Not only famous, but popular too!

I’m on the Top Ten Most Popular Diaries list!

Copied from DD’s front page this morning (just in case my fame is fleeting!):

Top Ten Most Popular Diaries
30 Jan 2007 – 12:30:04 AM

My Life Through Your Eyes DowntownMom
My Heart a Compass waterspriteflying
The Soap Opera of My Life saucygirl
Lady Hawk’s Lover Hellcat
Diary of a Kiwi Bookcross… FutureCat
confessions of a slacker andrew61
I Run With Scissors LeyLeySmiles
ªü¬Kªººô¤W¤é°Oï TammyLee
My life, my opinion Jimmybear

Look! That’s me in that list! With all those big names of DD!

I’d like to thank the Academy, and my agent, and… actually, I think who I’ve got to thank are all the Bookcrossers on LiveJournal who’ve been clicking through to see what I’ve been up to.

Don’t worry, I won’t let all this fame and popularity go to my head. And if you want an autograph, I’ll be making a public appearance in Wellington in a couple of weeks 😉

In other news, I had my first training session as an ESOL Home Tutor last night. There were a lot more people in the class than I expected – about 30. Apparently they’ve had a big recruiting drive lately, which is why there is such a big group, but they’re still lagging way behind the number of tutors they need – there’s about 180 learners on the waiting list to get a tutor.

Most of our first lesson was just introductory stuff about how the service works and who the learners are – mostly refugees, plus a large number of immigrants who have come to NZ on family reunification visas after a family member has immigrated here (either as a refugee or as another sort of migrant), and who are often elderly and find assimilation difficult. Apparently the cultural mix of refugees is different in each city, because the refugee resettlement service try to place refugees in areas where there is already a community from that culture to help support them, and the majority of people using the service in Christchurch are of Chinese, Afghan or Russian origin.

We did a few group exercises to help us understand what it’s like to be a refugee – we had to imagine a war or some other event forcing us to flee NZ to another (imaginary) country where no English is spoken and we don’t speak a word of the local language, where Kiwis are looked down on (popular opinion says that the problems back in NZ are all our own fault because we’re all lazy), our culture and religion isn’t understood (the common view is that in our churches cannibalism is encouraged, because we pretend to eat human flesh and drink blood). We are given some assistance from the government of our new country, but not much – just somewhere temporary to live and a minimum living allowance – but this will be cut off within a few months, by which time we’re expected to get on our feet. Our group then had to work out how we could survive in this new country. Needless to say, we found it very difficult! We quickly realised that almost everything you take for granted is impossible when you don’t speak the language – you definitely can’t get a job, you can’t go to the doctor, you can’t assert your rights (or even find out what they are!), you can’t find out what assistance is available to you. It really makes you appreciate how difficult and frightening life as a refugee must be.

For the next exercise, we had to imagine that as refugees we were offered the help of the ESOLHT scheme, and had to decide what language skills we would want to learn most urgently. Again, it didn’t take us long to realise that our priorities weren’t going to be complicated stuff, it was going to be the really basic things like being able to fill out forms (how to spell your name in the local alphabet!), deal with money, use public transport, buy food…

Other exercises we did dealt with what sort of help you can give as a tutor, and how to set boundaries. Naturally, our learners will be looking to us as “experts” on life in NZ, so the chances are they’ll ask us for help with all sorts of things, from finding a doctor to sorting out their problems with WINZ (NZ’s benefits agency). The ESOLHT service has no official rules about what you can and can’t help with (it’s up to the individual tutor where you want your boundaries to be), but you do have to be careful about privacy (e.g. not going to an agency to get help for your learner without their permission), and they encourage you to wherever possible empower the learner to help themselves rather than you directly helping them (so for example, rather than ringing the doctor yourself to make an appointment for them, you turn it into a language lesson, and talk about how to make an appointment and what to say, and role play the call, then let them do it themselves).

