Anne is away at the moment so I did not go to church on Good Friday as I most usually do.
But today Jenny put on an Easter lunch for a few of us. It was first class. The main course was roast pork with GOOD CRACKLING. Jenny seems to be one of the few cooks who can do crackling. I was actually suffereing from a mild case of diverticulitis so should really have been eating mushy food but I was not going to miss out on roast pork! And we had apple and rhubarb crumble for dessert. What more could one ask?
Elise was surprisingly lively. She vocalized quite a lot and even smiled occasionally. Matthew played trains most of the time. Very boyish!
We discussed our celebration next Wednesday of St George's day quite a bit and everybody was looking forward to it. We are all appreciative of our varying degrees of Englishness. Though, come to think of it, Susan has no English ancestry. She has freckles, though, which is nearly as good. We also discussed the varying speech patterns you encounter in England.
The future of Paul's business is still in flux but Paul has good hopes that he can rescue it.
Nanna kept us on the ball at various points. Being nearly 90 seems to have given her extra confidence
Susan arrived wearing a rather ragged denim skirt which I commented on. Everybody assured me however that it was just fashion. Nanna assured us all that she still keeps her hems straight.
Sunday, March 23, 2014
This was the second celebration this year of Paul's birthday. I put it in the format of my jammy breakfasts. The last such breakfast rid me of some of my large stock of jams but I needed to move even more. And on this occasion also I think everybody found a jam they were happy to take home with them.
Anne brought along a loaf of the excellent bread that she gets from her local Chinese baker and also some croissants. So bread 'n jam is humble food but with good bread and a big variety of good jams, I think everybody ate well.
Anne made us all cups of tea
Susan brought along a bombe Alaska cake for a birthday cake which went down well. I was impressed by her culinary blowtorch. I had no idea such a thing existed.
Matthew and Ava Marie played together well, tearing around my house with great energy. Ava Marie seems to be quite a bright little girl. She was very interested in the baby -- Elise. Elise was her usual solemn self
Jenny, Ken and Davey were the others in attendance (plus kids) so it was a small gathering but perfectly pleasant. It went on from 9am to about 11am. I had some sort of wog but I don't think that disrupted anything.
At one stage I took Paul aside to discuss men's business
A small point: Susan is very fussy about what she will drink. She is not even keen on tea. I gather that she mostly drinks milk at home. Joe would agree with that!
But I have found a way to get her something. I have a big filter jug that filters tap water for purity. So I run a jugful of that the night before she is due over and put it in the fridge. I call that "Susan's freshly squeezed water" and she is happy to use it.
And today she knew to look in the fridge for "her" water. And between herself and her son she drank most of it. Later that afternoon however she came back via my place and asked to get a drink of water -- whereupon she drank the last of "her" water. So I was most pleased that my place was seen as an oasis where one could get "Good" water!
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
I have now received from Amazon my copy of Falvetti's interpretation of Il diluvio universale (Noah's flood)
It is amazing. The music could be by Monteverdi
And as a CD, it is shorn of graphics. But that seems to be good. Just as music it is superb
It is one of the most marvellous pieces from the Baroque era to be rediscovered recently. It was written in 1682 in Messina, Sicily by Sicilian priest Michelangelo Falvetti.
The video is here:
The first aria is particularly worth watching as the contralto has the most expressive face. I see that her name is Evelyn Ramirez Munoz, which sounds Spanish. In expressiveness however she could be Sicilian. The conductor is from Argentina so maybe she is too. Argentinians are about 50/50 Spanish and Italian.
The feminist claim that the RC church is "patriarchal" has always been amusing -- considering the devotion that the church devotes to the Blessed Virgin. Catholics very often direct their prayers to the Virgin Mary. And the rosary has a lot more Hail Marys than Paternosters.
So I was amused to see that the contralto in Falvetti's oratorio was in fact speaking for God! How patriarchal! A Sicilian priest obviously saw no problem with giving a woman the top job.
Feminists sometimes appear to think that they have done something clever by referring to God as "she" but that in fact poses no theological difficulties for any Christian (not sure about Muslims). God is conceived as neither male nor female, with "he" being merely a linguistic convention.
Monday, March 17, 2014
Some years ago I was given a framed print of a famous painting by Schäfer. I like it and have it on my wall to this day. And I am not alone in liking it. Thousands of such prints seem to have been made. Schafer has been a very popular artist.
