Saturday, March 10, 2018


I’ve worked it out.  Why I live in Australia, I mean.  It’s warm, and I can wear T-shirts and shorts, and bare feet, and go to the beach and climb things and not freeze.  Here, the cold bites me and I shiver and my bones are cold.  Here, it’s grey and dull and it’s raining again.  

I really do love Ireland.  It will always be “home” but I have to say that my last visit - in August - was more pleasant temperature wise!  I’ve survived 24 hours so far and I’m not sure how I used to survive it year round.  So very cold...

And maybe Lily would freeze.

It is so good to be back with Family.  I’m including everyone in that, of course!  It is very strange not to have Dad and J&S here - very odd indeed.  Excited to see Dad on Friday and then on the next Friday I head to Kenya for 10 days to visit J&S!

Little Aislinn (4) has been ever so friendly and sweet this time - last time she apparently adored me but showed this by avoiding me all the time!  I want to get the little girls Easter eggs, but as Aislinn is allergic to dairy and thence can’t have chocolate, I asked her what her favourite food was.  The response “I really love broccoli soup” was unexpected!

This afternoon, Ireland plays Scotland in the 6 Nations and I am very excited to see my first rugby match in years!  Hurrah! 

That’s about it so far... I think I should go turn the heater up 😂

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Lily’s 3rd birthday

(Poem courtesy of AA Milne) 

I went down to the shouting sea,
Taking Christopher down with me,
For Nurse had given us sixpence each-
And down we went to the beach.

We had sand in the eyes and the ears and the nose,
And sand in the hair, and sand-between-the-toes.
Whenever a good nor'wester blows,
Christopher is certain of

The sea was galloping grey and white;
Christopher clutched his sixpence tight;
We clambered over the humping sand-
And Christopher held my hand.

We had sand in the eyes and the ears and the nose,
And sand in the hair, and sand-between-the-toes.
Whenever a good nor'wester blows,
Christopher is certain of

There was a roaring in the sky;
The sea-gulls cried as they blew by;
We tried to talk, but had to shout-
Nobody else was out.

When we got home, we had sand in the hair,
In the eyes and the ears and everywhere;
Whenever a good nor'wester blows,
Christopher is found with

Thursday, February 15, 2018

(Backup) Blog as requested

I have read around thirty thousand books this week.  Okay, maybe six.  But that’s still a lot for someone who has got used to just watching Netflix.  I haven’t climbed as many mountains, but I have a few, although the temperature has been disgusting with incredible levels of humidity.

(l-r) Tibrogargan, Beerburrum, Tiberoowuccum and the Tunbubudla Twins (I think)

In fact, it is 0730 and it is already about 30 degrees outside and I am strongly considering putting the air conditioning on.  

Let’s see, what’s new?  I got offered a job - whoopee!  It is, however, in Canberra and on the ATR, and as such I am not very enthusiastic.  However, it’s a good option to prevent me starving to death, so to speak.  Two more assessments next week... and I am truly hoping that the first one works out, as it means I would be able to remain in Brisbane.

Sunrise climb up East Beerwah with Ben - mountains featured are Coonowrin and Tibrogargan (slightly covered by a tree)

Lily got to climb her third mountain - the Coochin twins, which I could perhaps class as two.  She loved it, and would have kept going forever, I’m sure.  Wednesday night, Manda and I climbed Ngungun for sunset which was awe taking.  Just incredible, and worth the soul destroying humidity on the way up.

The child, proud of her achievement

Sunset from Ngungun (looking over Beerwah with Coonowrin in front)

Thursday morning, we took the ever so excited Lily up Tiberoowuccum again, in a sort of bid to work off some of the doughnut calories we have been eating this week - I don’t regret even one calorie - and then we came home and I studied Responsibly for my job interviews.  I don’t feel quite so responsible this morning, hence blogging.

Tomorrow, which is Saturday, I have arranged for us to go to Booloumba Creek again, which will be very exciting - or at least, it will be if the storms hold off.  It has been an epic week for storms and we don’t want the creek to get too high or it will be dangerous to rock hop up it. 

Out and about with Lilith

Next week, as discussed, is a busy one with job interviews, and Terry arrives on Thursday night!  I am veeeeerrrrrry excited about this.  It will be so good to show him around - although I don’t think I’ll manage to drag him up the Glasshouses!  

