December 2ndOK who stole Summer? It's cold and wet today. People are wandering around the hills in coats. I'm wearing a beanie. So much for me heading to Olinda pool today to swim. I'm sure the warm weather will arrive soon enough, I just didn't expect ice and sleet today. I'm hanging out with Bruce & Jean and we are talking about our wild peacock invasion. They fess up that they had peacocks at their place , raised from chicks. Their favourite was Dereck What a strange name for a peacock. of course I love it.
I start addressing some christmas card envelopes. Wonderful just to have 100 this year and not 14,000! LUXURY, trust me.
In the afternoon Mark starts to play Deep Purples "Smoke on the water" on guitar so I look up the song lesson for bass! Might as well start with a classic. Ok the guitar is out of tune so time now spent tuning. It's a long afternoon.
Sad news that Aussie guitarist Stuart Fraser passed away, such a talent, and he played in professional bands since he was very young (15!). The night before Martin Armiger from The Sports died at his home in France. Martin was always a sweetheart as well. I guess we are at that age where many of the musicians we spent time seeing play in the seventies are dying.
December 3rdWe wake up with avery very early morning call that Greedy Smith from Mental as Anything has passed away, a massive heart attack. So incredibly sad. It really does happen in threes. What a shitty week. I chat with some of the band and friends who were close to Greedy. Shock and sadness. Of course radio goes nuts and plays a lot of Mental as Anything, such fuckers, why can't they support bands when the band members are alive!
My fave Greedy memory is sitting on the top steps of Chapel on Chapel gallery. We'd all been setting up the gallery for the Mental III art show and worn out. A coffee arrived and sat next to Greedy outside having a drink. He suddenly pulls out a harmonica from his jacket and starts playing. This beautiful cloudless night, large moon and the rattle of the Prahran trams rolling down Chapel street- Greedys playing just seemed to fit so perfectly.
I chat to Peggy from the local IGA today. She's off to Magnetic Island late December so give her the good juice on some secret fun things to do on the Island.
December 4thI am being patient, I AM being patient , I AM BEING PATIENT.... was hoping the big plan would kick in before the end of 2019. Still time and you know, I MUST be patient. It will happen.
Nice chat to Katja today, we are both worried about the NSW bushfires, the conditions seem perfect for some terrible fires. Stay safe Miss Kat and all our other mates in NSW. We still have those terrible memories of the fires down here. Aussie Summers sure can be brutal. Not just because of the human lives that are lost but all the wildlife too.
December 5thMy parents would of been married for 60 years today. So blessed to have our Mum still with us, my sister and that incredible niece.
Wow our water bill was so very cheap this quarter, not sure if they over estimated our previous bills, but $60 for three months is not bad. Wish it would stay at this rate. I worry more when our bills are cheap, usually means they have stuffed up and we will pay double next bill.
Fresh pineapple today, it's the perfect weather for them. I have it sitting outside and Andy the Kookaburra arrives and just gives the pineapple a dirty look. I realise it's sitting in his spot. Yum this is such a lovely pineapple-just perfect. $1.50-what a bargain.
December 6thI'm back to getting rid of three items a day, I managed 17 today. Opened two of my time capsules that are hiding in my wradrobe. A real surprise in one amidst all the average crap, a packet of polaroid photos. Some from the Neil Finn 98 TWT world tour, mostly ones I snapped in the band room, the rest from a Xmas gathering at Greville street in 1998. I really like them, saying that I really like polaroids. We all seem to look good in polaroids, that instant soft gel lens.
I scan up some photos of The Sports Martin Armiger at the Telford Motor Lodge in Sydney- June 1979. Mostly taken in Martins room. The Sports were in town, no doubt playing at the Bondi Lifesaver around the corner. I remember Martin trying to teach us to play Backgammon. Mark sends me some of his great live shots of Martin at the Myer Music Bowl-Mushroom Evolution concert.
Happy Birthday you know who!
December 7thI am excited, Mark just bought me an original 'Slade Alive' LP as a mini christmas present. It's in really good condition and a gatefiold. My copy was destroyed at Wollongong, I have the deluxe cd but very very excited to have vinyl again. Such a golden age for album art, it was all part of the experience. The other thing about this album , Australia was the only country that it went #1 , UK-#2- ok on the UK charts for a year but never quite cracked the #1 spot. Still very few live albums even go top 10 let alone to the #1 spot.
A nice afternoon so yard chores- clean the back decking and start on the gutters- which we clean BUT they have these fire covers on them, cost us a fortune to install and locked on with hundreds of screws , so i gave up trying to take them off.
I head down to Kalwarra and buy the weekly plants. Ruth & Chris are on duty, fun volunteers and the local cricket club are playing on the oval, I find cricket to be so fucking BORING! Guys to moan and bellow when they catch a ball, like they've cum in their gym shorts. (yawn).
