"Remind me at twilight," I said, full of anticipation. "We'll all go outside to see the comet!"
We were at Old Man Oscar's for dinner on Thursday. With our bellies full and the sun getting ever lower, I made everyone come out with me on the deck.
At first, we could not ascertain whether it was this bright star, or that, or if it was that aeroplane over there.
"Well, we saw the Mars comet and the aeroplane comet, but no comet comet," Old Man Oscar said, and the others shrugged or grunted as they went back inside.
We decided to walk down the road for ice-cream.
"Yes, maybe we'll see the comet on the way," I said, long after they had forgotten about it. "Oh, why is everyone so blase about it?"
"I saw Halley's comet years ago and it was just like any other star except with a short tail on it," Hubby explained. "Soon you'll learn to be blase, too," he added ironically, smiling.
So that's what we were looking for: a star like any other, only with a short tail. As we walked down Trafalgar St, I pointed to a plume of smoke low in the sky. Must be a factory of some sort, I thought. But as we walked on, it suddenly jumped out at us that that was the comet.
"What a cracker!" Old Man Oscar hooted. He quickly led us to Jellicoe Park where we could get a better view.
And what a sight it was!
"So it really looks like those comets in storybooks!"
"It's like a bonfire in the sky!"
"Who's blase now, eh?"
The comet's long tail makes an arc, as if the whole thing is about to hit Earth, but in fact when you see it with your naked eye, it remains still, like a photograph of a plunging aircraft. In a week, it will disappear altogether.
"Yes, it's been travelling through the Northern Hemisphere before it reached us," I thought Old Man Oscar might like to know.
"Oh, is it on holiday?" he quipped.
So there it is. I feel strange and magical just knowing that it is there, even in the daytime.
This photo was taken by David Clark of Auckland. I have none of my own, but this is pretty much the same vision I saw on Thursday.