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Mrs LW's birthday trip (BNE/PER/MGV/PER/ ADL/SYD/BNE)

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Jun 20, 2002
My Map
Mrs LW's birthday trip (BNE/PER/MGV/PER/ADL/SYD/BNE)


Most of the background for this trip can be found in this Flyertalk topic. For those who don't want to go back to that thread, I had a trip to PER and ADL coming up for work (Monday to Wednesday) and Mrs LW asked me whether she could come as well. Being a loving husband and having her birthday fast approaching, how could I refuse :eek: so we started planning a weekend away in Margaret River (a place we both wanted to visit) to coincide with my work trip.

Friday, 10 June 2005

After a hectic couple of days getting all of the work needed for PER and ADL next week, I was ready to put my feet up for the 5.5 hour direct flight (and an operational upgrade to Business Class would be nice for us both, thanks QF :D ). But dreams are exactly that...snuffed before you can really start enjoying them.

We drove home after work and dropped what we didn't need to take, said goodbye to our dog Bella and caught a taxi to the airport. Getting to the airport at 5.45pm on a Friday...well, everybody knows what an airport looks like...mayhem. First time pax going away for the weekend, mixed with businessmen going home. Now I never mind those that know where to go, what to do and when to do it; but I shake my head in amazement at some of the pax tonight.

I enjoy bypassing the lines and heading for the Business Class check-in. Call me a flying snob, but the calm that usually enters my body when I step into that faster flowing and shorter line with people who actually have all their flight requirements out ready...aahhh ;)

Although we were taking one large bag (however did we manage that??), it was loaded to the hilt...31.2kgs and lucky that we didn't need to shift some to our smaller bag. I had to add some work documents to it at the last minute, so I was hoping that it would still be "underweight". Watched relieved as the CSA added that orange "Heavy" tag and hope some baggage handler doesn't put their back out trying to haul it. Received our BP's and made sure that Mrs LW's flights were credited to her AA account (Platinum), given she needed the mileage there rather than her QF Silver account.

Wandering across to the left to the x-ray and security check point, my wife sailed through while I had to do the laptop juggle. Security at BNE is pretty good though, even when you get pulled up for the ion scan (sorry, no drugs or explosives on me today)...

We made our way up the escalator and walked the short distance to the Qantas Club (QP to the locals over on the Qantas Board). I saw a QF friend manning the CS Desk, so I joined the line and asked "I don't suppose there are any On Departure Upgrades available??". He smiled and showed me the pile of two BP's already on the counter...."Not at the moment, but not everybody has checked in yet for J, you're 3rd and 4th in line". Given they were both single travellers ahead of us, I knew the chances were negligible that we would both get J seats, we should just enjoy the forward economy seats we'd been pre-assigned.

Finding seats in the lounge was just as hard, eventually we found them in the opposite end to the "FT corner". The herds were grazing at the food servery, so there was little chance of snaffling any hot food...I'm sure people were wandering up and down waiting for the catering staff to bring out the wedges so they could stuff a pile onto their plates and repair to a corner somewhere to gorge on their prize.

I ended up getting some cheese and biscuits for my wife and some potato and leek soup for me. Given we were being fed on the flight, I didn't want to overdo it now...even though one always wants to get value for money from their QP visits.

Just after the boarding announcement (on time at 6.45pm), I heard my friend make an announcement for the following passengers "Mr & Mrs LW" as well as another 5 names. Wow, there was some serious competition for upgrades tonight, but I knew that I was hoping beyond hope. By the time I arrived in the CS line, I viewed all the others be given their bad news "Sorry Sir/Madam, unfortunately there's no upgrade for you tonight". Again I got my friend who gave me the shattering news "Lindsay, there is 1 seat available, what do you want to do??"

As I usually travel alone (most of my trips are now work trips), normally it would be a no brainer - "thanks, one seat is all I need" but here I was, torn...

- whilst I'd love to sit in J for the next 5.5 hours, I'd be divorced by the time I stepped off the plane if I took it.
- I'd love to put Mrs QF WP in J (she doesn't often get the chance), but she's afraid that if the plane goes down, she wouldn't be able to be with me in the final moments (yes, that is exactly what she has said to be on a couple of occasions - still crazily in love after 2 years, isn't she :D)
- two of us can't share a seat (no matter how much I would plead :( )

The pained expression on my face and in my eyes was plain to see, as I let a J seat slip through my fingers and go back to the next person in the op up queue for our flight.....