So I was surprised that when I Googled his name, I could find out virtually nothing about his life. I gather that his art is seen as "chocolate boxy" and hence below the notice of anybody seriously interested in art. I of course deplore such elitism so would like to put a decent biography of him online if I can get more information on him. I reproduce below the only two biographical notes I could find and hope that there might be a reader of this blog who can tell me more.
"Henry Thomas Schafer was born in the Lake District in England during the mid 19th-century. His exact birth date is unknown; however, his work was most well known from 1873 - 1915. Both a painter and an accomplished sculptor, Schafer exhibited his figurative studies at the Royal Academy in London in 1875, receiving the prestigious Academia award for excellence. Schafer's signature style was his study of women dressed in "goddess-like" classical vestments. It is for these portraits that he is best remembered."
"Henry Thomas Schäfer (British, 1854?-1915). Henry Thomas Schäfer is a British Victorian-era genre painter and sculptor, elected in 1889 to the Royal Society of British Artists. He exhibited at the Royal Society, the Royal Academy, the Royal Scottish Academy, and other galleries starting in 1873. Several of his paintings have been widely reproduced and distributed in the form of posters."
Below is the picture that hangs on my wall
A Time of Roses
Saturday, March 15, 2014
An occasion best forgotten in general. Alcohol certainly makes problems worse rather than solving them. The occasion ended with both Maureen and Susan in tears and everybody else rushing to get out of the place. I felt particularly sorry for Susan who looked gorgeous wearing the new dress her mother had bought her for the occasion.
George was his usual invaluable self, pouring oil on troubled waters. I have long ago declared George essential for any celebration I organize so that is reinforced. I will shout George a dinner any time.
Timmy showed he is just as smart as an adult as he was when he was a gorgeous little boy. When put on the spot he refused to go on that spot. Bravo Timmy! See what I wrote here on Jan. 1st to read more about the toddler Timmy.
The food was good anyway, as Indian food usually is.
As is my wont, I arrived at the restaurant in Mt Gravatt punctually -- at 5:30pm. And when I walked in I announced that I was after a strong young man to help carry the champagne in. The strong young men had not arrived at that stage, however, so George volunteered. I said: "Are you a strong young man, George?". He said he was and everyone agreed. So he did the honours, even though he is about my age and only about 5'2" tall. Bravo George!
After the restaurant, a remnant of us went over to Jenny's place for coffee and birthday cake. Susan had made an excellent chocolate cake. Jenny's friend Pam was also there -- from the Shaky Isles.
Anyway, to explain the next bit I need to give a bit of background: Susan's mother Ami is a very glamorous lady. You can see where Susan gets her looks from. But Ami is also a champion cleaner. Whenever I can get her over to my bachelor abode to do cleaning, I end up with parts shining that never shone before! I have a theory that spots just see her coming and run away.
Anyway she apparently helps out a lot with the cleaning at Paul's place too -- lucky them! So at one stage while we were at Jenny's place, Master Matthew (aged 2) dropped something that made a mess on the floor. So he came to where we were all sitting and said: "Nanna clean". So appreciation of Ami's cleaning extends across a wide age range!
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Men very commonly go to the same barber for a long time. I knew a man who had been going to the same barber for 20 years -- or it may have been 30 years. Since he had very little hair on his head when I met him, I hope his barber gave him a discount.
The fact that you let a barber much closer to your head and face than you normally would probably exerts some pressure towards a more friendly relationship. I gather that women tend to get a bit close to their hairdressers too.
And barbers do customarily chat with their customers when they are in the chair. The football and current events are the usual topics. And enough common ground is usually found for the conversation to be congenial.
I remember an occasion when Anne and I had gone to Stone's Corner to visit the shops. Anne went off to visit ladies' clothing shops and I took a place at the barber's. But after a while a huge storm broke out which more or less stopped everyone in their tracks. And that seemed to prevent any new customers turning up for the barber. So the barber and I were standing in the doorway of his shop chatting and gazing at the weather. And that went on for a little while until Anne turned up.
She was a bit apologetic for turning up rather late but I told her it was no problem as I had been talking to the barber. She seemed rather amazed by that. The fact that your barber is your friend seemed new to her. I think she was particularly impressed by the fact that the barber was quite a bit younger than I was. But if your barber is a good barber age does not matter much
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
When I was teaching sociology at the University of NSW many moons ago, I was located in the Morven Brown building, which formed one side of a grassy quadrangle in front of the library.
