A bit of culcha

After Friday, I wanted a nice quiet weekend (especially because the next couple of weekends will probably feature a lot of studying, what with final exams coming up fast), so we borrowed a couple of DVDs and spent most of yesterday watching them. One was Midnight Cowboy, which I’ve seen a couple of times now, but which still makes me cry at the end, and the other was Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, a TV series that was shown in the UK just after we left there, and which I’d been wanting to see for ages. It was really good – the set and costume design was a bit much like a bad 80s music video in places, but the story was a really interesting idea, and pretty well executed. While watching, I added a bit more to my topiary cross-stitch (though not all that much, because I kept getting caught up in what I was watching):

Today was originally planned to be more of the same (well, not the same DVDs, of course!), but Marcie130 posted a message on the BCNZ Yahoo group about a concert being held in Merivale today and suggesting we might like to come along. That then metamorphised into “why don’t we meet up for lunch beforehand”, so we planned to meet at the Robert Harris cafe in the Northlands Mall. Lytteltonwitch offered to give me a lift, so we headed over there just before 12, and wandered around the mall looking lost for a bit before we finally spotted a Robert Harris sign. There was no sign of any other bookcrossers in the cafe, but we thought they must be just running late, and got ourselves a table and proceeded to cover it in books. Time passed, we had lunch, and still no sign of any bookcrossers… though we did manage to convert a couple of passers-by – as I was piling the books I’d brought onto the table, a woman walking past said “Are you setting up a bookstall?” Of course, I had to explain Bookcrossing then, and she was really interested in the idea. She and her friend ended up taking a couple of the books I’d brought (Throwaway Daughter by Ting-Xing Ye and Too Close to the Falls by Catherine Gildiner), and went away excitedly chattering about books they had that they could give away. I don’t know whether they’ll actually journal the books (they seemed a bit doubtful about using the internet), but at least I made their day by giving them free books.

Eventually, after we’d been there an hour, we decided they obviously weren’t coming, so we might as well leave – we’d probably catch up with them at the concert anyway. So we released a few books in the mall (I left Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon and A Certain Justice by John Lescroart, the latter of which has already been caught!) and then went off in search of fabric shops to find some trim I want to add to a pair of trousers I’ve got that need brightening up a bit. That turned out to be another fruitless search, because every shop we tried was closed (makes me realised how spoilt the big malls have made me – there was a time when I wouldn’t have even thought of going shopping on a Sunday afternoon, now I just assume everything will always be open, and feel put out when shops dare to be shut), so we went down to Merivale to the concert venue. We were a bit early, so we sat in the lobby reading, where we were spotted by TheLetterB, who was clutching a bookcrossing-labelled book, and asked us “Are you bookcrossers?”. It turned out she’d tried to meet us at Northlands for lunch, but was waiting in the other Robert Harris cafe! (How were we supposed to know there were two???) We were later joined by Marcie130 and MrMarcie, so despite all the confusion we did at least manage to get together in the end.

The concert was wonderful – half the programme was the Garden City Symphony Orchestra, and the other half was Schola Cantorum, a small choir that specialises in plainchant and Medieval and Renaissance music. Both were really good. The orchestra did Dvorak’s Slavonic Dance Op. 46 No. 8 (no, none of that stuff means anything to me either, I’m just copying it from the programme (although I did recognise the tune when I heard it). But I’m sure my more musical readers are going “Ah, yes, Op. 46 No. 8, that’s a good one”), Mozart’s Minuet and Presto from Divertimento K252, Schumann’s Song to Sunshine, J. Strauss’s Thunder and Lightning Polka, Ketelbey’s In a Persian Market, Handel’s Largo, a different J. Strauss’s Feurerfest Polka, and a selection from My Fair Lady. The choir started with a plainchant (Ave Maria gratia plena from the 9th or 10th century, and then worked their way up through the centuries (13th century Alle Psallite Alleluia, GP de Palestrina’s Sicut cervus, TL de Victoria’s Ave Maria, Thomas Morley’s April is in my mistress’ face, Michael Praetorius’s Psallite, unigenito, Melchior Franck’s Da pacem, Domine, 16th century Joseph! Was da?) to the “much more modern” (as the conductor put it) 17th Century Crucifixus by Antonio Lotti.

After the concert, we decided to try again for a meetup, so went for coffee at a cafe in Merivale. Many books changed hands (I passed on The Cat Who Saw Stars and The Cat Who Robbed a Bank by Lilian Jackson Braun, Royal Flash by George MacDonald Fraser, the audiobook of Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business by Dolly Parton, What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage, Secrets of the Jury Room by Malcolm Knox, and Julie and Julia by Julie Powell, and picked up Blast from the Past by Ben Elton), and we ended up sitting chatting for a couple of hours. It was TheLetterB’s first meetup, and Marcie130 doesn’t make it to many meetups, so it was great to have a different group than the usual suspects (not that there’s anything wrong with the usual suspects, but new people are always good!). I only had one book left of all the pile I’d brought to release, The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas, so I left it on the table when we left the cafe.

Afterwards, Lytteltonwitch dropped me off at home, and ended up staying for dinner, so that I could help her customise the diary she’s set up for Ballycumber (DearDiary’s customisation system is still totally incomprehensible, so rather than struggle through trying to work out what setting changes what, I suggested she just copy my settings to turn Bally’s diary into a nice Bookcrossing yellow instead of sickly default green. So we had my diary open on one computer and hers on the other, and went through each screen comparing settings until all the green was gone). Bally did have his own BCID and journal entries at Bookcrossing, but the powers that be there have asked people to stop using BCIDs for non-books, so even though Bally is kind of a book (he’s book-shaped, anyway…), lytteltonwitch decided it was probably best to move the story of his adventures over here.

There was another catch waiting for me when I got home, as well as the one I released today: The Rector’s Wife by Joanna Trollope, which I released in Oamaru, somehow made its way down to Dunedin, where rarsberry found it.

Currently reading: The Third Day, the Frost by John Marsden