Thursday, November 30, 2023

A good Malayan restaurant

I have in recent times taken Anna to all the restaurants and cafes that I usually frequent so I asked her if she knew of a good new place we could go to. She suggested that there was a good Malayan restaurant in Sunnybank at Market Square

So we went there for lunch today. It was just inside the entrance to Market Square. It was a big place and very busy with a very big menu. I ordered some mixed laksha which was quite good but I had no idea what I was eating most of the time as it was indeed mixed.

And the lunch for two came to only $41 so that was unexpectedly reasonable given the quality of the food.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

A good week

On Wednesday November 15th Zoe and I had a discussion about the serious incompatibilities in our relationship. She decided as a result to stop seeing me. I did not want that to happen and tried to dissuade her but she has stuck by that decision so far. So that left me with serious gaps in my social life.

Fortunately, however Anna has been willing and able to fill those gaps so I have had quite a few of my meals with her recently. The week just ending has been particularly good. It has been a week off work for her so she has had plenty of time to keep me company. I think I have seen her nearly every day this week for dinner. We get on very well so that has been most congenial. We seemto see eye to eye on most things so we always have good conversations when we meet. India has long been a great interest of mine and her heritage is Indian so we often discuss cultural differences.

She is however over 40 years younger than I am so we are deliberately not allowing one another to get too close emotionally. She has to be in a position to form a relationship with someone closer to her own age if an opportunity arises

So I would like to have Zoe back in my life but I am not suffering much meanwhile. I still have a lot of affection for her and do miss her

My relationship with Anne also had some hiccups a few weeks ago but we resolved that pretty quickly. So our time together this morning was as blissful as ever.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

A return shout

My major recreation is shouting dinners for ladies but most of the ladies I see are old like me so are pensioners, not in a position to shout me back. And I am fine about that.

Today was a bit different, however. Because Anna and I live in the same building it is very easy for us to get chatting. And I mentioned this afternoon that Zoe was not coming over for dinner as she usually does on a Sunday. Anna is a good hearted woman however so when she heard that she promptly offered to make me a dinner. She has a job so has some spare money so I was delighted to accept. And it was a very good dinner -- with chipolatas, pasta and sweet potato all cooked expertly. And she even added an icecream and berry dessert.

I have shouted her a few meals so it was a return shout. Much appreciated

In the above I was thinking of cooked meals but Zoe made me many Vegan type meals which were also good

Sunday, November 12, 2023

She's back

I wanted to take a pic of Zoe when she arrived back from Srbia two weeks ago but she caught a bad wog on the plane so has not felt up to being photographed until today

Saturday, November 11, 2023

A Persian lunch

I wanted to treat Anne to a special lunch so I took her to the "Saffron" restaurant at Stones corner -- run by Zoroastrian Persians. As I usually do there, I ordered the combination platter for two, which was huge and impressive as usual: 3 different kebabs plus rice, salad and chips. Persians are masters at grilling meat

Lunch was 12 noon but Anne and I normally see one another for 9am breakfast so Anne came over around 9am anyway as we had a few things to discuss. While we were waiting for lunch, I put on a lot of Sibelius for her, which she liked

Thursday, November 9, 2023

A triple treat

I had today arrangements to have lunch with Anne and dinner with Jenny. But today was also Zoe's birthday so she came over at mid-afteroon with the idea of us having coffee and cake by way of a celebration. We could not think of a nearby cakeshop that would be open at that hour so we went to McDonalds and had iced coffee, something we both enjoy. We spent a couple of hours together in total so I had pleasant times with three fine ladies in the one day. I think that qualifies me as a lucky man

Monday, November 6, 2023

Lunch with Anna

She wore her very smart black dress for our trip to the Buranda coffee lounge. I wanted a big meal so had Calamari but again she just had a cupcake with her chai. I couldn't eat all my chips so she helped polish them off. See her in the dress below

And below is the lucky man she went with

Saturday, November 4, 2023

From Anne's big trip

I had my usual pleasant Saturday morning with Anne and we tried to find on her phone ANY picture of her on her big trip. As the photographer, all her photos were of other things and people. We finally found one of her, however -- from when she was in Normanton. As you will see, she too is a doggy lady. That's a sculpture of a crocodile behind her

Friday, November 3, 2023

A very social time

Anne came over between about 9:30 and 11:30pm yesterday for a chat and a trip to the Japanese restaurant for brunch. The food there is always first class. I am hoping for more Thursday morning visits from her.

Then last night Jenny came over and cooked us a dinner of red meat plus lots of salad. She had decided to stay overnight so we opened a bottle of Tyrrell's Verdelho. Wine with dinner is a rare treat for me these days

This morning Jenny will be driving us to breakfast, venue as yet undecided but probably Buranda.

And this evening I am expecting to see Zoe. She came off the plane from Srbia a few days ago with a bad wog so has not been fit to travel up until now. It will be over 3 months since I have seen her so I am looking forward to it

And the rest of the weekend is looking good too: Breakfast with Anne on Saturday and lunch with Anna on Sunday


Zoe arrived at around 3pm. She looked surprisingly good, I thought. She has always looked good for a woman in her 70s but she looked at least as good as ever despite her heavy cold. Maybe her stay in Srbia was good for her. She did miss the Brisbane winter by going there in mid July.

