Stuck in Orewa, North Island, New Zealand.

Well, I am still here, but this week end I believe I can see light at the end of the tunnel!

The 10 gallon scuttle tank has now been duly etch primed and painted a shiny black, despite my protestations about this unnecessary weight. The old one only took half an hour to get out, but I cussed and swore (quietly) for 2 hours to get the new one in, all in aluminium, by the way and a fraction of the weight of the iron one being replaced.

I sadly put the discarded tank under the work bench whilst outside, AOPA NZ and the teaming rain did battle with each other during a Precision Landing Competition.

As the engines roared over head and the rain battered the tin roof of the hangar, I thought back 25 years. I dreamed of my many flights through France, that do not appear in my log book, my frantically trying to eyeball the bouncing wire float out through the top of the filler cap, in the dark, as the cork bobbed up and down in the remaining 2 inches of go juice. On one occasion, I remembered, while I was assessing rate of cork oscillation to usable fuel remaining, if it was not for the moonlight on the canal, near Auxerre, we may not have found the little grass strip of St Florentin and had the splendid supper that followed.

This old tank and I had had a lot of fun together, over the years and had carried a variation of fuels from two stroke (see antique shot gun /missing Chief Superintendent’s Note Book story), various mogas types and even avgas when I had cleared from a Customs Airport, to go foreign.

She had helped me carry some weird and wonderful passengers as well, but I digress.

Radios, transponder and GPS (if I chicken out on my proposed sextant navigation) are now all in place and working, quite unlike at the start of the London Sydney Air race!

Now, today, I contact Customs and Immigration for details and to try and persuade them to let me leave for Norfolk Island from a duster’s strip up at North Cape instead of the Customs Airport of Kaitaia, an hour’s flying, South, in the wrong direction. Will they let me take off from 90 mile Beach?

What a great lady..Thankyou for the phone call to Auckland TV and thankyou for the several hedge shrinkers of NZ Whiskey!!!