A weekend in Wellington

I had to be in Wellington for work on Monday and Tuesday, so I decided to take advantage of the free flights and go up a couple of days early so I could have a weekend’s holiday. When I mentioned this plan to Sherlockfan, asking her if she’d be interested in meeting up sometime over the weekend, she immediately invited me to stay at her place instead of at the backpackers’. Which was a much nicer plan!

So, bright and early on Saturday morning I headed to the airport, and not much later, with only a slightly bumpy landing (the wind was behind us, which is one of the least scary ways to land at Wellington airport), I was in the North Island. We’d arrived a bit early because of the tailwind, so there was no sign of Sherlockfan or MrFan, who’d promised to pick me up at the airport. I went down to the baggage claim, and had just picked up my bag when I saw them come in and head upstairs to the arrival lounge. Do you know how hard it is to chase someone up an escalator while carrying a bag full of books? :-)

Once we’d managed to find each other, they drove me into town via the scenic route around the bays. I’d only been to Wellington a couple of times before, so it was wonderful to get to see a bit more of it, and even more wonderful to have Sherlockfan giving directions to MrFan to stop at every bus shelter and phone box along the way so that I could release books! Some of the stops were in lovely scenic spots, so I got some great release photos.

Robocop by Ed Naha
Go Ask Alice by anon.
Cast a Cold Eye by Alan Ryan
Gravity by Tess Gerritsen
Goodbye, I Love You by Carol Lynn Pearson
The Last Innocent Man by Philip Margolin
Hunters of the Dusk by Darren Shan

After a quick stop in town so I could buy my new MP3 player (I’d been searching on-line for a particular model that was being discontinued, and discovered there was one in the Dick Smith in Manners Street – unfortunately it turned out their website was out of date and they didn’t have one left after all, but they did have something similar with the particular features I wanted (although, of course, slightly more expensive…)), we dropped off my bag at the Fans’ house and headed off again, this time round the other side of Wellington, through Happy Valley (where someone has covered the roadside with strange sculptures made of boulders and scrap metal) to Owhiro Bay (from where you can see the South Island – so, as I’ve seen the North Island from Farewell Spit, I can now say I’ve seen each island while standing on the other). We had lunch there in a very nice cafe called The Bach (it looked a bit like a bach, too, with mismatched furniture (our table was made out of an old door!) and generally looking like it had been built out of whatever materials were lying around), where I released The Purple Quest by Frank Slaughter. As we were leaving, I looked back at the table where I’d left it, and one of the people who’d sat down as soon as we’d vacated it had picked up the book and by the look of it was already deep into reading it! No journal entry yet, but I’m hopeful.

After lunch the Fans dropped me off at Te Papa, so I could have a wander round it on my own (last time I was there I was with MrPloppy, which was fun, but when you’re in a museum with someone else you always make compromises about what you want to stop and look at more closely, so it was nice to look at my own pace this time). I knew I wouldn’t have time to do it justice, so I just wandered randomly through the museum with no particular plan, stopping to look at whatever caught my eye. It meant I missed huge areas completely, but I saw loads of interesting things, and really enjoyed the few hours I spent there. And of course, I released a book – Lord Edgeware Dies by Agatha Christie, which I left in a secluded corner of the rooftop sculpture court.

That evening, we went out to Lower Hutt (? I think – despite the Fans doing their best to tell me everywhere we went, I lost track a few times) to discoverylover‘s 21st party. I hadn’t been organised enough to get her a real present, so I took her a book (of course!) that I thought she might like: Fatal Voyage by Kathy Reichs. I had met Discoverylover before, last time I was in Wellington, but I obviously didn’t make much of an impression – first of all she called me rarsberry, then she thought I was from Dunedin, and finally she told her assorted family and friends that this was the first time we’d met! :-)

