Ooroo to Ozzie Land

Growing old is like being punished for a crime you have not committed.

The other night, this the evening before Sue and I fly out to the Old World of Europe from the New World of Australia, we felt we had to book a hire car in Dublin our first touring destination, as we had learnt that Irelands Leprechauns, Goblins, Banshees and Fairies have a l-o-n-g weekend when we arrive. Irish people do have holidays I understand although they have apparently, stopped getting on floating hulks to transport themselves to the goldfields of Australia, to open Irish Taverns and do the Riverdance when they get full of Guinness. We duly did this, hire a car that is, and sat back enjoying a glass of something alcoholic, whilst I read thru the small print on our hire car contract as one does when they sit down with their wife. I believe in life that there are some things that have been with us since the Big Bang. Sunrise, Sunset and Contracts with Fine Print. I believe this latter one has been enhanced by an Australian Government funded program called ‘Fool the Populace’. They achieve this by blindsided and confusing them with gobblegook, using words like ‘in terms of’ and ‘the Key Performance Indicators are’ and ‘with relevance to’ and, only one more, stick with me, ‘our website and dashboards use cookies’ and what the **** does all that mean, this gibberish sprinkled through reams of ‘small print’ which are attached to everything you purchase today. I never read them unless one wants to end up in a psychiatric clinic run by Nurse Cratchit. Or has run out of conversation with their loved one, i.e. The Wife. As I had on this occasion. However, read I did all in a mood of jolliness as on the morrow, we were fluttered off, jetting our way to the Old World of Europe. Then in in the midst of all this peace, quiet and sipping of the juice of the grape, I let out  an expletive. The Fine Print stated that no vehicle from this firm is able to be hired to anybody over 74. That cuts me out. Its on page 23 of 52. Never mind says my always cheerful dear wife, the hire firm has an on-line ‘Chat Room’, how did she know that? where there is one minute wait for a Client Facilitator. Oh yeh I think, sure, outsourced to a small village in Somalia. We wait and wait, have another glass of the doings, then Rebeka comes on line to assist. After going backwards and forwards to Rebeka who I am positive is in Somalia and has problems with her electricity supply or felt the need to visit the community Long Drop located across several corn paddocks as our Chat Room goes on for what seems hours and possibly is as our bottle is empty. We eventually get a full refund after pledging to send a generator to a small village in Somalia. We now have the task of re-hiring a car that a 75 year old is able to drive and not crash into anybody 74 years or younger. Grr grr as my new U Bewt Fitbit watch shows my heart beats per minute rising to near 90 when its usually a stable 60ish. All depending on whether small children, bureaucrats or Client Facilitators are annoying me. I’m now over all that and we did hire a car fit for this ageing driver who has a clean driving record apart from, never mind. Lets get to the happy stuff.                                                We are sitting at Perth airport in a l-o-n-g sardine can owned by Singapore Airlines. A retro-fitted 777-200, now that gives one confidence, which can carry 266 sardines in three configurations at a cruising speed of mach 0.84. We are the sardines packed down the back just under where one rips the lid off the can. Our seats are really squishey barely above the size of the stool used by Rocky Graziano in his title fights. There has been a bit of pruning, down sizing and retro-fitting going on at Singapore Airlines as I thought the standard had dropped. Once upon a distant time, they handed out free mini bottles of Chivas, and I was looking forward to that. Now its a measured amount of Red Label – no other choices. The food was adequate but if the person sitting on the stool in front, leans their stool back, your dins is sitting against your tummy. And dont mention crawling out across two other people, one of them your beloved, to just go stretch your legs and perhaps visit the Teensy Room designed for people who are professional contortionists, under 40 kg and with a BMI of 14.                                                                               Changi airport is massive, sorta crowded at midnight but theres room to move and unlike Dubai Airport, theres no Sheiks in flowing white robes with their three completely black sheeted wives, one of them looking suspiciously like a single hump camel, surrounded by a jabbering herd of ankle biters everybody carrying Duty Free, bulldozing their way thru the peasant unclean multitudes. Thats me. No, Changi is more civilised with its ambience, shifting mobile relatively polite populace and shop layout. Apart from the Louis Vuitton stores glitz the entry like a giant cave surrounded by massive surreal flashing lighting and scenes of opulence telling me that, its bloody expensive in there mate. At one hour past midnight, we are into a purse seine net and drawn aboard an A380-800 aircraft into the lower level hold where my wondrous bride, has booked us at mediocre cost, into Premium Economy, the seats several stool sizes up from Rocky Grazianos. Its 2-4-2 across and I am against the large windows looking at two huge engines, the Heart of the planes life support system and I hope its veins, ventricles and capilliaries are free of calcium, carbonisation and cholesterol. Two youngish asian ladies sit in front of us and its obvious their names are Ms ItsAll About Me FOOK and Ms I Dont Givea FOOK for as soon as the seat belt light is off, they put their seats fully back and leave them there for the whole 13 hour flight. Grr bloody Grr. The leading cause of angst amongst airline passengers is those idiots who recline their seats when it is not necessary. Fortunately, in U Bewt Premium Class, thats us, not only do we have much larger seats, a 13 inch Monitor with a squillion options, none of which I manage to grasp, but the meal table is in the armrest and not attached to the back of MS Fooks, seat. Thats good, but the monitor is attached meaning we have to pull the bottom forward to be able to see the screen and then, only with the head bent. More grr grr. Its difficult to sleep  as the cabin lights are dimmed after a nice supper, and everybody including those in peasant class just behind us, are encouraged to go Nye Nye. In a perfect world this could be possible but in an A380 with engine hum, several babies performing the Weary Cat Symphony, flickering monitor screens and Ms Fooks in the seat in front, its barely possible.                                                                                                                                                        Heathrow, cripes, does Englands Customs need a bloody shake up. Several thousand tired people slowly shuffling forward via serpentining lanes back and forward, back and forward in a seemingly never ending parade making new friends as you pass, depart then pass again as the lanes twist and turn. Chubby Checker would love this. Somewhere ahead near Scotland are people who have our lives and our entry into the Mother Country in their hands. One must maintain their sense of humour and remember to not make jokes about poms. Nearly two hours later we are thru and we find an airport bar where Sue insists I have a steadying Jamesons. Four hours later we land in Dublin and are disgorged into ageing infrastructure that passes for Irelands entry statement to their wonderful country.

Ooroo from Des.