Thursday, February 13, 2020

That saint again

Anne had a surgical procedure booked for 14th so we could not celebrate Valentine's day on the due date.  So we celebrated it a day early.

I normally observe correct ritual for the day, which consists of giving flowers, chocolate, a card and a dinner.  I varied it a bit this time, however.  I gave a card, chocolate and a dinner plus a hand-held Kambrook vacuum cleaner.  I use my own hand-held rather a lot. A bit eccentric as a Valentine present but Anne was very appreciative of it.  She had been having problems with dust on her venetian blinds (Surely an iconic First World problem!) and she thought that the Kambrook would be just the thing to clean them

We dined at an old favorite, the Bollywood.  We both had medium Vindaloo, which was excellent.  They are no longer a Sikh restaurant.  They have been taken over by a Muslim.  But his menu is still as good as ever -- perhaps even better.  They didn't jib when Anne asked for an ice bucket for our Henkel Trocken champagne. So they are not strict Muslims.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Mice: You win some, you lose some

My computer mouse was playing up so I stopped in at Officeworks to buy a new one.  As expected, they had a large display of them, of many different types and at a large range of prices

BUT they were all cordless mice. Cordless mice are an old idea and I had one way back.  But you have to keep putting batteries in them so I always use wired mice these days.  So I was losing on that score.

I did however find a solitary wired mouse half hidden away among the cordless mice so grabbed it and took it to the counter.  It cost me?  Just $4. So it was virtually being given away.  Suits me!  It works very well. So I won in the end.

Wired mice became unpopular because the cord sometimes ran out.  But there's an easy solution to that.  Use a longer cord!  The cord on my new mouse is plenty long enough and you can get extra usable length by plugging it into one of the USB ports on the front of your computer.  Most computers seem to have those these days

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Flickr censorship

As I am a conservative writer it was sort of inevitable that I would be censored on social media.  And I am.  Facebook bans all mention of my Greenie Watch blog and Imgur has erased quite a few of my pictures that have conservative relevance,

But now have joined the party.  I put the picture below up on my Flickr site ( ) recently.  They have removed it.  I wonder why?

Hmmm ... I see it is back up

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Another Army dinner

Once again a few of us got together to remember our time in the CMF unit 21 Psych.  Present were Rod, two Peters, myself and significant others with the two Peters.

There were two minor glitches.  The restaurant we were going to was closed!  They are now not open at night until Wednesdays.  That took me by surprise as I have been there on Sundays in the past.

The odd thing is that one of our previous dinners had suffered a similar fate.  On that occasion, however, I had a bit of advance warning so was able to redirect people to the nearby Zambreros.  In Brisbane, Zambreros is mostly a takeaway joint but they do have plenty of tables.  So we were able to get some of their good Mexican food and take it to a table to eat.  So we did exactly the same again tonight.

A wrinkle this time however is that Zambreros no longer has any drinking glasses -- not even for water. As a few of us had brought along wine, that was a bit embarrassing.  As Von Clausewitz tells us, however, army men are supposed to be good at improvising and Rod, our former Sergeant Major, rose to the task.  He went out into the kitchen and found some small but deep dessert bowls that we could at a pinch use in lieu of wine glasses. So we had refreshment after all.

Church affiliations are common among us so quite a lot of the conversation was about church matters past and present.

So the food was good and so was the evening generally

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Denis Ryan

In the early 70s, I shared a Glebe terrace house in Wentworth Pk Rd with JPH and AWC, both clever young men a little younger than me

We had quite a few parties at Wentworth Pk Rd. If ever we got sick of our guests, however, we would put on Janacek's Sinfonietta. We all liked classical music but not very many other people do and Janacek is a bit much for even some classical music lovers. The Sinfonietta would clear the house within minutes. They would even leave their beer behind!