The weather on Saturday had been wonderful, but on Sunday I woke to hear rain and wind outside. Sherlockfan and I headed out into the wild weather anyway, first to the Botanic Gardens (I wanted to visit the Carter Observatory to release Observatory by Emily Grayson) and then to the Museum of City and Sea on the waterfront, where Sherlockfan showed me an amazing display that used a combination of real objects and hologram projections to tell Maori legends local to the area. Another display that amused us had a mechanical rat running along the beams of a recreated warehouse, watched by a tail-twitching cat. The only trouble was, once the rat had run along the beam, it would return to its starting place, running backwards! They have clever rats in Wellington :-)

I signed the visitors’ book (and released The Legend Makers by Catherine Lanigan next to it – it’s since been caught, so far my only catch of the weekend), and then we headed to Mac’s Brewery, where we were to meet the other Wellington bookcrossers for lunch. Discoverylover was obviously sleeping off the party, but edwardstreet (who *did* remember me!) and jennannej came along, and we had a great meetup, swapping books (Big Fish by Daniel Wallace, The Cat Who Came to Breakfast by Lilian Jackson Braun, Earth-Race by Tom Keene, African Child by Camara Laye, Skeleton in the Clock by Carter Dickson) and discussing plans for the upcoming convention.

Our piles of books attracted the attention of some people at the next table, so we invited them to take some books and explained bookcrossing to them. They took a few, including one of mine (Super Man by Robert Heller), and were suitably enthusiastic about the idea, but I’m not sure how much of that enthusiasm was attributable to the amount they’d been drinking :-) One of them (who was from Auckland) promised to send a box of books down to Sherlockfan for the convention, so it will be interesting to see if he follows through…

I tried leaving Venus in India by Charles Deveraux behind on our table when we left the brewery, but one of the bar staff spotted it and ran after us to tell us we’d forgotten our book. Of course, I told him I didn’t want it any more and he could keep it. He didn’t look very keen, but put the book behind the bar, so maybe another staff member will take an interest in it someday.

The weather had cleared a little by now (although it was still incredibly windy), so Sherlockfan and I wandered along the waterfront a bit so I could release a few more books (Government by B Traven and Internal Affairs by Jill Tweedie – two titles particularly appropriate for release in Wellington, I thought :-) – and The Quiller Memorandum by Adam Hall).

That evening we headed out of town again (to Upper Hutt this time I think?) to DaughterFan’s house for dinner. I’d “met” DaughterFan when Sherlockfan was ill in France and DaughterFan was keeping her bookcrossing friends updated with her progress via LiveJournal, so it was great to get to meet her in person. The rest of the Fan family were lovely too, and we had a fabulous meal of slow-roasted lamb shanks – seriously tasty!

Back at Sherlockfan’s house, I added a few books to the convention box (Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise by David Feldman, Subspace Explorers by EE Doc Smith, The Body Artist by Don De Lillo, The Cat Who Said Cheese by Lilian Jackson Braun)… and took a couple out (Small Change by J Belinda Yandell and The Christmas Train by David Baldacci), and finally remembered I had a book in my bag for her from lytteltonwitch, Paper Nautilus by Nicholas Jose. Then it was time to pack up ready for the morning, when I’d be leaving the friendly hospitality of the Fans behind for the anonymity of a hotel room and two full days of meetings :-(

In the morning, Sherlockfan had a doctor’s appointment, so MrFan dropped her at the hospital (where she realised she hadn’t brought a book for while she was in the waiting room, so I gave her The Hippopotamus by Stephen Fry, which I’d just finished reading), then dropped me off at my hotel, and my holiday was officially over. The rest is silence work.

Going home the long way

So that explains why, true to our usual long detour form, we drove from Mt Cook to Christchurch via Central Otago :-)

The next morning, after a breakfast of farm-cured bacon (I like visiting Dad, he’s got lots of farmer friends who give him good meat!), and searching the garage for a large piece of bright yellow snow-foam (the purpose of which will be made clear in good time…), we set out for home, taking the back way through the Pig Route and enjoying a slow trip with lots of book releasing along the way: Stowaway to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron in Omakau, Backtrack by Joseph Hansen in Oturehua, The Later Adventures of Tom Jones by Bob Coleman in Wedderburn, Eleni by Nicholas Gage, Of the Farm by John Updike, and The Winged Man by Moyra Caldecott on the shoe fence, The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams and The Potato Factory by Bryce Courtenay in Ranfurly, The Cats by Joan Phipson in Palmerston (by the cat statue, of course!), The Paradise Tree by Diana L Paxson in Maheno (in a tree in the churchyard), It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It by Robert Fulghum (at the fire station) and To Play the Fool by Laurie R King in Oamaru, and Zorn by Jonah Jones in Arowhenua.