Oh, and one weird thing about the training course (well, it seemed weird when they first told us, but made sense once they explained it): we’re not allowed to tell anyone else on the course what our job is, or talk about work at all. Partly that’s to put us all on an equal footing, so nobody feels intimidated or inferior just because they don’t have as “important” a job as someone else, but it’s also because the chances are our learners won’t have jobs, or even the possibility of finding work for a long time, so it wouldn’t exactly be sensitive to sit and talk to them about what your day at work was like! So to get us used to the idea of leaving work out of our conversations, and finding other things to talk about instead, discussing work is banned from the course. And it’s amazingly difficult to do – you don’t realise just how much of your life revolves around work until you can’t talk about it. During the tea break we were sitting chatting, and the guy sitting next to me turned to me and said “I’ve got no idea how to start an conversation without asking what you do!” Of course, we did find other conversation starters, but even then it was difficult – every topic seems to lead back to work. I’m sure we’ll get used to it soon enough, but it did feel weird to start with.

MrPloppy got to see the comet last night! It was a very clear night, so when it got dark I went out in the back garden (which is pretty dark, because it has high fences around to block the light of surrounding houses, and our house blocks the streetlight) and tried to find it. It helped that I’d seen it so clearly the other night, so I knew exactly where in the sky to look. I identified the stars I knew had been nearby, and eventually, after a lot of searching, found a very faint blob which was the head of the comet. The light pollution in the city is so bad that it was only just visible to the naked eye (I’d never have seen it if I hadn’t known where to look), and there was only a tiny bit of the tail visible, even through the binoculars, but at least you could see it. So I called MrPloppy out, and once his eyes had adjusted to the dark he managed to find it too.

We’re still hoping the weather and lytteltonwitch’s car will cooperate so that we can go out of the city and he can see it properly (and I can try a photo – there was absolutely no point in trying last night, it was way too faint), but at least he has had the chance to see it if things don’t work out.

Currently reading: Four Ways to be a Woman by Sue Reidy
Currently listening to: Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller

From Ashburton to Colorado!

I got a PM from mecka-antics last night – he’d seen the catch notification on his book, and was very excited that had been caught, because it was the second book he’d released, way back when he first joined bookcrossing. So it’s been out there in the wild for a couple of years. Wonder what adventures it’s had in that time?

Another cool e-mail that arrived last night was a catch from Crown Court by James Follett, which I released in Ashburton on our way back from Timaru a few weeks back. It was caught by an American tourist, who’s taken it back home to Boulder, Colorado, and is going to re-release it there. It’s always exciting when a book gets to travel such a long way. And it’s funny how it always seems to be the most unlikely books that get to do it!

Currently reading: Dressing Up for the Carnival by Carol Shields
Currently listening to: Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller

I found a book!

I found a wild book today!!! That might not sound that exciting to some people, but in nearly four years of bookcrossing (ooh, I just realised it’s my BC anniversary next week!) I’ve only found four books actually in the wild (I’ve picked up hundreds from meetups, conventions and OBCZs, of course, but they don’t count). I was walking through one of the buildings in the university during my lunch break and spotted a book lying on a table. It’s a table where old and unwanted books are quite often left out for people to take (sometimes interesting books, but more often dry academic stuff), so that wasn’t unusual, but then I noticed it had a BCID written along the edge of the pages, and my heart leapt – a bookcrossing book!

The book was Arthur: The Seeing Stone by Kevin Crossley-Holland. I couldn’t wait to finish my lunch and get back to a computer to journal it and find out who’d released it. The university isn’t a usual releasing spot for any of the Christchurch regulars, so maybe it was a sign of a new active bookcrosser. Once I finally got a chance to journal it, I discovered it had been registered three years ago by mecka-antics, a bookcrosser from Greymouth who lived in Christchurch for a while before moving up to Auckland. There were no release notes or other journal entries, so I don’t know if mecka-antics released it years ago and whoever caught it never got round to journalling it, but did at least re-release it into the wild, or if perhaps he passed through Christchurch today and decided to release a few books on his way through. I’ll probably never know, but who cares – it was very exciting finding a book in the wild, anyway.

