Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Another b*rthday celebration

I did get to see Jenny on her actual b*rthday. We had breakfast together at Buranda. I celebrated by having Calamari. I had already given her some presents but I kept a couple for the actual day -- both gluten-free.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Serbia's groovy grannies

My Serbian companion is very good looking for her age -- in the granny age cohort. So I thought I might mention another Serbian lady in that cohort. Behold Vesna Pesic -- the book editor, not the politician. How does she stay so youthful looking? I guess gym and care with diet would be involved but good genes are probably the main thing

See more of her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pesic.sinovi

Friday, May 26, 2023

A b*rthday dinner

In honour of Jenny's forthcoming b*rthday, I took her and Joe to our local Persian restaurant last night, the Saffron. Their food is as exceptional as their prices so it is worth it. Nobody grills meat as well as Persians do. It's all in the marinade, I suspect

They seem to be Zoroastrian Persians as I saw there women with no head coverings and men drinking wine. Definitely not Muslim. And they had reproductions from the old Persian empire on their walls -- which was Zoroastrian. I have Zoroastrian friends and think that Zoroastrianism makes rather more sense than Christianity

They have had the same young receptionist at that restaurant for some years and she has always amused me. She has a large bosom that was always very much in evidence. But last night the bosom seemed to be missing. I think it was still there but modestly covered. Maybe she has now found a bloke.

I ordered the mixed plate for Joe and me and Jenny found some gluten-free things to order. Mainly kebabs. It was a great night for food

Jenny will be having her actual b*rthday dinner with Jeff, her oldest friend, who has always been very good to her and who is coming down from Northern parts just for the occasion

It's a while since I put up a picture of myself so I got Jenny to take one of me this morning. It came out better than I expected, all things considered

Thursday, May 25, 2023

A wonderful tree

Cumquat trees are normally encountered as shrubs. But the cumquat tree in front of my place has never heard of that. I am guessing that it is about 20' high -- and is in fruit at the moment. The brilliant yellow fruit make a good picture. And the fruit makes the best marmalade ever

There is a close-up of it here Wait for it

Monday, May 8, 2023


Brisbane City Council does a cleanup in my suburb once a year. This year it was in late April. It consists of an invitation from the council for people to put outside their houses anything they do not want. The council will then collect and dispose of it. I enjoy those occasions. Like many others, I drive around looking at what everyone has put out in case someone has thrown something out that still seems usable to me. And I usually do find something.

This year I was particularly on the lookout for wooden chairs where the seat is a single deal of wood. Only very big trees can give rise to deals big enough for that so they are now something of a rarity. And about a week ago, the inhabitant of an old house near me had thrown out SIX such chairs. They needed a cleanup but nothing more. I am now using four of them

And yesterday Zoe got into the act. A neighbouring suburb was having a cleanup so she drove us around it looking for treasures. And one thing she found was remarkably good: A pushbike in near new condition. It even had derailleur gears. She found a few other things as well. So she was pretty pleased with her expedition. At one point we got caught in a hailstorm but it was short-lived

A dinner at Zambreros also enlivened the day

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

A pleasant moment in time

It is very rare for any of our moments to inspire a record of them. Wordsworth went for a walk one day and saw some daffodils that he liked. He put that small happening into a poem and people have been reading about it ever since. So a moment in time can be worth recording.

I am no poet and have no thought that any of my moments will be of significance to others. But I do like to record some moments that will form happy recollections. There was such a moment this afternoon

I was expecting Zoe for her usual Wednesday visit. I was missing her and wishing she would arrive soon. And waiting for her was rather distracting. I could not concentrate on anything very serious. I expected her at her usual time between 3 and 4pm so at 2pm I distracted myself by going down into my garage to reorganize a big set of chairs I had acquired just days before. I was engrossed in that when I got a surprise. A voice came from the open garage doorway behind me. It asked, "what are you doing"?

It was not an utterance of any profundity but to me it was a very sweet voice I heard. Zoe had arrived early: A very pleasant surprise. That shock of hearing an unexpected sweet voice is one I would like to remember. I make no claim that it was a sweet voice in any objective sense but it was a sweet voice to me. I was very happy to hear it

We went on to have a late lunch at Nando's followed by a shopping trip to Coco's. We spent the rest of the afternoon together until about 6pm

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

My past

Spring time in Cairns North Queensland 1961. I lived there at that time but left soon afterward. I was 18

Friday, April 21, 2023

I moved from London to Sydney for a man I had spent six days with – of course it was a mistake

A British woman has written a rather long article under the above heading. I reproduce below just two paragraphs from it that speak to me.

