This is the sort of thing which gives blogs a bad name.
I finally resolved to remove the hard drive from the remains of a dead computer so I could safely dispose of it. In the end, unsurprisingly, D took over because he is just fascinated by things like that, and in particular the prospect of using various components for decorative purpose. He has plans for the various strap-like connectors, and what I think was originally either the reader of the CD player or the dynamo. The internal speaker has become a fridge magnet; the mother board is “beautiful” (it is at the very least striking in its intricacy) although [updating in May] it and the other parts still await adoption in any particular decorative scheme.
Late in the afternoon (as ever: we are night people) we drove to Padstow Heights to explore a portion of the George’s River National Park. The previous week we had walked there from Riverwood and I wanted to take the exploration further. One identifying feature of the pattern of development in Padstow Heights is the cavalier way in which development has been permitted which entirely prevents any convenient access to the remnants of waterfront private land. A scandal, but an old scandal. The bush itself was pretty degraded. On the ridge is a portion of land which was probably originally cleared and used as a dairy property: I am only surmising this because of the regrowth nature of the bush and the nature of the fence which remains. You can get down to the waterfront and there are even the remains of a painstakingly made stone stairway at some point. If you live in Sydney, you will be familiar with these sorts of stairs, which I suspect were put in in the thirties as depression make-work. The startling point about the waterfront is the enormous amount of rubbish caught in rock crevices (probably flotsam for the most part). There were also signs of damage on the other side from motor-boat washes.
Afterwards we drove round to a larger part of the park, finally walking into “Cattle Duffer’s Flat,” which appears to have been a caravan park at some stage is not now so used. There is an illusion of sylvan space although in fact just over the ridge is some enormous power substation. You can see that on Googleearth, but until I master the technique of importing such images into this blog, you will have to search for that yourself.
We drove home and then arranged to meet M and X, M’s apparent new girlfriend [May update: apparently not, or no longer], at a Vietnamese-Chinese restaurant in Newtown for dinner. It turned out that they had both eaten already, which was a bit embarrassing vis-à-vis the proprietress.
In the car, on the way, D criticised the Chinese language-learning CD I have. He was of the view that it should not say that lawyers 受欢迎 [rough translation: receive a welcome] in China because everyone hates lawyers. I changed over to the opera on the radio, and we heard a bit of I Puritani from the Met. D thought that the composer should not have made the tenor leap to a particular high note (I thought it was even C# although it may only have been B or C) and that the voice production of the tenor (Eric Cutler, whom D saw as Romeo in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette and thought quite good) was too tight; the soprano was no good. Only Pavarotti is good enough, it seems. I am simplifying D’s views here, but all the same I think that this sort of thing is symptomatic of the corrupting effect of recordings on people’s appreciation of actual performances. As to the leap to the high note, I think there is something which could be said about the aesthetics of virtuosity and difficulty, but I preferred to listen to the music, and will restrain my quasi-esprit d’escalier in this regard from any further exercise here for the time being.
Home and some Bach Cantatas on the radio. To bed too late.