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Obama Drama

In the past few minutes the President of the United States has just flown over the Gillybirds on his first visit to our little city. Which as usual is cloaked in low grey clouds and rain. But never mind, Barak, Michelle and their daughters have been given a very warm and enthusiastic welcome by the teenagers of our land.
And a few clucks and tuts from the Gillybirds as once more their tranquil paradise is disturbed by a convoy of helicopters.

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Ground Control to Colonel Chris

For as long as it has been in the sky, if it is a clear night, if the International Space Station is flying over our small damp corner of the world, we will get a phone call or text from my father, alerting us to the time, position in the sky and duration of its sighting. I love to watch it pass over head like a speeding bright pinprick of light and send good wishes to those living and working on it. The thought of being way up there so far from home, so isolated and confined in the vast silent darkness of space makes me shudder.
The ISS is the biggest object ever flown in space. It travels around the Earth at an average speed of 27,700 km/h, completing 16 orbits per day, 370 km above our heads.
Today it is in the news as the first Canadian to command it, Colonel Chris Hadfield from Ontario, will be returning to earth. He has been up there watching over us since 21st December 2012. Col. Chris has become a twitter sensation tweeting his photos of our blue planet, and we have been very excited that he has picked out our own wee city both by day and night.


How pretty it all looks from way up there! We live in such a small part of the world it is very special to see it from a new perspective. And amazing that there is so little cloud around!
Col. Chris on his time off has been making and recording music, and as he leaves he has recorded his own version of the David Bowie classic “A Space Oddity”. I would encourage you to watch it if you haven’t already. It is the first music ever recorded in space. Hadfield is aware he has many blind people “following” him and made an effort not just to record music but also other sounds on the ISS so they could share in his experience.

Commander Chris Sings
Col. Chris Hadfield sings
A man to look up to.


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An Unusual Visitor


Last week a very exotic visitor flew into our little damp dark city and caused quite a stir. A black swan, a native bird of Australia, ended up mingling with the local water birds and becoming a bit of a media celebrity.
BBC report on Black Swan
Belfast Telegraph report on Black Swan
mystery solved
Turns out he was an escapee who had been MIA since May. All’s well that ends well.
Of course the Gillybirds would love to have shown hospitality to such an illustrious visitor.

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