Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Surf Day

This morning, I got up bright and early to go surfing!  Well, it wasn't exactly bright when I got up (0700), but I was told that we were leaving at 0800 so I wanted to make sure I didn't miss my lift.  However, we didn't actually leave until about 0930 so I was a little bit frustrated as I'm sure most of you know how much I dislike mornings...

It took about 1h30 to drive down to Currumbin Beach.  This is just south of Surfers' Paradise, and I'm sure if you really care you can google it.  It was chilly enough when we arrived around 1100, and it took a little while to warm up.

I don't have any photos of the first group going on the surf lesson.  This consisted of myself and 3 of the Spanish contingent.  We all had to lie on the sand and pretend we were on surf boards and learn how to stand up on them, etc.  I only have a picture of the surf instructor teaching J and his Spanish friend in the second group.  J was extremely embarrassed having to lie on the sand and do this, in front of the rest of us, so I felt that I really had to take a photo!

The lesson lasted for ninety minutes, and was really fun.  We were supplied with boards and wetsuits, and the waves were pretty gentle but good enough to be able to stand up and surf for a reasonable distance.  Nothing difficult, and I didn't even see any sharks, although there were plenty of little fishies swimming around in the waves.  The water was so clear and not particularly cold, although I was definitely appreciative of the wetsuit.

I'm sure you can tell in the above 3 photos that we were only posing and not actually doing any surfing at the time!  This was after the surf lesson, when we were just messing around.  The three of us then took the one remaining surf board out into the sea and messed around for thirty minutes.  All giggling hysterically, of course, trying to stand up on the surfboard all at the same time, and trying really hard to paddle it out to the waves but finding it impossible with all of us weighting it down... needless to say we didn't get very far!

There ends an extremely fun day out, and tomorrow I'm flying up to Rockhampton to visit a friend up there!  The schedule involves horse riding, popcorn, pizza, movies, shopping... what more could a girl ask for?  


Friday, July 27, 2012


That's it, folks!  I'm finished.  3 weeks of flying, and now it's holiday time!  Funny to think that my final check was 3 months to the day since I arrived in the country.

27 April 2012, I landed in Brisbane, started work on 30 April and spent the next 3 weeks studying manically for theory exams, finishing on 21 May.  After a week off, I spent the next 2 weeks in various ground school courses.  26 June, I headed off to New Zealand to spend a week there in the simulator and then finally started flying on 7 July.

Now, I get to enjoy what my colleagues have been enjoying for the past couple of months - a holiday.  Monday I am heading up north to Rockhampton for two nights to visit a friend there.  We're planning to go horse-riding and camping and who knows what else, and I'm really looking forward to it.  After that, I want to take surfing lessons (if I can find someone to go with, as I'm not all that keen on going on my own) and after that the possibilities are endless!

The best part of it, of course, is the fact that I'm getting paid to go on holiday - and it doesn't actually count as holiday so I still have all my leave remaining!  It's winter here, but it still gets to about 21C at midday so no complaints!

Nothing else to report right now, no new pictures - but I'll definitely have pictures after my trip to Rockhampton, so I will keep you posted.


