Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Part 2

Got to say my last blog was reeeally boring! Sorry, 'fraid it's just a factual account of the year, so get over it!

Where were we? July 2012, line training. That was fun - NOT! 3 weeks of the Spanish Inquisition, followed by my license expiring and almost 2 weeks' holiday! That was the fun part :). I made a trip to Rocky (for fun, shock horror!) and to Sydney during that time.

Then it was back to the grindstone, as a normal Ozzie pilot. Punctuated by lots of trips to the beach!

December 1, I travelled home to Irelad for 10 amazing days! LOVED every minute of it, and I was so sad to leave.

Christmas was spent in Canberra, and I wrapped up the year yesterday with a housewarming / New Year's Eve party up in North Lakes, which was lots of fun.

Now it is 2013, and given the amount of change 2012 brought me, who knows what could happen this year ???


Sunday, December 30, 2012


31 December 2012, Travelodge Hotel, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia.


I'm trying to work out exactly where I was at this time last year - Ah yes, I was off! Followed by a Cardiff-Blackpool on 1 Jan 2012. Worlds apart!!!

So much has happened in 2012. I started out working from Dublin, Ireland, with You Know Who - and less than a month into the year, I was randomly applying for this Australian gig, although not having thought about actually going.

Feb 29, I handed in my notice. Such a strange feeling of loss. Losing a family, although I have definitely gained one here too.

The next 2 months were a blur. A blur of arrangements, goodbyes - goodbyes that didn't feel like goodbyes, because it didn't feel like I was going anywhere - work, parties... and that took me right up to 26 April.

That's the day I left Ireland, and Dad took pictures of me going through security, and posted them on facebook, which was a little bit weird. I travelled to Oz on Malaysian Airlines (I don't recommend them) with JB and Welsh CS. (Sorry, no full names as usual!)

We stayed in the Oaks on Felix for the next month - self catering apartments, which were pretty good - and we started work - back to school - on 30 April.

21 May was the last exam (for me) and final freedom from the books... only having to start studying again a few days later to go to the sim in Auckland.

After the sim - which I think takes me up to the end of June, it was time to fly again!

And it's almost time for Breakfast in Rocky so I'm going to publish this and do Part 2 afterwards!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

More BBQz

I'm on my way down the Gold Coast for another BBQ. JB and his family are hosting this one, their 'annual Christmas BBQ' as he calls it.

Then, on the 29th, we're having Yet Another BBQ in New Farm for J's birthday. The big 40. Don't tell him I told :P.

What fun!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas in Oz

December 25 2012.

It's 30 degrees outside.

There are no carols playing, and the airports are bustling with people travelling.

I don't know why.

It's Christmas, for goodness' sake.  Who travels on Christmas day?

Who writes a blog with a new paragraph for every sentence?  Wait.  That's not strictly correct, as the last paragraph contained two sentences, and this one - well this one just goes on and on...

This year, Christmas isn't really Christmas.

Christmas is cold.  Christmas is sitting around a warm fire, all wrapped up, with mince pies and mulled wine.  Although, I don't really like mulled wine, and I don't particularly like cold either, but at Christmas, it's okay.  Christmas is family, and lights, and candles, and ham, and turkey, and gorging oneself until you can't gorge yourself any more, so you just snack on satsumas and Celebrations and random nuts that you don't actually like, but you eat because they are There.  Christmas is listening to stupid Christmas songs and watching movies that you have watched a million trillion times before, like It's A Wonderful Life and Oliver Twist.

December 25, 2012.  I had a mince pie today.  That's probably the most notable part of the day, from my point of view, and it was a very nice mince pie, mostly.  The not so mostly nice part about it was the fact that it was eaten at FL200 in the flight deck of an ATR, while being bounced around through the middle of a million several thunderstorms.

Enough of Christmas.  (The mince pie really was particularly nice.)

I'm back in Brisbane now after 3 days away, as everyone who read my last blog will know.  It has been crazily stormy the last 2 days, with seriously big tropical storms, which made the flying pretty busy!  I took some photos of the radar to show you, in case you care.  The radar on the ATR is particularly shabby, because once it gets wet, it starts to lie, and the thing is, thunderstorms are usually the wettest, but when everywhere is equally wet, the radar thinks that it's not actually wet at all, so it tells you that it's not.  So we had quite an interesting experience in the middle of the thunderstorms and lightning and the radios stopping working, because it's difficult to find out where you're supposed to go when you can't actually hear anything but static.

Had quite a funny conversation as we walked through the terminal after the last flight.  Mingled, of course, with all of the normal peeps from the flight.  It went like this:

Captain:  So, I guess I'm flying with you again on the 30th, right?
Me:  Yep!  You get to spend Christmas and the New Year with me!  How exciting!
CCM1 (very loudly): Well at least you both drink and have fun!!!
Very loud silence, followed by nervous laughter.
CCM1 (even louder, while glancing around at various passengers who may or may not have been listening): Um... well not while they're flying, of course.