The weekend may not have gone entirely according to plan, but we had a lot of fun and a lot of adventures anyway, so I reckon it counts as a highly successful weekend :-)

More Mount Cookiness

After a restless night in an uncomfortable bed in a stuffy hot room filled with creaking bunks and too many people (including a loud snorer in the bunk above mine), I got up at first light and encountered an equally sleepless lytteltonwitch in the bathroom. We decided to try and get some internet time while it was quiet, so (after waking MrPloppy for long enough to tell him where we were) we headed for the TV/internet lounge, where we also found the hostel’s bookshelf, mostly full of books in foreign languages. The internet connection turned out to be impossibly slow, so after printing off a few more pre-numbered labels, we set to labelling all the books in the bookshelf:

We added otakuu‘s books that we’d labelled the night before to the shelf, plus a German book I’d brought up with me, Pizza Face by Ken Siman.

When MrPloppy got up, we decided to ignore the rain and walk up to the information centre, next door to which according to the research I’d done on the internet before leaving Christchurch, there was a cafe that was open for breakfast. The walk was a lot further than we’d expected (Mt Cook may be a small village but it’s very spread out), and the rain was heavier, so by the time we got there we were wet and cold and tired (and limping slightly in my case, with my muscles still stiff from my fall of the previous day), and not at all impressed to find out the cafe was closed. We went into the information centre, where they told us the only place to get breakfast was the Hermitage, and that the forecast was now for heavy rain for the rest of the weekend.

Suddenly the prospect of a weekend spent stuck in a crowded hostel (we’d discovered last night that the lounge areas were nowhere near big enough for the number of people staying there) full of wet, bored people, with the rain too heavy to go for any decent walks (which is really the only thing to do at Mt Cook) and our only options for eating being the expensive Hermitage or driving all the way down to Twizel, was not looking quite so tempting. We decided to have breakfast before we made any rash decisions, so lytteltonwitch bravely volunteered to trek back through the rain to get her car (and some more books :-)), leaving me and MrPloppy to explore the wonders of the information centre (the highlights were a possum on a stick and a display about when the top fell off Mt Cook, with before, during, and after photos, the “during” photo of which had (because of course nobody happened to be standing around watching the mountain when the landslide happened) been photoshopped in a highly convincing way (not!) by pasting a picture of an avalanche on the top of the before photo :-)).

Lytteltonwitch came back and we went up to the Hermitage, and found the cheapest of their three restaurants (they still charged us $9 each for tea and toast, though!!! And it was self-service with tea out of a machine!!!) to have breakfast and discuss our plans. We considered just giving up and heading back to Christchurch, but it seemed such a waste of a long weekend. So I suggested that, as we were already half way to Central Otago, we just carry on over the Lindis to Alexandra. I rang Mum, but they were away for the weekend, so I tried Dad instead, and we made arrangements to stay the night in Omakau.

So we dropped off a few more books at the OBCZ (we didn’t buy a drink this time – quite apart from the fact that it was still early in the morning, we decided the Hermitage had already had more than enough of our money!):

then picked up the rest of our gear from the YHA (and discovered we were 20 minutes too late to get a refund on our booking for the second night, but by that time we were so sick of the place we just wanted to get away, so didn’t bother to argue), and got on the road, stopping off at Omarama for a more substantial (and much cheaper!) second breakfast (and to release a few more books: A Quiche Before Dying by Jill Churchill and Something’s Cooking by Joanne Pence).