December 8thSo John Lennon gone 39 years today. We take some of our Beatles piano rolls to a friends house , who is fortunate enough to have a pianola and pump out some Beatles tunes in his honour.
December 9thI do joke that it is "World Wide Big Wig Day". Really I made it up and just wanted an excuse to run a picture of Paul Hester and BCO's Richard Pleasance in big wigs, plus one of yours truly. I'm amazed at how many people believed me.
It IS Nick Seymours birthday today and you can believe me on that. Lots of well wishes arrive.
I'm at Butlers and find a cool little present for 'Belle in France. Hopefully she will love it. I even manage to get it in the mail and off to France, thanks to the great staff at the Olinda Post Office.
Sad to see so many lives lost on White Island when the volcano erupted. I can't believe the tour companies ignored the warnings.
A hot day so i top up the decking bowl with water . Within a few minutes, cockatoos, King parrots and rosellas arrive. I finally get the snap I wanted of one of the cockatoos dripping water from his beak.
December 10thBilly Thorpes exceptional 'Tangier' album was the final piece of the puzzle that fell into place to push me to go to Morocco with Marky. I know Mark has this Christmas surprise 14 days early but what the hell, a few people almost let it slip so decided now was the time. So celebrating my birthday in Marakesh. Life is so short and if this really is the only life we have , why waste it. Such an incredible world to explore.
Though he is not with us anymore, here is Billy Thorpe at the Basement Sydney in 2006 performing 'Tangier'.
Quite a large group of us catch up at Montage, Marys holding court which is hysterically funny...and not an Angry Bird in sight.
December 11thWe have an abundance of roses, mostly due to the weather so pick a bag full for the little table vases at Montage. It's great they have fresh flowers, and if it saves them a few dollars I'm happy to give them some of ours.
I also head off into the Kalorama wilderness to try and find a few more Blackberries for our jam. Very few have ripened up here, it's this nutty weather. I stumble (I really DO stumble) upon a small area where they are ripe and it's just enough. So the afternoon spent making jam and a few more jars of chutney. My taste tester tells me both are pretty good.
Off to Peter and Marks for a Christmas gathering tonight. I park the car on the nature strip and arrive at the same time as Josie & Pete. Lovely to catch up with Janet again. A fabulous night. We head home way after midnight. Such a lovely bunch of people, something extra special around the community up here. Was Mark G really drink G&T's by the end of the night. I am shocked.
December 12thDate night for us and a gathering at St Kilda of some art friends. We are saddened , the wonderful Flame is now closed. I did chat to the owner on my mobile and it sounds like it might reopen elsewhere. Date Night will never be the same. There is something special after all these years to be able to go out to dinner with the person you love and still have some sort of magic connection.
The traffic was non existent tonight, so made it to St Kilda in no time at all. You can smell the ozone from the bay , quite a lovely night outside, which is great because we are all on the balcony. So many artists or art loving people & tonight we all seem to be chatting about Christine Polowyj's upcoming show at the Jackman gallery. Nice to sit with Jace, our mate Kim & her hubby , William and JW. Home by 2.00 both of us too vibed to sleep so we watch some cable. A power outage for 10 seconds zapped the latest Batwoman episode so have to wait for a re-record. Welcome to life in the hills.
December 13thTried Greek style spinach/fetta stuffing in a boneless rolled chicken from the Speciality Kitchen. Now that was nice. Very nice!
I chatted to my Mum twice today, at one stage we both ended up laughing till we were in tears. One of those classic son and Mum moments. She's still managing, and Maddison keeps her on her toes. She says she's excited to see Mark and myself at Xmas, she loves Marky and they both always gang up on me. Still so bloody skinny, no bat wings on her. But she's been a thin girl all her life, so I doubt in her eighties that she is suddenly going to be a obese and have to get hip replacements and all of that. She tells me that she found another box of Dads slides, so I am hoping they are ones none of us have seen. That would be cool.
December 14thWhat 10 days till Christmas, no way. Whatever happened to 2019? It flies by. I am a naughty boy, I start my day nibbling on one of Isabelles chocolate gifts. Every year she doesn't forget and a wonderful box of chocolates arrive from France.
The weather is more like Winter and we wake to find Kalorama in fog.
I hope the local CFA have Rudolph on their Fire truck today as they drive Santa all around Kalorama. Yes i can see a faint glow, I know that reindeer nose anywhere.
So Santa stops his truck at our place and we pose for a few photos , all for Maddison of course (cough cough). I have to say Santas volunteer firefighter helpers are a good looking bunch this year. Someone hose me down, please.
December 15thI manage to get a tiny bit of mowing in and Mark holds the ladder while I work on the gutters. Some super hot days coming up so a little bit of effort is required. Fire Season is upon us and after all the other states having such horrible fires, it is a good reminder for us all to clean up .
I know Andy White and some other mates wanted to catch up with us at Montage this weekend but can not find him, maybe he is still overseas.
December 16thWe are all awake early, Mark is way way too excited about Morocco . Actually it's great as his input is brilliant, the overseas trip continues to take shape.
I'm outside opening the back gate as our friend Trudi is visiting. I spot a cool spiderweb in the japanese maple tree covered in dew and I just know I have to photograph it. It could end up being my favourite photo for 2019. I had a vision of it in my head and the end result was very close to what i imagined. That rarely happens. The dew on the cobweb looks like millions of shiny diamonds.
A fabulous morning with Trudi. We are given the most beautiful handmade picture frame. Recycled timber , we love it. We have an early lunch and pose for some christmas photos-at least I have a wide selection of Santa Hats.
Booktopia have the Lonely Planet Morocco guide book on special-half price so I order one. Am hoping to find more info on the road to Fezna. I have some satellite maps etc. Just as I start an online search an email arrives from our friend Peter from Boom Crash Opera. What a small world, a friend of Peter & wife Jane runs an incredible art guest house, only 17 kms from our remote accommodation in the desert at Fezna. I mean c'mon what are the odds.... this is so remote. Blows my mind. Give Jane and Pete a call and interrupt their holiday in SA but loads of laughter, helpful hints .
Visit SkyHigh and thankfully a crystal clear night. nice Christmas bunch, though we were a tad loud. If you sneak down the exit road at SkyHigh on a night with a full moon, you can sit under the gum trees and watch all the wild rabbits hop around you eating grass. A few white ones so i suspect they might of been domestic previously and dumped in the national park. By the time we get home we are starting to get a case of the Christmas Wipe Outs. Still a few more gatherings to happen, 3 at our place. I'm thinking 12 days of seeing people instead of one big night was a mistake. Nah, it's been fun.
December 17thWhile we were out Banshee heads to the Christmas tree, digs her present out from the pile, takes it to the kitchen and opens it. Some kids just love to sneak a peak early eh? Even 4 legged furry ones.
44 years ago today we went to our first ever Skyhooks concert at Wollongong showgrounds. The band had been banned from playing the 'Gong on 2 previous tours, so for us, our favourite band arriving really was a big thing. We remember all this stuff around soundcheck and after the show but very little about the actual show itself. The band simply blew our little teenage minds.
December 18thToo hot to drive but the nice air con Hills bus has tempted me this morning. There was one other person on the bus and I felt so sad when i departed. I just knew this guy was very ill, bottle of booze fell out of his coat pocket and he was in so much pain he couldn't get it, so i did. I just felt an intense sadness for him. I said goodbye and wished him all the best when I hopped off 5 minutes later. He sat on my mind all day and I kept thinking how lucky Mark and myself are.
The hot weather and pre Christmas brings out the worst in people , a few grumps around today and in the end it's just best to ignore them.
I sit with Adrian and Barry this morning and I put on their card how we love their stories. 5 minutes before I gave them the card & some chutney, young Alex who is departing Montage soon says "I'll miss all your stories"!! How funny is that, great minds think alike. I head to Pellegrino's, even though some people in the car insist on calling it Peter Greeno's and buy some fresh fruit. They have fantastic cherries this week. Truly delicious and local growers too.
The temperature continues to rise all afternoon and I think of our mates at Wangaratta. Even hotter in Wang! It is now 100F here (104 in Melbourne). So still outside, no breeze, but thankfully no fires up here.
I clean up a fire area outside but that is it, apart from endlessly watering plants and vegies from the water tank I'm going to stay inside.
Good to see Bobby Spencer is going to get up and have a bit of a play with Finch when they do a couple of shows.
I have a laugh with our private driver lady Narelle. I decided to spoil us with the drivers taking us to and from the airport at Christmas. I'll get a car in Sydney but for down here it's nice to have ones own driver during the silly season.
A few drinks at our place tonight, been ages since I had a Jack Daniels, I have to say it tasted good. We sat outside on the decking , quite a beautiful balmy night , an endless sky of stars. Sis and MIM call and Maddison has an idea to connect her call to Mum with ours and of course an absolute 6 year old disaster, but very cute. Can't wait to see them in 6 days. Today was the hottest day on record in Australia.
December 19thNot much sleep, and I laid in bed watching Banshee looking out at the window at the Woolworths man bringing us the groceries. Such a great deal for delivery- FREE and we always end up with so much extra stuff.
