Saturday, October 26, 2013


I mentioned some weeks back that I had started to do a bit of cooking for myself.  I have various packets and bottles that claim to make that easy for me.  I tried them out with variable success.  I found I could make reasonable rissoles and various versions of keema (curried mince aka ground beef).  I could also do a reasonable spaghetti mince for spag bol.  My keema was always pleasant enough but mostly not inspiring.  I would cook it up in the electric frypan with some sort of curry additive in about 10 minutes.

I reasoned that longer cooking times were what I needed so I bought myself a bachelor-size crockpot, aka a slow cooker  -- for all of $19 from Woolworths.  And it is brilliant.  I am now a chef!  I tip chopped meat of some kind plus a bottle of Mr Patak's curry sauce, some chopped onions, a bit of garlic  and a tin of tomatoes into the crockpot and leave it for a couple of hours.  And the result is first class  -- mainly thanks to Mr Patak.

I dish up out of the crockpot with a slotted spoon, which leaves a good quantity of "gravy" left in the pot.  I save that and use it to cook some more meat in the next day.  And that is good too!  I have become quite attached to my crockpot.  It feeds me well.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A famous book arrives

For decades in English-speaking countries, the "Oxford Book of English Verse" (in either the 1900 or 1918 editions) reigned supreme as the most often prescribed school anthology.

Eventually, however, sales tailed off a bit and OUP decided to bring out a new edition.  Being politically correct these days, they chose a woman editor for the new edition.  It was not a success.  She chose to include a lot of poems by woman authors.  People wanted their poems to be chosen for quality, not for what the author had between her legs.

So after some years, OUP had another try.  This time they chose an American editor!  Bomb!  For all I know, the new edition sold well in America but practically nobody bought it in England.  Since most of the great poems in English were written by Englishmen, the idea of a non-English editor seemed absurd.

I imagine that there must have been a lot of dissension over it at  OUP but they did a little while ago bow to reality and reprinted the 1918 edition, edited by Sir Arthur Quiller Couch, a great authority on English poetry.  Sir Arthur also edited the original 1900 edition. As soon as I saw that the "real" OBEV was once again available I bought one for my son Joe, who has been poetry-deprived by a "modern" education.  And the re-run seems to have been snapped up generally.  It soon ran out and has not since been reprinted.

So earlier this year when I wanted to buy Paul an OBEV for his birthday, I was reduced to the secondhand market.  And such is the demand for a good edition of the OBEV that prices are sky-high.  I did however order one eventually but it was destroyed in the post by a flood in Germany!  I took a breather for a while after that but I eventually secured a first edition that arrived safely. It was an American reprint from the 1930s in reasonable condition. It arrived only a couple of days ago so Paul came over to collect it last night.

We had pizza on my verandah and lots of chats about the OBEV and poetry generally.  I read and explained "Sumer is icumen in" and Clough's "Say not the struggle naught availeth".  We also talked for a while about the amazing response to my post about Paul's electric car!  Susan, Matthew and baby Elise were of course also present and Elise was very good, not disturbing us at all.

I have often said that, in Susan, Paul has the perfect wife.  She proved it again in ordering the pizza.  I was about to look up the number of Pizza Hut in the phone book when she rattled off the number by heart.  She then made some remarks about the best deals at Pizza Hut.  I of course handed the phone to her at that point and she did manage to get me a "free" bottle of lemonade with our order.  Some women might be able to tell you the atomic number of the most common isotope of uranium but Susan knows the important stuff!


A small note:  In the Preface to OBEV, "Q" quotes on a couple of occasions ancient Greek sayings using the Greek alphabet.  The sayings are neither transliterated nor translated.  In the 19th century it was just expected that an educated man could at least puzzle out a Greek saying.  A "Greekless" man was held to be not fully educated.  What a far cry from today when even Latin is now known only to enthusiasts.  I can just manage in both Latin and Greek but I have not had time or energy to figure out Q's sayings.  For the benefit of people better educated than I am, the sayings are online here:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Dear little Dusty is now two

And it was his birthday party at Russ and Suzy's place yesterday.  There was a good rollup with about 12 adults and nine littlies present.  One of Russ's friends brought along his 3 daughters,  one of whom had red hair and green eyes. I liked her.  She was pretty bold, too, which augurs well for her future.  But there were plenty of blondie kids too, a couple being VERY blonde, with the paper-white skin that Joey had as a toddler.  They all played well together, running around like mad things a lot of the time.  It was great to see so many of them.

One thing a few of us noticed was that little Elise has rather brown skin.  When Olivia was holding Elise the two seemed to have skin of the same colour.  Olivia is Chinese. How the baby of a mother with freckles could have brown skin seems rather mysterious.  Even Susan's mother is pretty fair.  Yellow skin indicates jaundice so a few tests on Elise might be in order.

Paul was not his usual talkative self due to some drinking with Davey the night before.  There was much talk of hangover cures -- with lemonade my recommendation.  I mostly talked to Jenny.

Dusty's birthday cake was in the shape of a racing car  -- with lots of red icing.  He really enjoyed it, as you can see in the pic below.   He once again deployed his favourite word:  "More".

Russ as usual fed us well with BBQ sausages and lots of entrees.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

New car

Paul has just bought a Mitsubishi electric car  -- for fuel economy.  It seems a very good car -- as long as you keep its range limitations in mind.  He brought it over to show me at 4pm today so we had a sort of high tea  -- with me making sandwiches.  Susan and Matthew were also there and we had good chats.

A preliminary view of the car below.  Note that it is plugged in.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A journey ends

Anne's mother has just died.  She was 95.  She had been fading visibly so her 3 daughters took turns to mount a vigil by her side in her last days and hours.  So she had a loved one beside her to the end.  Anne was at my place when she passed away.  It was of course enormously upsetting for Anne, June and Merle and their children to lose someone who had been such a strong presence in their lives for so long but appreciation of how much time she had given them was a consolation.