What struck me about the first paragraph was her assertion that highly incompatible people can have a good relationship. That is my situation too so I was pleased to see that I am not alone.

I have remarked on several occasions about the large incompatibilities between Zoe and myself but we nonetheless get a lot out of our times together. We are well into our second year together and are still firmly attached despite some ups and downs. About an hour ago she went home from my place in a very jolly and cheerful mood.

Regarding the second paragraph below, I too had a great time during my 15 years in Sydney -- with many unforgettable memories. And I too made some wrong turnings at that time that I learned from and do not regret -- including two marriages

And I once had in my life a lady who did as the lady below did -- a rather aspirational lady whom I met during my Sabbatical in England who followed me back to Australia at the end of my Sabbatical with hopes of forming a lasting relationship with me. And that lady was eventually as disappointed as the lady writing below. She ended up with a very supportive partner anyway

A lot has happened over the course of the seven and a half years I’ve lived in Australia. More heartaches and more ill-fated relationships, though I’ve now been with my boyfriend for just over a year, and he is caring, honest, kind and funny in ways that others weren’t. My opposite in every way imaginable, but a man who feels like home nonetheless. He moved in two months after we met on the street in Bondi – proving, I suppose, that when it comes to romance and spontaneity, old habits die hard.

Sydney has shown me some of the best times of my life, and some of the most brutal. Now, looking back – with the benefit of distance and hindsight – I’m grateful for each heartbreak, each time I turned left instead of right; each crooked line and how they shaped me. I would not have missed this experience for anything.


Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Scarborough again

We drove to Scarborough so that Zoe could have a swim from the beach there. But it was cold and windy when we arrived and Zoe does not like the cold so she did not go in. So all we did there was have a meal of fish, chips and salad at a local fish shop.

She has been in a rather low mood lately so I originally suggested the outing in the belief that it would cheer her up. That did seem to happen so the trip was not wasted

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Hauser has had a haircut

Croatian cellist Stjepan Hauser has brought new attention to the cello as a solo or nearly solo instrument. He is undoubtedly the world's best known cellist today. He has performed innumerable times in innumerable places, playing just about anything that can be played on the cello.

I have always found his more popular performances amusing, partly because of his wild hair. So it is rather amazing that he has had a haircut recently that makes him almost unrecognizable. I reproduce below two pieces, a "hairy" one with the very glamourous Caroline Campbell and a more recent one.

I also add a performance that is probably the most amusing one of all -- a duet with Lola Astanova, a very sexy Russian lady pianist

I have some more extensive comments on the performances here. The gorgeous Caroline Campbell is a married lady these days: Married to a sportsman, not a musician!

Saturday, April 15, 2023

A farewell

Paul & family fly out and back to Scotland tomorrow so Jenny organized a big lunchtime sendoff today for them

All the rellies were there so the kids had all 4 grandparents present. Jenny had ordered in pizza to cope with the crowd. She got me my lunch like the good wife she is. I talked mainly with Jenny and Paul.

Star of the occasion was young Liam -- of about 18 months old. He is the son of Timmy and Rachel.

Earlier that morning I had Matthew at my place for a wrapup of the poems I have been trying to teach him. He has got his Latin poem down pat and is pretty good with Middle English. I also put on some bits of good music for him, including "Jerusalem". I explained the British Israel beliefs that lie behind that poem

UPDATE: I did not go to the airport for the actual departure. It was a Sunday so I had my normal morning meeting with Joe and my normal Sunday afternoon meeting with Zoe

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Another trip to Redcliffe and Scarborough

Zoe and I first went to Redcliffe, which was hugely busy, mostly with families. We ordered mugs of coffee from a coffee bar and Zoe provided food for lunch -- chocolate muffins and Serbian corn bread. I had just a muffin, which contributed to my small weight loss that day

Then we went to Scarborough where Zoe had a good swim and did some suntanning. I just sat in the shade and read my book

We both arrived home in a good mood

Sunday, April 9, 2023

A busy Easter weekend

Zoe came over on Good Friday between 3pm and 8pm. There was a big storm at one time, which it was good to experience home dry and snuggled up

On Saturday morning I spent some time with Matthew getting him to learn some poems in German (die Lorelei) and Middle English (Chaucer). I also put on some good arias from Italian Opera for him

That evening was a big family dinner downstairs at Jenny's place. Jenny had an attack of Covid so stayed upstairs. Susan catered admirably, including a 3-part dessert. The kids were very amusing, particularly a certain little extravert

Now on Easter Sunday, I have just got back from a trip to Redcliffe and Scarborough with Zoe driving. We left my place at about 9:30am and got back at about 4:30pm. In a rare exhibition of tact, I wore the very colourful shirt that Zoe bought me in Laos.

