Sunday, December 27, 2020

Boxing Day


As it was a Saturday, Anne came over for our customary Saturday breakfast together. We first exchanged Christmas presents. She gave me a fancy kerosene lamp that I really like and I gave her a variety of things, mostly edible



Our usual breakfast haunt was closed so we went to the Gold Leaf at Kangaroo Pt., where I also sometimes go. Our tiny Vietnamese hostess greeted us with great enthusiasm as she usually does.  She is a big personality in a small body.

I had my usual hamburger with cheese and Anne just had poached eggs on toast.  She said they do poached eggs better than she can do them.  She also praised the coffee there as she usually does.  We arrived a bit after 9am but were the only customers there so we got our meals quite promptly.

After breakfast we went back to my place to view an operetta  on DVD.  It was Das Land des Lächelns set first in Vienna and then in China.  Both the acting and the singing were superb.  

My review of the show here

The acting really got you into the story.  Even though the operetta was by Lehar, one of the great operetta composers, it was unusual for an operetta in that not everyone ended up living happily ever after.  The two Chinese figures ended up deeply in love with partners whom they could not have, which was convincingly portrayed as sad and tragic.

It certainly got though to me as it did remind me of my own situation -- in love with Anne but  not having her as a full-time partner.  So I got a bit upset at the end of the show.  Since I do see Anne for quite congenial meetings once a week, however, I am not really badly off.  Getting upset about not having someone when she was sitting beside me was a bit silly.  I did at any event tell her that Dein ist mein ganzes Herz, the theme song of the show

Then that night both Joe and Jenny came over for Boxing day night, when we did our best to eat up the Christmas leftovers.  I was very happy with a ham and mustard toasted sandwich.  As I always do, I shouted a small ham on the bone for Christmas so that is as good as ham gets.  Joe and I had a good chat.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas 2020


As we have done for many years Jenny and I got together for Christmas dinner.  Anne always has dinner with her children.

Jenny, Joe and I started out on Christmas eve with a dinner of nibblies from the food prepared for the next day. Joe went home to his place afterwards

Joe rejoined us for breakfast on Christmas day. Jenny made me some porridge and we also had some strawberry and rhubarb jam from France on toast.

Then at 1pm on Christmas day we added Vladimir to our gathering.  Vlad is from Ukraine  and has no family here so we were glad to invite him to a family occasion.  Though it is not really his Christmas as he was brought up Orthodox.  He fitted in well with the rest of us. He is one of my tenants from downstairs. He is very bright and very good-natured

Jenny  provided a great range of food, of which the main element was sliced ham and sliced turkey.  A cold lunch seemed most appropriate in the middle of a Brisbane summer.

Then at 7pm that night Jenny and I dined on leftover ham and turkey on toast with mustard




The much reduced family. So many trapped overseas



Joe and Vlad

Note our Christmas plates. They are actually Italian plates -- Importata dal Italia -- in the Italian flag colours of red and olive green. But the colours suited Christmas too. Note also that Ganesha was present to supervise the occasion. Jenny garlanded him appropriately

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The end of a transition


At the beginning of this year I was entirely happy with my relationships. I had an old friend and ex-wife whom I loved in an understated way (Jenny) and a girlfriend (Anne) with whom I was in love.  And both relationships were of long standing

But that was disrupted when Anne started a close relationship with G..  So I was no longer first priority in her life.  I was greatly upset by the change.

I decided that I needed to get a new girlfriend.  Given my poor level of strength and fitness, however, that did not have a good prospect of success.  

Despite that I got close to my goal a couple of times. A couple of nice ladies did take a serious interest in me. But it was not close enough. Forbidding difficuties arose.

Nonetheless I continued trying. While I was trying however I leant more and more heavily on Jenny for my social life. Whatever I asked of her she gladly did.  In particular, I spent more and more evenings having dinner at her place.

It eventually came about that she was cooking me dinner 6 nights a week.  So it finally dawned on me that I didn't need a new girlfriend after all.  I had support from Jenny that was a considerable fraction of the support she gave me when we were married. She cheerfully revived major parts of our marriage. So that relationship was way better than what I could have hoped from any new girlfriend.  So I abandoned my search for a new girlfriend some time ago

Meanwhile, Anne had never ceased spending some time with me, even though she was by then largely shacked up with G..  To continue to see me every week for meals despite a strong new relationship was of course a testimony to how strong the bond between us had been all along.

So I am now in a sense where I began. The same two ladies who were in my life at the beginning of the year are also the ones in my life towards the end of the year.  The balance between them has however changed.  I am completely happy and at ease with my semi-revived marriage and also delighted to see Anne one a week.  I have transitioned from one happy state to another.  I have every reason to believe that that will continue

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Do I need a new car?


I don't but I can drive a lot further than I can walk so my car is an issue.  My 16-year old Toyota Echo goes as well as ever and has always been perfect for me.  But in my declining years there is a small problem with it: My feet tend to slip off the pedals at times.  That is of course dangerous so I deal with it by keeping a good distance away from the car in front of me.  That has worked so far.

Recently, however, I met a bloke who loves old Toyota Echos.  He too thinks Echos are pretty perfect.  He almost salivated when I told him that my Echo has only a bit over 100,000k on the clock.  He desperately wants to buy it off me and has offered $3,000 for it.  A dealer would give me $500.

So that is rather tempting.  My Echo would go to a good home and I would have $3,000 towards buying a new car.  And the new car could be an AUTOMATIC, which would cut back my pedal use and should therefore be safer.  So after 60 years of driving stick-shift cars I would join the softies who drive automatics

So I looked into that.  Because my existing car is so good for my purposes, I could not justify spending a lot of money on a new car.  Just another cheap small car would fill the bill.  So I went for a test-drive in an MG3.  MGs these days are made in China but a lot of British design skill has been put into them and I do like the look of the result.  

And as a cheap car it lacks a lot of the frills you find these days on dearer cars.  After 60 years of having only a speedo and a fuel gauge in front of me I am dubious of my need for anything else.  But I decided that the cruise control, rear camera etc could be useful so the low level of equipment actually suited me

But it all came to naught.  I went for a test drive and found that the seat was not very comfortable.  With my elderly back, I need an ergonomically designed seat with good mid-back support.  And to get that I would need to go to a much more fancy model. So no deal.



EPILOGUE: In putting up this post I had some hope of helpful suggestions. I got two. Joe said I should buy an automatic Toyota secondhand. As we have both had exemplary service out of Toyotas bought secondhand that seemed no problem

The second suggestion was Jenny's. She said I might be safer driving in slippers. I got out an old pair of slippers and she was right. End of problem at zero cost!

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Surviving well


My vigour and fitness took a nosedive this week.  I no longer have any energy for almost anything.  What I mostly want to do is lie down.  

I do however have some shreds of energy left and that sufficed for a dinner I had arranged a few weeks ago.  Before the dinner, Anne and I had a bit of time together in which I informed her of my sudden health decline.  She was very sympathetic and affectionate about it, which helped me a lot

I usually do a few Christmas-time catchups to see friends I have not seen much of during the year.  This year I arranged with Jill and Lewis for us to get together over a midday lunch on Friday Dec. 4th.  I hosted the occasion at my usual restaurant haunt in Buranda where the menu is excellent and the service friendly

Fortunately, Anne drove us from my place and dropped me at the restaurant door so the call on my energy was minimal.

Jill and Lewis were a rather colourful couple arriving.  Jill was beautifully dressed as one expects and Lewis was wearing a bright Hawaiian stye shirt so was clearly in an upbeat mood  Considering that both are in their '80s they made a very fine and cheerful couple

I used to have a couple of Hawaiian shirts but when I grew out of them I gave them to a half-Maori bloke I knew.  He loved them and immediately started wearing them.  Hawaiians and Maori are both Polynesians so it fits.

Anne and Jill get on particularly well so the chat flowed freely.  A lot of the chat was about old times as I first met Jill in the '90s and Anne has been meeting Jill with me for over a decade.

