Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Son of Notes from Down Under

What a weird day.  It hit 36C at midday, then fell to 16C by 6pm after the wind swung from northwest to southeast.  I was in the city this morning for an 11.30 appointment with my endocrinologist and couldn't wait to get home.  Apparently there were similar feelings on the part of my white cat Nelson who seems to disapprove of my being out three days in a row -- he spent two hours welcoming me home before curling up for a nap.  I decided to follow his example.

4:41 PM 28/11/2019
This week saw Gene's annual visit on Julie's birthday.  We laid some flowers on the grave, opened a bottle of champagne to toast her memory, then repaired to the Boathouse restaurant for lunch and discussion of our many stories about her.  I picked some flowers from my own garden, which seemed to me a fitting tribute to the years she lived here. 

 Took photos of Gene and his daughter lunching with friends from St John's on the day they arrived from their trans-oceanic flight.

10:40 PM 2/12/2019
Spent Sunday afternoon and Monday morning quietly at home, resting after last week.  Went out for dinner with friends, then relaxed on the couch with the cats while listening to one of the Big Finish audios about Doctor Who.
And if you weren't confused by the half-way mark, you obviously weren't paying attention!

5:01 PM 12/12/2019
Weather a little unsettled but went over to the Croquet Club in the morning and played a couple of games with some new members.  After lunch, I listened to a podcast based on the first of Dashiell Hammett's 1923 Continental Op stories from "Black Mask" magazine.  Looked bright and sunny so I spent the evening out at the Bocce Club.

Tuesday was a competetive day.  Spent the afternoon playing croquet, then after a short rest it was out to the final quiz night for this year.  We did fairly well, but finished third after one team scored an amazing 91/110 points.
(We bought dinner for five people and only had to pay two dollars and sixty cents  --  we saved up all our prize money from the rest of the year)

Resting after lunch on Wednesday I dozed off on the couch.  When I woke up, I couldn't move my right arm.  

(The  black cat was asleep on my hand.)


Thursday was a fairly busy day.  Set my alarm clock to give me plenty of time to get to the Croquet Club's 10 a.m. start, then spent two and a half hours playing.  After that, out to get stuff at the pharmacy and the pet store, the latter being for sun screen for my white cat who insists on going outside during the hottest part of the day  (he doesn't understand "Slip, Slop Slap").
After meeting Keith at the Salvo's for a late lunch, did some shopping and found myself fighting peak-hour traffic on the highway, a rarity for me.
Made it to the Bocce Club in time for their end-of-year evening.  Ate too much, but hey it's Christmas  ("The was made with sheep's cream.  I would have liked to leave it in the cheese cave for another week, but it shoud be all right.").

4:31 PM 22/12/2019
Parking was a nightmare in the city this morning.  It ended up costing me $42 to go to church for our annual Christmas Carol service.
You can probably infer my opinion of city authorities who pay parking inspectors to go round on the last Sunday before Christmas and fine motorists who park near the church of their choice.  I should write to the Prime Minister and ask if his new religious freedom bill covers this.

In the evening, next door for the neighbors' traditional  Christmas drinks.  Many familiar faces from previous years, and the champagne was flowing as it usually did.  A brief chat with the Deputy Lord Mayor -- she must get tired of people talking about council issues but she didn't show it. 
Several children playing in the backyard.  At one point, two of the little girls were chasing the dogs round and round the garden -- not sure who was enjoying it more, the kids or the dogs.  One youngster made repeated trips inside to dip a carrot stick into the pate, showing very advanced taste for her age.

Other Notes from Down Under

 Tuesday, out to Croquet Club, then into Moonah -- bank, post office, lunch. Spent the rest of the day wrestling with my new phone.  With advice from the help desk and the aid of my largest magnifying glass, decided the problem is the tiny clip that is supposed to hold the SIM card in place, but actually doesn't. *sigh* A trip back to the place I bought it tomorrow then.
[Phone fixed without drama - it was, of course, the youngest member of the staff who solved my problem for me.]