I slowly trudged back to where my wife was sitting, to tell her the "oh so close" news. She was sad for us both, but adamant that she wouldn't have sat in J for 5.5 hours without me beside her....never mind that in the dark recesses of my mind I was considering taking that J seat for myself :rolleyes:

Qantas QF767 BNE/PER Dep 19.05 Arr 22.30 (737-800)
Distance: 2,244 miles
Seats: 7D+E, Economy cabin

Unfortunately, I didn't put together my usual reporting structure for these flights, so have no recollection what we were served for dinner, who the crew were, or any of that usual prose I sprout for these TR's. I spent most of the trip talking to my wife or trying to make the most use out of my laptop battery with "The Best of R.E.M" belting through the earphones whilst I played Pinball or some other similar games that are loaded onto my machine. She was engrossed with a pile of Sudoku, a numerical puzzle that makes my brain hurt :(

We arrived, as I recall, pretty much on time and deplaned at Gate 2. Being two hours later in Perth (10.30pm Perth = 12.30am in BNE), we were starting to tire and a hotel bed was beckoning. Being the regular to PER airport, I set myself for the downstairs luggage belts and Mrs LW followed in my wake.

There we sat patiently awaiting the arrival of our luggage...firstly, no bags and no announcement, then the belt started up but no bags followed. Then the red flashing light started and the belt stopped. By this time, a welcome respite of the Customs beagle wandering in and around people hand luggage made for local entertainment. So much so, it stopped at my FF bag and sat down wagging it's tail. My wife, being a dog lover like me, was coo'ing over the georgeous beagle but I had my mind elsewhere - more like on my FF bag. Before the handler could even ask the expected question "is that your bag" I proffered the retort "Yes, I've had apples in that bag in the last week, I take them to work to eat". That deflated the poor handler, who probably thought she'd caught a likely suspect - but I was in perfect form, unzipping the bag to show her that the only offending articles were work papers and my laptop. Chagrinned, they loped off to sniff the next suspect after the beagle got it's reward...(Hey, I'm sorry, I was tired and emotional and in no mood to play the game).

Still, even after that played out to it's conclusion, no bags...oh great, what a start to a trip away. A couple of minutes later, a lone disinterested voice through the PA advised that the baggage handlers were now unloading our plane and would have our bags to us shortly. They must have had a long day too - or been purposely wanting to rile me further, as even though our bags were tagged "Business" (one of the questionable benefits of Plat membership where they are mean to come out first), they were in the last group of bags to slowing start circling.

I was ready for them, hoisted them upwards and sidewards in one fluid motion and extending the arm to enable them to become wheel-bound. Handing my wife's smaller bag to her, we weaved our way amongst the families, boyfriends & girlfriends as well as the local football supporters to emerge from the terminal and make our way around to the left and the taxi queue.

Perth taxi's tonight must have still all been at the football, as we joined the queue luckily just before the rest of the terminals decided it was time to go home. We were lucky enought to have made it to the queue before it was too long, now it was the slow shuffle to the front of the barriers, turn and start it all again. We endured an hour of this and I started to feel sorry for those joining the queue as we eventually departed at 11.35pm. Our taxi driver thought some of them would be lucky to make it home by 3am while I wearily said (as in the movies) "Take us to the Hilton"....

Hotel - Parmelia Hilton Perth
Booked: Non-smoking Queen Hilton Guest Room, Standard Rate: $120 (minus 20% Premium Club discount)
Room alloted: 524

We arrived at midnight and were soooo ready for a sleep, as we had an early car hire pick up (8.30am). I love this hotel in PER, it gets all my business (even though it doesn't have an Executive Floor) as it is directly across the road from my clients' office on St Georges Terrace. It is also around the corner from the Hertz Downtown office, so another good reason to with a night costing a mere $96 all-in :cool: how could we go wrong??

