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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!

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We are now officially into the beginning of Autumn-hard to believe! It’s still reasonably warm but not to the levels we experienced a few weeks ago. Although it’s a bit cooler, we are still in predominantly dry conditions and the farmers desperately need good soaking rain. It’s frustrating because they’ve been having a very good “wet” up north and they’ve been getting good rain down south, but we’ve been missing out. Anyway, our turn will come.

Still no news on the Nimbus! It’s been incredibly frustrating and it’s looking as if it may well be the internal engine seal that has failed, which would not be great given that the engine has done less than 75 hours. When this is all finished, the engine wiring plus plugs and components will be better than when the glider was new.

Maren is continuing to make slow progress. We had planned to take a short break next week to the coast, but with Maren’s unpredictable mobility we decided to cancel and focus on getting her right in time for our departure for Europe to see our son and his family in Germany. We didn’t go last year because of a Pastoral Care training course that I was doing, so we are really looking forward to seeing everybody this time. Two years makes a lot of difference with children when they are in the 8 to 10 years old bracket.

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We are now past the mid-point of our summer and we are already noticing that the sun is rising that little bit later. At present we are going through a long, dry period, with daily maximum temperatures in the late thirties. Such prolonged hot and dry conditions are challenging for everybody and everything. It is particularly hard for those farmers who have summer crops in the ground and who rely on rainfall to carry the crops through. Domestically, we are fine as a couple of heavy showers a while ago filled our external water tanks.

The World Gliding Championships were recently held at Benalla in Victoria, having been held at the same location thirty years ago. Those championships were my last world championships. Initially I wasn’t going to go down to visit these championships but Maren felt that I should go, so I changed my mind and went. I was very glad that I did go as I got to catch up with so many people that I hadn’t seen for some time. It was also very interesting to see the three new gliders that were flying there. Overall, the weather conditions were not that great, with a lot of fairly weak blue conditions. The British Team did particularly well, gaining a first and third place in the Open Class, as well as the overall top team trophy.

Maren continues being challenged physically and progress is slow. We will be going to Brisbane next week to have a very short break and take in a musical!