I managed to get a reasonable number of books registered on Saturday (in between marathon house-cleaning efforts and dinner-party shopping – see below). Thinking I had no books to take to Wellington, I suddenly remembered a box of books which I’d bought at the booksale in Dunedin last year, and which were still waiting to be registered. So I spent several hours on Saturday registering those. I’ve still got to label them properly, but it’s a start at least.

For the last few weeks we’ve been trying to get a chance to see Comet McNaught, but the weather has refused to cooperate. Even on the days when it’s been fine, the clouds have rolled in in the evening. But finally on Saturday it looked like we’d get a clear evening, so lytteltonwitch invited us to join her and her son going up the Port Hills that night to look for it. But by the time the sun started setting the clouds were gathering again, so our chances didn’t look good. I was being optimistic (I could see a tiny patch of clear sky to the south), so when lytteltonwitch rang to ask if we still wanted to go I said yes, but MrPloppy thought we were mad so opted to stay home. (You can see where this is going, can’t you?)

Lytteltonwitch and her son arrived to pick me up, and we headed for the hills… and it started raining. It looked like the tops of the hills were covered in cloud by now, so we decided on a change of plan, and decided to try Birdlings Flat instead, which is on the other side of the Port Hills, so might have better weather (the Port Hills, although not particularly high, are the only hills to interrupt the expanse of the Canterbury Plains, so clouds often bank up against them, meaning it can be raining on one side of the hills and fine on the other). We weren’t all that hopeful, but thought it was worth a drive out there anyway. And it was – as we rounded the edge of the hills the sky began to clear, and there were only a few bands of clouds obscuring the south-western sky.

The sky was still quite light when we got to Birdling’s Flat, so we sat and waited for it to get dark (and tried to work out which direction we should be looking by using lytteltonwitch’s GPS as a compass – it wasn’t very useful though, as it tried to tell us that we were facing north, despite the fact we’d just seen the sun set directly in front of us!). As it got darker I got out my binoculars and started panning the sky searching for the tell-tale fuzziness of a comet. I saw Halley’s in 1986, and Hale-Bopp while I was in the UK, so I knew what comets looked like in “real life” (as opposed to the spectacular photos you see on astronomy websites), and was expecting something similar – a small fuzzy blob with a faint streak behind it, maybe half a degree of arc at most (roughly the width of the full moon, or of your thumb held at arms length – that’s pretty huge for something in the sky), but probably much smaller.

So when I saw a long faint streak in the sky, spanning probably 4 or 5 degrees of arc, I didn’t immediately think of a comet. I wondered it it was a crepuscular ray, but it was too late after the sunset for that. I began to suspect maybe it was the comet, but didn’t want to say anything to lytteltonwitch and her son in case I was wrong – it was so much bigger than I was expecting that I was certain it couldn’t be the comet, and I’d look really stupid pointing out a big streak of light when the comet was actually a small fuzzy thing. But I had a look at it through the binoculars anyway, just in case… and saw a clearly defined head and tail. I passed the binoculars over to lytteltonwitch, “Um, I think it’s right in front of us. That big thing.”

Half an hour later it was dark enough that there was no mistaking it, and the binoculars were completely unnecessary. Totally amazing. I was kicking myself that (a) I hadn’t tried harder to convince MrPloppy to come with us (he’s an astronomy geek from way back too), and (b) I’d left my camera at home (I had thought about bringing it, but decided not to because the comet would be way too small to photograph with my little camera).

