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Champagne in the mountains

Cambo golf ball
The Cambo/Observatory eclipse.

Champagne is what you drink when you want to celebrate something. In the early days of flight when any trip in a rudimentary aircraft would likely be your last, it was drunk by hearty aeronauts just to celebrate being alive. Balloon pilots have clung onto this tradition, not because hanging around under a big bag of hot air is particularly dangerous, but because it’s classier than knocking back VB at eight in the morning. Last week however, we had real cause to celebrate, and had the empty bottles of bubbly to prove it. Continue reading “Champagne in the mountains”

Take the bull by the horns

Apache Warrior
Things went south from here.

I love animals, but I don’t trust them. I believe they should be observed from a safe distance which, in my experience, means about six inches between me and my dinner plate. If David Attenborough has taught me anything it’s this: you’re either reading the menu, or you’re on it. Cows mightn’t be man eaters but that doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous, especially when armed. Continue reading “Take the bull by the horns”

The one ton post.

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Further investigation was required.

What on earth, I wondered, was a one ton peg? How big was the washing line if the peg weighed a thousand kilos? Seriously, that was my first thought when farmer Joe said to me over the phone ‘Go down the Collarenebri Road and turn right at the sign for the one tone peg, I’m in that paddock.’ Continue reading “The one ton post.”

Need directions?

Moree Map
27 years out of date. Still use it.

Finding the way around a new area can be a little daunting at times. There’s a whole raft of suburbs, streets and points of interest to learn, each with their own short cuts and back alleys that only a local knows about. Ever since Moses took a wrong turn getting out of Egypt cartographers have done their best to ease the plight of travelers with maps, globes, charts and the Navman. These technological advances work wonders in cities, large towns and places with phone reception. But as I have discovered, once you arrive in the outback, you enter a world where the norms of modern road navigation cease to exist. Continue reading “Need directions?”

Macadamia Madness

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Look harmless enough don’t they.

Contrary to popular belief, macadamia nuts are dangerous. At least they are if you farm them on the side of a hill. Each kernel is safely contained in a perfectly spherical nut with a steel like constitution.  Scatter these naturally occurring ball bearings around the base of trees planted on a steep slope and you have an accident waiting to happen.  Continue reading “Macadamia Madness”

It’s showtime.

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You’re never too old to swing an axe.

We were warned: don’t expect much from the Moree show. True, it’s no Sydney Royal Easter Show, but it wasn’t packed with thousands of people either. Food prices weren’t inflated and the entry fee was only $5 while parking was free and close to the main gate. Unlike Sydney, the scene wasn’t staged. Here the flies were real. The dust, cattle dogs and smell of horse poo was normal. The stock pens weren’t phony rustic, they truly are neglected and falling down. Continue reading “It’s showtime.”

3rd time is a charm.

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Gretta with Belinda. Always take a local first time.

It took a hangover and three attempts but we finally got to fly in Moree. Spurred on by our weekend in the Hunter Valley and the barrage of social media posts from everyone flying in Canowindra for the last week, we were determined to start flying in our new home. Continue reading “3rd time is a charm.”

What the fog?

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Weather hold is aviator speak for waiting.

The marginal weather days are the worst. The mornings when it’s obvious that flying is on or, when it’s blowing a gale or belting rain, definitely off, are easy. The problem is when you know you will have to get up and troop out to the launch site only to cancel and come home, that are a pain. This morning was just such a day. Continue reading “What the fog?”

A little bit of country.

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Cathy & Chris with Tamworth’s big golden guitar.

I have it on good authority that Tamworth is nothing like Nashville Tennessee. I’m told that in Nashville there is a country and western singer on every street corner and in every bar. The place is just littered with country music hopefuls playing their hearts out, yearning to be discovered. While Tamworth is far removed from Nashville, it does promote itself as the capital of country music in Australia. So, I was hopeful that a weekend catch up with our American friends Cathy and Chris –who are big music fans—might provide an opportunity to broaden my horizons. Continue reading “A little bit of country.”

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