It didn't work for Denis Ryan, however. I think he introduced us to Janacek in the first place. He would say "This is good" and settle in. Not that we minded. Denis was always good fun. He had that Irish roguishness and was a great raconteur. He had been a shearer for most of his life and later moved to Sydney to manufacture shearer's clothing.

For quite a while he used to drop in at our place after work for a few beers with us: The real Australian male thing (except for the classical music in the background). We enjoyed it greatly. He liked Resch's D.A. but we drank Flag. We used to buy D.A. especially for him. We called it Denis's Ale, though D.A. really means Dinner Ale.

All four of us were quite Right-wing. Denis had been a Communist in his youth (not uncommon among shearers, I believe) and knew an awful lot about politics. He had not had much education but was quite intellectual and cultured for all that. Apparently you do sometimes find that among shearers, according to Denis.

He was in his late 30's at the time.

Another venue where I saw Denis was at the Baroque Music Club. I founded the club shortly after I moved to Sydney. It was a very informal thing that consisted of Sunday afternoon meetings at somebody's place where we would drink cheap flagon wine and listen to recorded Baroque (pre 1750) music.

Denis was our most frequent host and his wife, Fay, used to put on a whopper afternoon tea to aid the deliberations. It was a good way to meet musically-inclined single women and I did meet a few there.

Denis is now deceased.  He lived in Abergeldie St, Dulwich Hill.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020


It has occurred to me that I have never put up here any mention of my first real girlfriend.  So here is a bowdlerized version

I was about 20 when I first really began to take out girls. The puritanical influence of my religious teenage years made me a bit of a late starter in that respect but I soon caught up.

My first real girlfriend was Janet, 5'2", quite bright, with red hair (flaming red) and a talented classical pianist. We both liked Bach. Her eyes were blue-green. She was a clerk with National Mutual Insurance at the time. I met her at the Folk Centre in Ann St., where she sang occasionally. She had just turned 16 when we became lovers

We used to see one-another often even though she continued living at home. We had a lot of fun of all sorts together and I still think of her as a first class person. She and I had similar personalities and similar attitudes to a quite unusual degree. I remember that she liked Ayn Rand.

The thing that split us up may seem a bit silly but what I had reservations about was her being too short. I didn't want to have runty sons. I was also unpopular with her father.

At one stage she and I used to meet at my place at Birley St during lunch hour. Both of us worked only about five to ten minutes walk away. That way we could make love as part of our lunch together. An excellent menu!

Janet's father was an accountant who had done well enough to retire at age 40. He seemed to own most of Brisbane's jukeboxes. Apparently they give a good return. He did not like me because I had a beard. Part of the reason why Janet did like me however was because I had a beard!

Her mother was very nice to me, however. The thing that Janet liked best about me appeared to be my very confident personality. No woman likes a wimp. Janet and I became very close in the year or so we were together so it was in fact many years before we got to the point of no longer seeing one-another at all. Even after we had split up we would still sneak in the occasional meeting.

I was rather lucky in having her as my first girlfriend as we got on well in all sorts of ways. I guess we really were "soul-mates". A year or two after we split up I remember sending her a telegram to mark either her or my birthday. It was in Italian and read: "Ogn' anno divengono piu chiaro le fiamme inestinguibile di amore per te". Something that romantic needs to be said in Italian.

I remember sending the telegram from Glebe Post Office in Sydney. The postal clerk who took it looked very dubious about the whole thing.

Monday, January 13, 2020

A busy weekend -- not always in a good way

As I do most Fridays, I attended my usual skin clinic to get one of my skin cancers zapped.  This time there was one on my forehead that was feeling pesky so I requested a shave biopsy.  Because it looked ungood my obliging surgeon went a bit deep with the cut, which gave a greater bleeding problem.  She sizzled the wound well with diathermy, however so I went home just with a big dressing on my forehead

That night the wound bled. Fortunately the dressing contained most of the blood but I did get enough leakage to give me a gory forehead.  I looked a fright.  So I had to find a doctor to at least refresh the dressings and clean up dried blood.