I had a rather unusual dish, scrambled eggs with roast pumpkin and feta cheese in it! It worked surprisingly well, as did the lunch as a whole

After the lunch I went home and had a big sleep.  I fed myself a frozen dinner of Satay chicken that night which went down quite well

Then this morning (Sat. 5th) it was time for Anne and me to have our weekly breakfast.  Saturday breakfast is our only fixed arrangement these days but we have occsasional meals at other times on special occasions, as we did on Friday.

We once again went to my usual haunt.  This time I drove us, as I was confident that I could handle the short walk from car to restaurant. We talked mainly about people we know and I once again had my strange eggs, which, sadly, I could not finish.  My appetite is shot these days.

Then after breakfast we drove around the block to Vinnies.  And as is often the case I found some things to buy for Anne -- a small flour dredger in new condition and a magnifying glass on a rather elaborate pendant.  Anne was very pleased with both.  She had a good use for both.  

Then we went home and watched the first half of an operetta -- The Dollar Princess by Leo Fall, which is all about romantic relationships and would nauseate feminists.  Details here.

So it was a very low-key morning for us but one that meant a lot to both of us.  Anne and I always have a lot of laughs together and so it was again despite my dubious health.  She left around noon.

Around 7pm that night Jenny brought me over some dinner, an excellent Nasi Goreng of her own devising.  We stayed talking for quite a while and she did the massage on my sore neck.  I was soon asleep after she left at about 8:30.


Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Dinner with Joe


Joe and I have been trying to find a time when we can have a relaxed time together. I see him some mornings on his way to work but his head is too full of his very complex work for him to relax much at that time.  Our latest arrangements are for us to get together after his work on Wednesday for a dinner of some sort. That does seem to be working well.  Today we went to a Chinese restaurant at Stones corner which was quite passable

After dinner we sat around at home chatting for quite a while.  We had one of our rare political disagreements and that rather upset Joe. We are both Right-wing but no two people ever have exactly the same political views. He left without the matter being resolved

EPILOGUE

Joe arrived at my place about 7:30 the next morning with the hope of resolving our disagreement.  We didn't really come to an agreement on the matter but we did agree to disagree in an amicable manner so we ended up on better terms than ever.  He went home at about 10am to catch up on his sleep


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

An anniversary


I took Jenny to my favourite brekkie place this morning for our 35th wedding anniversary.  Still being on good terms after all that time is rather notable.

She ordered a Spanish omelette which she ate with enthusiasm.  I ordered a Viet dish -- honey pork.  I bought her yellow roses for the occasion.

I shaved and wore my best shirt. 



Friday, November 27, 2020

The Bollywood is no more


It was the family favourite Indian restaurant.  But it lives on in the same place under a new name and under new proprietors

Joe and I went to dinner there last night and we didn't notice anything different, though I think the food was a little dearer. Though $37.50 to feed two of us was still very moderate.  I had the Jalfreezi chicken, which was excellent.

As usual, it was very lightly patronized. It is now called the "Spice Avenue".  They are open until 10pm and are on ph. 3847 6755

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Snake!


I walked out my bedroom door this afternoon to find myself only a couple of feet away from a large and colourful snake. He was black with yellow spots.  Quite attractive.  He was sitting on my desk unmoving so I felt for a moment that it must be a plastic snake. I soon guessed however that it was a python.  I had one here before a few years ago.  He was a couple of metres long.  

Migrants are often nervous of Australia's wildlife so to hear that you can suddenly have a large snake on your desk would freak them.

I called some snake catchers and they came quite promptly -- after about half an hour. They bagged him in minutes with no trouble. Their fee of $120 seemed reasonable for a Sunday callout.  I don't now where they took him.  To a Chinese restaurant maybe

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Changes


Yesterday Anne and I went in to Toyota and put a deposit on a Prado.  So that will progress when they get a new shipment of Prados in the New Year.  She will probably garage the Prado at her place most of the time. I really have no use for it.  My Echo is already perfect for me.  But the Prado will be available to both our families if and when they have a use for it

The new arrangements we have entered into reflect the fact that I now spend most evenings with Jenny.  Anne and I no longer have any regular meetings for dinner.  Only our Saturday mornings remain a fixture

But our Saturday morning this morning was extremely good, with lots of laughs and jollity.  We really have a great talent for good times together.  We breakfasted at our usual place. Anne had Rosti. After breakfast we went to Vinnies and Anne came away with a very good pot for use in the caravan kitchen.  After that we went back to my place and watched videos of classical music.  She left about 11:30

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Happiness!

After 15 years together, it was always likely that Anne and I would not be at odds for long.  And so it has proved to be.  We have just had a big pow-wow and have arrived at conclusions that suit both of us well. We both make one another very happy again. As Jenny is the lady in my life these days, Anne and I will not be attempting to revive our old arrangements but we will be reviving one thing that we have always particularly enjoyed:  We will be having Saturday morning breakfasts together again.

An issue that had arisen between us concerned my idea of buying a Toyota Prado solely to tow the large caravan that Anne and George jointly own. For various reasons I had become unhappy with that idea. So we solved that issue in a matter of minutes by way of a good old British compromise.  The purchase of a Prado will go ahead with Anne and me each paying half.  Anne volunteered the remark that that sounded fairer and I of course agreed

I think I have now completed the transition to a new life pattern after the time early this year when my old life with Anne came to an end. I think we have now arrived at realisic new arrangements that should be stable, unstressful and lasting. We have an amazing capacity to make one-another happy and that has survived.

After our big reconciliation, we went and had lunch together -- at our usual cafe -- which was as jolly and affectionate as ever.

As a memento of our big day and its happy conclusion, I gave Anne a classic silver butter dish (with glass insert).  She was with me when I bought it recently so it really was a memento



Saturday, November 14, 2020

A breakup


Much to my surprise, on Tuesday 10th, Anne sent me an email cancelling our weekly dinners.  Later that day, however we exchanged messages of mutual esteem so the split was peaceful, which I value.

So in recent weeks I have lost 3 lady friends:  JH, JD and Anne, which sounds distinctly careless

As the split with Anne was unexpected, the effect on my mood was potentially adverse so Joe stayed overnight at my place to give me company.  We had a good night together, mainly talking and watching classical music videos, so that immediately lifted my spirits and I have been in good spirits since

So Anne dines most nights with her obliging partner, George Eakins, and I dine most nights with my obliging ex-wife Jenny.  Jenny is, as ever, an excellent cook so I get dinners derived from an international range of cuisines.  George is a Seventh Day Adventist so Anne cooks him vegetarian dinners.

Jenny and I have in recent days been on a couple of outings in her new and well-appointed Hyundai car.  We dropped in on a couple of Op-shops along the way and I found two shirts that suited me well.  Jenny bought more cookbooks for her collection.

On Saturday night she is cooking and bringing over to me some Larb Moo, a Thai dish we both like.  I normally go over to her place for dinner, a 15 minute drive away.


A recent picture of Jenny

A recent picture of Anne

A recent picture of me



Anne is 75, I am 77, Jenny is 68 and George says he is 75, though he looks more like 60 to me

I wish I could say goodbye as gracefully as the pair below do




EPILOGUE

The Larb moo was excellent!


Saturday, November 7, 2020

My new life


A new pattern of living

When I started out looking for a new girlfriend towards the beginning of this year, I was embarking on an unlikely enterprise. My state of health and fitness is so poor that it would need an exceptionally kind lady to take me on.

And after talking to a lot of ladies I have concluded that I have no chance.  So I am giving up the quest.  Unless I attract the interest of a another near-invalid, I am going to have to be happy with the friendships I already have

Fortunately, I am rather well off in that regard. Anne has never stopped seeing me one evening a week and I dine with Jenny five nights a week.  I also see Joe five mornings a week.

And the occasions for all such meetings have now become routine -- always on the same nights and mornings.  As I like routine that suits me very well.

As I am still in love with Anne, seeing her even for one night and morning is very rewarding. 

