Stardust

I’ve come down to the spare room to sleep tonight, I’m coughing that much and am so hot, I can’t get comfortable. Hubs has to work tomorrow, I’ve already called in sick for the day.

I’ve got a cat snoring by my feet and my son asleep in his room muttering to himself next door.

I’ve just watched Stardust, the movie adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel. Perfect chewing-gum for the brain and just what this girl needed. It was a bit muddled and about 20 minutes too long, but it was good fun. The book is big, so they did well to condense it down to what they did, but I think if it had been tighter, it could have done much better than it did at the box office.

I’ve not got much to report today, just concentrating on getting better. One of the girls at work reminded me that she had bronchitis last year, struggled through and it went to pneumonia and she was out of action for six weeks. I’m stopping world. I get it.

 

 

I’m arriving on a jet-plane – eventually

This is the email I sent to Wittertainment, but didn’t get read out. It’s an overview of the flight from Melbourne to London that started on 24 March. I’m not going to re-type it, so sorry, (not sorry), for the in-jokes and Witter vernacular…

Dear Captain Kramer and Captain Oveur,

I get to watch your bad selves on the live stream this week, for the first time evs. because as much as I love you and Jason, I ain’t getting up at that time of night in Australia. I’ve been listening to you since Radio 1, and Viggo Mortensen answered a question of mine in an interview.

Thank you for keeping me sane over the past few days. I’d stockpiled some podcasts and redownloaded, (is that is a word??) some old favourites for my trip back to the UK from Melbourne. When it all got too much, your witterings, bickerings, dulcet tones and the rants kept me grounded (hysterical laughter).

On Friday night, my husband, son and I had dinner at Melbourne’s Airplane Station. The boys went home and I checked in to fly to the UK for my brother’s 40th. After a busy week, which included Adele’s concert on the Sunday night, I was shattered and fell asleep straight after take-off. I woke up after ten hours (unheard of) and watched La La Land; the enjoyment of which was somewhat disrupted by rather a lot of cabin announcements.

What happened on the journey is either a farce, or a Monty Python sketch, I’m still working it out what comedy genre it fits into. However, in terms of flight bingo, does this clear the board?

  • Late departure by half an hour.
  • Gate given at Dubai, Captain excitedly explains “It’s very unusual not to be put in a hold pattern at Dubai, but we’re number three in the queue!”
  • “We’re being put in a hold pattern”
  • “The weather at Dubai is terrible, we’ll circle for a while”
  • Two hours later, “We can’t keep circling, we’re running out of fuel, we’re checking our options”
  • Diverted to Muscat in Oman.
  • We circle around Muscat for another hour.
  • We get a bird strike on our way to land in Muscat. They’re also still building the new airplane station. The A380 that we’re on is much bigger than the planes they normally see. The pilot edges us around buildings carefully, construction workers are taking pictures on their phones and watching in awe.
  • On the tarmac in Muscat for three hours, “While we’ve been refuelled; we can’t take off until we know we can land in Dubai, and the weather is too bad.”
  • “Now the weather is heading towards Muscat.”
  • “The crew have run out of hours.”
  • “There’s a replacement crew coming in on a private jet.”
  • “We’ve got to cancel the flight. We’re going to deplane you, put you in hotels overnight, to come back here in the morning.” We all pile off the plane, onto buses to the old terminal. As we’re heading down the stairs, the Captain explains that 30-odd flights had been diverted to Muscat’s airplane station.
  • We get into the terminal, are directed upstairs to the arrivals lounge, then get asked to go back downstairs. We need to complete visa paperwork, to leave the airport, to go to the hotels. One man begins to hands out carbon paper copies to 400+ passengers, we run out of forms.
  • We wait for more forms.
  • We wait for a bit more, as we don’t know where we’re staying so we can’t complete the forms.
  • We have forms.
  • We wait for our stamps at immigration.
  • We wait for a bit more. The staff were great, just completely overwhelmed with the amount of people.
  • We have stamps.
  • We wait for buses.
  • Nearly eight hours after landing at Muscat, I’m put on the last bus.
  • Arrive at the hotel to be met by amazing Manager, who assesses the bedraggled state we’re in “Some of you check in now, some check in later. Lunch is all ready and waiting” (it is nearly 5pm). I’ve not eaten since the last meal serving on the flight, which was about 6am – I’m coeliac – all the snacks on board have gluten in, I could have eaten my arm off.
  • The next morning we get told we’re being collected at 2pm from our hotels to fly out at 5:30pm.
  • A whistle-stop tour of Muscat is arranged through the front desk, including a visit to the Grand Mosque, which was stunning. While we’re out and about, my flight to the UK is confirmed for 9am the following day – I’m being put up in a hotel again in Dubai overnight.
  • 2pm we’re collected in a bus, head back to the airport. All our boarding passes have been printed A-Z by surname, we rattle through collecting them and head to the gate.
  • 4:30pm we start getting on the plane, again being bused out as we’re miles away from the terminal. The Captain has his window open and is hanging out waving and posing for selfies. People are standing on the tarmac taking pictures.
  • 6ish we take off and head back to Dubai.
  • We land and are advised to head to the transit desk to sort out our flight details. There’s 400+ passengers, all waiting for boarding passes, individually printed off with connecting information on. More by luck than judgement, I’m in the right place at the right time and hear London Heathrow being called; my hotel booking is written on my boarding pass.
  • Head up to the hotel in the airport, we’ve all been booked on the same reference number, that the hotel staff have no record of.
  • We wait for a bit more.
  • An hour later, I have a room! My meal voucher is also given to me, it’s now 9pm, I’ve not eaten since lunch. But I have to get a train to another terminal to eat. I’m now in sense of humour failure.
  • I head back to the hotel room, have a shower and fall into bed.
  • Up with my alarm, I collect another meal voucher for breakfast, this time I can walk there.
  • I find the gate for the flight, we’re boarding – yay timing!
  • I go downstairs to wait a bit more in another lounge. I might have another sense of humour failure.
  • On the plane, I put on Singin’ In The Rain [Oi kaan’t stand it], raise a glass to the venerable Debbie Reynolds and suffer uncontrollable AALS and guffaw through my tears.
  • “Is there a doctor on board?” We have a medical emergency on the flight.
  • We get closer to Heathrow, we are told we’re landing without going into the usual holding pattern. We come screaming into Heathrow, to be met by ambulance, a mere seventy-two hours after we left Melbourne.
  • When we get to the baggage hall – you know where this is going already – they’ve lost our bags too.
  • And I’m Not Even Joking.