Finding a doctor who works on Saturday morning is not easy but luckily the nearest practice from me did have a doctor working. I got an appointment for 8:45am. She had a very Greek surname so I expected someone who looked Greek.  She did not.  She was actually a dream walking: A trim figure including bosom, looked good in jeans and had a nice dusting of freckles on her fair skin. She assured me however that she is in fact Greek. I have come across fair Greeks before but it is unusual.

Anyway, she cleaned me up a bit and put a big new dressing on so I felt able to carry on. I was down to host a men's dinner the next evening so that was important.

So next morning Joe and I had our usual Sunday breakfast with me still looking rather bad.  Later that day, however, the dressing fell off, leaving just a little patch right over the wound. So later that morning I went to my usual medical practice -- which actually had two doctors working on a Sunday.  I was seen by a very brown Indian who was friendly and very obliging.  He allowed me to wash my face in a sink and stood by for the last of the dressings to come off.  He then put on a new and rather small dressing.  From that point on  I had a clean face and a civilized looking dressing on so I was confident of carrying out my hostly duties.

I cooked up one of my standbys, a chili con carne, using a whole kilo of mince plus a couple of tins of beans.  It worked well as usual -- assisted by certain sachets. We had it in my verandah, which always gets  breezes. We had tinned fruit and icecream for dessert.  JPH was rather amazed at our custom of cutting icecream.

There were five of us at the dinner -- our usual four plus JPH, a learned man but one with a lively sense of humor.  We all had good things to say about Mr Trump and deplored the antics of his critics.  We all know that Mr Trump has some rough edges but he probably needs that, considering the vast reforms he is tackling. He has virtually the whole of the Washington establishment criticizing and abusing him so you have to be very certain of yourself to remain undaunted by that.

Graham always brings something up from Victoria to add to the dinner and one of the things he brought this time was a box of of Coles assorted cracker biscuits.  It was a really good selection. Recommendable.  He also brought some "Timboon" craft whisky from near where he lives.  And that was really good too. It is actually a single malt

For show and tell, Graham brought a long a nightlatch cylinder which he had partially disassembled to show us how it works.  He is a qualified locksmith amid a myriad of other accomplishments so was also able to use it to show us how to pick a lock.  Joe took a considerable interest in that.  I have been doing amateur locksmithing since I was a kid so it's probably another example of like father, like son.

The conversation was wide ranging and vigorous. Graham and Chris had a lot to say and JPH had plenty of humorous interjections.  Joe and I were the quiet ones, relatively speaking.  I retired from the fray at about 9pm but Chris, Graham and JPH kicked on for about another hour.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Some recent pix

A sweet little soul patiently waiting

First day at a new school

Happiness with new presents

A good looking gal with a fat guy

The cook

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The great sock chuckout

I am not quite sure how it happened but over the years I had accumulated 4 drawers full of sox.  People used to give me sox for birthdays and Christmases so that is part of the explanation but I guess I must have bought the rest of them myself for various now-forgotten reasons. I don't wear sox at all these days

Anyway, there were about 100 of them cluttering up my drawers so I resolved to get them down to one drawer,  So I spread them out on a table and picked out about a dozen to keep.  So what to do with the rest?

I tried to interest Joe in them but he walked right past them.  But Aristides came to the rescue, as he often does.  He is a regular sock wearer so picked out about half of them for HIS sock drawer.  The remainder are on the coffee table downstairs for any passer-by to take

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Soapbox Orator

An old friend reminded me recently that I had never put anything up about my time as a soapbox orator.  It was only ever an amusing pastime but here goes anyway:

In both Brisbane and Sydney I was during my student days a "soapbox orator". Soap is rather heavy stuff so boxes in which soap was once sold must have been sturdy wooden ones -- solid enough for people to stand on.

The term "soapbox orator" means a public speaker on eccentric subjects holding forth at a place set aside for that purpose to whatever audience he can attract -- generally on a Sunday afternoon. Centennial park used to be such a place in Brisbane and the Domain in Sydney has long been such a place. cf. Hyde Park Corner in London.

