June 21st is the Northern Solstice and marks the shortest day here in the Southern Hemisphere. On the 21st the sunrise is around 7:48am and sunset 5:00pm in Wellington, giving just over 9 hours of potential sunshine for the capital. Here in Levin we are approximately 100km north of Wellington, so the times will be much the same. Because of the way the Earth is tilted about its axis, the length of the day changes through the year. On June the 21st the Southern Hemisphere will be tilted furthest away from the sun and so it will be the shortest day of the year and the sun will appear at its lowest point in the sky. After the shortest day, the days will slowly get longer again – roll on summer, we say.
So how did we spend the longest night of the year? Being an avid All Blacks supporter, Robin hogged the big TV in the lounge to watch the 3rd All Black versus England Rugby Test. I watched the ABs perform the stirring haka, (Maori War Dance) before departing to the bedroom and the much smaller TV to watch a bit of mindless drivel while the big game was being played. (I’m not the least bit sporty, much to Robin’s disappointment). Of course we won!
Getty Images - The All Blacks perform the haka ahead of the third test.
Then we watched a bit of TV together, (something we had recorded a wee while ago), an action packed episode of an old favourite UK show, The Sweeney. (Got to love that John Thaw). This British police series revolutionised the genre on UK television in the mid 1970s. Jack Regan played by John Thaw was a hard edged detective in the Flying Squad of London's Metropolitan police (called 'the Sweeney' from the Cockney rhyming slang 'Sweeney Todd' = 'Flying Squad"). He pursued villains by methods which are underhand, often illegal themselves, frequently violent and more often than not successful.
Sergeant Carter and Inspector Reagan
Things were certainly quite different in police TV shows in years gone by. Wild car chases, then both the goodies and the baddies running hell for leather. The chases always ended with a punch up or two, guns drawn, shots fired, gunshot wounds and sometimes a fatality. As it turned out, this was the last episode of The Sweeney ever filmed, and we got to see our old mate Jack spend a night in the clink after a trumped up charge was brought against him. With no support shown by his dippy CO, this was the last straw and he walked away from the force.
So that’s how we spent the longest night – what did you get up to?