Checking in

We’re down in Alexandra, and feeling much better after a good night’s sleep and a relaxing day. Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts and wishes – it really does help enormously to know that people are thinking of you.

I saw several flags flying at half mast around town today, and it was strangely affecting.

George is coping ok with the upheaval. We’ve got his food and water and litter tray set up in the bedroom we’re using, and he’s quickly established that as his home base, and runs back there when his explorations of the rest of the house get too scary. He didn’t think much of the journey down here – he sat on MrPloppy’s lap the whole way, and miaowed loudly whenever the car went over a bump. And he really really didn’t like having to go back into his carrier to be transferred from the car to the house!

I’m guessing you’ve all seen the news coverage of what’s happening in Christchurch. So many deaths and horrific injuries, and so many people still trapped. I’ve heard (either directly or indirectly) from all my close friends and most of my workmates now, so know they’re ok, but I also know the chances are, in a city of only half a million, that all of us will end up knowing someone who is a victim. And probably everyone in our tiny country will know someone who’s lost someone – already I’ve heard that the owners of a shop near my brother’s have lost their son.

It’s still hard to get my head around the fact that what I’m seeing on TV is Christchurch. It may not be the city I was born in, but it’s the place I’ve lived longer than anywhere else in my nomadic life, and it definitely feels like home now. How could something like this happen to my town? Not only to be losing precious old buildings like we did in September, but for people to be dying under them. I keep thinking that the pictures on TV are from some foreign city, but then I recognise the buildings, and can work out exactly where the camera person must be standing to shoot the film – it’s all so familiar and yet so unreal.

I do feel a bit guilty having come down here, like I’m somehow letting down everyone who doesn’t have the chance to leave, by not staying put and sticking it out with them, but it really was the most sensible thing to do. We know from our experience in September how tough the first week is, with little sleep, restricted water supplies, not being able to flush the toilet or have a shower, and shortages in the supermarkets. By leaving we’re not only reducing the strain on the city’s services, but also giving ourselves time to rest and recover a bit of calm so when we do go back we’ll be more ready to maybe help out in some way.

I really will write a full account of what Tuesday was like, but not today.

We’re evacuating

Not because we’re in any danger, but to try and relieve some of the pressure on water, sewerage etc. They’ve asked for anyone who has somewhere else they can go for a few days to do so, so Dad texted us and offered to come up and pick us up and take us down to Alexandra. So we’re packing a few clothes (and George!) and we’ll be heading away this afternoon.

I wish there was something practical to do to help, but as there’s not (I can’t even donate blood, because I’m a BSE risk), the next best thing I can do is help by not being here.

Got about 5 hours sleep last night in between the aftershocks. I can’t stop obsessively watching the news on TV and reading Stuff – probably not the healthiest thing to be doing, but just like in September, I’m trying to convince myself that this is really happening to my city.

Haven’t heard yet from Jenny or Philip, who gave me a lift home yesterday before heading out in search of their respective partners who they hadn’t been able to contact – one in Sumner, the other in Lyttelton, both badly affected areas. I know the lack of communication is probably just because they have no power or phones, but I really want to know Christian and Annie are ok.

Sorry this is so disjointed – I’ll try and write a proper account of yesterday once I settle down a bit.

Another big earthquake

I’m ok, and made it home from work. No damage at home – just a couple of minor breakages again – but the centre of the city is a mess and they reckon there’s been multiple deaths.

Amazingly, we’ve still got power on in our suburb, but the phones are out, and I think we’ll be boiling water again.

This is horrific.

Work in Progress

A while ago (ok, quite some years ago) I mentioned that one of my works in progress was an advent calendar for my nephews, which I intended to have finished in time for Christmas. Yeah, I didn’t quite. In fact, it languished in the bottom of my stash until just recently, when I rediscovered it, decided the kids can never be too old for advent calendars, and started work again. It’s still got a long way to go, but it’s looking good so far:

In other news, a few cool recent catches:

Boktjuven by Markus Zusak, which was one of the books I registered on the Sydney YHA’s bookshelf, is now in Sweden.

Web of Deceit by Glenn Meade had nearly a month between release and catch, but was caught in the same place I’d left it.

Death of a Doll by Hilda Lawrence was an even slower catch: two years after it was released!

Teddy Bears by Martin Leman – really sweet journal entry.

Windmills of the Gods by Sidney Sheldon – at the other end of the scale, a rather terse journal entry for an OBCZ book.

Hood by Emma Donoghue – and even terser…

What Every Woman Should Know About Her Partner’s Money by Shelby White & Lynne Spender – another OBCZ catch.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence – and another with two years between release and catch.

Watching the calendar

Every year I note on my calendar all the significant dates of the year when I might want to make some special themed releases, and every year I forget to actually look at the calendar, so I miss most of them. So I’m very impressed with myself this year, because so far I’ve actually managed to remember three dates for themed releases!

