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Now into August, the last month of our official winter season. It has been an extraordinarily mild winter with only a couple of light frosts so far. Not so unusually, it has also been very dry which has made it difficult for the dry land farmers (those without irrigation) to make the decision as to whether or not to plant a winter crop. The one thing nobody wants is a significant late frost as that can be extremely damaging.

Not a lot to report from Plain Soaring as I have just been plodding on doing routine tasks, but there is a definite feeling that Spring is just around the corner. No news about the crankshaft from my Nimbus engine being returned from the Solo factory as yet. Once it is returned and the glider is rigged and test flown, it will be at a significantly higher standard engine-wise than when it was new. It has much improved electrical plugs and a complete new wiring harness in the engine compartment, as well as the latest modified ignition boxes. It has been a long drawn out saga and I have really learned the meaning of the word patience!

One thing that is coming up in less than two months is a game fishing trip out of Townsville with my son in law. We are booked to spend three nights on board and to say that we are both looking forward to it would be a gross understatement!

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The start of another month and Maren and I have been back in Australia for  a couple of weeks. Our time in Europe was most enjoyable, with a great variety of locations and, inevitably, weather conditions! We started in the UK visiting my sister and her husband. We then visited our son and his family in Germany before moving on to Prague for a few days. Prague is a city that we have long wanted to visit and we were not disappointed! It is a very beautiful city and the weather was great for our visit, but we were most certainly not alone as Prague is considered to be a safe city. We then returned to Germany for a few days before travelling to the Isle of Wight for six days. It was our first time there and there is a lot to see, the main attraction being Osbourne House which was the summer residence of Queen Victoria. Although the conditions remained dry for our stay, the winds were at times unbelievably strong! After the Isle of Wight we travelled to London for a couple of nights. Apart from seeing some sights, we had long wanted to go to a West End show and we finally made it-seeing the excellent musical “An American in Paris”. Finally our time in Europe was over and we made the long journey back home, thankful that everything was intact at this end when we arrived. 

We are now in the second month of winter but the cold conditions have only just started as it had been very mild while we were away. It had also been extremely dry and many farmers have not planted winter crops.

It’s now a case of getting all the winter jobs done and enjoying the warmth from our log burner during the frosty evenings!

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Maren and I are in Europe as I type. We are nearing the end of what has been a great holiday. 

We started with time in the UK seeing my sister and family, as well as catching up with RAF and gliding friends. We then spent time with our son and his family in Germany before visiting Prague for a few days. We then returned to Germany for a short time before going to the Isle of Wight. We leave the IOW shortly and will spend a couple of nights in London to take in a show before flying back to Australia.

  • More next month!

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Into May already and just about in the middle of our Autumn. This is usually the nicest of our four seasons as Spring tends to be a bit hit or miss in that some years we seem to go straight from Winter to Summer, whereas Autumn tends to be more consistent with light winds and maximum temperatures around the mid-twenties. Earlier in the year we benefited from catching the edge of the rain band associated with Cyclone Debbie and picked up a much needed four inches of rain. Amazingly that rain took the dam from empty of three quarters full. Some follow up rain would be most welcome now but the farmers are going ahead with the planting of winter crops, typically barley and sorghum in this area.

No great news re the Nimbus! The engine has been stripped down and the seal failure confirmed so now it’s a matter of determining if the crankshaft has to go to the factory or not to have the new seal fitted. Once that work has been done, it’s then a matter of putting the glider on the market. I have so many happy memories of flying the big glider but it’s time to move on.

Maren and I didn’t get to Europe last year because of the course that I was doing, but we are now less than a week away from going to the UK to see my sister and her family, as well as flying over to Germany to see our son and his family. Two years is a long time in the lives of growing children but we’re confident that they won’t have forgotten who we are! All we need now is favour in terms of getting on flights and good weather for our time in Europe!

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It’s hard to believe it’s already April but that’s how it is! Life at Plain Soaring continues to be pretty much on hold as Maren’s progress has been slower than expected/hoped for. Her body has got a lot of adapting to do and I guess anything physical is going to be more of a challenge in later years. My glider is still away and the problem is proving to be extremely challenging for the Australian Solo engine agent. I am confident that the issue will eventually be resolved but, as it happens, I couldn’t be flying at present anyway due to Maren’s condition.

This last week has been quite dramatic as a nasty cyclone came ashore in Northern Queensland and then proceeded to track South and on into New South Wales. There was a lot of damage to property and, so far, two lives lost. Some places got more than 500mm of rain in 24 hours! We were fortunate as we got the benefit of some nice rain (106 mm) but didn’t get any damage as the strong winds had abated inland. The timing of the rain is good in that it should give the local farmers confidence to plant their winter crops. As I type, the weather has really settled down and it is a beautiful Autumn day on the Darling Downs with max temperature around the mid to late 20s.

It is now just over five weeks until we set off for Europe and Maren and I are really looking forward to seeing family and some friends again. It will be two years since we saw our grandchildren last because of the Pastoral Care course that I did last year. We will continue to make the long journey over as long as we are physically able!