Friday, 29 October 2010

Food Glorious Food

What does that title remind you of? Of course, we knew that. The Lionel Bart song 'Food Glorious Food' opens the 1960 movie, directed by Carol Reed, from the stage musical 'Oliver!' This week it has two points of contact for me - three if you include the happy fact that I have eaten food each day so far.

First, on Tuesday after the singing rehearsal a bunch of us watched a DVD of the movie, which seems all the better for turning fifty years old. And yes, we older-than-Fagin's-boys performers are practising some of the numbers (not the Food song) with verve but minus the acrobatics. A sad note is that Jack Wild (Artful Dodger) recently died, too young although past middle age, and it's hard not to think of the young cast as caught in a youthful time loop forever. Ron Moody's Fagin was never bettered. Oliver Reed as villain Bill Sikes was as uber-evil as they get. He was, I believe, the highest (over-)paid actor in England at the time. My favourite remains Bullseye the dog, and we all wondered how Oliver (Mark Lester) acquired a posh accent in the orphanage.

Our friend Angie will have a shot at Shani Wallis's stand-out solo 'As Long As He Needs Me'. If such a lyric were written today for London's West End, no doubt the modern critics would tut-tut and point to its theme (domestic abuse) saying it is inappropriate for performance, i.e. politically incorrect, or maybe Sir David Frost would put in a word, in echo of his vicious rubbishing sneers personally at Lionel Bart when the show was released. He, Frost, showed his true colours: but it is possible that he has grown up in the past fifty years.

That must be it! There's hope for us all.

Second, the food theme. By tonight I will have just about got in shape the recipe book which will be published via in the next few weeks, the result of kind contributions of "Kimberly's friends", some of whom turn out to be none other than the same songsters alluded to above. I am looking forward to sampling everything, starting with Maureen's egg nog and working my way back to the soup, via Elsie's brandy snaps, Gwenda's Irish cream whiskey, cake with brandy, and, in passing, smelling the aroma of Angie's chicken in red wine.

Do we see a pattern emerge here? I might be a chicken vegetarian but nobody said anything about red wine abstinence.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Dublin Cemetery

Now, that's Dublin South Australia - tidy little country town which most of the time the North-South travellers by-pass on the highway or like me call in on, to buy fruit and veg at the well-stocked greengrocery.
Well, on this visit yesterday, returning from my couple of days and nights in Adelaide, I ventured beyond the two or three shops, all the way to the little but well kept cemetery. Spent a quiet 20 minutes reading the headstones and getting a better sense of the area's 1870s onward history. Ate an apple there for an early lunch while walking - yes, and took the core home with me for the compost heap. Then at Kulpara (because I took the inland route) I bought a milk drink and a newspaper at the tourist shop which is stylishly located in an old church building.
The weather was sunny and benign after a mini-heatwave on the Thursday, when a friend kindly invited me to a delicious lunch. The hot day was  followed by a cool and wet Friday.
In Maitland another brief stop at the main store run by the Macks - their son and his wife were my tenants at a house in Samuel Street (since sold) before they bought one just round the corner from mum and dad's shop and it was nicely renovated by family effort. Good example of country town get-up-and-go spirit! Other family members run businesses in Yorketown, illustrating the theme of "all is connected".
In Adelaide at the Nova Cinema I saw the new fine Australian film Summer Coda with its action set in Mildura on the Riverland (an orange-harvesting setting for this "romantic drama" as described in the flyers). Worth seeing. That's my "review" :)
Our informal little sort-of literary group of friends on Friday night took stock and are looking at a dubious 2011 and further future. About half the handful of attenders - me being one of them - have indicated that we are unlikely to remain active next year. Obviously we wish well to all who continue to meet, but the viability of such a small number is compromised. A reliable location has been one diffiiculty: formerly this group - in larger days - used to meet in the Fullarton Park Community Centre. Health issues have been a recurring problem for several people; also unexpected overseas trips; clashes with family events; removal to a South East town for one member and (going back a bit further) to Sydney for another - to live with family. Oh  yes, and the Grinning Reaper here and there.
Nevertheless, our Friday night speaker gave a fascinating insight into the complexities of growing up and living in South Africa through the apartheid era. It would be sad if that evening were to prove to have been the final gathering of this group after nearly twenty years. It "grew"out of a successful international conference held in Adelaide on 1991, but the verb "to grow" no longer applies.
Today's weather is looking placid and I look out through the windows at all the gardening or fixing jobs which I have no intention of doing.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Book Your Space Flight Soon!

Seems that there are nearly 350 eager passengers lined up to fly into space with Virgin Galactic, and the $50million from their advance booking fees has helped with the research and development. You can see here the 4 minute video from 3 days ago --- the successful first release and glide landing of the craft SpaceShipTwo ("VSS Enterprise"). Enthusiastic spectators were Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides, and Virgin founder and a backer of the project Sir Richard Branson. The home website with that video (and more about the intriguing story) is, again,

Further landmarks in the project to put paying passengers into orbit will follow on October 18 and 22. The new runway will be commissioned at the Mojave Air and Space Port in New Mexico (that's a State in the USA, not in Mexico. Non-Americans all knew that, didn't we?)

P.S. The iconography is classic. As if to prove the heritage of Best of Boys' Toys, we have the nice lady painted on the bow of the craft (virginally white), the blokey hugs and dunking of the pilots with buckets of water (possibly that is for technical aerodynamic reasons); other stuff. Hey, I like it all. Now, what was that fare in Aussie dollars?

