Another day, another meetup

Ok, I’ve decided that there can be such a thing as too many meetups. Although it was really nice to see everyone today, I was really too tired after yesterday to properly enjoy it. Plus the cafe was really crowded, so we all (me, lytteltonwitch, alkaline-kiwi and friend, otakuu and children, and awhina and the kitten) had to squeeze uncomfortably round a very small table, which also reduced the enjoyment factor.

Anyway, I released a book in the cafe (Out to Lunch by Tania Kindersley, which seemed appropriate), and passed on a couple I’d hurriedly registered this morning just to have something to take to the meetup (The Autograph Man by Zadie Smith and The Veiled One by Ruth Rendell), and lytteltonwitch gave me a couple of books she thought I might like to use for themed releases (Women’s Work by Anne Tolstoi Wallach and Twenty Treasure Chests).

And now I really must get on with my Spanish homework!

“Fire, police or ambulance?”

For the first time in my life, I made a 111 call last night. The neighbours across the street had been having a party (no, not the elderly couple with the nice garden, next door to them), and at about 1.30 am, once the music had finally died down a bit and we’d got to sleep, we were woken up by a woman screaming, followed by a lot of shouting. I admit my first thought was just irritation that I’d been woken up again, but as the shouting and screaming carried on, and I clearly heard a few shouts of “Leave her alone!” I started getting a bit worried.

I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t leap up and call the police straight away. I knew I should, but a lifetime of being told “Only call 111 if it’s a *real* emergency, otherwise you’re wasting the police’s time” (doesn’t help that my mother worked for the police, so I grew up hearing about all the stupid things people call 111 for) was making me second-guess myself, thinking maybe just a bit of shouting wasn’t bad enough to bother the police about and I’d just look stupid if I called them. Plus of course MrPloppy and I discussed the fact that all the neighbours must have heard the screaming, and surely *someone* would have called the police.

But in the end (probably only a minute or two after the screaming started, but it felt much longer), the guilt and worry got too much for me, and I started imagining the headlines the next day “Woman Murdered in Christchurch: Neighbours Ignore Screams” (remembering all to well the examples from my psyc textbook of people being assaulted in public and being ignored because everyone assumed someone else would be doing something about it), so I got up and rang 111.

New Zealand’s 111 system has been criticised in the past, but I was very impressed. The call was answered almost instantly (in less than one ring), and the voice on the other end was calm and clear. When I asked for the police, again there was less than one ring before it was picked up by another calm clear voice. I told her where I was and that there was screaming and shouting outside, and she said that an incident had already been logged (so someone else *did* do something about it!) and that a police car was on the way. A minute or so later the police obviously arrived, because everything went quiet outside (we’d gone back to bed by then – it was too cold to sit peering out the window being nosey). Which is very fast response time, given that it was Friday night (well, Saturday morning), a busy time for the police, and that we live in a (theoretically) quiet suburb, so it’s not like there would have been a police car patrolling the area.

So that was our big adventure for the night. Of course, now I’m totally shattered from lack of sleep, and I’ve got to get organised to go into town soon for a pre-booksale meetup…

Starting again

After all too short a break from study, Semester 2 has started, which means my next Spanish class has started. I feel like I’ve already forgotten everything I learnt for the exam, so I’ve been struggling a bit to keep up in class, but it’s slowly starting to come back to me. This semester is not going to be easy, though – I was looking at the course schedule, and the lecturer seems to be taking the concept of continuous assessment to an extreme:

21 July Composition due
24 July Quiz
4 August Quiz
7 August Major test
11 August Composition due
18 August Quiz
21 August – 1 September Mid-Semester Break (phew!)
8 September Composition due
13 September Quiz
15 September Major test
25 September Quiz
2 October Composition due
4 October Quiz
6 October Quiz
9-13 October Oral tests
4 November Final exam

Plus of course four classes every week, with homework every night. There’s not a lot of breathing time in that schedule! When I come to choose my papers for next year, someone please remind me I never want to do another language paper ever again!!! They’re just too much work.

We had a bookcrossing meetup on Tuesday night… well, sort of… it actually ended up being just me, MrPloppy and lytteltonwitch. It was a nice evening anyway (we went to Alva Rados, which is always a good start), but there wasn’t a lot of Bookcrossing done (I did give lytteltonwitch Blast from the Past by Ben Elton, but that was the only book that changed hands).

