Monday 22 December 2008

overdoing it

I think I may be in need of a full blown sports massage - bloomin’ hell do I ache today. Ok so it’s all self-inflicted and deserved, I mean it’s fairly obvious if I have 3 full on indoor climbing sessions, 3 days in a row (including one mammoth session at The Works), then I am going to hurt. Oh and yesterday’s session was also preceded by a 3 hour walk wearing my winter boots.
Stupid, stupid, stupid. B3 fully rigid ice climbing boots are not fun to walk in. Really not – so why did I wear them? Well, Phil and I are off up to Scotland over new year and I’m hoping to get some routes in, so basically I thought it would be a good idea to dust the boots off and start getting used to them again. Hmm.

I’m excited – I love Scottish winter climbing so much and can’t wait to get my season kicked off. I will hopefully be meeting up with some new partners up there too – all good! It will be great for my super sexy axes to finally pop their cherry too…

In other news, the flying hasn’t been going too well lately – the weather doesn’t want to play ball. I had an afternoon booked with the lovely Steve last Thursday that didn’t happen because of low cloud. Now, the most frustrating part of this was that Wednesday had been a stunner – absolutely perfect flying conditions, and Friday was too!!! Grrrrrrr!!!

Still, Steve did take me up in the 182 and let me have a play for half an hour so all was not lost. Plus I got to experience just what a machine that aeroplane is. I’ll definitely have to get rated on it once I’ve got my license and the necessary hours…

I’m currently trying to study for the Met exam. It’s painful going I can tell you. All these pressures and clouds and bizarre forecast codes…it seems that I can read something, think I understand it and then an hour later realise it just hasn’t gone in. Argh. Nevermind, we’ll get there eventually.

Thursday 11 December 2008

another one down

This week has been an odd one really. Things haven't gone to plan at all but even so I've managed to mostly enjoy myself.

We had another RT groundschool with Steve on Monday for which I decided to make chocolate brownies - these were outrageous and actually a touch too chocolatey possibly, even for me! The evening was great fun as usual and a fantastic learning experience.

I also got to fly with Steve again on Tuesday. Sadly the plan for us to land away (my first time) didn't come to fruition because the cloud base was really low. Steve took me up anyway and we played around in the clouds a bit (he showed me what true IMC is like - scary!) before we landed after having decided the conditions really weren't good enough for our planned route.
Once on the ground again it started to look like it would clear, and sure enough it did so I got to do another nav ex. My navigation seems to be pretty good and this time I was introduced to radio nav aids. All brilliant fun and a fantastic day out (even though we didn't actually get to do what we'd planned).

Anyway I was supposed to fly again today with James - unfortunately the weather was crap. Absolutely useless. Needless to say no-one got airborne.
So, rather than completely waste another day off I decided to finally sit down and do the RT theory exam. Happily I passed and so all in all it was another good day in my flying career!

I've also just got back from the gym totally knackered. I've been a bit of a slacker since saturday what with one thing and another. I did go climbing last night and had a semi-reasonable session but I'm feeling pretty unfit, hence a serious trash at the gym today...

Monday 8 December 2008


On Saturday Phil and I went to Baslow (Peak district) so I could go and try some new boulder problems. I got sucked into this one - The Walnut. Apparently it's a classic. I found it quite fun (if hard - think it goes at Font 6C or maybe even as high as V5). Anyway, I didn't quite finish it but still, it was a good session.

Tuesday 2 December 2008

work again

Still crap.

Why is it that people like to play politics? Back-stabbing malicious nastiness abounds here at the moment. I just don't get it - all this type of behaviour achieves is a self-perpetuation of the stress and frustration that is the initial cause of the problems!

Why do people insist on playing the games? Deliberately making life as difficult and painful as possible for others? I just want to be allowed to get on with my job...

...actually, as I've said before - I have had enough. I just want a way out now.

On a more positive note, I finally have an idea for a career change that is fast becoming a fixation in my mind...

Monday 1 December 2008

second first solo

A combination of scheduling nightmares and the horrendous British weather meant that until Friday, I hadn't flown for over a month! It hadn't really been bothering me if I'm honest, but having been flying again, I'm once again intensely addicted and desperate to do more!

It was my first ever flight with the ever-lovely Steve, the instructor who has been running the RT groundschool sessions. I'd been looking forward to flying with him for a while - his calm yet authoritative teaching style and insanely positive attitude gave me the impression that he might be quite good in the air (he also has a good sense of humour - essential for anyone who has to cope with me!). I was right - he's a brilliant instructor to fly with, and I hope to have the opportunity again in the future.

Anyway, the weather was actually pretty good in the afternoon (I spent the morning on a rooftop in central london, getting very very wet and miserable), so Steve got me airborn flying circuits.
I had kinda been hoping to finally do my first nav flight, but circuits actually were a much better idea bearing in mind how long it had been since my last time at the controls. Anyway, they started out pretty badly. I wasn't concentrating properly (still lots of work stress on my mind) and probably gave off an air of utter incompetance. Thankfully the calm guidance provided by the long-suffering chap in the right seat meant that after a couple of touch and gos I was getting back into it and beginning to focus properly.

My speed control was good, as was my altitude control, trimming and turning (well, the turns got sorted out after a while - Steve wanted me to be doing 30° turns when in the cruise, rather than the gently 15° turns I had been doing with James. I'm actually happier with the 30's now - it makes far more sense for a nice tight circuit pattern).

Lining up base - reduce rpm to 15000 (cruise was 22500), keep the nose on the horizon and put the flaps down - airspeed will reduce, trim at 65kts (20° flap) and turn onto final at leisure - this should be a nice gentle turn of no more than 15° because you're slow. Once lined up, make final call and then land. Simple...

...I need to work on my landings - my flare isn't exactly brilliant. I need to land on the rear wheels, not the nose!!!

Ok so I did 5 circuits of varying quality with Steve, then he got out. I really wasn't expecting to fly solo again so when he told me he wanted me to do one on my own I was a bit surprised (especially as I hadn't exactly been brilliant to start with).

Anyway, once again it was an awesome feeling. I annoyed myself by 'ballooning' horribly on my landing (stupid, stupid, stupid - get your flare sorted woman!!!), only to find that Steve and a couple of others had been watching me. Cue the sarcastic round of applause - so embarrasing but brilliant at the same time...

An excellent afternoon was had, all in all - I even had help washing the aeroplane for a change!