And the students' union would from time to time arrange pop music concerts on the library steps so people could sit on the grass of the quadrangle and enjoy the music concerned. The music would be a lunchtime concert scheduled from 1 to 2 pm.
There were however some occasions when I was scheduled to take a tutorial at 2pm in the Morven Brown building. And there were also some occasions when the musicians got so enthused with their music that they carried on beyond 2pm
Rock music was however not the background I wanted for my tutorials so when such enthusiasm occurred, I used to take a stroll over to the library, trace the power cord to the band's amplifiers and then pull the plug out at the wall. So the music suddenly went from amplified to acoustic.
The band members always looked sheepish when that occurred and promptly wrapped up. They probably thought it was some sort of official censure but it was in fact my sole deed. Why should I waste time going through some bureaucratic process when direct action would do?
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Paul & Susan very kindly put on a roast pork lunch for me today.
The pork was well-cooked and there was even some crackling. Plus gravy, plus fresh apple sauce etc. And with rhubarb crumble to follow, who could ask for more?
Paul and I talked a little about family matters but not much. I think Paul has had enough of that lately.
Over dessert I offered something of a history lesson about England -- which Paul is of course much interested in. I talked about how they used to entertain themselves in English country houses in the 19th century before the advent of computers and TV etc. Susan knew something of that because she had read Jane Austen novels etc.
Matthew was a constant generator of noise and movement and even little Elise had a shout or two for a while. But my history lesson survived all that.
A very pleasant Sunday afternoon.
When one is invited to a dinner or some other social occasion, it is of course customary to bring along something by way of appreciation -- flowers, a bottle of wine or something for desert etc.
In 19th century country houses, the pattern was however slightly different. One might bring along the latest novel from Mr Disraeli or some other favoured author and would be ready to do some sort of entertainment for the house, some sort of an entertaining performance, a new game etc.
So whilst discussing such things I also exemplified them. History lessons are not everyone's cup of tea but Paul and Susan were very interested in my topic so I was rather 19th century in my way of expressing my appreciation of the occasion.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
How did an obscure Catholic saint get such a following? It's a bit like the Japanese celebrating Christmas I guess: It's fun, not saintly.
I participated. When Anne arrived at my place yesterday evening she got: Roses, card, chocolates, a dinner and a present. It was a present I knew she would like: A lava lamp. I have one and she often admires it. They were fashionable in the '70s but seem to be coming back. Just two or three years ago I could not buy one but they have popped up in a couple of shops lately.
We dined at a very good Chinese restaurant not far from my place -- the New Sing Sing. Both the food and service is always good there. We had dim sims and chicken satay skewers as starters. I had BBQ roast duck as the main course and Anne had salt and pepper fish. I have long been of the view that only the Chinese know how to do duck. And they did! I ordered Fourex Gold for a drink and greatly enjoyed it. They serve their beer very cold there and it was a hot night.
And when we got home we had clootie dumpling with cold custard for dessert and a cup of tea to wash it down. So we turned to both China and Scotland for our food.
And Anne made porridge for my breakfast this morning -- which is always appreciated.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
About 50% of all Australians shop at Woolworths. And don't knock it. I have shares in them.
But one of the big problems is that as soon as you find something you like there, they discontinue stocking it. Some of us get quite paranoid about that.
Anyway, I have been spoilt in the cracker biscuit dept by some crackers Von brought over for me from NZ -- Griffin's Meal Mate crackers. When Von brings some over they last only days.
So I thought that there has got to be something similar in Woolworths. And, rather crazily, I found that one of their home-brand cracker offerings was pretty good. So as soon as I tried them, I went out and stocked up on another packet. They were called "sea salt" crackers.
And you can guess the rest. When I went in there today, no "sea salt" crackers were to be found. They did however have some garlic crackers and I bought those. And they are quite good too. If only I had some of that NZ green tomato chutney to have on them ....
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Every day is a good day for dosas so I shouted Paul and Susan dosas for lunch today. Matthew even has his own dosa now and got right through an egg dosa. The Dosas we get from "Riverwalk Tandoori" (which is nowhere near a river) are certainly inspiring, even though they are completely vegetarian. We arrived at the restaurant at 11:30, at the same time that the owner did. So we were served promptly.
We repaired to my sitting room for tea and afters with the afters consisting of some good choc-chip cookies provided by me and some fresh strawberries provided by Susan. Every bit of both went down.