Monday, July 23, 2012


Today has been interesting, in a sort of frustrating sort of way.  This morning I flew to Gladstone, and now I am waiting to hitch a lift to Canberra, where I will be spending the next two nights. The Gladstone part went really well - there and back, not a problem.  Then I tried to book in for my CBR leg, only to find that I didn't actually have a ticket.  After waiting around for 20 minutes or so, I decided to go for coffee.  This turned out to be a Really Bad Idea. Imagine, if you will, in your mind's eye, a picture of me walking aimlessly through the airport, overheating marvellously in the thick overcoat that I brought for the chill of Canberra.  In my left hand, pulling my overnight bag, hat under my arm, and over my right shoulder slung my flight bag.  One medium cappuccino, please.  Now walking to my table, cappucino clasped in my so-far-free right hand.  I stoop to place the cup on the table... and as I do so, the shoulder strap slips off my shoulder and bounces somewhat less than gracefully on my cup-holding wrist. The rest is history. Suffice it to say, I am now the proud owner of two beige-foam flecked bags, a similarly beige-foam flecked hat, boots somewhat encrusted with stickiness and beige streaks down my overcoat and trouser legs.  All in front of it appeared the entire airport.  All staring in silent admiration as I try very hard to be nonchalant as though nothing out of the ordinary has happened.  Gracefully tripping over one of the beige-flecked bags as I hasten to find serviettes... sending my hat spiralling onto the floor.   I would have taken pictures but it didn't seem appropriate. Having moved on from the coffee fiasco, and somewhat relieved that I was wearing the overcoat - it protected my coat - I go back to check in again.  Of course, this would be the day that the chief pilot has flown in from Perth and is standing in the middle of the terminal deep in conversation with a couple of pilots...  Think detour, think coat off slung over bag neatly folded... (the coat, not the bag) *sighs* now I am sitting at the gate, waiting for the flight, having finally checked in, only to find that there's not even a taxi booked at the other end to take me to the hotel.  Great, may I should have brought a sleeping bag?  Perhaps I could just use the beige-splattered overcoat.   I may even update this tonight - depends on whether anything else goes wrong!!! TTFN!

Sunday, July 22, 2012


This first picture is up the coast somewhere near Sunshine Coast

Second picture is a strange delta south of Rockhampton 

Third picture is taken in Rockhampton

Fourth picture is in Townsville, and the hangar says Hawker Pacific, I think.

Fifth picture is some of the hilly bits around Townsville 

Sixth picture has absolutely nothing to do with flying, and was an open-topped Cattle Train, which reminded me somewhat of the movie Australia.  Seemingly dozens of trailers full of steers.

Finally a picture of moi playing pool - or rather, aiming the sticky thing at one of the round things, jerking my arms spazmodically and even managing to miss the white ball.  HMM.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Here is day off number three.  I have been a very lazy blogger, and despite promising to blog as soon as I got days off... I haven't.  My first day off I spent doing very little, other than picking up one of my housemates from his final exam, and afterwards lying in the garden sunbathing.  We actually went to a place called the Breakfast Creek Hotel for lunch, having heard that the steak there is amazing.  The recommendation was correct - the steak was so tender and incredibly full of flavour.

Breakfast Creek Hotel is quite close to Brisbane airport - just a few miles - and aircraft actually route over it on track to land on Runway 01.  Believe it or not, there is a waypoint directly above the Breakfast Creek Hotel - and what is it called?  STAKE.  This is not a coincidence, apparently!

Yesterday was another lazy morning, trying to stay in bed as long as possible, followed by a BBQ at C's place.  They now live up North in an area called Murrumba Downs, as of about a week ago.  It was good to catch up, and we spent the afternoon and evening constantly eating, and then playing pool - while wearing his hat, I might add.  I started it - and then the winner of the game had to wear the hat... and pass it on to the next winner, etc.  The complaints about not being able to hit the balls straight while wearing the hat were frequent!

Today and tomorrow are my designated study days, which technically means that I shouldn't be blogging.  You are going to have to live a little while longer without pictures, as I haven't got the cable handy to plug my phone into my computer.  It's like a whole three feet away from me which is way too far when I am in This Sort Of A Mood.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

More Flying

I took pictures!  Here is the first, of us heading into Brisbane from Emerald:

The sunset on the way to Gladstone:

And finally Brisbane at night on the final flight home... the long string of lights is a bridge heading to Redcliffe which is just out of the picture on the left.

Afraid there's nothing more interesting as I'm in the middle of training so I have to be thoughtful about when I take my phone out !


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Off to Work

Off to work again - it's hard to find something to blog about when it's a case of get up, get dressed, go to work, come home, get undressed, go to bed... in a few days' time however I have 4 days off in a row so hopefully I get to do something fun and interesting to blog about!

In the meantime, keep smiling :)


Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Golden Orb

Well now, something a little more interesting than grocery shopping!  There was I, minding my own business, taking a break from studying, enjoying a nice light hearted episode of Mr Bean and slowly eating my last CCE, when I heard a shout from the the kitchen.  Come and geeeeet it!  Roast leg of insurance salesman bathroom. (sorry, I got carried away!) "Come and look at this!!!"  Dubious, as always, expecting to be told that I had left something lying around (not an uncommon occurrence), I headed towards the bathroom, still clasping the remains of my precious CCE.