Then there is Jenny.  I have known Jenny for around 35 years.  During the first ten of those years we were married. Ending the marriage did not end the friendship, however. We have remained very supportive of one another ever since. One illustration of our continued feelings for one another is that I gave her a car during our marriage but also gave her a car around ten years ago -- long after our marriage and while Anne and I were still an item

Dining most nights together is a revival of something that husbands and wives are accustomed to do so doing that again is something familiar to Jenny and me.  I have asked her how she feels about continuing with that right through to my end in a few years' time.  She said that she is happy with that

In summary,  I have a steady refuge of affection and support in Jenny and a great highpoint in my week of my evening with Anne

So I think my life from now on will be very settled, which I like.  No more adventures.

Friday, November 6, 2020

A young fogey

He is a boy I sponsor to study at a distinguished British public school. 

Preparing for a bike ride -- in school jacket, gloves and bow tie

Note the top hat

At sport. Note the long legs. He will be tall

I too was once a young fogey.  When I was a kid I well remember my mother's friends saying of me "John is very old-fashioned".

Sunday, November 1, 2020

A visit to Shanghai

Gastronomically only, not in person

Last Friday Anne could not join me for dinner. We are transitioning from a Friday to a Tuesday for our weekly dinner -- a transition that suits both of us.

So on Friday I asked Joe if I could share his dinner that night.  He was very obliging and agreed with great civility.  Friday evening is the regular time for him to have dinner with an old university friend. They are both mathematicians and computer games fans. But he was happy to include me and I know his very amiable friend

Joe took us to a Shanghai Chinese restaurant that he knows near where he lives.  He has visited Shanghai twice so knows the cuisine.

When the food arrived I was greatly surprised. I ordered chicken with rice but what I got was nowhere near what I expected.  I will not attempt to describe it but it was certainly a new experience. I did eat (most of) it.  Joe ate what I left.

So if you think you know Chinese food, you don't.  The Chinese food we get here is mainly Cantonese but there are many cuisines in China.  The Shanghainese regard the Cantonese as peasants.

The cook appeared to be a motherly old lady and the very slightly built Chinese waitress wore an amazingly short skirt!  All rather memorable

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Wonders can happen


When at the beginning of this year Anne cut short her times with me in order to spend more time with G.., I did of course feel the need to acquire a new female friend to spend time with.  Given my state of advanced decay, however, that was never going to be easy and it wasn't.  I spoke to and met many ladies who were rightly put off by my geriatric state.

A couple of months ago however I met JD, whom I have already mentioned a few times on this blog.  She too pinged me off at first but I could see great potential for a friendship with her so kept in touch and she has never been quite able to let me go.  We have been having some good Saturday night dinners for some time. And we  have got steadily closer as dinner followed dinner.  We have a lot in common in our thinking.  

So last night (Saturday) we had another good dinner together at a local restaurant, followed by dessert at my place, which  was as pleasant as usual.  But this time there was a sequel

Next day (this morning) she turned up to meet me for breakfast as well.  Dinner only with me was not enough this week. And after breakfast we did a Sunday drive to Wynnum.  So I now seem to have a definite new friend, which pleases me greatly. We do have lots of laughs while we are together

She is rather good looking, blonde and substantially younger than me so you see why I think wonders can happen

EPILOGUE of 5 November:  She had a minor disaster in her personal life shortly after the time mentioned above and has as a result pinged me off for the fourth time.  And there has so far been no going back


Sunday, October 18, 2020

A really bad weekend

On Friday I had lump on my ear cut out by an old-fashioned plastic surgeon.  That night the excision bled and I woke up (Sat.) with blood everywhere.  Fortunately, Anne was on hand and helped me until I could get to a doctor. He bound it up tightly and stopped the bleeding. Anne and I had a Muzza's curry pie afterward as a late breakfast.  

I slept last night (Sun.) with no bleeding

Then this morning (Sun.) I woke up with a sniffle.  I had brekky at the pie shop  with Joe that went well.  We talked mainly about world politics.  But after I got home I chucked my brekky.  I have slept for most of the rest of the day so  believe I may have slept it off.  Anne had something similar during the week and got over it quickly.

I had to cancel my date with JD tonight but we have rescheduled that


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

They're back


Getting pinged off by ladies has happened to me a lot in my life so I have a way of dealing with that: I remain friendly and in contact.  And that worked again. Both JD and JH are back in my life. 

I had a particularly nice time with JD at my place tonight.  She brought over champagne and some excellent pizza and drank rather a lot of the champagne.  We mostly talked about relationships.  We have both had a few

And I now have a dinner date with JH for next week. We will see how that goes

UPDATE:  JH cancelled so I will try no more with her

Saturday, October 10, 2020

An auspicious day


In the one day today both JH and JD have dumped me. They leave me with some pleasant memories. As is my custom , I have left my door open

Epilogue

My heading above was of course ironical. Auspicious means expecting a good future. And losing two ladies in one day is distinctly careless.

But the heading has turned out to be more accurate than I intended. I received that same night some news that could be very beneficial to me. I went to bed in a distinctly cheerful frame of mind

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

A NORTH Vietnamese experience


JD and I normally dine together on Saturday evenings.  Last Saturday, however, she was away for the long weekend ending on Monday.  She obviously missed our Saturday, however, as she texted me on Tuesday morning (6th), asking if we could have breakfast together.  I got the text a bit late for that so I took her to the "Buncha Buncha" North Vietnamese restaurant at Stone's corner that night.    Their cuisine is different from the normal South Vietnamese cuisine that we all now know so well

Nem Hanoi

I had the smoked pork dish and JD had a sort of chicken rissoles. Both were good.  But the remarkable feature of the menu was the crumbed rolls mainly containing seafood: The nem Hanoi.  They were very substantial and very tasty.  I took some home and they were still excellent the next day.  Quite different from any other rolls

On the way home, we picked up a dessert from Aldi-- Mango sorbet.  We took it back to my place.  First we had a cup of tea then the dessert.  After that we watched part of an operetta on DVD.  We were both a bit tired before we had watched much of the operetta so called it a night at that stage:  a very pleasant night


Saturday, October 3, 2020

Still celebrating


Anne and I have just celebrated again the revival of our Friday/Saturday arrangements.

On Friday night we had a candlelit dinner with champagne, pate  canapes and some authentic cevapi from Adams deli at Carole park for mains.  They were as good as expected.

Then we watched the operetta Der Vogelhändler on DVD until 11pm.  We held hands for most of it so my new sofa has proven its worth!

On Saturday morning, I did not -- unlike her marvelous partner -- give Anne breakfast in bed but we went to the Gold Leaf for a cooked breakfast, which we always enjoy.  It is one of the few places where Anne approves of the coffee, which she noted again this time. She had a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich and I had a Canadian breakfast,

After that we did our usual trip to Vinnies where I bought her a Jade necklace and a straw hat that looked very stylish on her.  We finished with a cuppa at 10:30 so she could get a start on preparing for a family lunch. It all left me with a happy glow.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

A lovely lady I know



Just a friend -- somewhat to my regret

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

A pleasant surprise


I spent yesterday with JH, whom I first met only 10 days ago. We had corresponded before that though, and talked on the phone. And we seemed to want the same things in life. In particular, I wanted a wife and she seemed interested in being one

So when I visited her at her place for the first time today, I was pretty sure of a good reception. As it was, she slapped a big lover's kiss on me even before I had got through the doorway. The rest you can imagine. She was also wearing a shift, a garment you just lift off over your head to leave nothing but woman underneath.

She is of Indian heritage but was born in KL in Malaysia, where there is still a strong British influence, so she speaks good English with a slight Indian accent.  I have always liked India and Indians and have in fact been to India three times.  I have usually had some Indian tenants and understood their way of thinking.  

JH has however been in Australia for 35 years and was married to a big Australian bloke, an engineer by trade. But she became a widow about a year ago.  She describes her marriage as incredibly happy.

And that bears on what I said about a wife.  She wants to be a   wife again.  She knows it as a blessed state. Feminists eat your heart out!  And my marriages have been very happy too -- all four of them.  So I too want a wife again -- or something similar. So JH and I want the same things.  Hopefully  can give them to one-another. 