Paul brought along his Oxford Book of English Verse and I read and explained a few poems out of it -- mostly patriotic poems which both Paul and I like. We read "Mariners of England" and "He fell among Thieves" but also Shelley's "To a Skylark" and Keats's "Ode to a Nightingale". They all required a bit of explanation to people who know only the language of today.
Paul at one stage asked me what Jenny and I had been talking about at our "Ronald Reagan" dinner and I replied that we had just been talking about what family members had been doing lately. With a big smile, Susan greeted that news with "Aha! GOSSIP"! I think she had a win there.
Gossip however (defined as talking about people you know) is as far as I can tell universal where people relax together or have time on their hands. Today we had our usual discussions about politics. I mentioned to Paul that Ken had once asked me how I classified him politically. I replied that I categorized him as a "recovering Leftist". From what I can gather Ken has done the usual political journey from Left to Right that most people do over their lifetime
We also had a discussion about my recent blog posts on feminism. We talked about what it means to be “sexist”. For example when I refer to a woman adopting traditional female roles as being “the perfect wife”, I am from a feminist viewpoint revealing myself as an awful bigot and am disrespecting the woman concerned. Feminists think that all women should have "careers".
Towards the end of our get-together, I introduced Paul and Susan to Bushell's coffee and chicory essence. It is almost forgotten now but in some parts of the world it WAS coffee for many decades. I introduced it to them as a sort of history lesson. I still drink it myself -- as my father did.
Matthew was at his noisy best running around my house. It is amazing the amount of noise a small boy can create. He had a great time anyway. Elise was her usual silent and serious self.
Paul wanted me to announce that he had recently been from his place to Ipswich and back in his electric car without needing to stop for recharging. It is a cute little car.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
"Lumen Fidei" (light of faith) is the first encyclical of Pope Francis, though Francis admits that it was mostly written by Benedict, his predecessor. And in my usual eccentric way I used part of my secular Sabbath to read it.
There is no doubt we encounter the mind of a real scholar in it. He actually mentions the name of God (YHWH) as given in the Hebrew Bible -- which is bordering on the eccentric in both the Christian and Jewish traditions. It would appear however to be what YHWH himself wanted according to Psalms 83:18 ("That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the most high over all the earth" KJV) and other OT passages. That the commandment to respect YHWH's name is taken to require suppression of it is incredibly perverse and would certainly make YHWH throw up his hands if he had any hands.
And Benedict's attempt to reconcile a Septuagint rendering of Isaiah with the Masoretic version is surely heroic, given the obvious divergence. But the fact that he refers to the Septuagint at all is impressive. There is a view that the Septuagint -- or at least part of it -- is based on a text older than the Masoretic version and may hence be closer to the original.
But despite such flashes of unusual scholarship, the encyclical as a whole is quite unoriginal. Perhaps an encyclical has to be that way. The encyclical is a very thorough survey of past and present enthusiasm about faith and that is about it. But that may enthuse others more than it does this hard-hearted old atheist.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
6th Feb. is President Reagan's birthday and I usually like to acknowledge it in some way. Jenny and I had some family matters to discuss so I persuaded Jenny to cook us a dinner on 6th so it would be a celebration as well as a discussion.
I got to Jenny's place at 7pm and Jenny had a family favourite ready: Egg-rolled pork. Plus Kim Chee plus Japanese ginger. So it was a Korean dinner with all the trimmings. Japanese ginger is exceptional.
We discussed how all the "kids" had gone and reviewed recent family events. It was basically a knowledge-sharing exercise. Jenny knew some things and I knew others. So now we both know more things.
So it was a very pleasant evening and an exceptional dinner.
Saturday, February 1, 2014
As army men tend to do, I have kept in touch with someone from my old army unit. In my case it is our former sergeant major, a fellow classical music devotee.
He rang me today with some sad news. Two former members have died recently: Doug Tucker and John French -- former Captain and former Staff Sergeant. So this is my little memorial to them. I have vivid memories of both of them and it is hard to accept that they no longer exist.
Now that I am 70 I get that rather often. People whom I remember as lively and fun people are just dead. My imagination can not really cope with it.
One consolation today was that I heard there is one very senior member of our corps who is still going. He must be in his 90s these days. There are still some things that I want to ask him so it is very good of him to survive for so long!