11:05 PM 5/09/2019
Too busy for croquet again, with a committee meeting before lunch, then monthly PWMU luncheon.  Home and had a bit of a rest before heading out with Helena to see "Legally Blonde - The Musical" at the Playhouse.  Never have I seen a more demonstrative audience, screaming, whooping and applauding all through the show.


A bit cool and damp on Saturday.  Out for lunch and op-shopping as usual, then dropped in to see Kay.   A mutual friend was trying to fix up her audio-video system, and she was distraught because she kept insisting that the computer had to  be attached to her VCR if she wanted to see stuff on her television.  She wouldn't accept that this was neither possible nor helpful.   Sigh.

4:59 PM 9/09/2019

NBN seems even more problematic than usual.  By 5 pm it had dropped out at least four times -- may have been more but I wasn't on-line all the day.

3:29 PM 16/09/2019
Sunday morning I was a little apprehensive about having to step up to the lectern and read today's text aloud.  All sections of Scripture have their good and bad points (from a performance angle) but chapter 8 of Daniel was the first time I  have had to read a long passage of apocalyptic imagery.  Hey, it could have been worse -- I just had to read it, the minister had to preach on it.

Saturday, a bewildering sight -- Keith spent an hour in the Salvation Army store and bought one book.  Just one!  That's like Dean Mrtin going into a bar and ordering an orange juice

1:00 PM 24/09/2019

Those TV re-runs sometimes turn up a forgotten gem.  Today I saw the pilot episode of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE with Steven Hill.  Interesting to compare it with the series that sprang from it.  Hill's Dan Briggs is unchanged, though intriguingly the voice at the end of the recording says "Welcome back, Dan", implying he's returning to the IMF after some time.  Barney and Willie have their brains-and-brawn sctick down pat.
The biggest difference is in two of the show's best-loved characters, Cinammon and Rollin.  Cinammon's sex appeal is more overt in this episode, verging on the sort of "eye candy" role common in 1966 -- later they would tone it down to the sort of cool elegance more appropriate to a high-fashion model.  And the make-up that was one of the show's trademarks falters a bit here, with Rollin's impersonation of a Latin American dictator very ordinary.
But the important thing is that this episode [the only one written by creator Bruce Geller] got the show on the air.  Its status as a TV icon would soon be assured.

4:13 PM 26/09/2019
Thursday's agenda:
10 am  Croquet;  1 pm  Lunch; 2 pm Facebook;  3 pm  Officeworks;  4 pm Star Trek;  6 pm  Dinner;  7.30pm Playhouse Theatre "Nunsense" .

7:31 PM 10/10/2019
Thursday I am still home resting up and trying to shake off that cold.  After feeding the animals, had a late breakfast and caught up on my reading till I nodded off on the couch.  Finally woke up when Keith Curtis phoned to say he'd got me a box of 60 year old issues of ANALOG magazine.  There are worse ways to wake up, I thought.

5:45 PM 11/10/2019
Being sick at home most of this week has given me the chance to watch a lot of STAR TREK re-runs.  Except for seeing them on the same day, I might not have noticed that "Devil in the Dark" [1967] and "Home Soil" [1988] are actually the same plot.

9:53 PM 14/10/2019

Sunday I got through church without sneezing or coughing (when I cough you can usually hear me half a block away), but the hymns were a bit of a challenge.  I only sing in church, so I  hadn't had to try it since before I got this persistent cold.  Afterwards, I had lunch, bought the SUNDAY AGE and went home, where I slept for two hours.  Let's hope my germs are packing their bags and making travel plans.

Monday I had planned to do stuff, but I never got that far.  Went out in the evening to have dinner with Pat & Ian.  They have a new big-screen television, organized by their family  --  probably because one of them has glaucoma and the other has macular degeneration, so they actually need a larger screen.  One of the family wants to connect them to Netflix, but I'm not sure it's necessary  --  they usually only watch SBS and ABC.
Still snuffling a little.  Warm and sunny today, which meant the cats both went outside after lunch, giving me a chance to make the bed for once.  Julie always said it was easier to handle cats during the winter, because you always knew where they'd be during cold weather  --  so true!