Just about everything was closed up at Redcliffe but we got a couple of reasonable lunches at the Redcliffe Tavern: Calamari for me and fish n chips for Zoe. She also ordered some pumpkin soup to share, which was surprisingly good. I always leave ordering to her, as she is very particular about what she orders. I just hand her my card and sit down.

At Redcliffe Tavern in my colourful shirt

Afterwards Zoe drove around a fair bit looking at various places in the general area. I had not realized that Deception Bay actually is a bay with a beach of sorts. I knew it only as a reputedly low income suburb.

Eventually, we got to Scarborough, which was absolutely thronged with Easter visitors, but, with her usual amazing luck, Zoe got a parking spot just a short walk from the beach. She got in a good swim, her aim for the trip. I managed a small paddle but mostly sat in the shade and read my book of didactic short stories

One of the stories I read was How Much Land Does a Man Need? by Leo Tolstoy. It is a brilliant and very moral example of a short story

The day wore me out a bit so I lay down for a rest as soon as we got home. A little warm body clamped on to me not long after I lay down so I enjoyed my rest.

And tomorrow morning (Mon.) I see Joe for brekky, in lieu of our usual Sunday

Easter Monday update: I had quite a long talk with Joe this morning -- talking mainly about Trump, China and Zoe. I probably told him more about my little sweetheart than he really wished to hear.

And Jenny was recovered enough from her bout of Covid to join me tonight for dinner, together with Paul. We went to the Burmese. It was one of the few places open but we often go there anyway. So my Monday was pretty good too

Monday, April 3, 2023

Some pix from Zoe's recent trip to Laos via Kuala Kumpur and Bangkok

At the foot of the Petronas towers in Kuala Lumpur

With a backdrop of the mountains in Laos

In Bangkok on the way home

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Eventful days

I had my surgery on Friday. After an hours-long wait in Greenslopes hospital, I was ushered into theatre at about 7:30pm. The surgeon took out the skin lesion on my leg under a local as I requested. It was sore that night and the next day but was pretty right by Sunday morning.

Which is a good thing as I had a lot scheduled for today (Sunday). I breakfasted with Joe at the pie shop as usual and from about 2pm to 4pm spent time with Zoe. We went to Nando's for lunch but that was all of note. We have had some stresses lately but were back on good terms today

Then tonight I put on one of my men's dinners for Joe, Chris, Paul and Matthew. Matthew is only 11 but did did participate in the conversations to some extent. We mainly discussed Scottish matters

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Medical matters

On Monday 27th I had a farewell breakfast with Von and Jenny in preparation for Von flying home to NZ early the next morning.

I wasn't feeling too bright during the breakfast. I felt very washed out and fuzzy-headed. So I went to bed shortly after I got home. I ended up sleeping most of the day. But at 10pm I woke up feeling back to normal. There was flu about so I think I had it. But I tend to get over flu after just a good sleep so I think that is what happened. I am very lucky that way.

And today I was given an appointment with a surgeon to get a rather nasty looking skin cancer cut out of my leg. The appointment is for tomorrow (Friday) afternoon so I will probably stay in bed for the rest of the day to give the excision time to heal. It will be a rather large one

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

A family reunion

Jenny's daughter Yvonne and son Paul are back in Brisbane on holiday for a short while. Paul's wife Susan, son Matthew and daughters Elise and Primrose are also here. Jenny and I have been missing them all badly so it is wonderful to see them all again.

They arrived on Saturday morning so Jenny put on a breakfast for everyone, including Susan's famiy. It amused me a little to see both Susan's mother and stepmother together on the occasion. Both are lively ladies. Paul sat with me for most of the time as we have always enjoyed discussions about what constitutes wise behaviour. After a while, Ken also joined in, with Paul immediately disagreeing with him, as is their custom. Religion and morality was the main topic

Some pix from the occasion.