She really should have stayed away from me for a couple more days to complete her recovery from the virus but she has been back in Brisbane since 26th and we both felt uncomfortable at waiting so long to get back together.

Sadly, we could not kiss as the viral load I would get from that would be too risky altogether.

She arrived asking for a salad lunch so I took her to Nando's for a Mediterranean salad, which she likes. I ate only half of mine but she polished off the remaining half. So I fed her well. We then went to to MacDonalds for an iced coffee each

After we got home, all we did was have a big lie-down in bed together. She went to sleep for most of it, which should have helped her recovery. She went home at her usual 7pm -- looking rather more lively than when she arrived

She brought me back a souvenir of her trip. See below. She and I both like and collect oil lamps and the one below is the smallest we have ever seen. She got it in Turkey. But it is fully functional. I show it beside a 50c piece for scale. It is just over 4" tall

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

A new dress

Anna was off to work in a new dress so before she left she came up to show me the dress. It really suited her. See below

Sunday, October 29, 2023

An unusual lunch

Anna and I went to Buranda for lunch today just after 1 pm at my usual coffee lounge but the kitchen was closed! It was a Sunday and they close the kitchen at 1pm then. Anyway we were able to order from the cabinet. I had a sausage-roll plus an apple Danish and Anna had a chocolate brownie so neither of us went hungry. The brownie there is quite a substantial one I thought Anna looked good in her little red dress and she took a photo of the two of us at table

A small note: Anne and Anna are two different people. It's not just bad spelling. Anna's actual name is an unusual Indian name but I abbreviate it as Anna to give her some privacy. Anne is very Anglo-Celtic, with a lot of Irish in her

Saturday, October 28, 2023

A big Pow Wow this morning

Anne has recently returned from her big caravan trip around Australia. So was that the end of her caravanning? She was thinking of one more trip but I told her that another trip would upset me. I missed her during her recent trip so I would not like another trip. She agreed with my view and has now sent the Toyota Prado (used to tow the caravan) to her son for him to sell. He is very cluey so should do that job well. He estimates that we should get back the $70,000 we spent buying it plus perhaps a little more

Anne and I also agreed to a change in our meeting arrangements. We will continue as before to breakfast each Saturday morning but will add a breakast most Thursdays. I am really pleased about that

After our big discussions, we went to Buranda as usual for our breakfast

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

A gastroscopy

I had a gastroscopy today which took up most of my day, one way or another. The doctors were searching for the cause of my anemia and thought that I might have leaking varices (enlarged blood vessels) somewhere in my stomach area. I didn't. I was all normal down there.

So that is rather good news but leaves the cause of my anemia unexplained. It would normally signify low levels of serum iron but my iron levels are normal

Sunday, October 15, 2023

An amazing sort of a day

Yesterday was good for me in both personal and political ways. The decisive defeat of the referendoum in Australia and the decisive expulsion of the Left in NZ were the political highpoints but there were some good personal highpoints too.

For the last couple of days I had been troubled by a gammy hip -- one of the nightmares of the elderly. But Ibuprofen had been helping with it so I took some more at 7am. And by 10pm the hip was no longer gammmy. If someone had prayed for me over it, it would have been accounted as a genuine miracle from the Lord. And the cure is still in place this morning.

And Anne arrived at 8:30am and drove us to the Buranda coffee place. And we did well there. We both had favorite breakfasts with coffee that cost me surprisinly little. With deductions and discounts, the bottom line was $37.45, a very old-fashioned price. I am "not short of a bob", in the old Australian idiom, but I still like to get value for money. I give half of my disposable income to a charitable cause and I like the results I am getting there too

And before we left Buranda, Anne and I managed to snag some Portuguese custard tarts for our morning tea -- one of our favorite rituals. While there I also bought Anne a small bunch of flowers, including some red roses.

Then I decided some Nandos chicken was what I fancied for lunch. So after some time trying to navigate food ordering via the internet, I finally managed to place an order with Deliveroo. And the food arrived still warm. Again I was pleased at my spend. They charged me only $5 in addition to the cost of the food

And I had a nefarious scheme in mind for that night. I have been rather regretful that my "days of wine and roses" seem to be over so I thought that by giving Anne roses and having a glass of wine with Jenny over dinner I would be able to defy that limitation. Sadly, however, Jenny was too unwell to have any wine

So I decided to have a "Jimmy Woodser" (drink alone). I had a of glass of very nice Rosemount Traminer Riesling as a nightcap. So I did have at least one more day of wine and roses

Thursday, October 12, 2023

I think my days of wine and roses are over

I have just been notified that for health reasons I am no longer licensed to drive. I had stopped driving anyway. For most of my life I was a demon driver but in 60 years of driving I have never hurt myself or anyone else so I am rather proud of that

It makes me think of a famous short poem from over 100 years ago by Ernest Dowson

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream

My days of wine and roses were actually very long -- largely ending only a few years ago when I first had a life-threatening encounter with cancer. But ceasing to drive puts a final cap on it. So I am thankful that my good days were many. And I had a very pleasant young woman -- Anna -- join me for my afternoon walk today -- so all is not lost.