Outside the window, hanging on a faintly yellow web, this is what I saw:

these pictures are stolen off Google as I couldn't wouldn't get close enough to it for my iphone to work out too well.

Well, to be brutally honest... I don't actually want to form any kind of a relationship with this spider.  Especially as Wikipedia also tells me that it eats small birds and such like! 

Wikipedia tells me:

Interaction with humans

These spiders do not seem to form either beneficial or harmful relationships with humans.

Well, to be brutally honest... I don't actually want to form any kind of a relationship with this spider.  Especially as Wikipedia also tells me that it eats small birds and such like! 

The particular specimen outside the bathroom window probably measures.... actually scratch that.  Myself and RM went and measured it properly.  Our technique consisted on putting a standard sized clothes peg (like those wooden ones) on the end of a long stick and approaching the spider from one side (avoiding its web).  Using this technique, the body measured approximately 2 centimetres, and its legs (all curved obviously) well overlapped the edges of the peg, maybe 1cm either side.

How I love the fact that the windows in my bedroom have netting on them!  Otherwise my room would NEVER be ventilated!  ...and I just felt an itchy sensation on my neck and almost had a panic attack.


A Me Day

I have decided that today is a me day.  Already, today is almost over, but it’s been really good.  For a start, I haven’t done anything work related today.  It’s strange actually, because it actually makes me feel guilty!  
I must also make a confession.  I haven’t taken any photos since I got home from Auckland.  Therefore, I have no photos to share!  When I’m at work, I am technically supposed to be working, so I haven’t taken any photos.  When I’m at home, there isn’t really anything to take photos of (insert dangling preposition disclaimer).  
Today, I did very little.  I did some grocery shopping which could be classified as profitable, as this morning I looked in the cupboard and saw it was bare.  In fact, I have looked in the cupboard for the last four or five days and seen that it was bare.  This did not motivate me enough to do grocery shopping, but today I decided that as really I was running out of excuses, I should make myself at least somewhat useful.
Other than that... there isn’t really anything to blog about!  I could tell you more about the grocery shopping... but I’m afraid I could lose a lot of readers that way.  In fact, I’ll probably lose readers simply by blogging about a day in which I did nothing, although that is presuming that I have readers in the first place...  
So far I have flown for three days.  Three extremely long days, which have been pretty exhausting.  It’s all very full on, and a lot to process.  I think it’s finally coming together although there is still a lot of work for me to do - but not today.  
Tomorrow is a day off as well, although it will not be a me day.  Unfortunately, I must get back to the books and study for my last five days of line training followed by my line check on Thursday.  So much to do, so little time to do it in, so now I must get back to doing nothing!
Sorry to bore you with such an incredible post full of nothingness, but you wanted to hear something!  
If anyone wants me to blog about anything in particular... drop a comment and i shall do my best to fill you in!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I'm tired.  When I am tired, the order of priority is this:




Blog  bed.


Monday, July 9, 2012

The New Me

I was on a bus today.  I was sitting on this bus, between the staff car park and the terminal, and I had a very strange thought.  My brain spoke to me, and it said "how did I get here?"  This was quite unexpected, and for a moment I didn't know what to reply.  In fact, I paused for so long that my brain added extra questions.  "Why am I here?" it demanded.  "Who sent me?  Who made me come?  What on earth was I thinking?" and then it tacked a few extra question marks on the end, like this:  ????????????

This stumped me, rather.  I think it's about four months since I decided to come out here, and funny (funny weird, not funny haha) to think about why I actually did it.  In fact, I don't really have a reason except that it seemed to be a pretty cool thing to do.  So I sat on the bus, and the eucalyptus trees passed me by, and I watched a random captain opposite me talking loudly on the phone in an extremely Australian accent, and given my state of mind, I found that particularly weird, (it's a bit like being detached from your body, seeing yourself sitting there and not being involved with the actual sitting part at all) and I thought about the questions that my brain had asked me.  Then the terminal, and I never actually got a chance to answer the questions as I met my particular trainer, and from then on it was down to business.

