Friday, February 15, 2008

Bark: Planes, Helicopters and Imbeciles

You will have noticed that things have been quiet around here lately. There are several good reasons for that, which I shall now tell you about, on the premise that quantity can actually be a substitute for quality...

I've had a bit of a rough week, all in all. Work started on Sunday afternoon, as I had to head up to Scotland for the first part of the week, ostensibly to stand in for the Project Manager and act as secretary for the progress meetings that had been arranged for the Wednesday that week. If I only needed to be there on the Wednesday, why fly up on the Sunday, wasting precious weekend time, you might ask? Well, the reason for that was because we were due to visit RAF Lossiemouth on Monday to have a jolly in one of their search and rescue Sea Kings. Unfortunately, due to some IMBECILE sparking off a bomb scare and full-scale security alert on an oil rig the day beforehand, the helicopter needed to be taken offline for maintenance, because it had put in so many flight hours in the previous month - meaning we couldn't fly. So that was a total waste of a day (not to mention a quarter of my weekend). They couldn't even get the maintenance finished in time for us to go flying on Tuesday, when we had a fairly light schedule, so I was absolutely gutted - but it's hardly the fault of the RAF guys, they were brilliant and did a lot to try and take the sting out of it (after all, they jump at the chance to go flying too, even if they are babysitting a bunch of civvies). We got a guided tour of the helicopter, and I got to take a few nice photos from a lot closer than most people get to an RAF helicopter, so I can't whinge too much, I guess. It's just that "so near, yet so far" feeling, and all because of some idiot going stir-crazy on an oil rig... I really hope they send her the bill for the cost of the operation. It was doubly annoying, considering that flying conditions were absolutely perfect all week - and that's not something you can say too often in the north of Scotland in the middle of February. The secretarial stuff was about as tedious as you'd imagine, though at least I could let the digital dictaphone do most of the work, leaving me with the somewhat less onerous task of trying to stay awake and look attentive.

But it was all downhill from there, really. I temporarily lost about 70% of my hearing for a couple of days after the flight up, thanks to having a cold and the air pressure changes really stuffing up my inner ears, giving me chronic ear and sinus pain all week, which only cleared up in time (you guessed it) for the flight home. Where I only lost about 50% of my hearing in one ear, rather than both, but the pressure variances still stuffed up my sinuses and I ended up spending most of Valentine's Day in bed with a migraine. How romantic...

Today I'm meant to be doing final handover, as this is my last day on the project, except neither my team leader nor the project manager are in the office - so I'm not sure how that's going to work, especially since I'm on holiday in France next week. It's also absolutely typical of me to get ill before going on holiday, but at least I'll have a good week in France to recuperate before I have to go through the whole rigmarole of finding a new project, which I'm not really looking forward to. I might just stay in France. Either that, or I'm going to find an old nuclear missile base I can buy with a group of like-minded evil megalomaniacs and run a Machiavellian Lair Timeshare Scheme. I'm sure it's a viable gap in the housing market...
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