Bob and I both hope you had a most enjoyable Christmas and New Year period. Our thoughts also go out to all those Australians who are currently experiencing the terrifying fires throughout our land.

Bob and I travelled through the mountainous New England region early last November and have never seen the like. Where two years prior, relatively lush greens lay (for a summer period in which drought resided, that was), it was no more: in fact, the countryside was unrecognisable. Undergrowth of cool climate ferns had browned and died, whilst the leaves upon the Eucalypts had shrivelled and lay slowly rotting upon the earth, leaving the ghostly shadows from the trunks of the ancient forests gums standing sentinel over this thirst quenched land. Good rains had not been seen here in excess of three years and water restrictions were close to their max.

Throughout our travels during these windy hot days, fires were constantly erupting. The oil from our eucalypts is most flammable and it only takes a spark – or in some cases self – combustion – to set a fire in motion. From Walcha, we watched with a mix of awe and fear as fire raced along a deep valley ravine some 30km away to the east. Although flames were not visible, the billowing grey smoke plume that reached to the firmaments told its story as the flames greedily devoured on all in its path, belching out puffs of ebony black in its wake. Returning to Adelaide, the radio remained on and we constantly checked for fire updates in order to evade this terror of the Australia.

This morning, as we in Adelaide and fire ravished Kangaroo Island awake to the pitter patter of a steady rain upon our rooves, Dorothea McKellar’s Poem, ‘My Country’ ( comes to mind. Droughts, flooding rains, fires, we have it all and 2019 was one of those years. Hopefully, these rains in Adelaide will continue eastward and provide the salvation thousands have been wishing for since last November.

We hope this is the wake up call for the world’s leaders and that they unite in a global response to halt and reverse global warming.

Updating the blog has proven slow this past few months. Travels unexpected, Christmas, and for me creating my own wardrobe in preference to purchasing clothes that I’m not happy with. In addition, I have been working on some of our data so as Tom Summers who operates the site can make use of it. The end is in sight, and it shouldn’t be long until the last of our 2019 travels will be up for you to peruse.

In the meantime, the images below give you a glimpse into the Roubaix l’Espierres Spiere Kanal that adjoins France and Belgium.