This is the start of the fourth week back in New Zealand and I was hoping to report that I’d finished flying the Cessna by now and was starting the DA-42 ground course today. Not so, unfortunately. With three full weeks gone, I still have three flights to go – pre-test TPIC, one solo and then the actual test. (This assumes I don’t fail any of them – obviously if I do, there’ll be more.) While the flying that I have done has been quite fun, it’s utterly frustrating that even if I finish by the end of this week and start on the Twin Star stuff next week, I’ll be four weeks behind schedule. While this doesn’t sound like a massive problem (given that I got my PPL about 9 weeks late) it still only leaves 8 weeks before we’re due to go home and 10 weeks before the last date we can actually go home to make it back in time for Bristol part 2. I’m pretty desperate to make it home for Naomi’s 21st which is on July 23rd but for this to happen we’re going to have to accelerate pretty quickly through the multi-engine phases.
The biggest problem by far has been fog. Hamilton, lying in a big flat basin, is apparently well known for it. Too many days I’ve woken up at 6am for an early flight, looked out of the window and not even been able to see the car park about 30 feet away. Often, the airport has been even worse. Depending on how thick the layer of fog is, it sometimes doesn’t burn off until midday, which means pretty much half a day’s worth of flying is lost. It’s utterly frustrating and really quite demoralising. Although I’m now only three flights away from saying goodbye to the Cessna, the Twin Star doesn’t feel like it’s getting any closer and it’s very difficult to remain motivated or happy. A few days of not flying due to weather (and once, last week, on a beautiful day but with the aircraft refusing to start) leads to slipping into a “ground-happy” mindset where planning and doing a flight feels like a chore, going through the motions, rather than being something that gives you a buzz. Added to that is the fact that while we’re still labouring towards the end of single engine, we’re seeing CP39 galloping jubilantly to their going-home date in the middle of June with most of them expected to finish on time and in a way that makes it a bit harder for us. Not that we begrudge them of that, obviously!
And just to top off the misery, I abandoned a good (and sober) night out in Hamilton the other night in favour of driving up to Clearways to watch the City vs United game. I’d said beforehand that given the form of the two teams I’d have been happy with a defeat in single figures and my only wish was that it wasn’t going to be a cricket score in favour of the Salford Yankees, but I’d forgotten just how angry it makes me losing a derby game. Particularly when it’s from a penalty, and even more particularly when it’s Ronaldo who’s won and scored it. And us missing one – and therefore virtually handing them the title, at the same time as us gaining the record for the least home goals scored in a top-flight season EVER – was just the icing on the cake. I was half up for going back into town at 2am but thought better of it, mainly because I was too annoyed and wouldn’t have enjoyed it but also because it turned out most people had packed up about half past 1 and gone home. Still, it probably helped the wallet a bit, especially having played pub golf the weekend before. And speaking of that, HSBC very kindly refunded me nearly 200 quids’ worth of penalty charges this week which certainly eased a few financial worries.
I’ve been saying this all along but I just want to get finished now. I’m getting more nervous about my test the longer I wait for it and it’s driving me mad. I suppose once I eventually do start flying the twins then the light at the end of the tunnel that is boarding the flight back to Manchester in July might just start becoming visible but at the moment it feels a long, long way off.