Saturday, February 25, 2017


I felt totally at peace last night.  That which I had been looking in to doing, and trying to do, totally didn't work out, and it felt good, which to me is a pretty good sign that it definitely wasn't the right time, and maybe even not the right thing at all.  I just lay in bed, waiting to go to sleep and felt completely calm.  None of the normal anxious jitters, thoughts all over the place how is it going to work out?  What am I going to do?  Maybe all I've got to do is wait.

I still don't know what's going to happen.  I still don't know if I'll have a Brisbane base after they announce the results of the fleet review, but at least I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to do anything about it right now.  And that, that doing nothing-ness, feels okay. 

And so... I wait.  (Although I still hope they make the announcement this week, as there's only So Much waiting a girl can do!) 


In other news, in the last week I have been rock climbing, horse riding and practising archery, and so far I haven't died.  Winning.

More Fountain

For my father, and o the delight of my eyes, who does not understand how fruit and chocolate can combine, I respond with this: what about raspberry coulis and chocolate mousse?  Frozen bananas coated with chocolate?  You can even buy strawberries coated with chocolate, also strawberry cremes, orange cremes, etc.  Over here "snack" Cadbury's also contains a pineapple creme.  I have to agree though: not all fruit works with chocolate.

On offer were mango, pineapple, kiwi, strawberries and banana.  I tried them all except for pineapple and certainly did not enjoy the mango or kiwi with the chocolate.  On the other hand, the strawberries were amazing and the banana a close second.  The marshmallows?  Well, except for the fact that they soon made me feel ill, the marshmallows were divine dipped in the chocolate fountain.

As far as the workings of the fountain are concerned, I bought 6x 350g family bars of chocolate.  Two were ruined by the cooking process, which left 1400g of chocolate.  We poured all of this into the fountain, switching it on half way through to make space for the remainder.  The fountain plugs into the wall, and has a motor inside it.  The chocolate climbs the inside of the fountain and gently pours out of the top.  Here are some of the parts.


The circles clip on to the tube like so

The corkscrew is then inserted into the tube and attached to the base (and motor) 

Sorry, I don't have a photo of the base.  It was, however, absolutely horrible to clean as the chocolate was like glue, even with very hot water.  I ended up putting all the detachable parts in my dishwasher which is why they are still here, and S took the base home.

Definitely an "occasional" with the amount of work involved! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Chocolate Fountain

My child decided to throw an all out rebellion tonight.  K was driving me mental winding Lily up, and I decided she needed a break.  "In your bed!" usually works wonders, and she pads across to her crate and crawls inside.  Not this time.  "In your bed!"  spoken ominously only caused her to look at me and walk away in the opposite direction.  "In your bed!"  made her run off behind the couch.  I looked at one end, she came out the other.  Finally I caught her and marched her off no nonsense to her crate.  She sat down dolefully, and I went back to the group, waited a minute and then let her out.  She came scampering over and I praised her.  Then I sent her back to her bed, and she trotted off obediently.  As soon as she sat down, I let her come back out.  Rebellion over.  It was quite funny.  She has never defied me like that before!

We had a chocolate fountain tonight.  S had mentioned it the other day, and I thought it was a great idea - and bought a couple of kilos of chocolate to put in it.  


The problem was that everyone wanted to give their opinion of how to melt the chocolate, and instead of just melting the chocolate, I actually listened to the three different opinions that were being thrown at me from all sides.  The loudest opinion was to poise the chocolate over boiling water, making sure the bowl didn't touch the water, and add cream to it before it melted, to make it somewhat of a ganache.  Personally, I thought cream should be added after the chocolate was melted, but who am I...?  I did what I was told.  The chocolate cooked and curdled into a revolting mess.  Thankfully we had only used two of the six family sized bars that I had bought!  The opinions kept coming.  I finally completely lost my patience and exploded at the people who were trying to be helpful, and melted the chocolate my own way.  (Which was in a bowl, over water, with no added anything).  K melted some of her own in the microwave, which also worked, and all was good.  It was a lot of chocolate.

We had bowls of mango, pineapple, kiwi, strawberry, banana, pretzels and marshmallows to dip in said chocolate fountain.  I preferred the strawberry, banana and marshmallows and pretty much ate my weight in them.  (And now I feel sick, I wonder why).  We then played Scattegories with lots of shouting as to which words were permitted and which were not.

And now, feeling quite sick, I am thinking of going to bed.  Maybe just resting the stomach a little, you know...

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Take III

This is blog post Take III.  I've started it twice before, and it never got to the publish point.  Now that I do have a photo of the new living space, maybe I'll let this one stand. 


