Friday, 27 May 2011

Flying over Bath

Today....flying AND singing :-)   Had a great lesson for over an hour and a quarter...we flew south from Gloucester to my home town of Bath and bumbled around over The Royal Crescent, The Circus, the Abbey...and my house!  It's amazing how you can just mosey about in a can go pretty low and fiddle faddle about to your heart's content - I suppose as long as you don't bump into anything (or fly into someone else's airspace) then no one gives a hoot.

I had to talk on the radio again.  This is a real hurdle for me.  The 'Tower' at Gloucester is pretty busy for a tiddly airport and you have to be quite assertive to say anything.  It's quite a male domain - am yet to hear a female voice.  And of course, I don't fully understand what I'm saying yet so when they ask me a question I panic and plead with my instructor to answer for us.  Patheticly girly - one to work on.

And speaking of being girly, note to self for next time - do not wear low slung jeans for flying as there's lots of bending down to be done in pre-flight checks and the sight of someone's 'butt crack' (my son's term) on the apron is not nice for anyone, let alone some poor student pilot.

And's Bath's Party in the City and our choir (The Bath Chorus) is singing in the Abbey.  Lots of fun to be had afterwards, with bands and choirs and groups performing here, there and everywhere.  I can already feel my hangover coming on...

Happy Friday everyone!


Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Domestic Stuff

I've been painting today.  Not landscapes - I'm as artistic as a lump of rock - but skirtings, door frames, doors...  Part of me thinks it's tedious beyond belief.  But another part of me quite likes it.  It gives me thinking time which I think we probably get little of these days (listen to me, I sound like my Granny), what with email, Facebook, TV and radio insidiously whispering "come dibble with me", and also the Flight Simulator saying "you need practice, lady" (although I grant that that might just be me).

So I sort of enjoyed it.  But I am not enjoying the thought of my dear husband's face as he comes through the door tonight and studies every drip that I've failed to clear up.  48 hours of sweaty effort will be ruined with his small tut and a shake of his head.

Flying tomorrow! It's been windy this week so I had to cancel my lesson on Monday.  And look what I bought!

S'marvellous.  I do like a nice hat.  Wishing you a windless, ash cloud-less few days....

Captain Becky x

Saturday, 21 May 2011


Hooray!  (I hear you shout) - a flying-free post!    Yes...and no.  Someone wise (I know they were wise becaue they were on Radio 4) said recently that cycling is the closest a human being can get to the sensation of being able to fly.  If you don't cycle, I can hear you scoffing already.  Scoff scoffity scoff. Scoff.  How ridiculous.

And yet....have you ever cycled up a long traffic free hill in the springtime, put so much effort in that you were panting like a good 'un, your heart pounding and the sweat running down your back?  You're almost ready to get off, but the brow of the hill comes into view like water in the desert, Friday payday, termtime after the very long school holidays.  At the top there is a moment of relief where your muscles slacken and your heart rate starts to return to normal.  And then the smile comes....  Feet off the pedals, hands lightly touching the brakes...wind in your hair (helmet), time to admire the flowers, insects in your mouth and sunshine on your back.  And the impulse to shout "YEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSS!" at the top of your voice.  See?  You're flying!!!

There's a book written by Cadel Evans, a great Australian cyclist, called Close to Flying (  I've never read it.  But I like it already.

Happy (and safe) cycling.


Thursday, 19 May 2011


I was flying again today.  It was quite an anxious sortie because the air was pretty 'thermic' (bouncy) and I found it hard to control the plane.  And when, after an hour, I eventually landed, I was ravenous.  Is there a connection between stress/worry and your metabolism?  Here's what Mr Google reports...

In terms of the metabolism, adrenaline makes the fat cells more efficient at turning fat into energy. Adrenaline also increases the metabolism. Cortisol has the effect of increasing the amount of glucose in the blood and creating more energy.
How cool is that?  Flying makes you lose weight!  And possibly parachuting, gliding, riding rollercoasters, chasing criminals, and all sorts of other scary things too!

