Old folk at lunch

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A haggis plus tablet!



Haggises are of course always a memorable event and when they come with tablet, it is a bonus.  Most people think tablet must have something to do with pharmacies but Scots know better.  Tablet is a great favourite in Scotland. It's available just about everywhere.  It is basically fudge minus the cocoa.  It really does melt in your mouth.


Tablet

So when Anne bought a haggis recently, she bought some tablet to go with it.  And she bought both over to my place last night.  So we had a haggis dinner.  After many years of cooking it, Anne has become an old hand at cooking haggis and I think the haggis I had last night was the best yet.

And Anne went the full hog and cooked tatties and neeps to go with it. She is famous for her neeps.  She knows how much I like cabbage so she did some of that too -- cooked in cream!  Very yummy.  I ate the cabbage first.  Health freaks would scream!

We had it with Tyrrells Verdelho, as usual.  And we had the tablet with a cup of tea afterwards.  So it was a pretty Scottish night. I didn't get into Highland dress for the occasion but I did don a white shirt as a token of "Dressing for dinner".

Anne stayed overnight so this morning I took her to the cafe at the "Cottage Garden" plant nursery in Coorparoo.  It is a bit on the trendy side but a pleasant venue anyway, with lots of greenery around, as you would expect.  We had their breakfast special, which was huge but very tasty.

The two breakfasts plus coffee cost me just over $50, for anybody who might be weighing up whether or not to go there. The service was very slow, even though we arrived just after 9:30am, which is usually a quiet time at most places. The coffee was good, though.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A welcome back dinner for Von


Von & Co. arrived late on Saturday night so I put on a family dinner at the Bollywood so that we could all catch up with her. The Bollywood has hosted so many dinners for us that it is part of "home".  The owner has grown a beard but is otherwise the usual cheerful host.  As a Sikh, he SHOULD have a beard.

We had 13 adults there plus kids. I booked for 12 on a guess so that worked out well.  Getting RSVP replies is always patchy so I have to guess. I made a point of ensuring that George got an invite, as I always do.  And that worked well too.  George was in great form.

Kate and Von seemed to get on well and I think I know why. Both are real ladies. Kate is always very careful of her self-presentation (makeup, dress) so that fits. And as we all know, I have been referring to Von as "Lady Von" since she was 5. From what we hear of Elise, she is already a complete lady too -- at age 3. The fact that she has a gorgeous and very feminine mother may have something to do with that. It will be great to see Elise in November. Feminists greet the thought of someone being a lady with horror, but the men don't. So who's the winner there?

Maureen got Tim along, which was good to see.  Maureen spent a lot of time with the littlies.  She was always devoted to her boys when they were growing up so she obviously misses having little ones around.

Joe didn't say much but seemed to enjoy the occasion in his own quiet way.  He talks 19 to the dozen with Brenton but they are both computer programmers so have things in common that even baffle me -- and I WAS a computer programmer in the good ol' days.  But Joe does talk to me a fair bit when he is in the mood. I hear quite a lot of his thinking.

Ken was his usual interesting self.  He has an enquiring mind, which leads well into conversation.  He talked a bit about his literary endeavours and he mentioned that he gives away copies of the novel he has written.  So if you have not got one, you can now go for it.

Both he and George were scornful of this "cultural appropriation" fad which seems to have become very pervasive.  Everybody adopts lots of our Anglo-Saxon culture so why should we not use bits of various native cultures at times?  I suppose that we use Sombreros, Indian head-dresses and the like for entertainment, while others adopt our usages in deadly seriousness.  But what's harmful about entertainment? The new Puritans of the Left seem to be comprehensively against humour. Joe and I laugh our way through the day so it fits that we are not Leftists.

The littlies ran around like mad things, which I like to see.  They get such enjoyment out of simple things. The restaurant mostly has a takeaway trade so there was mostly no-one else in the restaurant to be bothered by them.  A family dinner NEEDS shrieking kids to be a proper family dinner, in my view.  I was particularly pleased to see how well Hannah got on with her cousins.

I supplied some bottles of Seaview "champagne", as I usually do but everyone was very sparing about drinking it.  None of us need to drink to have a good time and it was in fact a great night.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A marvellous rendition of Meine Lippen, die küssen so heiss by a young Anna Netrebko



From Giuditta (Judith) by Franz Lehar



I know this song well in a performance by the gorgeous Natalia Ushakova.  Ushakova is good but she can't beat the passion Netrebko puts into this performance.  The singer is supposed to be half-mad and Netrebko conveys that

Netrebko seems in fact to be particularly associated with that aria.  She has certainly recorded it often.  And like the great thespian she is, she has done it in a number of ways.  With the Proms performance being particularly jolly.  But the above performance is truest to the plot of the operetta.

