Archive for September, 2013

A Night to Remember!

September 30, 2013

Wow, what a night Saturday was! The backstory is that Aileen entered a competition that had something to do with the Bell Shakespeare Company, and out of the blue, a few weeks ago, she got a phone call from them to say she’d won a prize – a restaurant dinner for 8 people worth $2,400! She didn’t believe it at first – and right up until the actual moment, I think we suspected there must be some flaw somewhere. I mean, she couldn’t even remember actually entering!
Anyway, she made up her eight with Michelle and Shaun, Jeanette and Lawrence, Sue and Bob, and me. Here’s the group –

Left to right: Aileen, Richard, Lawrence, Jeanette. Michelle, Shaun, Sue, Bob

Left to right: Aileen, Richard, Lawrence, Jeanette. Michelle, Shaun, Sue, Bob


The restaurant was Matt Moran’s Aria, up in the Toaster on Circular Quay, and the special dinner was the dégustation menu. We started at six and went through till eleven thirty – officially eight courses, though with unofficial extras it ended up being more like ten. Selected wines to go with each course – oh boy, it was magnificent! We had a room just big enough for eight that had windows on two sides looking out on the kitchen, and the guy that looked after us (more than just a waiter) gave us an explanation on how everything in the kitchen worked – personnel, organisation, cooking techniques. I’d never have guessed it could be so interesting! Half of everything these days seems to be cri-vac cooked, vacuum sealed then cooked for many, many hours at a low temperature in a water bath. Here’s the view –
Area of kitchen for sauces, famous mashed potatoes and some vegetables. Chefs are facing the meat counter.

Area of kitchen for sauces, famous mashed potatoes and some vegetables. Chefs are facing the meat counter.


Not a single course was less than brilliant. Very small portions, of course, but multiply small portions by eight (or ten) and it turns into a huge meal! Ditto eight glasses of wine. Aileen and I had decided to have a hot chocolate on Sunday – which was just about the only thing we felt like eating all day. What a night!

Not Lost in Translation

September 26, 2013

Yay! I’ve just received my author’s copies of the French and German editions of Song of the Slums. The French translation’s by Valérie le Plouhinec and the German’s by Nicola Stuart. I know the French edition is officially released in mid-October – the German edition might be in the bookshops already. The covers are in French style and German style, following on from the styles of the Worldshaker and Liberator covers. Very distinctive to the different countries – I like em both in different ways!
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The French title means something like “Astor: the Rhythm of the Streets” (but it sounds better with the alliteration in French – and “le Riff” sort of echoes the name of the main character in the 2 previous books). The German title is in English – I never even realised at first, that it’s not translated at all. But so many Germans speak English, I guess there’s no problem.

Canberra touring

September 12, 2013

I’ve been so slack with photos! It started on the way back from Queensland, when I knew I had no wifi for posting anything. But I have now – and I’ve only managed pics on a couple of days. Here’s the performer hamming it up at Daramalan College, Canberra –

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– and here’s Gail, who turned up today in her leather-and-metal steampunk bustière when I was doing presentations at Lyneham High School –
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It was a big day, four hours and about 600 students – my throat is really sore. But I reckon the voice will hold out for the last day tomorrow.

Invergowrie Interlude

September 10, 2013

Finally I have wifi access again – at a motel near Canberra! When I got back from the Brisbane trip, our modem had broken down, and no replacement till the middle of this week. So I couldn’t post any news about Chris’s wedding or the school visits. But I’ll post something now – a stopover chez Sophie Masson on the way back home through New England. We couldn’t remember the last time I visited, but definitely more than a dozen years ago. Great to see Sophie and David in their mud brick house – David cooked a great dinner (won’t forget that tarte tatin in a hurry!) in the morning, there’d been a frost, and an old grey kangaroo watched us thoughtfully across the veggie patch. Such a lovely interlude! Only one tiny snag – a house run on solar power has direct current, which is no use for using a mobile charger on! (I found out too late that Sophie and David have a converter to change DC into AC, so that a mobile charger can then change it back from AC to DC!

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