Thursday, November 24, 2016

A nice picture of Elise in the plane on the way home

She's won a lot of hearts.  Look at those eyes.  They will be regarded as mysterious in her adulthood

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The benefits of a low light level

Part of the “Gem├╝tlichkeit” (pleasant social environment) thing in Germany is to have things darker and more intimate. And bedrooms around the world tend to have reduced illumination.  My bedroom is lit by a side lamp powered by a 10 watt fridge globe on the more private occasions, so it has a very low light level indeed.  But one's eyes adjust of course.  10w is sufficient.

I will get back to that but I now want to comment on a TV program that I did not watch.  The only TV I watch these days is the Melbourne cup, a great event.

There was apparently on TV a program called "The Bachelor", in which a lot of young women were introduced to one lucky man in the hope that one of the ladies would become the love of his life.  There were all sorts of activities before the man made his choice and the viewing public had the challenge of deciding which lady he would choose.

There was apparently a broad consensus that one lovely lady, Nikki Gogan, would be his choice. She was in love with him. But he in fact ended up choosing another lady, which caused him to be called "the most hated man in Australia" at one point.

All that it of course is just leaves in the wind and is already well on the way to being forever forgotten.  There was however one picture from the final episode that was repeatedly broadcast.  It was a picture of Nikki receiving the bad news. And it was in fact so frequently reproduced on the net that even I eventually noticed it.  And I could see why people were fascinated by the picture.  To me it had a Mona Lisa quality.  See below.

It is somehow an image of a quality lady.

So now we get back to light levels.  Anne wears her hair in a style similar to Nikki's and has a similar-shaped face.  So when I kiss her in my bedroom I am reminded of Nikki.  I have my own Nikki Gogan!  The low light level erases most of the evidence that I am kissing a lady in her 70s.  Now, isn't that a good thing?  Romance is not dead!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A busy time

Now that Mr Trump has well and truly arrived, I have taken some steps to reduce the time I spend on blogging.  I think I need to get out more.  And that seems to be working.

On Wednesday evening I cooked some pork porterhouse steaks for Anne and myself which went down very well.  Once again prepared by Woolworths.  I just heated them up in my large cast-iron saucepan. A Greek salad went with it.  Anne brought over some Camembert that had to be cooked (!) as an appetizer and that was quite good too.

Anne stayed over so for breakfast next morning, we got pies from the Yeronga pie shop and took them down to the Yeronga waterfront to eat them. We were not quite sure where we would end up so Anne took her nice mainly red checked travel rug along in case we had to sit on the ground.  It turned out that there was a seat where we ended up but Anne brought her rug with her to the seat anyway.  The pies were good but messy to eat.

When we left Anne forgot her  rug, leaving it on the seat.  We went back to get it but could not again find the place where we had been.  It is a real rabbit warren around Orsova st. So that was vexing.  We must have driven around for over half an hour but neither of us could figure out where to go.

Anyway, Anne stayed on so that night we went to the pub at the Woollongabba fiveways for dinner.  The chicken schnitzel dinner there was quite good. And the pots of Fourex Gold helped too.

Then on Friday night we went to the Yeronga RSL club for dinner, as we had had good food there in the past.  It was buffet night and they had a big range of tempting offerings, of which I tried many.  A very good night.  Again with pots of Fourex Gold helping.

Then on Saturday morning we took pies from the Fiveways pie shop down to the park at the end of Kangaroo Point.  Again the pies were good.  The outlook onto the Brisbane river was pleasant too.

Anne had various arrangements with choirs and such things for the rest of the weekend but my social life still carried on.  Ken arranged a BBQ at his house on Saturday afternoon for us to spend time with Paul while he is still here.  He is just back from NZ and flies back to Scotland on Monday. Suz and Russ and the kids were there too.  I arrived at about 3pm and the BBQ was about 5pm.  Paul and I talked a bit about Chris Brand's illness.  Chris was in a very bad way but is now convalescing.  We both hope that he will be able to keep company with Paul in Edinburgh for a few years yet.

We very daringly talked about the big no-no for modern conversations:  Mr Trump.  Mr Trump has replaced religion and politics as something that is too divisive to discuss socially.  There seemed generally to be at least guarded approval of Mr Trump.  Even Ken said he was glad to see Trump elected -- but mainly because Ken loathed Hillary. He would not be alone in that.  Feminism is all very well but it's not a good way to get the male vote, as Julia Gillard also found out.  