11:31 PM 18/10/2019
Dear iiNet, my Internet drops out at least three times a day for a few minutes.  Usually it's around midday (people logging on during their lunch break?), in the late afternoon (kids logging on after school?) and late at night (people logging on before they go to bed?)

Tsk, that's  two weeks now that I haven't made it to the Croquet Club.  Both Tuesdays I was put off by the weather, and both Thursdays I had a prior engagement.  This Thursday a group of us had lunch at Mather House after visiting the latest exhibition in the Allport Museum at the State Librart.  (Trivia titbit:  Mr Allport's daughter was the teacher in my sister Julie's art class at the Collegiate School.)

4:43 PM 25/10/2019

While television channel WIN BOLD was off the air, apparently due to bushfires impacting its transmitters, I tried watching the streaming feed on-line.  Nope, that doesn't work  --  we get five seconds of program,followed by ten seconds of buffering.  The end result is like watching a radio play illustrated with a series of still photographs.  The prediction that the NBN would bring us "fast and reliable" connectrions turns out to be just another political promise.  At least for FTTN. 
I wish we had ADSL2 back again.

2:31 PM 28/10/2019
Sometimes think the safest place to be in a zombie attack would be the croquet club.  Just stand out in the middle of the lawn till the zombie spots you and staggers towards you.  Then when he trips over a hoop and lands at your feet, you just bop him in the head with your croquet mallet and wait for the next one.

10:54 PM 29/10/2019
Phew.  After my morning blood test I played two games of croquet this afternoon with the temperature around 27 (or 80 fahrenheit).  Had time for coffee at Magnolia, then went home and put my feet up while I watched the afternoon Star Trek re-run.  Herded the cats inside then went out to the pub  quiz in Moonah -- we finished fifth but we had a couple of good rounds.  (And we got ten points because I remembered that it was Naomi Campbell that had written a novel called "Swan"!)

12:02 AM 10/11/2019
Thursday seemed pretty well planned out.  Croquet in the morning, Missions meeting and lunch at the church hall, Bocce Club in the evening.
Well, one out of three happened.  The weather turned wet and windy, so outdoor activities got the flick.  The meeting went off all right, with guest speaker Kim Jager from P.I.M.
Dinner at home and watched first episode of L.A.'s FINEST on TV;  Jessica Alba is as nice as usual but the show is just another cop series.
2:51 PM 17/11/2019
For a change, fine and sunny with not too much wind -- the equinocial gales last week were such that I feared the roof outside the back door was going to blow away.  Attended the morning service at church, where the sermon was interrupted by a couple of people being unwell  --  nothing to do, I hope, with my reading aloud the entire book of Philemon from the lectern.
After lunch, it was such a nice day I spent a pleasant hour in the garden drinking coffee while reading the latest issue of THE NEW YORKER and watching the cats wander in and out of the shade of the carport.  I have a full agenda for next week, but even God rested on the seventh day.

After my last update, when everything was so calm and peaceful, things took a surprising turn.  I was in my room, wondering whether I'd take a nap before dinner, when I heard a sudden commotion from the chickens.  Curious, I made my way to the back door.
Then both cats camre rushing inside -- and behind them a large black dog!  As it followed the white cat into the kitchen, I realized it was a greyhound. Out in the kitchen, the cat was "treed" on top of a cupboard, the greyhound standing up to look at him and the cat hissing at him.
Fortunately greyhounds are fairly docile beasts and I was able to herd him out the backdoor and walk him down the driveway to the street, where he was reunited with his owners.
One never knows, do one?

More Notes from Down Under

Muddy outside again.  Picked my way across the yard carefully, bearing in mind what happened the other day.  I went out to feed the poultry their breakfast and because of the wet weather they were in a different place to usual, sheltering from the rain.  I leaned forward as I threw their food down, and felt I was over balancing. 
Fortunately I managed to grab something and steady myself, but the chickens had seen me starting to topple over and had run off in all directions.  Tried calling them, but they were standing back suspiciously watching me.  I'm sure they came over as soon as I went back into the house.

