Face Time with Cathys Eels


Face Time with Cathy’s Eels

By Don Silcock

PNG_12_Feb_NI_D16_Land_110-1024x681Possibly not everybody’s idea of fun, but for me it was a most unusual and entertaining way to spend an afternoon – upfront and personal with a significant number of large and hungry fresh water eels.

“Cathy” is Cathy Hiob, a former Air Nuigini air hostess who has retired back to her village of Laraibina, some 90 km from Kavieng, down the east coast of New Ireland in Papua New Guinea.


22 years of flying with the national airline has provide Cathy with a seemingly endless string of one-liners, which she really seems to relish using with the many visitors who come to see her flock of fresh-water eels.

In fact, you get the distinct feeling that you are part of a very well-rehearsed routine, as you sit chatting with her in the shade of one of the many trees in the village. But, as amusing as the banter is with this feisty lady with the shock of white hair, the one-liners are just the warm-up act for the star attraction.

For in the village stream are some 10-12 large fresh-water eels and Cathy, together with her trusty assistant, has trained them on a diet of Besta tinned mackerel to appear on demand when they hear the feeding pot being rattled.



The training has worked extremely well – too well in fact, as I subsequently learned when the last tin of Besta had gone and the eels disappeared as quickly as they had appeared.

Unfortunately this occurred just as I was getting the hang of being surrounded by large slivering eels, each equipped with an impressive set of teeth.

The usual routine is to stand in the stream and let the eels swim around your feet as Cathy’s assistant doles out the Besta, but I really wanted to get a close-up underwater shot of the eels feeding, so total immersion therapy seemed to be the be the way to go.

I carefully positioned myself at the feet of Cathy’s assistant, shivering slightly in the cold fresh water and feeling strangely vulnerable…

The first tin of Besta was opened and the feeding pot suitably rattled and within seconds I was surrounded by what appeared to be a seething mass of eel flesh!




Clearly caught up in the overall excitement of the moment, Cathy’s assistant opened tin after tin in rapid succession, as the eels gorged on the mackerel. Then, just as I felt I was getting the hang of this veritable feeding frenzy the last tin was gone and the eels disappeared as quickly as they had appeared!

We tried all sorts to bring them back, even offering our lunch of fresh tuna to tempt them to the camera dome, but all to no avail as the Besta appears to be the only thing that will do it for them!

So… on my next trip to New Ireland and thanks to the usual superb support of Dietmar and Angie Amon of Lissenung Island Resort, we embarked from Kavieng with a case and a half of Besta’s very best – enough for at least two eel banquets!

Cathy was at the exuberant best when we arrived and we sat with her under the tree for the obligatory chat and one-liners – no repeats I noticed…

Then after detailed instructions regarding the timing and rate of dispersal of the Besta were carefully explained to Cathy’s assistant, I positioned myself amongst the eager eels and the feeding began.

The phrase “herding cats” came to mind as I tried very hard to get a good image as the eels slithered in and out of the viewfinder and lumps of mackerel were dispersed and consumed at an alarming rate!

All in all, quite an usual and very interesting way to spend the last day of your trip to Kavieng and let that nitrogen return to where it came from.



About Don

Don is a Bali based photojournalist and underwater photographer who travels extensively in South-East Asia and China.

You can read more about Papua New Guinea, and many other places, on his website http://www.indopacificimages.com


Seven Lessons Learned As A Female Traveler


Seven Lessons Learned as A Solo Female Traveler

By Leslie Patrick

Images by Steven Moore

2013-07-21 18.10.04

I love traveling, and I’m game for an adventure any time. Trouble is, most of my friends and family are holding down full-time jobs, stuck in that dismal two-weeks-of-holiday-per-year rut. So what’s a girl to do when the hankering to hit the road arises, but no one is free to accompany? Travel solo. We’ve all heard the horror stories of female travelers getting into less than pleasant situations, but what we don’t hear are the millions of stories of women traveling in perfect safety every day–not sensational enough for the newspapers of course. All it takes to successfully travel solo is common sense and a spirit of adventure. I’ve done it many times–in North America, South America and Asia–I’ve lived to tell the tale and I’ve learned a few lessons along the way.

