Monday, February 27, 2012

A busy weekend

After dining with Paul and Susan on Saturday, Anne and I dined with Jill and Lewis on Sunday. The occasion was a slightly belated celebration of Jill's birthday. I am gallant enough not to say which one of course.

Lewis however announced that he turns 80 soon so that will be quite a milestone. He is getting over a minor medical problem so looked a little more gaunt than usual but was nonetheless still wearing well.

He and Jill are going on a cruise shortly so he looks like he will be fit for it. They will be starting out from Buenos Aires so it is lucky they will be there for only one day. The English are very unpopular there at the moment and both Jill and Lewis could be mistaken for English. I suggested that they take a small Australian flag to wave but that might add fuel to the fire -- as the Australian flag has the Union Jack quartered in it.

We went to the Kafe Meze. As usual, I ordered an array of appetizers for us all and they all hit the spot. The keftedes were much admired as usual.

The kitchen there is an open one and it was quite an inspring sight as we walked past -- four chefs preparing a whole range of delicious looking food. The owner was there in the kitchen as we were watching and looked pleased about our obvious admiration so I gave him a hail and a smile which he returned.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Bible study

Paul knows practically nothing about the Bible to I offered to introduce him to my favourite book of the Bible: Ecclesiastes. He and Susan were both keen to learn more and Anne also seemed in need of a proper introduction to it so the four of us got together on my verandah over a curry as usual.

I pointed out Solomon's relevance to modern times and explained that his blase attitude was a consequence of his "having it all" as King of Israel.

I went through only Chapters 1 and 9 explaining everything as I went and Paul and Susan were both rather amazed at what they heard. Ecclesiastes is a VERY different book. It is literally a personal message from 3,000 years ago. And everyone present could see the wisdom there.

I did only two chapters as there is probably only so much wisdom one can absorb in one night.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

St Valentine is remembered again

I did all the right things. Anne got a card, a big bunch of red flowers and an enormous sample box of Whitman's chocolates

And I took her to dinner at a nice Greek restaurant: The Kafe Meze in West End.

I think I took her there last year too.

As usual I ordered a series of appetizers rather than any main course: Tarama, Haloumi, Keftedes etc. And all washed down with a stubby each of Fourex Gold, a Brisbane mid-strength beer. Most non-Greeks seem to be unaware of it but cold beer goes very well with Greek food and on a warm Summer night it went down exceptionally well

From what I saw the men of Brisbane seemed to have bombed out big time. The restaurant was very busy but most of the customers were glammed-up groups of women. Sad.

For some reason incomprehensible to both Anne and me, the waitress gave us a 20% discount. I didn't argue, however, but just said: "Thank you very much". It could have been a Senior's discount but I don't think we are quite wrinkly enough for 20% yet.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Another poetry night

For both Joe and Paul, I try to make up for the way the school system today deprives people of their inherited culture. And some of the most prominent cultural elements are the great heritage of poems in English. When I have read classic poems to both Joe and Paul in the past, they have greatly enjoyed it and Paul in particular is quite outraged at how he was nearly robbed of some great cultural experiences

So over our usual curry we had a selection of poems out of an old 1961 Grade 6 reading book! Primary school kids once got a better cultural education than High School kids do today!

We read Lord Ullin's daughter, The Song of Cape Leeuwin, Sea Fever, The Pioneers, Boadicea, Love of Country and a few others

Both Paul and Susan really enjoyed their contact with eloquent expressions of our thought-provoking past.

Matthew was also present and in good spirits. Susan, Paul and Anne all helped look after him until he eventually went to sleep.

I gave Susan a crazy gift: A tin of Heinz Spotted Dick made in England.

It wasn't as crazy as it sounds, however. She was delighted to get it. Cooking is one of her main interests so she was pleased to get a mainstream version of a classic British dessert. She had never heard of it until I mentioned it.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A birthday lunch

On Monday there was a lunch in celebration of the birthday of Anne's sister Merle. I won't be so ungallant as to say WHICH birthday.

Suffice it to say that the three sisters, Anne, Merle and June had one of their relatively rare times together, which they all appreciated.

We met for lunch at a restaurant at Manly called the Cuttlefish. It had a very promising menu but the promise was poorly realized. The food was very mediocre. Anne described her Paella as "not unpleasant" and my "Barramundi" was tasteless. Even the salt-shaker did not work -- which led to my doing a somewhat messy dissection of it!

I was amused to see on their menu that they had a "Greek plate" that included neither Haloumi, Tarama nor Souvlakia -- Let alone Keftedes! They left out most of the essentials of a Greek meal, in other words. And their Paella was as about as authentic as their Greek plate!

Maybe they should have called their Greek plate a Mediterranean plate -- but then one would have expected Tabouli, Hummus, Falafel etc. -- which did not seem to be in evidence. I am not even sure that they had Feta! But they did have Dolmades!

But each lady brought along the man in her life so it was a fun party for 6. Colin and Ralph are smart men.

I shouted (in the Australian sense).