Last night, L, one of the new cadets, and I went rock climbing.  It was weird being back at Rocksports after so long, and with different people, but it was fun also.  I stuck to the easy climbs, and stopped before the others as my neck got a little sore.  I'm such a responsible adult...  I did however manage to do one of the overhang (upside down) climbs so I was pretty happy.  Also, Lily came, and she was a hit with everyone there.  I think we will make this a regular occurrence! 

I've also realised it's once again months since I went shooting, so I need to get my act in gear and get back into archery.  For one, my bow needs resighting.

Tonight, I'm having friends around for board games and food - including a chocolate fountain - so that will be fun.  I do however feel like I've had people over every day since sim, so after tonight I think I'll take a breather for a few days!  I've been in quite a spring cleaning mode the last couple of days so at least there's no prep to do for the party tonight!

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Oh Lily, Lily.  You are two today, which means it is almost two years (minus eight weeks) ago that I met you.  I still remember the first time I saw a photo of you, you were so tiny with a little pink collar.  

Two weeks old

I picked you up from the airport on April 15, the day I got home from my command sim.  You were just a little handful of fluff and you shook in my hands the entire drive home.  

First vet visit

On your first day at puppy training you hid behind my ankles the entire time, so fearful of other dogs - yet so incredibly enthusiastic about meeting new humans.  Humans are truly your very favourite things (well maybe a close second to your blue massage ball). You get so excited when people come over, you bark and bark and then flop onto your belly with your tail wagging at a million miles per hour.

First hair cut 

You love to cuddle on the couch with new visitors, and unless you're told off, you lick them obsessively.  When told off, your big black puppy dog eyes stare reproachfully.  You are very obedient but ever so dumb when it comes to things that you don't want to learn, like shaking hands.  I've been saying "shake" before every meal for three months, and you still won't lift that paw off the ground!

After surgery

It's first thing in the morning that you're the most adorable.  You want to snuggle and if I say no you grunt and manoeuvre yourself closer and closer until you're snuggling anyway.  No more lie ins for me, but I can't say I mind, as I do like being wanted!

Pink hair play

This last year, you have been the perfect therapy dog, I don't know how I would have got through it without you.  You always love me, it doesn't matter what day it is, or what mood I'm in, you are a constantly loving ball of fluff ready for cuddles - and endless licks (which habit we are trying to break!).  I don't feel so alone when you're there, and you always listen.

Helping me move out

I'm sorry I forgot to post this until the day after your birthday, but you are a dog you know, so I don't think you'll even realise, to be honest...

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Home again

I'm home!  Mum asked was there going to be an Auckland day 2 post, etc and the short answer is no.  Very little was done except for sim (which in general went well, although I do struggle with the visual segment of the simulator as it's just so unrealistic and ugh!).  After the second sim, we all headed off to Miranda Hot Springs.  L and I had been before, on our last (Russian) NZ adventure, and this time we took S & S with us, the '600 crew.

It was about 25C, partly cloudy, with a hint of drizzle in the air, so none of us considered sunscreen.  S(#1) even had sunscreen at the hotel but didn't think of it, it being NZ.  We spent four hours in the hot springs - at one point S(#1) put a T-shirt over his head as he said it was too bright, and then we went back to the hotel.  L, S(#2) and myself slowly began to realise that we had transformed into lobsters.  Even now, three days later, I am still horrifically sunburnt and sore!  Oops!  

S(#2) spent the evening preening himself as, being Indian, he was not even a trifle sunburnt.  Rude.

It was a very early start yet again to catch the 0700 flight back home, and arriving at the airport, I was somewhat unsurprised to find that crewing hadn't booked me on the flight.  I then had to navigate the dark inner corridors of a foreign airport to find a crew telephone from which I could reach the company.  I managed to get it sorted with about fifteen minutes to spare: thanks, crewing...

I picked up Lily "on the way home" (not really) and then popped into the blinds place to confirm my order of a media blind.  I had to take Lily inside with me as there was nowhere to tie her up outside, but neither of the staff seemed to mind at all!  (I did apologise and say I could come back some other time if they preferred.)

Once home, I slept for a couple of hours and then spent the rest of the day resting and dousing myself in aloe gel.  Now it is Friday, and I'm about to head into the city for a nerve conduction study on my left arm, to see what is going on with the nerves from the issues with my neck.  Watch this space.  (But not too closely) 

And finally, here is a picture of the "chandelier" at the pub in Auckland where we had our final supper.

You're welcome. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Auckland day 1

This post is written with great frustration, made even more so by the fact that I already wrote it, and blogger decided to crash and lose the entire thing.  

We finally made it to our accommodation in Auckland, none too soon and definitely not uneventfully.  It started with the car hire, which I had booked as Kate C and then changed my driver's license to Kate B.  I didn't foresee it being a problem as six months previously we had booked a car using L's credit card and my driver's license.