I suppose you think that I am going to answer those questions, here and now, on this blog.  You are wrong - I'm not, and neither do I intend to.

The last two days have been pretty intense.  Yesterday was my first day flying, and it was all incredibly new, remarkably different, altogether fairly overwhelming and pretty similar to what I imagine the Spanish Inquisition to have been like - without so much of the physical torture, that is.  Okay, scratch that, without any of the physical torture.  Suffice it to say, I have never ever been asked so many questions in such a short period of time!

The flying part of things has been really good, and I've really enjoyed being back in the aircraft, although it hasn't seemed as natural as I thought it would be, due to all the new procedures and having to actually think before actioning things.  When my mind goes away all on its lonesome it tends to go right back to what it is used to do, so if I'm doing a take-off brief and get distracted perhaps by our taxi route, I realise that I am chanting the previous company's spiel with absolutely no regard to what I am actually saying.  That takes a little bit of getting used to!  It's like forcing myself to write with my left hand when I'm used to writing with my right - and yes I know some people do that all the time, but I don't!

Once I was inside the terminal today, and got down to business, my brain stopped asking me stupid questions and I was able to focus on what I needed to do.  That was good.  Another thing that is good is that tomorrow is a day off, and it will give me a little bit of a head-start on the study front - it is quite hard to stay ahead of the game if you are flying every day and can only study while preparing for the actual duty.  Yeah, yeah I know, smallest violin and all that.

I think this particular blog post has gone on long enough!  Yes, I am happy that I am here.  Yes, there is an awful lot more work than I thought there would be - but am I willing to do it? yes.  Also, I recognise that it is their ball game so they make the rules!  However, bring on the day off tomorrow, that's what I say!


Saturday, July 7, 2012

We Make Fly

Today is the day that I officially become airborne!  I spent all of yesterday allegedly studying, but more realistically running around like a headless chicken trying to organise myself, fill my flight bag with everything under the sun that I might possibly need sometime in my future life, and iron my uniform multiple times.  This morning I am writing this blog to try to delay some of the headless chicken antics that I know are going to begin the sooner I get to departure time.

Over here, they take things very seriously.  A part of me says it would be extremely nice to wake up in my cozy little apartment in Swords, throw on my uniform, decide not to iron my shirt because it can just about be classified as cold enough to wear the potato sack sweater.  Look at my watch, panic because I have to report in 15 minutes, send a txt to say I'm running late, fall into the crew room, press "print", and there you have it.

Not so much, any more.  Things have changed.  The shirt feels like wearing a piece of cardboard, and every time you move, it reminds you that you are indeed wearing a piece of cardboard.  On the plus side, it is fitted, and no longer looks like I'm borrowing Dad's shirt.  I have to wear a name-tag and wings!  Mind you, I always used to have to wear a name-tag and wings, they just sort of got mislaid...

Australia seems to be about 20 years behind the rest of the world, where technology is concerned (and multiple other things).  You can no longer press "print" when you arrive in the crew room.  Well, you can, but it won't really get you very far.  Everything is manual like it used to be once upon a time back home.  How much fuel do you want to fly from A to B?  Who knows, let's add it up... 30+60+300+80+35+...blah blah blah.  Can't we just like, blag a bit?

Right, now that I've wasted 15 minutes of my valuable getting-ready-to-work allowance, which I shall call 80kg of fuel, I must see can I perfect my headless chicken routine... to go fly an airplane that I've been flying for the last 4 years.  What's the big deal ???

TTFN !!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Auckland Pictures

A picture says a thousand words - hence I will now shut up.

I shall now open my mouth long enough to comment that these are teency weency baby mussels - I included my finger in the photograph to portray how tiny they were.  Below, there is a random house near the beach that I thought was pretty awesome.

The above two photos are maps - in concrete and metal - of what you can see out in the bay - of which the only two photos I am posting are above the photos of the maps.

ML walking around a massive gun emplacement from WWII.  Below, the red and white mushrooms are actually air vents from the bunker underneath - the gun emplacement is to the right of this photo.