I started to go to Centennial Park on Sunday afternoons in Brisbane to listen, heckle and argue as there was so little else to do in Brisbane at that time in those days.

Doing some heckling on my way home from Army parade

As I had a loud voice and was verbally fluent I decided eventually to do a bit of speaking myself from time to time and I generally had a lot of fun with it for a couple of years. I spoke on a variety of subjects -- not usually seriously.

Speaking at Centennial prk

Webster was the soapbox star in those days but older Brisbane people might remember soapbox orator Ted Wixted (1927-2001) and his arguments against  the Virgin Birth. Ted had a good day job as a museum curator -- mainly concerned with Early aviators -- but did admit that angels appeared to him. He used to call me "Jeremy".


When I moved to Sydney I also spoke a few times at the Domain but that was only in my first year in Sydney and was mostly in the company of Martyn Harper

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Just online: Ingeborg Hallstein goes to the dentist

With assistance of that natural born comic Ivan Rebroff

An hilarious operatic pastiche with quite a medley of favorite operatic arias.  Hallstein is as usual the ultimate female.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

New year's day

After all the excitement of the Christmas season, today reverted to routine

Anne and I went to the Gold Leaf for brekky about 8:30.  Anne had the vegan  brekky and I had my usual cheese burger

There was however a little drama when I went to the Buranda chemist to pick up some Firmagon.  I use it to control my prostate cancer.  The shop assistant was a pleasant little Chinese girl named Grace.  She spent about 20 minutes looking high and low for the product.  Eventually it was found exactly where it should have been -- among the dispensed prescriptions waiting to be collected.  Much embarrassment! I was in no hurry so I was merely amused

Anne went home about 10am bearing lots of leftovers from our various meals

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

New Year's eve

The day started out well with a trip to the Gold Leaf.  I had  and one of their excellent chunky steak pies plus an egg and lettuce sandwich.

Next stop was at Annerley Vinnies for a look-around.  I found in their costume jewellery cabinet a necklace of the sort that Anne likes so I bought it for her.  It was mostly red and very crafty-looking.  I seem to be able to pick what she likes and she was rather taken with that one.  I used to buy costume jewellery for Jill around 30 years ago too and she would wear it so I think I got her taste as well.

Paul and family flew out for Scotland that evening but I had said my goodbyes the night before so did not go out to see him off.

Anne and I had canapes at around 6pm -- consisting of Liptauer on Sesame wheat biscuits.

Most people do something special for the night and our version of that arond 7pm was a roast dinner featuring meatloaf.  I am something of a meatloaf tragic so always stock up when Woolworths or Aldi release one. There is usually one or two in my freezer.  I cooked the meatloaf and Anne did the vegies.  It went down well. We had Rosemount Traminer Riesling to wash it all down, a slightly sweet wine.

Later that night we had a Christmas pudding which I had got from Aldi. It was pre-cooked so took only one minute in the microwave to prepare it!  Modern times! It claimed to be a prize-winning Australian pudding and it was excellent, very rich.  We washed it down with brandied custard.  A perfect dessert. Odd that the pudding didn't have a brand name.  It was made in the Hunter Valley if that helps.

Anne flaked out and went to bed at 10pm.  I intended to stay up for midnight but I too flaked out early, at about 11pm.  The fireworks woke me up at midnight but not for long.  It was another rainy day but cleared in time for the fireworks.  No worries about bushfires in Brisbane.

Monday, December 30, 2019

A good Nando's

Our trips to Nando's usually have only 3 people,  Jenny, myself  and Joe.  Kate comes along sometimes.

But last night we had some welcome extras: Paul, Jess and Anne.  Paul likes our Nando meetings so tries to get along when he is in town. He came along this time despite flying out tomorrow.