But I think there was a peak to my days of wine and roses. I see 1968, when I was in my mid-20s, as the time in my life most aptly described as that. See:

The Hollywood film called "Days of wine and roses" describes a descent into alcoholism. That is not me. I drank much good wine in my time but it never harmed me. These days a wee dram of Scotch at night before bed is my only indulgence

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

I was young once

On looking at my old photo collection, I was rather struck by the photo below from 1983 when I was 39 and Jenny was 30. It was taken at the Russian ball.

I may be kidding myself but I am inclined to think that I was rather young-looking for my age in that photo. My face was still well filled out with very little in the way of lines. I could well be one of the lucky few who age slowly. The fact that I am still alive and feebly kicking at age 80 may be consistent with that.

Friday, October 6, 2023

Lunch with Anna

She is doing a lot of dog-sitting these days so I don't get to see her often. But we managed a 1 pm lunch date today at my favourite cafe in Kangaroo Pt. I had my usual burger and I was pleased to see that she ordered the savoury pancakes, which is a rather big meal. But she said she hadn't felt like much for breakfast so she had a good appetite for lunch

She was dressed in a rather summery way which really suited her, in my view. As I am not driving these days she drove us in her Toyota. She was the best-looking driver I have had for a while.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

At the Hotel Moskva again

The Hotel Moskva is a luxury hotel in Belgrade. That smile on Zoe's face is partly due to the drink before her -- a big mocha coffee with cream. Cream is against her usual dietary rules but you only live once

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Zoe is touring Italy

Judging by the heavy sweater she is encountering some cold weather. She would probably be warmer in Brisbane

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Learning foreign languages: A true story

Studying a foreign language at school or even at university tends to be a waste. Rarely do the students concerned progress to anything like native fluency. They are even lucky to remember enough to be useful on holiday in the country concerned. So why do it? I would generally advise against it.

There was a young Australian girl, however, who decided to make a big effort to learn French. She studied it at High School and later at university. Why did she do that? Because her "ex" was a keen student of German. Good female logic.

And her efforts had some success. She learnt enough French to move to France and become an English teacher there. With her Australian background, she also of course had some interest in England and holidayed there from time to time and made some friends in London.

On one occassion her English friends were putting on a dinner party for people they knew and included in the guest list a young up-and-coming Frenchman. He knew little English but that problem was solved by sitting him alongside the Australian girl, as she was the only other person who spoke French.

The two have been married for around 50 years now and live in grand style in central Paris with a country house in Normandy and a beach house in Brittany. So studying foreign languages CAN pay off sometimes

Sunday, September 17, 2023

An anachronism survives

Cutting-edge medical science seems to have given me hopes of two or more years of life

And while I am far from alone in it I appear to be one of the few still alive who had the benefit of a good classical education. That makes me an anachronism, a person from a bygone time

During my days in High school I gained a knowledge of the language and literature of three foreign languages plus ancient history and classical English literature. I entered High school at a time when a classics education was no longer compulsory but it was optionally available and I took good advantage of that opportunity

My classical education would once been have deemed incomplete without some knowedge of ancient Greek. To call a person "Greekless" was once to call them uneducated -- but to a small extent I remedied that deficiency by private study and can to this day recite two famous passages in Greek and debate the grammar involved. ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος etc

But the point of a classical education is not to know the declension of the Latin noun "mensa" but rather what goes with classical study: The introduction to assumptions and ways of thought from different times and places. It enables us to transcend our awareness of our own times and places. It "broadens" our minds, if I may be so old-fashioned as to use that phrase. It liberates us from seeing anything in our present as being inevitable or normal. It uproots assumptions

And of the three foreign languages I studied, the one I enjoy most to this day is Latin. German and Italian are more useful to me because I also like classical music and most classical music emanates from German and Italian sources. When I hear the great Bach aria "Mache dich mein Herze rein", I actually understand what the singer is saying. And when I hear the Monteverdi madrigal "Chiome d'oro" I marvel at the fact that blonde hair was admired even in Renaissance Italy -- 400 years ago.

But Latin is the language that I enjoy most for itself. I like it in part because of its succinctness. The most famous example of that is of course "veni, vidi, vinci" but a 19th century British General in the Indian wars allegedly did even better with "peccavi". And Latin is also a powerful way of putting something. "de gustibus non disputandum est" is hard to argue with.

So the point I am making is that a classical education opens doors to both enjoyment and wisdom. To have lost it is a serious deprivation. So the fact that I write from that perspective will help keep a small amount of that perspective alive and functioning for a while.

I am aware of an appearance of inconsistency in praising the classics while it is Cemiplimab that is keeping me alive but there is no opposition between the classics and science. And as someone who has had 200+ scientific papers published in the academic journals I am an embodiment of that. I even know what heteroscedasticity refers to.

And a classical education can in fact the helpful in science. Academic writing is notoriously hard to follow but a person with a background in Latin will usually be able to write English more clearly. So an academic colleague once said to me: "John, we don't always agree with you but at least we understand what you are saying"