Wednesday, 30 June 2010

'It's All Too familiar'*

(*"Do I Know You" by Toby Keith)

Incoming patient two days ago and instantly I knew that I knew her but for the life of me I wasn't sure from where it was that I knew her. Under hospital rules I couldn't really ask her personal questions unless it was clear that she knew me and she was showing no signs of recognising me.

She looked to be of Greek origin but her name was East European. Was she a waitress at a frequented restaurant? I could picture that but couldn't recall which one. No, maybe she was from a frequented delicatessen or fruit and vegetable store? Perhaps, but I wasn't all that convinced.

Racked my memory for two days and I could picture her in a setting yet couldn't quite work that setting out.

Then today, walking along Broadway to meet up with Kn for lunch at a Chinese eatery near to his workplace it hit me...out of the blue. She was the wife of my local newsagent, or at least she was that until they sold the business to some young Korean men about eighteen months ago. I'd purchased newspapers and other items from her for the best part of two decades.

Strange how difficult it can be to identify someone you meet outside of the usual context you are used to seeing them.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010


I was window shopping but this store didn't have a sausage in the size I wanted.

Monday, 28 June 2010

The Secret in their Eyes

This year's Academy Award winning Best Foreign Language film from Argentina , 'The Secret in their Eyes' was a contentious selection, local critics believing that Germany's 'The White Ribbon' and France's 'A Prophet' were both superior. I have no opinion on this having not seen the other films but I did enjoy 'The Secret in their Eyes'.

Set over twenty-five years with much of the story presented in flashback the film is ostensibly about the search for the murderer of a young woman and for justice. In this alone the Spanish language film presents as an interesting and well told thriller. But the film is also about relationships, friendship, sacrifice and love and these intertwining themes have been constructed in a stylish manner reminiscent of 1940s cinema with it's close ups and slanted camera angles.

A retired court investigator revisits a case of the murder of a newly married young woman. Who did it? Was the real murderer found? Was justice served?

Whether or not it's competitors were more deserving, this is a fine film in it's own right.

(By the way, this is my 1,000th post. I never imagined when I started blogging that I would reach this mark.)

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Vale Academy Twin

(Click on photos to enlarge)

The Academy Twin Cinema closes tonight after it's operators, Palace Cinemas, failed to reach agreement for a new lease with the landlord, the Greek Orthodox Community of Sydney. I've been attending screenings there since it opened in 1974. I have vague memories from my childhood of attending screenings in a smoke filled cinema that occupied the same site many years before. It's a pity that the cinema is closing as it has screened many fine films mostly, but not exclusively, foreign language that the mainstream cinema outlets would never offer. Thankfully, Palace will continue to operate the nearby Verona and Chauvel cinemas. We marked the final day by seeing 'The Secret in their Eyes' this morning.
Academy Twin foyer this morning.
Cinema 500 (the larger of the auditoriums, the other being named Cinema 300) just prior to this morning's screening. Sadly only nine people were present but it was only the 10am session on a sunny Sunday and 'The Secret in their Eyes' has been screening for some time. The queues we saw at the ticket desk for the subsequent sessions as we departed suggest there will be larger attendances this afternoon and hopefully good attendances for this evening's final sessions.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Anyone for a mint?

It's not a good idea to let me loose in a chocolate shop, especially one that provides a scoop for purchases. After a few 'just one more scoop' dips into the Chocolate Peppermint Creams basket I staggered out with this load. They won't last long.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

What glass ceiling?

We residents of Sydney, Australia now have the complete set.
Queen Elizabeth (Head of State)

Quentin Bryce (Governor-General)
Marie Bashir (State Governor)
Julia Gillard (Prime Minister)
Kristina Keneally (State Premier)
Clover Moore (Lord Mayor)

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

She loves me...she loves me not...

Oh dear, the love affair appears over.

Our Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, faces a challenge to his position tomorrow morning from his loyal deputy, Julia Gillard, at a spill of the Australian Labor Party leadership.

Just wait for the assertions of faithfulness and fidelity that will flow tomorrow once the vote is decided.

Isn't politics fun?

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Who knew?

It seems I'm not the man I thought I was; well not at the moment anyway.

My GP informs me that my latest routine blood tests reveal that my testosterone level is low. That's why I am easily angered, fatigued and stressed amongst other negative conditions. Well actually I'm not suffering any of those things but there you are, I'm not as manly as I once was.

What can I say?

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Currumbin - Day 2

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Sunday morning and even in winter a sunny morning on the Gold Coast is a beautiful sight. The maximum temperature was about 22c (72f).
From our apartment, looking north-east over the Pacific Ocean.
...and east over the ocean...
...and south (again). I never tired of that view towards the SLSC and the coastal border area.
Following a light breakfast the six of us wandered along the coast road observing people enjoying roadside breakfasts and window shopping before returning to the apartment for the birthday cake and exchange of presents. The one cake was more than sufficient to recognise my 61st birthday (today) and Fd's 60th (tomorrow).