Jess is Kate's sister but I had not previously seen much of her.  So tonight was something of a first.  So I was pleased to find that she is cheerful and good-humored:  Great assets.  She is also quite slim, which is another asset.  She teaches High School English.

Anne does not usually come to Nandos as it is our custom to dine together the day after. She didn't come to dine today either but just dropped in to grab the last chance of seeing Paul before he departed.  He greeted her warmly so that worked well

Earlier in the evening Anne had dined with one of her sons but she left early enough to drop in on our Nando's meeting.  Anne had a bad cold for the first half of December so had to postpone a lot of her socializing at that time and then Christmas got into gear so she was pretty frazzled by her many social activities by Sunday yesterday so was too zonked out do anything much.  So she missed the bon voyage dinner that Jenny put on for Paul and Susan yesterday. So she had not seen Paul at all this time around.

Paul did most of the talking as he usually does. We discussed the bushfires, Shakespeare, Brexit, John Ruskin and much else. Paul also did a remarkable job of eating up all the leftover chips so nothing was wasted.  He is regularly our human vacuum cleaner..

A photo of the gathering taken by Paul below. Note Joe's customary way of sitting.  I used to sit like that too. Too old and stiff now. Joe has also got himself a rather military haircut recently, though he has no military inclinations.

For a bigger pic, click here

Sunday, December 29, 2019

A last supper

This evening Jenny put on a dinner mainly aimed at giving Joe and me a last chance to talk to Paul and Susan before they depart for Scotland.  It was held in the BBQ area of her back yard but was not a BBQ.  Jenny and Susan had cooked up a delicious dinner in the kitchen.  It was a Mexican curry of their own devising with guacamole and rice.  It also included some of the leftover ham from Christmas day.

We always buy a large first class ham for Christmas. I have been shouting it as my contribution to the dinner for around 30 years now.  It is always the best ham of the year and we always have plenty of leftovers so it features in everybody's dinners for some days afterward.

We talked about many things but Ken's activities with the waterfall punchbowl on Christmas day were noted. We also noted the possibility that Timmy's wife Rachel is related to Nanna.  There is the unusual surname Cairns in both ancestries and a similar place of origin in Britain in both ancestries

Joe was an exemplar of good manners in not starting to eat his dinner until Susan had sat down.  The rest of us were more slack about that.  I think it is modern manners for someone to start if the hostess is taking a long time to sit down.  As soon as one person starts, others follow suit.

The kids were all present and Bambam had to be roared at a couple  of times, as was to be expected.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Liptauer spread

Anne stayed over for another night, so early on 28th we again braved the crowds at the Gold Leaf.  Anne had the Canadian breakfast. She went home about 10 am

As is often the case, we had got in more food for Christmas than we actually used so it was not only the ham that was left over.  Almost untouched was  a dish of Liptauer that Anne had made and brought over. Liptauer is ubiquitous in central Europe so in her travels there Anne had got a good idea of what Liptauer is all about and now makes a good version of it. It's readily available at delis in Sydney but as far as I know, Anne is the only source of it in Bribane.  So if you want to sample Liptauer here, you have to get to  know Anne.

So when it came to around 6pm, it was time for my dinner and the availability of Liptauer made itself felt.  I spread a thick coat of Liptauer plus some fresh tomato slices onto toast and had a mega-Yum dinner

There is a recipe for Liptauer here but Anne didn't get it quite right until she had been to Austria and Hungary and got the original idea of it.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Yummy leftovers

Anne stayed over so we went to the Gold Leaf again for breakfast. It was very busy so we had to wait a bit for our food.  Anne had Dim Sims.

After brekky we made a stop an the Annerley Vinnies and both came away with some new treasures.  The Annerley Vinnies seems to be particularly good for nice things

For lunch we had mainly leftover ham from Christmas day.  It was very good.