Paul's gorgeous wife Susan

My decrepit self flanked by two lovely ladies

Elise is very cuddly

Primrose is very feminine too

Then that night Jenny put on a smaller gathering for closer relatives, featuring a spaghetti dinner. I managed to get most of the spaghetti down but my clumsiness saw some of it end up elsewhere, to my embarrassment. I really tried to keep it all on track but it was not to be. Joe told us all a lot about his work and how his elevation to management level has given him the unpleasant task of firing one of the employees.

On Sunday morning, Joe, Jenny, Von and I went tothe "Chatterbox" at Mt Gravatt for breakfast. I had my usual there, a club sandwich

Then on Monday night Jenny, Yvonne, Joe and I went to the Burmese restaurant. I had the roast duck as usual and Jenny had the sizzling seafood, as did Von. Joe was not feeling very talkative but I managed to draw him into the conversation a couple of times.

Yesterday (Tuesday) was present day. Jenny again put on a great dinner featuring that family favourite, egg rolled pork. Susan brought out presents for Joe and me, featuring British foods that we don't see in Australia. Among many other things, I got some German rum, raisin and hazelnut chocolate by "Brenner" that went down particularly well

I didn't see them today as Wednesday is a day I always share with Zoe. She was a bit down in the dumps when she arrived but was in reasonably good cheer by the time she left. She is still thinking of buying a house on Lamb Island but seems to have decided against it on account of the midges there.

Update of 23rd., Paul's birthday: Jenny put on a party in her backyard with both sides of Paul's family present. Tim and Rachel were also there for a while with Liam, a classic little blondie boy. Jenny provided some very tasty kebabs plus a type of risotto. There were also two good Pavlovas.

Primrose took a fancy to Joe and wrapped herself around him in a display of classic femininity. I had undergone a urological procedure at the Wesley hospital that morning so was not very lively. So watching Primrose was a fun distraction. She is a very confident little girl

Update of 25th: We all went over to Joe's place on Saturday morning to look at his musical instrument collection and hear him play. He has reached the top grade in piano playing. Jenny brought over food for lunch for us all. Joe is definitely a collector. He has for instance two old pedal organs. Jenny and I both collect things so we did wonder for a while if he too would be a collector but what he in fact started to collect was a a surprise.

Joe did play for us for a short while but for most of the morning the piano was taken over by another very competent pianist: Matthew, aged 11. He even played us some Philip Glass, which we all were pleased to hear.

A few days before, I had for some reason recited half a dozen of the opening stanzas of the Latin poem "Stabat Mater" -- Stabat mater dolorosa juxta crucem lacrimosa -- and Paul immediately wanted me to teach it to Matthew -- as Matthew is learning Latin at school and likes it. So when we could get Matthew off the goanna I did go through the poem with him line by line and taught him the church pronunciation of it. It will be quite a party piece for him. It is one of mine. I guess it is a bit odd for an atheist like me to be teaching a work of Marian devotion but it is simply a good poem. And Pergolesi's setting of it is sublime. My favourite performance of the Pergolesi setting is below:

My comments on the performance here

I had a good chat with Susan at one stage, telling her of some good things I saw in both her girls -- including that I saw a bright future for Primrose. Susan is bright, beautiful and kind but is despite that not terribly self-confident so it is pleasing to both of us to see that Primrose has self-confidence by the bucketful -- a legacy from Paul

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Zoe goes on another trip

Zoe's trip to Malaysia and Laos has whetted her appetite for holidays. She is this evening (Thurs) on Lamb Island in Moreton bay on another holiday. She is seeing a businessman I happen to know. He will be hosting her at his weekender there for a couple of days. She is looking forward to swimming in the sea there.

Initially, on Wednesday, Zoe told me only that she was going to spend a couple of days on an island with someone she had recently met. As she had met him only once before, I thought that sounded a bit risky so suggested that she give me his particulars before she left. I said. "I am your family". She agreed, saying "You are my ONLY family". So she gave me what details she had

Anyway it turned out that I knew he man (KC) from a music group we both used to attend so I had a bit of a chat with him on the phone yesterday about old times

She sent me some pictures of the house she is visiting. It looks pretty decrepit and almost abandoned

I got a text from her at about 9pm saying that she was thinking of coming home a day early (Friday)

Saturday morning update: I have just heard from her. She appears to be enjoying her holiday somewhat after all and will stay on tonight.