"I'm sorry," said the girl unapologetically.  "But your photo ID has to be in the same name as your driver's license."

I tried to be agreeable, and procured my passport.  I explained the situation six months ago.

"Oh yes," said the girl, "the hirer and the driver can be different people, but you are the same person and we can't do that, it's the rule."

I tried very hard to keep my cool - I'm afraid I failed, badly.  I have a very short fuse when it comes to stupid, and this... well... I moved to the left side of my seat.  "Hi, I'm Kate C," I said.  "I would like to hire a car, and here is my passport and credit card."  I moved to the right side of my seat.  "Hello!" I added.  "I'm Kate B and I would like to drive the car.  Here is my driver's license."

"But you're still the same person," she said.  "I'll have to go to speak to my team leader."

She went.  She returned.  Nothing changed.  Feeling like my head was about to explode, I asked to speak to the team leader.  She left.  They returned.  I tried to spell it out.

"If you will take my friend's card and her matching passport, with my driver's license, I don't understand why you can't take mine!"

Same answer.  Unbending.  I began to lose the will to live.  I even suggested my marriage certificate, I showed them my old driver's license in .pdf mode.  They were happy to accept that I was one or the other, but if I wanted to be both, I needed to be someone else.  

At the verge of collapse (me), they suddenly got up and disappeared, returning with the actual manager, who, once I had once again (painstakingly and with gritted teeth) explained the situation, said "oh yes that's not a problem at all."


We finally got out of Go Rentals (name and shame?) and headed off to the airBnB, hoping for greater things.  L had booked us a 2 bedroom granny flat, advertised as "entire home"  Hurrah.  The ad said "the Guest wing has two bedrooms, living area, kitchenette and bathroom."

We arrived.  The man showed us the apartment, it was very clean and modern.  

"This is the bedroom... this is the bathroom."  

L and I looked at each other.  

"Did I make a mistake?" whispered Elle.

"And the other bedroom?" I asked.

"There is only one," he said definitively.

I began to panic a little inside.  "But your ad says two bedrooms," I protested.

"Yes but you are two people," he said.  "And we only allow one bedroom if there are two people, the unit takes up to four.  So the second bedroom is locked.  If you want it we charge $25 a night."


This commenced a monumental argument.  L looking up the listing (black and white, two bedrooms, etc), myself explaining that we were working and needed adequate rest.  

He stuck to his guns.  "Usually two people don't mind sleeping together," he said.  "We have had twenty guests and nobody has complained.  So it is only you, and it is final."  (You have to read that in an Asian accent...)

We argued and argued until we were blue in the face - well I think I was red in the face. I was so unbelievably hyped up.  We eventually just said we needed the second bedroom, end of, fee or no fee, as cancelling the accommodation wasn't an option at this stage.  He accused us of not communicating ("usually people, they communicate a lot and we would have said this") which was a bit much as you don't usually expect to  tell someone your life story when booking accommodation!   

We then discovered that the kitchenette was merely a bar fridge and microwave which was another blow - he did agree to bring over an electric frying pan which will help.  And then once he had left L and I had to have a cup of tea and some chocolate to try to calm down, and then went to get pizza.  

We then discovered that the shops were actually twenty minutes away and not ten as advertised!

I am now pizza-ed up, have had a lovely hot shower (the facilities that we do have are good) and am feeling a little less manic.


INSERT IMPORTANT NOTE: Mr AirBnB man just knocked on the door and said: "okay, I have thought about it, and I have added on the advertisement about the rooms, and so that we get on ok this week, I will not charge you the money."


And now I think I must sleep... this chaos has completely exhausted me!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Paperwork conundrums

"I'm going slightly mad... It finally happened - I'm slightly mad!"  You of course, have to sing that to make it work.  

Which is of course a great song, but that isn't the point.  You see, I am trying to get my European pilot license back - it expired - and it is proving to be a great roundabout of confusion, a bit like my application for citizenship, which we will come to later.  You're welcome.  Anyway, because my UK passport is my married name, and my Irish passport is not, I decided that the simpler thing (short of applying for new passports, etc) was to convert my UK license to an Irish license.  Ahah!  There I was wrong. 

Mind you, I did also look in to renewing my UK license and they said "you need to transfer all your medical records from Ireland" and that seemed complicated so I researched the Irish route, and they said "you need to transfer all your medical records from the UK."  Which seemed confusing as I did my medicals in Ireland.  (Apparently when you have a UK license but do the medicals in another country, the medical records are sent back to the CAA)  Either way, a transfer must be done, so I settled on Ireland.  

That was the beginning of January, and it is now February 11.  The CAA insisted on £75 to send my medical records, and the IAA charged something around 600E, and I presumed that was it.  Until I received an email from the IAA saying they didn't get the medical records, and the CAA insisted that they sent them, and the IAA admitted they had them up to 2011, and I explained again that I didn't do any between 2011 and 2016 and the CAA insisted that they didn't have 2016.

