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.