We stayed for ages admiring it, and stopped again on the way back to Christchurch to have one last look, so it was nearly midnight by the time I got home (I did try to keep my gloating to a minimum when I told MrPloppy what he’d missed, but it was difficult :-)) – and I had to get up early the next morning…

Sunday was going to be full of family (hence the cleaning and shopping), with both Mum and Dad coming up to visit, and having to be kept suitably segregated (the perils of a post-nuclear family). Dad was coming up for the Roger Waters concert on Saturday night, and Mum was coming up to meet her cousins from Scotland at the airport, so neither could be deferred to another weekend, which made for an interesting juggling act. Luckily Dad is pretty relaxed about that sort of thing, so wasn’t offended when I asked him if he’d mind if we met him and Stepmother elsewhere instead of them coming to our place – he understands how awkward things could have got if the visits had accidentally intercepted.

Dad and Stepmother had come up on Saturday night, but arrived in Christchurch just in time to go to the concert (they were staying at Stepsister #2’s house), so wouldn’t be able to get to see us until Sunday. And Mum and Stepfather were planning on arriving mid-morning on Sunday. So I suggested to Dad we meet them for breakfast at Trattorie. That worked really well – we had probably a better chance to sit and talk than if they’d come to our place (when Dad would have insisted on pruning the fruit trees or mending the bathroom cupboard or some other essential task). After breakfast we went up to Northlands so I could buy a small jug (the one we normally use for gravy/sauces/whatever got chipped, and we’ve been meaning to replace it for ages) and Stepmother could look for some new bedlinen, and then Dad dropped us off at home (with instructions that if he saw a car in the drive he was to put his foot down and drop us round the corner out of sight! :-))

But our timing was perfect – about half an hour after he left, the phone rang: Mum letting us know they were just coming in to Christchurch and we should put the kettle on.

Mum insisted on taking us to the supermarket to stock up on groceries, despite our protests that we’d only gone yesterday and really weren’t short of anything (how old do you have to be before your parents believe that you really aren’t starving and don’t need them to buy you food?), and then after a quick lunch back at our place they went to the airport to meet the cousins, while I got dinner in the oven (I was finally cooking the leg of lamb that we’d originally planned for Christmas dinner but hadn’t felt like cooking at the time, and ideally it should to cook slowly all afternoon).

The cousins turned out to be really nice. Mum had met once before, about 20 years ago when she went back to Scotland for a visit, but I’d never met them, not being brave enough to go and visit them when I was over there (I got a bit of teasing from them about that, especially when they heard I’d been living in Dunfermline (near Edinburgh) for a while (they live in Greenock, which is near Glasgow – on the other side of Scotland, but it’s not a big country, so not that far away really)). We all sat and chatted for a while (and waited for Mum to develop a Scottish accent – she was born in Scotland, but came over here when she was 8, so normally has a New Zealand accent, but when Granny and Grandda (who kept their accents their whole lives) were alive, whenever she talked to them she’d start sounding all Scottish again. So we’ve been teasing her that by the time the cousins go home in a fortnight she’ll have be speaking broad Scots again :-)), and then Mum and Stepfather took the cousins for a drive around the scenic spots of Christchurch for the rest of the afternoon while MrPloppy and I finished cooking dinner.

Dinner went really well – the lamb turned out wonderfully. We did all the traditional “kiwi roast dinner” accompaniments like roast kumara and pumpkin to go with it (well, you have to when you’ve got visitors from overseas!), plus a nice leafy salad in honour of the fact that it was actually a reasonably summery day for a change, so a bit hot for a full-on roast dinner without something to lighten it up a bit, and then fresh strawberries for dessert. The cousins seemed suitably impressed with their first NZ meal 🙂

Once dinner was over Stepfather wanted to get on the road back to Alexandra. The sky was still reasonably clear, so he was hoping to get up to Tekapo before dark so they could see Mt Cook. I haven’t heard from them yet whether they actually managed it, though.

Anyway, a good day overall. We survived the parent-juggling act, and although both visits were pretty short, at least we got to see everyone, and made the most of the time we did have with them.

Oh, and Mum brought us up a box of books, and various goodies for the convention, and a big box of fruit. And Dad brought us up a big box of fruit. So we’ve got more fruit than we know what to do with – I see a batch of chutney in my near future.

I’d planned an early night last night to make up for Saturday night. But lytteltonwitch had said that if it was clear again she’d take MrPloppy out to try and see the comet. And it was still looking pretty clear when the sun set. And I really wanted to try and take a photo. So instead of an early night, I had another very late night…

We didn’t go as far as Birdling’s Flat this time, but just to the Selwyn Huts. In theory, we should have had just as good a view from there, but the weather didn’t cooperate, and the clouds closed in before it got properly dark, so we couldn’t see the comet this time 🙁

Oh well, hopefully we’ll get another chance before it totally fades from sight. I’m happy just to have seen it once, but it would be cool if MrPloppy got to see it too. Lytteltonwitch’s car has gone back to the panel beaters, but she should have it back by the end of the week, and then it will just depend on the weather. Actually, I’m glad we can’t go out again tonight – I am so incredibly tired! I thought I was going to fall asleep at my desk at work today. I seriously need an early night tonight!

In fact, the bed is looking very inviting about now… zzzzzzzzz….

More books!

Tonight after work I met lytteltonwitch in town, and she gave me a lift over to Beckenham to pick up the second lot of books I’d won on Trade Me. Again, a very mixed bag:

The third lot I’d bid on were all political books, which I’d thought would be good for release in Wellington, but the auction didn’t meet the reserve, and the seller wanted $20 as a “buy now” price (which is expensive for books I could easily get cheaply from a secondhand bookshop) so I gave up on them. But between the two lots I did win, I’ve got about 30 books, and Mum did mention something about having cleared out their bookshelves and that she’d be bringing a box of books up this weekend, so I won’t be totally short of books for Wellington 🙂

Currently reading: Dressing Up for the Carnival by Carol Shields
Currently listening to: Pyramids by Terry Pratchett


I went into town last night after work for an interview with the ESOLHT people, and all went well (actually, I think I would have had to have been an axe-murderer or something for them to turn me down – my interviewer mentioned that they’ve got nearly 100 learners on the waiting list for tutors, so new volunteers are welcomed with open arms!).

After talking to the interviewer I’m even more enthusiastic about the idea than I was before – she made it sound so interesting! The learners come from all sorts of backgrounds, and have a vast range of English skills and literacy levels (especially among the women, many of whom have no formal education even in their own language, which makes learning not only a new language but to read and write in it as well a major challenge).

They seem to have a really good set-up, too, with a huge resource library that tutors can borrow from at any time (and if you can’t make it in during office hours you can just ring them and let them know what you need and they’ll post it out to you). And from what she said they make every effort to make your life as a tutor as easy as possible – they try really hard to match tutors and learners with similar schedules so that you can do the tutoring at times that suit you, and try to find you someone who lives in the same area as you so you’re not having to travel all the way across town just for an hour’s tutoring session. And for your first tutoring session with a learner you are accompanied by one of the staff, who introduce you to the learner and help you to assess their needs – which is a great relief to me, because the only aspect of the tutoring that really didn’t appeal to me was the idea of having to just turn up at a stranger’s house and say “Hi, I’m your tutor”! So it’s reassuring to know they’ve thought through all of those sorts of things.

So now I can’t wait until next Tuesday to get started with the training. This is going to be really exciting!

Currently reading: A Million Open Doors by John Barnes and A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett
Currently listening to: Thirteen Steps Down by Ruth Rendell

Books and auctions: a dangerous combination

Oh dear. I seem to have discovered Trade Me (New Zealand’s equivalent to ebay).

I blame PixieKitten. She mentioned in a comment that a friend had got a thousand books for $1 on Trade Me, so of course I had to go and check out such a wondrous potential source of books. And I found three auctions for bulk lots of books (not thousands of books, unfortunately, just tens, but its a start :-)), all with very low starting bids, and all in Christchurch (there’d be no point buying books from outside Christchurch, the postage would cost more than the books are worth!). And I’ve won two of them already! 16 books for $3, and 19 for $5.