1.  A TCU (towering cumulus) on the way to Albury.  Behind it is a large cell, which you can't see all of in the photo, because it was just too big, and we were too close.

2.  Weather radar return of a large cell on the way to Albury.

3. The same cell as 2. just the picture taken out of the window, not the radar!


4. Radar returns on the same leg to Albury.  We had to track about 40 miles south of Albury, and then due north to the airport, due to the solid wall of cells.

What the weather radar (on the internet) looked like while we were flight planning for the Sydney-Canberra leg.  You can see Canberra at the bottom left hand corner of the picture, and Sydney is the red dot mid right.  We ended up flying approximately Sydney-Bankstown-Oberon-Cowra-Yass-Canberra.  Cowra is at the very left hand side, half way down.  We lost comms just after passing Oberon, for obvious reasons, but it was impossible to see exactly what was going on from the air, as the useless radar was totally overwhelmed.

Below is an example (excuse my finger top right) of the radar getting overwhelmed.  The bright blue is where it can't see what is on the picture, due to the heavy returns its getting.  This picture was taken on the way from Canberra to Sydney, and shows a solid wall of water on the left, and 2 large cells on the right - behind which the radar is unable to pick up anything.  At some stages, the entire radar was a sea of blue (when selecting this setting) so it was really no good to us at all.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Surfing yesterday was really fun, I think I already mentioned this. And I ache. All over. Aaaargh!!! And sitting on an airplane on my way down to Sydney, the beach feels eons away! (Yes, I am talking time wise)

Day 1 of 5 (at least it's not 6), 2 sectors down, this paxing flight is taking forever. I do a lot of paxing at the minute. In fact, it is so much the norm that the Ireland trip didn't seem too bad - although that ole upgrade helped :)

Tonight I'm overnighting in Sydney, with a gloriously late report tomorrow - 1350! All of my previous Sydney overnights have been earlies, so this is sweet! Not sure what I will do for the whole morning, but sleep is pretty high on the agenda! I've also got to source some mince pies for my crew - after all, it is 'Christmas' !

Then tomorrow it is off to Canberra, for the night of the 24th. I'm not sure what the hotel offers over Christmas, although we have been told we can get Lunch for 150 dollars! Whoop-dee-do! Free drinks! Except we are on duty directly afterwards, so we can't - and who spends 150 dollars on lunch anyway, even on Christmas day? I reeeeally hope the usual room service is available... and the barman did promise me free drinks... but that was made almost a month ago so he's probably forgotten :)

Tonight should be fun though, as I've got a good crew, and there is another crew overnighting in the hotel as well. Party time :). Wondering when to pause the pre-Christmas diet and call it Christmas!!!

In case I don't get back on here before the 25th (I get back to Brizzy at 2100 that day), Merry Christmas to all you who approve - and for all those who don't, have a most amazing bog-standard Tuesday!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Even the sea has lice. Who knew? I didn't, and now I do - and finally the bites don't sting any more.

M and I got a surfing lesson this morning, at Bribie Island. We also got lots of bites from sea lice. M has decided he should stick to boogie boarding now, as apparently he 'can't stand up'.

After the surf lesson, we sunbathed awhile, except it started to rain, so i was more rain bathing for a few minutes... I wanted to swim but M got a little nervous about the number of jellyfish so we didn't.

Now I am lying on the couch... fairly unable to move after an awesome dinner of Greek salad and deli chicken. We went to Woolies just before closing so got lots and lots and lots of fruit & veg in a bag for 3 dollars, and the chicken was nicely reduced too! Score :)

So... it's movie time! Nope, no pictures. SO sorry!! (not). Maybe I shouldve taken one of all the prezzies under the tree? :)


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Back in Brisbane

So, anyway.

I wrote part of a blog, and then I unexpectedly went to work, and then when I got back I found what I wrote boring, so I decided to delete it and start again.

Except that now I've started again, I don't know what to write.  I think this can be partly attributed to the fact that I'm jetlagged.  Still.  Yes, I know, it's days and days since I arrived home (today is the third day), but I've been busy!

Day 1 (the day I arrived), we had a BBQ in Redcliffe with a few of the internationals.

Day 2, I intended to unpack, but got a call from Crewing asking would I please go to Canberra as they really really really really really really really needed me.  (Really?)  I hummed and hahhed and eventually agreed.  So, I didn't unpack.  Still.  Yes, I know... I'm home now, and I'm still not unpacking...

Day 3, I worked out of Canberra.  That's today, and now I'm home, and I looked at the scene of devastation caused by me not unpacking, and decided to blog.  Also, J wants to buy a Christmas tree (Really?  After I made the decision NOT to bring my Christmas ornaments this time as nobody wanted to celebrate Christmas in my house???) so I may end up heading to Aldi with him.  ('Cause Aldi's the Cheaper Place in a not so cheap world.)

Sorry about all the Parentheses.  Really.  And all of the Capitalisations.  And all of the incomplete sentences.  I'm jet lagged.  Still.