For dinner we polished off the leftover ham from Christmas day plus we had leftover cutlets from Boxing day. Anne made a good salad to go with it so we ate well

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Boxing day

Anne had her Christmas lunch with her three sons at a very upmarket Italian osteria (hostelry) in Yeronga where everything went well.  But they did not finish up until 5pm so by that time she was fit only to go home to bed.

So on Boxing day evening Anne came over and we had our special dinner: Sydney rock oysters followed by lamb cutlets. Anne cooked the cutlets just right and we had them with plenty of salt and a salad so they were delicious.  For dessert, we had some of George's Christmas cake which went down well

After dinner I did the traditional British tea ceremony -- with leaf tea in my traditional teapot, an ornate teaset (cups and saucers, not mugs), an ornate tea strainer and an ornate milk jug.  I also own an ornate glass sugar bowl but neither Anne nor I take sugar so it was not deployed.

A British tea ceremony is just as complex as a Japanese tea ceremony.  Tea demands it.  I must confess that I did leave out two elements of the traditional ceremony:  I did not add the tea with one teaspoonful for the pot and one teaspoon for each cup.  The English like their tea very strong but I go for the much milder Scottish version, with just one teaspoon for the pot. For the same reason I did not turn the pot around once the boiling water had been poured.

Anne said it was "a good cup of tea".  She was still very tired so she went to bed early that night.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The blessed day has arrived

I engineered it this year so that all of my stepchildren and their children were home for the Christmas period.  Unfortunately "the girls" could not be present for the actual Christmas day but it was still great to see them and their children very recently.  It is amusing that although the two mothers are not at all alike, their two daughters are growing up as little ladies.  Both mothers are very indulgent, however, so both little girls are free to be themselves.

It may help to realize how good our Christmas reunion has been if you know that the families literally came from opposite ends of the earth, from Scotland and New Zealand respectively.  It is one of the wonders of geography that despite their great distance apart, both families speak their native language in their native accents in their new homes and are perfectly understood and respected. Our seafaring British ancestors did a great thing through their voyages.

Some great journeys of emigration are well known -- the Mayflower etc. -- but one of the greatest is little known outside Australia -- the convoy of 11 ships known to Australians as The First Fleet.  In fragile little wooden ships of mostly under 400 tons, powered only by the wind, the fleet sailed half way around the world and arrived at their destination in good order.  From England, the Fleet sailed southwest to Rio de Janeiro, then east to Cape Town and via the Great Southern Ocean to Botany Bay, arriving in 1788 and taking two thirds of a year to do it (May to January).

It was a military expedition -- run by the Royal Navy, including marines -- so that no doubt helped in maintaining order. But it was still an heroic enterprise.  In a very British move, the personnel even included a judge. I love that. It is because of them and other intrepid British sailors that you can now move from one end of the earth to the other and still freely speak your native English.  We have been very well-served by our ancestors.

So we have had Paul, Susan and their three with us for most of December and have them with us today.  They have three exceptional children: A boy who is exceptionally bright, a girl who is exceptionally feminine and another girl who is exceptionally naughty.  They are all a great delight.

I am writing this early on Christmas morning and the BOM have forecast rain.  I have little respect for the BOM and their forecasts but we had a big storm yesterday so they may be right this time. In the circumstances we are all going to crowd indoors rather than having our activities around the BBQ in the back yard.

In times past Anne and I used to go to the magnificent St. John's cathedral for the Christmas service but we have got out of the way of doing that these days.  That the sermons were always complete mush did not help.  It is an Anglican cathedral. Spurgeon would weep


The gathering at  Jenny's place was a large one, with David, Timmy and Timmy's wife Rachel also turning up. I arrived at about 9:30am.  Nanna even appeared at the dinner table.  She is very old and frail so her appearance was a rarity.

Paul and Ken had one of their usual arguments, with me taking Paul's side.  Ken thought that cash will be abolished one day while Paul and I thought there would be too much opposition to that.  Joe talked about shares, bitcoin and finance generally.  He is facing some absurdly high closing costs in buying his new house.