JH is 62 and in good shape for her age, which I surmise to be in part an effect of her very lively and active nature. She is 5'5" and nestles very nicely into my arms

Is she a conniving woman scheming to rip me off?  She cannot be. I give money to all sorts of people so I will undoubtedly give some to her -- but not enough to be inconvenient. So what is freely given in full knowledge of the dangers cannot be a rip-off


Sunday, September 27, 2020

An excellent half-weekend


A half weekend might seem a bit odd to celebrate but Friday night and Saturday morning just gone were something special.  They were the first instance of my revived meeting arrangements with Anne. Anne has always in the past slept Friday night in my guest room to make a Saturday breakfast convenient and that has now been revived.  Anne now has G.. living with her so it is only friendly arrangements that have been revived but my arrangements with Anne have in fact been just friendly ones for a long time.  But they have been and are very good for all that.

And the revival was very good indeed.  We both have a keen sense of the ridiculous and I was in an exceptionally good mood so it was almost a laugh a minute while we were together.

On Friday evening, I tried to take her to a Persian place that we both regard as special for dinner but they were booked out.  I had neglected to book because I thought all the coronavirus restrictions would have left them substantially empty. At 7pm, however, the place looked in fact to be busier than ever.  So we went over the road to a good Indian restaurant we both know and "well we weren esed atte beste", to burst into Middle English.  I ordered a Vindaloo which was surprisingly mild.

On Saturday morning we went to our old favourite breakfast place at Buranda.  Anne had the cheesesteak sandwich and I had a Deluxe sandwich of my own devising. Both were very satisfactory.

After breakfast we did a tour of the nearby Vinnies and I picked up a cute little milk jug. I have a weakness for jugs!  Anne went home at about 12 noon.

EPILOGUE

My date for Saturday night was the good-looking JD, a smart lady whom I have met only recently. She said she had been celebrating her 64th birthday with her family all the week so needed a special dinner on Saturday night.  So I took her to the Persian restaurant, which always impresses. I booked this time.  I haven't been there recently so I was amused to see that the slim lady with the large bust was still running the show there.  She is quite a sight.

As I usually do, I ordered the the platter for two, which is actually two large platters plus a smaller platter, all three  covered with enticing food.  JD was suitably impressed. 

I had intended to bring a bottle of champagne but forgot.  So JD offered to walk down to the nearby drive-through to pick up a bottle. I gave her a $20 for the purpose.  She asked me what I wanted and I said: "Just some cheap champagne".  She was quite tickled by that.  She kept repeating "cheap champagne"!  She knows I am well-off so was surprised that I would drink such a thing. I just smiled.  Anyway she came back with a rather impressive-looking $30 bottle of French champagne.  French wine has got a lot cheaper in recent years. She said "I don't do cheap champagne".  She is the ex-wife of a well-off professional man so is probably a bit spoilt.  What she bought was a reasonable drop.

I have only one glass of wine with dinner these days and she was driving so also drank little -- so a good half of the bottle was left. So we took it back to my place,  where I stoppered it for later.

I had a glass of it as a nightcap when I went to bed and restoppered the remainder.  So when I woke up mext morning I felt rather decadent (in a good way) to see a stoppered bottle of champagne sitting on my bedroom table  It suggested a wilder night than I actually had.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

A remarkable weekend

My memory is a shocker so I want to get this down while I can.

Last Friday while I was at breakfast at my usual haunt, Vera walked in.  Vera is the widow of an old friend of mine so we have known one-another for many years. And people who know me know when and where I am to be found at breakfast.  So we had good chats over breakfast, partly about her Russian background.  When I got up to leave I offered her a small kiss, which she accepted

Then that evening Anne came over for dinner at home which went its usual exceptionally pleasant way.  We had chicken schnitzel for dinner, which is one of my favourites. She announced that it is now definitely agreed that from now on she would be staying the night on Fridays, which was VERY good news.

On Saturday I had a 12 noon lunch with JH, an Indian lady from KL in Malysia. So she spoke good English. We went to a Malaysian restaurant which had very good Malaysian food. We discussed lots of things, including the fact that we are both basically homebodies --  with little interest in outings or travel -- unusual among people in later life.  

For the occasion I abandoned my usual very casual attire and turned up in black leather shoes, long charcoal grey pants, a striped shirt and a Panama hat.  I am pretty decrepit these days but at one point Jess said I was looking good -- rather to my astonishment. I said "It's just the hat" but she demurred.  Ladies do tend to like Panama hats on men. Anyway we will be seeing one another again soon

Then on Sunday I had a breakfast at my usual haunt with JD. She picked me up from home in her large and impressive Toyota Camry hybrid. She is in her mid-60s but unusually good-looking for her age. We got on famously. Our breakfast lasted 3 hours, the latter half of which we spent back at my place!  We discussed a remarkable range of things, including some quite intimate details of our pasts. We will be meeting again but at a time to be decided.

And then on Monday I had my usual Nando's dinner with Jenny.  And despite our having known one another for over 30 years, we still had plenty to talk about

So with that record, people of my vintage would undoubtedly describe me as "a bit of a lad".  In fact, however, I would rather be married again.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Why I am about to buy a Toyota Prado



Anne and I met in late 2005 and we have had and continue to have a warm and happy relationship since then -- for 15 years now.

But it was never an orthodox relationship.  There are some things Anne needs in her life -- such as outings and travel -- that I wanted little or nothing to do with.  While I am a homebody content to spend most of my day in front of my computer, life for Anne would be insufferingly boring without outings and travel.  Travel ambitions are just about universal among older ladies. But I did all my travels in my 30s so have no such ambitions now.

So from early on Anne and I reached a compromise that we were both happy with. We arranged to have only two nights a week together.  I would spend other nights on my computer and I told Anne that what she did on those other nights was no business of mine. No questions asked and no details offered. 

And on those other nights she was welcome to find other friends -- some of whom would be of the male persuasion -- to help fulfil needs I was unwilling or unable to fulfil.  And that worked very well for both of us for a long time.  

It was however an obviously  high-risk arrangement and there was a small rupture about 3 years ago when Anne fell in love with a soulful man from Southern Europe, Mr Wonderful, which reduced our time together.  But she had him move in with her -- and found that Mr Wonderful was in fact Mr Pain-in-the-bum. So she came screaming back to me after 3 weeks and nothing more was heard of Mr Wonderful after that. Our old arrangements were restored.

I thought that after that experience a lady in her 70s with poor health would not be wandering again.  But she still had her old needs so wander she did -- six months ago.  And this time it was big-time. She met G.., who was a much better deal than I am.  He is around her age but is fit, energetic and good-looking.  And he is a real gentleman, more than I will ever be -- and is very obliging to her. He adjusts his life to her life -- a real dream. The only odd thing about him is that he is a lifelong Seventh Day Adventist.  By trade he is a plumber -- now retired.

But Anne and I both see our friendship as unique and Anne did not want to lose it.  So despite the arrival of G.., Anne insisted from the outset of her relationship with him that she would continue to see me -- for one night a week.  And she has done exactly that.  G.. was initially dubious about that idea but he has now become at ease with it.  And I of course became  free to find another lady to give me more companionship  -- which has been interesting.

I was of course depressed to become suddenly second priority in Anne's life but with the help of friends and family got over that.  I particularly missed one aspect of my friendship with Anne -- we used to have Friday nights together and Anne would sleep over at my place so we could share a first-class Saturday breakfast at a cafe we like.  G.. did not like the thought of that at all. So the sleepovers became out of bounds for the last six months.  But I have just got back that time with Anne.


Anne was thinking about buying a caravan so she could fulfil a long-held wish of travelling around Australia. But after two divorces, G.. is poor so he owns only a light and elderly van -- nothing capable of pulling a caravan.. And Anne's car is a Toyota Corolla -- also no towing engine

But I would like Anne to have her trip up the Queensland coast and G.. would be a much better travel companion than I would ever be. So, in my generosity, I had the idea of solving their problem by buying and lending to them a vehicle suitable for pulling a caravan. But that would be a very expensive gift so, in the usual manner of these things, I hoped for a small gift in return. I suggested the restoration of my Friday/Saturdays with Anne. Anne has herself always wanted that and G.. has now agreed to it. So, courtesy of an exchange of gifts, my old arrangements with Anne have not been totally restored but a part of them that I greatly value has been

And throughout my adult life I have always owned two vehicles. For a lot of the last ten years I in fact owned three!  But, for not much more than a month, I have been down to only one -- my trusty 16-year-old Toyota Echo.  So buying a Prado will be something of restoration of the status quo ante bellum.  When it is not being used to tow a caravan, it will be available to visiting friends and family from out of town, as my second car always has been.  