So... I got upgraded to business class in Abu Dhabi which was unexpected, and sweet, and J's sleeping pills worked a treat, so I slept for the majority of the 14h flight to Sydney.  Somewhere between Sydney and Brisbane, one of my bags got lost (probably due to the fact that I checked in 25 minutes before my flight) but Virgin delivered it to my house within a couple of hours.

Tomorrow, Day 4, I've got a day off, so really I should use it to unpack.  Tomorrow, I shall stop procrastinating...

TTFN !!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Well, I'm still in Ireland! The blog hasn't seen me because the blog is to keep people back home informed of my whereabouts, etc - and, well, they're all with me!

However, for those of you who remain, here is a brief synopsis.

The main activity of the last week has been eating. Let's face it, my family can cook, and I haven't eaten at home in 7 months -combine these two facts together and there's a lot of food.

I went to lunch with some pilots from my old company, which was fun, and I went shopping in Blanchardstown, which was extremely detrimental to my bank balance, and on Thursday I tppk the family away to Waterford for a couple of days.

We went to Mahon Falls, and climbed it, and it looked like we had climbed almost all the way up until we looked at it from a distance and realised it was at best a third of the height of its mountainness.

We went to Bunmahon and found a wool shop for the mother, and the others walked along a beach. I declined this activity because I prefwr warm beaches, where you can actually see the sun, and you don't feel like you're about to enter cryogenic suspension (thanks, James).

We then went to Waterford for the Christmas markets, and bought some fudge which looked hopeful, but tasted like candle wax, and then we came home and ate Chinese takeaway. You have no idea how hard 7 months without this is. The MSG tasted O So Good!

Anyway, here are a few pictures of Mahon Falls to finish up!

One is of the valley from the road, another is the valley from one third of the way up the waterfall (you could equally break your neck from 200' than 600', I suppose), another is of Jon standing as high as he could climb, another is Dad in pink climbing to reach him, and the other is of a stranded mountain sheep that really didn't need my help, but I insisted anyway. (I like sheep)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I'm sorry, people, I lied to you. I had to, you see, because of the risk.

10 years ago, for my Dad's 50th birthday, we brought my brother, Chris, over from Alaska, and put him in a big cardboard box, and surprised my dad.

Everyone knew.

It's not hard to keep a secret from Dad. He lives with his head buried in the proverbial sand, and although everyone around him must have been giggling and whispering and giving rhe game away - he remained clueless, and so it was a great surprise, and my dad was bemused and surprised, and of course happy.

My mother isn't quite the same kettle of fish. She is an inherantly suspicious body, and knowing what people are like with secrets, it wasn't worth the risk. The more people knew, the greater likelihood of a slip up, so nobody knew. And I lied, of course. A lot.

Mum doesn't like lying. She is the washyourmouthoutwithsoap sort of mother, but she didn't seem to mind yesterday. She was too busy sobbing!

Dad kept his bemused 'I don't think this is really happening' face on. And of course, I hugged them and kissed them and it was the best thing ever.

Of course, then I had to go to the House and say hi to all of the other unsuspecting people. There were varying reactions, from gasps, to shrieks, to Joe's comment of "Wow! Are you serious???".

Ireland is cold, people. It is extremely cold. And it's wet, and dreary, and for God's sake, why would you choose it over the sun and the surf and the sea and the sand...? But it's home - and there are all of these incredible people that I hugged, and they hugged me back, and I felt oh so excited deep down inside, because I was home.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas Party

Yesterday was the work Christmas party. Having been forcibly persuaded, coerced, and pretty much blackmailed to attend, I actually ended up fairly excited about the event. I even had my trusty dress and shoes mailed from Ireland (thanks, Mum) for it.

The plan started out as driving part of the way - to New Farm - and then catching the City Cat across the river to the venue. However, then J loaned his car to GH to move house, I couldn't drive my car due to going off on a 3 day Canberra trip the next day, and ML was out of petrol. That left SoR's car, for 7 of us. I don't think so really, do you?

The plan adapted into J, M and myself calling a cab, and letting SoR, ML, DK and RoN (if any of you can work out these initials, fair play!) take SoR's car on Plan 1. The only glitch in the plan was Friday Night, and the fact that 'we'll be with you in a few minutes' from the cab company morphed into an hour's wait. I do think that being fashionably late for such an event is a good thing, but by the time the cab finally arrived we were all beginning to wonder whether we'd get there at all!

The party was on the top floor of a hotel, infact including the entire bar, with free drinks and canapes provided at majassive cost for about 200 people.

Most of my Favourite People in Australia attended, and it took a considerable portion of the evening just to wander around and say hello to everyone!

The weirdest part of all was random people coming up to me saying hi, and I'm thinking... I have no idea who you are but hiiiiiii, so nice to see you! You're looking great!