And guess what?  I used the radio!  "Golf Charlie Echo Hotel Lima requesting somethingorother...." Ha ha ha!  This must mean that I'm a proper pilot.  Although it was a bit like learning a foreign language - you can learn a phrase to say but haven't got a clue what they mean when they start spouting back at you.  Perhaps it will come...

And finally, saw this article in the mail.  It's a bit like I feel, so I wanted to share....

Enjoy the thermic weather! xxx

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Monster Munch

I have a penchant for beef flavour Monster Munch.  I am a crisp person; offer me crisps or chocolate, and I would go for crisps every time.  The trouble with this is that they are pretty much worthless in terms of 'good stuff' (scientific term), and incredibly high in fat - almost 10% of my yummy MM bag is gloopy sloopy oil. 

When I was under the Watchful Eye of WeightWatchers, I didn't eat any crisps.  It was sad.  I mourned them.  Oat biscuits just didn't have the same pzazz.  But now that I exercise more and probably am fitter than I have ever been (I even saw a bit of muscle recently in my a certain light), I figure I'm allowed the odd bag or two.

Did you see this lady on the telly recently?  I worry for her.  But scarily, I totally understand her obsession.

The moral of this story?  A little bit of what you fancy is good for you.  But a lot of what you fancy makes your hair fall out and your gums bleed.  Euw.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Swinging in the air

I don't really want this to become a 'learning to fly' blog but it's such an important part of my life at the moment that I'm afraid I'll have to share bits and pieces with you.  Today, lesson 2; it felt less scary even though it was a bumpety bumpy day, my taxying was more in-line with the runway AND (fanfare please) I took off AND (more trumpets) I landed - even though the plane was swinging sideways like a hammock on the approach.  No time to be petrified though - knobs to push and sticks to wobble, instructor shouting merrily - some of what he says sinks in and the rest floats towards the top of the cockpit, ready for another day.

The scariest bit of the flight was when Phil stalled the plane (on purpose).  He slowed it right down to about 35kts, with the nose up.  The poor old plane gave a little shudder and then gave out.  This is not a great feeling when you're 2,000 feet in the air.  But nose down a bit, speed picks up, and the engine comes to life.

And talking of the engine...Instructor Phil popped the rivets so I could have a look.  Bear in mind please that I have no idea what I'm looking at - don't know the difference between a carburetor and an exhaust thingy - but I did spot a couple of bungy ropes towards the back.  'What do they do?' I ask.  'They hold the engine in.'  Oh. 'So, basically, the engine is held up with rubber bands?'  'Yep'.

Lesson 3 on Thursday....

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Weston Super Mare

Hmmmm.  I will share something with you and perhaps you can decide if the balance in my life needs some fine tuning.  Today, there is a flight simulation conference in Weston Super Mare.  I am tempted to go.

That is all.


Friday, 13 May 2011


I'm learning to fly.  There it is.  Black and white.  I can hardly believe it myself.  And whilst this doesn't, on the surface, seem to have anything to do with losing weight - you can bet your bottom dollar that I wouldn't be learning to fly if I was heavier.

Why?  Because losing weight gave me more confidence.  So much so, that just over a year ago I told myself that I would say yes to everything - within reason.   And this positive attitude has led to a more adventurous spirit, and desire for challenge...where before I would have been happy (very happy, in fact) to sit on the sofa watching daytime TV and eating crap.

So, I've had two lessons now.  The first one was for just half an hour, which was mostly spent squeaking in fear  and saying "No!  I can't do that!"  The second, yesterday, was for an hour and the fear had subsided slightly, but I still made meep noises followed by 'sorry!' everytime the plane dipped around in the thermals.  And every time I meep, I jump a bit and hit my head on the roof of the cockpit.  God knows what my instructor thinks...although I like to think - hope - he's seen worse.

The most difficult thing so far is taxi-ing down the runway.  The steering is controlled with the feet and I can't seem to make them work properly, so I veer from left to right like a loony.  "Keep in the middle!" shouts the instructor.  "I'm TRYING!" say I, feet frantically working at all angles.  I foresee tempers fraying in the future.  But for now....I'm absolutely loving it!