Old folk at lunch

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Travel



As I see it, there are three groups of travellers: Young people who are seeing the world before they settle down,  People on higher incomes who can afford to go overseas at least once a year and people on average incomes who can't afford to travel much but who save up for the BIG TRIP when they retire.  And with the price of cruising way down, people in the latter category are finding that they can afford several trips instead of just one big one.

In my 30's I was getting good money as a university lecturer so I went overseas a lot and saw just about all I wanted to see.  So these days I prefer the comforts of home to the hassle of travel.

But now that she has retired Anne is making up for lost time.  She travels quite a lot both in Australia and overseas.  She is at present on a guided tour through the Top End.  She likes art galleries in particular so there is a picture of a happy Anne at Darwin Art Gallery below.


She looks like she has found an "Aboriginal" car door there. We both like Aboriginal art but there is no telling how much of it is actually done by Aborigines these days.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

IN MEMORIAM: CHRIS BRAND


The last 12 hours have been very tearful for me. After a long battle, Chris Brand has just passed away.  Chris and I were born on opposite parts of the world but we could well have been twins. We were the same age, we both had a classical education (though Chris acquired his in  circumstances much more distinguished than mine) and both of us were very self-confident and independent and thought very similarly.  To defy all the nonsense that is taught in our society we had to be very self-confident and independent.  Both Chris and I waged an unrelenting war on political correctness.

Sadly, I never met Chris in person but I am pleased I had a proxy with him up to the end. My stepson Paul and I had always got on exceptionally well.  Paul too is very independent and there was a time in his teens and early 20s when I was the only person Paul would listen to if any kind of advice was being offered.  So when Paul moved to Edinburgh for business reasons I was greatly pleased that I could send him a friend very much like myself.  And Paul did indeed develop a great friendship with Chris.

Something that upsets me about Chris's death is that I could have prevented it if I had known earlier what I know now.  He died in an NHS (government) hospital of hospital-borne infections. He got one after another, progressively weakening him until he had nothing left to fight with.  NHS hospitals are riddled with hospital borne infections and Scottish NHS hospitals are said to be worse even than English ones.  Private British hospitals are however usually free of such infections.  With the benefit of hindsight I would have asked Paul to put Chris in a private hospital very early on.  I could have funded it and he would be with us today.

Curse and goddam the NHS!

It is however a comfort that Chris's wife, Dr. Shiou-Yun Fang [nataliasyfang1974@gmail.com] sat with him to the end.  Perhaps in deference to a Chinese custom she even sat with him for some time after he died.  She is from Taiwan and is a distinguished art historian. Those who enjoyed Chris's thoughts in life may wish to comfort her in her great loss by sending her your condolences and prayers and recollections of Chris's wisdom. I will leave his blog in place for as long as Google permits it. It is IQ & PC.

UPDATE:  Joe and I had a small "wake" after dinner for Chris. It consisted of Scotch and Coke plus a cake that Joe chose from Woolworths:  A "White mud" cake. White mud sounds pretty strange but it was a nice cake. Joe met Chris a couple of times when he was in Scotland and was favourably impressed by him.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A non-Mother's day weekend


My mother is deceased so I was uninvolved with the festivities.  But things happened anyway.

Anne came over on Friday with a firm request for Japanese food so we repaired to the Sunny Doll.  I had omurice as I often do and Anne had three courses: Tempura vegetables, Gyoza and Yakitori lamb.  I did "help" with all 3 of her courses.  The restaurant is next door to Woolworths so we afterwards went looking for things we "needed" there. Anne put a packet of white tea -- whatever that might be --  into my shopping basket and we also got some Pancetta.

Then on Saturday morning we filled up my $8 Aldi thermos and went in the Toyota to Muzza's to get pies.  I got steak, tomato and onion as I usually do and Anne ordered steak & mushroom.  We then took pies and thermos to Orleigh Park for a breakfast beside the river.  It was raining a bit but we found a shelter.  Rather surprisingly, the thermos worked well enough.  I once had a thermos that was actually made by Thermos!  Can't remember what happened to it

On Saturday night the Pancetta came into its own.  I used it as a base for some yummy sandwiches. I make a good sandwich so Anne chose that for supper.

Sunday morning was a bit different.  Joe could not join me for breakfast as he was shouting his mother a breakfast.  I suppose I could have come along but I thought they deserved some interrupted mother-son chats on mother's day. So I went into Stones Corner for breakfast instead.  I had a Tandoori chicken bagel, which was good but surprisingly large. That night, however, Joe and I together dined at Guzman y Gomez -- on Burritos.

Then on Monday night I shouted another Nando's visit, with Jenny and Joe coming along but without Kate as she had to work late.  Jenny and Joe had a lot of discussion about Joe's present search for a new job.  She warned him about various pitfalls in job advertisements.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Wine talk


Wine talk is a lot of fun.  It describes things that mostly reside in the talker's imagination.  Dan Murphy's have an advertisement that describes a wine originating in the Adelaide hills as follows:

Picked at night to preserve the nose of tropical fruit flavours of passionfruit, guava and pineapple with classic gooseberry for good measure. The grapefruit and citrus palate is fresh and lively with a clean finish. The hint is in the name as this is a perfect wine for a light lunch or al fresco dining.

