Tuesday, May 03, 2005

down the pub

Nobody can say the Tasmanian autumn is dull. Sunday night we were huddled around the electric radiator trying to keep warm while we watched the last three weeks' worth of Star Trek: Enterprise [I recommend the episode "Doctor's Orders"]. I haven't been so cold since last winter.

Then next morning I woke up early and went out to bring in the newspaper (somebody has been stealing it off our front lawn lately if I don't bring it in promptly). I was amazed -- not only was there no snow on the mountain but it was a really beautiful sunny morning. Real "indian summer" weather.

It was so nice outside that we put out the two surviving chickens to get some fresh air on the back lawn. We have a little cage to put them in so they won't be bothered by cats or by the goose while they're out there.

The only cloud on the horizon was my conversation with my insurance company. They said that the damage to my sister's digital camera wasn't covered -- if it had been stolen or destroyed by flood or storm that would have been different.

I assume that if she'd been struck by lightning while using the camera, they would have paid up happily.

In the evening we went into the monthly quiz night run by the Irish Association. A pleasant meal at the New Sydney Hotel followed by two hours of racking our brains.

We joined two friends to make up a team under the nom-de-guerre The Amnesiacs. Amused to find that one of the other teams went by the acronym CRAFT (which stood for Can't Remember A F****** Thing).

This was the first regular quiz night we'd been to, so we were wondering how specialised the questions would be. The answer was that some were and some weren't. In fact I was pleasantly surprised at how many of the sports questions we managed to get.

It was also a stark reminder of how quickly we forget. One question was "What is the full name of the current Pope?" We all remembered his surname, but what was his Christian name? We mulled it over in the brief time we had and all we could come up with was Carl.

(It's Joseph by the way.)

In the end we didn't win but we didn't disgrace ourselves either. There were teams ahead of us but there were also teams behind us, so we weren't too distressed about the results.

Drove home and unwound with a cup of tea. Tetley have introduced three new blends of tea and we tried their "Calming" blend. This is a low-caffeine tea with hints of Camomile, Lemon Balm and Honey.

This weekend saw the end of the Targa Tasmania car rally. This is a regular event and brings high-profile drivers in from all over Australia.

For the layman it can be interesting but also rather confronting. One flinches at the image of someone wrapping a $300,000 Lamborghini around a tree. Not to mention the Ferrari that burst into flames before the event had even begun.

If I had a car that cost that much, I wouldn't drive it at high speed on a slippery twisty road in the backblocks of Tasmania.

Julie was tired of the fairly heavy books she'd been reading lately and asked if I had anything a bit lighter for a change. I gave her a Reader's Digest omnibus of crime and suspense stories and she couldn't put it down.

She enjoyed the stories by Rex Stout, Ellery Queen and Graham Greene, was fascinated by Josephine Tey's The Franchise Affair, and I practically had to pry the book out of her hands while she was reading The Maltese Falcon.

No progress with the problems on the BBC website so far. Still waiting on an answer to my e-mail outlining the difficulties I'm having listening.

Some of the shows are arriving so garbled that you can hardly sit through them. Last week's episode of The Navy Lark, for example, had most of the jokes trampled on by stray words and sound effects from previous sentences being dropped into the middle of lines.

Almost painful to listen to.

This week is the 35th anniversary of Those Were The Days:
Joining us “live” on stage for this milestone event will be:
KEN ALEXANDER, veteran radio announcer and man-about-town, who will bring a newspaper from his basement to share with listeners.
STEVE COOPER ORCHESTRA, presenting a re-creation of a “Your Hit Parade” program from 1944 as well as a “Tribute to the Big Bands” with a simulated coast-to-coast broadcast highlighting the nation’s great bands, bandleaders and remote announcers.
MIKE BEZIN’S WEST END JAZZ BAND, offering a “Salute to the Coon-Sanders Nighthawks” with a reasonable facsimile of a 1929 broadcast from Chicago’s Blackhawk Restaurant.
THOSE WERE THE DAYS RADIO PLAYERS presenting re-enactments of favorite old-time-radio scenes.
SPECIAL GUESTS, among others, will be big band historian Karl Pearson and movie historian Bob Kolososki. Plus an actual old-time-radio show.

Each Saturday's program is available on demand for one week beginning the following Tuesday. You'll need to have Windows Media Player installed, but most people have got that.

Speaking of radio, I was provoked beyond endurance by the problems I've been having trying to listen to the BBC website. I tried everything I could thing of, finally resorting to uninstalling Real Player.

I installed Real Player again from scratch and it came up with a message that corrupt files in the library had been deleted.

Logged on and tried the BBC again. It seems to be better at the moment, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is what it was.

After a few months of listening regularly, not being able to hear my favourite programmes was very vexing.


No comments: