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Nick Verne

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(no subject) [Dec. 9th, 2009|11:02 pm]
Nick Verne
Firbank has arrived in his new home. yuriverse is sleeping with him downstairs. Timid little Tonkinese he is right now, poor mite cried a bit on the drive from Lethbridge Park to Balmain. He left the carrier in the spare bedroom and headed for the safety under the bed. A little bit of stroking under the chin is all the contact I've managed so far. Day one is a bit disorienting for him.

Dax is not going to be too happy.
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Forty Forty Forty Forty Forty etc. [Nov. 22nd, 2009|11:42 am]
Nick Verne
So it happened. Just after midnight in late 1969, Mum was being urged by a maternity nurse not to push yet, because the doctor hadn't made it from Rose Bay to RPA Hospital yet, and Mum was, "I am not waiting." And out I popped. On Friday we had a family dinner to acknowledge the actual day before last night's larger affair. Catering and family and friends from different periods of the last four decades.

I've been somewhat apprehensive about the coming party. For some reason it felt more like a looming exam. Silly of course, but then people have a habit of praising one's entertaining (or bitching behind one's back). That's why having very rare parties and getting them catered is the go. And European Catering Service is (IMO) the best of all the companies I've sampled (of course that's mainly for parties at which I've been a guest). They're friendly and professional. They're not snobs. They know that hosts are often nervous. They were all, "We know where everthing is. You're all set up. Leave everthing to us. Relax, take a shower and get changed for your guests." What a relief.

The judgment of guests: they all think I'm an alcoholic. Presents of bottle after bottle of champagne. Also, all the food was eaten. Lots of booze was drunk. Nobody got too trashed. The party packed up at a civilized hour when the catering was finished. The house was clean and not turned upside down. We got to bed and slept the sleep of the well sated.

So now I'm on the other side of forty. Soon enough, fifty. See you there.
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(no subject) [Nov. 1st, 2009|02:28 pm]
Nick Verne
It's been hard to find the will to write in this live journal. I've been feeling drained and uninteresting, but things are looking much better now. Social life has gone from non-existent hiding inside together to a more active round of hanging with friends, eating out, making the token visits to the poofter bars and so on. More importantly, we've been preparing a family gathering for my (gasp) fortieth birthday party. So there. I said it.

For the longest time I didn't really believe I'd make it. When Dad died so young, a veil came down over the future and it was hardly possible to visualise anything beyond the next year or two. Now I'm wondering what might be for the years ahead with a view that I'm not headed for an early death via heart disease. The heart has been fine, blood pressure good (since losing weight), I don't smoke. Probably could drink less, but it's not ringing any alarm bells. Just makes it hard to keep the weight off!

Today we went down to Tamarama to view Sculptures by the Sea with our friends Joey and Metter. Lovely, if a little underwhelming in parts. The highlight was a whale we spotted off the coast spouting and diving a few times. We headed over to Bronte for breakfast, then back to their flat for a chat and a glass of champers. Tonight we're headed out to the Oxford to meet an old flame of mine, his partner and another of their friends from dinner.

The house plans are dawdling along. A surveyor came Friday before last to measure our land accurately. Then we can get detailed plans made and a DA put before council. It's all going to happen. I'm looking forward to it all coming together. We're in no great rush and determined to be thorough. Karma better be on our side.
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(no subject) [Oct. 4th, 2009|02:05 pm]
Nick Verne
[mood |contentcontent]

We had the dust! You've all seen the pics if you didn't see it live. I woke up to a red sky before dawn and assumed it was fog, plus shepherd's warning. yuriverse then texted me to say it wasn't side effects of Lexapro but actually a dust storm like nothing we'd ever seen. I headed to work in a taxi so as to be in time for a coach leaving at 9 a.m. for the Hunter Valley. All morning we drove through yellowing air, finally beige then clear enough that night to see the stars once more. Google had our annual offsite in the Hunter this year rather than the ski fields of the last few years. We listened to talks and ate and drank (too much) while still choking on dust that was now invisible.

Back in Sydney the exterior of house and car were caked. Luckily not too much made it inside, but there was still a film on all the furniture. Happily, we have cleaners and even more happily, they did their job well. A light coating of central Australia gave the house an authentic grittiness, but we couldn't live in it.

Finally this weekend we have enough rain to wash the trees and grass and footpaths clean. Great weather for the NRL Grand Final this afternoon, the first day of daylight savings, the day after Sleaze Ball, the Sunday before a public holiday treated as an extra day to be drunk. We're going over to Gary and Robert's to watch the footy and eat meat pies and drink booze. Going in a taxi.
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(no subject) [Sep. 13th, 2009|06:11 pm]
Nick Verne
I likes the harbour.

From Toes in Sydney Harbour
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Out of the Woodwork [Sep. 13th, 2009|09:01 am]
Nick Verne
We got great sketches drawn up of possible extensions to our house. Kris is the architect, a friend who grew up living on the same street in Greenwich, so of course the work has to be kept in the "family". (Scare quotes indicate nepotism, not sexuality!) Then he got some ballpark figures from a builder friend of his for what his sketches might cost to realise and we came thudding back down to Earth. There is debt, and then there's Debt. Also, there's Over-Capitalisation. I think the practical considerations are likely to win out over the general coolness of Option 3 with the upstairs sunroom and access to the back yard. If we win the lottery, we're definitely going to try to build it (pending coucil approval, of course).

Other Greenwich connections converged last night. We went over to Mum's for dinner and also to watch her starring performance on "Today Tonight" shopping at Woolworths, Aldi, Coles and Paddy's Market for the same set of groceries. She's a natural, they said. I was amazed at how professional she seemed, speaking directly to the camera and saying, "These bananas were far too expensive at $3.98/kg. Not good for a family on a budget," with authority and expression. Trundling her shopping wheelie bag and showing Woolworths up for the rip off operation they are.