At one stage I was talking to the kids and mentioned that only girls have dolls.  Both Sahara and Dusty agreed with that. My ideas about sex-roles are very much accord with both biology and tradition.  But perhaps in an effort at modernity, Ken said to Dusty: "but boys these days sometimes have dolls too".  Dusty's reply to that was memorable. He said "AAARRGGH!" -- a real boy.

Ken was a very diligent BBQ cook, turning over the snags all the time.  They were thin snags -- pork, I think. And the end result was just right.  I enjoyed them greatly.

I have always showed my complete lack of class by CUTTING my bread rolls instead of tearing them apart by brute force.  Cutting them helps to get them buttered evenly in my opinion.  I even have a big breadknife for the purpose and have donated a similar knife to Anne for use at her place. So I was rather pleased to see that Ken has adopted the same practice.  He has a big knife which he keeps in its own sheath for the purpose of cutting bread rolls (Inter alia, one presumes).  He had better not let any of his relatives in England see it, though.

Do you see what I did above?  I immediately restored my class position by using a Latin expression.  It's crazy but it is very British.

And I got good farewell cuddles as I left the party: from Elise, Sahara and Dusty.  What more could one ask?

Paul's side-trip to NZ was apparently a great success.  The three born Ladies (Von, Hannah and Elise) might have been different ages but the rapport between them was very obvious, according to Paul.  Von sent me a Thank-you note for sending Paul over so there is no doubt that the visit went very well

And tomorrow morning I should be sharing our usual Sunday morning breakfast with Joe.

UPDATE:  I did indeed break fast with Joe on Sunday morning.  We talked mainly about Mr Trump and the reactions to him.  One thing I mentioned was something that seems rarely mentioned:   His beloved and devoted daughter Ivanka is married to a Jew and has herself converted to Judaism.  So the constant Leftist accusation that Donald is a racist and an antisemite jars greatly with that reality.

But on the same day I also had lunch with an old friend:  Peter H.  We were in the army together long ago so it was well and truly time to catch up.  We had a very good lunch at the "Memorizable" Chinese restaurant at Buranda -- where the Sing Sing used to be.  It's a strange name for a Chinese restaurant and is quite new so does not appear on the internet at the moment.  The food was great.  I had satay lamb and Peter had beef with vegetables. The cook there knows his stuff.

We had no trouble finding things to talk about.  We have both had a quite varied life after the army. So it was a most congenial occasion.  I remembered Peter from way back as a nice guy -- and he still is.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Two little ladies

Hannah and Elise playing together in New Zealand .  Note all the pink.  Picture received from Paul

And breakfasting

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Much fun

When Anne started going out with Mr New, she and I continued to see one-another once a week.  So at one stage I made her a promise that the next time we saw one another twice a week, I would put on our favourite dinner, which is lamb cutlets.  They are a bit dear for everyday dining but make a great special meal. They are very tasty.  I like them with plenty of salt and well-buttered  bread.

So on Wednesday I got a heap of them from my freezer and made a good salad to accompany them.  We had a Wyndhams bin 555 Shiraz to wash it down. And it was a great evening.

Then on Friday morning, Paul and Elise joined me at breakfast at my usual cafe.  Paul and I talked about all sorts of things, including Mr Trump.  We both like Mr Trump but I told Paul never to argue about him.  The things people don't like about Mr Trump -- bad manners etc. -- are real and excusing them will not be well received.  Even many of those who supported Mr Trump are aware of his faults but we overlook them because we like his policies.

When we got back to the car after brekky. Elise stopped and carefully took her sunnies out of her gold handbag, put them on and then clicked her handbag shut before she went any further.  All completely ladylike at age 3.

And on Friday night Anne and I had one of our two annual dinners with Jill and Lewis. As usual for the one late in the year we went to The Sunny Doll and had some of their scrumptious Japanese food. I ordered some vegetable tempura as an appetizer before the main meal as Anne particularly likes that.  She never fails to remind me to order it! Lewis knew what he wanted for his main course  -- Omurice -- but for the rest of us I just ordered a selection of the rice dishes (Donburi).  When the dishes arrived, I said that Anne and Jill could choose one and I would have the other. That caused momentary confusion but one of them came with salad so that was an obvious choice for Anne, who is something of a salad devotee. We were all rather naughty as none of us finished our beautifully-cooked rice. I reproduce the docket below as a memento of what we had.