Oh, and the ham was amazing. Some great and awesome joint of ham kept my attention the entire evening (it's the only thing I ate. Ham and wholegrain mustard. That's what you do when you're a fussy eater.). I may or may not have accidentally spat ham into the HOFO's face when I was talking to him, I can't rightly say. Ooooops! The free champagne wasn't half bad too :)

Anyway, now I am in Sydney, about to catch my flight to Canberra, where I seem to spend the majority of my life, so TTFN!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Apparently that picture of reddish streaks in the sea that I posted wasn't just me.  There's an article on the Daily Mail:

Which shows it was pretty cool from the ground as well!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

There are way too many Christmas songs playing everywhere, and it's not even December. Nobody seems to understand that Christmas is cancelled this year! Although my pet barman in the hotel in Canberra has promised me free drinks to make up for my having to be there...

I went for breakfast this morning, in Canberra obviously, and there was mould on my toast. I know people eat cheese with mould on it, which is apparently planned... but no thanks! The waitress immediately whisked it away and reappeared in just a few minutes with a completely new breakfast, very apologetic, and I carefully checked the toast... all OK. Then I was just finishing off my orange juice, about to get out and leave... and a waitress comes out with a tray of 3 freshly baked frangipani tarts for me as, I presume, a peace offering! Nice one! I was impressed enough at how quickly they replaced my breakfast, but that's cool!

Anyway, it's off to Sydney and Albury now, then pax back to Brisbane tonight, so I must go!


PS the photos are of strange rust coloured currents out of Sydney - algae??? and the sunset flying in to Sydney

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012


The inside of an airport is a strange place. Some people find it exhausting, others exciting, and some just as an inconvenience. I feel at home in airports, to be honest - each airport slightly different but fundamentally the same.

The floors all bear the same dull coloured tiles/lino, the walls usually painted in white or the inevitable magnolia, and rows upon rows of dark coloured seats, all separated with metal armrests nowadays to prevent people enjoying a snooze. (Note: the resident homeless guy in Dublin airport still manages to circumvent the armrests by contorting himself into the required shape - I know this, because I have seen it.)

I think that staff at airports naturally look on passengers as a sort of sub-species. Passengers are generally stupider than staff, and are generally an annoyance - a necessary nuisance. This means, that whenever I myself am am passenger, it is a very confusing time. I know that I am looked down upon by many of the staff, who are perfectly polite and smile at me, just another generic Human Being. I feel this overwhelming urge to tug on their sleeve and say 'it's ok! I'm not one od them! I understand' - but then I would look a bit silly.

So I sit, in the midst of the Self Loading Freight, and watch them. i watch their expressions, their behaviours and their reactions. They really are as strange as they appear to me when I am in uniform - yet I look no different and, I presume, have my own strange and unusual mannerisms. Like sitting on a dark coloured seat enthusiastically writing a blog about airports.

It's remarkable what a unform does for someone. When paxing in uniform, the crew smile, treat you a little like a long lost friend (well, wouldn't you give a long lost friend a bottle of crew water?) and then you pax as a civilian and you smile enthusiastically at the very same crew member - who looks back at you blankly, very much as though you have two heads.

Then (as Flanders and Swann would say), a voice comes through on the loudspeaker... "flightXXX will shortly be boarding, everyone please remain seated and familiarise yourself with your seat numbers..." and everybody jumps up at once and stands in a long disorganised line, ready to board the aircraft. However many times a person flies on an airplane, they still seem to think that if they don't stand and queue, they won't get to their destination - even when they all have assigned seats - and they all glare at me strangely when they see me still sitting down.

On that note, I have bored of writing this blog entry, and the queue has diminished sufficiently for me to board my aircraft. In uniform. Because - then they will smile at me like a long lost friend, and give me crew water.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Mangoes etc

I think somebody died in my bedroom.  Today is clean the house day, and my bedroom is high on the list.  The door is closed... warning people of the horror that will face them if they step across the threshold (it is usually left open due to the heat).  I was up at the Sunshine Coast yesterday, with Celine and her family (oodles and oodles of baby chubbness), and I left bright and early this morning to get home to tidy and clean.

Except... I got distracted halfway home, and bought eight mangoes.  I think I went a little over the top considering that tomorrow morning I am heading off on a three day trip to Canberra, and the mangoes were so ripe that juice was oozing straight out of the bags onto the countertop.

First, I pureed three, and made them into ice lollies.  No added sugar, no added water, just pure mango pulp, and obviously I helped myself to lots of spare puree, and despite being full to the gills with mango, I can't wait until they're frozen.  Surely that used all of the mango?  Nope, I still had five left.  So I ate one.  That didn't really help, as I still had four...

So... I made spiced mango chutney and mango conserve (not really jam, as it has very little sugar to mango ratio).

MMMMM... does that mean I have to make curry next, so that I have something to eat the mango chutney with?  Or should I brave what awaits me behind the closed door of my bedroom?