Dad was out when we got to Omakau, but he’d told me where to find the spare key, so we let ourselves in and spent the rest of the day enjoying the luxuries of warm showers, a comfortable lounge to relax in, proper internet, and most of all, peace and quiet! Oh, and a very nice roast dinner when Dad and Stepmother got home :-)

Continuing the Mt Cook saga

(Ok, so it took a while to get back to it, but here’s the rest of the story of our Mt Cook adventure…)

As we left the main highway and headed up the road to Mt Cook the mountains got higher (well, steeper – we couldn’t see the tops of them in the clouds, so we just guessed they were getting higher as well :-)) and the rain got heavier. But we were still pinning our hopes on it clearing up the next day. Finally we arrived at the village, and found the YHA. It was bucketing down by now, so we grabbed bags and ran for the door… and running up the ramp I slipped on the anti-skid matting (!) and did the most spectacular flip – my feet flew out from under me and into the air, and I crashed heavily onto the ground.

As I flew through the air time seemed to slow down, so that I had plenty of time to realise what had happened, that I couldn’t stop it happening, that I was probably going to hurt myself badly when I landed, and that anything I did at that point to try and break my fall would just make it worse. So I just let myself fall, and that turned out to be exactly the right thing to do, because amazingly I was pretty much unhurt! I was badly winded, and had a wee bit of bruising on my elbow and hip where I landed, but otherwise I was fine. Obviously in accepting my fate I’d unconsciously relaxed my muscles, which is the best possible way to take a fall.

While I lay there in the rain for a few seconds, trying to get my breath back and doing a mental check to see what was broken (and not really believing nothing was), everybody came running (including someone from inside the building, who’d seen me through the glass door), also thinking I must have seriously hurt myself. It took a while to convince them (and myself!) that I really was fine.

The next drama was trying to get checked in. Although we’d asked to all be put in the same dorm room, they’d mucked up the booking and split us between two rooms. That was ok, but they’d put me and lytteltonwitch together, and MrPloppy on his own. It was the first time MrPloppy had stayed in a backpackers’, and I could see the idea of being left on his own in a dorm full of strangers was about to send him into a panic, so I asked if he and lytteltonwitch could swap so he’d be in the same dorm as me. Lytteltonwitch didn’t mind, and they were both mixed dorms, so it shouldn’t have been a problem, but for some reason the woman checking us in just couldn’t get her head round the idea – she kept telling us we couldn’t swap, because there were no spare beds in the rooms. In the end we just gave up trying to explain it to her, accepted the keys she gave us, and then MrPloppy and lytteltonwitch swapped keys :-)

Our main aim in coming to Mt Cook was to check out the Official Bookcrossing Zone at the Hermitage, so after unpacking the car we headed up there to check it out. The bookshelf turned out to be in the bar, so we thought we’d better order a drink to give us an excuse to be there. And it was definitely only going to be one drink – two glasses of house wine and a glass of orange cost $20!!! I felt seriously out of place standing at the bar in my scruffy clothes while next to me an immaculately dressed elderly American woman with an accent straight out of an F Scott Fitzgerald novel ordered a cosmopolitan and explained to the bartender that her daddy had taught her to always lay the straws across the top of the glass to stop the drink spilling as she walked back to her seat.

The bookshelf was worth checking out – not so much for the books, which were the usual random selection you get in any book exchange shelf, but for the setting: a secluded corner of the bar was set up like a private library, with leather wingback armchairs, ceiling-height bookshelves (housing, as well as the OBCZ, old ledgers containing years of guest registers – fascinating to look through!) and a leather-topped desk. We spent a long time there nursing our expensive drinks and enjoying the atmosphere. We of course added a few of our own books to the OBCZ (Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Høeg, Hinds’ Feet in High Places by Hannah Hurnard, Meeting the Americans by Yolanda Drummond, and The Twist by Richard Calder), and picked up a few for ourselves (I took You’ve Got Guts, Kenny Melrose by Shirley Corlett).