I talked quite a lot with Susan and Jenny about Bambam and how to understand her exceptionally naughty behaviour.  We agreed that she is bright so will probably learn better behaviour as she grows up.  She ran around very energetically for a couple of hours and then flaked out in the middle of the living room. She must have exhausted herself.

I also talked to Paul about Matthew's future and we speculated about getting him into Eton eventually.  We also talked about Scotland generally, Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson.  Both of us are very pleased by the advent of Boris and see in him great hopes for the future prosperity of Britain

The BOM was right for once.  We had some quite heavy rain. We were under cover, however.

The dinner was excellent, featuring kebabs and some very good ham.  I left at about 3pm

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Eve

We all foregathered at Jenny's place for a meal of roast chicken and veg.  It was very traditional but very nicely done.  I arrived at about 6pm and left around 9pm. There was of course a lot of chatting throughout with Paul keeping us all involved. Nobody drank any alcohol.  I had ginger beer to drink.  We are sufficiently mentally alive not to need alcohol at a party.

Bambam (Primrose) was exceptionally naughty as is her way.  She can pull the most awful faces.  She made some amazingly aggressive faces at Ken several times, even though he was being nice to her. Basically, she just wants attention, I think.  She reminds me of Teddy Roosevelt, a very extroverted American president of around a century ago.  TR's son once said of him: "Father wants to be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral"

Since both Jenny and Matthew are celiacs, there was on hand a range of biscuits and candies that are OK for celiacs.  Matthew made the most of it.  It was amazing the amount he could fit into that little tummy.

Ken put it to me that the story of the Emperor's new clothes is implausible.  I suppose it is  but was it meant to be plausible?  I think not.

As I was getting up to go home, I had sunk far down into one of Jenny's couches so doubted that I could get up.  Susan solved that very smartly.  She came and pulled me up without further ado.  Joe will tell you that that is a heavy task so Susan's strength was a real surprise. Being smart, kind and good looking are not the end of her talents.  She looked very glamorous in her ankle-length strapless yellow gown

It had just been raining as I left so Joe escorted me to my car in case I slipped over.

Monday, December 23, 2019

An unusual day

Paul, Matthew and I breakfasted at the Phams at about 9:30.  I had a breakfast muffin plus a Fillo.  Matthew had boiled eggs and salad.  Paul had some avocado creation. Something Matthew said at breakfast interested me.  He said that he always finishes what he starts instead of leaving the finishing to another day.  That is a statement at a high level of generality for an 8-year-old and is another sign of his high IQ

After breakfast we went back to my place. Paul left me alone with Matthew so we could get to know one-another a little better.  I had heard that Matthew liked classical music -- again unusual in an 8-year old and again an indicator of a high IQ.   Even most adults don't like classical music.  It's much more complex than popular music

So I played for him on YouTube some of the favorite classical pieces -- Sibelius Musette, Nimrod; Mache dich mein Herze rein; Chiome d' Oro; Karelia Suite; Sheep may safely graze; Largo from Xerxes; Stabat Mater etc.  I asked him towards the end if there was one piece he particularly liked.  He said "I liked all of them"

After that I went on to teach him a bit of German, which Paul wants him to learn.  An unexpected obstacle was the Ach Laut.  He could not say it.  Yet he lives in Scotland where everybody can and does say it. He himself does not speak Scots.  He does a reasonable version of RP.  He will eventually move to England so that is all rather a good idea.  Anyway I gave him some very basic vocab, got him to say it and gave him a list for him to practice some time.

Then at just after 6:30 we had our Nandos visit.  Paul, Matthew, Susan, Elise, Joe and I were there and Ken and Maureen joined us a little later. The six-year old Elise was looking glamorous with her wonderful hair. Some women pay a fortune to hairdressers to get hair like that.

The talk was mainly about Joe's new house.  It's costing him a bomb but he is getting a large modern house in an immaculate state of repair.  It's a 1950s timber house on low blocks that has recently been done up.