I hate daylight savings!

Just thought I should get the rant out of the way first πŸ™‚

I see absolutely no point in it. Yes, it gives you an extra hour of daylight in the evenings, but the payoff is it’s darker in the mornings. And I hate getting up in the dark. It’s only recently started to be light enough when my alarm goes off that I feel like getting up, and now I have to go back to getting up in the dark again for a month or so until the sun catches up again. Plus it’ll take me weeks to re-adjust my sleeping patterns. And all so we can have late-night barbecues or whatever it is we’re all supposed to be doing with all this extra light in the evening. Why can’t the people who want to sit out in their garden until 10 or 11 just buy some candles or something??? (Oh, and while I’m ranting, how come there was no consultation about the whole shifting the date for daylight savings thing? Nobody asked me if I minded the date being changed – we were just told it was changing. And our IT people at work have been tearing their hair out over it, because it’s going to mess up so many things. Hmmm, maybe that’s what the government mean when they say it saves electricity (which I don’t believe, because I’m just going to be turning more lights on in the morning instead of in the evening, so the net power use will be the same) – it’s because everyone will be switching off their computers in disgust for the next couple of weeks!)

Sorry, you should take it from this that I was rudely awakened this morning, because I forgot the time had changed. Ian had come over to look at the car (long story, the end result of which is that MrPloppy now knows what the symptoms of a flat battery are, and how to prevent one ;-)), and had arrived at the perfectly civilised hour of quarter to 10. Or at least it would have been civilised if we’d remembered to change the clocks last night, because then I wouldn’t have been still in bed reading my book, thinking I still had plenty of time before I had to get up. And MrPloppy was still fast asleep, so when Ian knocked on the door I was the one who had to leap out of bed and scramble around frantically for some clothes to go and let him in.

Looks like it’s going to be the day for visitors today. Lytteltonwitch just turned up to show me the secret project she’s working on. I’m sworn to secrecy, of course, but I can tell you it’s looking fantastic! πŸ™‚

And I got a phone call from my brother – they’re moving down to Alexandra today, so SIL and the kids will be staying here tonight to break their journey. Brother and his BIL are driving the furniture truck down, and are planning on just driving straight through, but he said depending on how tired they feel by the time they reach Christchurch they might decide to spend the night here as well, in which case we’re going to have a very full house.

So I suppose I should be getting the house tidy and beds made up instead of writing this. But it’s 5 hours drive from Blenheim, so I’ve still got a few hours before I really need to panic…

The past week has been one of plenty of “culcha” (otherwise known as being out almost every night). On Monday and Tuesday nights we went to a Japanese film festival, featuring the anime of Hayao Miyazaki. On Monday we saw NausicaΓ€ of the Valley of the Wind (which was just stunning – a really beautiful film), and on Tuesday Laputa: Castle in the Sky (which I didn’t enjoy quite as much, but was still good). We’ve definitely got to start getting some of his films on DVD – they’re just so amazing.

Then on Friday night I went with lytteltonwitch and her tramping club to Roger Hall’s new play, Who Wants to be 100?, at the Court. It wasn’t as good as some of his other plays, but was still funny, and the portrayal of life in a rest home was disturbingly accurate at times (I worked in a rest home one summer holidays when I was a student, and some of the stuff in the play could have come straight out of that place).

Oh, and I went to a talk on Wednesday by Philip Norman, who’s the Writer in Residence at the university this year, and who won the Montana for his biography of Douglas Lilburn. He gave a talk on Lilburn’s life and music, interspersed with film and music clips. Really interesting.

I’ve kept up the releasing this week (especially at the university, which has so many great opportunities for themed releases!), but no new catches, unfortunately:






Currently reading: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (which I *almost* managed to finish this morning before my untimely leap out of bed)
Currently listening to: Half Moon Street by Anne Perry

Secret project report

I’ve finished the cross-stitch, and now there’s just the backstitch and a few french knots to go! (which is not as close to finished as it sounds, though, because the backstitch is horribly fiddly – lots of lines that start in the middle of stitches and funny angles – so it’ll take me ages)

Three years later

Who says we never finish any projects around the house? A bit under three years ago, we decided to set up the spare room as a proper study/computer room, but at the time could only afford one proper desk. So my computer was put temporarily on an old table, with plans to replace it with a proper desk in a month or two.