In other news, I’ve started a new embroidery project – or rather, re-started a very old project. Remember way back in January 2005 I mentioned that the next project I’d be working on would be a Santa’s Workshop advent calendar for my nephews? I kind of got distracted by kittens and topiary gardens instead, but the guilt has finally got to me, so I’ve started work on it again.

It has progressed a bit since that photo was taken – the calendar part now goes up to 18, and the red border has grown a bit (I’ve decided not to fall into the trap I did with the topiaries of leaving the worst bit to last, so I’m trying to concentrate on getting the boring border bit done first, and I’ll finish off the interesting picture part after that). I doubt somehow that I’ll manage to finish the whole thing by December – at this rate my nephews will be grown up by the time they get their calendar!

Currently reading: We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver


I’m really impressed with how it turned out. It needs to be stretched properly, of course, but I’ll leave that to the professionals when I get round to getting it framed (which could be a while, given the cost of framing!) – I’m not as brave (or skilled) as Kimi to attempt it myself.

Nearly there…

Just a bit (ok, quite a lot) of backstitch to go:

In other news, the other day I got a catch for a book I released over a year ago. I haven’t been doing a lot of releasing lately – a combination of lack of time, lack of motivation, and horrible weather – so I haven’t been getting a lot of catches either. So it’s nice to have an old book turn up out of the blue like this.

Currently reading: Theory of War by Joan Brady and Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer (borrowed from meerkitten, because I found the second book in the series, and of course can’t read it until I’ve read the first)

Oh, and Hi Smeagol! :-)

Walking, walking, walking

We ended up having quite an expedition this morning. I wanted to get the fusing web stuff for that patchwork project I was working on (that got laid aside when the Outlaws arrived), so we had intended to catch the bus to Hands (a fantastic craft shop that I avoid shopping in, because I tend to buy a lot more than I intended every time I go in there), then catch a bus from there up to Papanui to do some grocery shopping.

The easiest way to get to Hands from our place is not to catch our normal bus, but to walk up to Wairakei Road, which is about 10 minutes away, and catch the 17 from there. So we checked the timetable and set out about 15 minutes before the bus was due, to be sure to catch it. Of course, buses round here never seem to actually run to anything resembling their printed timetable, so just as we reached Wairakei Road, we saw the bus sail past, running early. And of course we were just too far from the bus-stop to be able to run for it. The next bus was half an hour away, so after looking at the map and working out that it probably wouldn’t take much longer than that to walk there anyway, we decided to start walking. It ended up being a very pleasant walk, because the sun was shining, and there was just enough chill in the air to make walking nice. And it was a lot shorter than we expected – it took us just under half an hour, and although we were following the bus route the whole way, the bus never passed us, so we got there faster than we would have if we’d waited for the bus.

Amazingly, at Hands they not only knew what I was talking about when I asked about the fusing web stuff in my usual vague way, but they actually had the exact stuff I needed, and (more amazingly) I managed to resist temptation and not buy anything else (although I did have a thorough browse of the shop, and was seriously tempted by a few things…).

The next phase of the plan was to walk over to Papanui Road, about 10 minutes walk away again, and catch a bus up to Northlands to get the groceries. But when we reached Papanui Road, we decided that as we’d walked this far, it seemed pointless to catch a bus for just the last little stretch (especially as we could actually see the Papanui shops off in the distance, so we knew they weren’t that far away) so we started walking again.

The walking turned out to be a good idea, because it meant we saw a couple of shops we might not have noticed if we’d just whizzed past them in the bus. One was a pet shop, which reminded us that the cats had shredded or lost all their catnip mice, so we went in to have a look for some replacements.

The remains of one of the previous batch of mice.

This pet shop had a huge range of cat toys, and catnip mice of all descriptions. And best of all, they had some of the same sort of mice that DianaCoats sent the cats earlier in the year, and which Ming went totally mad over, much more so than the catnip-infused ones. We’d never seen them anywhere else, so had assumed they were something that was only available in America. But here was a whole bucket of them! We bought a few of those, plus a couple of similar ones with long feathery tails that we thought would probably also appeal, and a few ordinary catnip mice.