Mango Chutney in the making: 

Mango Jam in the making:

The finished product:

2/3rds of the baby chubbness that I left behind on the Sunshine Coast (the 2 year old wasn't interested in sitting still for a photo) 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Storms again

Today was flying, and tracking about 50 miles off course due to the thunderstorms. We ended up taking an entirely different routing which sent us over the CBD, from the West, rather than flying down the coast from the North. It was pretty amazing as the towering cumulus was mushrooming in front of our eyes, defeating the measly climb power of the aircraft, and making a previously clear route impossible a few times. McDaniel (not his real name) commented that these would often out climb a jet, let alone a turboprop. For the sake of your ears, I suggest that you watch the following video muted. Unless you want to share the sound of the aircraft. This video isn't great, but was taken at 25,000ft (our ceiling) to show some of the TCU.

This is the CBD from the West, with the airport in the top left of the photo.

This is a typically anvil shaped CB

Some more TCU

lots of storm clouds and developing storm clouds

Saturday, November 17, 2012


There are storms this weekend.

Not the type of storms someone from Ireland would expect.  In fact, I knew all about Tropical Storms before I got here.  Except for when one happened, and then I was like OH MY GOD THIS IS CRAZY AND WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE.  I even unplugged the internet.  Except apparently, you have to unplug the cables that all go into the back of the router, not just unplug it from the electricity.  Nobody told me this, and I thought I was being helpful, and people laughed.  *sad face*

I even took some video, and uploaded one on Youtube just for you.  Because you're special.

I would like to apologise that it is The Wrong Way Around.  My bad, I got carried away.

So did the house.  Well, it almost got carried away.  The granny flat that S lives in downstairs got flooded, as in, we could paddle around in it.  The only way we can think that it flooded is that the water came up from under the floor.  About 20 towels and 40 minutes later, the 5 of us managed to clear the place, only for it to start raining again.

Anyway, what fun !!! this is rain this morning... you cant really hear the thunder over it... the funny part in the movie is when the bird on the telephone wire just flips upside down and is unable to right itself. Poor bird.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I'm sitting outside a bar, Sydney's Opera House to my right, a cruise liner patheticly named 'Rhapsody of the Seas' in front of me, waiting for my fish and chips.

I'm not sure I even want fish and chips, but I couldn't see anything else that i wanted to order so... yeah.

This morning I paxed from Canberra to Sydney, and then I got the train to circular quay. Why? Well, what better way to spend a day in Sydney?

My 3 day trip having morphed into a 6 day trip, it's nice just to kick back and relax, even though I'm missing Queensland a bit! Tomorrow is back to Canberra and then they're allowing me home for a couple of days.

Fish and chips have just arrived, so on that note, TTFN!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hello from Noosa!

Noosa is north of Brisbane, maybe an hour or so's drive from the house. Thankfully I'm still 'jet lagged' from a week of earlies so getting up at 0630 wasn't too much of a hardship - in fact, I woke without my alarm for once!

We came up here to surf: DK, S and SG. However given my seaweed phobia, the fact that the chosen surf location is rocky and jellyfishy, I feel my phobia expanding.

I did paddle out to where the guys are surfing, lay on my surf board awhile and then decided that my chances of being dashed against the rocks were pretty high. I then paddled back in to shore and have spent the last thirty minutes or so amusing myself by taking photos of vishus jellyfishus and and rocks. I also managed a photo of myself and two of the painted surf warriors accompanying me - I am also covered in zinc but unlike the guys, I bought the clear stuff!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

There's a little room in Sydney airport, unmarked and hidden away from The Public, where all the crew sneak away and hide. Wall to wall with computers, crew bags, sectioned offices and even couches and a kitchen, it's like its own little world.

That's where I'm hanging out right now, me and my hat, or my hat and me, or my hat and I, I'm not rightly sure. Despite the grammar, the hat remains - and so do I. Apparently in an emergency situation, my hat is my new best friend - don't ask me why. Apparently everything will be ok as long as I've got my hat.

Anyway, having slightly broken an aircraft for the first time in 6 months, leaving it sitting in front of a large window where all the passengers are milling, we went for breakfast. I figure it's open to the public to talk about the aircraft being tech if the engineers are poking around inside the engine with all of the covers off in front of a few hundred people.

Which of course causes vast chaos and confusion in an airport as busy as Sydney.

0925 in the morning and it feels like an entire day as gone by, and I'm looking forward to a day off tomorrow, although right now it seems likely to have to work instead of surf!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Day 6 of 6, ready for my day off tomorrow, and a nice view of the Brisbane CBD from Row 18 paxing home yesterday.

A whole day off awaits me... whatevwr shall I do???

Thursday, November 1, 2012

That was October, and that makes 6 months in Australia.  Can you believe it?  I definitely can't.  It seems incredible, and it still doesn't really register that I live here.  Every few days I say to someone "do I really live in Australia?"  I lie on the beach and squeeze the sand through my fingers and say: "this is Australia!"

