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 L├Ąchelns 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


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.