I have put online all the academic journal articles I had published in the 70s and 80s -- and in consequence I do at times get people writing to me about them. They obviously expect that I still exist and am as compos mentis as I was when I wrote the articles concerned. Fortunately I am. But what if I was dead -- as many of my contemporaries are? What would they do then? I have no idea.
Feminists will always be a disgruntled minority of harpies huddled in a corner moaning to one-another
Most women will acknowledge some feminist sympathies -- equal pay for equal work etc. But I am not talking about those women. I am talking about the feminists you encounter at universities and writing in the papers. They are often quite good at changing official policies (generally set by men) but their influence on the behaviour of other women is minimal.
The big and unsurmountable problem for feminists is that young women are intensely interested in young men. They are more interested in young men than young men are interested in them. As a result, young women tend to PANDER to young men. There! I've said it. The word that sends feminists molten. A women pandering to a man deserves the lowest depths of hell and damnation from a feminist perspective.
I am moved to those thoughts by something I saw this morning as I was having a cup of tea with Anne at the seaside (Wynnum). It was a classical example of the pandering I just mentioned.
What was happening was that two young men -- perhaps around age 20 -- were fishing (the tide was in) without much success. But fishing they were and they stuck at it despite catching only the occasional tiddler. And they had a girl with them, a rather aspirational girl of about 18, about 5'5" tall with fair skin, blue eyes and blonde hair. And she was in great shape wearing tight short denim shorts.
So what was she doing? She was just there for the company. She did have her own fishing rod and cast it in a few times but mostly she just pottered around or sat in a nearby shelter watching. She was there because the men were there and for no other reason. They paid their fishing much more attention than they paid her but she was nonetheless in great good humor, full of smiles. She was happy just to be there with the men.
And that is how it goes in the teenage years. And as the years progress it gets even worse from a feminist perspective. Young women enter into intimate relationships with men -- not even requiring a wedding ring first these days. But a wedding is still the vision for most women.
So feminists are up against human nature just as much as other Leftists before them. Leftists once thought that they could mould a "new Soviet man" but were thwarted by human nature. They simply drove Soviet man to drink. A new feminist man is just as remote. Feminized men tend in fact to be rather despised by most women. Most women like men to be men. Look at all the women who "wait" for husbands and boyfriends in the armed forces who are "away" on deployment. Such a relationship looks a very bad deal from a certain point of view. But men in the forces tend to be real men -- and women will put up with a lot to have such a man. Where it matters, feminism is an abject failure.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Last Thursday (23rd) was Anne's birthday so I took her to the New Sing Sing for Peking duck. Peking duck is both an elaborate and expensive meal so goes well as a birthday offering. We have eaten often at the New Sing Sing and the food has always been good. And so it was on Thursday. The proprietor himself expertly carved our duck and we got very attentive service throughout the meal.
Anne had a glass of wine with it and I had a stubby of Fourex Gold. As it was a hot day, I really enjoyed that beer. The Chinese are big beer drinkers so beer and Chinese food partner well.
And it was a big duck. We did not quite get through it all.
I also gave Anne a present -- a tin of sweets such as I mentioned in my previous post about caketins. So I am hoping for a fruitcake to find its way into that tin in due course.
Then yesterday (25th) was the anniversary of the birth of a wonderful poet. I invited Paul and Susan over to share some haggis but I did not attempt to do all the Burns night customs. I did not even get into Highland dress. I did however read part of the Ode to a Haggis before I carved it and we sang Auld Lang Syne at the end. Anne as usual did a great job cooking the haggis, neeps and tatties.
One thing we did was try to remember the time when I first met Paul -- when he was 7. He is now 37 so I have known him for 30 years. It was shortly after Jenny and I had begun seeing one-another. Jenny said that I had better meet her kids and I agreed. So we drove to Camlet St and I waited in the Gemini while she went in to collect them. Shortly, she came out with 3 little kids bobbing along behind her. They piled into the back seat and were totally silent for the drive to my place. It was the first and last time that they have ever been silent.
I don't really remember what we did at my place but I would have played with the kids -- as I regularly did subsequently. Anyway the kids were favourably impressed and told Ken and Maureen so that evening when they were back at home. Paul remembers all 3 of them waxing enthusiastic about me -- with Ken and Maureen greeting that enthusiasm with some caution. I guess stepfathers are not supposed to be popular!
