Thursday, December 30, 2004

More of the same

NOT MUCH happening at the moment; Had Jim for dinner last night and he updated my PC's BIOS and all the associated drivers (at least I think that's what he did). Thank goodness for broadband as the downloads were quite large.

This morning I faffed around a bit before going for a long-overdue bike ride. Though not before discovering that I can no longer read any of the information on the half dozen Zip discs I have at home. Because I couldn't read any of them I'm inclined to blame the drive so must bring them in to try at work. That is, assuming I can find a PC with a Zip drive on it. So much for the archiving of digital media. Luckily I don't thing they contain anything I can't live without.

A bit of a to-do at work - it seems that no data for Saturday's preprinted sections, such as A2, has been transferred into the archiving system. After about two hours of back and forth with one of our great IT staff we finally tracked the problem down and AK was able to regenerate the data for A2 and assures me that all will be well for the processors tomorrow evening.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Please help

THE DEVASTATION wrought the by the Indian Ocean tsunami is horrendous. The number of deaths reported continues to climb; who can guess what the final toll will be. I sent off a donation this morning to Ofxam Community Aid Abroad and hope all (both?) my readers will do the same, or to one of the other bodies involved (Red Cross, CARE Australia, World Vision, etc).

Monday, December 27, 2004

Back to work

ALL OVER for another year. Mum came over on Saturday for a quiet meal (cold chicken and salad followed by my now obligatory summer pudding); Deb came round later and we all had a lovely afternoon.

Yesterday I rode to Mum's for lunch; it was the first time I'd been on the bike for quite a while. I'm feeling just a little sore today, but must make sure not to leave it too long before I do more riding. Ian rang while I was at Mum's and we chatted about this and that; he said Rob is going to get in touch and come around some time. It will be good to catch up.

Last night Bruce arrived to help me demolish some of the left-overs and to watch Carnivale. It does seem to be progressing a bit slowly, but at least it looks great - and the music is interesting as well.

All in all, a very lazy and laid back Christmas. And now to work...

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Expensive pudding

MADE A trip to the market this afternoon in search of berries for the summer pudding. However, what was 3.95 a punnet at Toscano's was 6.95 today at the market. Bit the bullet and got two punnets of raspberries and one of blackberries. Together with the frozen red currants (now they were a bargain) should make a very nice pudding.

P&B came for dinner tonight; P's off to dizzy Brissy tomorrow afternoon and B is having Xmas lunch with his family at his sister's. I hope to catch up with him on Sunday evening.

Work is very quiet -- because there's no paper on Saturday we'll be able to leave soon after lunch tomorrow. SP may pop in tomorrow which will be nice.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Running smoothly

THIS WEEK has been pretty quiet so far. Apart from an unexpected trip to Kensington after work on Monday to pick up the shoes I left at Xavier Chapel on Sunday, I've been having a fairly humdrum time. Apart from dinner at P&B's last night with DG of course; we had a tasty chicken proven├žale (courtesy of Stephanie) and some of P's wonderful panna cotta with D's fruit salad. Delicious and healthy.

Work is settling down; papers are decreasing in size but unfortunately we're also down on staff. Next week promises to be very minimal, a chance to clean up a few messes.

Today I finally got around to installing the software for the new Zen. I copied over the few discs' worth of data left on the PC and am now faced with the daunting task of re-ripping everything else. The good news is that the new Zen comes with a remote control with an FM radio and a microphone for voice recording. It can also record from the radio. What fun! Now all I have to do is learn how to drive it.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

(Not quite so) Great Britten

LAST NIGHT'S triumph was not quite repeated this afternoon. The first part of the concert went off well, although by the time we got to the Palestrina my voice was beginning to flag a little. However the Britten had a few scary moments but it doesn't matter if there's a few blips as long as the last section goes well. It's a wonderfully effective finish. Terrific. Not so many people there today, alas.

Deb was there, though and it was great to catch up with her. I hope to see some more of her over the holiday period.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Ensemble Gombert news

WELL, tonight's concert, which was broadcast direct on ABC-FM, went off really well. I expected the first half to go reasonably well (well, except for the Palestrina which I'd sung only twice before), but the second half, Britten's A boy was born exceeded all my expectations.

To those Melbourne readers who aren't doing anything tomorrow afternoon I recommend you come to our next performance: 2.30pm at Xavier Chapel.

In other matters, work has been a bit frantic with injury, illness and annual leave resulting in very few people to cover shifts -- one of our number, JL, was hit by a car while riding to work on Wednesday afternoon and spent a few days in hospital. He has not broken any bones, but I understand he has severe tissue damage and may be off for several weeks.

Went shopping this morning as usual, followed by a very tasty lunch of Bruce's leftover rabbit casserole. Yum!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

My mind is now at ease

I THINK I've solved the mystery of the white shirt. Tat and I were chatting last night on the way home from rehearsal and she opined that the last Gombert concert (for which I bought said shirt) was actually before the Beethoven (which was done in all black). So therefore the shirt was probably removed by the fiend who did the last burglary.

As an explanation it satisfies me as I have searched everywhere (well, nearly) in the house to no avail. I bought a replacement shirt this afternoon on the way to work -- surprisingly I managed to find one the same as the missing one.

Evening shift tonight and dress rehearsal tomorrow night. Then concerts Saturday evening (for those few who read this, listen to ABC FM for a direct broadcast) and Sunday afternoon, after which, if all goes as I suspect, I will be back here at work to cover a shift. For those of you keen enought to come and hear one of the concerts the details are here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Half a black hole

COLOUR ME embarrassed: when getting ready for work this morning I decided I take my lunch which I duly prepared and left on my backpack to make sure I didn't forget it. When I was about to leave I picked up the bag (which I hadn't taken for the last few days) and wondered why it was so heavy.

You've got it! inside there was a punnet of rather soft strawberries sitting on top of a carton of half a dozen eggs.

So that answers one of my mysteries. There's still the issue of the white shirt...

Monday, December 13, 2004

Where, oh where?

I THINK my house has a black hole. Or should I say, an extra black hole as there's already one in the washing machine, even if it only consumes socks. This new black hole has consumed a white shirt (only worn once) and a punnet of strawberries, thus displaying a rather eclectic appetite. The strawberries disappeared some time on Saturday afternoon, but I'm not exactly sure when the shirt went. Now I'm waiting for a pink shirt to appear, perhaps in the oven...

On other matters:

  • Last night's carols by candlelight went off well, not least because of the splendid Rod Quantock who managed to keep things moving along and the splendid Salvation Army Band -- just a pity that the band and the choir had different arrangements of some carols.
  • As anticipated, we have an extra Gombert rehearsal this week -- of which I am very glad.

If you are interested you can view a selection of my European holiday snaps here. Because of limited space they won't be there forever so check them out soon.

Friday, December 10, 2004


LAST NIGHT'S Ensemble Gombert rehearsal was in the small room at Melba which was very stuffy. We did however manage to get through most of the rest (ie non-Britten) of the program including a most extraordinary piece by Jacob Handl, Mirabile mysterium. The rest of the group go to Woodend for the first concert tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

End of the holiday

BACK TO WORK tomorrow. I realised the other day that I've had about seven weeks of leave this year, most of which I've been away; no wonder there's not much money left in my bank account.

On Monday Tat kindly took me to the wilds of Nunawading where I picked up my new DVD player and DiscMan. The bastard(s) who took the old DVD player ripped out the leads breaking off the pin of the RCA plug in the socket so I actually had to buy myself a pair of pliers to remove the stub before I could set up the new machine. I'm sure they will come in handy.Today I found out that Creative no longer market a 30Gb Zen in Australia so I'll just have to settle for 20Gb. Heigh ho.

Yesterday evening I sang carols for a company Xmas drinks event at the Abbotsford Convent. I parked my bike at P&B's so afterwards I could race down to Richmond to rehearse for next week's Gombert concert. Britten's A boy was born is very scary. This Sunday brings more carols (by candlelight, this time), again at the Convent and this time with the Salvation Army Band; the few readers in Melbourne I haven't already told about this should make it their duty to turn up (6.30-8.30) and have a good sing.

Today I had lunch with Deb in Smith St. It was lovely catching up with her; we nattered on for ages about everything and nothing.

The weather is still damp, but not cold. I hope it clears up for the weekend as I don't fancy singing in the rain.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

I'm back

SORRY to have been away for so long, but I'm not really sure who reads this anyway. It will be brief unfortunately.

The trip was wonderful -- P&B and I drove from Melbourne staying at Port Fairy and Beachport before hitting the Coorong. There we stayed at accommodation run by the local aboriginal people; it was magnificently situated on a promontory and, apart from the wind in the evening, was a terrific place to stay. We used it as a jumping off point for exploring the area: we saw lots of bird life and even a couple of pink lakes (really).

The Ring was superb; Elke Neidhart's production was very intelligent and taking notice of the text and stage directions (which many productions don't) without being conservative. The orchestra played like gods and the singing, with very few exceptions, was outstanding. In particular Lisa Gasteen was wonderful (I'm running out of superlatives here).

Adelaide was hot (as it was the last time, and for Parsifal) but we managed to keep cool and had some lovely picnics in the intervals. We also had a trip to the Barossa on Tuesday where we managed to track down Torbreck winery and buy some bottles of a wine we had tried and enjoyed at Cicciolina.

Then on Friday we left and headed east reaching Newstead around 7.30pm. We stayed there until this morning and I arrived home this afternoon, being greeted by Kate at the door. She seems to have enjoyed herself -- I really appreciate her staying.

While I was away the modem for the ADSL arrived (it's now up and running) and messages were left from a couple of people about replacement of equipment and DVDs after the burglary which I will look into tomorrow.

More soon.