Sunday, October 31, 2010

Another "old times" night

Held, as before, in my backyard under party flares. I provided Seaview champagne and Pizza Hut pizza as people fuel. Maureen brought along a huge Pavlova which very much topped off the menu. Fortunately the rain held off once again. There were about 14 of us present. Sadly, Suzy was ill with the flu and Tracy's Simon had just done his back in so they were unable to get along. And Timmy must have been off "jamming" with his band or something.

Olivia and Davey brought along their baby and it was the BEST baby you could imagine: Looked cute but not a sound out of it all night. That Han Chinese patience really takes some beating.

We were all pleased to welcome George, whom we rarely see these days. He was in great form and personally provided about half of the funny stories about things in our collective past. And he topped his performance by falling off his chair! So that will be an episode to be remembered at future gatherings.

Somewhat embarrassingly, however, I fell of MY chair too -- shortly thereafter. My backyard was newly turfed about a year ago so the surface was rather soft after all the rain we have been having -- so the legs of chairs kept sinking into it, which meant that people were rather in danger of tipping over if not careful. Combined with champagne that peril was rather magnified. But the grass was very lush and the surface was soft so neither George nor I came to any harm.

Paul was his usual lively self and we even got Joe up to tell a few recollections of his childhood. We tried to get Vonnie's Simon to tell us about his happy childhood in Invercargill but we didn't get much out of him. People think Vonnie is quiet -- until they meet her husband. Simon is greatly respected however because he knows all about computers -- which we are all into in various ways, including two retired computer retailers among us. So when Simon DOES say something, it is valuable information which is much heeded.

I told my story about Ken the super salesman. Every time I tell that story it gets longer but my embellishments must have been not too far off the mark as Ken did not contradict any of it. The story is about how and why Ken "unsold" a lady off the carpet she wanted to buy when Ken had his carpet shop.

But we had hours of laughs and I was quite exhausted by the end of it

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A recollection of my arrival at High School in 1956

When my parents moved from Innisfail to Stratford in Cairns they did not take me along to enrol me at a new school -- as it would be done these days. They left it entirely up to me. So I got on the bus from Stratford one morning and found my new school by myself.

I did not think much at the time of the fact that my mother or father did not go along to help enrol me but in retrospect it does seem odd. Though I suppose I was an independent little bugger (aged 13).

So I got onto the bus to North Cairns school only to be told when I arrived that I was at the wrong school. I needed to go to the High School in Sheridan St.

So I waited for the next bus and got on with no money to pay another fare. But the bus driver was indulgent in a typical country way so that was no problem. He just dropped me off at the High School.

By that time the High School was "in" so I just wandered around looking for someone to speak to. Coincidentally, one of the classes I walked past was being taught by a "Miss Gagno" -- who had taught me in Innisfail. So when I stopped outside her class, she simply said "Hello John" and took me down to where the Principal's office was.

Some luck there, I think.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pavan Kumar

I have had many sharers/tenants over the years and most of them are just a blur in my memory now. But Pavan Kumar stands out. After 6 years of living at my place he has just moved out into an apartment of his own. He is going back to India to get married shortly so has to have a home of his own to which he can take his bride when he arrives back in Australia. He is an Australian citizen now so I hope the immigration department don't create difficulties for him.

He particularly stands out in my mind as perhaps the most cheerful person I have ever known. It's hard to put much more than that into words but it was a pleasure to have him around. He is certainly a great gentleman. I am sure he will have every happiness in his new life.

He is religious so if he does have trials and tribulations, his Hindu religion will be a help to him. Even Westerners go to India to sit at the feet of Hindu Swamis so there is no doubt that Hinduism can be very helpful to people. India is of course also the source of another great world religion: Buddhism. India does religion well.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The traveller returns

Anne has just arrived safely back from Germany. She came straight to my place from the airport and was wound up like a top -- but who wouldn't be after witnessing the magnificent spectacle at Oberammergau and seeing one of the great Mozart operas at the Bayerische Staatsoper?

I gather that the performance Anne saw closely replicated the original performance of Cosi fan tutti conducted by Mozart himself -- so that is hard to beat. I absolutely HATE it when some producer is arrogant enough to think that he can "modernize" a classical play or opera.

Germany/Austria is of course the home of the passion for Originalinstrumenten -- the view that the exact sounds originally intended by the great composers should be respected -- and I wholeheartedly agree with that. If that makes me a dinosaur so be it -- but that would also make the home of music (the German-speaking lands) dinosaurs. And I don't think that proposition is remotely sustainable.

Anne was very impressed by the quality of the music at Oberammergau. It was originally written in the early 19th century -- and subsequent changes and additions have remained true to the Romantic style. So it is very easily assimilable. Anne brought back a CD of it and I must say I am impressed too. Some of the chorales are as good as any chorale in the classical repertoire, in my opinion.