Well, tonight everything was perfect. Checked-in and receive the (not unexpected) news that as a gold HH member, we were being upgraded to a King Room (no doubt the hotel was empty being a Fri night). I also had an envelope mysteriously waiting for me at Reception - one that had my Flyertalk handle on it as well as my real name. To say I was a little bewildered, intrigued and :confused: would have perfectly fitted the look on my face. I tore it open to read a note:

"LW, I just noticed a post you are in Perth. Would be fab to catch up for brekky and hear what happened at Ozfest. Regards, Meloz Room 415"

Now while my wife wasn't thrilled that Flyertalk had already entered our weekend sojourn, I was happy to hear that meloz was in the Hotel as I have caught up with him at a number of FT meets. We were shown to our room (a monster with separate living areas and ensuite) and as if they knew how to pacify my wife, a Gold amenity of a plate of hand-made chocolates and a small bottle of Lindeman's red wine was waiting.

Alas, I had to break the news gently to meloz though, so I penned a letter and slipped it under his door - suggesting that if he was still around Sunday or Monday nights, I'd catch up with him then. He was already asleep, so no use waking him up.

It was such a waste to have such a beautiful big room for such a short time, I was secretly hoping that we'd get the same room on our return tomorrow.


Jun 20, 2002
My Map
Saturday, 11 June 2005

The time zone change caused havoc with us this morning, getting to bed at 3am (BNE) time only to wake up 6 hours later was not my idea of a good morning :( . We hastily had breakfast (tea, the left-over chocolates and biscuits), showered, closed our luggage and made it to check-out by 8.55am. So we were running late to pick up the car already :eek:

Luckily, the Hertz office was a short walk around the corner. Easy to spot in the commercial buildings and shops, including one that sold breakfast for $11 (we took note of that for use later in the trip). Mrs LW wanted to get on the road and down to Margaret River, so I wasn't about to argue with her...

Car Hire - Hertz
Reservation: Nissan Pulsar (Auto) using QFF CDP Discount. Daily rate $43.75, unlimited kms

The two CS staff at the Hertz office were friendly and found our booking, but were confused when it showed a UK address. I sorted that out (I have 2 Hertz cards and must have used my UK one) and soon I was behind the wheel of the car we'd been given (a Corolla Ascent). We were just outside Mandurah when my mobile (cellphone) rang and meloz was on the other end. Being the sensible driver, I used hands-free to chat to him whilst I threaded my way along the highway traffic, confirming that we should be able to catch up on Monday PM.

By the time we hit Mandurah, we were starving so we drove into the main shopping area until we found a cafe that served breakfast. Wow, that was a mother of all breakfasts, a really good fry up of baked beans, tomatoes, 2 eggs, bacon, hash browns and mushrooms on toast - I just wish I had kept the name of it. After a walk near a lake to help it start digesting, (I) we felt comfortable to continue driving, so back in the hire car and onwards to Margaret River.

Now the trip, if you are direct driving from Perth, is about 285 kms (180 miles) and should take you about 4 hours - depending on current roadworks etc. We weren't in any real hurry, as we had wineries to visit on the way down.

It was easy to spot the road signs to the wineries - they are very popular tourist attractions and we were getting ready to eat and partake of some fine Western Australian reds.

Winery - Vasse Felix

This was our first stop and a must for me, having a small number of Noble One Reisling's (1999) still left in my cellar. Their 2002 Classic Dry Red and Cabernet Merlot both made it past my palate, as did the 2004 Cane Cut Semillon. Picked up a bottle of the Cabernet Merlot for drinking tonight, but had to call it quits for the first wine tasting as I still have to drive :eek:. They have a beautiful restaurant that I wished we'd had the time to do justice at their table for lunch, but we had others to visit this afternoon.

Chocolate Factory - The Margaret River Chocolate Factory

We happened across this factory on the way back to the main highway....damn, I knew I should have taken that other turn-off :eek: ...

degustation: (noun) taking a small amount into the mouth to test its quality

Well, the Lord must have confused that word in my wife's vocabulary, as there was no "small amounts" passing into her mouth (or anybody else's for that matter)...I think the only reason they didn't have a loss in profits that afternoon was the sneaky small sampler spoon that you had to use to partake of the white, milk chocolate or dark chocolate "buds" that were in large serving bowls by the front counter. I'll admit to taking a liking to the dark chocolate buds, but I didn't shovel spoon-loads of buds into my pocket for later consumption :eek:

This is a must visit if you have children and you want them to have a sugar-high for the rest of the holiday...and yes, of course we bought some bars of chocolate for late night snacking :p (don't be stupid, do you honestly think I was going to make it out alive without having swapped some hard-earned for an endorphin-rush the likes of which women have to have daily???)