At noon we drove down to Tweed Heads for lunch at Regatta Steak and Seafood. It has a nice location by the river and reasonable food.

Following lunch I was dropped off at the nearby Gold Coast Airport for the one hour flight home to Sydney. The others then driving to their homes in Ballina  (about an hour to the south) and Brisbane (an hour to the north).

Another enjoyable reunion for the six of us and we will do it all again in July next year when it will be Mt's turn to reach 60.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Currumbin - Day 1

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Our late arrival in Currumbin last night meant that we abandoned plans for any upmarket evening meal instead settling for take-away Thai from a nearby Palm Beach eatery. We were fairly certain the meal would be OK given the heavy patronage evident and so it proved. The various curry dishes were delicious.
Saturday morning was sunny and mild. Looking south from our weekend apartment The Currumbin Surf Life Saving Club is visible against the adjacent Elephant Rock. In the distance are the high rise apartments at the border towns of Coolongatta (in Queensland) and Tweed Heads (in New South Wales). The zoom image makes those towns appear closer than is the case.
Standing on Elephant Rock (our shadows visible) and looking south to Coolongatta and Tweed Heads, this time without zoom imaging.
This time looking north from Elephant Rock over the roof of the Currumbin SLSC towards the dots of high rises at Surfers Paradise in the far distance.
Inside the SLSC looking north the skyline of Surfers Paradise is visible in the distance. The tallest of the high rises is the 70 storeys Q1 building. Our weekend apartment building is the multi-storey building to the left of the beach. Photo taken at 1.33pm.
The same scene taken at 4.18pm with the sun setting behind our apartment building and the distant Surfers Paradise appearing sharper in the clearer light.
Ll took it upon herself to cook pizzas for the evening meal for the six of us, pizza bases and all. The pizzas may not have satisfied the presentation and plating standards for a 'Masterchef' but we sure enjoyed them all. This was Pizza 1.
...and Pizza 2...
...finally Pizza 3.

The evening rounded off with some imbibing, lots of chatter and laughs and an eye to the television screening the Germany v Serbia World Cup match from South Africa.

Friday, 18 June 2010


Day 2 in Brisbane spent mooching around the city and suburbs. Went down to Cleveland (by the Bay?) which probably looks better viewed from afar with its water vistas than on the ground. Surprisingly quiet for a Friday, I thought, and in some ways was like being in a country town.

Ll finally was able to get away from work around 4.15, two hours later than planned, and collected me for the hour or so drive to Currumbin on the Gold Coast where we are spending the weekend.

Thursday, 17 June 2010


(Click on photos to enlarge)

Most of the day was spent in Ipswich, an hours' train trip from Brisbane, with friends from my full time working days both of whom are recovering from serious, life threatening illnesses. It was good to find them both in fine spirits and well on the way to reasonable health. I spent a quiet night back in Brisbane watching the World Cup on television but took a break to wander briefly about the city centre in the early evening.

The square in front of Brisbane's City Hall. The coloured lights embedded in the square change colour every thirty seconds or so.
Brisbane's City Hall, closed for major internal refurbishment and expected to reopen (from memory) in 2012.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Sydney to Brisbane

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The Qantas Club Lounge ahead of boarding my flight. It was late morning and not as crowded as in peak periods but the flights themselves were packed with NSW Blues football supporters travelling to Brisbane for the State of Origin clash in the evening. They would have returned disappointed after yet another convincing defeat at the hands of the Queensland Maroons.
The ascent from Sydney Airport minutes after take off, flying over Sydney's eastern suburbs with Bondi Beach prominent on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and Royal Sydney Golf Club the large green expanse to the left.
About 40 minutes into the flight, the seemingly endless string of coastal beaches on the eastern rim of the New South Wales north coast.
About 55 minutes into the flight and now on descent into Brisbane flying over Surfers Paradise on Queensland's Gold Coast with the dozens of little dots actually being high rise towers, the tallest of which is the 70 storeys tall Q1 building.

Up, up and away....

Am off to Brisbane this afternoon for a couple of days there followed by the weekend at Currumbin on the Gold Coast.

It's a double birthday celebration; my 61st and Fd's 60th.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Show us the goods...

Collingwood footballer Shane O'Bree speaking on radio yesterday about the quality of the players in his current team stated 'A lot of players have got the full package'.

Mmmmm, I'd like to see that.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Masts and Park

The Cruising Yacht Club at the bottom of my garden. Well...not quite, but only a five minutes drive down the road.
Strollers in the adjacent Rushcutters Bay Park on a cold but sunny afternoon this Queen's Birthday long weekend.