Additionally, it should be some help in my meetings with single ladies.  They generally drive much fancier cars than my little old Echo and presumably look down on it.  The Prado, by contrast, is well appointed so I will presumably gain some respectability by driving it. It costs $60,000+ so that should look good as a sign of economic competence

Sunday, September 6, 2020

A surprising week


On Wednesday night I was scheduled to have lunch with P... She is an ABC (Australian-born Chinese) so spoke excellent English and was very keen on classical music.  I had met her only once before for morning tea. On the morning for our lunch she contacted me to tell me that some work had come up that was going to keep her very busy for a few days so she could not do lunch.  I have not heard from her again.

On Thursday I was set for dinner with a lady whom I had not previously met.  She has a Dutch surname so I thought she might be Dutch.  It turned out, however that she was a Singaporean Chinese.  She had had her eyes done so her Asian origins were not immediately obvious. She spoke good English but with a noticeable accent. She too liked classical music. We had a congenial enough dinner at a nearby restaurant and then went back to my place to watch some operetta on DVD.  She seemed favourably impressed but after a while said: "I have to go now" and bolted out the door quite unceremoniously.  I would be surprised if I saw her again.

Then on Saturday I had a break from the Asian ladies. A blonde lady -- JD -- I had seen only once before over tea about a month ago rang me and suggested that I take her to dinner that night.  She is in her 60s but still looking very good. So we went to a nearby Burmese restaurant where we had a very good dinner and where we got on quite well. We watched some operetta back at my place after dinner. The most interesting thing about her to me however is that she agreed to have a regular dinner with me once a week from then on.  I look forward to that happening.

Monday, August 31, 2020

My year so far


I find myself rather surprised to be still alive in 2020. I had never imagined getting this far but I am still alive and feebly kicking at age 77. So I thought some record of my aged self would be appropriate.

In my late '50s and early '60s, I had a number of good and memorable relationships but none of them lasted. So by 2005 I was really hopeful of a lasting relationship

And I got my wish. In late 2005 I met Anne, beginning a long and happy relationship that lasted until early this year.

In the last couple of years I have had a couple of operations to remove cancers in my neck and that seems to have triggered a general decline in my fitness. So, by 2020, 77 years of sedentary living had really caught up with me. I had experienced a substantial loss of vigour and fitness, leaving me as a shadow of my former self. That contributed to Anne leaving me for a much fitter man.

The friendship between us endures, however, so we still see one another at least once a week.  Tomorrow is the 15th anniversary of us meeting so we will be celebrating that with a lunch at our favourite dining spot tomorrow

Many men die in their 60s. It is a great age of dying for men. So those of us who survive into our late 70s are rarely in perfect health.

My greatest age-related difficulty is my low level of strength and vigour. I was very strong for most off my life -- something my son Joe inherits -- but, after 77 years of a sedentary life, most of that is lost. I usually use my hands to help me out of a chair, for instance.

So you might conclude from that that I am in generally poor health. Surprisingly, the truth is the reverse. I am basically in perfect health. When blood tests results come in, my liver function, kidney function and blood sugar come in dead centre. And when doctors see my electrocardiograms they just nod and walk away. There is nothing to discuss. And my BP is still around 140/70.

And while your heart is beating you are alive. When it stops you are dead. And mine seems destined to beat for a while yet. There are a lot of long lives in my family. One relative made it to 100.

And that fits with something else: As a former Mensa member I am a certified high IQ person. And high IQ persons commonly live into their 90s



And there are still some faint positives in my appearance. Most people of my age are pretty wrinkly by now but I have hardly any wrinkles at all. But I do look rather blotchy and that goes back to something else:

I had lots of coughs and colds in my childhood and the local doctor always gave me his "pink mixture" to deal with that. It contained arsenic. I think it goes back to Paracelsus who observed that the toxicity is in the dose and small doses of arsenic probably are on balance helpful. But I got a lot of it and from my late teens the results came out in the form of skin cancer. I get outbreaks very frequently now. But it has become routine for me to get them chopped out so they hardly bother me. The little blotches are however low-priority cancers. I get bigger ones that demand first attention.

Alcohol: I was a heavy drinker once but drink little these days. I often have a glass of wine with dinner but rarely finish it.

My interests and activities have contracted in line with my fitness. I spend less time blogging now (about 4 hours per day) and my chief leisure activity is dining out. I don't even watch TV now. My mind is still sharp, however, so I feel that I still have something to contribute.

I hope to have new companionship while I do so but am not optimistic about that. I am probably too old and feeble to initiate a new relationship. Though there are some interesting possibilities at the moment.

I had an exceptionally medical day today -- two appointments with two doctors during which I underwent a total of five procedures -- all minor

And last night I had for dinner that great family favourite: Egg rolled pork.  Most readers here will have no trouble guessing  the exceptionally kind person who made that for me

Tuesday update

I got into my best gear for our anniversary celebration.  See below:



Friday, August 14, 2020

An eldern dinner party


I have been seeing more than usual of Anne this week, to my considerable satisfaction. We had a Tuesday lunch together and today we had a small dinner party together. And Anne and I will be dining together tomorrow.

Anne's best friend is J.. and she has a husband G..   and J.. hosted the dinner party.  I get on well with G.. so I was invited along to make up the numbers of the foursome.  In a very traditional way, the men mainly talked in the dining area while the women talked in the kitchen


Our hostess


Our host

J. did an excellent pie with vegetables for the dinner and in a very Scottish way Anne dished up my version of the dinner.  She knows what I take.  So I got a big slice of the yummy pie and only a token amount of vegetables.  I noticed that J  had only a small slice of pie and a plate replete with vegetables so I am glad I didn't get her dinner.

G. and I chatted about political matters in our usual way. G was at the time thinking about how Australia's constitution could be improved and so we also discussed constitutional arrangements in the USA and Britain.  No wonder the ladies retreated to the kitchen!

G. is firmly anti American, as is common in Australia, so he was rather surprised and pleased when I told him that America is more democratic than Australia and Britain because it has congressional (parliamentary) elections every two years.  So a bungling government can be kicked out more quickly there.

We had our tea all together in the parlour after the dinner so everyone was amused when I briefly nodded off during one of G's harangues.  It will be a remembered event, I think.

After the dinner, we went back to Anne's place for a lie down where we had some very pleasant chats in our usual way

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

A crazy sort of a day


My day today started out as a medical appointment followed by a lunch but that was the only simple thing about it. It soon got complicated

I was due for a 11:40 appointment at my skin cancer clinic today  for a review of the dressings on a recent shave biopsy. I am usually pretty good about punctuality but I do very occasionally  get the hour wrong. I turned up at 10:40 instead of 11:40.  But I am a frequent customer there so the receptionist was indulgent and  popped me in to be seen next anyway.

And when I saw the doctor she did an amazing number of things for me.  She put on FOUR dressings on four of my bad bits and sprayed another bad bit: A rare 5 in 1 service.  She was a gem to look after me so well. She was booked to do one dressing but did four.

And then there was the lunch: scheduled for 12:30 and to be the first part of new arrangements with Anne.  I knew the traffic was bad out her way so when she was late getting to my place I texted her at 12:20 to tell her to go straight to the restaurant, where we are both well-known.

Unbeknown to me however she had nearly got to my place when I left.  So she saw me driving off in Merton Rd and followed me. So I got to the parking lot and was walking along towards the restaurant when a little hand suddenly appeared in my hand. It was Anne!  A very convenient coincidence leading to a very pleasant surprise

And when we arrived at the restaurant for our booking, some previous diners were dilatory so there was no table for us. So we went shopping in the nearby Woolworths for 10 minutes until the restaurateur rang me on mobile to say that a table was free.