Tinkerty tonk old fruits. x

Monday was a good day

Tuesday, was Australia Day, I had an RDO cancelled over the Christmas break so I asked if I could have this Monday off instead. Granted, said BossMan. One glorious long weekend of four whole days out the office. This turned into four and a half, as I left not long after lunchtime on Friday with a stonking headache, but not sure spending the afternoon in bed sleeping counts?

Anyhoo, Saturday we all piled down to Queenscliff to go fishing, the boys were going on Friday, but the weather was awful with a massive front moving across Victoria with thunderstorms and rain (probably the cause of the headache). I suggested to Hubs he looked at the radar before they left, I think he was glad he did, and quickly changed plans. Peanut was upset, he’d been looking forward to fishing with his Dadda, but when we showed him the radar images he understood. He was also pleased that I could come with them on the trip the following day.

We packed up a picnic and left early, driving down I had a hankering for a hash brown. We pulled into the next fast food café that sold them, which was in the same town our landlord lives in. I texted him to say hi and he and his dad whizzed over to have an impromptu coffee with us, which was an unexpected and lovely bonus to the day. We carried on driving, parked up and unpacked the car with kit, rods, bait etc. we walked out to the pier and set up. I say ‘we’, I like fishing, but I don’t do anything with hooks, putting bait on, taking fish off, nothing. Bleurgh. Also Hubs had set up Peanut’s rod with the reel on the wrong side for me, I reel in with my left hand. It meant I couldn’t cast for toffee too, I was getting the line in a tangle, but never to mind. Looking over our shoulders the rain was rapidly approaching. The man beside us caught a ray of some description, he also showed Peanut the salmon he’d caught earlier in the day too. As Peanut was getting fidgety I asked if he wanted a walk, he said yes and skipped along the pier. We’d got about half way back to shore when the rain started, so we turned around and high-tailed it back to shelter on the pier.

Hubs stayed out manfully for about three more minutes, then we admitted defeat, the rain was heavy, there was no breaks on the horizon we could see, we walked back to the car. A handy shelter meant we could change Peanut into dry clothes, we then drove off to go to a museum, it was closed. We decided to have lunch, parking on the main street, Hubs hunter-gathered fish and chips, Peanut and I went to buy drinks. We met back at the car and drove to watch the ships on the bay, eating chips and chatting. As we were finishing, the sun broke through, the temperature shot up and an enormous container ship was edged out the heads by a Pilot boat.

We headed to the memorial chair for Hubs’ Mum, Nanna Helen. Her ashes were sprinkled from the pier we’d been fishing from, but this is where the family come to remember her. Every time we come down, we take a picture of the children on the bench. We had a champagne reception there before we got married too, with all our family and friends who’d come to the wedding. We walked down to the beach, made sandcastles, flew a kite, collected seaweed, paddled and squiged our toes into the sand. When Peanut was soaked through, after nearly an hour we stripped him off, and walked back to the car. I snapped this quickly with my phone:

Sunday we had his swimming lesson, then headed to the zoo. We’ve made a decision to not take Hubs there again, unless it is firmly in school time on a random day, he just doesn’t cope with the crowds. When we left he said he’d nearly had a panic attack, so Peanut and I will just go on our own now, I then don’t have to worry about the two of them and chivvying Peanut along because Hubs is getting twitchy.

Monday, blissful Monday. I had breakfast with Peanut, dropped him off at nursery, then went for a run. My legs were sore, so I walked more than I wanted to, but I still did nearly 5km. That evening I played with my foam roller. I have such a love/hate relationship with that blasted thing. I love it, but have to use it when Peanut is asleep or out the house, the language I use is involuntary and very blue. My bad.

Anyhoo, I got back from my run and dyed my hair. I had a list as long as my arm of jobs to do, but I was in the shower I thought, “Stuff it” – technical term. I looked up cinema times, I wanted to see Room, but it’s not out here yet, so thought about going to see either Star Wars again or The Revenant. But after I’d wandered around and finished my chores at the plaza I borrowed Into The Woods on DVD instead. I quite enjoyed it, although unusually for a musical, I didn’t end up singing any of the songs afterwards for days, although I do want the witches blue dress now. Not like Sweeny Todd ‘Ave a bit of priest!’ Or Phantom, Me and My Girl, Joseph, Spamalot or Rocky Horror, (amongst others, I’ve linked to film versions where I can, rather than theatre versions) where I know all the words. We had a family dinner, I made macaroni cheese, throwing the sauce together in the thermomix while the pasta boiled, it was one of those that you do quickly but taste ‘mazin. I finished off George’s Marvellous Medicine with Peanut. Hubs went to see Star Wars again, I sat up in bed and read Oliver Sacks with repeated cups of tea then sacked out.

Monday was great, because I gave myself permission to stop and just ‘be’ for a while. I need to do more of that.