Day 7: Friday July 26th 2019

Day 7: Friday July 26th 2019

As we will be putting our watches forward 8 hours, today will be our shortest day and will only last for 16 hours.

In Premium Economy I’ve had a very restless night. Despite the extra space it’s still difficult to sleep-nowhere nearly as good value as Business Class even though it’s half the price.
I hope the rest of our group have had more success at getting some rest in ‘cattle class’ as it was described to me by the Tasmanian who sat next to me on the flight.

Unlike the BA flight from Heathrow the Qantas staff are aware of my needs for a gluten free diet. It’s fish for dinner and plain omelette and tomato for breakfast-not quite the quality of the meals we’d had in the hotels-but certainly needed.

The pilot informs us that we have made up for our late take off and should land on time in Sydney at just before 3pm.

As the purser walks through checking that we are set for landing he stops to tell me, “Your students have been fantastic.” It’s great to hear. He then says that “One of them has been walking around and organising them all night. That’s even better news, I’ll have to find out who it is, but there’s no need for me to do so-two minutes later the purser returns and informs me who it is-Very well done Miss Morgans, I’m proud of you.

We disembark and collect our luggage. During baggage collection Eve Andrews leaves her passport behind-luckily for her Mr Cullen is ‘sweeping up’ and brings it back for her.
The last leg of our journey is a Virgin Australia flight to Brisbane that leaves at 7pm. We have had to fly with three different airlines to avoid the party being split but the downside is that we have to collect and re-check in our luggage for each flight.

For the final flight to Brisbane, we check in and then a shuttle bus takes us on a 20 minute journey to the departure gate. When we get off the bus we go straight through security. Mr Thomas comes through last with the holder of the ‘Donkey of the Day’ award Alex Hughes. As Alex repacks his bag he realises he hasn’t got his passport. He’s in a panic. Mr Thomas and I go through his hand luggage pocket by pocket-still no sign. “When did you have it last Alex?” “When we getting on to the shuttle bus.” We prepare to retrace his steps but before we do Mr Thomas rings Mr Meredith to check if he’d seen it on the bus.

“I’ve got Alex’s passport-he gave it to me when we got on the bus.”
Alex smacks his forehead with the palm of his hand. “I remember now.” said Alex. There’s 20 minutes of our lives Mr Thomas and I won’t get back.

We move to departure gate 40 where our flight is due to depart and Mr Thomas organises the Donkey of the day vote.
As usual there were plenty of worthy contenders:

Chloe Collins was nominated for not realising that it gets lighter after dawn.

On the flight from Johannesburg, Leon Bevan had almost caused an international incident when he put his knees on the back of the seat in front. The lady in front was not amused and gave Leon a dressing down. Leon wasn’t backing down and was at his argumentative best-a far cry from the ‘true gentleman’ he had been described as, by his billet in South Africa-Mrs Slater.

Prior to landing, the stewards brought around immigration cards for entry into Australia. Under the emergency contact to be contacted if an accident happened to you, Henry Aiono had written his own name.

It took Liam Butler three attempts before he got it right. On the first one he put ‘butcher’ as his occupation. On the second one he filled in the section for Australian residents answering the question; Country that you have spent most time in as; Greece.

Will Griffiths had left an apple in his coat pocket since we left home, as we went through customs the ‘contraband’ was discovered by the officers-they were about to ‘clap him in irons’ and send him to Botany Bay when they realised they needed to retrieve the evidence. None of them was prepared to put their hand in Will’s pocket, “You never know what you might find in there.” One was heard to say and they let young Will off with a warning.

Eve Andrews and Alex Hughes may their way onto the day’s ‘honours board’ for their calamities with their passports.

At the vote, the fact that passports are a regular occurrence meant Alex and Eve failed to receive a vote. As the rest of the party are never up early enough to see dawn break they didn’t realise what was wrong with what Chloe said so she was similarly scoreless. Eve Andrews voted for herself, but that was the only vote she received. Leon Bevan received 4 votes-2 of those came in by proxy from Mr and Mrs Slater in Cape Town. Liam Butler received 9 sympathy votes for the fact that he had a daily commute of nearly 3,000 miles from his home in Greece to school. Henry Aiono looked odds on a winner with 27 votes before Will Griffiths’ smuggling exploits saw him sneak in front with 31 votes. “Oh well,” he said, “Wearing the shirt is much less of a price to pay than spending 6 months in an Aussie jail.”

After the vote a gentleman in the airport enquires about Jack Thomas’ new pink baseball cap “Did you borrow that from your sister?” he asks, Jack replied saying he’d purchased it himself in South Africa, the gentleman then asked Kian Webb “Do you think they sold men’s hats in the same shop?”

We were due to board our flight at 6.30pm for a 7pm flight but it was delayed by an hour, eventually taking off at 8pm. We land in Brisbane at 9.30pm, collect our luggage again and meet Warwick Melrose, the ground agent who will co-ordinate our stay in Queensland. We transfer to the buses that drive us to our hotel for the next three days the Novotel Twin Waters Resort. We arrive at 11.15pm, collect our keys and go straight to bed.

We have been travelling for 28 hours-it’s been a really challenging journey but all in the party have taken it in their stride with barely a complaint. Now we’ve arrived we can look forward to the different experiences that Australia will bring.

Tomorrow we start by getting some retail therapy in Brisbane city centre before transferring to the Suncorps stadium for the Australia v Argentina international.

Comments ( 2 )
  1. Mr Jones

    I’m glad you’ve all arrived safe and sound. So proud of you all. Enjoy the next stage of the tour. Best wishes. Mr J

  2. Lynne Guy

    Oh Bless you all ! Remember the hard experiences and the best ones !
    I always wanted to be Donkey of the day on tour !
    My classic was when we were in New Zealand and passed a cemetery and a member of staff informed me it was the dead centre of the city ! Sorry Christchurch ! I believed him ! Enjoy

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