Three weeks to go!

The convention is drawing closer, and I’ve been having all sorts of exciting parcels arriving in the mail. No sign of the m-bag from the USA yet, unfortunately, but there was a large mail sack left on the doorstep the other day – it turned out to contain a large box of books from catsalive, addressed to herself c/o me. She didn’t want to overload her suitcase with books, so instead she packed them into a box and posted them over. I’m carefully resisting the temptation to open the box and see what goodies lie within! The cats, however, succumbed instantly to the temptation to explore the empty mail sack:

(Just after this photo was taken, Ming leapt on top of Saffy, dealt her several swift blows across the head, then stalked off in a grump, while Saffy retreated into the back of the bag and refused to come out. They really don’t play well together.)

I’ve also had an exciting parcel from the organisers of the 2006 Toronto Bookcrossing Convention. Again, I’m not saying exactly what was inside it, but it will make a very welcome and exciting addition to the goody bags :-)

Quite a few people have offered books to be released at the convention, and the first arrived today: Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith from tantan, at the end of a long bookray all the way from bookczuk in the USA.

MrPloppy and I did some important convention preparation today: we walked the route of the release frenzy/walking tour, just to see how long it would take. It took us about an hour and a half, wandering at a slow pace (of course, we picked about the hottest day this summer to do it!), with quite a few stops along the way. My guess is that repeating the same exercise with 20-odd people (all wanting to stop to release books, take photos, etc) will probably take twice as long, so I’m going to allow about 3 hours for it. If we do mangage to do it faster, then I can always add in a few extra visits, to places like the Art Gallery, which we would be walking past anyway. The planned route is: Start at Cathedral Square, then walk via New Regent Street to the World Trade Centre memorial, then back along the other side of the river to the Town Hall and Victoria Square, then to the Provincial Chambers (which is a real hidden gem – beautiful old buildings (almost the oldest in Christchurch) which are open to the public, but nobody seems to know about them), across the river again to the Kate Shepherd memorial, then down Worcester Boulevard past the Art Gallery to the Arts Centre, aiming to reach there at about lunchtime, so that we can allow a couple of hours for everyone to wander around and explore and get some lunch before rarsberry’s flashmob.

Of course, I already had the route mapped out in my head, but by walking it I now not only know how long it will take, but I was able to work out things like what side of the river is nicer to walk along at each point, and where the best release opportunities might be. I also stopped into the information centre on the way past, and picked up a pile of free tourist guides and maps to put in the goody bags, so a pretty constructive day overall.

Apparently it’s the Chinese Lantern Festival in Victoria Square tonight (I’ve probably seen posters around advertising it, but they didn’t impact on my memory at all), and we stumbled across them setting up for it as we walked through the park. The first sign was a school of brightly coloured goldfish clustered around the Town Hall fountain:

Very surreal!

And all that walking, and I only released one book: Sue Barton: Staff Nurse by Helen Dore Boylston, which of course I released at the hospital. I’m saving all my best books for the convention now, so I think my wild releasing will be few and far between for the next few weeks!

Currently reading: Matthew Flinders’ Cat by Bryce Courtenay (not registered on Bookcrossing – I borrowed it from TopKat, who isn’t enough of a Bookcrossing fanatic yet to start registering PC books), but I might put it aside for a while in favour of Tears of the Giraffe.

Update: Oooh, I almost forgot! Had a really cool catch yesterday – someone found ‘Tis, one of the books TopKat and I released in Clyde. But they found it in Lawrence! So the old couple we watched catch it in Clyde must have released it again somewhere without logging their catch on the website. Some Bookcrossers get very frustrated when this happens, a book gets caught miles away from where they released it, with no word on how it got there, but I love it – I think it’s great fun trying to imagine what adventures the book has had along the way! :-)

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