Great to see that absolute dickhead Trump impeached. The Senate will give him a get out of jail free card but at least history will record what a crook he is. It's amazing how many people don't understand what impeachment is. Especially Australians. All the 100 year old grumpy white guys will get their plastic pee pants in a twist over this. I always look at the losers that stand behind Trump at his rallies. They look like inbred sheep. Sadly America has a shitload of morons who are still suckered by this snake oil sales man.
We watch the sensational "Finding Vivian Maier" on cable. What a sensational documentary. This mysterious nanny takes over 100,000 incredible photos and no one gets to see them. A young man- John Maloof, in 2007 bought this huge box of negatives at a Chicago auction. Thank God he did otherwise the world probably wouldn't of been aware of this incredible talent. I love that she filmed stuff too and interviewed people on cassette. She was a loner, a tad wacky, no kids, no partner and at times dark and a bit nasty, but unlike some woman that fit that description she had this exceptional talent taking photos. She does fascinate me. It received a nomination for Best Documentary feature at the Academy awards, it didn't win but should of! A must see.
December 20thRecords crashed all day as the mercury continues to rise. I love that Ailsa Craig manages to keep us so cool. We didn't need to put the air con on till later afternoon and it kept the lounge area so perfect. Miss Banshee wanders in and sleeps on the couch. She looks up at the air con and cat smiles.
I decide to buy a lotto ticket, I rarely do and win $186.00 which is always a nice extra to have around Christmas. Thank you Lotto Gods!
I have the fan on in my room and just a sheet. A cool change comes crashing through the forest like a giant weather troll with a hammer and you can hear trees collapsing. We are lucky no falls at our place. It's so loud, and not much sleep so pop 1/2 a stillnox. That takes the edge off, and I tumble into the land of dreaming.
Lots of Chrissy cards arrive today- Nat and Nick, Jane and her tribe of kids, Merelyn & Maz, Kaz and Jace, Kim and Andy & family. Love to you all.
December 21stA lovely catch up with Laura, Kevin, Fen and Giles. Such a good bunch and lots of laughter. Miss Banshee wanders out for her cameo and give Fen a huge cat kiss. We all need one of those at times. Some beautiful presents and the photo of us 6 is one I'll have to get framed, we all look rather good in it (how bloody rare is that). We really like Christmas, a chance to catch up with the people we love. Such a loyal bunch.
I'm at the bakery with Laura and my timing is perfect- a fresh large fruit flan is added to the cakes. "That one is mine" .... no one is getting it. They make great Flans.
I give Fen a crash course is attempting to have Andy the Kookaburra land on your arm for a little feed. Andy is more intent on crash and grab, but eventually they both get it right and I even manage a snap. I'm now freaked out that Christmas is so close. Restraining myself from packing the bags, will do it on Monday. Our friend calls by and he's looking after the house and Banshee. Done it once before so knows the drill but I have to walk through the new security camera and alarms. Always feels good having someone at the house, especially a person who's job is security.
Finally a lovely cool night and Ailsa Craig gets a reprieve and a chance to cool itself.
We pig out on the last of the Flan and really enjoy "Alcatraz Escape-The Lost Evidence". The 1975 photo that is possibly the Anglin Brothers in Brazil is incredible. Extra impressive because when tested the professionals say it's a fairly certain it is the 2 Alcatraz escapees. Mind blowing. I'm more concerned as to why I find Clarence Anglin a little bit sexy. Well not Now as he'd be around 85!
December 22ndMiss Banshee is rather demanding this morning- meow meow meow and then inches from my face-MEOW. I finally surrender. Up out of bed. Plenty to do today, who needs an alarm when you have a cat?
I pick a pile of fresh beans from the vegie patch, only a bit of cooking for this evening as Wendy & Doug and us are grabbing food at Olinda. The last of our Christmas gatherings. It's been rather full on this year-in a good way. With 12 days of "Xmas Cheer", Christmas itself kind of sneaks up on you. I'm still working on one really MIGHTY good deed. I'm just going to do it, no fuss and no mention.
The super heat this year has forced some of the rarer roses to spring forth, usually tiny rose bushes that rarely flower. Such a variety of colour. Also red bottlebrush plants are everywhere , big bundles of them. Glorious!
We caught up with Miss Wendi tonight, which was a hoot , great food, great company and GREAT presents. I love someone that knows us so well and makes such a mighty effort to spoil us with things we love. Miss Banshee decides that squashing up and sharing Wendys chair was a great idea to do for a few hours. We pose for a Peter, Wendy and the lost boys photo in the middle of a giant christmas tree that is growing in our yard. Thank you Mark for the photo. A wonderful get together. get well Doug, you were missed, & LOVED the Batman rare dvd.
So we head home for Christmas very soon. We hope all of you have a magnificent time. The best present you can give is kindness. Just do one kind thing for a stranger this Christmas and it will come back in such a positive way. Good will to all men, women and critters.
Love to you all
Peter (and Mark).