The toilets were another must-see at the Hermitage – well, not so much the toilets as the sinks. Instead of a line of basins as there usually is in a public toilet, there was just a long slab of flat marble with a row of taps suspended above it. It looked like turning on a tap was sure to flood the room, but when you did turn one on (well, waved your hand at it – they were all movement sensitive, of course – nothing so primitive as an actual tap to turn!) you discovered that the slab was angled backwards just enough so that the water flowed off it into a small channel at the back and drained away. It looked spectacular, and was probably very practical as well – just one big flat surface to clean instead of individual basins.

We looked longingly at the restaurant’s buffet for dinner, but decided that would have to wait until we won lotto, and we headed back to the YHA to cook our own dinner. Lytteltonwitch had brought some meat and veges, and we’d brought some rice risotto mix and nibbly bits, and the plan was that we’d cook something for ourselves the first night and then the next night see if we could find somewhere (other than the Hermitage!) to eat out. Of course, we hadn’t counted on how full the hostel would be, so the kitchen was totally packed, and we had to wait for a couple of hours before we could claim ourselves a bit of space to prepare dinner. But we made good use of the wait (while nibbling on cheese and crackers) to label up some of the unregistered books Otakuu had given us to release (I’d brought a couple of sheets of pre-numbered labels with me):

Rain and more rain

On Thursday night the weather forecast wasn’t looking good for Friday, with heavy rain predicted in the mountains, but the rest of the weekend looked ok, so we were up bright and early on Friday morning ready for our adventure. Lytteltonwitch arrived just after 8 (wearing an identical black bookcrossing t-shirt to me! I couldn’t be bothered getting changed, so we decided we’d just have to be the Bookcrossing Twins for the day), and after a bit of mucking around while MrPloppy and I tried to get cats out from under the bed (Saffy’s still not talking to me after I resorted to the drag-by-scruff-of-the-neck technique) and into the kitchen (where they’d be spending the weekend with several large bowls of food and water), we headed south.

We’re developing a bit of a regular pattern on our trips south: first stop is always at Rolleston for petrol, with a book or two released in the petrol station (we often get good catches from there, for some reason – on this trip I released Jennifer Fever by Barbara Gordon, which has already been caught); then a stop at Dunsandel to release a book in the information shelter (A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving); then another release stop at Rakaia, at the giant fish (The Tortoise Shell by Fanny Frewen). We spent a while at Rakaia while lytteltonwitch searched for a geocache, but it was too well hidden, so no luck. We thought we were going to see a catch as we were leaving Rakaia, because a bus load of people pulled up and some of them started setting up a picnic on the table where we’d left a book, but they just moved it out the way without showing any interest at all.

Lytteltonwitch had another geocache to check out in Ashburton, and this one we found easily (well, she and MrPloppy did – I wasn’t too keen on sticking my hand into dark, potentially spider-infested places to look for it, and anyway, I was more interested in the monument in the middle of the park we were in, which said that it had once been a cemetery where early settlers were buried (and presumably still are) – I wonder how many people who use the park realise they’re walking over unmarked graves?). I released Firebird by Janice Graham in a tree.

By Temuka the rain had started, and it quickly became too wet to want to stop to release books or hunt for geocaches. So we carried on to Waimate to visit otakuu. Of course, most people wouldn’t consider Waimate to be on the way to Mt Cook, but when have we ever taken the most direct route to anywhere on a bookcrossing expedition? 😉 And anyway, she had some books for us that she wanted released at the Hermitage. So a cup of tea stop at otakuu’s it was.

By the time we left otakuu’s, it was nearly lunchtime, so we decided to have lunch in Waimate, and stopped at the first cafe we spotted, the Savoy Tearooms. We walked in the door, and it was like going through a time warp! I remember going to this sort of tearooms with my Granny about 30 years ago – wood panelling, picture of the (very young) Queen on the wall, plain wooden rectangular tables and chairs laid out in regimental rows, upright piano in the corner, and a cabinet full of all the Kiwi delights you never see in city cafes any more: lamingtons, belgium biscuits, cream buns… the only concession to the 21st century was an espresso machine lurking on the end of the counter. And it wasn’t as if this was a contrived attempt at retro kitsch – it was all utterly genuine. It was obvious that they’d found a formula that worked somewhere back in the 1950s, and saw no reason to change it. The best thing of all was that the prices were similarly retro: the special of the day was a roast lamb dinner for $8!!! Needless to say, we all had lamb for lunch, and it was wonderful – tasty tender meat that was obviously farm-killed (nothing that’s been through an abattoir could ever taste that good), roast potatoes and pumpkin, mashed potatoes, cabbage, carrots, thick gravy… I think every trip to Dunedin from now on will involve a side-trip to Waimate!