1. Trust People

As a woman, when you tell people you’ll be traveling solo, you hear exclamations like, “Is that safe?” and “Be careful!” Rarely is a “Good for you!” or “How exciting!” uttered, even among the most well-meaning of friends. Of course it’s true that a woman alone in the world must be vigilant and aware of her surroundings, but that is the case whether you’re walking down the block in your own city or on a crowded street in Bangkok. Trouble is, that with all the vigilance going on sometimes we forget that most people are not of the out-to-get-you variety, instead they offer a friendly smile, give you directions, take your photo and don’t steal your bag as you leave your seat to use the restroom on an overnight bus. Definitely be aware, but give people a chance, too.

2. Trust Yourself

Yes, trust others, but first trust yourself. Your instincts are there for a reason and if they say something is sketchy, listen. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself if you think you’re being cheated or taken advantage of. Many women don’t say anything because they don’t want to offend people–myself included–but I am beginning to learn that when alone on the road, you must put yourself first because no one else will.

3. Be Prepared

As a long time Girl Scout, I learned this motto well, and it’s served me into my adult life as a traveler. When you’re on the road alone, you’re it. There’s no one to bounce ideas off of, no one to help you read that unintelligible map and no one to borrow toothpaste or sunscreen from when you’ve forgotten your own. Though it’s nearly impossible to be prepared for ANY situation (after all, you wouldn’t want to carry the kitchen sink around in your backpack for weeks) it’s smart to try. Make lists of must-have items, always have a contingency plan should a hostel be fully booked or you miss your train, and always carry a snack should you find yourself in the middle of nowhere on a broken down bus for five hours.

Chic Les II

4. Get Involved

You consider yourself a brave adventurer; after all you did set out on a solo trip, right? No matter what your personality type, when you’re traveling alone for an extended length of time, there are going to be those moments of loneliness where you’d give anything to be transported home for just one night. Don’t let these moments get you down, they will pass. They may not even weasel their way into your consciousness if you are proactive in the first place, by taking that Spanish class, signing up for excursions or hanging out in the common room of your hostel to meet fellow solo vagabonds.

5. Prepare to Splurge

For most of us, budget travel is our MO. And it’s an amazing feeling to see a chunk of the world on a small wad of cash. But when you are traveling solo, even the best budget intentions can evaporate when it’s midnight, the bunks are booked and all that’s left is a private room, or you miss the airport shuttle and have to splurge on a private taxi to make your flight on time. There’s no one to split the bill for these unforeseen expenses when you’re single, so stash a little extra money to shell out should an unexpected yet unavoidable budget buster arise.

6. Smile

It amazes me when I travel to see so many of my fellow travelers walk around with a miserable grimace on their face. You’re on a trip! Exploring the world! Be happy for crying out loud! Not only does smiling possibly make all those less-than-pleasant ticket vendors, immigration officers, waiters and bus drivers slightly more endeared to you, but it may be just the thing that your fellow traveler needs to make their day a little brighter.

7. Get out of your Comfort Zone

I’ve never ridden a horse before in my life, so on a recent solo trip to Argentina, I surprised myself by signing up to go horseback riding in the Andes. Scared was an understatement as I put my foot in the stirrups of what seemed to me a giant beast. But once I made it to the saddle, and began to amble along the trail, my heart rate receded and I was able to look around and enjoy the splendor of the mountains. By opening up and doing something you wouldn’t normally consider, you’ll have surprising new experiences, meet different kinds of people and have that awesome “I did it” rush.

Chic Les

About Leslie
Leslie Patrick is an international freelance journalist focusing on travel, culture and lifestyle. Her work has appeared in Salon, AFAR, Marie Claire, Travel + Leisure, Islands, United Airlines’ Hemispheres Magazine and Monocle among other publications. Visit her website at lesliepatrick.com, or her travel blog, The Chic Adventurer.


