Thursday, January 28, 2021

A blackout!

I woke up at about 2am this morning to find no lights on in my room. I wondered for a few minutes how come I had left no lights on. I always leave something on.  Then I realized that the power was out. I was surprised however that I could still see a fair bit of my room about me.  Light was coming through my curtains

I surmised that the street lights must be going so went to my front door to check.  They were out too.  But there was a great bright searchlight right above me in the sky that enabled me to see the street and what was in it fairly clearly.  It was the moon on a cloudless night.  As a creature of civilization I was amazed at how bright it was.

The ambient temperature on my old fashioned glass thermometer was 27 degrees Celsius so neither heating nor cooling was needed

But since I was awake I wanted to do a few things, electricity or not.  So I lit up my two kerosene lamps and my three candles. 

That gave me enough light to cut out a few things from a newspaper that I had been meaning to cut out.

That was the limit of what I could do however so I went back to bed and dozed off into a light sleep.  But at 3:40am the electric lights came back on.  So I got up and blew out my candles and lamps

Ever since childhood I have always had a low-level light source in my room at night. It started out with a small kerosene lamp beside my bed from when I was about 6.  It saves me tripping over things if I get up.  So I was pleased that I could continue that during a blackout.

My bedside light above

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Australia Day

I celebrated Australia day in the traditional manner -- with a family BBQ. My brother joined us. We had lamb chops, sausages, salad, various cheses and Tasnmanian Pate. So the food was good.

We had most of the lunch under shade in the garden at Lindwall St. but adjourned to air conditioning for our Pavlova dessert

We discussed the ever-growing "Invasion Day" movement and wondered why they cannot have their day while we had ours. Each to his own, we said

But the motivation for the protests is actually clear. They smell money in it. It's an ever louder call for "reparations". They seem to think that can get yet more money from the government for people with any Aboriginal ancestry.

The fact that the government already gives them various types of support that are not available to other Australians is ignored. Gratitude? You'd be joking. The existing payments have simply made them greedy for more.

They think that more noise will produce more money. But that is unlikely to happen. Whatever they got they would want more and that should be obvious to anyone. One of the reports below asked for a million dollars for each aborigine. The whole thing is just contemptible money grubbing -- JR

Monday, January 25, 2021

A perceptive comment

Since the death of Chris Brand, my mental "other half", I have had occasional contact with Dr. Natalia Brand, Chris' widow.  She is a highly qualified Taiwanese art historian and gets a huge amount out of art.  A painting that I would not look at twice she gets lots out of. 

She has made Chris's old apartment into an art gallery and has a male artist friend who helps her with that. I am delighted that she has good company now.  I had not realized that Chris was something of an art collector.  That would have drawn Chris and Natalia together. Though they were pretty good partners generally.

In a recent email from her she commented on this blog and its heading. She wrote:

"I have read your notes from a 'quiet' life. Instead, you have had a turbulent and emotional life. But, I am glad you enjoy your food and drinks"

She is right. The fact is that the recent revolution in my 15 year relationship with Anne has overturned my quiet life. But it shows that what exists between us is actually a great romance, improbable as that may seem. That Anne still wants to see me regularly despite now being shacked up with someone else is surprising enough but equally surprising is that I now see Jenny six nights a week but still want to see Anne. Is that not a great romance?

A very affectionate relationship that survives our circumstances is surely an exceptional one at least.  It may even be more exceptional than the arrangements of Antonia Staats

So my weekly meetings with Anne do make me very happy but I would much like to see her more often.  That may happen

Friday, January 22, 2021

A special dinner with Anne

Anne has a b*rthday soon so we organized a special Friday night dinner to mark the occasion. I gave Anne a pretty blue and silver bracelet as a present and also got in for the dinner a bottle of 2017 St. Henri Shiraz, a premium Penfolds product.  I noticed that a wine guru said it goes well with lamb. So I was amused that that was the main course I bought it for.

Below is the bracelet against the background of a dress that Anne thinks it goes with. She definitely likes it

Anne brought with her some very tasty Tasmanian oysters for the entree and I provided some duck pate.  We had a French stick for the bread.  

We had very leisurely entrees sitting on my verandah, which is always a very pleasant location.  We sat there through twilight.  I opened the St. Henri as soon as we sat down.

Then for the main course we moved indoors to my dining table.  It was a candle-lit dinner from that point on.  I normally just have a set of three candle holders for that purpose but on this occasion we supplemented them with the fancy kerosene lamp that Anne had given me for Christmas.  So we had plenty of light. I turned off all the electric lights as soon as we sat down.

I also got out my best dishes and my best goblets

For the main course I got in some French cutlets, as I usually do for special dinners with Anne.  They are our favourite dinner.  

They were large and juicy and Anne cooked them to perfection.  I provided a good salad including avocado, Feta cheese, asparagus etc.  So we ate well.

After dinner we adjourned to my room to lie down and listen to music, mostly Mozart.  It made a very relaxed finale to the night.  And we did have some good birthday kisses.

