6 JULY 1995
The sun officially came back on the 3rd of July! The days are getting longer with big twilights. Margie is very excited about it and feels a lot better now that the darkness is diminishing.

We now have an imitation gum tree inside "Gadget Hut." We brought it with us from Australia to break open after mid- winter. It's a synthetic branch with green leaves and twigs on it. It reminds us of home and the little bit of green give us a hint each day that spring is on the way.

On Saturday night Margie and I discussed our twelfth wedding anniversary. We decided that on 2 July 1996 we will have a big celebration but this year we'd let the date pass without any sort of super celebration.Well, did we get a surprise that evening! We noticed a funny type of interference on the radio and then noticed the green glow coming through the window. We went outside and discovered we were having an amazing auroral storm. It was raging directly above us. The whole sky was covered with the aurora. We couldn't see any stars at all. Strong and spectacular explosions lit the sky. We felt so close to them that it seemed as if we could reach up and touch them.The aurora was very intense and it lasted for two hours and then just disappeared.

On night this week the radio did stop working. We couldn't listen to music and new. It really worried us so we checked absolutely everything. It appeared to be an aerial problem so I checked all the connections. I went over everything with a fine toothed comb and just as we were about to give up, I realised that sometime in the previous week I had knocked a small knob on the front of the radio. It's called a 'squelch control' knob which is used during radio transmission and reception of messages. This was the cause of our radio problem. I simply turned the knob and the radio crackled back to life. Margie and I laughed for about an hour at how silly we had been. The radio is now working.

We had a little bit of sun one day and our Solarex solar panels were putting half an amp into our batteries which is the first time in months. Hopefully in about eight weeks, we will not need the generator any more. It's been to windy for the wind generators so se keep them as our emergency back up system for power generation.We feel quite up lifted by the pleasant behaviour of the generator this week. It started the first time we pulled the cord! We think we may be understanding the idiosyncrasies of generator's behaviour in the cold. It is usually quite a struggle but this time after pouring hot oil into the head and warming the sump with the blow torch, it started. Our Dryfit batteries are still coping very well.

We spoke with Scotty at New Zealand's Scott Base again this week. Some New Zealand personnel are flying out in mid- August. Margie would like to walk to Scott Base which is almost 1000 kilometres away to catch the plane out. Scotty said he would wait! (Don't worry, neither Margie nor Scotty are serious.)Scotty told us that all the personnel at Scott Base went for a Mid-Winter swim. The water temperature was minus 2 degrees Celsius and the air temperature was minus 30 degrees!Not wanting to be outdone by a Kiwi, I am trying to work out how to get into and out of the water safely. As soon as the wind stops, I'll try a quick swim. Margie is going to wait until summer.

We had a small incident this week when Margie was making roast pork. The oven was on and Margie decided to make rice pudding. We have to prime the burner of our pressure kerosene stove so the burner is hot enough to vaporise the kerosene when we attempt to light the burner. We do this by putting methylated spirits on the burner and lighting it. Since the oven was already quite hot when Margie put the metho on the burner it flashed into flames about one metre high. Margie's eyelashes and eyebrows were singed by the flash flame. Luckily it didn't burn her face.

The biggest problem this week: I couldn't have my bath. We're trapped inside with not enough water for two people to bathe. Margie took the water and she smells really sweet.Getting water is tough. The winds keep getting stronger and stronger. Right now it is blowing from 70 to 100 knots. It has been blowing that hard continuously for the past five days. I had to go out yesterday in 80 knots of wind to get snow for water. We were completely out of water. It was very difficult and the wind knocked me about quite a bit. It was very exhausting.

The wind instruments finally gave up this week. After a period of wind averaging 90 knots for over four hours and then going well over 100 knots the instruments just stopped working. We are now guessing the wind speed until we get a chance to repair the instruments.

The total sunshine we had during the month of June was 10 hours and 35 minutes. The temperatures this week have been between minus 21 and minus 10 degrees.

The moon is once again on its way to being full. We enjoy the light of the moon on the snow. Enjoy the full moon.
Keep warm,
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