Tuesday, August 30, 2016


This trip started on a good note.  I checked in to the hotel to find that I had a room with a kitchenette, which meant I could cook my own breakfasts which was great.  

The first morning, after some scrambled eggs and spinach, I went to find Mt Ainslie.  Unfortunately, someone moved it since last time I was here - ok, we changed hotel - so it was a couple of kilometres away.  Not a problem, as I was running to keep warm, although once I got to the base I dropped back to walking. 

The beginning of the trail

From the top, the war memorial

Also from the top, the airport

I did time myself, managing 22:51 on the way up - walking as fast as I could given the gradient - and 10:13 on the way back - as I ran as fast as I could without endangering myself.  The bottom of my knees started hurting on the downhill - I guess I'm not used to running like that.

Once back at the hotel, I managed to get some study in for my up-coming check, and having also arranged the previous night to stay in that room, I went to sort out all of my groceries.  On check out, I confirmed again with the reception that the fridge was full, and left a message for the cleaner. All was well.

The second morning, I got up to find that the cleaners had not replenished the coffee, milk or cleaning supplies (but had removed the old ones) for the kitchenette so I had to go searching.  Also the in room phone was broken so I couldn't call for it!

After sorting all of that out, with checkout not until 1445, I had a lazy morning and then followed the same procedure with reception and the fridge.  Imagine my surprise when I checked back in at 2000 to be given a different room!

I kicked up a stink with the hotel staff: having confirmed with two different people AND left a note I was (and still am) incredulous that they would have just thrown away my stuff.  My FO also lost his groceries the previous day, but not having been so religious about organising it, I had assumed it was his error!

Thankfully, after making enough of a fuss to be noticed, the hotel agreed to give me free room service that night and a breakfast box the next morning: none of which comply with my "healthy eating" regime but hey, beggars can't be choosers.

It is now 20 minutes to check out and I haven't packed yet... So I must go.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Well, I'm back down in Canberra, and wow is it hard to stick to one's dietary challenge when eating out with other people.  Last night I went out and had a steak with green beans, which seemed like a total rip off.  Tonight, I think everyone wants Chinese, which is going to be even harder unless I can wangle a plain vegetable and meat stirfry !  Oh the life of someone trying to quit sugar !

In good news, the hotel room (new hotel) has a kitchenette, which is something very rare in Aus.  So as I am here for three days I persuaded reception to keep me in the same room and have stocked up the fridge with eggs, spinach, etc so that I can cook my own breakfasts and not pay $15-$20 every morning for the honour.  

If only I had brought my new smoothie maker... Although at that, if only I had brought the contents of all my kitchen cupboards... Or perhaps just stayed at home...

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The bin man is late this morning.  I've already got up, twice, having decided that the first time was ridiculous, being that it was only 0320.  Three hours later, I got up for good and had to persuade myself that running was a good idea.  This took a few minutes, but finally I was on the road.  I stopped at the 4K mark, having well defeated my Wednesday 4K time, and feeling somewhat limp.  

I walked past the coffee shop, as I always do, wondering whether I could pre pay for coffees as I never have money when I run, and reminding myself that I have some very nice coffee at home.

Now, having had said very nice cup of coffee, the bin man has just been, it's 0745 and usually they come before 6.  So that's weird.  At 0900 I am meeting H for breakfast (so that I can spend $15 for sub-standard eggs that I usually make much better here) and then at lunch time I have to go to work.  

I'm not sure whether I remember how to fly any more.  My roster says CRITICAL!!!  45 DAY EXPIRY!!! MUST FLY!!! With a remarkable number of exclamation marks.  So it is tempting to call in sick and see what domino effect it has on my roster... But being a good citizen, I won't.  Maybe I'll remember how to fly when I get there.  The bonus being that I'm flying with the most know-it-all pilot in the company, so he's sure to be able to tell me how to do it...

Lily still has separation anxiety.  We went over to a friend's house yesterday and she would quite happily snuggle with him, but keeping her eyes fixed firmly on me.  If I got up to go to the bathroom... All hell would break loose.  Waaahhhhhhhhhhhhh, Mummy's leaving me forever, etc.  Wow.  And on Sunday I go to Canberra for four days! 

She stole a roll of toilet paper yesterday.  I was just happily being in the bathroom, as you do, I'll spare you any details, and she meandered in, grabbed the toilet roll and walked out.  Thank the Lord for spares.  

In other news, there is no other news.  Oh yes, I'm waiting to hear from the bank, they are very unresonsive, and I have yet another invoice from the builder to process and therefore it is very irritating when the bank won't talk to me.  So, that's another thing I have to chase up today.  
Now I must go and get ready for my Fancy Eggs.


Sunday, August 21, 2016


I've decided to attempt some healthy eating, having stuffed myself for the last month in Ireland.  The local fruit 'n' veg shop had some good deals today so I bought a bunch of veggies and have started my project.  The idea is to freeze portions so that I have food for work also.  

First up, a big dish of roasted veggies like they do at HH: onion, peppers, courgette, tomato, and some herbs and olive oil on top.


Second up, a bowl of Greek salad, this one not to freeze, for obvious reasons: onion, peppers, cucumber, tomato, feta & kalamata olives: dressing yet to come.  Add some steak, and lunch is ready!

Then I got some pumpkin ready to roast, I also have a bunch of chicken drumsticks to put on, but those will have to wait as with only 2 racks in the oven, I've run out of space.  Not bad for a morning's work.  

1 day in Aus is complete.  It's been okay so far although the house seems empty.  That's what happens when you spend a month with thirty people!  

