I caught a book!

I caught a bookcrossing book in the wild today! Now that might not seem very exciting, seeing as I am a bookcrosser, after all, and am over-run by bookcrossing books. But catching one in the wild is a very different matter to just picking one up at a meetup. In over three years as a bookcrosser, this is only the third I’ve found in the wild, so I was very excited to spot it – I only just managed to restrain myself from doing a happy dance in the middle of the Modern Languages department! And even better, it actually looks like a book I wouldn’t mind reading: Almost French by Sarah Turnbull

…My brother just rang to say they’ve arrived in Christchurch a bit earlier than planned (he and his family have been down in Alexandra, and are staying here tonight on their way back to Auckland), so I’d better go and help MrPloppy get dinner on.

This has been a very strange day

It’s been a long week, made even longer by the fact that I had to stay late for one of those work social functions that aren’t compulsory, but somehow are almost impossible to get out of. But that’s ok, I’ve got the art down to a tee of staying the minimum amount of time to be seen to be there, but still to be able to get out as quickly as possible. About an hour is usually enough, and then you can sneak away without anyone noticing you’ve gone.

Or at least, that’s the theory. Except I got cornered by someone who wanted to talk to me, so I wasn’t able to escape discretely until they’d shifted their attention to someone else. And of course, by the time I did manage to sneak off, I’d missed my bus. And according to the magic “when is the next bus due” indicator board thingy, the next bus wasn’t for an hour (and I was in town, not at my usual workplace, so walking home wasn’t an option). So I had to wait… and wait… and wait… Finally, it got down to 2 minutes to go… and suddenly it flicked off, and reappeared saying “29 minutes”!!!!! It’s a good thing there wasn’t a representative of the bus company around at that moment, because I think I would have done some serious damage. Luckily, before I could start breaking things, it flicked back to “1 minute” again, and the bus arrived.

I got on the bus, settled into my seat, and about three blocks down the road the bus stopped, and the driver said we all had to get off and transfer to another bus! I was really starting to think I’d never get home at this rate. Actually, I wasn’t even heading home, because I’d told MrPloppy that seeing as I wasn’t sure what time I’d get home, I’d get off at the fish and chip shop (which is a couple of stops past our place) and get some chips for tea and walk back with them. So I stayed on the bus, peering out the window with wistful eyes as we passed home – and then the driver turned off all the lights inside the bus! I think I must have been sitting in his mirror’s blind spot or something, and he probably thought there weren’t any passengers left on board. It felt very lonely, though, like I’d been completely forgotten about (which I probably had been). I did manage to get off at the right stop, though… only to discover the fish and chip shop was shut! They’re normally open until about 9 on Fridays, but even though it was only just after 8, all was dark and shut. So I had to walk home empty-handed :-(

Oh well, life did improve once I got home, at least. Seeing as the chips hadn’t happened, MrPloppy phoned and ordered a pizza, and for some reason they gave us a free large pizza to go with the small pizza we’d ordered (so guess what we’ll be having for lunch tomorrow? (and probably dinner as well)). And I did manage to get home in plenty of time to listen to the Bookcrossing update on BBC Radio Shropshire, which is always fun. And best of all, it’s finally the weekend, and I have absolutely no plans!!! I can sleep all weekend if I want! Or more likely, spend all weekend reading, which I haven’t had a lot of time to do lately.

Currently reading: The Cat Who Saw Stars by Lilian Jackson Braun

Your family, blood stirring

Yep, the spam headers just continue to get weirder… (and they’re just the ones that actually make it through the spam filter).

I keep having all these good intentions of writing in my diary more consistently, but life just keeps getting busier (I was “volunteered” onto another committee today – it’s something I really want to be involved in, but I really don’t have time (or energy) to add yet another thing to my life at the moment… oh well, I’m sure I’ll find the time somewhere… possibly… (watch this space as FutureCat collapses into a quivering wreck…)), and things like writing diaries, or even keeping up with reading other people’s diaries, seems to fall by the wayside.

