Old folk at lunch

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Good news





I cannot resist a little note of satisfaction here about the results my son has just got in his university examinations for the final year of his B.Sc. All his subjects were in mathematics and he got 7s (the maximum possible mark) in all subjects. He will be heading for his doctorate in mathematics now. I am sure it is very evil of me to say so (according to Leftists anyway) but it is a great satisfaction to have a very bright son. His mother is over the moon too. Neither of us have ever "pushed" him in any way. He is just a natural-born academic. I can't imagine where he gets that from! Since IQ is not genetically inherited (according to Leftists) it must just be a random event! I will be going to his graduation ceremony in a couple of weeks. I wonder if I should wear my doctoral robes?

We will be having a small family celebration of the occasion this Sunday -- at which I will of course be opening a bottle of Penfold's Grange.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Voting and St. John's



A busy day yesterday: An election and a concert. I voted at about 11am. My local polling place was VERY well-staffed and well managed. I was in and out in 10 minutes -- unlike the way many Americans have had to line up for hours in their previous Federal elections.

There were of course separate ballot papers for the Senate and the lower house and the fact that the two ballot papers are very different in size means that it is almost impossible to get the two mixed up. Nonetheless there was a lady standing by the ballot boxes to see that everybody put their paper in the right box. Very good for absent-minded people like me!

I gave my Senate vote to Pauline, of course. Her policy of restricting Muslim immigration is the only sensible one for any Western nation, in my opinion. She only got about a quarter of the votes she needed for a Senate seat, however, so I think she has had her day.

That night Anne and I went to a performance of Handel's "Messiah" at St. John's Cathedral. It is on every year and I rarely miss it. Being a great stone cathedral, St John's is of course a marvellous venue for it. The performance was put on by the Bach Society, of which I was once a member. I knew a few people in the choir. The singers were all good. We even had a good tenor! (Massingham). The orchestral forces were a bit under-strength, though. Only one bassonist! I don't know what they would have done if she had called in sick!

Because I was steeped in the Bible in my teens, I recognized and understood the scriptural quotations that form the libretto so it was rather like meeting old friends again for me. When, for instance, I heard "even so in Christ shall all be made alive", and "The trumpet shall sound", I was thinking: "1 Corinthians 15". It was a great evening. The aria that was ringing in my head afterwards was, unsurprisingly, "The trumpet shall sound". It is quite marvellous and joyous music that does great justice to the faith and words of St. Paul.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Another poetry night



Last Saturday I organized another poetry night for my son Joe -- this time to introduce him to some of the great English poetry that his High School education had ignored. Last poetry night covered great Australian poems. We again centred the night around dinner. Anne cooked us some excellent roast pork and a date pudding for dessert. As well as Joe and his girlfriend Sam we had Jill and Lewis there plus Anne and myself. To do the reciting we had Paul Sherman, who is active in Brisbane theatre.

Paul spent a lot of time reminiscing about his own past theatrical activities rather than reciting poetry but Joe seemed to find it interesting. It was an introduction to a world outside his own experience.

We did however read or recite a lot of well-known poetry: Quite a lot of Shakespeare plus Tennyson, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Blake, G.M. Hopkins, Leigh Hunt and even some Chaucer. Being a keen Chaucerian, I would not have let the night pass without some Chaucer. I recited the Chaucer in Middle English and Joe seems to have enjoyed that. Sam was out of the room when I recited it so Joe got me to do it again later for her benefit.

I will plug the hole that his school left in my son's cultural education yet! Happily, Joe seems very pleased to be introduced to such things. There is such a huge wealth of enjoyable English poetry, however, that I imagine I might have to have a lot more poetry nights before I am happy that Joe has had the opportunity of hearing all the poems that I love.