Friday, February 2, 2018

One day, I’m going to look back at the beginning of 2018 and think it just a hazy memory.  One day I’m going to look back and laugh, and say “did that really happen?” and “that was such a weirdly ridiculous period.”  That’s what distance does, you see.  Perspective changes.

It’s been a lazy week in the House of Kate.  After two days of archery last weekend, my neck reacted violently and I spent two days in bed, and have spent the rest of the week resting - add the fact that the last two days have rained non stop, and I haven’t done anything at all!  I did have a fun beach day on Wednesday... E took a photo of me walking up from the beach...

This is what happens when a) your neck is sore so you bring a camp chair to support it and b) Lily runs on the hot sand and starts yelping with pain so you have to carry her to protect her soft little paws!

I have many job applications in at the minute... and currently in that phase where all I can do is wait.  I have been invited to apply for a job in Kazakhstan... but everything within me screams NOOOOOOOO... so I don’t think that will happen!

It is now the weekend... and hopefully I will get some assessments next week, and climb some more mountains!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

You would think that, being unemployed, there would be endless days of nothing, and a struggle to fill the time.  In fact, it has been completely the opposite.  I have packed more into the last two weeks than ever!  Lots of hiking and climbing expeditions, I've decided to pick archery back up, and of course a few job applications.  I've just received my first "thanks but no thanks", or "PFO" as we call it in the industry, and that was a bit hard.  "They" talk about a pilot shortage... but I've been unemployed for 16 days, and there is no offer of a job on the table yet.  I know I need to be patient, but it is hard being patient when there is a mortgage to pay!

Booloumba Creek hiking last Saturday

So many people came!

I started the week with a phone interview followed by aptitude/psychometric testing, and got the email this morning with "Thank you for expressing your interest... on this occasion we will not be progressing your application to the next stage."  Thanks... but no thanks.  A bit of a kick in the teeth - but I have to remind myself that it happens for a reason, even if I don't know what that reason is...

I still haven't heard back from the old company, even though a few weeks ago they told me they would offer me a command in Canberra.  It seems that the cogs move just as slowly as I remember.

In between, I've been very active.  Wednesday was my biggest day so far, starting with a 16km hike around Kondolilla Falls with Ben, finishing up with a nice cool dip in the pool near the start of the walk.  Ben tried to aggravate my grammar-nazi-personality by pointing out the "Great! walks" sign... which I ignored.  Back home, I got a quick shower, made a sandwich, and headed out again, this time to try my first outdoor rock climbing.  

A giant strangler fig at Kondalilla 

Another Strangler Fig that Ben decided to climb

The lookout

We went to the beginner cliffs at Ngungun, which are called "Andromeda."  The guy who was teaching me was very patient and chose nice easy climbs that I could complete, and it was a fun afternoon, although boiling hot.  I had already agreed to climb Tibrogargan for Sunset, but was beginning to feel regret as my legs and back were killing me from the amount of action I had already put them through.

Watching the sunset from Tibrogargan

The climb up Tibrogargan almost broke me.  I didn't have my Garmin watch so I don't know what my actual heart rate was, but I felt like it was beating outside my body.  Thankfully I realised how exhausted I was and stocked up on two bottles of Powerade to counteract the sweat streaming off me in the heat and humidity.  It was rewarding to reach the top and stop to watch the sun go down.  We then had dinner out of a little portable butane stove - a strange conglomeration of spicy ramen noodles and tuna, which sounds disgusting.  I tentatively agreed to taste the mix and found it surprisingly good, so ate my full portion.  Then we talked for a couple of hours, finally realising it was late and we should descend.

It was strange climbing down in the dark.  The rocks looked glow in the dark in the light of our headlamps.  It wasn't any more difficult than daytime, just different.  I would definitely do it again - but not on the same day as hiking and rock climbing!

It poured with rain on the drive home - goes to show how humid it was - and again in the night.  I got up in the morning and messaged my climbing buddies to say I wasn't going to do our next adventure unless it was dry.  They assured me that it was dry... so, with aching legs and a marked lack of energy, I got back in the car and drove back to Tibrogargan.  It was dry.  The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and at 0930 it was already 31 degrees.  I planned ahead and filled my bag with frozen water bottles - almost three litres total.  

