Friday, January 26, 2007

Things that go bump-bump in the night

... or rather, doof-doof.

Late to bed last night and sleep wasn't coming. I read for a while, then tossed and turned a bit until I finally started to doze off. I was suddenly jolted awake by appalling thumping bass coming from next door - it was 3am!

I went and bashed on his door and not-so-politely asked told him to turn the music off - which he did. Unfortunately I was so wired by then I didn't manage to get much more sleep.

Grumpy now.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Black vinyl lives

Tonight I connected up my rejuvenated turntable to Tat's amplifier. It works beautifully - well, there's a bit of a hum which I suspect is because I haven't earthed it properly, but I'm not going to stress until I get my new amplifier.

But Elain Stritch singing The ladies who lunch sounded terrific. I'm going to have fun revisiting my not inconsiderable collection of LPs. But first I've got to clear away some of the junk in front of them.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Insurance replacements

I had a busy day today: up early to wait for the guys to come and measure up the back doors for their replacement. They were damaged in the last intrusion; being jemmied with a spade will do that. They arrived around 9am; it was like grandfather, father and son (I don't really think they were related, but it's not impossible). The old one stood around making comments and the young one just stood around, while the one in the middle went to work with his tape measure.

The next step is for them to get the doors made up and then come and hang them, fitting the current locks into the new doors.


Until recently I was the owner of an apacer DiscSteno - a compact portable DVD/CD burner cleverly built with slots in the side for the cards used in digital cameras. We used it to store our photos during the Sep-Oct trip. Unfortunately it was one of the items lost in the burglary. I put in a claim for it and was contacted by a company specialising in insurance replacements of computers and related items. The rep said that while they didn't deal in apacer he thought there was a Sony product which might be appropriate, but unfortunately they were out of stock.

That was before Christmas and anyway I wasn't going anywhere so there was no urgency. Last week I had a call to say that the item had arrived and they were sending it to me. When I got it home and opened the box I realised immediately that it wasn't an appropriate replacement, being too big and too heavy for travelling, and repacked the box. When I spoke to the rep the next day he listened to my concerns but was himself concerned that Sony wouldn't accept it back if I'd broken the seal on the box.

It's turned out that they will accept it back, but the bad news is that apacer no longer make the burner I want - there are other brands around but I've decided to take the cash instead. I'm not planning a big trip this year so will leave it until I go again before getting a replacement.


Later this morning Tat picked me up and whisked me back to Malvern to pick up my B&O turntable which I'd left last week for repairs. I also got a new stylus as the old one has to be twenty years old (the turntable is thirty). Unfortunately when we got home I had to dump it and run for the train as I was running late for work; with luck I should get it all up and running over the next day or so.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Nearly forty years ago, on the recommendation of a teacher (BM), I joined the Melbourne Chorale. I sang with them for six years, performing a wide range of works including quite a few with the MSO including Mozart's C minor mass, Vaughan Williams' Dona nobis pacem and Walton's Belshazzar's Feast. It was an interesting time and I made a few friends before I set off on my first great trip to Europe in 1976.

In early 1977, soon after my return, I got my present job (yes, the thirty year anniversary is looming) which involved quite a bit of shift work so I didn't commit myself to singing on a regular basis. So I didn't join another choral group until 1990 when I joined the Tudor Choristers and made a lot of new singing friends. Among these was K, now married to BM (see above). KM and DS (among others) were (and still are) two of the noisiest people I know ... well, they're sopranos.

On Saturday night Tat and I went to a restaurant in Westgarth to surprise KM for her 60th birthday. She was expecting dinner with a few friends, but it turned out to be 35! The irrepressible DS was of course involved in the organisation of the evening. There was ample food and lashings of drink, much laughing and even a bit of singing (the bastard awards live!). KM certainly knows how to party and it was fun helping her.

On Sunday, after visiting Mum for lunch I cooked up a couple of curries for B&P which we ate while watching the BBC's re-interpretation of The taming of the shrew. Great fun.

Last night B served up delicious roast pork and P made the apple sauce to go with it. We certainly don't go hungry.

