Star the twenty-fifth

I’m creating a virtual star chart, to record my progress in Dry July. The star for making it through Sunday 25 July without touching the demon drink is the constellation Orion.

(Description: Late evening, almost night sky, shining stars of Orion in southern hemisphere orientation i.e. upside down from the p.o.v. of people in the northern hemisphere)

This image looks odd, I’m sure, given that there are trees hanging upside down from the top of the frame. That’s because I have rotated it to its southern hemisphere orientation, which will be perceived as upside down by northern hemisphere readers. It took me years and years to realise that the illustration of Orion in my northern hemisphere produced books simply didn’t match what I saw in the sky because the illustrations were wrong, not me (wrong for the southern hemisphere, that is). I was astonished when I saw Orion standing with his feet pointing towards the ground when I travelled to the other side of the world.

Orion was the first constellation I ever learned to pick out in the night sky, ‘though I first learned it as The Pot, based on the three shining stars of his belt. For me, it is the constellation of summer nights spent stargazing.

Each year, my dad’s family meets somewhere for family camp, at varying locations, but most often at Whangamomona. In the evenings, people sit together and talk and sing and stare at the sky, picking out the constellations, and watching the satellites passing overhead. One summer night, a very bright satellite came into view, heading straight for the base of the pot. Speculation was intense as to whether it would pass over or under, with everyone having a settled opinion about it (this is an unsurprising state of affairs in my family). As it got closer and closer, the chatter stopped, and in complete silence, the satellite went plumb through the middle star of the belt. Without losing a beat, my youngest uncle strummed his guitar and sang… “There’s a hole in my bucket.”

This is why we are making the move home.


Star the twenty-fifth is just for me. Mr Strange Land had work entertaining obligations to do with corporate boxes and footy matches, so he obtained an indulgence (with thanks to Idiot-Savant for describing it so).

(Description: Dry July golden ticket, allowing the bearer to enjoy alcoholic beverages on 25 July)

But he’s back on the wagon tonight.


6 responses to “Star the twenty-fifth

  1. For me there is nothing affects me so as the reflection of stars in blueblack water.

  2. Orion was the constellation my husband taught me the correct name of on our first date, I said “look theres the pot” and he corrected me. We named our son after it, and its a good strong name for him which he really suits.

  3. I love Orion, it’s the only constellation I know that I can regularly pick out in the night sky, and that I can always see.

  4. My grandmother was an amateur astrologer. Nothing gets me quite so much as looking up at the night sky. I can’t recognise any constellations, but I recognise…shapes.

    I should probably have mentioned this before, actually, but I’ve only just made the connection. Because of Nana, and some other stuff, I identify with the star.

    My favourite piece of jewellery is a Karen Walker star a dear friend gave me for my 30th birthday. If I was ever going to get a tattoo, it’d be a small star. 🙂

  5. Hey, how are you finding the alcohol avoidance now that the end is in sight? Was it hard then easy then hard again? I usually find it harder to resist something when I’m almost at the end of needing to do so 😉

  6. Definitely back to harder again. The middle three weeks were fine, but these last few days are not so easy. I’ve been threatening Lindauer in bed on Sunday morning, but I almost certainly won’t do it. We’re going to see some friends’ new house that evening, so we might have a celebratory glass then.

    Mr Strange Land is talking about heading out to see the Bledisloe Cup on a big screen at a pub on Saturday night. Wonder if he’ll be needing a last golden ticket…