Cheese Tasting - Margaret River Cheese Co

Just after turning back onto the Highway (heading for Margaret River), you come across this small building on the LHS. Needless to say, what a perfect addition to make a triumvirate of tastings today. We were in heaven ;). Needless to say, we parted with some more hard-earned and finally made our way towards Margaret River for our overnight stay.

If you want to do a tour that incorporates all three tastings, I found this website for bookings

Accomodation - Emerald Colonial Lodge, Margaret River
Superior Room, room only rate of $179 (including $4 booking fee)
Room 54

I had booked this stay via Qantas's Ready Rooms (online accomodation booking page). The property is excellent, easy to find and large, solid, granite block wall (that was until recently a Best Western property). Went into Reception with my boooking confirmation and started chatting to the friendly receptionist who hailed from BNE (had only just moved over there).

We decided that we wanted to "eat out" and asked about what was good "in town". Looking at their restaurant menu, we were bowled over by the depth in the choices. Needless to say, we didn't have to go far for dinner that night (the first night of the new menu, to boot!!)

We unpacked the car and chilled out in our room (that was the operative term, as it was starting to get into single digit degrees Celcius by early evening). Hot showers were in order and getting dressed for dinner. Our 7pm dinner reservation was fast approaching...

Margaret's Restaurant Dinner Menu

Entrees (E) and Main (M) noted

Winter soup, crispy croutons and sour cream (E)
Garlic Bread served with marinated Kalamata olives (E)
Bruschetta bread with mozzarella (E)
Black tiger prawn curry with mango and coconut jasmine rice & cucumber riata(E,M)
Cacciatore sausage, Tasmainian double brie, olives and water crackers (E)
Scotch Filley Steak (South West finest Tender Ridge) on mash or spicy wedges, red wine jus, mushroom or pepper sauce (M)
Ellensbrook venison sausages, horseradish mash, red wine jus (M)
Seared Atlantic Salmon, apricot cous cous, tomato and lime kasundi (M)
Chilli sea salted cuttlefish, winter greens and lime aioli (M)
Fresh local fish fillet pan fried with spring onion, potato fritter & served ith Emerald tartare (M)
Lamb cutlet marinated in tandoori spices with pine nut risotto & fruit chutney (M)
Cajun blackened chicken salad with Mississippi candy dressing (E, M)
Penne pasta with chili tofu, field mushrooms, pimiento, spinich, tomato and shaved parmesan (E,M)

Side orders

Seasonal roasted and steamed vegetables
Mediterranean-style salad with fetta, Kalamata olives and Emerald dressing
Shoestring fries
Spicy Cajun potato wedges with sweet chili sauce and sour cream
Marinated Kalamata olives
Jasmine Rice
Feta Cheese


Chocolate cashew tart with butterscotch sauce & cream
Famous Lemon zinger cheesecake, fruit coulis & whipped cream
Classic Pavlova with passionfruit, fruit coulis and cream
Fresh fruit salad with vanilla ice cream
Margaret River and imported cheeses, dried and fresh fruits, nuts and water crackers

Well, we had Mains and a glass of house red each and shared a dessert with the bill coming to $60. A wonderful end to a magnificient day and sleep was beckoning with every passing second...


Jun 20, 2002
My Map
Sunday, 12 June 2005

A sleep in was a must this morning - not only because it was cold and wet outside; but we were still adjusting to lots of sitting, eating and no exercise. So with the best of intentions, we got up with the thought in mind to walk around in the main street of Margaret River this morning. But first, a telephone call to my father to wish him a happy birthday...

We checked out (I would come back to Emerald Lodge again in a heartbeat) and went to see what the main street cafes would be serving for breakfast. Being a non-local; we watched where all the locals were going and beat a hasty path to a Cafe half way down the street - and who should we run into but the receptionist from the Emerald Lodge with her kids.

Another full breakfast with hot chocolate for $15 each - you can't beat it ^ . Service might not have been to Hilton standards but then again, we weren't expecting much more than "here you are" as the plates laden with carbohydrates and saturated fat were plonked in front of us.

