Old folk at lunch

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

An unforeseen night


On Tuesday 24th, I had booked tickets to fly down to Sydney with Anne. It was to show her the basic sights and to get foods that are not yet sold in Brisbane.  It was to be for three days only as I cannot handle much walking these days.

On Monday, however, Anne had a scan which showed she had a broken foot.  So I had to cancel the trip.

That turned out to be something of a good thing as I had a very disturbed night that night.  It would have been even more disturbed had I not been at home in my own room.

I woke up at about 2am and didn't get back to sleep until about 5am.  In between I watched lots of videos on my computer.  One of them I thought particularly worthy of comment.  It was a video of the Black Watch parading through the streets of Edinburgh.

The Black Watch

I have an ancestral connection to the Black Watch.  What is the Black Watch?  It is a battalion within the Royal Highland Regiment -- known for its aggression and heroism.  One of my great grandfathers was in the Black Watch and that was always told to me in hushed tones as a great distinction.  And I agree with that.  As recently as the Afghanistan involvement they descended on the Islamic madmen with great ferocity. Scottish troops generally are formidable.  About a third of the British army is Scottish.

Below is a video in which the Black watch parade the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.  Note the continued dead thump of the bass drum.  It is very intimidatory,  No army in the world has uniforms that are as gorgeous as full Highland dress.  So you might think that they are only decorative soldiers.  That unremitting dead thump of the bass drum warns you off that foolish view.  Nothing fancy there.

I don't wear the kilt often these days but you may understand why I do



Load https://www.youtube.com/embed/P2gDkcpYnMc into your browser  and you will get a full-screen version of the march

The battalion is escorting the Scottish crown from Edinburgh castle to the Scottish Parliament, where the Queen will wear it for the Parliamentary opening.  The crown is held on a velvet cushion in the back of the big maroon Rolls Royce car in the middle of the march.  Anybody who tried to grab it would be in an unbelievable amount of trouble.  A battalion of angry Scotsmen wouldn't leave much of you

UPDATE:  Anne has a pair of close-fitting shoes which enable her to do short walks so she remains of good cheer

I thought I might briefly mention the foods I was looking forward to revisiting.  First of all Yugoslav food: Cevapcici and Raznici with the proper Kaimak accompaniment;  Liptauer cheese spread,  very common in central Europe but unknown in Brisbane; Basturma Greek smoked beef, originally camel meat but now usually beef.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A good series of days


I had a series of interesting days recently.  Last Friday 13th was perhaps a bit unlucky.  Anne came over and cooked up some veal with garlic butter that I was looking forward to.  Anne cooked it medium but it was still rather tough.  It had a good taste though.  I expected veal to be tender.  Some dear little calf gave up its life for my dinner.  I do have some more veal in my freezer so I will dice it up and make it into curry.  3 hours in my crockpot should tenderize it.

Then on Saturday morning 14th we went to the Phams and I had a new offering there: Vietnamese lamb wrap.  It was really good and a surprisingly big meal

Than at 10am the incomparable Jason arrived.  He has been very ill but can now get about again and his wonderful brain was as sharp as ever. He is our guru for our computer museum and knows Amiga computers down to the tiniest depths. And when he left he had got a 500mb hard drive going for us and had fixed up a wobbly SCART port on one of our few Amiga monitors

Joe felt a bit drained by the great infusion of knowledge Jason had put into him so after Jason had left he took us to Subway for a late lunch.  I have  never found subway to be much good but Joe knows them well.  I ordered a Teriyaki footlong which was really good.  Joe always orders the seafood roll there.

Then on Sunday 15th Joe took us to Mos burgers for dinner again, with Eugene coming too.  They were out of beef!  So I had a chicken burger instead which was just as good.

Then Monday 16th was our usual Nando's night with just Joe, Jenny and myself.  They have some sort of BLAT there that I like.  The thing I used to order there -- thighs and slaw -- has been discontinued

Then on Tuesday Anne made us Reuben sandwiches -- using some freshly cooked corned beef.  They were a "best yet" for both of us. I got Anne to go a bit lightly on the Sauerkraut.  Too much of it swamps the other tastes.  The cheese she used was Jarlsberg


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Emotional music



I spent some time listening to some wonderful songs last night

First was Leonid Kharitonov singing "Volga Boatman" with the Red Army Choir.  The song is actually a type of shanty.  It is not the song of sailors, however.  It is a song of men on a towpath dragging boats along the Volga, presumably upstream. It is a song of endurance.  As such the words are simple to the point of meaninglessness but the tune is compelling.  And when you see Kharitonov  -- a most manly looking man -- you get a feeling for Russian power.

Russians are enduring. They have to be -- with both a demanding climate and a demanding government.  I admire them and have a feeling for what life must be like in Russia. When you listen to Kharitinov, however, you begin to understand the war on the Eastern front. The Germans were military specialists and killed 4 Russians for every one of theirs that fell.  But the Russians just did not give in -- so indomitability triumphed over military brilliance.



Then I watched an excellent version of The Battle Hymn of the Republic, played by an American army band. It was a very sophisticated performance in my language by people of my ethnicity referring to my religious heritage but I was nevertheless a little uncomfortable with it. I was disturbed by the women in the band, including the very capable woman conductor. In my old-fashioned military mind, we fight to protect our women, not put them in the army. A nation that puts its mothers in danger has lost the plot and endangered its future in my view.



Then I watched a very well done version of Hatikva, the national anthem of Israel. I am hugely pro-Israel so that moved me.  When  they sing about Jerusalem that is not just their  religious capital but it is ours too.  Their Bible is our Bible too.  So we too have learnt to yearn for Zion.



Then there was a rendition of the simple but beloved Russian folk song: Katyusha.  With a lively little Russian girl (Valeria Kurnushkina) drawn in to sing her part.  The Choir with their big hats sang happily along with her.  She was a charmer.



And then I went to a magnificent rendition in the Albert hall of that great English song "Jerusalem".   Blake's magical words and Parry's setting are incomparable.  Anybody with English blood in them (and I am one) has to glorify in that song despite it's vast theological improbability.  I liked some of the comments left on the video.  I felt that way too:



The comments:

Thank God I was born an Englishman!!

For starters I hardly ever cry, but this almost brought a tear to my eye. Were so proud of you from across the pond, sending lots of love and wishes of luck on your new journey of independence.

I don't give a toss about what people say or think about my country, I'm a proud Englishman and that will never change

Amazing! Wish i was british. In germany it's a crime to love your own country.

Almost cried when I heard Jerusalem today and I'm not even British. I truly wish a bright future and only the best for England and for the whole UK.

God save the Queen from sweden .

If you happen to be a free citizen anywhere on this planet, believe it or not, you are indebted to England. By the way i am not British and not among the fortunate ones.

Being born English is like winning the first prize in the lottery of life.