Thursday, February 21, 2013

A sociable week

I wouldn't normally choose to host dinner parties two nights running but sometimes things just work out that way.  And some very capable restaurateurs did the hard part anyway.

Croucher is in Brisbane at the moment visiting rellies.  Since he usually lives in China, such appearances have to be exploited for the purposes of remembering old times etc.  We have known one another since 1971 and have remained in frequent contact via the internet, so the opportunity of once again meeting in person was not to be missed.

We dined together on Tuesday, accompanied by another member of our old merry band, Henningham.  Henningham is an extremely jocular figure when his wife is not around so we did well to get him along in a solo state.  Croucher, however, was accompanied by his Cantonese wife. Anne and I were dining together the day after so Mrs Croucher was the only female person present.

I shouted the dinner as I don't travel these days.  So the least I can do is shout for those who do.  I offered to take us all to a local Chinese restaurant where you can get Chinese food you won't find in China but that was understandably treated as suspect.  Instead we went to my local Indian restaurant:  The "Bollywood", where the food is always good.  I shout lots of dinners there so I get very good service there.

Henningham wanted us to order dishes to share, which is a custom I do not normally honour, but I agreed anyway.  When it transpired that Henninghanm liked his curry mild and Croucher and I wanted  it medium, however, he suffered some revenge for that.  We ordered all the curries medium.  He survived without notable discomfort.

After the dinner we repaired to my place for tea and coffee and continued the deliberations.  We discussed many things -- from social class to IQ.  In his usual Sinophilic style, when Croucher was asked whether there are any class distinctions in China, he said:  "Of course not".  But he did row back a bit from that later.

I am a bit deaf these days but I am reasonably OK with male voices.  It is the higher frequencies that one loses in old age so I understand women rather poorly unless they are fairly close to my ear -- but male voices use quite low frequencies so I did not miss too much of what was said.  Mrs Croucher's contributions were however something of a mystery to me.

Then on Wednesday I shouted a dinner at the Kafe Meze in celebration of Jill's birthday.  Anne and Lewis also took part.  The food is always good there and we again repaired to my place afterward.  There was a lot of talk of travel and foreign places as Jill and Lewis are off on a cruise again soon.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Saint's day was commemorated

In accordance with proper form I gave Anne flowers, a card and  chocolate on St Valentine's day yesterday.  Anne decided to cook so I took advantage of that by getting some Merguez out of the freezer.  And at Anne's request I also got a Greek Tourte for dessert.  The one I get is basically a chocolate trifle.

Anne supplied some Sydney rock oysters for starters and we washed it all down with my usual Seaview champagne.

We had it on the verandah, which is a pleasant venue of a summer's night and afterward I put on music by Schumann, Chopin and Sor.

So it was a high quality night across the board.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday update

Despite the lights coming back on on Tuesday evening, only one of the three power circuits available to me came back on -- which was rather odd.  So I got out a great string of extension leads to feed power to my computer from the one circuit that was working.

On Wednesday I decided to get to the bottom of the problem power circuits and by a bit of trial and error discovered that one of two paired circuits was the problem.  It was wet somewhere from all the rain and therefore flipping the circuit breaker governing the two circuits.  So by isolating that circuit I got a second circuit going, which was the one running my computer, fridge and freezer -- so I was happy about that.

But then my internet cable went off the air.  Telstra were apparently repairing some storm damage in my area so I had power  but still no internet.

Anyway it didn't matter a heap as I had a lunch at Anne's place to go to and afternoon tea with Paul and Susan after that.  I would not have been on the internet anyway.

The lunch was put on by Anne for the birthday of her sister Merle.  It was another "three sisters" lunch with partners invited too and I always enjoy such occasions.  Anne made a big lot of her champion ham and salad sandwiches for the occasion and there was  lots of other foods too.

Paul came over with Susan and Matthew about 3pm to finish putting all the old family videos on my computer.  We also had some chats about family relationships which seemed to be helpful to  Paul.  I heard later that he even took some advice that I gave him!  As advice is the world's most spurned commodity, I was impressed!

Anyway, the internet was still off when Paul left so I went over to Jenny's for about an hour to catch up with a few things.

On Thursday morning  my net access was still out and so was the light circuit downstairs. So I got into my car and visited various electrical wholesalers in a quest to buy a few more plug-in circuit-breakers, in case the light problem was at the board.  I visited 5 wholesalers but only three had what I wanted.  I ended up getting one breaker from each of three wholesalers  -- taking the last of their stock in each case.  Very strange.

Anyway my net access came back Thursday afternoon and has been OK since then.  So to celebrate the end of a chaotic week I took Anne to a good Chinese restaurant on Friday evening and ordered Peking duck.  It lived up to all expectations.