Jupiter, tablet, and glory rings

Well, Friday’s sale went spectacularly well, and I managed to cope ok with the new money. I was seriously exhausted by the end of the day, though – I’d forgotten just how tiring working in retail is – all that endless smiling and being nice to people, not to mention the wear and tear on your feet from standing all day (and it was all day – we were so busy we didn’t stop even for lunch). But I really enjoyed the day – a change is as good as a rest and all that, plus it was fun being back in the shop with Dad. My brother rang us in the evening when he got back from his exercise, and was incredibly jealous that he couldn’t be there. He’ll just have to wait another 13 years for the next one…

On Saturday morning MrPloppy and I went and visited Mum, and MrPloppy helped her sort out a few more bits and pieces on her computer (he’s rapidly turning into the family’s private help desk, but I don’t think he minds too much). We went back out to Omakau for lunch, after which I had good intentions of spending the afternoon doing some much-needed study for Monday’s Spanish test, but ended up falling asleep (I told you Friday had been tiring!).

That evening we went out to Uncle’s place in Lauder to see his new telescope (an 8″ reflector, which MrPloppy and I did a lot of drooling over. If only we didn’t live in such a smoggy, light-polluted city…) He set it up to look at some of the craters on the moon (which was incredibly bright – he hasn’t got a moon filter yet, so we were all left with dark blobs in our vision for a while after viewing it), and then Jupiter and three of the Galilean moons (the other was presumably behind the planet so not visible). Surprisingly, it was the first time MrPloppy had ever looked through a telescope, despite studying astronomy at university (although I can understand that – ‘real’ astronomers (as opposed to backyard amateurs) spend a lot more time looking at numbers on a computer screen than they ever do actually looking at the sky).

The other highlight of the evening was that Uncle had been going through the boxes of stuff from Granny and Granda’s house and had found Granny’s not-quite-secret recipe for tablet (the recipe in that link is not quite the same as Granny’s, but it’s along the same line), and had made a batch to try the recipe out. Tablet was my absolutely favourite childhood treat, and I used to beg Granny to make it for me every birthday and christmas (and any other opportunity I got, but she always said it was too expensive to make except as a very special treat – I’m not surprised now, having seen the recipe and knowing how much sugar it involves!), so tasting Uncle’s attempt was an instant transportation back to happy childhood summers at Broad Bay. And I can report that I still like tablet, though I don’t think I could eat *quite* so much of it in one sitting as I could back then 🙂

On Sunday, Dad and Stepmother had a golf tournament to go to, so Dad drove us up to Queenstown in the morning and dropped us at the airport. Our plane didn’t leave until 3, so we had quite a few hours to kill (I did realise later that as we’d paid full price for our tickets, we probably could have asked to be changed to an earlier flight, but I didn’t think of it at the time – I’m too used to always travelling on the super-discounted non-changable non-refundable tickets). We thought about catching a shuttle into Queenstown (the airport is in Frankton, further round the lake), but as neither of us is particularly enamoured of Q’town (apart from the scenery, it’s a pretty boring place to spend a day, especially in winter), after checking in (and releasing Airport by Arthur Hailey and Queenstown in Colour by Irene Adamson in the airport) we decided to just walk over to Frankton’s new shopping centre and see if we could find a cafe.

There were a couple of cafes there, so we picked the friendliest-looking of the two and settled down for the day. Luckily they weren’t very busy, so were happy for us to sit there reading (and finally getting a bit of study done, in my case), and occasionally ordering something to eat or drink. We did have a couple of short expeditions out of the cafe – to the Warehouse to check out their computer games reject bin (a habit of MrPloppy’s whenever he comes across a new Warehouse, and one that paid off in this case, because he found several games he’d been looking for, for less than $10 each, and I found the last expansion pack for The Sims, also seriously marked down), and for me to release a few books around the shopping centre:

Adair of Starlight Peaks by Essie Summers
My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin
The Traitors by Vivian Stuart
Six Plays by Lillian Hellman

We timed our return to the airport perfectly – I just had time to release my last two books (Office Life by Keith Waterhouse and Women’s Work by Anne Tolstoi Wallach) before the boarding call came for our flight.

The highlight of the trip home (other than the fact that we flew over Alexandra and Omakau (we were a bit too high to see if Dad and Stepmother were on the golf course waving to us, though)) was seeing a set of glory rings – rainbow-coloured “halos” around the shadow of the plane on the clouds below us. I’ve read about them before, but never actually seen one. At one stage there were four distinct rings visible – apparently the number of rings is related to how small the particles in the cloud below are. I wish I’d been able to take a photo, but my camera was in the overhead locker, and it would have meant clambering over people to get out of my seat and get it.

I did manage to get a little bit more study done when I got home, so I don’t think I totally blew my test yesterday, but I definitely didn’t do as well as I could have. Somehow study and having an interesting life just don’t seem to be compatible this year…


Currently reading: Brief NLP Therapy by Ian McDermott and Wendy Jago (borrowed from Dad)

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