And today was Australia day so my rellies on my mother's side got together at my brother's place for our usual BBQ. We talked a bit about Aborigines as Kym is in the Aboriginal industry. I talked a bit to my nephew James to see how he is going. He didn't do very well at High School but has a great interest in philosophy. Anne did not come along as she was doing a short bushwalk as part of her rehab after her recent knee surgery.
It was the first time I had seen sister-in-law Kym in a dress. It was a mainly red dress and she looked very good in it. She has kept a remarkably good figure for a 50-year-old lady.
My brother is in the motorbike trade so the question about how he is affected by Queensland's anti-bikie laws arose early on. He replied that he had little contact with bikie clubs these days so was minimally affected. I put it to him that the laws were really aimed at the Lebanese Muslim clubs and he confirmed that the problem clubs were Middle-Eastern. The clubs comprised of older Ockers gave nobody any problems.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
I am enrolled in the electorate of Griffith, Kevin Rudd's old seat. I used to get a nice Christmas card from Kevvy every year while he was there. So I will be voting in the by-election caused by Kevvy's retirement.
The LNP candidate for the by-election is Dr. Bill Glasson, a most energetic campaigner and an ophthalmologist by trade. His father, also Bill Glasson, was a minister in the long-running Bjelke-Petersen government of Queensland. So the present Bill has name recognition.
I was sitting in my usual Buranda brunch destination about mid-morning yesterday when Bill and a campaign assistant walked in -- also seeking brunch. The assistant was a nice-looking young lady who might have been his daughter. She had "Vote Bill Glasson" written all over her t-shirt so she was at any event a helper.
Bill & Co. sat down beside a lady in a green dress. The restaurant was busy so some tables were right up against one another. Bill chose one such table. As the lady beside him got up to leave, she launched a furious verbal assault on Bill: Quite egregious behaviour in a restaurant.
I was too far away to hear what she was saying and I am pretty deaf anyway but a professional actor could not have done a better job of portraying rage and hate than this woman did -- finger pointing, tensed-up body and all other conceivable hostile body language. Bill just sat there. She gave up after a few minutes and walked out. She must have thought of more things to say, however, as she shortly thereafter came back into the restaurant and resumed her angry tirade at Bill.
It was a most remarkable assault on a man the woman did not know personally and who has never been a member of any government. She appeared to have been blaming Bill for something some government had done but why she blamed Bill for it was obscure.
When I had finished eating, I went over, shook Bill's hand, introduced myself as a Griffith voter and said I would be voting for him. I then asked him what the lady had been on about. He said it was confused but it was something about hospitals. All Australian public hospitals are in a mess so that might be understandable. The government that got Qld. hospitals into a mess was however the recently departed Leftist government. So again, why blame Bill?
I then said to Bill: "She was full of hate, wasn't she?". He agreed. Just his conservative political identity was enough to fire her up.
Saturday, January 18, 2014
Tingalpa has long been one of Brisbane's lowliest suburbs -- notable only as a place you pass through on your way to the seaside at Wynnum.
But a miracle has happened. Tingalpa now hath all that the heart desires, as Dr Johnson might have said.
It started with the IGA. The IGA is a small supermaket that is much more convenient to get around than the huge Coles and Woolworths stores. And it seems to have lots of good things and a friendly staff.
And it all took off from there. It now even has a Sushi train. And that, I think, is a prime marker of being in tune with modern international civilization. Japan has lessons for us all.
And the Chinese bakery there is marvellous -- with bread like you had forgotten was possible -- and the Indian there does a Lahori curry that beats any other curry I have tasted. And I have eaten curries in India (plus Sydney and London).
And the latest thing is that they now have a Mexican there ("Chidos"). Anne and I went there last night and it was very good Mexican. And, at the risk of being boring, I have tasted Mexican in Mexico.
Plus they have a Thai etc etc.
But they do have a very strange Australian bottleshop there. If you knock on his door a few minutes after he has closed (at 7pm!)in order to buy liquor from him, he won't open his door. Indians and Chinese would regard him as a very strange creature. I do too.
I suspect that he may be Scottish. Scots can get very rigid about their customs. And I speak as someone who wears the kilt on occasions! And I have been to Scotland three times. I have even done research there. See here.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
I am probably being repetitious here but I wonder if the young people know what we oldies went through by way of diet.
For CENTURIES the British diet consided of "meat + 3 veg". The veg were potatoes plus cabbage and carrots or beans of you were lucky
And the meat was somethinhg hacked off a dead animal -- such as steak or if you were unlucky sausages. And if you were REALLY unlucky it was liver.