So we eventually sat down only a little late for our lunch and it was great  -- calamari with chips and salad.  That place does the best calamari I have ever had.  Definitely worth the wait


Anne was wearing an arty red necklace that I once gave her

I was so happy that night that as I was going to bed I was singing in my head "Colonel Bogey". My normal happy song is "Men of Harlech"

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The wonders of private medicine in Brisbane


Late last week, I noticed that a rather large lump had developed under my jaw where a cancer used to be. Over the weekend I decided that I needed an expert opinion about it. So on Monday I rang my ENT guy (an eminent surgeon) and was given an appointment for that morning.

He felt that the lump was not cancerous but booked me in for both an MRI scan and a PET scan just to check. I had the MRI that day and the PET scan the day after. 

It is unimaginable how I could have got a more rapid response to my concerns.  And all the parties were private contractors, not government employees, funnily enough.

Friday, July 24, 2020

No shortages where I shop


I have always been somewhat bemused by news reports of shortages in the shops -- mainly baby formula and toilet rolls.  There has NEVER been a shortage of baby formula at my local Woolworths. I read of Chinese buyers stripping the shelves of it.  There are plenty of Chinese people where I live but the supply of formula must have been enough for them to leave some on the shelves

The toilet roll story is a bit different.  There was period of  a couple of weeks when it regularly and rapidly sold out but for all the rest of the time there was always plenty on sale

Below are a couple  of example pix taken recently



Those "No trees" toilet rolls are a puzzle.  What do they make them out of?  Plastic?




Thursday, July 16, 2020

A farewell and a wake


Nanna was cremated at the Mt Thompson crematorium today.  Anne and I attended together with about 25 other people.  The travel bans meant that none of her grandchildren other than Joe were able to attend.  We had a very good video speech from Paul however.  Nanna's favourite song was played:  The Bluebird of Happiness.  She used to sing it. The whole occasion was relaxed but dignified.

Anne accompanied me to the occasion and Jenny sat with Jeff during the service




The funeral chapel

After that was the wake at Jenny's place.  The food was good and a nice party resulted.  Jenny and her friends organized it. I went for the sandwiches as usual.

Both Anne and I talked to Jeff a bit and Joe sat with me for a while in his usual silent but companiable way.  It was good to see Timmy and Rachel there.   Rachel is "showing" now. Timmy was looking dapper in his suit. Ken and Maureen also attended, as did Mark and his ladies

At Jenny's request, none of us wore black. I wore a red flannelette shirt and Anne was dressed in shades of beige. She is dressing very well these days.  Kate was very nicely dressed in blue and Joe was dressed in greys


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

More birthday celebrations

I am now 77

Joe came over about 8:30am and we sat talking about politics for a while before he had to return to his work

Then at midday I met Regina at Easts Leagues Club for lunch. The meals were forgettable but Regina was pleasant as usual.

Then at around 7pm Joe and Kate came over, bringing some dinner which we had in the old living room. It was curried sausages so was a combination of two things I like. And there was a fancy chocolate cake to finish.

As we often do, Kate and I talked a fair bit about research

Egg-rolled pork!


My birthday celebrations got underway tonight.  Jenny came over to my place bringing a big dish of Korean egg-rolled pork -- complete with the usual accompaniments: Japanese ginger and Korean Kim Chee.

So with three strong-tasting dishes I definitely had a good  birthday dinner.  Egg-rolled pork has become a family favourite dish so most people reading this will know what I am talking about. 

Jenny did not stay on after the dinner as she has a lot to do in connection with a certain interment event on Thursday. It was good of her to make me a birthday dinner at a time of great stress and sadness for her.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

When I was in an ICU



The following account of what a stay in intensive care does to you did explain a lot to me.  I was twice in intensive care in the last couple of years after my two operation on my neck to remove cancers

I was in there for little more than a day on both occasions so the  effects of ICU should have been minimal for me but I certainly felt them when I came out of the anaesthetic. I was in a fog.

I have always felt and said that those operations -- particularly the first one -- were a watershed for me.  I was never the same again.  I am much less energetic and vigorous and my once unshatterable self-confidence is now much more shaky.  I feel that I am only the remnant of what I was.  Much of my psychological  strength is gone and I am certainly physically feeble.

At age 76, most of the effects I am talking about could be attributed to simple old age and there is certainly an element of that at work.  But as soon as I got home I was aware that I was enfeebled and noted later that there was not the expected  rapid bounceback to where I previously was.

I still seem to be OK mentally, however. I still find it easy to see the holes in most of the published scientific research that I encounter


I am an ICU doctor, but I have also been an ICU patient following an admission with sepsis. My recovery was longer, and in some ways scarier, than sepsis was. The weakness patients experience after intensive care is profound, and it takes days to be able to stand, then to walk upstairs and then to walk to the shops. But the muscles recover quicker than the brain, and it is in the brain where the longer lasting effects of PICS preside.

The cognitive symptoms are the easiest to recognise. In the weeks after I was discharged from ICU, my thinking was foggy, I could not sustain any attention while reading or watching TV, and tasks such as recollection and simple decision-making were inexplicably tiring. Although the worst of it resolves relatively quickly, it took me several weeks to feel able to solve the sort of problems necessary for me to look after patients again.

But the psychological impact is far more pernicious than just the cognitive effects. Depression and anxiety are common in post-ICU patients. But even without these overt labels, the alterations to one’s perspective can be profound. Optimism decays to pessimism, willpower and aspiration are drained away. Despite being a doctor fully aware of PICS, it was months before I could even recognise this psychological aspect in myself, and it took longer still to overcome it.

SOURCE


Saturday, June 20, 2020

The sofa has arrived




And it fits perfectly into my cosy revived living room.  Anne was over for breakfast at our old Buranda haunt and we had just got back from that when the sofa arrived in a big truck.  One of the truckies carried it upstairs single-handed as it is of a light construction.

My audiovisual facilities were all ready to go so I put on a DVD of "Im weißen Rössl" (White Horse Inn).  It was in German but the English subtitles were very clear. Anne stayed for the full show so did not leave until 12:30.

An excerpt



Friday, June 19, 2020

A new routine


My life has once again settled into a routine -- which I like.  I go to Jenny's place for dinner 4 nights a week, to Joe's for 2 nights week and Anne comes to my place for dinner one night a week

Jenny is as always a talented cook so I get very good dinners from her.

Yesterday Anne and I tried out a new place for dinner in Kangaroo Point that had been recommended to me.  It was a bit of a surprise.  It was just a cafe but had a liquor licence so we were not allowed to drink the champagne I had brought along.  We had three things off the menu and they were all very good, rather surprisingly. We were the only diners there.  The ambiance was non-existent but the cook certainly knew what he was doing

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

A new sofa


Jenny and I went to A-mart to buy a sofa for my revived living room. I wanted a two-seater to fit into the space I had.  Two seaters are rather rare but most three-seaters usually seem to have no more than two people on them so I saw no problem with a cosier arrangement.

We found one in a style rather like the "Swedish" fashion of the 70s and I quite liked it.  It was covered in in grey fabric. So I bought it. Most other 2 seat sofas were around $1,000 but mine was marked down to under $500. A 70's style was obviously not popular

Monday, June 15, 2020

Wired up



Ralph the electrician came over to set up a power point and a TV aerial outlet for the new TV.  He also set up the TV and the computer connection so he was here for a few hours. It all now works well

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

A new TV


With Joe's help I bought a new 40" TV from JB HiFi at Oxley.  I don't watch TV but I wanted it as part of my new living room setup.  Up until that point, my living room was in use as a computer museum.  I transferred that down into the garage. I intended the new TV to be used to play DVDs and to watch music videos on YouTube.  I had an old computer that I hooked up to put YouTube onto the TV

Saturday, June 6, 2020

A busy day


The day started out well with Anne joining me for breakfast at our favourite haunt for the first time in many weeks.  The place has just been allowed to re-open.

Then for lunch I met a lady from Chapel Hill (posh) who is a mad-keen bridge player.  We lunched at a very good Turkish restaurant in Brunswick st., Valley.

The conversation between us flowed very easily so I had some hopes of her but she decided we did not have enough in common.  A pity as I quite liked her

Then that afternon I had an excision on my forehead which seemed to go well. Excisions on my face really bug me.