A leisurely mastication of breakfast ensued, while doing some local- and tourist-watching down the main street. A blend of surfer types along with elderly visitors, dogs trotting behind health conscious owners and kids playing along the footpath. These are the days that my body yearns for, but gets all too irregularly... one where I'm not expected to jump up and head to work, rather one where I can open a paper and sit in the sun revelling in how much I'd love a life like this...just as Mrs LW says she'd love to live in this town.

All too soon, she thinks it's time to go shopping, so being determined not to let the side down, I tag along to carry whatever bargains she can find :D ;). In fact, it's my day for shopping, as we find a music shop that has CD titles of bands that I decide should be included in my modest collection. Hah, who says men can't shop!! Being disappointed with her lack of purchases spurs my wife into a defeatist attitude of "Let's keep going, lots to see today"...

So, back to the car and off to see another couple of wineries (and a repeat visit to the Cgocolate Factory to replenish our stocks for the long week ahead).

Winery - Xanadu

This was another of my must do's, again as I have some bottles in my collection that I had drunk down and wanted to see if they were still as good as I thought they were. Very close to Margaret River and easy to find. They certainly sank some $$$ into the winery and tourist centre/tasting rooms recently (probably too much, as the week after we returned, they were sold). I picked up a dozen mixed reds and had them shipped back to my office.

Winery - Leeuwin Estate

This was going to be were we had lunch, however we weren't thrilled with the fare so decided to have some Margaret River Cheese Co cheese, crackers and the Hilton's mini bottle of red on the lawns in front of the main building. It was overcast, so wasn't the perfect setting but I can imagine the Concerts that happen here really going off.

Chocolate Factory - again :roll:

Yes, I was railroaded into going back there (on our way back to Perth); just because we'd run out of chocolate, so I thought I'd buy the Lemon Spread for my mother.

Driving back to Perth was uneventful, but as we were late, it was getting dark and we had to find a local petrol station to refill the car. As the Hertz Downtown location was only open from early Monday AM, we had to park the car on Mill Street (opposite the Hilton) and hope we could get up in time in the morning before it became a clearway and the car was towed. It was certainly a cheaper option than the self parking behind the hotel ($25) or valet parking ($28).

Hotel - Parmelia Hilton Perth
Booked: Non-smoking Queen Hilton Guest Room, Standard Rate: $165 (minus 20% Premium Club discount)
Room alloted: 934

The cheaper Premium Club rates of $120 per night weren't available for these premium nights (Sunday & Monday), quite understandably. We checked in around 7pm, so it was time to find a local cafe for a quick dinner and a walk down by ther Swan River before retiring for the night. Hilton kept up their wooing as they again trumped up with a plate with hand-made chocolates and a mini bottle of red. It's going to be hard to stay anywhere else with my wife if they keep up this Gold amenity bonanza ;) .


Jun 20, 2002
My Map
Monday, 13 June 2005

Waking up early this morning, I dived in for a quick shower before rescuing the hire car from it's spot on the road. I had to take it back to the Hertz Downtown office by 7.30am (so I could still get back to my room, change for work and make my client's office by 8.30am). Two sets of lights and I was there, less than 3 minutes later. In fact, I was so early that the Hertz CSA came in behind me, so we had to juggle cars so she could open up. I was first up and so she could work uninterrupted, I went across the road for breakfast in the cafe that I had scoped on Saturday morning. A full breakfast, a cuppa and a read of the morning paper in 20 minutes. I went back across the road to the Hertz office to finalise the paperwork. Back across to the Hilton I needed to head.

I went to work all day while my wife had decided to explore Fremantle. After finishing work around 5.30pm, I walked across the road to await my wife's return. Hearing from her that she was running late meant that I could catch up with meloz. So after ringing him, I made my way to his Suite (some of us are lucky :p ) to share a VB or three (as it turned out) and chat about FT.

After getting the call "I'm home, dear", I bade meloz goodbye and went back to our room to collect her for dinner. After all, I wouldn't want her to go lonely or hungry in an unfamiliar place. We sat over dinner with me listening to her day in Fremantle - how easy she found it to catch the train, then her visit to Fremantle Prison and her craft shopping (or lack thereof). Then we switched to the planning for getting to the airport tomorrow afternoon and then went back to our room - my wife to bed and me to my laptop and client files to write up my notes from today and organise tomorrow.