2014 Bucket List


2014 Bucket List

By Rowena Mynott


I go through this every year. I sit down, I make a list of resolutions but when end of the year rolls around and it’s time to sit down to write the next years list, inevitably I find that I haven’t fulfilled many of the resolutions on the previous list. Although it is an ancient tradition, it seems I am not alone in my failure to adhere to ‘the list’. That’s probably not a bad thing. We punish ourselves enough for putting on weight over christmas, for not being good enough at our jobs, for not having the big house or earning enough money. So how about this. How about we set positive goals for the next year? There are plenty of people online that I come across who are doing just that. Similarly to a resolution list they write a list of things that they want to achieve that year, the difference being that they are bucket list items. Items that the author is excited about achieving be it taking a skydive or tasting 6 different types of chocolate. And if you don’t manage to tick every item off? It really doesn’t matter! So here we go. Here is my list for 2014:

1 – Kayak with orcas

2 – See grizzly bears in the wild

3 – Train through the Rockies

4 – Pay off a strangers lay-away Christmas gift for their children

5 – 52 Project

6 – Cage dive with crocodiles in Darwin

7 – Read the top 10 novels of all time

8 – Write an e-book

9 – Learn to play the guitar

10 – Visit a new country

11 – Take a new class

12 – Exercise regularly

13 – Sail around Haida Gwaii

14 – Visit Jasper NP

15 – Visit Banff

16 – Dive Fiji

17 – Visit Tintagel Castle in Cornwall

18 – Take part in an archaeological dig

19 – Eat baguettes, cheese and drink wine in France

20 – Take a helicopter flight

21 – Visit Halden Forest Park with Ethan

22 – Celebrate the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival

23 – Take a narrow boat trip around the English canals

24 – Explore Lundy Island

25 – See how many whales we can spot in the Bay of Fundy

26 – Taste chocolate in Belgium

27 – See otters in the wild

28 – Tobermory, Isle of Mull

29 – Edinburgh Castle

30 – Ride on a steam train

31 – Shoot a quiver of arrows

32 – Introduce my son to a monkey

33 – Hold a bird of prey

I am super excited about this list and can’t wait to start achieving it and sharing with you.  What is on your list this year? I’d love to hear – perhaps pick up some inspiration.





For The Love Of The Ocean


For the love of the ocean

By Auds at Our Journey To The Sea

The thing about loving the ocean is that you constantly feel the need to explore. Whether it is deeper and wider in the areas you already know, or travelling across the world to see what there is on offer. It is a constant need. There might be better surf there, better fish there, or just a whole new experience.

Ryan has travelled far and wide for a wave. Through Africa, Portugal, France, Indonesia, Australia and Samoa only to name a few. Together, we have explored a range of oceans diving, freediving and spearfishing. It is never enough. We always want more.

It’s extremely lucky that the universe brought us together. Just prior to meeting Ryan I was already planning on giving up my day job and finding a crewing job on a yacht, somewhere in the world. Fate brought us together. Our love for the ocean pushed us closer. We soon realised that we were both aching to explore the world by boat.

And so our planning was set forth. Buy a boat in Europe, sail it back to Australia.

At the moment we are still working towards our goal. Given our age, we have to ensure we are still set up for the future before going on this wonderfully exciting adventure.

Imagine the oceans we will see, the fish we will spear and the waves we will surf. It is simply the best goal we could ever have set for ourselves. We are determined to get there, even though it might not occur as soon as we would hope (like now!).

In the meantime, we are still exploring the wonderful oceans as often as we can. Here is a quick look at some of the beautiful experiences we have already had so far:





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Top 10 of 2013 – #6 Travel


Top 10 Instagrams of 2013: #6 Travel

By Rowena Mynott

As 2013 starts to wind down its a good time to reflect on the year that has just passed and the year that is to come. I have obviously been in a reflective mood recently as last month I decided to start a monthly ‘Taking Stock‘ routine: pausing life for a few moments to realise what you are happy and thankful for right in that very moment. Right now as I sit here and look through my images from 2013, I embrace the good and the sad, the ups and the downs and the growth that has taken place. This year has focused on family: Visits and holidays with family from overseas early in the year, my grans passing mid year and these days realising my son is no longer a toddler but is growing into the most incredible child I could ask for.

72&Rising is also growing and developing. I left the magazine format behind and embraced the world of blogging. Thank you to all those that embraced that change with me. It was a difficult decision to make as I loved the old product, but for me right now this is where we need to be. Who knows what the future holds but in 2014 you can certainly expect some exciting things happening here as this process of writing, taking pictures and posting on a regular basis becomes more fluid. I’m re-defining 72 and I look forward to hearing from you about what you would like me to focus on a little more.  There will be plenty of the old: travel and photography but also some new … Let me know.