P.P.S.  For those who are steadfastly uninterested* in spacey stuff, but have for some reason read this far (well done!) here's a curious piece about The Three Hares. Thanks to B.B.'s blog. Note that the hares appear to share only three ears.  Sort of optical illusion. But the Wikipedia article about them explains that this is an ancient emblem of religious and artistic (and mathematical) implications. Hooray. The Three Hares.

*Have you ever heard the word "disinterested" used as if it meant NOT INTERESTED?? Disinterested correctly means unbiased, neutral, unprejudiced. I am biased. I hate and loathe the incorrect usage, even while knowing that the battle is already lost. The word for uninterested is uninterested. I just thought you should know this. Because in the event that you ever were present when somebody used "disinterested" wrongly in my hearing (not you, of course) it would help to explain why I fell to the floor frothing at the mouth. It's O.K., this is meant as a joke. Mostly.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Singing Makes You Smile

Wow, yesterday our singing group resumed weekly rehearsals after last week's unprecedented cancellation, due to sicknesses, of both the practice session and a monthly concert performance - first time ever in the many years the group has been going.
The amusing thing (this week, not last) was that everybody agreed we'd really missed the singing and the friendly company - to the extent that a two week gap felt longer and we were experiencing, I guess, something akin to withdrawal symptoms from an addiction. Is this what it is? But in that case, I will just say that there are probably worse addictions to have.

Sunday, 10 October 2010


Dammit. Nat Geo fooled me. Yesterday's pic said it was Pic of the Month. So I thought. Maybe it was Pic of the Day. I checked the link again today,  and there ya go ... instead of a groovy image of a long shot from above showing a cyclist in the desert, which I thought was worth sharing, it's a new Pic of the Day with an injured rhinoceros. Speculation that he had been jabbed by his girlfriend, either that or by a rival. Whatever, the girlfriend was clearly trouble, which accounts for the guy rhino looking really fed up with things. So just forget my recommendation. Truly I have no interest in rhinoceroseses .. not even as yukky photos with blood.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Lencois Maranhenses National Park, Brazil

This is a great link for you. It's National Geographic Magazine's Photo of the Month from

Lencois Maranhenses National Park, Brazil.  From the website you get to check out easily the year's previous Best of the Month. Spectacular images. Love 'em.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

2010 ST3 What's four million miles between friends?

Sometime this month an asteroid the size of a city block named 2010 ST3 will fortunately avoid hitting Earth, missing by a mere six and a half million kilometres which is quite a close shave in astronomical terms. Interestingly, it is the first such close encounter to be detected in advance by a program designed specifically for the purpose. You can read about it here.

Yesterday along with Gwenda I enjoyed the afternoon spent at the Minlaton Agricultural Show - super weather except for half an hour of dark cloud racing across from the west, but this passed with only a light release of rain. We knew we were in the country because between us we kept meeting others we knew, from at least four towns. Our friend Barbara cleaned up most of the awards in the flower-arranging displays. (I learn that she has done so often in the past as well.)

Also we felt like truants because our monthly concert, also in Minlaton, had been cancelled - first time ever - through the medically-related unavailability of our pianist, then the reserve pianist, then the next reserve pianist. The OTHER reserve pianist had been unavailable (post-op recuperating) from the start, so had not been approached. We are fortunate to have the depth of musical talent to draw upon, but in this case it was insufficient, piano-wise. Naturally, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact of the group's average age being 70+. Right, let's be clear about THAT.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Flaherty's Beach, Latvia, Weird Inventions

Now THERE'S a fine non-sequitur. It's OK ... only nice people with dictionaries read this blog. And a big Hi to new followers on Wills Warble. What on earth are you thinking of??

So, last night a lovely one-hour walk on Flaherty's Beach (in the pic, seen from the dunes looking west across Hardwicke Bay) tide on the turn and for some reason lots of stranded jellyfish. Evening sun just right for healthy exercise on the first day after the clocks went forward. (Yes, I forgot. Again.) Pleasant company.

This morning I slightly struggled with an awkward online edit job from Latvia. I was a bit slow delivering. Riga-mortis.

I can now turn to uploading my next CS book (that is, to which I completed yesterday. It's called Will's Wee Book of Quotations. 'Bout 65 pages. Will go on sale at like its little mates, but it takes a week or two while they send me a proof copy by snail mail and until I approve it. Don't try to look it up just yet.

Here for you is this LIFE link to smile at. 30 Dumb Inventions. But to the more discerning, some of those ideas were worth exploring (which is what inventing is ABOUT) and some - as online comments reveal - were in fact implemented. Like the laryngophone. 30 Not-So-Dumb inventions. Some people simply like the word dumb, to get a cheap attention-grab. Hey, now I'M doing it. Sigh.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Terry Pratchett's Monstrous Regiment Played on Stage

Last night, home by 2am, good late decision - and lucky to get tix - a couple of Pratchett fans saw Pamela Munt's skilled direction of one of Unseen Theatre Company's very best productions at their performance home, The Bakehouse Theatre in Angas Street, Adelaide. (Yes, the quirky old building was once a bakehouse.)

Terry Pratchett, who in real life is now battling Alzheimer's, wrote the book (first published 2003). Stephen Briggs wrote the play script of Monstrous Regiment from the novel, with the author's full approval, as he has done for a dozen other titles from TP's 37 Discworld stories, which have a worldwide following of loyal enthusiasts.

If you are interested at all, you can check out various websites, starting with Terry Pratchett and maybe Bakehouse Theatre (the show ends tomorrow), and Unseen Theatre Company. There were 13 in last night's cast list, and all were excellent in their roles, which may reflect that they're near the end of a full two week run instead of the more normal 7-10 days.

Go read the book. Part fantasy, part sexual politics. Women in the army, plus trolls and vampires. Irresistible.

Amateur theatre is alive and well in Angas Street.