Tropical fruit in Adelaide?  Pineapples and Guavas?  I ate a lot of guavas in my tropical childhood but I have  never seen them anywhere South of the tropics.  I am slightly surprised that the writer has even heard of Guavas.  I can still taste them when I think about it.  It is certainly a very pleasant  taste but unlike any other. Unlike the wine writer, I won't presume to describe it


Monday, May 8, 2017

Secret men's business and a last supper



Anne came over on Friday and we had one of Muzza's excellent family steak pies for dinner, with salad.

Then on Saturday morning we set off for a picnic breakfast.  I made chicken & mayonnaise sandwiches, filled up the thermos and we Humbered out to Wynnum.  Win with Wynnum!  Before we left I said there was no need to take picnic things as I keep a picnic basket permanently in the car.  And I do.  In the Toyota.  But we arrived at Wynnum in the Humber.  Embarrassment! But the sandwiches went down well. I make a good sandwich! And it was nice sitting beside the seaside in one of the shelters at Wynnum North.  To make up for the missing tea, I took Anne to the Phams for coffee and cakes -- where we had some excellent apple and apricot crumble.

Then Sunday night was secret men's business again.  I had Jason over for dinner. And Joe came too. I cooked us up one of my versions of chili con carne which turned out quite well.  I used my secret ingredient:  A Masterfoods flavour sachet!  I probably put a bit too much water in with the meat and beans so there was quite a lot of juice left in the pan when dinner was over.  So I poured that off into a bowl and put it in the fridge.  So it became a very tasty Gazpacho (cold soup).

Then after dinner on the verandah we cleared the dishes away and out came the computers instead. We brought out my old XP machine and an Amiga 500. Joe had bought a card for the XP which enabled file transfers between an IBM and an Amiga hard drive. There are not many Amiga hard drives around but I got a 50 meg one years ago and filled it up with games and other Amiga software.

So the task of the day was to get the new card working.  It took some doing but Jason was a tower of strength in the matter, as he always is in computer matters.  So he and Joe did get the new system working.  Files were transferred! Some other problems did arise however so another night of secret men's business is on the cards.  Neither Anne nor Kate came to the dinner part of the evening, though they were invited. Being shooed away after the dinner in favour of computers would not have been good for female self-esteem.  Kate and I are agreed that computers are Joe's first love so she is a Trojan to cope with that.

Then on Monday night was a sort of last supper for Suz and Russell.  They have packed up their house ready for their emigration to the shaky isles so are spending  the time between now and when they fly out staying for a few days with various friends.  On Monday they were staying at Jenny's place.  So for dinner that night, Jenny and I decided to make it a champagne and pizza occasion for the emigrants plus Joe, myself and Kate.

We had quite a jolly time with lively talk about all sorts of things plus some fun photo taking.  Dusty and Sahara were pretty wound up so I had a bit of fun  playing with them.  Kate very patiently let Sahara play with her hair. So it was a good farewell dinner.



Monday, May 1, 2017

A busy weekend


I had some big bits of chicken schnitzel that I had got off Woolworths which had been done with some sort of savoury crumbs -- so I was interested to try them.  So when Anne came over on Friday night (28th), I got her to fry them up.  I supplied a basic salad and bread rolls.  And the "enhanced" crumbs were in fact quite good.  We had a bottle of "Dopf" Alsatian wine to go with them.

Anne stayed over but because we were going to a lunch later in the day we had a light breakfast at home the next day -- croissants plus leftover salad from the night before.  I am rather eccentric in what I put on croissants so this time I opened a bottle of old-time Peck's Anchovette.  It still tasted good.  Anne had some French blackberry jam on hers.

Then at 11am Joe drove us all over to Suzs's place for a farewell lunch.  Suz and Russ emigrate to NZ soon.  There were plenty of dips on the table and I contributed a small but very fruity fruit cake.  I sampled the dips extensively.  I talked to Russ about how cold he would find it in Invercargill but he was resigned to it.  They both have good job prospects there, apparently.  For lunch Russ cooked us up some excellent sausages on his big Italian BBQ, as he usually does.

George and Jenny were late arrivals and I had quite of lot of chats with George.  He always has something interesting to say. George is a civil engineer, in both senses of the term "civil" and he told us things about his work that were surprising -- like the problem of an undotted line on a road. I was also impressed to hear that one of his daughters has just completed her Ph.D. studies -- in taxonomy, of all things.  I would have imagined that 99% of taxonomy was old history now.  No.  Taxonomy has nothing to do with either taxis or tax.

After a big lunch, Anne and I felt like something a bit light for supper so we got out some more Moroccan vegie burger patties from my freezer and I cut up an onion to have with them. Anne fried both up and with a slice of bread they made quite a good simple meal.

Then on Sunday morning, Joe and I had our usual Sunday brunch at the pie shop together, and for around 2 hours we talked solid politics -- with particular enjoyment of Mr Trump, of course. Wotta guy!  He is the ultimate norm violator.

And on Monday night I shouted Joe and Kate a dinner at Nando's, a place Joe likes.  They had the paella and I had half a chicken and chips. We discussed jobs a bit as Kate has just got a good one and Joe has handed in his resignation from his present job. Joe gets a lot of attention from recruiters because of his high  IT skills and it looks like his next job might be at a much increased salary.