Rainbow and Observatory, Parkes, NSW, 2009.
Reindert and I bonded on this road trip. I look at these photos and they bring back memories and reminders of just how wonderful a friendship it helped to forge.
Reindert and I had flown up to Newcastle to retrieve a landcruiser and bring it back to Melbourne after our colleague had been in a dreadful accident. Our colleague, Wubbe, another crazy Dutchman, was going back to the Netherlands to recouperate and something had to be done with the van because it couldn't sit in a hospital car park for the year or so it would take him to come good.
For those not in Australia, Newcastle is 1100 kilometres (700 miles) north of Melbourne.
So Reindert and I went up on a wet winter Friday, spent and evening with Wubbe, who was finally released from hospital and able to fly back to Holland. The next morning we started the long drive home, taking the long way through Parkes - because Reindert wanted to see the big dish. It was only 500 kilometres out of the way. It was nothing to travel in a weekend.
Reindert and I have the same disregard for distance.
Now, there were some issues with the trip. First up, somebody had been tinkering with Wubbe's van - and the radio wasn't working. A road trip without a radio! Never fear, Reindert is and electrical engineer by training. He had jerried the radio by the time we got to Dunedoo. We stopped for lunch at Dubbo. And finally, mid-afternon, we got to the Dish.
For those who haven't seen the movie, which is a bit of an iconic Australian flick, we are introduced to the radio telescope as "this big dish in the middle of a sheep paddock'. Which is pretty much what it is. Stuck in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of a paddock, is this stonking great radio telescope which sticks out like a pimple on a pumpkin.
We were there a week before the fortieth anniversary of the first lunar landing and preparations were being made for the anniversary. We had a good look around the Dish's Museum and the site. You can only get up into the dish on a couple of day's a year, so my dream of playing cricket on the dish was not going to materialise. See the movie, The Dish - it's wonderful.
After an hour or so, we left to start the rest of the drive home. Driving away, it started to rain. And this is what we saw as we looked back. We sat and watched the rainbow for twenty minutes or so, never expecting to see such sight.
It proved to be a good omen for a great road trip and a wonderful friendship - if you disregard the speeding ticket Reindert copped coming out of Rutherglen the following day.
You have to love nature.
And this is the Dish. It was a good day for photos.