McNaught Comet  
Saturday, January 27, 2007, 02:14 PM
Last year Australian Robert H McNaught an astronomer with the Australian National University discovered this Comet from the Siding Springs Observatory in the Warrumbungle Ranges of Coonabarabran central New South Wales.

C/2006 P1 Great Comet of 2007 photographed over Wagga Wagga 25/01/07

From that time in Aug it was tracked through Space to determine its orbit & was lost for the month of December 06 because of the Suns brightness. Appearing again earlier this month this comet was visible for a short time in the Northern Hemisphere. Said to be the brightest Comet for the last 40 yrs it has of late been at its best in skies of the Southern Hemisphere shortly after sundown. Being away earlier in the week I have missed the best showing of McNaughts Comet but am pleased to have caught its passing.

Farewel to the Great Comet of 07 as seen here streaking to the dawm of 29/01/07 at 5.05am

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Opera in the Alps  
Sunday, January 21, 2007, 09:51 PM
The town of Beechworth Victoria once again this year played Host to the Opera in the Alps set in the gardens of the La Trobe University Campus overlooking this historic & much visited town. Opera in the Alps was born at Mnt Buffalo for an audience of 150 back in 1995, today up to 4,500 people can attend this open air venue for the continuing passion of music & the great outdoors of Aus.
We left home in the stifling afternoon heat & hot wind raising up clouds of dust from the surrounding countryside bound for Albury on the Victorian border where we would book into our Motel & make ready for the final 40k leg of this journey to this open air Opera.

We note with some comment the outside temp is recorded at 41c as our Adventure begins

It takes 1.5 hrs to make Albury on the Murray River the border to Victoria & the heat does not let up. We arrive, hoping there will be some relief by the time this Opera commences at 8pm. We are aware some rain with storms is forecast & hope this will not spoil our outing, but the relief of such an event would on one hand be most welcome.

Such were the people arriving in cars at this hilltop venue we were glad to be early. It seems many wished to take advantage of lawn areas outside the Opera Grounds to party for a free Show while others wanted to partake of dinner before the baton was raised.

On the way to our seats the Women were flocking to sign something so not being one to be shy with a camera I went to see what this fuss was all about. It proved to be that during the evening a lucky ticket would be drawn giving the winner a "Full Facial!"

Yes someone has a sense of humour about this

Now that we know who is who Finding Wally will be a snack as Welcomes begin !

Hands go up for Wagga Wagga Oh My !
Hands go up for the U.S. & brings a gasp of appreciation from the Audience

A cooling breeze arrives as Conductor Benjamin Northey takes command of the 50 strong members of the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Victorian College of the Arts, Australian Academy of Music and the Australian Youth Orchestra.
Up & young coming Star Catriona Bell thrilled the audience with her singing of Love Live Forever from Paganini. Then as the Choir & Orchestra treated us to Finlandia the only thing that was missing was the lightning because the thunder most certainly wasn't ! Anxious looks skyward about this time almost took precedent to the on stage events

Everyone just loved Marina Prior & Victoria Jones as some light rain happened along to bring the night to a close, although it was only short lived & all was well that ended well.

Light relief was taken on the way home with a visit to the other "End" of Australian culture at Tabletop north of Albury

Rain lovely rain all the way home & just 16c to delight our senses to the extreme of the day before ending our Adventure with this Opera in the Alps.

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Wild Beast Appears at Waterhole  
Monday, January 15, 2007, 10:45 PM
The Summer Heat of this Drought year is oppresive with the monotony of each passing day baking the land & withering away lifes essential water supply to both farm livestock & Wildlife alike. The Kangaroos on my land come closer & closer even venturing onto our lawn around the house at night for something to eat.
There is but one waterhole left for them to drink & the fear of being so close to man at our home is put aside to take this water...For Kangaroos it takes time to drink as they lap with their tongue like a cat. At times I have been so close in my hide of camouflage that I can hear this lapping & they can hear the whirring of my camera but know not where this sound is despite smelling the danger of my presence... I see the muscles in their legs coiled like Springs to take flight at any second for they know a danger is near.

Danger aside though it is Oh so nice to put your feet in the water !

Others soon take comfort in this presence of safety.
Then suddenly as one All take Flight that is so quick it is hard to capture.

From the corner of my eye I caught the movement of something low & brown streaking in quickly to the waters edge but I have the big Male Eastern Grey in the Viewfinder so follow him to safety

Oh My God It's the savage salivating fanged wild beast of Meribah that has appeared to terrorize the Kangaroos

For a moment I caught the gaze of those burning eyes of this Wild Beast with the face that smiles ....Just smiles all the time !
I don't know that I can take any more. I thank God my battery went flat

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News from Ethiopia  
Friday, December 29, 2006, 03:10 PM
Just a little post to say the boys have arrived safely at Makki with the plane touching down on Boxing Day. The repaired landing strip worked just fine & it was reported to have been used unexpectedly the following day when a flight diverted to Makki when their destination became clouded in.
The Lukins were expected to fly in yesterday the 28th
Tim David Rohan & Tristan now working on Road repairs with the tractor....Please see Ethiopia website link in Christmas Entry below for futher updates as & when they come to hand.

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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 
Tuesday, December 26, 2006, 10:22 AM
I hope one & all had a very happy & safe Christmas Day & as I can no longer send wishes for yesterday I will say Happy New Year & Wish everyone all the best for 2007.

We shared our Christmas Day with Jen the wren's sister Pamela & husband Gene who are here from Alaska. Jenny's Mum Julie who is from Canberra was with us so it was only a small gathering. I suppose if anything we were rather quiet as each have children in many far flung places of the world to whom our thoughts turn. I know we were most anxious to hear some word from our two Sons who were arriving in Addis Ababa Ethiopia on a journey that is to take them to join Julie's son, Jonathan & family at a remote outpost in the Omo Rift Valley. I must say it was with some alarm we heard that a war has erupted with Somalia but are thankful this is over on the Eastern border which is the opposite side of the country to Makki in the South West where they are located. Jonathan had spent 13 yrs earlier at this Outpost amid the Mursi People with his family when serving as a Missionary & Vet for the Sudan International Mission. They have returned in recent weeks with a group from the Brindabella Baptist Church to man the Station while existing staff are away over Christmas New Year. One task at hand for them was to repair a tractor in two halves to make repairs to a grass landing strip for the light plane carrying the Good boys to land. We were pleased to learn that Steven from Brindabella the principal Mechanic had repaired this tractor & work was underway on the air-strip....The only concern now is rain as there has been a lot of it & some water was running over this grass air field in the bush.

Pam & Gene have two daughters Sally in Anchorage & Niki in San Francisco who spend their own Christmas with thoughts turned in the direction of Down Under.
We were just about to sit down to our Chrissy lunch when a telephone call was recieved saying smoke from a bushfire had been seen in our area. Fortunately though this was a false alarm caused by a large cloud of raised dust which looked like smoke.
So it was our Christmas day with the fellowship of family, wind blowing a gale & low temperatures for this time of year heralding some snow falling on the high Alps, an unusual event for Xmas in Aus.

Our Christmas Eve as when shepherds watched over the flocks by night

Behold through out the heavens there shone a holy light

Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills & everywhere that Jesus Christ is born.

To Learn more of why our Australians are in the Omo Rift Valley of Ethiopia please see :

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