This is actually the same beach as previously, however from further along.  Below is a volcanic island out in the bay - don't ask me which volcano, though.


Today I ate kangaroo.  It was very good.

The End.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Picture Installment 1

The Flights:

The starter and salad pictures are actually of the flight home - the pics I took on the way there weren't great, although there was a lot more salmon on the first starter!

Below is the fillet steak served on the first flight...

See??? International Date Line !!  WOOHOO

and.... as you can see, I was absolutely ruined by the time we flew home :)  ML sneakily took this picture while I wasn't looking (obviously)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


It's been a couple of days since I've had my computer out.  Actually, this is the first time since before Auckland, so over a week!  My poor, lonely computer - I'm sure it's glad to see me back.  This means that you might luck out with a few photos one of these days!

Yesterday we flew home from NZ via business class again which once again was awesome although the food wasn't as good as on the way out.  It was a very early start which didn't work out all that comfortably after being used to going to bed at breakfast time and getting up at lunch time!  It was like a simulator jet lag!  

Over the weekend, I sent an email out to all of the internationals, inviting everyone to a BBQ at our house on Tuesday 3rd.  As we only actually got home from Auckland then, and no preparation had been done in our absence, it was a bit of a mad rush trying to get everything organised for people to turn up.  RMcN and myself went out and bought all of the food etc. and then came home and cleaned the house, while everyone else went AWOL.  

RMcN's burgers are undoubtedly the most awesome burgers I have ever had.  I dunno what he put in them - a combination of spices, mustard, tomatoes, onions, you name it - they were incredibly incredible.  On top of that we had piles of sausages, loads of corn on the cob, chicken, and of course all the accoutrements.  

A large number of people turned up for the event, and everyone seemed to enjoy the evening.  Unfortunately I don't have any photos of this - it got dark before the BBQ even started, so taking photos wouldn't have been very easy!  The first Australian BBQ was a rip-roaring success, and I think we can call this house officially "warmed" !

Photos of Auckland will of course follow, once I muster up the energy to edit them.


Sunday, July 1, 2012


Apparently I have forgotten that I have a blog.  Not only that, but also appear, from my point of view, to have forgotten how to have a life.  The last four or five days have involved waking, food, manic studying, hours and hours of torture, getting home later and later, sleeping... then the whole cycle over again, and blogging hasnt exactly been pretty high on the agenda!

The food here is really good.  There's a little cafeteria around the corner from the hotel and it has very reasonably priced unhealthy breakfasts etc.  My favourite is the pancake breakfast, involving two large buttery pancakes, sandwiching a large maple flavoured piece of bacon.  On the side, a bowl of thick syrup is supplied, and the inevitable banana smothered in whipped cream.  This appears to be a New Zealand thing, everything either contains fruit or has fruit on the side.  Mr C ordered a cajun chicken salad one day and this had a massive banana smack in the middle.  I ordered a beed salad and it had large chunks of orange, apple and pineapple littered through it and was drenched in a sweet citrusy dressing.  It seems impossible to get salad without this dressing.

Another amazing food item
over here is the coffee.  I say food item, and I stick to this.  If you order a capuccino or a latte you are brought a perfectly frothy swimming pool of the liquid.  By the time you finish this, you don't actually want the breakfast that you ordered, or rather, I don't, so ML eats his own breakfast and half of mine.  

The studying hasn't been all that bad, it's all fairly straightforward but very full on.  The requirement is to be pretty much word perfect, and heaven forbid you regress to previous procedures and say 'select' instead of 'set'!  However, if you show that you are making the effort, know 99% of your calls and procedures, you don't get as much flack for a wrong item as you do if you've only learnt 5%.  Don't ask me why, but I know!  

They are mowing the lawns outside my bedroom window.  I think this is disgraceful at 10.00!  Do they not realise what time I went to bed?

Tonight, we're meeting up with some of the others who fly over today, and then going for dinner.  Yes, at this stage my life does revolve around food.  There's nothing else for me to do at this hotel except study - and that's not happening today!

Right, I'm bored of this writing about nothing, I'll update with more when I get home to 'Brizzy' tomorrow!