And I know what she likes about that aria. It gives her great opportunity to show what she can do. Grand opera is very boring.  People are either dying or about to die. In Carmen he kills his lover and in Aida the lovers get immured.  How ghastly!  But it is much jollier in operatta. Guiditta is undoubtedly the darkest of the  operettas but in the end the reunited lovers just acknowledge one another and go their separate ways.  So this aria gives Netrebko scope to show what she can do. It allows all sorts of expression -- which she delivers brilliantly.

When? When and where was the aria recorded? It was recorded on 7 July 2006 in a grand concert with Placido Domingo, Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon at the Waldbühne ("Forest Stage") near Berlin -- before a huge audience of 20,000. Germans like their music and this aria was after all in German.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Fish, Pergolesi and coconut ice



Anne has been in the grip of a nasty winter wog for over a week.  Her heroic sister June has been supplying her with chicken soup and savoury mince with complete disregard for her own health but she is a former nurse so nurses are like that.

Anyway, as Anne was fighting her way out of the worse effects of the wog, I realized that she had been rather housebound and would like an outing.  So I tempted her with an offer of fish n chips on my verandah.

That may not seem like an offer for the ages but both Anne and I have enough English in us to be great fans of good fish n chips. And I do have a fish shop near me that is spot on.

And my verandah might seem rather humble but it is mostly open to the outdoors, has a vigorous Mulberry tree in front of it and gets good breezes.  And it has wildlife in it -- possums mainly.  But last night was a real highpoint.  Anne actually saw a fruit bat in the Mulberry tree. But most people reading this will probably know from experience that my verandash has its merits

So anyway the deed was done last night and we dined well -- accompanied as usual by the excellent Tyrrells Verdelho.  But what to have as dessert?  I had a couple of offerings but one thing I had was Darrell Lea coconut ice, very  traditional.  Anne went for that.

We reluctantly agreed that with her woggy state we should not kiss but other actions were allowed of course.  What's a four-letter word meaning intercourse?  You think you know don't you?  Well I will tell you.  The word is "talk".  Couldn't resist that old joke.

Anyway, after dinner we listened to music, as is our wont.  We heard some good Schumann and Brahms piano music but the highlight was a recent performance of the Pergolesi "Stabat Mater":  One of the greatest pieces of religious music ever written. It was amazingly good and got through fully to both of us.

And I gave Anne some of the coconut ice to put in her purse and take home. So it was a great night.




Monday, September 12, 2016

A dinner and a disgusted dog


The two things above are not related but they are alliterated

I took Sandy to dinner at a nearby Chinese restaurant last night.  As she is the daughter of two deceased people I was very fond of, it was unsurprising that we got on well.  She has inherited her father's love of classical music too.  So we arranged to dine together again from time to time.  I have always regretted not having a daughter and she has lost her father so we decided, half seriously that from now on she would be my daughter and I will be her father.

When I went into the bathroom at my place this morning I saw out of the window the dog next door relaxing quite close to where I was.  So I woofed at him.  He looked up, saw it was me and put his head down with a very disgusted look.  Dogs and people are good at interpreting one another's feelings but I have never before seen a dog do such a clear expression of disgust.  He was right to be disgusted, of course.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Another supper


It was Fathers' Day today so Joe asked me what I wanted for it.  After some deliberation, I replied that I wanted him and Kate to cook me a dinner for us to have on the front verandah.  So they cooked me a very nice dish of Spaghetti Bolognaise followed by Profiteroles for dessert.  The Profiteroles were very chocolatey so Joe polished off what was left in the dish once they were eaten.

I spent most of the time telling Kate about events in the family when Joe and Timmy were young.  I also told her about what a little lady 3-year-old Elise is and how she and Paul have a very strong "Daddy's Girl" relationship.  I pointed out how Von too was a born lady and how well that has worked out -- with Von leading just about her ideal life in a small NZ country town. So it's a fair bet that Elise will do well too.

So it was a good Fathers' Day.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A last supper



Anne and I had a last supper last night.  It was the 11th anniversary of us meeting and we had our favourite dinner -- lamb cutlets with salad, bread and red wine.  It was meant to be a farewell dinner to our relationship but it was not at all sad.  It was great night, actually.

It's not really a last supper as we will still be seeing one another periodically.  We are both happy with that.

What sent Anne and me apart is my declining energies as I got older.  These days all I want to do is sit in front of my computer all day, whereas Anne still wants get out doing things and going places.  Perfectly reasonable.

The new lady I had in my life didn't last long but I have a couple of other possibilities in mind.  I even got a message from an Ekaterina -- a beautiful Russian lady.  But it turned out that she still lives in Russia -- which was no good to me.  Interesting, though.