Of course, I had to leave a book there. Next time I’ll have to take a suitable book for a themed release (I’m thinking something by a NZ author and set somewhere in the 1950s-70s – maybe a Janet Frame?), but this trip I just had to settle for a random book out of the release box: The Tomb of Reeds by Sarah Baylis.

Stuffed to the gills with lamb, we headed up the back road to Kurow (where we stopped for a loo break and I released The Electric Crocodile by DG Compton) and then along the string of dams up into the high country. At Avimore there was a roadblock (we found out later there’d been a fatal car crash, so they’d blocked the road for several hours) where we were directed across the dam and up the other side of the lake to Benmore. As we crawled slowly along the road (it’s a very narrow road, the rain was very heavy, so most of the diverted traffic was moving slowly, apart from the odd idiots taking stupid risks to overtake), I suddenly recognised the area as being where we went for a camping trip many many years ago (I think I would have been about 8 at the time) – this was the first time I’d been back along that road ever since. Brought back a lot of memories! (Mainly of my best friend of the time seeing how far she could push me out into the lake on a lilo, and then getting scared and swimming back, leaving me stranded because I couldn’t swim!)

At Twizel, we stopped for petrol, and got a shock when the attendant called me by name and then asked “have you been releasing books around the town again?” It took me a few seconds to realise that he’d read my name off my credit card when I paid for the petrol, and that he’d obviously recognised the bookcrossing logo on our t-shirts. He told us he’d found a bookcrossing book in Twizel a few weeks ago, but we said it wasn’t us that released it, because we hadn’t been to Twizel for a year. I didn’t mention the fact that I’d just left Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig on a display stand as I walked into the petrol station…

To be continued… (probably after I get back from Wellington)

The Big MM

I was registering books last night in preparation for our Mt Cook expedition, and hit a major Bookcrossing milestone: I’ve now registered TWO THOUSAND books! If I’d realised sooner that I was approaching such a significant number, I would have gone and bought a really special book to be my 2000th book (my 1000th was The Salmon of Doubt by Douglas Adams), but luckily I managed to find something reasonably special in my To Be Registered box: The Hippopotamus by Stephen Fry. Once I’ve read it myself, I’ll probably bookring it or something to mark the occasion.

I’ve got no idea how I managed to get to such a high registration count (although it’s not *that* high when you compare it to someone like lytteltonwitch‘s – she’s registered over 6,000 books and released 5,000 – and even she pales in comparison to pjlareau, who’s up over 25,000!!!), but 50c and 20c booksale tables have certainly contributed in a big way. Even at those prices, and with considerable donations of books from friends and family, I shudder to think how much I must have spent on bookcrossing over the last few years – but then again, I’ve probably spent a lot more over the years on other hobbies that have given me a lot less enjoyment. That’s how I justify it to myself, anyway :-)

Must be time to buy some more books…

It must be Cup Day

On one of the cold and miserable days last week, I overheard someone say “At least it’s sure to be hot next Tuesday, it’s Cup Day.” Normally I would have dismissed that as pure superstition, but it’s true – no matter how bad the weather has been, the second Tuesday in November is always a hot and windy day in Christchurch, because that’s the day everyone puts on their finery and heads out to the racecourse for the Trotting Cup. There’s always a nor’wester on Cup Day, blowing the posh hats off the Merivale ladies and drying everyone out so the alcohol consumption is even higher than the excess a day at the races would normally justify. And despite the bitter southerly blowing last night, the weather has done its thing again this year: it’s a bit muggier than usual for a Cup Day, but the nor’wester is out in force, and it’s hot – walking to work this morning at 7.30am already felt like being in a blast furnace: the wind was almost burningly hot, and the sun, despite the veil of clouds, felt fierce – I was drenched with sweat by the time I got to work. It’s going to be so much worse by the time the races start this afternoon – I bet St Johns Ambulance will be working overtime treating heat exhaustion and alcohol poisoning.