Then on Saturday night we had one of our big Bollywood dinners so everybody would get a chance to see Paul and Elise.  I offered a toast at the beginning of the evening to "A very special person" -- Elise.

Sahara was very vivacious at the dinner, playing mainly with Tim until she wore him out. She was looking more beautiful than ever.

Sahara looking alert

Anne mainly talked to Ken, as she often does.  They both do a lot of holiday travel so discuss that, among other things.  I was particularly pleased to see all the littlies running about.  I mainly talked to Jenny and was sad to hear that Nanna has had a bad turn.

I talked briefly with Ken about Mr Trump. Anne in the middle

Anne counted 22 people at the dinner, including about 6 kids. Paul invited some of his friends along so that increased our normal numbers.

I got to pick up Elise and give her a hug as I was leaving and was amazed at how heavy she was. Like Joe, she seems to have inherited Jenny's big bones. But it was her boyfriend that Elise was interested in cuddling

Below is a brilliant portrait that Ken did of Elise.  Ken is a man of the arts.  He draws, he plays music and he writes stories.

Then Joe and I were due for our usual leisurely Sunday morning breakfast -- where we mostly discuss politics

Monday, November 7, 2016

The meatloaf appreciation society

This evening was the inaugural meeting of the The meatloaf appreciation society -- on my verandah.

Paul and I are connoisseurs of meatloaves but our favourite one has long ceased to be available. So when I came across one in Aldi that was pretty close to the legendary one I put one in my freezer against the day when I could share it with Paul -- who usually lives in Scotland these days.

But Paul is back in Brisbane for a few days so I shared my treasured meatloaf with him tonight.  It was a great hit with him and I of course liked it too.  My inexpert cookery did not manage to ruin it.

Jenny and Joe were also present so I proclaimed today as  the inaugural meeting of the The meatloaf appreciation society.  Our next meeting will be the next time Paul is in Brisbane.  We should have rounded up another good meatloaf by then.

Rather to my amusement, Paul did his usual vacuum-cleaner  performance.  Both Paul and his father are renowned for that.  As I think most housewives will tell you, they like to see the dinner they put out eaten up. There  is no fear about that when either Paul or Ken are around.   In tonight's example, I had provided  both an appetizer and a big Greek salad to go with the meatloaf.  That all vanished in the course of the evening, including ALL the many cracker biscuits I put out with the appetizer.  And when Joe did not finish all of his meatloaf -- probably out of waistline considerations -- Paul finished that off too.  And he was ready for the dessert when that arrived too. Fun!

The little lady -- Elise -- was overtired so went to sleep on my bed.  She was offered a bed in my guest room but rejected that. She chose the room where male pheromones were strongest.  Again the perfect Lady already at age 3.  I predict a great future for her.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A good weekend

I didn't do anything much on Friday night but on Saturday night I put on a dinner for an old Army friend, Rod H., who was my Sergeant Major in my Army days. And Rod was a born sergeant major, nearly 6' tall with a deep strong voice he could command any army parade like a natural -- because he is a natural.

Sadly, however, he didn't stay in the Army, on the grounds that he didn't think much would be happening in the peacetime army. He guessed wrongly there, though, as the Australian army has been deployed in all sorts of places ever since -- mainly in peacekeeping roles but also involved in a few hot wars -- Afghanistan, Iraq etc.  If Rod had stayed in he would have been a Colonel by now, which is a real distinction.

Anyway, we have kept up contact in a very desultory way ever since so I thought it was time to do a proper get-together.  I shouted him and his lady a dinner at the newest Chinese restaurant near me.  The food was good but the communication with the staff was very fragile.  I am inclined to think that one of the waitresses knew as much English as I know Chinese!

Rod brought along his lady, named Michelle.  She was a very jolly person which helped entertain us all.  She and Anne got on very well too.  Rod and I did to some extent lapse into the convention that the women talk and the men listen. I don't know what the feminists would make out of that!  We old Army bods would be non-persons to them anyway, I guess.

Rod and I talked to some degree on Army matters but we mainly exchanged reminscences and stories from our past generally.  But the conversation flowed, making it a very good night.

We finished with coffee and chocky bikkies on my verandah.