Oh, we've had some rain, too. What a nice smell damp earth has.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Too darn hot

The weather has been dreadfully hot, not at all how I like it. Despite that I did manage to sleep quite well last night, probably because I knew I didn't have to get up early this morning. I had opened up the house once it got cooler outside than in and by the time I went to bed (which was quite late) it wasn't too bad.

Today has been a bit cooler than yesterday. Yesterday there was chaos on the trains and chaos with the power supply. Luckily I was unaffected by the electricity problems and managed to avoid the irregular and packed trains by catching a bus home, something I should do more often as it's quite a nice ride.

This morning I cooked up a beef rendang for tomorrow night, though as DG is coming as well as B&P I'll do a chicken curry as well.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Going well

I finally got to the doctor's yesterday to get the results of my 6-monthly barrage of tests. After waiting for over half an hour I learnt that all the regular results (liver function, blood count, blood sugar, PSA, cholesterol) were fine. In particular my cholesterol is down to 4.2, a level it hasn't seen for some time.

Whatever I'm doing (eating, drinking, exercising ... not) is obviously working so I'll just have to keep it up.

Yesterday P&B came for dinner: I made nasi lemak from this recipe and served it with a pork curry with accompanying ikan bilis (dried anchovies), deep-fried peanuts, deep-fried hard-boiled eggs, pickled vegetables and sambal ulek. It was yummy.

I really think Maeve O'Mara's Food safari is terrific. She talks to Australians of various backgrounds about their food and gets them cooking - not just chefs, but ordinary people in their own kitchens. And the website has all the recipes.

Today, during the morning, a quiet cool change came through, a great relief after the last few days of temperatures in the 30s. Unfortunately there was no accompanying rain and not much in sight.

This morning Tat kindly ferried me and my old turntable over to the B&O service centre in Malvern. They're going to give me a quote on repairing it; it was damaged during the burglary before last when it was unceremoniously dropped on the floor. Let's hope it's not too expensive (though let's face it, anything B&O is too expensive).

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


What a difference a single letter can make - the link to my rather terse holiday diary should have read: - I have changed it on the previous posting to prevent my visitors being faced with the other version.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Holiday diary and pictures

Yes, I know it's been a while but I'm finally getting the diary of my and Tat's trip last year up on the web - it's here.

And you can see an assortment of my holiday pictures here

New home

Please change your favourites/links/RSS feeds.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year ...

... to both my readers.

The last week has been quite relaxing despite my having worked for much of it. On Xmas day Mum and Tat came for lunch (roast chicken, ham, roast spuds and asparagus followed by my annual summer pudding). In the afternoon Tat and I drove Mum home and I spent the evening quietly at home.

Work last week was pretty slow, the papers have very little in them at this time of the year and our processing is done faster. At the same time, barring natural disasters, it's usually pretty slow on the news front - so we have a bit more time for those little tasks we keep meaning to get to but can't. Everyone is also a bit more relaxed - and those of us at work are less tense, too.

P&B went to Canberra for a few days so on Saturday morning I took the jeep out of mothballs and walked up to Smith Street to do the shopping. While the Safeway has tarted itself up a bit, the customers (except for me of course) were still the same old dreary ones.

On Sunday, after lunch at Mum's, I had a very tasty meal at B&Ps (roast pork) but, despite it being New Year's Eve, I didn't stay very late as I was working on Monday. I was in bed by 11 although the distant sounds of fireworks (and close - someone set off some loud crackers in the park) kept me awake for a little while. However I was able to listen to some of the huge amount of I'm sorry I haven't a clue which I got from the web and now fills my mp3 player almost to bursting point. I think I dropped off in the middle of a round of "One song to the tune of another".

Last night I went to LE's for one of her always delicious meals the climax of which was a beatiful dessert (both to look at and to eat) of watermelon, cherries, yoghurt/lime gelato and persian fairy floss. Believe me, it tastes even better than it sounds. She's off next week for Paris, Milan and Rome but we're hoping to take in a screening of Happy Feet before she leaves.