Saturday, August 25, 2012

A busy weekend

The Hamburg Philharmonic is in town at the moment so it saves a trip to Hamburg to hear a noted orchestra! And all the players are Hamburgers! Its arrival was of course announced well in advance so at the time of my birthday, Anne bought two tickets for one of their recitals as a birthday present to me. And I actually managed not to lose the tickets! I did lose them actually but Anne found them again.

So I got into my Chinese suit again and off we went to the concert hall at QPAC last night.

The recital consisted of one work only: The Mahler 2nd. It is truly a magnificent work and ideal for the concert hall. It has a large dynamic range with lots of crashing crescendoes etc. so trying to listen to it off a CD or DVD would miss a lot of the impact. The audience gave the orchestra an extended standing ovation at the end of it.

The conductor was a little Australian lady who put enormous energy into her task. She literally danced around the podium and even leapt up and down at times. I found her slightly distracting actually and looked away for most of the performance. She would be a good actor in a Bollywood movie. She obviously loved the music however and did a good job with it.

And today was a lunch in celebration of the birthday of Mr. 1. Matthew is now all of one year old, a year many of us have been delighted to share in. He was actually rather subdued by all the people around him and looked at us as if we had all gone mad when we sang Happy Birthday. Susan lit a candle on his cake and in best toddler style he immediately made a grab for the flame. Susan caught him just in time however. You have to be fast around him.

And something of an unexpected star of the day was Dusty. He is unbelievably good natured. He just sat there in his high chair when nobody was holding him and gave us lots of smiles and no complaints.

Susan as usual put on lots of good food with a large glazed ham being particularly good. I got into the cheesecake too. And there was a pirate theme for the day that Susan had obviously gone to a lot of trouble to set up. I don't know how many people were there -- perhaps 20 -- including all the old gang except for those who are out of town.

Susan had both her mother and stepmother present, which I was pleased to see. There is a strong resemblance in looks between Susan and her mother.

Paul was his usual ebullient self and ate too much again. His latest scheme is to import dubious health pills from China! Being a good salesman he is going to take them himself so I hope they don't poison him. You never know what's in stuff you get from China.

The festive table -- showing the work Susan put into the occasion

Matthew with his Gran (Susan's mother) looking a bit overwhelmed

Dusty -- Mr. Smiles

Caught enjoying a ham butty

Monday, August 13, 2012

A great milestone: Matthew walks

He took his first steps today and has been walking ever since. He is just short of 12 months old so it is within the normal age for walking but it is very exciting to see for those close to the boy

Two more recent pictures of the boy below -- with his father at the Ekka (Royal Queensland Show) and at the Mt Gravatt baby show with his mother and grandmother where he won “Junior Champion for 2012” (on Sunday the 29th July)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Sunday lunch

A roast dinner is traditional at lunch on Sunday and Paul and Susan kindly shared theirs with Anne and me today.

The roast was a little unusual in that it was pork ribs rather than a leg or shoulder that Susan cooked up. She simmered it for 12 hours beforehand so the meat really fell off the bones. I didn't find out where she got those ideas but maybe it was an old family recipe. The result was certainly good.

Matthew was good entertainment as usual and it turns out that he is a Daddy's boy. He likes being with his father -- with poor old Mum an also-ran. A bit unfair but babies do what they want.

We talked about all sorts of things but Paul's forthcoming 4-week trip across the USA was one topic. I advised him about a few things he was unaware of -- such as the inadvisability of carrying much cash.

Anne provided a dessert of apricot trifle which was well-received.

Watching Mr. Gorgeous