Yep, you guessed it: three years later, and today we finally bought that second desk! We went to our favourite cheap furniture place, and amazingly they still had one of the desks we’d bought three years ago. It was looking pretty old and battered, and was hiding in the back of their second-hand department, but was exactly the right size and shape for the room, so we decided to get it anyway, thinking we could always re-paint it to tidy it up a bit. And anyway, it had been seriously marked down because of its condition, so it was definitely worth getting.

So later this afternoon it was delivered, and we set it up in the study. I gave it a good cleaning, and to my surprise, almost all the supposed scratches were actually just dirty marks. In the end it only had two small chips, both near the back where they wouldn’t be noticeable anyway, but was otherwise in perfect condition. So our cheap desk turned out to be even more of a bargain than we thought!

So now I’ve got a lovely new desk, which I spent the evening arranging nicely with all my bookcrossing supplies and other useful stuff:

Doesn’t it look nice and tidy? Of course, that could be something to do with the amount of stuff I dumped on MrPloppy’s desk…

Oops, better tidy that up, I suppose… πŸ™‚

Today’s releases:

Currently reading: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova and Chronicle of the Unsung by Martin Edmond
Currently listening to: Cocktail Time by PG Wodehouse

Not much to report

…other than that I’ve been reasonably successful with keeping up a steady stream of releases for the rest of the week, mostly around the university, and mostly having fun with themed releases:





And surprise surprise, if you release a lot of books, you get catches! I’ve had four catches in the last four days (not counting the one awhina “caught”), two from last weekend (Frogs at the Bottom of the Well and The Bridge Across Forever) and two from during the week (Greek Science and The Merchant of Venice).

Releasing spree

Now that I’ve got a good stock of books to release (not that I’ve actually finished registering them all – that might take a couple of weekends!), I’ve been re-inspired to get releasing on a regular basis again. So I popped a few books in my bag to release on my way in to work this morning: Body and Soul by Marcelle Bernstein in a doctor’s waiting room; Ten Plus One by Ed McBain in the University’s Maths Department; and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens in the English Department. And as a nice little bonus, I got to see all three come up on the Recently Released sidebar, complete with cover pictures. That doesn’t happen very often!

Visiting Kimis

Just back from a very pleasant afternoon spent with Kimi and MrKimi. They were passing through Christchurch, and rang to say they were at Mona Vale, so we quickly hopped on a bus to join them there. I’d said I’d ring when we got there so we could find each other, but as I searched for a bench where I could sit down and dig out the scrap of paper I’d put Kimi’s number on, I realised that the two people sitting on the bench I was walking towards were the Kimis πŸ™‚

We had a long discussion of language, physics, psychology, ethics, and the philosophy of science (MrKimi was impressed that I’d actually heard of Karl Popper – it helps that he’s one of the distinguished alumni of my university!) over scones and cake, and I introduced the Kimis to bookcrossing, releasing The Ditto List by Stephen Greenleaf on the table next to ours. Having been instructed in expert releasing technique, Kimi took The World, the Flesh and the Devil by Reay Tannahill to try releasing at the airport on their way home (watch out Kimi, you’ll get addicted! ;-))

We wandered around the garden while the sun was still on them, enjoying the daffodils and smells of spring (we spent some time trying to track down the source of a particularly pervasive scent – it turned out to be coming from a bush technically known as “one of those bushes with little flowers”), and I released a couple more books: I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Hannah Green (in a garden that *wasn’t* a rose garden), and The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach (on a bridge, of course).

Definitely a nice way to end the weekend!

I like Timaru!