9:16 PM 23/07/2019
Tuesday I was at the Croquet Club punctually and played two games.  The good news is that we did all right in the second game.  The first game?  Well, I haven't lost a game 7-0 for about ten years, but there's a second time for everything.

12:29 PM 26/07/20191
Blest be the tie that binds
  Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship our spirit finds
  Is like to that above.

When we asunder part,
  It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
  And hope to meet again.

10:33 AM 6/08/2019
A memory surfaces of dinner at the Bangsund home.  Left alone at the table with George Turner, I said by way of conversation that I hadn't seen any of John's SF collection anywhere.  George took a sip of wine and replied "Like a lot of SF fans, I expect he keeps it under his bed for quick reference."

10:08 PM 6/08/2019
Slept well.  Played a little better at croquet today. (Are the two things connected?) Then went into Moonah for lunch.  Weather a bit unpredictable from hour to hour.  This evening tuned in to watch first episode of SEA CHANGE  on TV -- who would have thought they'd make a new series 20 years after it finished? 

6:04 PM 10/08/2019
Drove up with Adrian to Oatlands in the southern midlands.  A big day for the town with the Heritage & Bullocks festival, though the weather was not co-operating.  (Helena's photographic studio was the warmest spot in town!).  Saw quite a few of the sights, including black swans on the shore of Lake Dulverton, lots of native hens, heritage displays and a coffee shop with an Errol Flynn themed decor.

6:13 PM 23/08/2019
Thursday it struck me that the week so far has been defined by things that didn't happen rather then by stuff I did do.  No croquet, no quiz night, no mobile phone and the laptop still in the shop.  Plus the batteries in the TV remote died while I was watching a movie last night!
Also no sunshine  --  while I was feeding the poultry a couple of days ago, it struck me that I had not seen so many pools of water on the ground since last year's rainstorm.   
Things must improve from now on, surely.

10:56 PM 23/08/2019
A bit busier on Friday.  Even the sun was shining.   I napped for an hour then went out for lunch and browsed through the Salvation Army store (mildly surprised to find a DVD bearing the emblem of the Mt Isa Blockbuster store - a long way from home).  Picked up the laptop from its service, then joined my neighbours for a trip to The Playhouse.  We saw David Williamson's classic comedy THE CLUB, which was very well received by a large audience. 

A typical day --
1. Feed poultry, feed cats.
2. Breakfast
3. Facebook
4. Morning coffee while watching MISSION IMPOSSIBLE
5. Lunch
6. Phone Helena to let her know I have received SIM card for new phone
7. Wrestle with phone - gad but that's a fiddly job
8. Activate card on-line after giving up trying to get through on phone
9. Out for dinner with friends, watch episode of DEPARTMENT S.
10. Supermarket on way home.
11. Try out laptop after its service - tolerable.
12. Phone call from Keith Curtis, latest books collected.
13. Listen to late news on radio, go to bed.

Notes from Down Under

I haven't been posting much, but here are some notes I made last year.

Easter 2019 -  I am making a flying visit to Ballarat for a family reunion on Easter Saturday and staying overnight.  Sunday I will catch up with Leigh Edmonds, then return to Melbourne late Sunday.  I will be staying at the Victoria Hotel in the CBD and will be available for lunch or coffee etc before catching the 7.50pm plane back to Hobart.  

Wednesday I was still tired from my travels, though most nights this week I've been in bed by 10:15pm which is not usual for me.  To my surprise this didn't seem to harm my game at the Croquet Club -- in fact a couple of people told me how well I was playing on Tuesday.  Go figure.
A very windy night.  When I got up this morning I saw the lid had blown off the 44 gallon drum at the back door.  Never saw that happen before.  Went out to get some food for the poultry.  Let me tell you, the man who coined the term chickenfeed meaning a negligible amount of money never had much to do with caring for hens.
In the evening we competed in the weekly pub quiz and managed to finish in second place.  We only lost by a single point, so I reckon we would have won if we had done better in the puzzle question ("What year did NATO celebrate its 40th birthday?").

