like driving at night because I was dazzled by the headlights.  Then he asked me to read the eye chart.  Now I can't get the form signed until I get new glasses.  

Sometimes I think my endocrinologist and my GP are conspiring to keep me guessing.   Every couple of years they tweak my prescription drugs so that I have to change the routine I've gotten used to.  I suspect they want to keep me off-balance !

Another busy afternoon at the Croquet Club with 18 people playing.  I was partnered with one newcomer and in the space of one game he made four hoops and I didn't get any.   At half-time I got a phone call from the fencing contractor;  they will start putting in the posts for the new fence this afternoon and finish them off on Friday.  Should make the neighbors happy.

Tuesday I wondered why I was feeling the cold in the late afternoon.  It took me a while to remember that I'd put on a short sleeved shirt this morning so I could get my flu shot with minimum disrobing.  Doh!

There were nine teams at the Tuesday night quiz.  Started off all right and ended up scoring 69 points, which put us in fourth place.  The winners got a score of 81.  And a shout-out to our compatriots at the Minerva's Disciples table who won a bottle of wine for being the first to solve the puzzle question  --  it took us till Round 5 to get it.

Wednesday 14th July
Another appointment in the city, this time with my optometrist.   I had been putting off getting my eyes tested because I guessed what the results would be. (Yes, cataracts.)  This was my first brush with optical coherence tomography (OCT).  I took the bus again, since I didn't think I'd be able to drive after having those eye drops.  At least this time I detoured to a bus stop where the suburban service was still running.
The old codger in the next seat was muttering to himself, asking me how I'd feel about a nice glass of beer.  I confessed I wasn't a beer drinker but admitted I had served a few in my time.  He asked which hotel I had worked at, and I told him.  His eyes widened and he said disbelievingly "You're not Baden O'Brien are you?"   No, I replied, he was my father.  "You used to have dark hair back then," he said.    So we had a nice chat about old hotels till we got to my stop.

Never think that people aren't listening when you're rabbiting on.  After church on Sunday some of us went over the river to the Shoreline for lunch and a catch-up.  Somebody asked me what I was doing in the evening and I said that all I was going to do was rest in the afternoon, have dinner and watch the re-make of MYSTERIOUS ISLAND on television.
To my surprise, a couple of days later I received a text that read as follows:  "Hi Michael, thanks for letting us know about the movie mysterious island, it turned out we had to mind the grandchildren and we let them watch it which they truly enjoyed."

Kaye Appleyard died July 4th according to a phone call from the Public Trustee.  I hadn't seen much of her during the pandemic but I had known her for about 50 years.  She could be prickly at the best of times -- she once said that the only two people she trusted were her brother and me --  and I suspect she was somewhere on the autism spectrum.  SF fans from the 1970s may have encountered her at conventions.

Went out for lunch with Keith on Friday and then across to the Salvation Army store, where to my surprise I wound up spending more than he did ($80 against $73). I warned him this would be the last weekend for some time I would be able to drive around town  -  my appointment with the eye specialist isn't till next month, so who knows when I'll be operated on, let alone when I'll be back behind the wheel.    😞

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Winter draws on


Saturday 19th June 2021
"Stop me before I buy again!"  Saturday afternoon was a blur of op-shops, pharmacies and restaurants.  At one point I abandoned my dignity to crawl along the floor on my hands and knees in front of the display of DVD movies in the Salvation Army store, so I could inspect the lowest shelves.  I did find a few rare items, and did manage to get to my feet again afterwards.  
At least I wasn't as bad as Keith, who went home with ten bags full of books for himself and his friends.

Listened to "The Final Game", a fan-made Doctor Who serial made by Moonlight Audio Theater.  It's about the final confrontation between the third doctor and his foe The Master.  Some of the acting from the female companions is a bit so-so but the two leads do a perfect imitation of Jon Pertwee and Roger Delgado.  

Sunday morning I noticed an extra table set up in the church hall.  All was explained when we went out for morning tea.  St John's was catering for all ages --  coffee for the grown-ups and Lego for the youngsters.

Tuesday 22nd June
Winter Solstice.  I always seem to be playing croquet on this, the deepest darkest part of winter.  I suffered through the first game, wishing I'd remembered my gloves and wondering whether I should go home at intermission.  By the time the second game came round, the sun had broken through and we actually had shadows, so I stayed on.  Lost both games but it was an interesting experience.
You could say the same about the quiz night.  We didn't do too badly (even getting a perfect score for the Cinema & TV round) and made a quite respectable 80 points. That was enough to get us fourth place, while the team titled Diamond Set Stickpin stormed home with 97 points.  I was slightly distracted trying to get through on the phone seeking information about a friend who had been rushed to hospital.  But all was well in the end.

Wednesday night quiz  --  we must be improving a little because we didn't lose by as much as we usually do!  At the halfway mark we were in second place, and we finished with 74 points in fifth place after scoring 8/10 in  most rounds.  The winners Multiplay scored 82 points, which wouldn't have won most Wednesdays.   Watch out, next week!
A musical safari into the Great American Songbook!  

Saturday night I seldom go out, but I made an exception this week for Nadira's concert at the Moonah Arts Centre. I remember seeing her when she first appeared there in 2015, singing all the great old standards  --  this is her first post-pandemic show there.  As usual she came over and gave me a hug at interval --  you might say that was against the social distancing rules, but since she only comes up to my sternum there was a minimal risk to public health.  Her voice is so clear that even my aging ears can follow all the words of every song.

Sunday morning in church went off all right, but sad news about our sister church in Mount Stuart closing its doors, and our assistant minister moving nterstate later this year for family reasons.  Sorry to hear that.

Old radio shows last week:

The Covid situation continues to be unpredictable.  Health scares in several different places across Australia, and New South Wales in particular must be feeling unloved.  Not only have 200 police officers been deployed to watch over the NSW/Victoria border, but a hotel in Canberra told 50 travellers from Sydney that they could stay the night but they'd have to go home the next day.

Monday 28th June
Spent the afternoon inside, keeping warm and working on my radio show collection.  Catalogued a lot of folders and then backed them up to the external hard drive.  While I was doing this, in between nodding off in my armchair, listened to episodes of "Maigret" and "Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" from my drama collection.

If you are friends with Keith Curtis, you learn to speak up when you have a chance, otherwise you won't get a word in edgeways.  But this evening I was speechless when Keith rang.  "I was looking at some DVDs today," he began, "are you interested in a complete run of LAW & ORDER?"  There was a moment of silence before I asked weakly if it was a boxed set.  "No, separate packs for each of the twenty seasons.  Are you interested?"  I gurgled something that he took as an affirmative and quoted me a price.  "Yes," I said.  "I haven't checked the condition of the discs yet."  I told him that anyone who went to the trouble of collecting the entire run of the show would probably treat the discs with the appropriate care.   Good Lord, that is 456 episodes.  

"Twenty six years jail,
convicted by conjecture?
A bizarre verdict!"