I did manage to get to the movies on Tuesday night. It was my turn to organise the film for the Chick Flicks women to go to, and I’m afraid I didn’t quite manage to carry out my duties, because I only remembered on Friday afternoon, and didn’t have time to ring round everyone before we left for Dunedin (I suppose I could have rung them from my cellphone on the way down, but that would have got a bit expensive). I did manage to check out which films were showing where, and pick one that sounded ok (and most importantly, wasn’t The DaVinci Code – I reckoned anyone who wanted to see that one (not me – I wasn’t that impressed by the book, and couldn’t see what a movie would add to it) would have already made arrangements to see it), and was at a convenient theatre at a reasonable time, but there was no way I’d have time to ring everyone (and besides, I’m limited on how many personal calls I can make from work), so I ended up having to ring the first person on the list, Mrs Gwilk, and ask her to do the rest of the phoning for me. I felt incredibly guilty, but luckily she didn’t mind. I’ve really got to get my life more organised! The film (Woody Allen’s Match Point) was pretty good, anyway – not a lot I can say about it without including spoilers, but it provided a lot of fuel for discussion when we went for coffee after the movie.

It’s funny how catches seem to come in batches (ooh, I’m a poet and I didn’t know it :-)) – sometimes you go for weeks without getting a catch, and then you’ll get several in one day. I had two yesterday: Report on Experience by John Mulgan, which I’d released at the Dunedin convention, and is now in England; and Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald, which I released in Auckland when we were up there with the Outlaws. Plus I got an email today about a catch which is strictly boreal‘s, because she’s the one who released it, but it was a book that started off in my hands: The Family Way by Tony Parsons (that’s the nice thing about the way the bookcrossing system is set up – you keep getting emails letting you know what happened to your books long after they’ve passed out of your hands).

I finally finished The Man in the Iron Mask (whew!), so currently reading: The Cat Who Saw Stars by Lilian Jackson Braun.

Your future, wilt disease

Spam is getting weirder. I assume the strange (and apparently randomly generated) subject lines are an attempt to bypass spam filters, but would anyone really want to open an email sent to them with the subject line “Your future, wilt disease”???

Anyway, as planned, we (lytteltonwitch, awhina and I) spent the weekend in Dunedin for the 24-hour Regent Booksale (well, some of us were going down for the booksale – awhina had an ulterior motive in going to Dunedin: she’d arranged to meet a man she’d been chatting to on-line. You can imagine the teasing she was getting in the car on the way down once lytteltonwitch and I found out about it!). Like last year, we left Christchurch straight after work on Friday, but this year we were a bit better organised (well, apart from leaving Bally (who now has his own diary) in the back of lytteltonwitch’s car when we transferred her bags over to awhina’s), so we actually managed to get out of Christchurch without hitting too much traffic, and made quick time down to Dunedin, arriving at about 10.30. We stopped into the backpackers to drop off our bags before hitting the booksale, and to our amazement discovered Murder at the Motel by Victor Gunn lying on a table in the lounge area. Finding a book on a table might not seem that amazing, but it was the same copy that lytteltonwitch had released in Timaru the weekend before – somehow it had made its way down to Dunedin ahead of us! Further proof that Bookcrossing books do travel even if they don’t always get journalled.

Ok, I was just about to describe the Regent booksale, but had a feeling I did so last year, so thought instead I’d look back at last year’s entry and link to it (how’s that for being self-referential?). Looking back, it’s funny to see things like the fact it was our first time visiting otakuu, and now her house is a regular stop-off point on the way South, and we don’t even get lost getting there any more :-). But it’s disturbing to see that some of the books I picked up at last year’s meetup I still haven’t read! I’ve really got to learn to acquire books at a slower rate than I can read them!

Anyway, back to this year’s trip. Friday night at the booksale was just as crowded as last year, and just as fun. Even more fun, in fact, because this year we were on a mission. Boreal had arranged a scavenger hunt, giving each of us a list of books we had to try and find at the booksale:

  1. A Bookcrossing registered book
  2. A book published before 1940
  3. A novel with a vegetable name in the title
  4. A book in Maori
  5. A book with a picture of a frog on the cover
  6. A book about clocks
  7. A book with “Elvis” in the title of a picture of Elvis on the cover
  8. A book with an author beginning with X
  9. A book by Agatha Christie
  10. A NZ children’s book that has won or been shortlisted for the NZ children’s book awards
  11. A book with the word “purple” in the title
  12. A book with the name of a bird in the title
  13. A book that includes your first name in the title
  14. A biography or autobiography of a singer, actor, or someone in show business
  15. A book of zodiac signs
  16. A book with an alliterative title (at least 3 or 4 word title)
  17. A fiction book with a country name in the title
  18. A book with a body part in the title
  19. A movie tie-in novel
  20. A book about Africa

There were also bonus points to be awarded for the book with the most unusual title, the romance with the funniest cover picture, and the book most suitable for a themed release in a phone box.

It was great fun searching for suitable books, especially trying to come up with creative ways of meeting the more difficult challenges (like when we were struggling to find anything with “purple” in the title (yes, my immediate thought was The Colour Purple too, but it was nowhere to be seen) – we could find every colour but purple, so as a back-up plan I picked up a book with “blue” in the title, and another with “red”, and was going to claim the two combined made purple :-) (I did find a purple-titled book later, so lyttletonwitch decided to use my plan instead, but although everyone was suitably amused, she wasn’t awarded the point for it)). But eventually tiredness and the heat in the theatre got too much for us, so we headed back to the backpackers for some sleep (well, that was the plan at least, but going from the hot air of the hall out into the freezing cold of Dundedin at midnight, struggling up the incredibly steep View Street with our heavy purchases (I’d bought about 50 books already – some for reading, some for the scavenger hunt, but most to be bookcrossed – my box of releasable books was looking pretty empty when I left Christchurch, so restocking it was a major aim of the weekend), then from the cold into the log-fire-heated backpackers, was all too much for my poor lungs. I ended up having an asthma attack which kept us all awake for an hour or two until my breathing sounded less like a broken steam-engine.)

The next morning we woke up bright and early (well, maybe not all that bright, but it was pretty early), and after a quick breakfast and a stop in the Octagon for lytteltonwitch to decorate a tree with books (I’ll add some photos later), it was back to the booksale, where once again we shopped until we dropped (or at least, until our arms were almost dropping off with the weight of the books!). We finally decided we’d had our fill of the sale, even though it still had a couple of hours to go, and decided to go back to the backpackers and relax for a while before lunch. No sooner had we put down the books than I got a phonecall from TopKat, who was at the sale and looking for us (I’d spoken to her a few days before, and she wasn’t sure whether they’d be coming down for the sale or not, so I’d assumed she wouldn’t be, but of course Stepfather couldn’t pass up a booksale (or more specifically, the record section of the booksale!)). So we went back again, this time promising ourselves we wouldn’t buy any more books (yeah, right – within a few minutes of being back in the sale, lytteltonwitch and I were both laden down with books again. Can you say “obsessed”? I did (almost) manage to stay within my budget though – I’d told myself I could spend around $50-60, and my final total was $62.50 – but at 50c per book, that’s a *lot* of books!). But eventually I managed to find Mum, and we escaped back out into the Octagon for a coffee to remove ourselves from temptation.

Mum wanted to do some proper shopping (what, the booksale isn’t proper shopping???) while she was in Dunedin, so she decided not to join us for lunch, and lytteltonwitch and I left her and headed out to North Dunedin to meet the other bookcrossers and show off our scavenger hunt finds. Awhina was there, with her mystery man in tow (he seemed quite nice, and coped admirably well with being thrown into the middle of a bookcrossing meetup!), plus the usual Dunedin gang (boreal, rarsberry, VivaRichie, octopusgrrl, kiwijan, and a couple of others I can’t remember the names of), so it was quite a big meetup. We went round the table comparing scavenger hunt successes, and lytteltonwitch and I came joint equal, each finding 17 out of 20 books (I missed numbers 1, 8, and 10 (I tried to claim that finding some of Skyring‘s releases from the convention still in the bookshelf at the backpackers should count for #1, but the rules said they had to be actually purchased at the booksale, so the one I’d brought along, Holy Fire by Bruce Sterling, was disqualified), and lytteltonwitch missed numbers 1, 8, and 11). Picking the winners of the bonus point categories produced much hilarity, but I won most unusual title (for A Quiche Before Dying), lytteltonwitch won funniest cover for a romance featuring a shirtless man on the cover holding two babies, because he’d been drawn with such unfeasibly large pectoral muscles that he looked like he was breastfeeding them, and I think kiwijan won the best themed release (I can’t remember the exact title, but it was something like Talking Behind Glass). Our prizes were kit-kats and sheets of Dunedin-themed release labels created by boreal. We all declared the scavenger hunt a great success, and demanded that boreal come up with another list for next year.

Of course, as well as the scavenger hunt books, there were the usual piles of bookcrossing books covering the table. I contributed An April Shroud by Reginald Hill, Along Came a Spider by James Patterson, One Hundred Ways for a Cat to Train Its Human by Celia Haddon, and I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, and picked up What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage, Throwaway Daughter by Ting-Xing Ye, and Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer. After the meetup, there were a few books left lying on the table, so the last of us to leave scooped them up to release elsewhere (I took USA: The Rough Guide, which I left in the book exchange shelf at the backpackers, where I thought it was most likely to find a new reader, and A Certain Justice by John Lescroart, which I was intending to release on the trip home, but never got round to it, so I’ll probably take it to the next meetup or something).

Awhina and friend were intending to spend the afternoon in a romantic wander around the Botanic Gardens, so lytteltonwitch and I borrowed her car and went for an adventure. We actually only went out along the Peninsula to have a look around Glenfalloch and Larnach’s Castle, but we kept sending her text messages suggesting that we were going much further afield (like “Do you know if there’s any petrol stations between Milton and Balclutha?”). Given our record of taking the longest possible route to get from point A to point B on previous trips, she was already worried about where we might be taking her car, so we couldn’t resist the temptation to wind her up a bit more. And of course, when we met her and her friend later for dinner, we refused to tell her where we had been, saying that we’d email her the photos later (of course, being us, we’re planning on photoshopping her car into a series of ever more distant scenes…). I didn’t release any books while we were “down the bay” (as my grandparents used to call the Peninsula), because I had managed to leave my release supplies (labels, bookmarks, post-it notes, plastic bags, etc) behind in the backpackers and we couldn’t be bothered going back for them, but I did release a book in the Cobb & Co we met in for dinner: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Cobb & Co is popular with family groups, so I’m hoping a child will have picked it up).

Back at the backpackers that evening, I searched the bookshelves for bookcrossing books, and found quite a few that had been left there during the covnention, plus some that we’d put pre-numbered labels in the year before. I made a note of their BCIDs so I could make journal entries saying that they were still on the shelf. Considering how many got labelled last year, and how many Skyring and others had released there during the convention, there were remarkably few left:

Quiller Barracuda by Adam Hall
A Many-Splendoured Thing by Han Suyin
The Color of Fear by Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir
Master of the Game by Sidney Sheldon
How Green was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn
Sweetheart Deal by Robert Rosenblum
Wheels by Arthur Hailey

Hopefully all the others are off travelling the world with backpackers who have passed through Dunedin, and will turn up one day somewhere exotic.

We did take one thing off the shelf ourselves: an audiobook of Dolly Parton reading her autobiography. It looked just the right length to entertain us for the trip back to Christchurch, but our plans were thrown awry by the fact that awhina had had the car serviced before we came away, and in the process they’d disconnected her tape deck from the battery for a few seconds, which reset the security code. And of course she couldn’t find where she’d written the code down, so the tape deck was effectively immobilised. So no Dolly for the trip home on Sunday, unfortunately – instead we spent most of the trip talking about the mystery man (who wasn’t that much of a mystery any more, given that we’d had the chance to talk to him at lunch and dinner, and breakfast that morning, and… we left almost feeling like he was an old friend :-))

I seem to be getting ahead of myself here, and have us on the trip home before we actually left Dunedin. Anyway, Awhina and friend wanted to go to church on Sunday morning, so after breakfast while they went off to the cathedral, lytteltonwitch and I went for a walk through town, eventually settling down for an hour or so in an internet cafe to catch up on making journal entries and release notes on some of the books that had passed through our hands over the weekend. Once enough time seemed to have passed for the church service to be over, we headed back to the Octagon, where we had time for lytteltonwitch to find a geocache (kind of assisted by me, though I drew the line at rummaging through the undergrowth amongst the previous night’s rubbish!) while awhina and friend were saying a long goodbye (aww, how sweet…). Once we’d finally pried her out of his arms, it was after 12, so we decided we’d better get on the road and have a late lunch somewhere along the way. None of us wanted to get home too late, so we decided not to have any releasing stops (though I did release The Rector’s Wife by Joanna Trollope in the cafe in Oamaru where we stopped for lunch). Other than lunch, our only stop was at otakuu’s for a cup of tea and to meet the newest additions to her family (she is a foster parent). One of the kids, a very shy little girl of about 3, seemed to take a shine to me, so I spent most of the visit reading with her. Unfortunately, when I got up to leave and lifted her off my knee, I discovered that the dampness I’d thought I’d felt wasn’t just my imagination after all, so the rest of the trip home was a bit uncomfortable (and smelly!).

When I got home, there was a parcel waiting for me: Secrets of the Jury Room by Malcolm Knox, a bookring I signed up for recently. I’ve pretty much stopped signing up for bookrings (the postage was getting too expensive), but that one sounded really interesting. And it is, too – I started reading it yesterday, just to see what it was like, and I’m already over half-way through it. So The Man in the Iron Mask has been put aside yet again, I’m afraid.

I’ve got a nice catch to report, too: A Distant Harbour by Jessica Blair, which I released in Dunedin, and was caught in a different part of Dunedin then re-released in Millers Flat, has just been caught by someone in Christchurch, who found it in their letterbox! I wonder if it was left there by someone who knew them and thought they’d like the book, or if it was just left in a random letterbox?

Let’s try that again

Ok, here goes again. Hopefully this time I’ll manage to hit the right keys and not send this entry off into the ether somewhere.

MrPloppy and I went down to Timaru with lytteltonwitch on Saturday for a meetup with the Timaru bookcrossers (well, Timaru bookcrosserThe-Organist is the only active bookcrosser in Timaru at the moment, which is why we’d planned this trip down to visit him – the fact that the local Rotary club were having a booksale was purely a coincidence, honest!). We had fantastic weather (a nice change after a miserable week of rain) and it was a pretty quick trip down (for us – we only stopped once to release books; at Rakaia, where I left The Iron Chain by Steve Cockayne) and got to Timaru by 11, so we had time to have a quick look at the booksale before the meetup. Of course, Timaru has the most confusing road layout of any town I know, so finding the main street (where the sale was) took us a while, but after circling the town a few times we eventually got there.

The theme of confusion extended into the booksale, where they had a… um… unique pricing system. At every other charity booksale I’ve been to, they’ve either had books individually priced, or there’s been a colour-coding system (e.g. books with a yellow sticker $1, books with a red sticker $5…), or there’s just a set price per book (e.g. paperbacks 50c, hardbacks $3). Or sometimes there’s a slightly more complex system (like at the Theatre Royal booksale in Christchurch, where the books in the main auditorium are a set price, and the books on the stage are individually priced, so you have to pay for the books you’ve selected from one area before you enter the other), but the feature they’ve all had in common is that when you pick up a book, you know what you’ll be paying for it. Not in Timaru. Their system consisted of signs on the walls saying “Hardbacks $1-$4, Paperbacks up to $4”, with absolutely no indication on the books as to which end of the pricing scale they’d fall under. From what we observed when we paid for our books (and from what we heard from others who’d been to the sale), the people at the checkout just decided arbitrarily what to charge you when you went to pay, and how they decided the price seemed to depend on which checkout you went to (there were several). One person said he’d been charged according to the thickness of the books, another according to their condition, and someone said the checkout person had actually said of one book “Ooh, I’ve read that book, it’s really good. I’d better charge you $4 for it.”

It didn’t make for a very satisfying booksale experience, anyway. Normally when I go to a booksale, I’m looking out for two categories of books: ones I actually want to read, and ones that would be good for bookcrossing (e.g. popular books, books with eye-catching covers, potential themed releases). The latter I only buy if they’re really cheap ($1 is usually my absolute upper limit), but the former I’ll pay a lot more for. But at this booksale, because I couldn’t tell what any book would cost me, I didn’t want to buy too many in case everything I’d picked out was at the $4 end of the scale. So despite seeing loads of books that would be perfect for bookcrossing, I ended up only buying ones I wanted to read, because I didn’t want to risk paying too much for a book I’d just be releasing. So between MrPloppy and I we only ended up with 18 books (for us, that’s a very small book purchase!), which cost us $30 (and I couldn’t work out how our checkout person decided on the price – he picked up a few of the books we’d selected and glanced at the covers, then for the rest seemed to be just judging the height of the pile or something, and said “That lot will be $30” in a manner that suggested he’d selected the figure totally at random).

After having our fill of the booksale (which didn’t take very long, so frustrated were we about the prices) we headed over to Caroline Bay, where we were meeting The-Organist for lunch at Coast, a bar overlooking the bay. We ended up with quite a crowd, because otakuu had come up from Waimate, and Cathietay and Daveytay had been staying in Geraldine with holiday and her husband, so when they heard we were meeting up after the booksale they all decided to join us too. So we actually had more Christchurch people at the Timaru meetup than we’ve been getting at Christchurch meetups lately! (Cathietay and Daveytay promised faithfully to try and make it to more meetups when they get back to Christchurch.) Books were piled high on the table, but I was restrained and only brought one home with me, Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen Mah. Most of the books I’d brought down with me were quickly snatched up (The Alienist by Caleb Carr, The Body Artist by Don DeLillo, and The Dead of the Night by John Marsden), and the two that weren’t (McNally’s Trial by Lawrence Sanders and Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown) I left behind on the table (and I think the waitress grabbed them as we were leaving – I heard one of the others behind me telling her that yes, they were free books, and yes she could take them). The meetup was cut a little short by The-Organist being called away to drive the ambulance (one of his many jobs – he seems to be an incredibly busy person!), but we had a great time.

On the way back to Christchurch that afternoon we had a few more stops than we had on the way down – we stopped at Temuka for afternoon tea (and to release a few more books, of course – The Hobo Woods by Eric Helm), and took a detour in Ashburton to find a tennis courts where I could finally release Wimbledon 2000 by Iain Johnstone, a themed release I’d had planned for the Dunedin convention but hadn’t found the opportunity to release after all.

The rain returned on Sunday, but that was ok because I was stuck inside anyway, frantically trying to write my Spanish composition (which was due in yesterday). It was only 350 words, but that’s a lot to write in another language, so it took me most of the day. Normally I wouldn’t have left it to the last minute like that to write, but we only got the topic on Monday, and because we had a major test on Friday, all my spare time during the week had been devoted to studying for that (trying to make up for the lack of study time I’d had while the Outlaws were here). I didn’t do a fantastic job on it, I don’t think, but at least I got it done, and handed in, so I can relax for a bit now (well, until the next one, which is due in a couple of weeks, and then there’s our orals the week after, and the final exam a few weeks after that… whose stupid idea was it to do another degree???).

