Reminder: Free short story – see below ‘A Pearl for Your Enjoyment’
Novel number five trundles along on a bumpy patch of road, but still making slow headway towards publication.
Current Weather and Tides
Unending fodder for the creative imagination of aspiring writers.
- The world has lost a woman of great strength and fortitude – one to be respected and admired. Long Live the King.
- The Weatherman has us all on tenterhooks as an unseasonal wet spring hits the southeast Queensland and New South Wales districts this past month.
- Good and evil continue their unending struggle within our world.
Keep safe, Keep smiling, Keep reading, Keep writing.
A Pearl for your Enjoyment
(The journey continues with the bushie now navigating her way through the city airport.)
Airports and Aeroplanes
With a brief nod, the busman pointed a careless finger to one of the several wide glass doors at the entrance to the Brisbane Airport as he manhandled our luggage.
“You’ll find the Virgin Airline check-in beyond these doors,” he muttered.
Breathing in the mixture of misty fog and fuel fumes, I stood agape, astounded by the number of people loading on and off their transport each in charge of wheeled luggage heading to and from the airport entrance. With the strap of my handbag challenging my ability to inhale and the weight of my knapsack securing my upper body into a permanent servile bow, I clasped the handles of my two suitcases and followed in Carol’s wake as we rumbled along with the tide. The wide mouths of the opening and closing terminal doors gobbled us up like prey into the internal machinations of its digestive system.
It was too much to hope for an easy passage to the check-in counter we required. A minefield of snaking temporary laneways covered what appeared to be acres of flooring. A man, dressed in a viza shirt of the airport staff, pointed us to one of these queues of fellow travellers. After a long slow crawl and just before a counter attendant hovered almost within our grasp, the same viza-jacketed man signalled us to where he facilitated our exit from that line. With an apology, he guided us to the backend of another line where people with glazed-over eyes, shuffled towards a distant counter.
The thought screamed inside my head, If this man had no idea where we should be, what chance did we have? To our relief, we did gravitate through the check-in where we waved goodbye to our three suitcases, collected our boarding passes and moved towards the security check as directed.
Like well-behaved sheep, the line of people edged to where we were instructed to remove any computers for inspection. This meant partly unpacking my knapsack. The cold air hit us when we removed our coats. These items accompanied our handbags in large plastic trays as they trundled along a conveyor belt and through the x-ray machine.
One by one, each human being in the line, straddled the painted footprints on the floor while another x-ray machine searched for hidden contraband. The airport staff members within this area remained expressionless, offering polite instructions throughout the process. It was hard not to wonder if they were human or android. With ourselves and our hand luggage re-packed and loaded on our person, we stumbled forth from this section to enter the dining area.
Drinks and food tempted our stomachs. It had been some time since an early breakfast. As pre-warned as we were about the exorbitant prices within the airport food stalls, the shock still threatened to stir the acid levels within our digestive tracks.
Eventually, we sat at the loading gate marked clearly on our boarding passes. The thrill of the imminent journey battered from the effort to achieve this point.
At the entry door of the plane, the stewardess’s welcoming smile did nothing to soften the wave of claustrophobia as it threatened to suffocate me when I took the final step into what appeared to be, no more than a small tin can filled with numerous seats. When a steward offered to lift my knapsack into the cabin luggage compartment, guilt rose to the surface. I heard my son’s voice in my inner ear.
“If your cabin luggage is too heavy for you to lift into the overhead locker then you are carrying too much.” I should explain here; my son is a frequent inter-state flyer. It was no trouble to squash that voice and smile my gratitude to the nice man with the bulging muscles.
Carol and I poured ourselves into the designated seats and secured our seatbelts. As we listened to the instruction on what to do in the event of severe turbulence, I heard the words ‘plane crash’. I watched the attendant explain the use of the life jacket. My mind closed down. Before our feet entered our own front doors again, we were to hear that same lecture five times. Do the airline attendants wake up in their sleep sprouting these instructions?
I knew the quickest way to pass the hours was to sleep and my body was happy to oblige. My thoughts refused to visualize the possibility of my sleeping mouth agape and/or drooling. I have been told I snore but of course, that is not so – I hope. My eyes opened as instructions commenced prior to landing in Cairns. The screaming ache in my neck matched the screaming of the engines decelerating. I looked out through the window to see our plane cushioned in thick cotton wool clouds.
Once released from our bondage, the avalanche of people trailed the toilet signs to their destination. From here we lined up at the luggage carrousel to collect our suitcases. As Carol and I were to connect to another flight leaving from Hinterland Aviation, we did not waste time lining up at the taxi rank to get passage to the other side of the Cairns Airport. Pleasant staff but no sandwiches or tea greeted us and we both regretted not chasing food at the larger airport first. I foraged through my handbag, holding everything and anything, for the muesli bars. These sustained us while we waited for our departure time.
If I thought the plane from Brisbane to Cairns was a small tin can, I had my opinion challenged at the ten-seater (plus pilot and co-pilot) plane waiting on the tarmac. It seemed this plane might have been retrieved from a child’s toybox. The passageway between the rows of two seats could be spanned with one hand, I am sure. It allowed a sideways shuffle only. The plane was filled with travellers to Cooktown.
Other than the life-jacket instruction which was given to the passengers preboarding, the fast-spoken safety instructions pre-flight were barely heard above the noise of the plane’s engine. Once more the cottonwool clouds prevented our sight of the land or sea beneath. The exploding claustrophobia inside my head made it difficult to slip into sleep mode but the journey took only about three-quarters of an hour and Cooktown soon spread out beneath our wings.
After a short wait, the shuttle bus arrived. My coat felt heavy and hot as we made our way to our destination, Cooktown. The familiar sights of the Cooktown streets renewed my spirits. Dusk descended as I eased into the welcome of a bush town and the wonderful people it harbours.