And on Sunday night I cooked a dinner for Sandy and myself. My idea of cooking is to heat something up but there is a lot on offer for that purpose in Woolworths. On this occasion I bought a set of pork porterhouse steaks with garlic and herbs -- and it turned out quite well.

Sandy and I talked mainly about her personal matters and about her late parents, who were both good friends of mine.

After dinner we listed to a disc of operatic arias sung by Caruso -- music that was a great favourite of her late father.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Much happening

In late August, Anne told me she had found another bloke.  In response I said that I had obviously not been meeting her needs so I was to blame for her defection and I would try to treat her better in future.  It was a typical Dale Carnegie thing to say  but I am proud of saying what I mean and meaning what I say so that was in fact my conclusion.  So there was  no acrimony and we remained on amicable terms and continued to see something of one another.

Forming new relationships between people in their 70s is a most unlikely exercise so I was 99% certain that Mr. New would soon blot his copybook and be given his marching orders.  That happened at the end of October.  And Anne then came straight over to me and we have been living happily ever after! LOL!

And that was in some evidence this week.  Anne and I dined on bacon chops (Yummy!) on Wednesday night on my verandah  and on Thursday night we went to a small sausage BBQ arranged by Jenny so that I could greet Paul after his arrival from Scotland the previous night.  It was great to see him again and we talked away as we usually do -- about politics and much else.  Anne and Jenny talked a lot to one another too. Both Paul and Jenny are big talkers but that suits me as I am not.  So something I was glad to see was that Nanna got a word in fairly often.  She is much more confident now she is in her 90s.

In the past Anne and I usually dined together twice a week as we both had other interests to keep us busy.  So by dining together on two nights consecutively this week we were definitely back on our old footing.  And this Saturday she will accompany me to a small dinner I am hosting for an old Army friend. So we have gone from strength to strength.

And this morning, Paul and little 3-year-old Elise joined me for brunch.  What fun that was!  I had heard what a little lady Elise was and how she was a Daddy's Girl but she exceeded my expectations by far.

For a start, as soon as she got out of the car she would go no further until she had her sunglasses on and her gold handbag slung over her shoulder.  And then she walked in a very sedate way to where we were going:  No leaping or skipping about -- just a dignified walk.  What a gal at age 3!

In the restaurant, she wanted various things from time to time, looked to Paul for them out of the dark pools of her eyes -- and Paul immediately jumped to give her what she wanted.  And on some such occasions, she would give a little smile of satisfaction when she got what she wanted.  She was a complete little princess.

The dark-eyed lady

Paul tells me that Susan gets a bit tired of her ladylike ways at times but it is quite apparent that Elise now is what she always will be. And she will always have a father who understands and enjoys what she is.  I would be the same with her.  I got on very well with another little lady once.

Some would of course call her a spoilt child but both Paul and I understand Daddy's Girls so we know that a bit of spoiling is part of that relationship.  Elise wasn't vocally demanding:  Nothing like any tantrums.  Just a quietly expressed wish got  her what she wanted -- as befits a lady.  She is gorgeous and will go far.  The other little lady in the family -- Von -- has certainly done very well.  Among other things, Von always wanted a man who would do all the cooking -- and Simon does.  Being a Lady is a powerful thing, much as feminists would rage at that.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The cup!

As I usually do, I watched the Melbourne Cup. It's always a great occasion.  Most people watch it at work or at some gala so I sometimes don't have company when I watch it at home.  This year, however, Kate was at home so we watched it together.  I made her a Martini (stirred, not shaken) to thank her for having me in.  She seemed to like it.  But she didn't eat her olive!

Both Jenny and Anne put me in a couple of sweeps but none of them got up.  Early in the race I had three placegetters but that soon evaporated. But it was, as it often is, a very exciting race with the winner coming from behind and still winning by a nose.  The horse, Almandin, was German-trained and owned by Melbourne identity Lloyd Williams

I always check who won the Fashions on the Field.  Of all the world's fashion parades that is the only one which rewards wearable outfits, in my opinion.  And it was quite a surprise to see that both the winner and the runner-up were sisters from NZ.  I certainly don't think of NZ being a fashion Mecca but I know nothing about fashion anyway.  There's the winner below: Olivia Moor.  The hat is a bit much but it's a sensible outfit otherwise. Her sister's hat was much more extreme so I suspect she may have won by a hat!