I was a bit down in the dumps when Anne came over at about 5:30pm but I was in good cheer by the time she left -- at about 9pm.  I had hoped she would stay the night but she had family matters to attend to on Saturday morning.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Dinner with George P.

Last night, Sunday, George came to my place bearing dinner. It was a goat stew.  (actually Caldereta, a Philippine dish comprised of goat pieces in a stew).  His wife is a Filipina but George cooked it himself. The stew had the bones left in, as that boosts the flavour, so I had to be careful when I ate it.  It was very tasty.

I have known George for around 30 years and have always liked him.  I used to invite him to all dinners I was putting on.  Lately, however, I have had to cut back on all group dinners due to the deterioration in my hearing.  I can hear others well enough in a 1 to 1 situation in a quiet place but if there is a group of us and noise in the background I miss most of what is being said. George is the same.  So to keep in touch we arranged for him to bring over a dinner to have on the verandah at my place.  Those who know it know what a pleasant place for a dinner my verandah makes.  Best of all it is quiet there.

So George and I had lots of chats.  George has been to the Philippines a couple of times so knows a bit about it. He regaled me with stories about how violent life over there is. Life is cheap there. It sounds a lot like Chicago. No wonder so many young Filipinas emigrate.  

The Republic of the Philippines supplies wealthy English-speaking countries with large numbers of nurses, maids and wives to older men. In addition to their native Tagalog, most Filipinas know a fair bit of English. They learn it at school and English is widely used there. So that helps the transition to places like Australia and the USA. Pity the many who go to Saudi Arabia, though. Devout Catholics and bigoted Muslims make a very unhappy combination: "Every year, an unknown number of Filipinos in Saudi Arabia are victims of sexual abuses, maltreatment, unpaid salaries, and other labor malpractices"

In a fortnight's time George and I will have another dinner with me cooking.  I cook a few things that usually turn out well

Tuesday, January 12, 2021


A busy day.  I went to my local Indian doctor to finish off getting my right ear cleaned out.  I had been putting drops in it to prepare the way. And this time she managed to clear the ear right out, which was a relief.  It certainly helps my hearing

And then I got her to do my first injection of Zoladex.  It is an anti-androgen medication to control my prostate cancer. One injection lasts 3 months. I was previously on monthly injections so I am glad to be past that

One effect of anti-androgens is that it saps your energy -- and my energies are very low.  I experienced that same day.  I had arranged that I would cook dinner that night for Jenny and me.  I cooked spag bol, something I have cooked many times over the years. And I did manage to cook it this time. But it was a struggle. For someone who can barely stand up, cooking was a challenge.  But when Jenny arrived at 6:15 both the pasta and the meat were cooked and ready.  Jenny however offered to do a few finishing touches and serve the dinner up -- an offer I gladly accepted

And the dinner turned out quite well.  The $2 bottle of sauce from Woolworths that I used must have been a good one.

We would normally have spent Monday evening at Nandos -- with Ken and George -- but I have cancelled those meetings on account of my poor hearing.  I just could not follow the conversations at those dinners. So it has a sort of fitness that I did instead  cook a dinner at home on the first day of the revised arrangements.  Jenny has a loud clear voice so I can usually understand her.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Mostly good news

I got two lots of findings today -- from a PET scan and a blood test. The best finding was no more cancers in my head and neck area.  That is where the big problems were previously.  So the 12 exposures of radiation therapy that I had would seem to have wiped out any stray cancerous cells left over from previous treatments there.

My other cancers had not advanced but a small new cancer was detected in my chest.  

So that sets me up well for the Lumina treatment, where they inject stuff into you that kills all cancers in your body. It's hugely expensive but will be great if it works.

I also got some blood test results which found that most of my functions were ok.  The exception was iron levels and vitamin b12.  So I will be going onto supplements to bring up levels of those.

But the best news of all is that the PET scan people at one stage weighed me.  And I am down to 105 KG.  At my heaviest I was 123 KG.  I am not sure what I have to thank for this miracle but I have lost a lot of my appetite in recent times.  Dinners that I once would have scoffed down, I now cannot finish

And my waistline has of course also reduced.  So I got out some of my old shirts that I had grown out of and I can now wear them again. Fun!

Friday, January 1, 2021

A new year

I am sort of surprised to find myself in a new year.  2020 had an air of finality to it but it ended surprisingly quickly. It was an eventful year for me with lots of interesting experiences but I am hoping for a less interesting life this year.

Jenny and I ushered in the year with minimal fuss. We had some excellent takeaway Indian curries from Spice Avenue at Stones Corner for dinner -- chicken Jalfrezi plus a really excellent Lamb Korma. We finished the dinner with plum pudding and cream. So we ate well.

About 11:30 I made Jenny and myself Bloody Marys.  And they really did look bloody.  The tomato juice must have been a bit concentrated.  We had them on my verandah, where there is always the touch of a breeze, so it was a pleasant place to welcome the new year in.

There was not much to welcome the year in, no fireworks and only a bit of distant cheering. But we toasted it anyway.

Jenny stayed overnight.