(Click on photos to enlarge.)

Sunday, 13 June 2010

A Penny For Your Thoughts

Oh how that saying used to bemuse me.

You see, I'm a pretty thoughtless man. I can go hours without a thought in my head. If I had to rely on thoughts to get rich...well, I'd be a pauper.

In this respect I am not my mother's son. My mother always had thoughts...countless thoughts. She could attach a treasure chest load of thoughts to a single thought of mine. For instance, if I thought...'tomorrow I will go to the movies'...that single thought was sufficient thinking for me. No other thoughts were necessary.

Not so, my mother. To that single thought, my mother would attach other thoughts. What if it rains? snows? is cold? hot? And to each of those other thoughts my mother would attach further thoughts. Should I take food? drink? a friend? And to each of the further thoughts my mother would attach supplementary thoughts. Is my underwear clean? did I cut my toenails? should I brush my teeth, does the car have petrol?

And so on and so forth.

The casual observer would see my countenance as inscrutable, concealing all manner of deep thoughts.

My mother knew better...her son did not possess a thought in the world.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Me Too

If it's good enough for Andrew, it's good enough for me.

A new look.

Now for a haircut......

Thursday, 10 June 2010

No milestone for mother

My mother, who died on 26 March, would have been eighty-five today.

It is a pity that she did not reach the milestone but in reality it would only have been a matter of pleasure for me as in her final years with dementia she no longer showed any interest or awareness of the concept of age and birthdays.

But Mum, I have been thinking of you today.

'...Peas, pudding and saveloys!...'*

(*'Food Glorious Food' from 'Oliver' by Lionel Bart)

Ae and I decided to have a Seniors day and take a ferry trip up the Parramatta River but on arrival at Circular Quay we found the 11am service had been cancelled because of a low tide and the next scheduled service was not due until 12.50pm so we took the Cockatoo Island service instead and disembarked at Woolwich. We enjoyed walking the leafy and quiet streets of Hunters Hill which are a distinct difference from the high traffic Eastern Suburbs streets where we live.
We ended up at the Woolwich Pier Hotel where we enjoyed a leisurely lunch (Barramundi, fries and salad for me and Beef Bourguignon Pot Pie for Ae) surrounded by fellow seniors and mothers with young children. We didn't realise until we checked out the upstairs section after our meal that it contained an open fire which was perfect for a cold day but the skylight downstairs had provided us with sufficient warmth anyway.
After lunch we walked back down the hill to the Woolwich Wharf to await a return ferry.
A view of the wharf and down the Parramatta River towards the Central Business District in the distance (mid-left).
Our ferry for the return journey, 'Friendship', arriving at the wharf.

(Click all photos to enlarge.)

Tuesday, 8 June 2010


I'm not really into 2,500 years' old, three hours' long, Greek tragedies about Kings and Queens who murder each other as well as their own parents and children as told by chanting Greek choruses and characters speaking long and obscure soliloquies.

So it was with considerable lack of enthusiasm that I went to see the Sydney Theatre Company's current production of 'Oresteia'. To my surprise (and a good deal of relief) I quite enjoyed the production. Considerable credit must go to Tom Wright who has created the new adaptation as well directing the production.

I referred to the program notes for a synopsis of the plot which I otherwise would not have understood from the dialogue alone and yet I was able to relate to the dialogue to a greater extent than I expected.

Monday, 7 June 2010

The Wharf

In 1984, The Wharf Theatre opened as the home for the Sydney Theatre Company in the renovated Pier 4/5 which had operated as a shipping wharf from 1919. The majority of the Company's productions that I attend are staged in the two theatres built inside the old pier. The Sydney Theatre Company occupies the upper levels whilst the Sydney Dance Company has a home for its rehearsal rooms and a cafe in the lower levels.
Advertising for the two companies at the front entrance.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Storm approaching Steyne

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Steyne Park, Double Bay this morning with darkening clouds approaching from the right (South-East) ahead of a rain storm.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Animal Kingdom

Seventeen years old  James Frecheville moves in with his grandmother in suburban Melbourne following his mother's death from an overdose. Once there he is drawn into the criminal lives of his four uncles and is exposed to the law of the 'Animal Kingdom'; survival of the fittest.

This Australian film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Festival 2010 and has received high praise from local reviewers. It is cleverly constructed. From the outset a seemingly mundane depiction of a criminal family with little regard for others, I was drawn into the drama as shock turn followed shock turn. By the end, I had been completely seduced by this brilliant film.

Young Frecheville in his first professional acting role is superb and the ensemble cast around him is magnificent; not a weak performer amongst them.

The subject matter of the film is not pleasant but the overall impact is stunning.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Rue McClanahan (1934-2010)

The hilariously slutty Blanche from 'The Golden Girls' has died aged 76 years. Now only Betty White is left.