The white ones are Ming’s favourites.

And then a bit further along the road, we came across a fabric shop, so I went in on the off-chance, still looking for some trim for my trousers. I didn’t expect to find anything, because I had something particular in mind and hadn’t been able to find exactly what I wanted anywhere, despite trying all over Christchurch. Anyway, I walked into this shop, went over to the shelves of trims and laces, and found exactly what I’d been looking for!

Once we were loaded down with groceries, we did give in and take the bus home, but it was a very pleasant walk over all, and turned out to be well worth it after those finds. And of course, I managed to release a couple of books while we were walking: A Simple Plan by Scott Smith and Beauty by Brian D’Amato.

Awhina is coming over for dinner tonight, so I’d better get on with actually preparing something, but first, a couple more gratuitous photos:

Progress report on the topiary garden. I’m almost finished with the really fiddly stuff!

Although it’s been a bit warmer during the day over the last few days, it’s still been bitterly cold at night. As soon as I lit the fire last night, Ming curled up as close to it as he could possibly get without actually sitting up on the hearth, and refused to move for the rest of the evening.

Currently reading: Theory of War by Joan Brady

You can never have too many DVDs

Well I survived having to work on my birthday, and I survived two days of being stuck on a not-very-interesting training course, and it’s finally the weekend. And my boss said that seeing as I missed out on having a holiday on Thursday and Friday, I can take Monday off instead. So at least I still get a long weekend (even if it’s not quite as long as originally planned – next week is going to be too busy at work for me to take two days off – I was incredibly lucky that the boss agreed to me taking even one day off!).

Other than the whole having to work thing, my birthday was ok. MrPloppy gave me a couple of Discworld books (Where’s My Cow? (which I’ve been wanting to get ever since I read Thud!, but haven’t been able to find a copy of) and The Last Hero (which I already had a copy of, but this is the new edition with extra pictures)), and a DVD of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. We were thinking of going out for dinner, but I was so tired after the training day that we just had a nice meal at home instead and watched Harry Potter, which was a pleasant way to end a birthday.

And just to add to the DVD count, we went to Borders this morning. I had some birthday money from various parental units burning a hole in my pocket, and Borders had a sale on – a fatal combination. We ended up getting series 2 and 3 of Red Dwarf, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the Tim Burton remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and (more for MrPloppy than for me, but I’ll watch it too) series 1 of Spooks. So the bookcase in the lounge now has quite a few less books in it and a few more DVDs – at this rate, the lounge is going to be a book-free zone. Oh, and I succumbed to temptation and bought Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk, even though I’d told myself I’d wait and see if I could get it second-hand or through Bookcrossing… So an expensive morning, but birthday money doesn’t count as real money, and should always be spent in an extravagant way… that’s my excuse, anyway :-)

Having had our fill of Borders, we wandered down Riccarton Road to the Ground Floor cafe (where Mothercat‘s son used to work, though I’m not sure if he still does, because I haven’t seen him there for ages) for the bookcrossing meetup (passing non-fiction on the way, who was just on his way into Borders (great minds think alike!) but promised to come along to the meetup after that). It turned into quite a big meetup – me, MrPloppy, non-fiction, lytteltonwitch, awhina and the kitten, and TheLetterB. Oh, and Ballycumber, of course. For the first time in ages, it was warm enough to sit outside (there was a cold breeze, but the Ground Floor has a nice sheltered courtyard, and the sun was nice and warm), so we sat in the sun, enjoyed good food, and shared good books – what nicer way to spend a Saturday?

I picked up Human Traces by Sebastian Faulks and Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman, and passed on Boating for Beginners by Jeanette Winterson, Grand Ambition by Lisa Michaels, The Third Day, The Frost by John Marsden, and Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen Mah. I didn’t find any takers for Dead Romance by Lawrence Miles or Idioglossia by Eleanor Bailey, so I left them on the table at the end of the meetup. Hopefully someone else will appreciate them.

Progress report on the last tree of the topiary garden:

It’s slow work, but it’s getting there (and with all these new DVDs to watch, I should have plenty of time sitting in front of the TV to work on it!).

Currently (re-)reading: Thud! by Terry Pratchett (well, I had to, now I’ve read Where’s My Cow?)