Sunday update (19th): She's back! She enjoyed some things about her holiday, mainly swimming in the nude in the sea and the fresh sea air. But she did not relate well to KC. She was very critical of his poor state of health, his decrepit house and his failure to give any respect to her food and health ideas. The clash over the latter was so bad, apparently, that he at one time told her that she was fat and wrinkly! For a man who has been married 4 times he seems to know surprisingly little about women. No wonder his last wife was a patient Asian

He sounds rather narcissistic in fact. It is a trait of narcissists to put others down in the foolish belief that it makes themselves look good

Below is a picture of the bed that KC gave her to sleep on. It is very narrow (50cm; 20"). He said the alternative was to sleep with him. She chose the narrow bed. She says that she nonetheless slept well because of the sea air coming through the open windows

When Zoe arrived back at my place around 1pm, we went to Nando's for lunch, followed by eating cold watermelon on my verandah, which was very pleasant on a hot day. We had a lot of laughs about one thing or another, as we usually do. We were both happy to be back in one-another's company

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

A find

Jenny went to a church sale and saw a PAIR of mini oil lamps. It is the mini ones I like best. She paid $2 ea and gave them to me this evening

Monday, March 6, 2023

She's back!

I was still half asleep at 7am in my bed yesterday when I heard some noises from nearby. I opened my bedroom door and there she was -- all clad in yellow. She had taken a taxi from the airport and I had left my front door open in case she arrived before I was up.

She had a lot to tell so we spent an hour talking before she went to bed in my guestroom at about 8am. She had not been able to sleep on the plane so was very tired. My previous night had been a bit disturbed too, probably out of excitement at her anticipated arrival. So I went back to bed for about an hour and a half as well.

She emerged at 11am and we went to Nando's for a brunch. We of course continued a discussion of her trip there, with quite a lot of mention of S, her travel companion who had dumped her in Laos. She has a very good sense of humour -- as I do -- so we are always laughing while we are together but S is much more sombre. She referred to him as "Stoneface". So I emerged in a very favourable light in comparison with S and Zoe told me there that I was "fantastic". A good homecoming! I eventually drove her home in mid-afternoon. We had some affectionate times together throughout. She was very warm to me as I was leaving

It emerged what was behind S dumping her. He tended to walk ahead of her, ignoring her. So she eventually got impatient with him and kicked him lightly in the leg to get his attention. But he is 77 and not too good on his feet so that alarmed him and he immediately went back to their hotel and moved out, leaving her to fend for herself. She has Serbian "inat" however so was not much fazed. Being very smart and very fit, she could look after herself pretty well

She greatly enjoyed Laos and took some trips around it while she was there. the Lao People's Democratic Republic is an unreformed Communist country so differs markedly from its neighbors and Zoe rather enjoyed the differences. She liked the absence of traffic jams and found the people to be very relaxed, which she admired. She also found tourist accommodation and other costs to be very cheap despite being of reasonable quality. The souvenirs she brought back were local craft products. The cellphone holder is made of bamboo and the purse features elephants, which Laotians are rather proud of

That Communist rule can have its attractions if you keep your head down is something I have previously noted about the former East Germany and the current Belarus. People tend to be more brotherly and friendly there, which Zoe admired

As is common after travel abroad she has come down today (Monday) with a cold but has found time to send me many messages

Update of Tuesday 7th.: She came over today between 2pm and 4pm for lunch and was still mentally processing her time with S. When she was explaining her dissatisfaction with him, she made a comment that rather amused me. She noted that she had travelled a long way across the world to be with him but despite that: "He didn't say one nice thing to me and I can't stand that!". I say lots of nice things to her.

She also says that at no time has he tried to touch her in any way, despite plenty of opportunity to so. He sounds rather schizoid in fact.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Bulletin from Asia

Pics received this morning from Zoe -- showing her with travel companion S.  The message with the pic was "still surviving", which I take to mean that she and S have not so far fallen out. 

Zoe At the foot of the Petronas towers in Kuala Lumpur

UPDATE OF 1 March: S has "dumped" Zoe so she is at the moment exploring Laos by herself. Her most recent description of S is acerbic but I would probably be committing a libel if I published it

UPDATE of 4 March: She's on her way back! On a plane at the moment, via Bali. ETA early Sunday morning. She seems to have enjoyed her trip despite doing part of it on her own. I will of course be glad to have her back safe and sound. We corresponded a lot while she was away.

She's sent a pic of herself against a background of the mountains ofLaos

A pic from Bangkok on her way back home