I have left Alison in Castlemaine, and am on the train to Melbourne. Why? Because I think I may be becoming a Wagner "tragic." When we were having our (now regular) Friday morning before work coffee at a cafe in Errol Street, I was reading the paper and there was a little story and photo of the "Flower Maidens" appearing in the Victorian State Opera's production of "Parsifal" at the Palais Theatre. It's the first time this opera has been done in Australia.
But I knew nothing about it! We had been to see the Melbourne Opera's production of the Flying Dutchman a couple of weeks ago, but Parsifal I knew nothing about! 4 performances and half of them were already over. So after vaguely mulling it over I decided to come to the last performance, on a Sunday. It starts at 3pm and finishes at 9pm; and I think will be quite well attended, because the weekday performances began at 4.30pm - not a very reasonable time for normal working people (like me, sometimes) to be able to go. So after spending the morning pulling out old star stakes in the creek, I had a quick shower and walked down to the train station, and now I'm in for a different afternoon..
And - Parsifal was well attended, my seat was fine, the music was excellent. The storyline? Well, it's an opera and the story is not the strong point. The sets and the costumes were a bit more prosaic, but... it's the music you go for. I got back on the train, sat myself in the "Quiet Carriage", and read my book. But only for 20 minutes, because when the train stopped in Sunbury on got Craig, who was at Oberon Primary School with me (in the 1950's!), whom I've seen on occasion since, and who now lives in Kyneton. He'd been to Sunbury with his wife to see a film. So we talked, until a lady came up and pointed out that we were in the Quiet Carriage. So then it was talking in whispers.
Here, we are at the end of summer. It has been a more than usually hot and dry summer, and everyone I know is happy to have some cooler weather on the way. I've had to give up eating oranges, as I usually do every day, because of the huge number of plums our trees are producing. We've been bottling and jamming quite a lot but there are still plenty left to eat - though not as much as a friend, whose one nectarine tree has produced 50kg of fruit!
We were invited to the wedding of the yougest daughters of the two witnesses at our wedding, 27 years ago. The newlyweds claim they met each other 5½ years ago, but they really met after our wedding 27 years ago.
Yesterday, we went out for a picnic in the Botanical Gardens to celebrate 30 years since we met. 30 years! It's hard to believe, but..... So, we have to keep our lives interesting. We are starting by going to lots of events during the Castlemaine State Festival, during 10 days at the end of March (previously we've been to a few events, and they have all been very impressive - so this year we go to many more); in April a 2-day trip on a houseboat on the Murray River with the kids; then we have a Benson siblings weekend away in Metung in May, and then we are going to walk the Overland Track again, for the 5th time. This time, though, in June or July - much more into the winter than we have done before. And this time staying at Cradle Mountain the night before we start, so we can get to the first night's hut before dark, instead of after - as it has been the previous times; and with no fixed time to finish the walk. Then we go to Sri Lanka in August for 2 weeks, because by then we'll be getting a bit sick of cold weather and short daylight hours.
We don't know if we will get another 30 years, so we have to make the most of it.