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.