The-Organist had told there was going to be a charity booksale in Timaru yesterday, so of course lytteltonwitch and I had to have a wee expedition down there πŸ™‚

We were a bit late getting away from Christchurch, after taking a detour to drop MrPloppy and a repaired computer off at a customer’s house, but we actually made pretty fast progress (for us, anyway!), only making one stop along the way, to release some books at Rakaia. There was a surprise waiting for us there, because when I walked over to the fish to release Tuna by Kenneth Cook (Lytteltonwitch released Lightly Poached – we thought they made a great combination of themed releases! :-)), I saw something lying under the fish, exactly where I’d planned to release my book, and as I got closer, I realised it was a book! At first I thought lytteltonwitch must have beaten me there, but she was still in the car writing down the BCID of her book. I checked the book’s front pages, and saw one of rarsberry‘s bookplates – she had mentioned that she and VivaRichie were coming up to Christchurch for a wedding this weekend, so they must have stopped at the fish too – in fact, we may well have passed them on the road somewhere between Christchurch and Rakaia. The book was How to Develop a Super Power Memory by Harry Lorayne – not one I’ll probably read, but I caught it anyway, just to surprise rarsberry with a journal entry on it.

We’d arranged to meet The-Organist, Le-Livre, and Mini-Organist for lunch, but because we were running late got to the designated cafe just as they were leaving. They said they’d stay and have a coffee with us, but the cafe was getting really busy and it didn’t look like we’d get served for ages, so we went across the road to the Speights Alehouse instead for drinks (and a really tasty meal for lytteltonwitch and I). I’d had a distinct shortage of worth-taking-to-a-meetup books when I’d been packing books to take down with me, so the only book I had to offer them was Spin by Tim Geary, but they took it anyway – meetups in Timaru are rare, so I think they just enjoyed the novelty of a face-to-face controlled release.

After lunch (and leaving The Silver Spoon by John Galsworthy in the restaurant), lytteltonwitch and I headed to the booksale, where The-Organist said we’d find a table with 6 books for $1 – a tempting prospect for any bookcrosser. But when we got there, we discovered the sale had entered its final get-rid-of-everything stage, and we were told that we could now fill a box for $2.50. Needless to say, we took full advantage of this offer, and could soon be seen frantically scouring the tables for treasures and rapidly filling our boxes. Very soon we’d managed to fill 5 large banana boxes between us, causing much mirth among the volunteers as they watched us dragging them over to the door to pay and discussed how we would get them to the car. Luckily they took pity on us and told lytteltonwitch she could bring the car up the drive so it was right by the door, and everyone (including a bemused bystander who just wanted to buy a book, but was shanghaied by one of the volunteers) pitched in to help us carry the boxes out. One of the volunteers must have been in his 70s, but still insisted that the box I was about to pick up was much too heavy for me and that he should take it instead! We compromised on that one by splitting the books between two boxes and taking one each.

I reckon that sale was definitely the best deal on books I’ve ever had. I haven’t actually counted how many I bought, but I’d guess there’s probably around a hundred in each of my three boxes, and I paid the grand total of $7.50 for them. So that means they cost me about 2.5 cents each! I was buying with bookcrossing in mind, so only a handful are ones I want to read myself, but the bookcrossing ones will give me months of entertainment planning themed releases, so definitely a bargain.

After all that heavy lifting and rummaging among dusty books, we felt in need of refreshment again, so went down to the row of cafes and bars overlooking Caroline Bay. We found a cafe that was relatively quiet and collapsed into comfy chairs, very reluctant to move again. But eventually it was time to get back on the road, so (leaving To the Ends of the Earth by Elizabeth Lowell on the table) we set off north.

I still had a couple of books I wanted to release (yes, I know there were boxes of them in the boot, but I mean books that were actually registered and labelled!), so we stopped in Temuka, where lytteltonwitch knew of a little park with a bridge suitable for releasing River of Death by Alistair MacLean and a park bench near a pond for Frogs at the Bottom of the Well by Ken Edgar.

