Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Reasonably quiet weekend -- shopping with B on Saturday (P not well again) and Mum's on Sunday. Sunday evening I returned to the e-lounge for delicious pizza with JW; it was good to get a chance to chat with him, he's good value.

DG rang on Sunday afternoon -- he arrived back in the morning; I was a week out when I called him. He's glad to be home and we will catch up for a cheap meal on Friday evening. I look forward to hearing his stories of Morocco.

Later Sunday night I realised I was coming down with a cold -- the old catching at the back of the throat. Monday was OK, but I didn't go to rehearsal. However by Tuesday morning my voice was practically gone so I stayed in bed; well, for some of the day.

This morning, feeling a bit better, I went off to get my tax done. Every year I say I'll do my tax by September, and every year I end up going at the last minute. It was as painless as usual, though this year I'll have to pay a little. I think I'll have to declare Pushka a dependent(!)

Work this evening is so far fairly quiet, though there was a rush around 5pm.

Listening to: Marschner: Der Vampyr, Bernstein: Wonderful town, Mozart: Zauberflöte
Reading: Charles Darwin: Voyaging by Janet Browne; Life on air by David Attenborough

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Dinner with M, D and L last night was a delicious, if pungent, tomato and anchovy risotto. I said that if I had a partner I'd be in trouble after eating such a meal as I could still taste the anchovies and the raw onion from the salad at the end of the evening. This comment about partners later set me thinking about my unattachedness (these musings occurred at some weird hour of the morning when I woke and was temporarily sleepless).

I've always set greater store by friendships than romantic entwinements and maybe this is because I've never had much experience in matters of the heart. A quick inventory has me recalling around four or five relationships that lasted more than a few months, one of which I was very glad to finish. I remained on reasonable terms with all but one (same one).

I'm happy with my own company and as long as I have regular contact with friends, which is thankfully inevitable living as close as I do to some of them, I don't feel any great lacuna in my life. Some may say I don't know what I'm missing, and perhaps I don't, but there's no gaping hole, no unfilled yearning, no desperate need for an "other". This is not to say that I would rebuff anyone who was interested (and interesting), but since I'm not out there looking, it's unlikely.

Enough of this guff: it was great catching up with M, D & L last night, even if the DVD of the first series ofThe Office I borrowed is still in their player (I've got the case, though). L drove me home on the promise of The Office Christmas Special (also part 1).

Listening to: Beethoven late string quartets; Assassins
Reading: Charles Darwin: Voyaging by Janet Browne

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Saturday morning we went to the farmers' market at the Collingwood Children's Farm -- got there reasonably early so there was actually still some produce left. B bought a rabbit (which I missed out on tasting tonight as I'm working). Then he kindly drove me to Glenferrie Rd where I picked up my copy of the german work-book before our visit to Victoria Gardens for the supermarketing. It may be cleaner there, but there's precious little else that would take us back regularly; perhaps Toscano's.

After lunch with P&B it was home to do my impersonation of a troglodyte, using the front rooms as a cave to avoid the 40-degree heat. Around 6pm I realised that it was slightly cooler outside so opened up all the windows and doors; the place cooled off slightly but I didn't get much proper sleep.

To Mum's on Sunday after a late start. She saw the eye specialist on Friday and got the all-clear. She's very happy with the right eye; it's now much better than the left, which is as it should be considering the right one had the cataract removed. Sunday afternoon and evening were spent between the telly and the computer, where I have been ripping CDs to transfer to the Zen. I now have over 1000 tracks loaded, representing over 100 CDs -- and that's only taken up about 4.5Gb. Still 25Gb to go...

In the evening was the second part of Death in holy orders -- Jesse Spencer showed that he and fellow-Australian Constable Cameron (The Bill) share an ability to pull down the sides of their mouths in an all-purpose expression of displeasure; I think they think it's "acting". Fortunately Spencer has a few other more pleasing attributes, some of which we got to see when he went skinny-dipping in the North Sea (brrr).

New tenor at Gloriana brings our numbers to five which will make things a bit easier. Not sure about the new piece yet; but it is a delight singing the Britten again.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Just a quick post before I dash off to German class -- actually before I dash off and do my homework prior to German class. Work yesterday was fine; young JW drove me home which meant we had a chance for a catchup.

Work today has been pretty busy, not helped by my finding that the database holding our catalog seems to be corrupted somehow and I can't quite work out how to fix it. Will spend more time on that tomorrow.

Have had a request from VMcA to sing in a concert of his compositions in March to which I have responded very postively. Should be fun, especially as will have a chance to sing the Angel piece again.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Dinner chez P&B last night -- good news for B. He went to the hospital yesterday and got the all clear. It's been quite a long time coming, but a good result. Onward and upward...

Working late tonight; this morning I finally got around to sorting through some of the crap at home. I unearthed a number of dividend cheques which I hadn't banked; I need the stubs so I can make an appointment to do my tax for last year. Every year I tell myself that I'll get it done by August, and every year I put it off. Why should this year be any different? At least I managed to bank all the lovely money (it wasn't actually that much, but still looks nice in the bank).

Dropped in at Foreign Language Bookshop but unfortunately they're out of the Themen Actuelle work-book, so I've rung and asked DA to fax me the pages for tomorrow night's class. Will seek out a copy from the Glenferrie Road place.

We've had some lovely rain over the last day; not too heavy, enough to soak in well and make the plants rather happy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

First Gloriana rehearsal last night -- quite a challenging year coming up with some wonderful music to be sung. The first concert is of English works, including some great Tudor works, the Britten Hymn to St Cecilia and a first Australian performance of the Edinburgh Mass by Gabriel Jackson. It was good to be starting a long rehearsal period, not just a "let's put on a show" like the most recent gigs have been (not that there's anything wrong with that, I really enjoy throwing something together quickly, but I also like a reasonable preparation time as well -- though you can overdo it).