Then, after a dinner of whiting fillets and spuds and salad, we hit the road at which time the phone rang, so Yuri answered and lo, it was Anthony from the 40th birthday party several weeks ago. We had made a plan to meet for a drink sometime soon, which dragged through several rounds of unavailability and schedule conflict finally to be arranged by text message for this weekend. The text messaging happened late on Wednesday night while I was half asleep. For some weird reason, I went back to sleep convinced we had arranged things for Sunday night, but here was Anthony calling from Monkey Bar asking, "Are you coming here soon?" after waiting an hour for me. Twenty minutes later I was at the bar and apologising profusely for screwing up. Checking the old text messages I saw we had said Saturday night. Strange thing, though, he had it down in his phone calendar for Sunday too.

So we sorted that out pretty quickly and went on to conversation and wine. He brought a work friend (not his girlfriend, but she was pretty good value) and we ranged over all the topics of what we were like as kids in school versus nowadays. What was the deal with the online dating scene and how do some gay guys claim to have sex with ten or more people in a night? (Answer - you don't have orgasms with everyone, and you don't have to do too much for too long for it to count. YMMV) I wonder if he's bi-curious? As a psychiatrist by profession, he has a fairly non-judgmental questioning manner and probably doesn't have the taboos we had as schoolboys.

We talked on until the noise inside Monkey Bar (a DJ spinning chunes for the 20-somethings) got too hard to deal with. Shouting every sentence is tiring. The London Hotel was also crowded and loud - this time just caused by people talking a high volume. So we headed back to our house and sat on the couch drinking one more glass of Giesen, discussing their cat allergies (sorry, Dax) and other casually connected topics: lime trees -> a potted kaffir lime tree in which husband's ashes scattered -> caused and awful moment when house sitting for said widow and overwatering made the ash spill over the side of the pot all over the deck -> ashes were probably mostly coffin and any bone fragments would have stayed in the pot -> cribbed from Jessica Mitford's "The American Way of Death" -> etc. At midnight it was time for them to hit the road and I hit the bed where Yuri had been asleep all this time.

Greenwich. It makes weird stuff happen.
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(no subject) [Aug. 30th, 2009|10:06 am]
Nick Verne
Here it comes. The round of 40th birthdays of my school friends has begun with consecutive weekend parties. My own is only a few months away.

I've been practising for 40 all year. I bought clothes in SF last May and when the sales assistants tried their usual "this is what the young people are wearing," I was all, "I'm turning 40 this year and I want to look 40. What do you have in tweed?"

As older persons, yuriverse and I have been doing stuff like going to the opera (Fidelio last week) and random classical concerts (a performance of Piazzola pieces mixed in with some Baroque sonatas in Balmain on Friday night). There are more to come. Yuri has booked us tickets to a symphony concert next month. Kultured we are, bitches.
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(no subject) [Aug. 17th, 2009|09:10 pm]
Nick Verne
What a struggle it is to get back to work. I think I needed a second week of Turtle Cove (or at least a second consecutive week of not-work).

The house has been full of music these last few weeks. Not a huge change from the usual situation thanks to Apple TV connected to our sound system, but full of music as Yuri has been exploring classical seriously. The routes into classical music are different for everyone. I was studying music at school, and got a good grounding there. For me, the first time I bought a classical CD with my own money marked a turning point. It wasn't a piece that someone else had told me to like. I just fell in love with the Bach D Minor Harpsichord Concerto BWV 1052 after playing it with Lane Cove Orchestra back in the mid 80s. It was so full of brilliant figuration, forward drive and a masculine toughness. I bought the Trevor Pinnock recording on Archiv and began a collection which started with Bach concerti and eventually branched out. I remained an original instruments (Historically Informed Performance) snob.

My mother's tastes were far more romantic, especially Brahms. His chamber music was added to my collection. A friend of mine (Joseph) from Sydney University gave me the Tallis Scholars CD of Josquin's L'homme Arme masses on my twenty first birthday. There started a big collection of Tallis Scholars recordings (later to be augmented by even earlier music - "Cave Music" as Nic McGegan quipped). When I graduated from university, I decided to delve into Handel's oratorios aside from the Messiah. A Stephen Jay Gould essay mentioning Jephtha got me thinking about this. The first one I bought was Solomon. You should see the CD collection now. Even I don't remember everthing that's in it.

It's a slippery slope. There's far more music I would love to know.
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(no subject) [Aug. 10th, 2009|09:03 pm]
Nick Verne
From TCove Again

We were there in Turtle Cove for one glorious week. I don't care if the weather wasn't always picture perfect, or if there was a bit of rough water on the beach, or if there were fewer guests than before. I love the place. The staff, the slow lazy rhythm of the day (breakfast - beach - lunch - hot tub - nap - beach - dinner - hot tub - sleep), hopefully some intermingled sleaze, but really it doesn't matter. It's the tropics, man. Relax.

We got delayed on our flight in and arrived at the resort an hour later than expected. Nearly missed dinner, but they sat us down and we got fed. Massage was booked in for the next day (perfect, with hot stones and expert attention to my problem hamstrings and shoulders). We met lots of great people. I really regretted leaving, and that's saying something. I'm a bit impatient to leave and complete the ordeal of the return journey on most of my holidays. Not Turtle Cove.

It's been sold! We heard lots of conflicting stories about its future during our stay. The best authority (the current staff) said the place was bought by straight investors, but they intend to keep it going as a gay resort with the current set up.

I hope so. It's too nice a place to lose.
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(no subject) [Jul. 31st, 2009|06:32 pm]
Nick Verne
Turtle Cove here we come! This time tomorrow night we'll be landing in Cairns. Dinner then hot tubbing.
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