Jun 20, 2002
My Map
Tuesday, 14 June 2005

Woke early today and got ready for work and finished packing our luggage. Today was a busy day between my client's two buildings where they have staff adn I had only 15 mins between scheduled appointments to grab lunch on the way. Mrs LW decided that it was a day to shop in Perth and do a Captain Cook Cruise of the Swan River.

I hurried through my meetings at the second site and had 25 minute for lunch. It was nice to be ahead of time for once. That good luck continued throughout the afternoon and I was finished, packed and said goodbye to the Senior MD by 4.15pm. It was out the door into a brisk wind (Perth is famous for it) and I was thankful for the suit I was wearing. Across the road and into the Lobby where my darling wife had followed our plan to the letter - she had checked out and was waiting for me to arrive. Straight into a taxi (as the clock turned over 4.30pm) and off to the airport for our 6.10pm flight to Adelaide (ADL). Thankfully, our early departure meant little traffic at the worst intersection (Riverside Drive and Causeway) and soon we were approaching the airport.

Check-in was empty and we were the only ones in the Business Class line; so straight up to organise our BP's (we were 45th and 46th to check-in for the flight). Thankfully I had got rid of 2/3rds of my business documentation, so our main bag was back to 25kgs and a little easier to manage. The CSA offered us front row economy seats or exit row, so with the extra leg room, we opted for the exit row. Through security without any hitches and then up the escalator to the main gate area. The PER Qantas Club is situated ahead up another escalator, so it seems everybody is watching you as you ascend the stairs to the reception area. Still, having been refurbished in the past year, the QP is a perfect oasis from the bedlam that would develop shortly below as the early evening flights left.

We had just on an hour in the QP, so we both helped ourselves to the hot wedges and I added some feta, mushrooms and avocado dip. I fired up my latop on the "laptop bar" and re-juiced it while trying to finish typing all my notes from today's meeting, as I didn't want to have to finish them in ADL tonight. My darling kept me fed and made sure I had a beer (Hahn Premium of course!), as she was now finding out how hard I work when I'm travelling (she never believes me :rolleyes: ).

Qantas QF810 PER/ADL Dep 18.10 Arr 22.30 (737-800)
Distance: 1,318 miles
Seats: 14B+C, Exit Row, Economy cabin

This was a very uneventful flight, other than the fun we had with the FA who came to discuss the Exit Row with us. She came up and said "now, I know you're a Platinum and probably choose this exit row a lot, do you feel confident that you can follow the instructions in the card - you have read the card, haven't you ;) :D ". She even made a mistake in the advice to the opposite row that my wife picked up - jokingly, the FA asked my wife if she'd like to be a FA to which she retorted good naturedly "definitely not! :p ".

The FA remembered us on the meal service and gave us an extra mini bottle of red wine each (not that we preferrred drinking the rough red it was, however it was free... plus we weren't driving at the other end).

Touch-down was on-time as I recall and we braved the tarmac walk into the terminal. This time the baggage handlers were at their best, with all the Business tagged bags coming out first, so by the time most pax were arriving at the carousel, we were out the door seeking a taxi to take us to yet another Hilton... as we were in a hurry to get to the Hotel and a comfortable bed.

Hotel - Hilton Adelaide
Booked: Non-smoking King Hilton Guest Room, Shopping Package, Rate: $210 (minus 20% Premium Club discount) - includes $50 Myer voucher
Room alloted: 1522 (Executive Floor)

How could you beat this package - AUD$168 net of discount, including a $50 shopping voucher. Being close to my wife's birthday, I had made sure that it was in the notes in each of our bookings and I'm sure it didn't harm our chances to get an Exec Floor room this evining. This hotel is without doubt, my favourite Hilton in Australia - unfortunately Janine from the Exec Club has retired, because she always remembered me and gave exemplary service.


Jun 20, 2002
My Map
Wednesday, 15 June 2005

This was a whirlwind stop in ADL (leaving 19 hours after we landed) and whilst it didn't allow me the benefits of making full use of the Exec Floor, it did allow my wife to have access until I picked her up this afternoon on the way to the airport.

I had an early start (8am) with my clients, a short walk (4 blocks) from the Hotel down King William Street. So no rest for the busy today, as I was out of bed only 7 hours after getting into it. Still, it was nice to see my wife reposing whilst I went off to work. I did, however, set the alarm clock for 9am, I didn't want her to miss out on her shopping day.