And then I had to speak to the aeromedical section in Ireland - I just want to make sure you get this straight - and ask them to send my medical records to the UK - so that the CAA could send them to Ireland so that the IAA could publish my EASA license.  I would just like to add that I have a current IAA medical.  In paper.  That I did in Ireland.  *takes very very deep breath*

In other news, I think I'm about half way through my citizenship application - I stalled a few times when they wanted parents' passport details and siblings places of births and inane things like that - and I'm now stuck on the proof of address part, waiting, ever ever so patiently, to get some bills reissued that show my actual address, correct name (how I want it) and not some out of date rental etc that they insist, despite my frequent phone calls, to put on the bills.  

And tomorrow, I go to Auckland for the sim!  I have just realised, in a sort of well-perfected procrastinator way, that I will have exactly twelve hours at home tonight and I need to pack, do my logbook, do three Jeppesen updates, and potentially study?  

I am once again going with my good friend L, and we have booked an AirBnB for the four nights, and hired a car, and it's going to be ever so awesome except for the sim part.  I'm glad I got a couple of days back flying after my week off sick before I went.  

And that is about it - until Auckland!  (Potentially no Russians this time)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Fish and Chips

There's a British fish and chip shop about five minutes from my house, and as I have been here for two months already, it was time to check it out.  A friend was over (you know who you are) and was keen, so off we went.  Obviously being a polite sort of human bean I asked my housemate if he wanted anything.  Grilled fish with lemon pepper.  I loudly expressed my doubts that a British chippy would have anything of the sort but he was determined.  Right-o then.

We arrived.


Lots and lots of deep fat fryers.  Not much else.  I was horrifically embarrassed but forced myself to do my duty, explaining that it wasn't for me, and I was very very sorry but... did they do grilled fish?

The reaction was as expected.  In short, also as expected, no.  So the housemate was informed and chose the "lesser evil" of "lightly battered".

Australians, I ask you.  At least he agreed to salt and vinegar on the chips.

They had some Irish/British goods there too and much to my delight, Rodda's clotted cream: and if my father should ever need it - the inevitable Germoline!

The fish and chips were pretty good - although VERY greasy, and the battered sausage was excellent.  I may be back - but not quite yet as I think my body needs time to digest all the oil.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Home time

How very nice it is to have the small dog home, despite it waking me up this morning needing (demanding) cuddles.  Which actually was totally ok with me because I missed her so the night before!


She is such an amazingly cuddly dog, more like a soft toy than a real creature!  Yes, this was a totally posed picture, no, she didn't really sleep like that.

Yesterday I went to physio again for my neck, and got it loosened up a bit more.  I'm signed off until Monday so that gives me another couple of days to get to the 100% mark.

In the meantime I shall mosey around the house, potentially get frustrated at the state of the lawn - I really need to mow it - and slightly frustrated about how fluffy the Lily is - she needs a trim.  

Oh in other news, she doesn't like kangaroo.  Britta suggested the meat as an alternative to chicken as it is also low fat... I made her up a bowl of kangaroo and peas and she looked at me like I had two heads.  I tried it raw, cooked, no luck.  She did decide to bring one cube into the media room, lick it on the carpet and then proceed to rub her face all over the carpet in disgust!

In other news there is no other news, so I shall now get back to studying for the sim! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


I'm home sick, again, not to be confused with homesick, although potentially I could be a bit of that too.  My neck's been playing up again, and realistically when it "went" yesterday morning I should have pulled the plug on my duty, but I thought it was getting better so I didn't.  And it didn't.  And I survived the night at the hotel - with plenty of ice - and I just about survived the flight home - but only just - and then popped in to see the work physio, who wasn't my normal physio but who was available.  And he wasn't too impressed and said "go home" and "no you can't drive" and told my manager more of the same, so they gave me cab vouchers via the doctor.  I got lots of nice pain meds from the doctor and then realised I left my keys at the airport (as I left my bags there) so I had to cab back to the airport and then home and about $125 later I made it.  Except I don't have to pay, despite admitting it was All My Fault, so that's nice.  

The only non nice part of it is the lack of Lily at my house - as she of course is at the dogsitter, and as my car is at the airport, it's rather impossible to get her here.  Unless one of my friends volunteers to go get her which hasn't happened yet, and I feel embarrassed to ask.  Oh yeah the other non nice bit is the pain but the lovely medication seems to be working somewhat so I'm feeling a little better already.  

And now I have a long weekend of not working stretching out ahead of me - and I'm hoping that with lots of TLC I feel better tomorrow so, maybe I can actually have fun while I'm off sick?!  Hurrah!