Still haven't done my German homework, mainly because I haven't bought the workbook yet -- this week it'll probably be a last minute rush.

Monday, February 09, 2004

The high point of the weekend was Tat's 50th birthday party -- ST picked me up around 7. Despite the guest of honour's request for no presents I wrapped a bottle of Morris's Durif (2000) which I'm sure she'll enjoy.

I also took some sausage rolls and party pies bought on the morning's shopping expedition. However when Tat set off to put these in the spare oven (!) she discovered that the toilet door, through which she had to go to reach said oven (don't ask), was locked.

It was hoped that there was no-one slumped senseless after having locked the door. Unfortunately the outside door to the flat was also locked -- add to this that Tat's glasses were also locked in the flat. Eventually ST managed to find a key tagged Toilet door in a pile of keys on the piano. When the door was opened there was no slumped or embarassed guest in the loo and the sausage rolls and pies were successfully transferred to the oven.

Around 9pm I was given the task of putting 50 candles in the enormous chocolate cake and lighting them -- by the time they were all lit, there was plenty of wax dripped on the cake, but I don't think anyone noticed. Tat took a great breath but was unable to blow them all out at once. The cake was delicious.

Debbie (and Pumpkin), Jules and Dianne arrived soon after.

Yesterday I trained it to Mum's; which was probably just as well, as it hit 40 in the afternoon, and I would have melted had I ridden the bike.

B&P came for dinner last night (more curry) and we watched the first episode of Death in holy orders.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Guten Tag! Ich heisse Frank. Wie geht es Ihnen?

That's the gist of what we learnt last night in our first German class. Fortunately the teacher (Uli) is great fun; she had us up and down all night, walking around the room practising phrases on each other. A clever ruse to get us all talking and remembering (oh, so hard) all our names. It also helps overcome lethargy in what is actually a very long evening (6pm-9pm). The group is nicely varied, some learning "for love" (you'll learn the quickest said Uli), some for travel, for work, and one just because the other class he tried was full (he's doing Russian and Czech as well).

DA, DR and I grabbed some food and drink to take in before class and managed to scoff it during break. Then I walked DR to Spring St where I jumped on a train and he went home (all these city-dwellers).

The other excitement for the day was the printers' striking for 48 hours -- the end result being that today's paper was minuscule, and tomorrow's looks to be little better. And, because the union has decided that to be fair any workers rostered off Thursday and Friday must strike on Saturday and Sunday, the effects will roll on to Sunday and Monday's papers. At least we had no edition changes to process this morning, as there was only one edition.

On to St Dorothy's day celebrations this afternoon -- Tat is picking me up at 4 and whisking me away to the wilds of Glenhuntly (Glen Huntly). What fun we all will have!

Auf Wiedershen!

Thursday, February 05, 2004

A beautiful clear, sunny morning which made the walk downhill from the station to work a real treat.

Last night's rehearsal for St Dorothy's day went off well -- AdammF was there as well as NikiE. But, amazingly, there were no sopranos! Unheard of. As Tony said, he frequently conducts rehearsals without tenors or basses, but doesn't remember ever not having any sopranos. Anyway, despite the bottom heaviness, and the irritating third tenor, who kept prattling on about things he assumed I was interested in (like how he had mah jongg on Friday but thought he could get to the church by four if they packed up at half past three, blahdy blahdy bladhy...); despite these annoyances the rehearsal went off well and Friday should be fun.

Got to work to find a lovely long email from GR who recently moved to Ireland for work -- he seems to be settling in well. I haven't seen him for years but we've kept in touch intermittently by email. Perhaps if I get way this year I might take a detour to visit. Let's see.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

This is rapidly turning into a weekly blog, which I must try and remedy.

What to say?

Mum and I went to see Hinterland at the Fairfax Studio on Saturday afternoon. Quite enjoyable with many barbs at the current administration, and some particularly funny business with the PM: "I didn't know he was so... vertically challenged" -- well, you had to be there to appreciate it. Tom Long's performance was altogether too mannered, but the woman playing his wife was fun.

Rehearsed and performed Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin at St John's Southgate -- there were supposed to be four tenors, but George, who also did the solo, had obviously not been told, or chose to ignore/forget that he was to sing the choruses. Despite that, it went off well.

It was Tat's first time and, after the first chorus she sat on a spare chair as she wasn't feeling brilliant. Then, after Liz A finished the big alto aria and just as GmcD was preparing for his bit, one of the sopranos went down. Just fainted dead away (always wanted to say that). She was bundled out to a spare room and we continued, all a bit shaken. She was pregnant, but luckily didn't go face-down, rather sideways between two violinists. All was well after; there were three nurses in the congregation who tended to her.

Afterwards Tat (who was still feeling a bit less than fabulous) and I had a quick coffee at Southgate then I wandered over to the station to catch the train to Mum's. She's not bad, but mentioned that on Saturday evening she had had trouble reading, needing a magnifying glass as well as her glasses. She has arranged an appointment with an optometrist/oculist/optician this week. More news on this as it arrives.

B & P came for dinner on Sunday evening -- made a lamb rogan josh and a vegetable curry (cheated with both by using tins of sauces), both of which were delicious. As there was bugger-all on the telly, we had a nice evening listening to music and chatting.

As can be read on his blog, B went back to hospital yesterday for a "trim" -- let's hope now he can get back to normal life.