Waitangi Day I almost forgot (yeah, I know, you’re not supposed to forget your national day, but I blame the fact it fell on a Sunday so we didn’t get a holiday (which is dumb – why on earth do we get a “Mondayised” holiday for the queen’s birthday, but not for the birthday of our country???)), so I hadn’t prepared any books, but a quick dig through the boxes turned up The Captain Cook Myth by Jillian Robertson (which is actually an Australian book, but it was the best I could do at short notice). It’s since been caught and re-released, too.

Then, wonder of wonders, I remembered to mark my BC-versary on 8 February (I’ve been a bookcrosser for 8 years!!!!) by releasing 8 cat-themed books (of course): Cosimo Cat by Kenneth Opel, Mervyn’s Romance by Leone Peguro, Cornish Cats by Ian Heard, Ghost Cat by Helen Rushmore, The Paw Thing by Paul Jennings, Scallywag by Jeanette Rowe, Ming Meets the Farm Kittens by Audrey Tarrant, and The Tale of Kimmy-Cat by Enid Blyton. And a catch (and re-release) for Ghost Cat already.

And finally, today I released a few love-themed books for Valentine’s Day: Who Could Love the Nightingale by Chester Eagle (released beside some bird cages, so make it doubly themed – or maybe triply, given the author’s name :-)), Lovers All Untrue by Norah Lofts, Always Love by Emma Darcy, A Man to Marry by Carole Mortimer, and Love, Desire and Hate by Joan Collins.

(Oh, and the other date on the calendar I’m watching for has 4 days and 38 minutes to go… not that I’m counting or anything :-))


Just did something really dumb. It’s pouring with rain after yesterday’s stinking hot weather (Christchurch is nothing if not changeable), and I and a few colleagues were walking over to the cafe with a new staff member for a welcome morning tea. I’d left my umbrella in my office (it was only spitting when I arrived at work, and I hadn’t realised it had got so much heavier), so I was running from one dry spot to another trying not to get too wet. Yeah, you can tell what’s coming, can’t you?

I ran across a patch of smooth paving, and the polished concrete combined beautifully with the water, my flat soled shoes, and (as I discovered) a thin layer of moss growing on the concrete, and yep, I went flying. Don’t worry though, I managed to break my fall with my hip and elbow…

Luckily, I’m not seriously hurt, just a bit of bruising and a little graze on my elbow, but my boss thought I might be in shock so sent me home for the rest of the day (actually, he drove me home himself, because he didn’t want me to have to wait for a bus). I am feeling a wee bit shaken, so coming home was probably a good idea. Actually, I would have had to come home at least to change anyway, because I was covered in mud and moss, and soaking wet (so much for trying to stay dry!)

So, free afternoon off 🙂

(And yes, this is almost identical to what I did at Mt Cook a few years ago – obviously I’m not a fast learner…)

Counting down….

It’s the first of February, so that means

It’s suddenly starting to seem very real (and very close – I was thinking of it as being ages away, and suddenly it’s not!!!). And very exciting!

We’re still tweaking the itinerary (silly Skyring gave me a guidebook to read – bad move, because I keep finding more must-stop places along the way :-)), but at the moment it’s looking something like:

Friday 1 April: Christchurch – Auckland – San Francisco

Saturday 2 April: San Francisco

Sunday 3 April: San Francisco – Santa Cruz – Ventura

Monday 4 April: Ventura – Los Angeles – Oatman

Tuesday 5 April: Oatman – Grand Canyon – Flagstaff

Wednesday 6 April: Flagstaff – Albuquerque

Thursday 7 April: Albuquerque – Roswell – Lubbock – Archer City

Friday 8 April: Archer City – Fort Worth

Saturday 9 April: Fort Worth – Dallas – Hillsboro

Sunday 10 April: Hillsboro – Waco – New Orleans

Monday 11 April: New Orleans – Tallahassee

Tuesday 12 April: Tallahassee – Cape Canaveral

Wednesday 13 April: Cape Canaveral – Charleston

Thursday 14 April: Charleston – Washington DC

Friday 15 – Sunday 17 April: BC in DC Convention!

Monday 18 April: Washington DC – Los Angeles – Auckland – Christchurch

12 states* (and a whatever DC is) and the width of a continent in 18 days – yeah, when we do a road trip we really do a road trip!

(*California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia)

Had a great meetup on Saturday, with two new members turning up: Schatzfee (who’s not actually a new member, but is new to Christchurch, having just moved here from Germany), and arinbasu, who brought his family along, so we had quite a crowd round the table – makes a nice change from the last few meetups when there’s only been two or three of us.

Not many exciting catches recently (probably because I haven’t been doing as much releasing), just one from an anonymous finder who only says “Didn’t read.” (Jeremy Poldark by Winston Graham) According to the journal alert email, the finder is from Massachusetts (it’s a pity that information doesn’t show up in the actual journal entry…), so that’s kind of exciting if the book ends up going home with them.