This was a solid day with 7 meetings with staff and only a 15 minute break for lunch. A new MD had joined this office so I had 15 minutes with him at the start of the day to outline my role. The meetings went well, as they were mostly with existing staff and we were doing reviews.

I rang my wife before the last meeting started to see how she was going...she had just arrived back at the hotel having had difficulty finding someting to buy with the voucher (how many women can you say that about??). She was going to pack and then wait the remaining time "checking us out" using the Exec Floor Lounge and seeing what was on offer in the food and beverages there. Got her well trained ^ .

I finished my final meeting just after 3.45pm, so I had to motor now. Wasted no time packing up and saying a quick goodbye to the senior execs (who were all still in a lunch meeting :eek: ). After a slow elevator ride from the top floor, I strode out onto the street and across the intersection to the closest taxi rank. After jumping in and explaining our convoluted route via the Hilton to the Airport, he took off and manouevered us back to the Hilton. I'd rung my wife as we took off, so she and our bags were waiting at the entrance as we pulled up. I tipped the Concierge out the window as she climbed in the opposite side behind the driver.

At least Adelaide traffic wasn't bad today (this is the only Australian city where I've actually missed a flight :eek: ) and 25 minutes later we were pulling up outside the Terminal (~4.40pm). Coming out just prior to peak hour worked... both for the road traffic and the queues inside. We were third in the Business Class line, with the pax at the front of the line looking like they were doing an Intl connection in MEL or we patiently waited while the 2 Business class counter CSA worked their way through the line to us.

It was just after 5pm when it was our turn to front the counter. Nowhere near missing the flights (we still had 20 minutes before the counter closed), but anything under 30 minutes make my wife nervous (in case something goes wrong with our booking). We had encountered the abject fear of almost missing flights before, so I had made sure that if I was running late with my meetings, she could go on ahead and catch our scheduled flight (as she was on an S class inflexible fare) and I would follow up with the bags on a later flight or tomorrow (I had booked fully flexible K class flights). But today wasn't one of those nervous "would we make it to the flight" days.

Qantas QF766 ADL/SYD Dep 17.40 Arr 20.00
Distance: 725 miles
Seats: 7D+E, Economy cabin

connecting to

Qantas QF556 SYD/BNE Dep 21.05 Arr 22.30
Distance: 468 miles
Seats: 13D+E, Exit Row, Economy cabin

Thankfully, my Plat status had ensured us seats in the forward part of economy on the first flight (ADL/SYD) and access to the exit row on the latter (SYD/BNE). We had barely enough time to get the ADL QP and grab a drink before the flight was called. The ADL Qantas Club has grown in size from its origins but all the regulars are looking forward to the new Terminal (and new QC it will bring).

We waited until the final boarding call before heading to Gate 11 (at the end of the short Terminal). Boarding and finding our seats (about the only spare ones available), we settled down to enjoy the trip home after (for me) a busy couple of days. I even dozed while wy wife had found some new Sudoku's to attack. I didn't even crack out my laptop, I'd had enough. I'm sure I ate and drank something, but have no recollection.

Arriving in SYD, we had arranged to meet FT'er Dave Noble in the SYD QC - he was off to England the next day so was staying at a hotel near the airport. I had a CD with a Concorde program I had taped, so I wanted to get it to him for his long haul flights ahead. Rather than sit in the "FT corner", I positioned myself so I could see it and at the same time, watch him approach. He phoned me as he thought we had missed the ADL flight or were delayed, but I pointed him in the right direction. We, of course, partook in the FT ritual beer (HP) and chatted about flying (particularly his trip the next day). This kind of talk doesn't interest Mrs QF WP too much, she was more interested in completing a moderate difficulty Sudoku.

Soon it was time to board our final flight this trip and head home. We said goodbye to Dave and headed for the Gate. Another flight where I was between dozing, trying to help Mrs QF WP (to little avail) and just wishing that I was already home.

Can you believe that this is the last flight that I have taken...almost 2 months on the ground and I am starting to get stir crazy. Still, I am looking forward to an upcoming DCIR22 or 26 to Canada for skiing - now that will be a TR to report.

Thanks for reading, hope it was entertaining for you...
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