The first lot were in Shirley, which is easy to get to by bus from our place, so last night MrPloppy and I went over there and collected them. They turned out to be a very mixed bag of all sorts of odd books:

Like I said, a mixed bag! As we were sorting through them, MrPloppy and I were having fun trying to work out what combination of family members had previously owned them and why 🙂

After picking up the books, we decided to stop off at The Palms and have some dinner. I remembered that I still had a few pre-numbered labels in my planner left over from Mt Cook, so I picked out one of the books (No Angel) and labelled it up and released it in the cafe when we left. Sometimes pre-numbered labels can really come in handy – I must remember to print off some more before the convention, just in case there’s a bookshelf in the backpackers’ 🙂

Once we got home I spent the rest of the evening registering the rest of the books, so at least I’ve made a start now on getting books together for Wellington. And hopefully we’ll be able to pick up the other lot of books later in the week, which will add to the pile a bit more.

Currently reading: Frangipani by Célestine Hitiura Vaite and A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett
Currently listening to: Thirteen Steps Down by Ruth Rendell

Bag report

The bags are finished at last!

Yesterday morning lytteltonwitch and otakuu arrived bearing sewing machines and copious supplies of food, and we spent a very constructive day sewing and ironing (otakuu is an ironing champion!) and chatting and eating. Sometimes it felt like we were doing more chatting than sewing 🙂 but slowly the piles of fabric pieces turned into piles of half-finished bags, and eventually into a lovely pile of completed bags. They’ve still got to have the logo put on them, but lytteltonwitch will do that in a couple of weeks once we’ve got a clearer idea of the numbers.

I’m so glad to finally have that task off my to-do list. Now I’ve just got to finish the last bit of tweaking on the quiz questions, burn a CD for the music section of the quiz (MrPloppy has been helping me with some suitably fiendish questions, so it’s going to be good!), put some finishing touches on my top secret goody-bag contribution, help lytteltonwitch with her even more top secret project, decide what stuff I can post up to Sherlockfan in advance or which I should carry with me, organise with my brother about dropping lytteltonwitch’s car off in Picton… oh, and register some books!

And there’s less than four weeks to go…

Breakfast and things

Greetings to all the LiveJournallers who’ve managed to figure out the comments system here! (and to those who haven’t, keep banging the rocks together clicking on the “Add” button guys :-))

Someone left a private comment asking what the logo on the bags looked like. I wasn’t sure whether you meant the logo on the bags we made for Christchurch, or this year’s logo. Anyway, here’s the Christchurch 05 logo:

[album 128913 bags5.JPG thumblink]

and here’s the Wellington 07 logo:

[album 128913 bcnz07_4.jpg thumblink]

Otakuu is in Christchurch this weekend, so she arranged to meet me, lytteltonwitch, awhina, and meerkitten in town for breakfast.

My bus got into town a bit earlier than I expected, so I filled in the time walking down to the ESOL Home Tutoring offices, so I know where I’m going on Tuesday (I always do that when I’ve got an interview – I’m paranoid about being late because I couldn’t find the right place). It’s about 10 minutes walk from the bus exchange, so I should be able to get there in plenty of time.

Breakfast was fun, with lots of discussion of the upcoming convention (of course), and plenty of gossip exchanged. I passed on a couple of books, A Special Relationship by Douglas Kennedy to awhina, and Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith to Otakuu.

Otakuu, who’s been reading my diary (hi Otakuu!), had heard TheLetterB can’t make it tomorrow, so she’s offered her services. So we’re back to three people again, which should speed up the process greatly (a good thing, because I still haven’t got round to ironing those handles…).