The goal now was to climb up the front of Tibro - Caves' Route, but this time I did not have a harness.  I did, however, insist on wearing my helmet, and John and Stew brought ropes to hang down the hard parts.  I managed to climb the first section to cave 2 by myself, only using the rope at the very end, and my legs were shaking with fear by the time I pulled myself into the cave.  It is hard to keep climbing and keep oneself thinking straight when one's body is entirely letting itself down with shaking and sweaty hands!  

We barely made it into Cave 2 when the rain started.  It poured down, and we sat in the dry of the cave watching it, me at least feeling scared, but pretending to be nonchalant.  We weren't going to start climbing again until it stopped, and John said the rocks would dry out quickly, but I was still worried.  It was super scary climbing in the dry - what would it be like wet?

Finally, the rain stopped, and John went to explore.  He climbed up above Cave 2 and hung down a rope, saying the rocks were pretty dry again already.  I inched my way outside the cave.  The first rock to climb over - maybe a metre high and sloping - was still soaking wet as it was out of the sun, but the rocks past it looked okay.  I started making my way over the wet rock... and slipped.  It all happened so quickly, and John tells me "if you had fallen, you wouldn't have gone very far from there", but that doesn't make me feel any better!  Stew grabbed me by the handle of my backpack as I flailed around for purchase.  That was definitely a heart-in-mouth moment!

Watching the rain fall from Cave 2

Too steep??

Sitting in Cave 5 to see the view

If you look carefully, you can see John close to the centre of the photo

The climb from there wasn't as bad, although when we got to the Chimney and I saw the vertical rock above me that apparently we had to climb, I was thoroughly unsure again!  Stew kept trying to throw a metal boat anchor into the Chimney so that he could climb up - assuring John that it had worked before.  I could see John's doubt, but he went with it.  Unfortunately I wasn't videoing when Stew, a couple of metres up the chimney, hanging on to the rope, went flying backwards as the anchor slipped and narrowly missed John's head on the way down.  Stew wasn't hurt, but it gave us both a fright and we had no plans of trusting that anchor at any time ever.  Stew decided to give it another go, however, and this time made it up and tied the rope securely around a large rock so that John and I could hoist ourselves up.  I had a moment at the top of the Chimney where I didn't feel I could go any further and Stew and John had to help me onto a rock - very very scary!

Stew, right before the anchor came off and he came flying backwards! 

That was the last of the real climbing bit, and from there it was simply a heart-pounding sweat-inducing scramble to the summit, with me declaring I was going to spend the next day resting from climbing!

This morning I went for a quick archery practise as there is a competition this weekend, and am now spending the rest of the day watching Netflix and chilling.  I would apply for other jobs... but I can't find any more to apply for... or at least not that I'm interested in....

Sunday, January 14, 2018

I would totally love it right now if Lily just went and ate her breakfast.  It’s been days since she was interested in breakfast, and with her eating very little dinner, and being a very small dog to start off with, it stresses me out.

I mean, the reason she isn’t eating is that she’s sooky, and the reason that she’s sooky is that she is picking up on my body language which probably says a combination of “Hell no”, “stressed to the n’th degree” and “aaaackkkkkk!” And so her little dog self is like “nooooooo, Mum!” But she really is such a very small dog and please, Lily, please eat your breakfast.

I’ve pumped up the bike’s tyres today and will go for a cycle when it cools down.  Maybe a little exercise will bring her appetite back.

Did I mention how small a dog she is?

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Goodbye, 2017

2017, you suck.

Here I am, on the cusp of a new year - is that the right word? - and I've watched the first sunrise of 2018 and although it was beautiful I just feel this dread inside me of not knowing what this new year will bring.

What do I want from 2018?  What do I expect?  I don't think I know, but I do hope that it's a good year.  

I haven't made any resolutions.  I have hopes, things I want to do - but the inevitability of life keeps happening outside of my control.

So I raise my figurative glass to 2018, and I say Bring It On - but not too much at once, because my basket is already pretty full with Life Things.  So maybe just Bring It On Gently.