I’m so glad I’m not spending today standing around outside watching races!



The games evening on Saturday night was a success: two of the people from MrPloppy‘s group turned up, plus lytteltonwitch, so we had enough of us to play Pictionary properly, after the hilarities of which we decided we needed a quieter game, so we played Carcassone. As always, we had far too much food, but we managed to work our way through a lot of it :-)



On Sunday, we had an impromptu meetup because KomradRikardo was in Christchurch. He’d contacted lytteltonwitch, so she arranged a meetup, but because of the late notice there was just a small turnout – only the three of us and awhina. But we had a nice lunch anyway, and a good chat, and for once I managed not to come home with more books than I’d gone with. I passed on Miss Garnet’s Angel by Sally Vickers, Altar Ego by Kathy Lette, and The Cat Who Played Post Office by Lilian Jackson Braun.



Show Day this Friday, otherwise known as Canterbury Anniversary Day, the day when traditionally all of rural Canterbury descend on Christchurch for the A&P Show, and the population of Christchurch respond by leaving town for the long weekend. So lytteltonwitch, MrPloppy and I have decided to go on a little bookcrossing expedition up to Mt Cook. I’ve never actually been up to the township itself, so I’m looking forward to it. Of course, a bookcrossing expedition means I have to do a lot of registering and labelling of books before Friday!



Currently reading: Paper Nautilus by Nicholas Jose and listening to Bodily Harm by Margaret Atwood (library audiobook)

Secret project report

So, can you guess what it is yet? :-)

I’m quite pleased with the background pattern now that there’s more of it visible. I was a bit disappointed with it at first, because it was supposed to subtly reinforce the octagon theme, but once I’d started stitching I realised that you couldn’t really tell they were octagons unless you looked really really carefully (in the sample I’d stitched while I was designing it, using a different sort of variegated thread, they showed up more obviously, but I didn’t have enough of that thread to carry on using it, and anyway the colours weren’t what I wanted). So I’d resigned myself to the background just being made up of meaningless swirly things. But now that I’ve stitched a bigger area, although the swirly things still don’t look like octagons, it’s occurred to me that they do look a bit like roses, which seems very appropriate for a wedding sampler.

Eleventh of the Eleventh

I may have finished with my study for the year, but work has not slowed down; in fact I think it’s got even busier. Summer is theoretically our quiet time of year, but in reality it’s the time when everyone says “you’re not busy at the moment, so could you…” Oh well, at least I’m not bored!



I had been looking forward to spending last night listening to Radio Shropshire‘s Bookcrossing update, because I’ve missed it for the last few weeks, but I got a phone call from the Gwilks yesterday inviting me to go with them to a games evening in Shirley. I almost said no, but I’ve kind of been wanting to be invited to one of the Shirley evenings (which seem to be the “inner circle” of the games playing group), so I decided to grab the chance – Radio Shropshire can survive without me for another week.

It was a fun evening, anyway. There were a lot more people there than at the other games evenings I’ve been to (enough that there were generally three games going at any one time), and I was introduced to a few new games, plus got to have another go at some more familiar ones. I’ve decided I’m better at most of these games when I don’t really know how to play them – once I’ve had a couple of goes and think I understand how they work, I start getting clever and trying to use strategy, and that’s when I normally lose miserably. When I’ve got no idea what I’m doing and just depending on blind luck I do much better :-)

We’re having our own mini games evening tonight. MrPloppy has invited a few people from his group (not sure how many of them will actually turn up, of course), and I invited lytteltonwitch and awhina – awhina just rang to say she can’t make it after all, but hopefully there’ll still be enough of us to play a game or two.

And I think tomorrow we’re having a meetup for a visiting bookcrosser (lytteltonwitch has arranged it, so I’ll have to find out the details from her tonight), so it’s turning into quite a social weekend, really!



