People I know used to talk about the ‘Heathrow Injection’ – A non existent mythical injection apparently received by southern hemispherical travelers upon arrival in the UK to commence their OE which loosely translated to the fact that they would instantly gain about 15 lbs in weight, lose any resemblance of healthy skin tone and suddenly gain an addiction for liquid carbohydrates usually served in pint glasses.
I am going to hijack that phrase and turn it into the ‘Hobart Injection’ – Likewise, it’s a theoretical thing but the symptoms are exactly the same, I’ve had about five weeks back in Hobart whilst I’ve been training with the AAD and due to the fact that most of my time is spent catching up with old colleagues it’s safe to say that I don’t quite feel as healthy as I should, the fitness levels have decreased somewhat and there may or may not have been a couple of days where I struggled to deal with a mild headache due to the ingestion of some ‘meed’ whilst enjoying a local farmers market. That said, I’ve had a few good days out walking in the hills which is something I don’t get to do much of in Brisbane these days.
Walking in Tassie
The AAD is a bit of a ‘club’ to say the least, if you’ve been South before it’s kind of hard to walk around Hobart for a day without bumping into some old ‘compadre’ and spending a bit of time catching up, I happened to be at a local ‘establishment’ a couple of weeks back and could see approx. thirty folk, from different expeditions all milling about in differing ‘states of mind’ (some started their milling a little earlier than others) but all were very happy to see each other and be introduced as part of that common ‘club’.
In terms of training it’s been the usual necessary routine, Fire, Search and Rescue, Vertical Heights and Rescue at Heights etc. Whilst not a lot changes in this respect it’s good to be reminded of what information you thought you’d retained but more importantly I always find it’s the best way to start bonding the Wintering teams before we hit station and get to work out ‘who fits where’ in the groups social & operational structure. The old saying of ‘every year is different’ is of course very true, not that what we do differs that much more that ‘who’s on the team’ affects every part of our social interaction on station with each other.
I had the job of putting together the fire team ‘rotation’ last week to pass on to our station leader, it’s a fairly simple roster consisting of three teams of six people, each week a team assumes the duty role and as such they abstain from alcohol and respond to any (hopefully false) alarms during their time on ‘watch’. What I’ve learned from past years is that whilst you can easily form a ‘technical’ fire team from the abilities of the available people but what you do need to look long and hard at is the social side of who’s on each team, how you think they’ll work with each other and whether the team is evenly balanced in terms of ‘chiefs and workers’ etc. To be honest we’ve got a fairly good bunch this year and I don’t suspect any problems but then I’m bound to say that aren’t I as they’ll likely be reading this post on Facebook and I need to be careful what I say haha!
Pre-Departure leave is now pretty much over – This leave is granted by the AAD to allow wintering expeditioners the chance to return home for a short period before they head south to catch up with family and friends etc. I headed up to the Sunshine Coast with the family for the week to get as much Vitamin D as possible, hired a house near the beach with a pool and good facilities so have been pretty spoilt in terms of my final week before heading away. I seem to have spent most of my week off either ill or asleep though so don’t feel I got the best out of it!
So tomorrow morning I fly back to Hobart ready for the ‘hurry up and wait’ of next weeks pre-departure briefings and ‘hanging about’ whilst we get ready to go. As I understand it the Wilkins runway is groomed and ready to receive the A319 we just have to wait for the conditions to allow this to happen. There are numerous conditions that need to be met, i.e. the runway needs to have been at a temp below -5 for a certain amount of time etc, all of these stars will need to align and we’ll be standing by ready to hop on board when someone presses the go button. Whilst I’m due down on the first flight of the season on the 28th of October delays can and most likely will happen, watch this space.
For the remainder of today I shall continue to threaten the kids about what not to do over the next year and a bit in my absence, threaten Ellie about what not to do to the Landrover in my absence and threaten the cat just because it hates me.
Cheers for now..