The vegetables had s**t out of boiled out of them and the meat was fried to death
For my hospital admissions, I always go to the Wesley -- Brisbane's top private hospital. But even there it helps to be one of the people. You get to choose your dinner if you are there in the morning but if you are an afternoon or evening admission you get the default dinner! And it is very ethnic: Australian ethnic. Something might be done with the smashed potatoes to make them more edible but that is about the limit.
But somehow we survived. Rather Paleo, I guess. And I must confess that that I can still eat such a presentation -- though not without amusement. I recognize that it it is good if boring food. If you ever go into an Australian/British hospital, you had better get used to it.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
I have always been aware that my parents were poor. My father was a hard worker so they always managed to put sufficient food on the table and kept a good roof over our heads -- but that was about their limit. They rarely saved anything and doctor's bills were stressful for them.
And one of the indexes of that is that my mother would occasionally borrow money from me even when I was a child. I got pocket-money of a florin a week (which bought about what $2 would buy today) and usually saved it in my moneybox. Even when I was a kid I was not big on spending money on myself. So sometimes I would have the equivalent of about $50 in my moneybox. And that was enough for my mother to do her essential shopping. I always got the money back so didn't mind.
Jenny remembers her father borrowing money off her too when she was a kid. So maybe it was a generational thing. But he used to pay her interest on his borrowings -- which was fun for both of them.
But I have just remembered another poverty episode that I thought strange even at the time. My mother did not have a cake-tin to keep her boiled fruitcakes in (You boil the fruit, not the cake). Boiled fruitcakes are something of a tradition in Australia, particularly around Christmas time. They are often kept for a month or more and eaten only gradually. So you needed a tin with a lid that sealed fairly well.
A popular source of caketins were tins of toffees and other candies that were often bought as gifts at Christmas times. They were tins of about 8" in diameter so were a good size for keeping fruitcakes in after all the contents had been eaten. But my mother could not afford one. So when I was about 6 or 7 she went down to our genial Chinese grocer in Innisfail ("Joe Charles") and asked if she could buy just the tin. I was with her at the time and to my amazement he agreed. He tipped the toffees into a big candy jar -- for sale as individual sweets -- and sold my mother the tin for some small sum. Amazing. Times were different then. I remember wondering what the original contents of our caketin would have been like.
Saturday, January 11, 2014
Anne has 2 sisters and the 3 of them get together once or twice a year for a sisterly lunch or dinner, with an early January gathering being particularly customary -- with customary male companions also being invited.
So last night the 6 of us met at Oliver's restaurant at Manly. It's a rather fancy place so I expected bad service but it was not too slow.
My hearing was a bit of a problem as the place had a tiled floor and was very busy with lots of chatty people. I find it very difficult to hear people under those circumstances. But I gathered with the men down one end of the table while the ladies were at the other end so the louder male voices got through to me fairly well in the end. Colin had to lean over and shout in my ear, however, which he very kindly did.
Colin is 90, It must be a sign of my own antiquity that I find myself dining with 90-year-olds. We discussed various environmentalist issues and agreed that the Greenies and animal lib people go too far. Why birds such as Galahs are protected while they are a real pest -- with great flocks of them -- in Western Queensland really is hard to understand, for instance. Surely trapping them for export should be allowed. They're worth big money overseas. And we all agreed that the Northern Territory should be opened up for buffalo hunting.
The food was good. I had the lamb fillet, which was very tasty, but there was a rather small serve of it, which I had expected of such a restaurant. The others had grilled fish.
We adjourned to Anne's place afterward for tea and coffee. We could all hear one-another perfectly there so we chatted on for quite a while.
A small meditation: It has always amazed me that there seems to be an inverse relationship between restaurant prices and restaurant service. One would think that dearer restaurants would excel on service -- but it is the other way around. Service in expensive restaurants is almost always dilatory and snooty. You can wait a long time even to get a menu put in front of you. That happened at Olivers. I had to get up, find the menus, and distribute them to my table.
The food however arrived in a reasonable time but then there came the "issue" of paying for it. You would think that paying would be the last thing to be an issue but it was. I requested the bill but after it was not forthcoming I had to walk out into the kitchen to stir things up there. That did work. I got a bill. But then there was nobody to pay the money to! Nobody seemed to want it! I left it on the desk hoping that it would go to its proper place in due course! Amazing.