Then that evening Jenny gave me a good dinner

Friday, May 22, 2020

Radiation aftermath


My experience with radiation oncology was not a happy one.

Its practitioners are devoted to it and  can see no fault in it. When my throat was badly burnt by the radiation, they still wanted to carry on with the treatment and damage my throat even more.  Their only solution to the continuing pain was to bomb me out with morphine, which is no solution  at all. The damage is still there and has to be confronted eventually, generally through a couple of months of severe unremitting pain during healing.  The damage to the throat is so severe that some people have to be fed via a naso-gastric tube while healing

As my pain was so great as to disturb my sleep that was crazy - a case of the solution being much worse than the disease.  Getting  a cancer ripped out surgically results in very little pain and only a few days in hospital.  That calculus  was very apparent to me so I abandoned the treatment.  I will get 6 monthly PET scans to detect cancers anywhere in my body and get them removed surgically.

There were other side effects of the treatment too.  You sleep  a lot, lose your taste to some extent and develop scaly patches on your skin.  No fun at all.

It took me all of 7 days to get my throat better so I am pleased to be able to eat with no pain now and into the future.

UPDATE of 25th

I look into the mirror only when I have to brush my hair.  I try not to notice the raddled face staring back at me. 

I did however notice that, in the last days of my radiotherapy treatment, my face on one side was swollen and rather red, a predictable effect of radiation. 

I checked that in the mirror this morning and found that both sides of my face were the same colour and the same shape.  I am now back to normal and no longer have a misshapen face. So the treatment did have a bad effect on my appearance but those effects have now  healed.  Lucky I'm a good healer.  A woman would have been distraught by the effect on her appearance


Friday, May 15, 2020

Radiotherapy


After my last big cancer surgery, I was recommended to undergo radiation to kill any remaining cancer cells. There was a good chance it was not needed but you never know.

The radiation was primarily to my neck area. You have 20 brief sessions during which you are immobilized with a plastic mask over your face while the machine does its work.  It sounded horrible but the chief of the Radiation Oncology Centre at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Prof. Foote, talked me into trying it.  It is bulk billed so costs me nothing.

I started on it a couple of weeks ago and found that their system was immaculately run.  Queensland Health must have put a lot of money into it as there were heaps of staff: 18 radiation oncology specialist doctors and over 100 technical, allied health and administrative personnel. Result: Almost zero waiting time for patients. Not like Queensland health generally.

I took to the therapy well enough but the big problem is side effects.  You sleep a lot and it gives you a sore throat. The sore throat got agonizing for me on Thursday night after my pizza dinner with Anne and it is still bad.  The radiation has clearly damaged it substantially.  I am a good healer so expect to get over it in a few days but it has put the kybosh on the radiation treatment.  I am withdrawing from it.  I will take my chances with any stray cancer cells.

Jenny made me a very smooth dinner on Friday night consisting of grilled fish plus mashed potato so that was easy to get down but it still hurt a bit.  The hospital gave me a Xylocaine gel to help with swallowing but it did little.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

An amusing episode


When Anne found herself a new bloke, I started to look for a new lady.  I put myself down on a couple of computer dating sites. As a result I have corresponded with about a dozen ladies and met 5 of them.  None went anywhere however. None of them were bright enough for me.

An exception was L**.  I could tell from the way she wrote that she was very bright.  So I definitely wanted to meet her.  But where she lives is about a 2 hour drive from me, and not over the best roads either.  I did however talk her into coming to see me at my house.  But she was rightly cautious and did not want to step into the house of someone  she did not know. She would normally have arranged to meet me in a coffee shop but they are all closed down at the moment

So I organized a cafe on the concrete footpath in front of my house.  I got out a foldup picnic table and two dining chairs and put on the table a full set of tea things, tealeaf strainer and all.  I used my second-best teaset and my green-striped teapot.  And I had Portuguese custard tarts for nibbles.

She arrived in a fully dolled-up state so there we were drinking tea and chatting on the footpath.  It would have been an unusual sight.  What would a fancy lady be doing taking tea on a footpath?  My tenants were agog.

She relented after a while, however and I gave her a tour of the house.  We related to one-another pretty well but she decided that the drive was too long to sustain a relationship. I had to agree.


Saturday, April 25, 2020

The end of a new beginning


When in late March I found that I no longer had an exclusive relationship with Anne, it was a big shock to me.  After 13 years together and with both of us in our mid-70s, I had hoped that we were together for good.  But there were things that were important to Anne which I was not giving her so I did not for a moment blame her for looking elsewhere for those things. And getting them has drawn her very close to G., her new bloke.

She told G. from the beginning that I would remain important in her life so he has accepted that, apparently not without some reluctance.  And Anne has remained true to her word. We have continued to have evenings together, though less frequently than before.  And we enjoyed those evenings, just as we always did

I was however rather depressed and upset about the new realities for some time.  I felt alone.  I was not of course alone and both Jenny and Joe were very supportive of me, mainly by having me over for dinners on nights when I was not seeing Anne.

Gradually, however, the new situation between Anne and myself became clear to me.  Despite her engrossing times with G. it was clear that Anne really did want as much as possible of our old relationship to continue.  I give her things that she treasures that G. cannot give her.

So we had a big discussion last Thursday night in which we both agreed that our relationship was permanent, which was what I wanted. Because of her engrossing relationship with G. however, we will dine together only once a week until the lockdown ends.

I am now at peace and in good spirits with the situation between us and expect to remain so.  The transition in my relationship with Anne is complete. Our new arrangements do include me seeking the company of other old ladies if I can find any interesting enough.

Friday, April 24, 2020


Plastic surgery

I had a rather big slice taken out of the skin on my lower left leg by a plastic surgeon.  It did not go well. As soon as I got home it started to bleed.  The surgeon eventualy had to come back to fix it up. 

The surgeon prescribed Augmentin to deal with any resultant infection.  I took it and it did seem to kill any bugs but it made me chuck late that night.  So not a good day.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Changes


Relationships between Anne and myself have been rather "up in the air" recently, largely because of Anne being too embarrassed to tell me much about what has been going on in her life. We have however just had a frank discussion about that so we now both have clarity about one-another's feeings and intentions

It turns out that Anne is in love with G., wants him in her bed every night and looks forward to many years with him.  Marvellous what can happen in your 70s!

In those circumstances, it is surprising that she still has any time for me in her life but she does. She describes our relationship as "precious" to her and that she wants to continue it in a reduced way.  We have agreed that we will continue to spend one night of the week together, and probably more after the shutdown.

So the fact that she continues to have affection for me amid her new life is very pleasing to me.  It would have upset me greatly to lose her altogether after 13 years.  I will however have to find others to give me company on other nights of the week.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Surviving


I am rather surprised to find myself still alive in 2020 but I am not quite at death's door.  Yes. I am very feeble but I get by fairly well.  At age 76, I think I now qualify as one of the "frail elderly" but, with care, I can still enjoy my version of a normal life.  I deteriorated quite a lot after my recent major surgeries on my neck. That was a real watershed.

I have taken a number of preautions to cope with my weakened state.  My doctor has signed me up for a disabled driver permit so I don't have to walk far in carparks and I have taken a number of precautions in that big danger area for the elderly, the bathroom.  I now have a waterproof warning gadget that I can take into the shower.  If I fall over I can use it to ring someone to help me up.  I also have  a grab rail above the bath with which I may  be able to save myself if I slip. And I also have a steel armchair by "Evacare" around the toilet to help me up and down.  I am a great believer in precautions.


$59.35 at Bunnings

Because I don't get out much these days, Anne has another bloke with whom she goes on outings.  I met him recently.  He seems a decent bloke.  She wants to keep seeing me but only on Tuesday and Thursday nights during the virus shutdowns. I am very glad of some continuation.  She and I have just had a discussion about it.

And the Coronavirus restrictions  haven't had too big an impact on me -- mainly because I live a pretty reclusive life anyway these days.  I mainly get out to go shopping these days and that is still allowed. And a gathering of two people is still allowed.  So when Anne and Jenny separately come to visit me that qualifies.  In terms of the regulations, they are making a compassionate call on the frail elderly.