The next stop was just outside Ashburton, where lytteltonwitch wanted to look for a geocache. She knew it was at an old cemetery, and the GPS seemed to be directing us off the highway down a side road. There was a turn-off from the side road that wasn’t signposted, but didn’t have a gate, so we weren’t sure whether it was a public road or a driveway. But the GPS was clearly pointing straight down it, so we took a chance and went that way. A car was coming towards us, and the driver gestured us to stop. He asked if we were lost, and when we said we were looking for the cemetery, told us we were on private land, and gave us directions back to the cemetery, the entrance to which turned out to be off the highway after all. We apolgised for trespassing, and were going to turn round, but there was another car coming behind the first, so lytteltonwitch stopped to wait for it to pass, because there were crops growing close to the edge of the road she didn’t want to drive over, so she’d have to do a three-point turn. The second car slowed, and when it reached us the driver looked at us very suspiciously, and asked “Why did you come down here?” quite aggressively. He didn’t look convinced by our explanation (especially when lytteltonwitch tried to explain geocaching to him), and once he was past us drove very slowly until he’d made sure that we’d turned and were heading back to the road. We guessed they must have had some thefts or vandalism on the farm recently or something, because country people in NZ aren’t normally that paranoid about trespassers.

Anyway, we didn’t get arrested, and we found the entrance to the cemetery eventually (it was very well hidden, no wonder we hadn’t spotted it from the road). While lytteltonwitch looked for the cache, I amused myself investigating the gravestones and wondering about some of the questions they raised – like why were the graves all pointing north instead of east as normal? What happened in the family where a son died at the age of 20, then his sister at the age of 19, 5 years later? Why had the grave of an infant that died in 1885 had a new headstone erected, obviously just recently? Unusually for a tiny country cemetery (there were only a dozen graves), it was still in use, with the most recent headstone dated 2001.

Back in Christchurch we picked up some KFC (where we met the “bit on the side” that will be familiar to readers of the witch’s LJ, and I released The Red Fox by Anthony Hyde) to take back to my place for tea, then regaled MrPloppy with tales of our adventures while he picked through the boxes of books for the ones I’d bought for him. Then began the long slog of actually registering all those books… guess what I’ll be spending a lot of today doing too?

Currently reading: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova and Chronicle of the Unsung by Martin Edmond (which I’m struggling to finish, because it’s so tedious, so it keeps getting put aside in favour of more interesting books)
Currently listening to: The Red Room by Nicci French

Sleep now?

Thanks everyone for your messages about Ming. He’s had lots of extra cuddles over the last few days, and doesn’t seem to be suffering any after-effects. We discussed again whether it was worth taking him to the vet, but from what I’ve read about seizures in cats, there’s loads of possible causes, none of which are going to be worth treating in a 14 year old cat, even if we were willing to subject him to all the tests to find out what it was in the first place. At his age, the chances are he’s going to die of one thing or another soon enough anyway, so (unless of course he’s in obvious pain or distress) we’ll let him live out his life without the stress of vet visits and taking medicine.

It’s been a busy week this week, but unfortunately mostly just with boring work stuff. We did have a bookcrossing meetup on Tuesday night, though it was a bit of a quiet one – just me, lytteltonwitch, and keenreda. We need some new people to come along to meetups to provide some fresh blood books – the same ones keep coming back to meetups as they cycle round each of us (though saying that, I still did manage to find a book to take home with me: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee).

I keep thinking there was something else I was going to write about, but I’ve got no idea what it was. I’m half falling asleep here – we let the cats sleep in the bed with us on Wednesday night because we were feeling sorry for Ming, and cats in the bed = no sleep for FutureCat, what with one or the other of them always feeling the need to wander around at various points in the night, usually taking a path that involves stepping on my face, and with the fact that I’m actually allergic to cats (yes, I know, why do I have three of them then – the answer is I’m stupid!), so having them in the bed guarantees I won’t breathe properly, so I wake up feeling not at all rested. Anyway, I don’t think my sleep has caught up from that yet, so I’m very tired tonight. Maybe I should just give up on writing this and take my book to bed…


Ming had another seizure tonight. Like last time, it only lasted about 30 seconds, and he didn’t seem to be disturbed by it. In fact, I’m not even sure he was conscious while it was going on. After it stopped, he seemed fine, just a bit confused and slightly wobbly for a few minutes. So it’s probably much scarier for us to watch than for him to experience. But I still feel so sorry for him – it looks so horrible πŸ™

^ ^