Would you like some flying pictures?  Maybe I'll share some with you, how's that?  You can share some of my Australian experience from the air.  In October I managed 80 hours with the legal maximum being 100 so that's pretty high for me - lots of work - and thankfully the more I work the more I get paid :)

This is on the approach into Sydney, a Qantas airbus thingy (don't ask me what, I don't fly 'em so I don't know) landing to the parallel runway.

Here is it again.... and a strange part of the propeller

This is a dinosaur shaped lake.  Random, I know.

This is the lake flying out of Albury.  So so green, it's like flying over Wicklow!  I love it.

This is on the departure out of Sydney, to the North, you can see the Opera House and stuff.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

It's spring-cleaning day - for everyone other than me, that is.  J is downstairs in the basement, having suddenly felt an urge to clean it out, braving the dangers of spider and snake, trying to turn the place into something useable.  Perhaps I'll take some photos one day as proof.  S has been cleaning out her little granny flat, and all the while I sit upstairs watching Hotel Babylon on youtube.  Such a useful person I am.  One of these days I might even clean my room - but not today.  I did my logbook - does that count as spring-cleaning?

I met up with a couple of the female Ozzie pilots for lunch, who aren't actually Ozzie, but Kiwi, which is a bit like calling the Irish English... whoops.  After lunch, I lay down for a while as I got up this morning with a bone in my neck, and even Neurofen Plus wasn't particularly helpful.  This is also a particularly good excuse for not helping with the spring-cleaning - not that I need an excuse to be lazy, of course.

Tonight I'm supposed to be going out socialising... but I'm still sitting inside in my shorts 'n' tee, unmotivated but at least I'm up to date with the logbook... yes, on a Saturday night, aren't I the most amazing person ever?  Hmm.

Anyway I suppose I ought to make myself presentable just in case I do go out...


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hello from Canberry, which is the original name for Canberra (changed in 1913) derived from the aboriginal word 'kamberra' which means 'meeting place'.

I know this, because a notice board says so, right at the top of Mt Ainslie. I'm not sure if the Mt Ainslie one is spelt that way but the dude who lived there was called Ainslie so it'll do.

This obviously brings me to the next fact: I climbed a mountain! Okay, a mount. Which wasn't particularly big but took about an hour to walk up, so I claim it as a mountain and I name it Mt Kate. Jus' Sayin'. I even took some pics of Mt Kate for you, and even one of Kate on Mt Kate as proof!

You can see (well I could, earlier) Canberra Airport from the top of Mt Kate, so I took a picture of this as well. You're welcome.

Now, having showered off the dust - so much dust! - I am lying on my bed resting my not-dusty-anymore feet, and contemplating the spicy chicken wings that I am going to eat tonight at Smoque. NOT the Suicidal Wings that I chose last time, as I don't want to die a second time, but the next step down I think!!

A little more about Canberra for those who care, ie Dad, it was invented. A ready made capital, built from scratch, a sort of concrete disaster in the middle of a beautiful Australian valley. Apparently Melbourne and Sydney had a fight because Sydney thought Melbourne shouldn't be the capital any more due to size, and Australia, being Australian, found a little town called Canberry smack bang between Sydney and Melbourne and dubbed it capital.

Creating a capital this way meantt that they could choose what it looked like from the very beginning, tough luck the little town that was already there. There was even a competition to design it, and some random bloke who hadn't even been there won the competition and it's all geometric shapes and grandiose concrete monstrosity now, IMHO.

Anyway, enough about Kam/Canberry/a.


PS the person in the other pic is Archie.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The river :)

Moths & Rivers

Apparently, according to BV, I was screaming like a girl.  The first thing I would like to point out is that I am, in fact, a girl.  The second thing is that I wasn't actually screaming, just generally making loud noises and shouts of "get it!" "kill it" and "don't let it come anywhere near me or we're going to crash". It being an extremely large moth - as in, as large as moths come, one of those proper moth-sized moths - that appeared on descent into Sydney, at around 7,000ft.

I don't particularly mind moths, in general.  I can quite happily co-exist with them, when it comes to wide open spaces, or even my house.  When, however, we're talking about a small boxed in space, when you are trying to focus on Something Else, moths aren't welcome.  BV half-heartedly attempted to catch said moth, receiving many (mostly helpful, in my opinion) suggestions from the right seat, and finally got it in his hand.

"Kill it!" I ordered, but for some unknown reason he declined, saying he didn't want to kill the "poor little moth", holding it in his hand saying "I don't know what to do with it" and then it escaped.

All flying-related duties immediately went out of the window.  Well, not literally, but you know what I mean.  We're flying into Sydney, pretty low level, and there's a prehistoric beast roaming around the flight deck.

"Look, it's stuck," said BV, pointing at the moth fluttering down by the air-conditioning vents.

"Not stuck enough," was my response, jamming the flight paperwork down upon it, at which stage it escaped for a second time.  "Put it in the comms hatch!!!"

BV changed his mind at that point, about killing the "poor little moth" and now there is a distinct moth-coloured stain in that particular aircraft.  You know how moths are sort of silvery and metallic, well, now the air-conditioning vents are silvery and metallic, and the moth itself is crammed down there somewhere... I hope moths don't start smelling when they decompose...