So as a way to reflect on 2013 I decided to give you a little glimpse into my life and share some of our Top 10 family highlights as seen from my Instagram.  If you would like to follow along, I will be posting one each morning for the next 10 days. Today is Travel.


As I mentioned, I haven’t travelled far and wide this year as it’s been a year for spending time with family. Travel is in my blood and I desperately miss it when I am bound to one place for too long without the ability to explore. Whilst we haven’t been overseas, we have enjoyed a couple of domestic trips. Ethan loves travel almost as much as I do and he too has learnt that it’s not just about the destination. He loves to sit and people (and plane) watch with me at the airports, find joy in living out of a suitcase and meet lots of new people along the way.

Melbourne is a city that we visit every year. It is my favourite city in Australia, full of life with countless restaurants of all nationalities, art, music and sporting events. The highlight of our last trip down had to be the Botanical Gardens. A very beautiful but long walk out from the CBD (I’d recommend catching the tram especially with a 2 year old in tow!). From the moment you walk through the gates you lose yourself in the beauty of the grounds forgetting that just outside the garden gates are the hustle and bustle of city life. The children’s garden is an absolute joy and it’s what inspired me to create our own kids garden at home. Full of trickling streams that beg to be followed through overhanging trees, giant animals covered in bright mosaics, cubbies, pint sized bridges, mazes and ponds where you can feed the ducks.

Philip Island was another treasure. I had travelled here on a day trip many years ago and so it was exciting to be spending a week exploring here. We took Ethan to watch the penguin parade, a nightly event where thousands of little penguins return to their burrows having spent the day out at sea feeding. They linger out to sea just past the breakers whilst they check out the crowd before making a swim for the beach. They run up the beaches chattering and squawking to each other and their chicks in the burrows. There is a lot to cover on Philip Island and we barely scratched the surface. Aside from the penguins, we went to the motor races, explored the headland and of course couldn’t go home without visiting the islands chocolate factory.

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.

– St. Augustine

With plane in one hand and hand luggage in the other, Mr 3 heads to the airport
Up, up, up and away
Two generations ponder life on Port Philip Island
It would have been rude to go past the chocolate factory on Port Philip Island without paying a visit.
Watching hot air balloons as the sun rises over the city of Melbourne
Finding what lurks amongst the trees at Melbourne Zoo
Collecting extra luggage
The plane always comes to the airport with us
Exploring botanical gardens in the city with grandma
Wrapped up warm against the chilly weather in Melbourne
Loving riding the tram

Where did you travel to this year? Did you travel overseas or prefer to stick to your homeland?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Light


Weekly Photo Challenge: Light

By Rowena Mynott

Photography is always something that I have been passionate about. I was seven when my Great Auntie first introduced me to it using a Box Brownie camera (which I still have). Since then I have amassed quite a collection of both cameras and images, but I have never dedicated as much time to it as I would like. When I came across the weekly photo challenges I decided to sign up and give it a go. I have tried daily photo challenges in the past – they started out great for a while but life got in the way as it inevitably does. I’m hoping a weekly challenge might be more achievable … lets see shall we?

The Challenge

Each week we are given a different theme and need to post an image that fits that theme. This week the image needs to be ‘Light’:

Take a look around you. Choose one of the light sources you see, and make it the focus of your challenge entry. It can be a dramatic chandelier or a pair of dying candles; the moon, a row of glaring lightbulbs in the parking lot, or a gaudy lava lamp stored in your attic: anything goes. The light doesn’t even have to be switched on: some lamps are just as fascinating for their shape as for the photons they emit.


I have had to dig through the archives for this one as time isn’t my friend this week. It was taken in the good old days of film so may be a little grainy as it’s a scan of the original image. In 2000 I travelled from England to Morocco with about 20 other people on a bus held together by sticky tape, string and a few prayers! I lost count of the times we broke down. It was an incredible trip, we drove through France, Spain and Portugal before finally arriving in Morocco. The guy who brought us all together had travelled throughout Africa extensively and could speak arabic which came in particularly handy. Chefchaouen was our first stop, beautiful blue and white streets, hammams and kazbahs. We climbed Mt Toubkal, rode through the high Atlas sitting on the roof of our bus, snake charmed in Marrakech, galloped horses down the beach in Essaouira and found fossils in Erfoud. There is a future post scheduled on this trip if you would like to hear more.