The weather has been weird lately, icy rain one minute and hot nor’wester the next (it’s doing the latter right now), so my vague plans of getting out and releasing some books once my exam was out the way haven’t come to fruition yet. I did release a couple at the university the other day, though – someone had obviously been cleaning out their office, because a big pile of books had been left outside the English department for people to take, so (as well as grabbing a couple that looked interesting) I added to the pile: Pagan in Exile by Catherine Jinks and Six Plays by Lillian Hellman. After getting a catch from there the other day, I’ve got high hopes of them…



I forgot in my account of Tuesday’s meetup to mention the most significant event of the evening: the release of the cheat book! Lytteltonwitch and I decided that the joke had finally outlived its amusement factor (the number of people wanting to journal it has steadily decreased with each convention it’s been to, and lytteltonwitch reported that at Adelaide most people seemed bored by the idea), so we ceremoniously presented it back to awhina to do with what she would. She promptly released it in a hidden spot in Cafe Bleu, where it’s unlikely to be found for some time. Goodbye, faithful cheat book! You’ve served us well for many years – enjoy your retirement!



Currently reading: A Sudden Wild Magic by Diana Wynne Jones (library book)

Eleventh of the Eleventh

I may have finished with my study for the year, but work has not slowed down; in fact I think it’s got even busier. Summer is theoretically our quiet time of year, but in reality it’s the time when everyone says “you’re not busy at the moment, so could you…” Oh well, at least I’m not bored!



I had been looking forward to spending last night listening to Radio Shropshire‘s Bookcrossing update, because I’ve missed it for the last few weeks, but I got a phone call from the Gwilks yesterday inviting me to go with them to a games evening in Shirley. I almost said no, but I’ve kind of been wanting to be invited to one of the Shirley evenings (which seem to be the “inner circle” of the games playing group), so I decided to grab the chance – Radio Shropshire can survive without me for another week.

It was a fun evening, anyway. There were a lot more people there than at the other games evenings I’ve been to (enough that there were generally three games going at any one time), and I was introduced to a few new games, plus got to have another go at some more familiar ones. I’ve decided I’m better at most of these games when I don’t really know how to play them – once I’ve had a couple of goes and think I understand how they work, I start getting clever and trying to use strategy, and that’s when I normally lose miserably. When I’ve got no idea what I’m doing and just depending on blind luck I do much better :-)

We’re having our own mini games evening tonight. MrPloppy has invited a few people from his group (not sure how many of them will actually turn up, of course), and I invited lytteltonwitch and awhina – awhina just rang to say she can’t make it after all, but hopefully there’ll still be enough of us to play a game or two.

And I think tomorrow we’re having a meetup for a visiting bookcrosser (lytteltonwitch has arranged it, so I’ll have to find out the details from her tonight), so it’s turning into quite a social weekend, really!



The weather has been weird lately, icy rain one minute and hot nor’wester the next (it’s doing the latter right now), so my vague plans of getting out and releasing some books once my exam was out the way haven’t come to fruition yet. I did release a couple at the university the other day, though – someone had obviously been cleaning out their office, because a big pile of books had been left outside the English department for people to take, so (as well as grabbing a couple that looked interesting) I added to the pile: Pagan in Exile by Catherine Jinks and Six Plays by Lillian Hellman. After getting a catch from there the other day, I’ve got high hopes of them…



I forgot in my account of Tuesday’s meetup to mention the most significant event of the evening: the release of the cheat book! Lytteltonwitch and I decided that the joke had finally outlived its amusement factor (the number of people wanting to journal it has steadily decreased with each convention it’s been to, and lytteltonwitch reported that at Adelaide most people seemed bored by the idea), so we ceremoniously presented it back to awhina to do with what she would. She promptly released it in a hidden spot in Cafe Bleu, where it’s unlikely to be found for some time. Goodbye, faithful cheat book! You’ve served us well for many years – enjoy your retirement!



Currently reading: A Sudden Wild Magic by Diana Wynne Jones (library book)