That was a very boring story about what I did this morning.

Now, I have a headache.  This is due to the fact that this afternoon I was doing something not quite so boring.  IMHO.  Wake-boarding, in a word.  The headache in particular is due to falling forwards off the board and hitting my face into the water at some considerable speed.  The pulled muscle in my arm is due to not hanging on tightly enough when the boat accelerated away, but all in all it was a successful experience!  I managed to stand up several times and even coast behind the boat for about 30 seconds on one occasion which was great fun - until I tried to turn, at which stage I bit the dust (water) again.

Then after everyone else had had a go with either the skis or the board, we anchored the boat and went for a swim.  We were in the river just inside of Redcliffe, so it was salty, not as salty as the sea but definitely not fresh.  It was pretty warm, too, which was nice.  There were 7 of us - 3 other Ozzie pilots and their girlfriends.  Happy days :)

I got a picture of the river but none of me wake-boarding, sorry!  I-phones don't do well with water, and I haven't bought a waterproof cover yet!


PS Yes, I did write more about moths than wake-boarding, but I have a headache and I can't write any more.  So sorry.  Ha.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The promised photos, mainly for Dad, one of a 747 on short final, another of Sydney, and the final photo of what Is left of what I was munching on throughout the phone call! Disclaimer: they are not in order - a) blame the phone b) work it out

It was quite interesting flying in to Sydney actually, as we were landing on 34L and there was a JetStar also on final for 34R, about a mile away, same level, and you could see almost every detail - it was almost like flying in formation - pretty cool!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I'm just back from Canberra, which was surprisingly warm, considering that it was (and still is) Canberra.  Brizzy, however, is a lot warmer, currently 25 degrees but forecast 33 tomorrow!

Last night we went to a new restaurant in Canberra, called Smoque, which I suppose you could call an American restaurant.  All the dishes came with sides of corn bread, which obviously I didn't eat as I detest the stuff.  In fact, everyone agreed with me once they tasted it - why people don't trust me, I do not know.  Dougal (which is my nickname for him [his middle name is Douglas] so I can use it on my blog,) suggested that I try the suicidal chicken wings, and for some reason I trusted him.

Suicidal is apparently a term that means extremely insanely agonisingly hot and much hotter than anything else in the world and makes your mouth and lips and throat and stomach (I could go on but I will spare you) burn.  Burn seems like a lame way to describe the feeling, but yeah, perhaps the term "suicidal" means that you want to commit suicide after eating them, and of course, having ordered them, I did have to finish them, although Dougal, to do him justice, did eat two - mind you they were lathered with ketchup which in my opinion dilutes the hot sauce and is cheating.

The meal also included a large number of BBQ pork ribs and sweetcorn and chips and the inevitable cornbread aforementioned (I do like that word), and was all around pretty good (except for the cornbread).  M and S then decided that they wanted ice cream so we went trooping off around Canberra looking for an ice cream shop, although I'm not quite sure what planet they were on as it was 1900 and what ice cream shop would still be open at that time?  None, apparently.

The supermarket, however, solved the problem and we bought copious amounts of ice cream, which apparently we had to finish - which made Dougal continuously complain about how full he was and how unfair for him to be forced to eat a third Crunchie ice cream after such a large meal and how he just wanted to die.  Maybe it was the two chicken wings, who knows.

New South Wales has summer time, which means that despite it being on the same meridian oojie-whatsit, it is 1 hour ahead of Queensland.  This of course meant getting up 1 hour earlier in the morning, for an already early start.  Eugh.  The one bonus about this was that we arrived home in Brisbane 1 hour earlier than we used to when there wasn't summer time.  I mean, when NSW wasn't 1 hour ahead.  You know what I mean!

Anyway, I'm sure I'm getting boring by this stage, so I shall quit writing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Today, I slept on the beach.  It was quite nice, actually, lying on a nice beach towel in the sun, the sand digging a perfect groove for my face, and the wind keeping me cool.  Yes, for those who care, I was wearing a massive amount of sunscreen, and also a considerable number of clothes for sun-protection.  'Cause I know you're already tut-tutting at me.

Today, I had a surf lesson with MB.  We decided to do this - well I decided, and he agreed - as it's getting a little tiresome renting surfboards and then ending up clinging to the bottom of them defiantly as the waves throw themselves at you determined to separate you from the board.  The lesson wasn't particularly cheap but lasted 90 minutes and I think we picked up a lot of technique from it.  No, we're not amazing surfers now, but hopefully next time we rent boards we can build on what we have learnt!

Tomorrow, I head to Canberra for another overnight, hopefully it will be warmer than last time, as apparently it's heating up pretty quick there.  It is such a strange climate - bitterly cold in the winter and unbearably hot in the summer, apparently only a couple of months in-between that are actually pleasant, yet the Australians choose to have it as their Capital.  Strange people.

