3 February 2011 (Thursday) - Leccie, Comets...
Yesterday I mentioned that I read my leccie meter. This morning I had an email saying that I’d read the meter wrong. So I read it again and phoned them up. The chap I spoke with seemed rather clueless, and he suggested that the numbers I’d provided were rather high. If today’s readings were correct then the meter reading I’d done for them a few months ago was wrong. Could I perhaps check that meter reading? However, since I was lacking the wherewithal to perform a feat of time travel, that wasn’t going to be an easy task. This foxed the nice man on the phone: presumably he deals with a lot of Time Lords. Having eventually persuaded him that I had no way (practical or even theoretical) of getting to last November, he eventually (and reluctantly) plugged today’s figures into the computer. He grumbled that my next bill might be rather expensive. So much for my getting any refund off of the leccie this month.
I then spent half an hour (or so) on my next presentation for the astro club. Although I’m not due to speak until October, I have this idea that if I get my talk on comets ready early, should we then get a bright comet, I could do it that month and be topical. After all, statistically we get a very bright comet about once every ten years, and it’s been fourteen years since comet Halle-Bopp was a bright object in the winter sky. So we are due for one.
Having said that, as I fast approach my forty-seventh birthday, I’ve only ever seen two comets which were bright enough to be seen with the naked eye. My Grandmother had seen five by the time she was six.
And then it occurred to me that if and when I finally get my sexy new telescope up and running, then it might be nice to have a flat surface on which to stand the thing. We’ve got a patio but it’s rather near the house. I’d like to set the telescope up half way down the garden. But the lawn is somewhat uneven there. I had a plan to lay down some paving slabs to make a flat area. There is a shop nearby which specialises in paving slabs for patios – I’ve driven past it many times when I’ve been off to the tip. So today I popped in for a look and a chat.
Nothing is ever as simple as it might seem. I had this plan to lightly dig over the area where I want to lay the slabs, then lay the slabs, and leave them to settle. The man in the shop was too polite to laugh out loud at my naivety, but I could tell he wasn’t impressed. He was wittering on about sharp sands and base layers and two parts of cement. What started off as a simple little idea was fast becoming a major exercise in civil engineering.
I’ll just put my telescope on the lawn, eh?