After we finished breakfast and went our separate ways, I wandered around town for a while doing random errands: getting a couple of spare reels of cotton for tomorrow, a new inkjet cartridge (I’ve got a lot of books to register in the next few weeks, so I’ll be printing lots of labels), and a few bits and pieces for spot prizes at the quiz night (at this rate I’m not going to have any room in my luggage for books anyway – if you hear the Aratere has sunk on the night of 15 February, you’ll know it’s because my bags were too heavy), and going to the library (to get a couple more audiobooks, and also finding A Million Open Doors by John Barnes, which has been on my wishlist for a while). So a reasonably constructive day, even if I didn’t spend it ironing handles as planned.

Currently reading: Frangipani by Célestine Hitiura Vaite and A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett
Currently listening to: Thirteen Steps Down by Ruth Rendell

I may live to regret this

Remember how last year I kept complaining about how I was so busy I didn’t have time to breathe? And remember how I said I was going to have a nice quiet year this year? Um, I think I’ve just done something that will guarantee another hectic year…

No, Kimi, I *haven’t* enrolled for another language class. I’m not *that* stupid. But I have just put my name down as a volunteer tutor for the ESOL Home Tutor Service.

It’s something I read about last year, but was too busy to do anything about. But my usual summer enthusiasm for new things has struck, and coming across a note I’d made of their website, I was inspired to sign up.

What home tutoring involves is going to the home of a new migrant to New Zealand for a few hours a week and giving them one-to-one help with learning English. Most of the clients will have already done a classroom-based ESOL course (because that’s a requirement of immigration to NZ), so speak basic English, but still need help to improve their language skills and confidence.

One of the areas of linguistics that’s been increasingly interesting me over the course of my degree has been language acquisition, especially second language, and if I ever get to the point of postgraduate study, that’s a potential area I’d like to do research in (although I’ll probably have been distracted by some other new and shiny topic by that time – so much to learn, so little time…), so this would definitely feed into my area of interest. And quite apart from that, it sounds like a fascinating way to get to know people from a totally different cultures and learn more about the world. And to be helping someone out at the same time.

Volunteering involves signing up for a 2-month training course (one evening a week), and committing to doing at least 6 months of tutoring after that, preferably a year. So this could be a busy year. MrPloppy‘s only comment when I said I was thinking of volunteering was “don’t come moaning to me when you’re exhausted”.

But I’m looking forward to it. I think.

In other news, I spent a tedious few hours last night laboriously turning 80-odd small fabric tubes inside out. Once they’ve been ironed flat (which I’ll do tonight), they’ll be the handles for the goody bags. I’m glad that job is done, because it’s the slowest, most fiddly part of the bag-making process, so it will save us a lot of time on Sunday. A good thing, because TheLetterB told me yesterday that she’d double-booked herself for Sunday, so wouldn’t be able to come to our sewing bee after all. So it’ll be just me and lytteltonwitch again. Oh well, at least we’re experienced in bag making, and the two of us managed to make a similar number of bags in one day for the Christchurch convention, but it would have been quicker with three of us working on it.

Despite the fact that she can’t make it to Wellington (relatives are coming over from Scotland next week for a long visit), Mum volunteered to make some bookmarks as a contribution to the goody bags. She said she’d sent them a few days ago, so I’ve been waiting for them to arrive. Finally as I was leaving the house this morning I saw the parcel in the mailbox – and they look great!

Currently reading: Frangipani by Célestine Hitiura Vaite
Currently listening to: Thirteen Steps Down by Ruth Rendell

I just got a phone call

I’ve got a preliminary interview with the ESOL Home Tutoring people on Tuesday evening, and then assuming they accept me (which is pretty likely – from what the woman I spoke to said they’re not exactly swamped with volunteers, and as an ex-teacher I’m a pretty good candidate), the training will start the following week!

Classes are every Tuesday night, so looks like I’ll be missing a couple of meetups (unless I can convince everyone to move meetups to another night for the next couple of months). Good thing we’re coming back from Wellington on the Monday and not the Tuesday!

Just remind me in a month or so when I’m in the middle of all this and term has started, that I really am looking forward to this…