Anyway, having just showered remarkably large quantities of sand off myself, I must now go to dry my hair as I am beginning to fade, despite sleeping on the beach earlier!

Oh yeah, and as an aside, the first attempt of using zinc on my face instead of normal sunscreen seems to have been pretty successful.  The surf instructor, whose name was Jake, just in case you wanted to know, had some tan-coloured zinc that looked like foundation, and was extremely effective, so now I'm going to try to get some of that!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Good evening, blogworthy friends.  Let's see, what can I update you all on from the last 5 days?  It actually is a slight problem that I can't actually remember what I did over the last 5 days.  I expect it involved flying, and I do remember receiving a parcel from Alaska which was greatly appreciated!  Now I must make cranberry and chocolate chip cookies!  *DROOLS*  My niece Olivia drew me two awesome pictures, and the earrings are lovely.  There, a public thank-you, to be followed by a personalised thank-you of course :)

Today, I built shelves.  I feel very proud of myself due to this, although I do keep peeking into the bedroom to see whether they have collapsed yet.  They are IKEA shelves, and okay fine, I just assembled them, not really built them but hey, I did it myself, right?  That's all I did today, other than the drive to IKEA to buy the shelves, but that goes without saying, except I just did, so it doesn't, really.

Yesterday, I ferried an empty aircraft from Sydney, which took about 11 hours, despite the actual flight only taking 2 hours.  This due to the fact that engineers (or crewing, or both crewing and engineers combined) always say an aircraft is going to be ready at a certain time, and then it's not, and so on...

The day before yesterday merges into hazy lack of memories... but I suspect it involved hotel rooms and more aircraft.  Looking at my roster report, I see that I am correct.  I was in Townsville, apparently, the land of steak and ribs and beer and airplanes.  Not a bad mix, really.  Well, the steak and the ribs and the beer mix pretty well, and the airplanes sort of have to sit at the end of the sentence all on their lonesome or else there is Trouble.

Tomorrow, I'm being sent back to Townsville.  Actually out of all of the overnights, Townsville is my favourite.  It's a pretty town, despite it's weird nonsensical name, and has lots of nice restaurants to choose from.  The hotel is good, and apparently there's a hill to climb up, a bit like the Bluff in AK.  I haven't climbed up it, obviously, because I have allergies to climbing up hills.

Saturday, I get to come back to Brisbane, and am meeting up with a bunch of my International friends, for a sort of catch-up.  Everyone's invited, but won't find out until the night who actually comes!  (ooo the excitement)   Then on Sunday, I head off to Rockhampton for a couple of days.

Given that I have just described what I'm going to be doing for the next week as well, I guess I won't need to update this?

Okay, I will, if anything happens that I haven't listed.


Friday, October 5, 2012


Tonight, I'm in Townsville. In fact, last night I was here too, and given that at this present time I am in a hotel on average 3 nights a week, it is becoming somewhat monotonous.

Do you know that feeling, when you are going to eat out, you're really really hungry, but you can't think of anything that you would like to eat? When you're thinking is there a single restaurant in this town that I haven't visited? Anyway...

Tonight is going to be a very expensive night, so it is a good thing that we are given pretty decent overnight allowances. Unfortunately for my bank balance, I still enjoy an argument enough to swear that I am 100% right on a subject when the other person possibly could be fairly right himself... meaning that now I have to buy all of the drinks tonight! Whoops... "Idiot!" you might well say...

...and now I must go, as apparently we're going to 'get a couple of drinks before dinner,' and seeing that we Never do that on a normal overnight, methinks he is milking it!!!


PS the picture is of one of the bushfires that we pass over on a regular basis. Apparently they are lit deliberately to reduce the undergrowth before the hot weather - so that when they ignite naturally it doesn't cause widespread destruction.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

ooooh yeah :)

Surfer's Paradise

Today was good.

For a start, I was on a legal day of which meant crewing couldn't even think about calling me. The plan was simple - the beach. Which beach, it didn't really matter, just a beach, somewhere, involving lots of warm sand and preferably warm water.

Surfer's Paradise ended up being where we went (me and An Crew Member) and it was good. Attached are a couple of pictures. I was very impressed by a father who built his two small sons sand cars to play in, with just his hands. Fair play, and I have attached a photo as proof.

The sea was reasonably un-cold (not being warm as such) and the waves were far too chaotic for surfing, but excellent fun for tumbling, as I have decided to name the pastime. The current was extremely strong, so much so that walking in even waist deep water was a massive effort, so it was a pretty good work out as well!

I now look like a boiled lobster (face only) despite multiple applications of high factor sunscreen and have decided that the next step up is 'zinc' which is apparently sunproof. Don't ask for more info cos I don't got none? HA! Unfortunate that I can't wear a lycra rash vest on my face - although R did suggest a balaclava!!


Sunday, September 30, 2012

O Rockhampton, why art thou so dull today? Ugly buildings, ugly sky, and it's not even warm - how boring is that?