These lights are one of the classic symbols of Morocco. They evoke romantic images of white flowing clothing billowing around tanned bodies that alight upon richly embroidered floor cushions. Sumptuous food served on silver platters whilst moroccan music plays in the background … or is that just me and my long term love of Indiana Jones?


Stunning light in a kasbah, Morocco

Planning a Round the World Trip with a Child


Planning a Round the World Trip with a Child

By Rowena Mynott


As you may have noticed, 2014 is the year that I embark on a four month long round the world adventure with my three year old son.  My life pre-child was very nomadic and despite having taken a shorter round the world trip with Mr 3 when he was just three months old, I was starting to miss the joys of travel:  The freedom that it provides, the scenery, the cultures, the sights and the experiences that cannot be recreated in a 9-5 routine at home. In short I was starting to feel stagnant.

When it came time to plan our family trip to visit parents and extended family and friends in England and Canada we were given a reality check when we remembered that my husband now has a ‘proper grown up’, 9-5, monday to friday, two weeks holiday a year job. Up until last year he had been working casually as a chef whilst applying for his dream career. The casual chef thing wasn’t a big hit for either of us – it’s not a job suited to having a family as it involves long hours, working nights and a stressful environment. It did however afford Seb the freedom to take as much time off as he wanted. Now we realised that he was limited to two weeks and that’s not much time to pack in a round the world trip, especially with a three year old along for the ride.

But then in an excited moment of clarity, I realised that although Seb was locked in to a rigid schedule, Mr 3 and I didn’t have to be! I decided to extend the two weeks … to four months! So now what?

The Journey and the Destinations

Well, as it’s just me and my little sidekick on this adventure, and given that he has just turned three, I decided to keep this trip simple. There will be more extended trips in his future to exotic far flung places, but for mama’s sanity, dada’s finances and a three year olds coping ability I decided that we would replicate the trip that we did when Mr 3 was three months old. That was the initial purpose of this journey after all – to see family. Once the time frame had been established, the planning began in earnest. We had to go to England and Canada and hoped to visit either Hawaii, Fiji or Japan on the way back. Unfortunately once we started looking into ticket prices it was going to add a substantial amount to the final cost that couldn’t be justified given the short stay there.

So, the route was decided. Mr 3 and I will fly from Australia to England for 3 months (where we will explore Europe) and then onto Canada for one month (travelling from west to east coast by train) meeting Seb for two weeks of those before heading home.

The hardest thing about planning something like this with a little one at home is finding the time … and the ability to concentrate. I spend around 21 hours a day with my child and the other hours are either work or chore time! It’s hard squeezing it all in! I searched around several different places to find the best deals and finally found a travel agent who has the patience of a God. Whilst booking the flights I spoke to her at least once a day and although there is nothing unusual about that when you are single, adding a 3 year old into the mix ends up in all sorts of chaos. We are just entering the phase of ‘Oh, you are on the phone? But I need your attention … NOW!’. I have had whispered conversations, snuck off to a different room in the house to remain undetected by Mr 3 and hidden behind kitchen benches to dial phone numbers. All strategies that worked at times, but the attention radar of Mr 3 soon picked up on it and there were many conversations where the toddlers screaming for attention obliterated anything that could be heard from the other end, resulting in quickly ended phone conversations, a happy child that immediately went back to playing alone and an exasperated momma!

But we managed it. The best deals on tickets were found and all being well, will be paid off tomorrow! Now it is real and the excitement is mounting. Is it wrong that I am starting to create a little pile of items to take with us already?!

What to Do, What to Do?

travel books 2
Guide books may not be the best way of finding out about those out of the way gems but they are a great place to start your research

Now we get to the nitty gritty, the planning of the finer details. Many years ago when travelling was a little different to today (carrying a 25 kilogram backpack 20 kilometres to the hostel from the bus stop because there are no hostel buses to collect you, after visiting an incredible location having other people you meet say “Where? I’ve never heard of that!” and coming home exhausted, battered and bruised because your travels have been adventurous and not once involved sunbathing on a beach) travel books were invaluable resources. The internet was nothing like it is today and so books, chatting to other travellers and of course blind exploration were the only way of discovering new places, those little hidden gems that are today on peoples bucket lists and shared so easily.

