Australia & New Zealand 2023

Getting there…

So as I’m sat here in Emirates Economy I thought I’d start to scribe. This is a 12 hour and 40 minute flight from Dubai to Melbourne and I’ve reckoned, in my jet lagged fog, that I should have enough time to pull together a few words. I’m sat in ‘stowage’ and the present Mrs Ives is sat about 8 yards above me in Business Class, no doubt quaffing champagne and perusing her sumptuous menu whilst luxuriating in enough space to park a double decker bus. Strange our estrangement, n’est pas?

Mine is the one to Dubai

By way of a stark contrast the bearded, tattooed millennial in shorts in the seat in front me shoved his seat into recline when the Fasten Seat belt light went out. As a consequence I’m about a foot away from the back of his seat. Clubbing him to death crossed my mind and I did recollect that historically entry into Australia for an Englishman necessitated a criminal record. I say club as we weren’t allowed to take on board anything sharp. However, as we’ve planned to be away for 5 weeks it’d likely make a mess of my availability for the duration.

Here I come

The trip involves flying to near the top of Queensland (Port Douglas) and driving down to Brisbane. From here we fly to Sydney. After a few days here we join a G Adventures tour in New Zealand where we’ll discover both islands. Overall a total of nine flights: Greta please forgive me. Quite an adventure. I was in Australia in 2020 when in a difficult conversation in the washroom at a campsite in Maryborough I was told by the travel agent to get back to Brisbane to fly out immediately. Delay might have led to my being in difficulty escaping during the Covid pandemic. It was not an easy project to return 150 miles south to catch a flight and organise a cardboard box for my bike whilst all the shops were shutting down and it was a weekend.

Yes, I know we need to address the elephant in the room or 8 yards above me downing Veuve Clicqout. I was scheduled to come out three weeks earlier and cycle from Brisbane to Cairns. Anna would join me after this 1,000 mile spin. A leg injury put paid to that and so I abandoned and rescheduled to fly out with Anna. As I was initially flying Economy and it also cost several nearly £700 to rebook the flights I stayed with Economy. Anna’s living the dream and spending some of her father’s inheritance to reach the colonies in comfort and indulging in that elusive blessing of sleep. When we meet at various airports I urge her not to worry and go into the executive lounges to enjoy the comfort, hot food and drinks. Frankly folks we can all agree that this magnanimous attitude makes me one helluva guy doesn’t it. (She never reads my blogs and so I can type what I like!)

Loading and still alone

(The leg injury has much improved although a hospital appointment is ahead. I want to be fit for some cycling in France in July and also to have the facility to burn some calories so that I can eat biscuits and sweets without feeling naughty.)

I’ve lost track of time on the flights through different time zones. I think it’s about 9am in York and early afternoon wherever I am! My night’s sleep the night before the flight was on the floor of a very cold room in Whitby. Copious revelry with pals, lots of beer and red wine the night before around the harbour’s hostelries wasn’t the best preparation for a gazillion hour set of three flights. However, I’m told I’ll get more sensible as I get older and grow up.

I think I’ve now had three meals. I won’t forget the last one, it brought on an unwelcome bout of nostalgia. The chicken and rice came in a thick sauce that had the pungency and taste of the spent gun powder you got on a strip from a cap gun. I appreciate that for younger readers this may mean little as they probably stopped selling cap guns in 1967. (Google will help.) If you’re none the wiser I think the clue lies in the words ‘gun powder’. Despite my 1960s and 70s boarding school mentality to finish up any food that gets put in front of you I had to admit Guy Fawkes would have been enormously disappointed at my abandonment.

Explosive and inedible chicken lurks beneath

The millennial girl next to me is a stone mason from Frankfurt. (Oh be fair no one could make this up). Her English is limited and my German non-existent. Had I known the German for chisel I’m sure the conversation would have flourished. She’s quietly impressive in that for the whole duration of the flight she hasn’t needed to visit the toilet once. On the other side of the aisle is a South African woman who is the regional manager for Massey Ferguson tractors in Africa. She’s heading to Melbourne for a conference. Some of you may know I once worked for Ford Tractors. So from here we gaily chatted about Power Take Off drives, the merits of four wheel drive and the regional peculiarities for homologation. I suspect disembarkation can’t come soon enough for her. The other passenger of note was a Brummie living in Adelaide who was returning back after having seen two home games for ‘the Villa’. We bonded over the frailties of our respective football teams.

I think I’ve got the measure of the Aussies and so future blogs may be salty. Then there’s the Kiwis to pick on. Fasten your seat belts….

2 thoughts on “Australia & New Zealand 2023

  1. Epic preparation in Whitby. That other great travelling Yorkshireman Captain Cook would surely have approved. Those around you tractor talkers can’t have had any difficulty sleeping. Excellent post and v much looking forward to following your progress.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Epic preparations in Whitby. That other great globetrotting Yorkshireman Captain Cook would surely have approved. Those sitting around the tractor chat couldn’t have had any trouble sleeping. Excellent blog and looking forward to following. Have a great time.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.