Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Sunday breakfast

This was the second celebration this year of Paul's birthday.  I put it in the format of my jammy breakfasts.  The last such breakfast rid me of some of my large stock of jams but I needed to move even more. And on this occasion also I think everybody found a jam they were happy to take home with them.

Anne brought along a loaf of the excellent bread that she gets from her local Chinese baker and also some croissants.  So bread 'n jam is humble food but with good bread and a big variety of good jams, I think everybody ate well.

Anne made us all cups of tea

Susan brought along a bombe Alaska cake for a birthday cake which went down well.   I was impressed by her culinary blowtorch.  I had no idea such a thing existed.

Matthew and Ava Marie played together well, tearing around my house with great energy.  Ava Marie seems to be quite a bright little girl.  She was very interested in the baby -- Elise.  Elise was her usual solemn self

Jenny, Ken and Davey were the others in attendance (plus kids) so it was a small gathering but perfectly pleasant.  It went on from 9am to about 11am.  I had some sort of wog but I don't think that disrupted anything.

At one stage I took Paul aside to discuss men's business

A small point:  Susan is very fussy about what she will drink.  She is not even keen on tea.  I gather that she mostly drinks milk at home.  Joe would agree with that!

But I have found a way to get her something.  I have a big filter jug that filters tap water for purity.  So I run a jugful of that the night before she is due over and put it in the fridge.  I call that "Susan's freshly squeezed water" and she is happy to use it.

And today she knew to look in the fridge for "her" water.   And between herself and her son she drank most of it.  Later that afternoon however she came back via my place and asked to get a drink of water  -- whereupon she drank the last of "her" water.  So I was most pleased that my place was seen as an oasis where one could get "Good" water!

The cake

An interesting conversation?

Ava marie


Wednesday, March 19, 2014


I have now received from Amazon my copy of Falvetti's interpretation of Il diluvio universale (Noah's flood)

It is amazing. The music could be by Monteverdi

And as a CD, it is shorn of graphics.  But that seems to be good.  Just as music it is superb

It is one of the most marvellous pieces from the Baroque era to be rediscovered recently.  It was written in 1682 in Messina, Sicily by Sicilian priest  Michelangelo Falvetti.

The video is here:

The first aria is particularly worth watching as the contralto has the most expressive face.  I see that her name is Evelyn Ramirez Munoz, which sounds Spanish.  In expressiveness however she could be Sicilian.  The conductor is from Argentina so maybe she is too.  Argentinians are about 50/50 Spanish and Italian.

The feminist claim that the RC church is "patriarchal" has always been amusing -- considering the devotion that the church devotes to the Blessed Virgin.  Catholics very often direct their prayers to the Virgin Mary.  And the rosary has a lot more Hail Marys than Paternosters.

So I was amused to see that the contralto in Falvetti's oratorio was in fact speaking for God!  How patriarchal!  A Sicilian priest obviously saw no problem with giving a woman the top job.

Feminists sometimes appear to think that they have done something clever by referring to God as "she" but that in fact poses no theological difficulties for any Christian (not sure about Muslims).  God is conceived as neither male nor female, with "he" being merely a linguistic convention.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Henry Thomas Schäfer

Some years ago I was given a framed print of a famous painting by Schäfer.  I like it and have it on my wall to this day.  And I am not alone in liking it.  Thousands of such prints seem to have been made.  Schafer has been a very popular artist.

So I was surprised that when I Googled his name, I could find out virtually nothing about his life.  I gather that his art is seen as "chocolate boxy" and hence below the notice of anybody seriously interested in art.  I of course deplore such elitism so would like to put a decent biography of him online if I can get more information on him.  I reproduce below the only two biographical notes I could find and hope that there might be a reader of this blog who can tell me more.

