Thursday, 30 April 2015

My Companion,

My companion

My Companion:

Good-day my blogger friends.

There is nothing like finding something you thought you lost

and didn't realise it? (Bit like bumping into an old flame?)

It gives you more pleasure than anything else, to find again,

Is that not the truth?

The other night I jumped out of bed, for what you might call a nature break?

On my run! across my bedroom floor in the dark, (Starkers of course) I collided with a pile of books,

Which were balancing on a corner chair, precariously! about 15 books high, the sound of them crashing to the floor in the middle of the night was like a thunder clap,

I continued with my Quest and on return to my bedroom, I turned on the light.

At first I was not overly concerned about the books on the floor, the fact that they were on the corner chair! meant that they had been read and were being saved for their  return, to their sanctuary, the second-hand book shop, a place I'd spent many happy hours myself.

But then I noticed my old companion laying immersed and Totally wrecked in the middle of the pile of books, totally flat out!
As if it had, a one round episode with Mike Tyson  ( Iron Mike) and went down with the first punch like most of his opponents!

Anyway back to my companion.

I gathered her up like a wounded bird and carried it over to my bed and sat down and started to straighten and arrange the pages back to some semblance of what it used to be, before it became my constant companion for many years.

As I straightened the pages it was like a walk down memory lane, all the notations I had underlined in yellow and fellow students who looked through it for words had underlined them in soft pencil,( now faded.) I remember many of my fellow students just from their word, when I saw it.

It could be said that I never played well with other students, getting to borrow my companion from me was a difficult task indeed, I didn't like it and I certainly never let it leave my desktop, or out of my reach,
I often heard them moan when they realised they had to ask me, so they could check a word. I can only guess as to what they called me when I wasn't there.

For me I just never understood how anybody could start a technical course without a full compliment of course material, but they did, and just borrowed the rest.

I remember well my first adventure into the world of the written word,
As you will all agree it was a very large step for me?

I had decided to be a Commercial Pilot something I had played with-in my mind for so long,
So off I went to Melbourne University to  enrol.

Now when I think back! I must have been a bit of a strange sight,
I turned up and parked in the Uni vehicle grounds,  on my 350hp Matchless single motorcycle, black frame with Lipstick pink tank, I painted it myself ?

I was dressed in a clean white T shirt, pressed black jeans and polished brown boots and a dark leather jacket, with a damp cloth wipe down and Yes! with an Eagle on the back!
but it never took off like a bomb? or was the terror of highway 101!
But this was my time.
I was washed and my clothes were pressed, courtesy of my Auntie Nancy, my Mothers Sister.
My hair was short,  that was due to my Uncle Mick? he said "my hair (when long) spent more time in my dinner when I was eating, than my spoon,"
Any way I was slicked up and ready for whatever?

So I turned up at the class room and stood with all the others, outside in the hall,
half a minute to go the door opens and we all file in, there was no talking, maybe we were all taking a deep breath,
I headed for the front seat,? seemed like a good idea at the time! don't know why! and I don't know if it ever made any difference? But it seemed like a good start plan at the time. In the front!

At the table in front of me, all the professors of the course were seated, they all in turn, stood and introduced themselves, and gave a quick intro to their subjects, and what they expected of us.
This was frightening but not so bad.
Then the head lecturer stood up, he introduced himself and stood looking around the class his eyes settling on each of us one at a time, he was definitely the boss cocky, you could tell by the way he spoke, he went through the whole intro again,
He was a tall guy with wavy hair, he had the most accusing look, when his eyes settled on you, it seemed to make your seat heat up.
He moved around us  demonstrating his ability to remembering all of our names, as he ask us questions, which were personal about our our ability to complete the course, ( he should have been a S.I.S interrogator in the Army)

When my turn came around, I stood up?
I don't know why? nobody else did, but he intimidated me,
and he said " Well Mr Donnelly, what makes you think you
can pass this course and become a Commercial Pilot?"
My mind shouted silently at him, "You don't know me?"
"You never saw me at Albert Park? on a Sunday morning making my balsa wood planes of paper,
held together with cement," (gliders were my favourite.)
"You never witness  the launch of my Colditz glider? which climbed away and just kept going, never to be seen again," (now that was a great sight!)