I had a nice catch this morning: To Hell in a Handcart by Richard Littlejohn, which I left in the dentist’s waiting room a few months ago. MrPloppy has to go back again next month, so now that I know it’s a good spot for catches I’ll definitely have to search out a copy of Jaws to release :-)

Currently reading: The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas (which has been rather slow going, and I keep getting distracted by reading other things, but I’m slowly getting through it)

Arggggghhhhh!!!!!

I just spent half an hour writing a long and interesting entry, and somehow when I was just a few sentences away from finishing it, managed to accidentally hit some key combination equivalent to the Back button which wiped it all! Not fair!!!!

Once I have regained my composure I will attempt to recreate my masterpiece, but it won’t be the same…

Home early(ish)

I did manage to get a bit of study done in a quiet moment at work this morning, so I’m not feeling quite so panicked about my test on Friday (though I still need to get a lot more done before then), but I am still desperately in need of sleep. Luckily tonight’s meetup was pretty short, and I got awhina (who also wanted to get away early because she was feeling just as tired, it being parent teacher meeting week) to drop me off on her way home (rather than sitting in the bus station for another hour waiting for my bus), so I’m home relatively early. So once I’ve written this I think I’ll be straight off to bed for an early night.

The turnout tonight wasn’t great – just me, awhina, and lytteltonwitch. Apparently more turned up last month (when I missed the meetup due to being in some distant corner of the country). We keep talking about changing meetups to another night, to see if that suits more people, but so far we haven’t been able to decide which night to switch to. Anyway, we had a nice time tonight, and I presented awhina with Daddy’s Little Cowgirl (because she’s a maths teacher, and has been known to… um, how shall I put this delicately?… pursue men from time to time), and gave lytteltonwitch The Cat Who Came for Christmas 2. Didn’t pick up any books myself for a change – probably a good thing, considering the size of Mt. TBR.

Oh, a catch I forgot to mention: I released The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer at the university in 2003. While I was up in the North Island, I got an email to say it had been caught – in Peru! There’s been no journal entries in between me releasing it and it being caught, so who knows how it got there, or where it travelled in the intervening years. Bookcrossing is wonderfully exciting when it works like this!

I am soooooooo tired!

My brother arrived late-ish last night, having flown to Blenheim, picked up his car and then driven down to Christchurch. It was really nice to see him on his own for a change, so we could have a proper conversation without being interrupted by the kids (much as I love my nephews, and love spending time with them, they don’t leave a lot of opportunity for adult conversation). We spent a long time talking about his and Sister-in-law’s plans for the future (which might include moving back to Alexandra and buying Dad’s business when he retires), and just generally catching up. So it ended up being another late night…

I seriously need to get a few early nights, and I seriously need to get some study done, and I can’t see much of either happening this week. I’ve got a meetup tonight, I’ve got to work late tomorrow night, which only leaves Thursday night to both get an enormous amount of study done for my Spanish test on Friday, and to get enough sleep that I’ll actually be in a fit state to sit the test. Plus I’ve got a Spanish essay due on Monday (which we only got given the topic for yesterday – grrr!) which I’ll have to try and write over the weekend, but I’m going down to Timaru on Saturday. Someone remind me again why I thought it was a good idea to do another language paper (which always require so much more work than other papers) this year when I’ve already done enough to satisfy the language requirement of my major?

Currently reading: I’m not sure if I can keep my eyes open long enough to read.

Or maybe not so alone after all

Well, we were able to relax in a visitor-free home for one night, anyway. I just got a phonecall from MrPloppy, who in turn had just had a phonecall from my brother, asking if he could stay at our place tonight. He’s passing through Christchurch on his way down south, and needs somewhere to sleep. Good thing we hadn’t put the camp stretchers away yet!