September 2004
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A friend gave me a bike a couple of weeks ago. Said it needed a bit of TLC - all I did was to pump up the tyres (yes Julie, that's tires), adjust the brakes & drop the seat a bit. Looks like my wish to get fitter has just been answered.

The property in Moranbah was better than I had expected. Very liveable, although I wouldn't want to live there, miles from anywhere.

I have also installed some code supplied by StatCounter (link below), which tells me who's been having a look at what on the site, or at least what country you're in & whose network you're coming from. If you are running a website yourself, I recommend having a look at it & yes, it's free.

And on the website itself, I have just installed a product provided by them to provide some very extensive statistics. During the trip to Honiara in July, this site received an AVERAGE of 9,500 hits a day, with over 27,000 hits on the heaviest day & 5,800 hits during the heaviest hour. You can see the stats for July& August yourself on the Honiara pages. The statistics for the rest of the site have been reset & will show September onwards.

I managed to have myself a great Fathers Day. Ended up celebrating with a glass or two of sparkling apple juice & some cheese & bikkies.

And I have started taking flying lessons. So much to concentrate on, all at the same time. Guess it's the same with any new skill, you need to learn in small chunks. Apparently I did quite well holding it straight & level on my first flight, so I guess there's hope.

The property at Moranbah fell through, & we are now signing up up one in Mt Isa. Details are here. Photos are now on the photos page.

Julie & I did quite a bit of laughing last month at the joys of the bureaucratic process. After the huge ream of paperwork that we sent off with the original visa application, including stories of how we met, how & when we got to know each other, affidavits from friends, yadah yadah. The application went in at the end of June. In July, Julie received a batch of medical forms & she went off to have all manner of checkups. Then in August we received a letter asking for evidence of our cohabitation. Well duh, we're waiting for you guys to approve this bloody thing so that we can cohabitate!

I have just ordered my copies of the 2005 "Year in Space" calendar. Check the photos page for a picture of the front cover & a link to the site to order your own.

Phooey. Haven't been able to go flying all week because it's been too windy. When the plane cruises at 100 knots & the winds are gusting to 35 knots, it's like flying inside a washing machine. Finally got out on Friday to do "straight & level". Much harder than it sounds! Although I apparently nailed it quite early. Trouble is - then the brain fade starts to set in & I find myself moving things the wrong way & dropping instead of lifting, yadah yadah. Came back in from the training area over Black Mountain tower, which was pretty exciting, but I was still concentrating too hard on descending without falling out of the sky to enjoy it all that much.

Using up some of my Frequent Flyer points & flying down to Melbourne this weekend to join in on a surprise birthday party for Simon, now aged 24. Taxiing out of Canberra took on a whole new meaning, just knowing the lay of the land & exactly where we were going & why. Had a great time at the party, meeting both girlfriends for the first time, plus a bunch of other people, including Lisa's family. Had brunch with the whole family on Sunday morning, which was very special. Bit of a drama of the way home when Canberra had a severe hail storm as we were approaching. We circled for about 15 minutes & then went to Sydney to re-fuel. Only got in 2 hours late, which wasn't bad considering.

Ouch. This learning to fly can be a bit daunting. I nailed the first couple of lessons, but really collapsed on the turns. And coming in to land, well, all over the place. Just as well it's a really wide runway.

Julie & I have decided that we'll get together at Christmas & bring her "home" in January. We figured that by the time the approval comes through, & then she puts in notice & trains a replacement, it would be the middle of December anyway. This way, she can get the big review at work out of the way in December & leave with a clean slate. And if the approval isn't in by then, well, we'll just cohabitate anyway.

I feel better about flying now. Nailed most of the stuff today, including recovering from having the plane fall out of the sky. Still haven't remembered to pull out the camera & get some photos. Too much else to concentrate on.

I have also survived another of those milestone events. One of me work colleagues is heading off at the end of the week to participate in the Postie Bike Ride from Brisbane to Adelaide via the desert. As I gave him a substantial amount of money from both myself & Doris, her "in memory of" takes pride of place right in the middle of the back of his bike bag. I have decided to provide him with the laminated photo of Doris that I have been carrying around for many months. That decision brought on a huge flood of tears, as the realisation hits that it is time to relinquish another artefact & let it go.

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