We did well on day 1, both Lily and I ate healthy and avoided bread and sugar.  She didn't seem to mind as much as I did.  It is now day 2 and I woke up early (jet lag) and went for a run with L, and am now debating what I should have for breakfast (eggs, tomato & onion I think) and also what I should put on the shopping list for the week! 

"Come on, Mum, 3.5k isn't hardly enough"

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Home at last

After a very uneventful trip home, I found myself back in Brisbane.  Boring = awesome, as I was a little worried after my outbound experience !  It was good to be back but painful at the same time as it was so incredibly hard to leave everyone in Ireland.

Three of my church friends met me at the airport to take me home, and hung out for awhile back at the house, after which I excused myself to pick up Lily.  B had just bathed her so she was nice and sweet smelling, howbeit still slightly damp!  She was ridiculously happy to see me, showering me with a million kisses and cuddles.

She also seemed to like her present.

She has refused to let me out of her sight since.  She is at my heels when I go upstairs to the bathroom, and was devastated when I tied her up outside the IGA to get some groceries.  I was only inside for 5 minutes but she greeted me with the same joy and excitement of the previous night.

After a healthy breakfast (having eaten far too much in Ireland) I drove up to Mango Hill to see the site, hoping that the slab would be laid.  Much to my surprise, I found that the frame was up also!  Lily didn't seem to appreciate it as much as I did, but she did investigate the garden.

From the street at the front 

Selfie in the living room

From the back garden towards the street

In the media room!  Not impressed by my walking away...

I have now emailed the builders to make sure I don't owe them the next instalment - as they seem much further ahead of where I expected them to be.

Thursday, August 11, 2016


I appear to have disappeared off the face of the world.

Almost a month has passed since I arrived in Ireland, and it's been great.  In fact, I am mostly dreading going home at the end of next week, partly due to having my line check and sim waiting for me, and partly due to just not wanting to leave.  I am, of course, looking forward to seeing my Lily again, but that's about it.

I have done so much in the last three and a bit weeks, it's hard to know where to start.  I've done a lot of shopping, a lot of travelling - to Galway, England and Donegal - and a vast amount of eating.  It seems to be what Baileys do best.

Galway was for a friend's wedding, and that was a lovely weekend.  It was great to catch up and to see old faces, and on Sunday morning I went for a drive around the Burren in Co. Clare.  


After spending more time being Social on Sunday night, I drove back to Wicklow, just in time to pack to go to Devon early on Monday morning.

The highlights of Devon were seeing my grandma, who is now ninety-one, and going flying with Terry, my ex-flight instructor (yes, I almost wrote "old" and thought better of it).  He is still a flight instructor, but not technically mine, so I can get away with that.  We flew across to a little grass airfield called Compton Abbas and had some lunch at the restaurant there).  Afterwards, we flew down to the coast just west of Bournemouth, and flew along it to Sidmouth and thence back into Exeter.  It was gorgeous weather, for which I was grateful as the previous two days in Cullompton had been incredibly wet. 


It was very nerve-wracking for Chris and I to have my five year old niece (his second daughter) in Grandma's house.  Grandma is very fragile and frail, and Lindsey, as Grandma put it "has so much energy - in every direction!"  One morning we found a little baby hedgehog in the garden, and we tried to feed it bits of hamburger.  It seemed grateful, but didn't seem very well - for instance, we didn't think it had any eyes, so maybe it was attacked by a bird or something?  On the last day, we found him dead, so Lindsey and I gave him a burial at the back of the garden, planting a stick as a marker.

"Do you know how sad it makes me?" asked Lindsey.  "You know how when a person dies?  Well, it's the same sort of sadness.  Like, if Grandpa died, I would be about as sad as I am now about this hedgehog."  #values

We arrived back in Ireland late on Thursday night, and although it would have been nice to spend the next couple of days recuperating from vast quantities of clotted cream, we ended up spending most of the time shopping.  (My suitcase is now full almost to its exploding point, so I really need to stop shopping!)

On Sunday, we loaded up the cars with enough food to supply an army for a couple of months, and drove to Donegal for four days.  Donegal was breathtakingly beautiful, although also very cold and windy.  We had our own beach at the bottom of the garden, on which we found caves and lots of rocks to climb.  


Also, the baby (Chris's third daughter) took an unscheduled dip in the sea on the first day and had to be hurriedly carried home.  Surprisingly, on day two I agreed to go in the sea, and five of us took the plunge.  My dad, Sarah, Jon, Chris and I spent a good few minutes swimming and jumping waves before we succumbed to numb extremities and hauled ourselves out.  We then had to climb rocks and run about for quite awhile before the circulation returned.

On day three, we explored an old army fort, including cannon and underground bunkers.  Nobody got hurt or died, which was a bonus.  

Day four was pack up day, and I woke up with a sore neck which didn't make me very useful.  Having helped as much as I could, I retired to my bed to rest, and was soon accosted by three small girls who demanded my full attention.  So I suppose, as I was entertaining them, that I did help somewhat with the packing up!  


Despite having eaten almost all of the supplied rations, we still found that the cars were fully packed for the drive home - perhaps from the stop at Asda where we had to buy All The Food and All The Drink as apparently it is cheaper than down South.

I have now decided, with just after a week to go, that I should fully pack my suitcase just to make sure it fits, and I also have to sort out all of my stuff in the attic to see whether I want to take more of it back to Australia.  It's mostly books, however, and they will happily sit in a corner until such a time that I want them back in Ireland!