When I first started planning this trip, I went to the local library and picked up a stack of Lonely Planet guidebooks. They are a great place to start to get an understanding of what is in each region you are heading to.

You can follow the route that Mr 3 and I will be taking here. It will change over the next few months as I define our plans and I would love to hear from you if you have any suggestions or ideas, after all, the best local knowledge comes from those that live there.

Here is my bucket list for this trip so far:

  • Kayaking with orcas in BC
  • Watching grizzly bears feeding on salmon in BC
  • Visiting Vancouver Island
  • Banff National Park
  • Jasper National Park
  • Catching the train across country Canada
  • Seeing old Quebec
  • Fossil hunting along the Jurassic Coast in the UK
  • Walking some of the South West coastal path in the UK
  • Seeing the Eden Project in Cornwall
  • Tripping across to France for some of that amazing cheese, baguettes and wine (Perhaps for Bastille Day)
  • Visiting Scotland – With over 26 years spent in England it’s a place I never managed to visit
  • Windmills in Holland
  • Popping into a few other European countries I am yet to visit properly (Belgium, Luxemburg)
  • Tempted by Denmark …


Planning Travel with a Child

Plane in hand and with his own luggage Mr 2 was ready to catch his plane!


Of course planning a round the world trip with a sidekick in tow is different to if you were to go alone … but not as different as you might think. As long as you keep in mind a few simple planning rules to help you out, you should find it fairly straightforward:

  1. Choosing Countries: If your child is younger you may want to avoid travelling to any country where disease may be a risk. Having said that, many many people travel to India, the African continent and South America with their kids and are fine. For me, Mr 3 is still a little too young to take to these countries but I will most certainly be venturing there in the not too distant future with him.
  2. Deciding how to travel: How are you going to travel? Flights are obviously an easy and fun way for kids, although long haul flights may be a bit tedious for them. Cars allow you to stop frequently to stretch over active legs. Boats are great although are subject to any bad weather. There are camels, bikes and horses to consider. Don’t limit your mind just because you have a child in tow. There are plenty of families out there travelling by all sorts of ways and means.
  3. Choosing flights: You will know your child best and the best time of the day/night to travel. Mr 3 is a terrible sleeper and very very energetic during the day but the good thing is that when we travel he will sometimes crash out with the excitement of it all. I sleep pretty well on planes so our flights have been booked for night. We shall see if this helps us keep a routine whilst we are away. Fingers crossed.
  4. Flexibility: With dates for flights and what you want to see. The more laid back you are the more you will enjoy it rather than getting stressed about flights not available on certain dates or not managing to go for a coffee in a certain cafe.
  5. Get the kids involved in the planning. Mr 3 has taken great joy in looking through all the books with me and declaring what we will be going to visit. Admittedly it’s been pretty much every image that he came across but over the next few months I’m sure we can whittle it down!
  6. Deciding what to do: Remember to plan for your child. Don’t make it all about what you want to do. Happy child = Happy parent. Fit in some fun trips to parks, museums or outdoor activities along with your bucket list and you will both have a fantastic and memorable journey. Be sure not to overfill your days though. Pace yourself and don’t be too disappointed if you don’t manage to tick off everything on your list. I will go away with a huge ‘To Do’ list (it’s just in my nature!) but I know we probably won’t achieve all of the things on it. I’m ok with that.
  7. Be prepared: Further down the track I will look into times of trains and backups if we miss trains, accommodation and backup accommodation in case it’s full. I am a little OCD about planning and preparation but it pays off in the long run. If something goes wrong when you are a single traveller it’s an annoyance, if it goes wrong with a child in tow the situation can go to meltdown mode for the both of you very quickly!


So to make your life a little easier keep these three little things in mind:

  1. Set reasonable expectations
  2. Take it slow and steady
  3. Get the kids involved
  4. Be prepared


Kids are an absolute joy, they are totally adaptable to travel and are able to teach even the most hardened travellers a thing or two. Watch how travel with your child changes your perspectives as you learn to slow down and take the time to appreciate your new surroundings, interact with those around you and soak in new experiences.



rtw 2013 round


 Do you have any advice on where we should go? Have you attempted a round the world trip with a child? Do you have any advice? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.