Thursday was quiet.  Anzac Day is a public holiday.  I played croquet in the morning and we shared a cake I provided  --  the club has a tradition that you have to bring a cake when it's your birthday that week.  Went home and took a nap.  After dinner I watched some stuff from the Sid & Marty Krofft boxed set I bought last week.  I was unaware that the State Cinema was having a special screening of one of my favourite films THE DAMBUSTERS due to it being Anzac Day!  Oh well, maybe another year. 

Friday got off to a sad start.   I gave Keith Curtis and his cat a lift to the Vet, but only two of us were coming back if you know what I mean.  :(   After it was all over, Keith and I talked for a while over coffee before I drove him home.
Lunch time, Adrian drove me down to eat with Mick, Helena and Zyta to celebrate my birthday.  Chicken and champagne, and since I wasn't driving I felt free to have an extra glass or two.  Zyta had come across one of the conical moulds used for making cream horns and served up a plate of them for dessert.  This was the first time I'd seen those in a long, long time.  Quite nice but you wouldn't want to be eating them every week.

AVENGERS ENDGAME  I enjoyed this a lot more than INFINITY WARS.  The movie hits the ground running and never stops, and though you'd need a PhD in Marvel to identify every character, it works.  The movie looks amazing and it has heart.  I'd put it in my Top Five list of Marvel movies.

10:50 PM 9/05/2019
Last night I felt a little unsettled, and today I felt sad and melancholy for the first half of the day.  A game of croquet took my mind off it for a while, but afterwards I drove past my sister's old house  --  it looked so lonely sitting there behind a chain-link fence studded with warning notices.  The whole property seemed like a wasteland, enlivened only by the donkey from next door grazing in the paddock. (Good old Rosie, I thought.)
Drove in to Moonah and felt a little better after a bowl of hot soup at the Magnolia coffee shop.  I kept thinking about the photo album Julie had put together for my 60th birthday, which I had been looking through recently.  Even after a couple of years, grief can sneak up on you at unexpected moments.

Thursday night, out to the Playhouse to see the Tasmanian premiere season of the musical LADIES IN BLACK.  Who knew that Tim Finn could write the music and lyrics for a good old fashioned big musical?  This is based on the Maderleine St John novel, but not the movie which was made at the same time the musical was about to come out. (Imagine the legal minefield for the lawyers dividing up the rights!)   The cast includes such stalwarts of the Hobart stage as John X and Chelle Burt, but the star is Cecilia Hutchinson who shines as the bookish suburban girl who finds a way out of the conformist 1950s when she takes a summer job at Sydney's leading department store.  This is that rare play that I would recommend unreservedly to everyone I meet.

11:46 PM 14/06/2019
Friday night and I may not get to sleep easily tonight, because I was drinking a lot of coffee at the Alliance Francais quiz tonight.  The Amnesiacs were defending the trophy we won at their last quiz (which was back in 2016).  The questions were in French, so they had to be translated into English for us, then our answers had to be translated back into French.  Fortunately I was able to answer several of the science & technology questions without waiting for the translation.
We came in second, partly I suspect because of the round where they showed us pictures of statues in France.  We not only had to say who the statues commemorated, but where they were located.   A big ask for a team in which only one had actually been to France.  (I did mis-identify the status of Jacques Brel as Charles Tranet, but nobody's perfect.)

12:03 PM 2/07/2019
For most of my life, buying art has meant picking up odds and ends at local shops or church fetes -- I don't think I ever bought anything priced at more than $25.  But I am now proud to announce that I am the owner of  a "real" painting, the sort that they sell in art galleries.
Liz Barsham's latest exhibition at the Nolan gallery finally convinced me to take the leap.  I am happy to say that her picture "Seeking shiny things" is now mine (and wouldn't it make a great subtitle for my autobiography?).

Over oceans deep
Homeward fly the travellers.
Devils watch the sky.

--- haiku for Julie 2016