The current restrictions do bother me in one way, however.  I have a lifelong habit of dining out, particularly for breakfast in recent years.  Now that dining out is forbidden, that does affect me

Thursday, March 19, 2020

An erudite dinner


I have just had lunch at "The Sunny Doll" (Japanese) with old friends Henningham and Croucher. For nearly two hours the very lively conversation ranged widely over the Western intellectual tradition -- from Aristotle, though Aquinas to Wittgenstein.  All three of us take an interest in such arcana. 

The depth of our knowledge on each varies but we all knew enough about them to find them interesting and discussable  I did a major in philosophy in my student days so I was at something of an advantage.

There were even discursions into theology, with one of my favorite doctrines -- the Trinity -- coming under critical scrutiny.  I guess it would all be impossibly obscure to many but we enjoyed it



Friday, March 6, 2020

In the hostable


I have just got out of Brisbane Private hospital after some cancer surgery on my neck.  The surgery at no point put me into pain and the hospital staff were at all times obliging so I should not be too grumpy.  They even gave me some good porridge for breakfast, which I always enjoy

But I still hated it. It was the boredom that got to me.  I was able to get up and walk around but that was the best of the available entertainment.  Otherwise I had to lie in bed and watch TV -- something I almost never do.  Some programs were mildly interesting but the news was the only program I took any real interest in.  I was pleased to hear that Netanyahu had got back in as Prime Minister of Israel

So why was I so bored? I know it sounds pompous but my life is a life of the mind. My life could be taken as extremely uneventful but to me all sorts of things are happening all the time -- in my head. So while in hospital I missed being actively involved with the debate about all the big questions

I did take along a famous book to read -- "Dr Zhivago" by Boris Pasternak. I had read in when it first come out in 1957 but had forgotten the story totally so it should have been new to me. It was but I somehow could not get interested in it for long.  It was a good yarn but I just could not concentrate on it.

The book is about pre-revolutionary Russia (c. 1905) so the political scenes were of interest to me.  I did gather that they were realistic. One passage which told me that revolutionary politics  had not changed much was a description of the conversation of two Leftists of the day. Their remarks were described (on p. 49 of the first edition) as: "So imbued with contempt for everything in the world that they could quite safely have been replaced by a growling noise".  The politics of hate again. Quite reminiscent of current Leftist remarks about Mr Trump.  CNN on Trump is mostly a just a growling noise

I did make one useful discovery in hospital.  The staff always elevate the head of the bed.  That is useful for sitting up in bed and watching TV but I found it no good for sleeping. I didn't get a good sleep until I had the bed completely flat -- as at home

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Another great Russian lady


I have just come across Aida Emilevna Garifullina (born 30 September 1987). She is a Russian (Tatar) operatic lyric soprano with a powerful voice.  She has sung at the Wiener Staatsoper so it is slack of me that I have only just heard of her.  She sings an utterly charming duet with Andrea Bocelli here:



Not only her singing but her visual presentation is gorgeous: A most attractive lady.  Note the hair for a start.  With a given name of Aida she was obviously meant to sing.  Her mother was a musical lady

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Ghastly events to be followed by more ghast


When I had my big operation to remove a tumor under my jaw last August, I was told to have 6 monthly PET scans as a follow-up.  The tumor was a metastasis from one of my skin cancers (SCCs) so further metastases had to be allowed for.

A PET scan is a form of nuclear medicine.  They inject you with a radioactive dye that clings to cancers.  So it is a first line of defence to detect cancers before they get out of hand.

I had the scan on 12th but was in any case aware of a new lump in my neck so was prepared for bad news.  The bad news led to more scans.  On 13th I saw the ENT specialist, and was booked in for the extra scans.

On 17th I went to Qld. Xray at Greenslopes hospital.  The chief event was an MRI scan, which is much more detailed than a PET scan.  MRI scans are a horror which I tolerate badly.  I have refused them in times past but Greenslopes had a new and larger  machine which was slightly more civilized. Even so, I had to arrive in a pretty bombed-out state in order to go through with it.  I arrived with 20mg of benzodiazepines in me, which is a lot.

As I could not drive in that state, Jenny very kindly drove me in and saw me to the front desk of the clinic.  She then waited through my various ordeals to drive me home.  She wisely brought a book. I was there for the whole morning, 9 to 12. She also helped a lot with all the paperwork before and after.

Thanks to the benzos, I survived the MRI without distress and then went on to a dental Xray, which seemed pointless but was mandated by someone. I then had a fine-needle biopsy to check what cells were actually in the tumor -- SCCs again it turned out.

On Tues 18th I went to the regular ENT conference at PA hospital and got the news that the tumor was malignant.

On 19th I saw my ENT man again and was booked in for the next round of ghast, a visit to hospital to get the tumor excised.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

That saint again


Anne had a surgical procedure booked for 14th so we could not celebrate Valentine's day on the due date.  So we celebrated it a day early.

I normally observe correct ritual for the day, which consists of giving flowers, chocolate, a card and a dinner.  I varied it a bit this time, however.  I gave a card, chocolate and a dinner plus a hand-held Kambrook vacuum cleaner.  I use my own hand-held rather a lot. A bit eccentric as a Valentine present but Anne was very appreciative of it.  She had been having problems with dust on her venetian blinds (Surely an iconic First World problem!) and she thought that the Kambrook would be just the thing to clean them

We dined at an old favorite, the Bollywood.  We both had medium Vindaloo, which was excellent.  They are no longer a Sikh restaurant.  They have been taken over by a Muslim.  But his menu is still as good as ever -- perhaps even better.  They didn't jib when Anne asked for an ice bucket for our Henkel Trocken champagne. So they are not strict Muslims.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Mice: You win some, you lose some


My computer mouse was playing up so I stopped in at Officeworks to buy a new one.  As expected, they had a large display of them, of many different types and at a large range of prices

BUT they were all cordless mice. Cordless mice are an old idea and I had one way back.  But you have to keep putting batteries in them so I always use wired mice these days.  So I was losing on that score.

I did however find a solitary wired mouse half hidden away among the cordless mice so grabbed it and took it to the counter.  It cost me?  Just $4. So it was virtually being given away.  Suits me!  It works very well. So I won in the end.

Wired mice became unpopular because the cord sometimes ran out.  But there's an easy solution to that.  Use a longer cord!  The cord on my new mouse is plenty long enough and you can get extra usable length by plugging it into one of the USB ports on the front of your computer.  Most computers seem to have those these days

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Flickr censorship


As I am a conservative writer it was sort of inevitable that I would be censored on social media.  And I am.  Facebook bans all mention of my Greenie Watch blog and Imgur has erased quite a few of my pictures that have conservative relevance,

But now Flickr.com have joined the party.  I put the picture below up on my Flickr site (  https://www.flickr.com/photos/67016676@N04/ ) recently.  They have removed it.  I wonder why?



Hmmm ... I see it is back up

Monday, January 20, 2020

Another Army dinner


Once again a few of us got together to remember our time in the CMF unit 21 Psych.  Present were Rod, two Peters, myself and significant others with the two Peters.

There were two minor glitches.  The restaurant we were going to was closed!  They are now not open at night until Wednesdays.  That took me by surprise as I have been there on Sundays in the past.

The odd thing is that one of our previous dinners had suffered a similar fate.  On that occasion, however, I had a bit of advance warning so was able to redirect people to the nearby Zambreros.  In Brisbane, Zambreros is mostly a takeaway joint but they do have plenty of tables.  So we were able to get some of their good Mexican food and take it to a table to eat.  So we did exactly the same again tonight.

A wrinkle this time however is that Zambreros no longer has any drinking glasses -- not even for water. As a few of us had brought along wine, that was a bit embarrassing.  As Von Clausewitz tells us, however, army men are supposed to be good at improvising and Rod, our former Sergeant Major, rose to the task.  He went out into the kitchen and found some small but deep dessert bowls that we could at a pinch use in lieu of wine glasses. So we had refreshment after all.

Church affiliations are common among us so quite a lot of the conversation was about church matters past and present.

So the food was good and so was the evening generally