Anyway I just said " this is something I want to do with my life. and returned to my seat,

The session ended when he said "for us to go pay our fees and get down to pick up the course work material and go home and start studying and he looked forward to seeing us, in class".
Then in true form!( just like a politician leaving the heart breaker to last).
he said "Oh Yes you should know this? but I will mention it anyway due to all the controversy it creates at the end of the course, creating an unbelievable stream of letters to the University and Civil Aviation Authority, complaining they were not made aware of this ruling. So be warned and listen?"

"The Civil Aviation Authority rules that all students on the course must pass all subjects on the course by the end of the course, there are no partial passes outside the course, only forfeit of all subjects passed, followed by a full resit,
The course must be passed during the twelve months of starting the course and no amount of  complaining letter writing will change this,"

With that said he walked out of the class, and we all filed out and went our different ways,
I headed straight for the technical book shop in Swanson street, to pick up the course books.
There was a spring in my step as I walked down Swanson street,
I felt rather proud of myself, believing I had jumped the first hurdle,

On entering the book shop! It was so quite, just like entering a cathedral,
I became aware of my bikie boots squeaking and I nearly started to tip toe! I was so aware of the silence?

I gave the lady at reception my book slips and she pointed me to a table, which had identical stacks
already made up,
At the top of the pile I had picked, was a red book called "Kermodes Mechanics of Flight" after a quick flick through the pages and seeing  words like "Basic principals of Flight" and Transonic and Supersonic and Orbital and Space flight and an array of the most complicated pictures I had yet to see,( in my lifetime) plus a bucket load of formula! and that was only one of the books?
At that precise moment doubt! gave me a kick in the rear section.
I needed help,

I gathered up my books and wandered up to the receptionist and as she marked them all off her list and entered my name into her files,
I quietly asked her if I could get any help with these subjects, she handed me a Universal Dictionary , saying

  "All you will ever need to know is in there, good luck" !

So that was my introduction to my Universal Dictionary and it became my constant companion, and needless to say, it got me through the Commercial Pilots course and went on to star in other rolls I got her involved in, and she never let me down.
So now she  is placed on the top of the book cabinet, in my pride of place for all to see.
For without my companion what would I be?
She introduced me and gave me guidance in the structure of words and their correct use
and their origins.
1752 pages of characters and style.?
What more could a man ask of his companion?

Modern people will say " It's out of date! passed it's prime"? It's got no buttons?

but I say.
"So am I?"


Saturday, 4 April 2015

Max Matherson ( Agricutural Flying instructor)

Ag Pilot.

Max Matherson.
Senior Flying Instructor.
Agricultural Section.
Superspread Aviation .

I first met Max in his office at Moorabin airport, after I received a training grant from the Australian government to train as an Ag-Pilot. and they sent me along to him for practical training, after passing the agricultural pilots exam of course.
As this involved one on one training, I found myself sitting across the table from Max as he outlined his training program, it would involve lectures on flying, the practical, plus a whole load of other bits and bobs? and Max was a bit of a demi-god to me.

Anyway that's not what I'm getting at,
As I was sitting across from Max I noticed a picture frame with a quote in it and as my eyes kept looking at it, it was distracting, not knowing what it said?
Max took it from the wall and gave it to me to read ,
he said it had been a while since it had distracted anybody,
then in the next breath he said " never had G B Shaw been so wrong" Then he said "what do you think?".
I said I'm not sure, so we left it and went back to the lectures.
I'm still not sure?

The Quote: from memory.

Those who can, do!
Those who Can't,
Those who can't teach?

Well fellow bloggers "What do you think"?

My last meeting with Max was at the Melbourne  showground, on show day, he came up from behind me and vigorously shook my hand, saying with a big smile on his face,
 " My God Agman your still alive"?
I turned and smiled at him,  he still had all of his hair and it was as white as snow and his blue eyes sparkled with a youthful twinkle, his face had the tan a pilot flying single cockpits aircraft gets, after a few years, in the seat.
We went into the beer tent for a couple beers and went on our separate ways.

Go well Max.
I will look for you in the queue at the pearly gates,