"Henry Thomas Schafer was born in the Lake District in England during the mid 19th-century. His exact birth date is unknown; however, his work was most well known from 1873 - 1915. Both a painter and an accomplished sculptor, Schafer exhibited his figurative studies at the Royal Academy in London in 1875, receiving the prestigious Academia award for excellence. Schafer's signature style was his study of women dressed in "goddess-like" classical vestments. It is for these portraits that he is best remembered."

"Henry Thomas Schäfer (British, 1854?-1915).  Henry Thomas Schäfer is a British Victorian-era genre painter and sculptor, elected in 1889 to the Royal Society of British Artists. He exhibited at the Royal Society, the Royal Academy, the Royal Scottish Academy, and other galleries starting in 1873. Several of his paintings have been widely reproduced and distributed in the form of posters."

Below is the picture that hangs on my wall

A Time of Roses

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Paul and Russell's birthday dinner

An occasion best forgotten in general.  Alcohol certainly makes problems worse rather than solving them.  The occasion ended with both Maureen and Susan in tears and everybody else rushing to get out of the place.  I felt particularly sorry for Susan who looked gorgeous  wearing the new dress her mother had bought her for the occasion.

George was his usual invaluable self, pouring oil on troubled waters.  I have long ago declared George essential for any celebration I organize so that is reinforced.  I will shout George a dinner any time.

Timmy showed he is just as smart as an adult as he was when he was a gorgeous little boy. When put on the spot he refused to go on that spot.  Bravo Timmy!  See what I wrote here on Jan. 1st to read more about the toddler Timmy.

The food was good anyway, as Indian food usually is.

As is my wont, I arrived at the restaurant in Mt Gravatt punctually -- at 5:30pm.  And when I walked in I announced that I was after a strong young man to help carry the champagne in.  The strong young men had  not arrived at that stage, however, so George volunteered. I said: "Are you a strong young man, George?".  He said he was and everyone agreed.  So he did the honours, even though he is about my age and only about 5'2" tall.  Bravo George!

After the restaurant, a remnant of us went over to Jenny's place for coffee and birthday cake.  Susan had made an excellent chocolate cake. Jenny's friend Pam was also there -- from the Shaky Isles.

Anyway, to explain the next bit I need to give a bit of background:  Susan's mother Ami is a very glamorous lady.  You can see where Susan gets her looks from.  But Ami is also a champion cleaner.  Whenever I can get her over to my bachelor abode to do cleaning, I end up with parts shining that never shone before!  I have a theory that spots just see her coming and run away.

Anyway she apparently helps out a lot with the cleaning at Paul's place too  -- lucky them!  So at one stage while we were at Jenny's place, Master Matthew (aged 2) dropped something that made a mess on the floor.  So he came to where we were all sitting and said: "Nanna clean".  So appreciation of Ami's cleaning extends across a wide age range!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Barbers: A small reflection

Men very commonly go to the same barber for a long time.  I knew a man who had been going to the same barber for 20 years  -- or it may have been 30 years.  Since he had very little hair on his head when I met him, I hope his barber gave him a discount.

The fact that you let a barber much closer to your head and face than you normally would probably exerts some pressure towards  a more friendly relationship.  I gather that women tend to get a bit close to their hairdressers too.

And barbers do customarily chat with their customers when they are in the chair.  The football and current events are the usual  topics.  And enough common ground is usually found for the conversation to be congenial.

I remember an occasion when Anne and I had gone to Stone's Corner to visit the shops.  Anne went off to visit ladies' clothing shops  and I took a place at the barber's.  But after a while a huge storm broke out which more or less stopped everyone in their tracks. And that seemed to prevent any new customers turning up for the barber.  So the barber and I were standing in the doorway of his shop chatting and gazing at the weather.  And that went on for a little while until Anne turned up.

She was a bit apologetic for turning up rather late but I told her it was no problem as I had been talking to the barber.  She seemed rather amazed by that.  The fact that your barber is your friend seemed new to her.  I think she was particularly impressed by the fact that the barber was quite a bit younger than I was.  But if your barber is a good barber age does not matter much