Thursday, 28 July 2011
There were no hula dancers nor a flying clipper for my flight to Ballina last Friday afternoon.
Sydney was enduring it's (I think) third consecutive day of constant, at times torrential, rain and I was sure the rain system would be following me up north.
As usual the Ballina flight, which also serves the upmarket resort town of Byron Bay, was full and we were ready for departure only a few minutes after the scheduled time. The rain was tumbling outside the cabin. Then the Captain spoke to us from on high. A lightning alert had been issued requiring all workers to vacate the tarmac and therefore we would need to wait on board until the alert was over before staff would be available for 'push back' and departure.
Oddly it was only later that it occurred to me I could have been alarmed at the thought of lightning but at the time I wasn't. All I thought about at the time was how long would the alert delay our flight. As it turns out the alert was removed after about five minutes and soon after we were on our way.
Despite the atrocious weather around the Sydney area the flight was comparatively smooth and uneventful. The high tech nature of modern travel was evident. The woman next to me was playing scrabble on an iPad. Across the aisle and one row forward a young man was viewing a movie on a Note Book. I was listening to ABC radio podcasts on my iPod.
A woman with two young children sat across the aisle from me reading childrens' books. As we commenced our descent into Ballina I noticed the clouds clearing and was relieved to see that we appeared to be beyond the rain belt. The younger of the children across the aisle pointed at me and started shouting 'Daddy' over and over. His mother leaned over and confided, without any apparent discretion, that the child's father is bald and he thinks any bald man he encounters is his father. Well, I'm not bald but I do have zero haircuts every few weeks and the shortness of my cut combined with the grey colour of what is left obviously looks like baldness to a child.
Mt met me at the airport and drove us to her home only seven minutes away. Oh the joys of easy travel in regional towns. We took her border collie for its afternoon walk and then settled down to chat whilst we waited for Ll and Fd to arrive from Brisbane.
Dinner was a delicious Beef Bourguinon which Mt had prepared during the afternoon.
The birthday weekend was underway.