I made it!

Four flights, two trains, one meetup, two busses, and a car trip later, I’m in Wales, at the outlaws’ place. Trip went as smoothly as anything that long ever does, and I managed to get enough naps on the planes that after a 12-hour sleep last night I’m actually feeling reasonably human this morning.

It’s a glorious spring day here – I went out early-ish this morning for a walk to try and de-stiffen my legs, and there’s daffodils and lambs everywhere, and little flowers in the hedgerows. Britain does spring so wonderfully (oh to be in England Wales now that spring is here…). Forgot to take my camera on the walk, but I’ll go out again later and take some photos.

Ok, I feel guilty now – Mother-out-law is doing my washing for me. I’d better go and give her a hand.

On my way!

It’s 4 am here, and I’m just about to leave for the airport, bound for Dublin.

First stop Sydney, for lunch with the local oookcrossers, then (after the super-long-haul to London) a couple of days with the out-laws in Wales, then I hitch a ride on the witch’s broomstick and we’re off around Ireland for a few weeks, reaching Dublin just in time for the convention.

^ ^

Cathedral photos

I almost forgot (too busy packing for Ireland – two more sleeps!) but here’s a few photos from the red zone:

Poor Cathedral isn’t looking too good these days

And it’s even worse in close-up. Large parts of it look just one more good shake away from collapse.

But the good news is that Coffee Club’s still standing (so far). I wonder if our books are still safe and sound in there? After all, they’ve just started the cleanup in the central library, 13 months on, and most of those books are fine, so there’s still hope for ours… (video from inside the library)

Time to catch up

I know I’ve been quiet again, but I’ve got the usual excuse of being too busy with work and study to feel like sitting down in front of a computer when I get home. But I need a break from the long and tedious task I’ve been doing all day, so rather than mindlessly browsing the web I’ll spend a few minutes catching up here.

The last couple of weeks have been pretty socially busy as well. The weekend before last Mum came up for a couple of days for the flower show. It was great to see her (of course, I have to say that, seeing as I know she’s reading this ;-)), and we managed to fit in a bit of fun as well as long talks about the latest annoyances caused by some of our least favourite branches of the extended post-nuclear family. We even managed a shopping trip! (Well, sort of – we went to Riccarton in search of clothes but gave up and went to Browsers for morning tea instead).

Mum’s visit coincided with a wee party Jenny and I co-hosted – she was the original host, having planned to have a party at her place, but nowadays Sumner is such a slog to get to over the bad roads that nobody was particularly keen. So I offered to have it at our house instead. Christian and Douglas took over the kitchen and cooked pizzas, so all I had to do was sit back and enjoy the evening. It was all work people, so of course the conversation was lively, but we also managed to fit in a game of ‘Apples to Apples’, which was the source of much hilarity. A great night, and nice to be able to introduce Mum to some of my friends and colleagues.

On Monday night I finally caught up with my ESOL student for a lesson, after a long hiatus while she had visitors and other disruptions to our schedule. Her daughter now has her drivers license, so they both come round to my place now rather than me having to battle the buses out to Bishopdale. Having her daughter there as well means our lessons generally end up more about just having a chat over a cup of tea than formal lessons, but it’s all good language practice 🙂 We’ve got another lesson tonight, so at least I’ll be able to give her some reading to do while I’m away.

Wednesday was our Bookcrossing meetup (yes, after 9 years of Tuesday nights we’ve changed the day), which was reasonably well attended. After an initial mixup with the table it was an enjoyable evening, with the usual piles of books being passed around, and trying new and exciting dishes.

Saturday I spent out at Little River at Helen 3’s St Patrick’s Day/wedding anniversary party. I got a lift out with La Presidenta and family, and it was an enjoyable afternoon sitting in the sun, even if I did spend the odd moment feeling guilty about the reading I should be doing for this weeks’ lecture. Got to catch up with a few old union contacts, and also to feel reassured that I made the right decision in dropping the union work for this year – it was nice to hear about all the problems and chaos without feeling obliged to do anything about them.

Then yesterday I met Otakuu in town so we could take advantage of the last chance to walk into the Square and see the cathedral, which is to be demolished. The wizard was there collecting signatures for his save the cathedral petition, but I didn’t sign it. Much as I regret the loss of the cathedral, the damage has got so bad that it’s pretty obvious even to the untrained eye that it could collapse completely any day now, so I really don’t think there’s any choice but to demolish it. It doesn’t look that bad at first glance, but then you look more closely and see how many of the walls and buttresses are leaning over, and how the stones have shifted, and it’s amazing it’s still standing at all. (I’ll add photos later).

And I think that’s the prevailing view across Christchurch, really – I certainly couldn’t see much sign of the outpouring of grief over the cathedral that the Press had been talking about. There was a crowd, but the atmosphere was pretty cheerful – I got the feeling most people were (like me) just there to have one last look rather than to mourn. It was quite a contrast to the last time they opened up the walkway, when the mood was so much more sombre and respectful. Maybe it’s just that we’ve lost so much of the city now that it’s hard to get too emotional about losing yet another building, even if it is one that’s so iconic.

It’s about time for a catch report:

And in other news, five more sleeps!!!

Kitten poo and mad people


As usual when life gets busy, I get worse at journalling.  The main thing that’s been taking up my time (apart from work), is studying.  I knew the Honours year is a hard one, but I didn’t know it would be HARD.  We’re only three weeks into term, and I’m already finding it a struggle to keep up with all the reading that’s needed… not to mention the thinking.  It’s great fun though, and I’m absolutely loving the challenge.  Just don’t expect me to have a life outside of study for the next four years….

Work is another challenge, but thankfully another enjoyable one.  I’ve had a kind of promotion (it’s complicated), the end result of which is I’m involved in a really exciting long-term project, which (if all goes well) could give me even bigger and better opportunities further down the track.  It means I’m a lot busier than I was, though, and I’ve got a lot more responsibilities to juggle.

Oh well, at least I never get bored 🙂

In kitten news, they’re just as cute and just as infuriating as always. Just when we thought we had them litter-box trained, Parsnips has decided the carpet beside the front door is a much better place to poo. So we spend a lot of time cleaning the carpet and trying to find some sort of smell that will discourage her – so far lemons and the fancy spray from the pet shop have failed. Any suggestions gratefully accepted!

Anyway, pictures of the cute:

And in embroidery news, I’ve made a little bit of progress:

Can you tell what it is yet? 🙂

All of a sudden it’s just a few weeks until our big Ireland trip. This time three weeks from now I’ll be somewhere over Europe, descending towards Heathrow (having already been travelling for nearly 40 hours, and still with another 6 hour bus trip ahead of me to get to the Outlaws’ place – whose stupid idea was it to do the whole thing non-stop???)

I’m almost completely organised – my to-do list still has a few wee jobs on it (like find my NZ/UK converter plug so I can charge my phone), and I don’t actually have a flight home from Brisbane yet (the airline cut the flight I was originally booked on, and the alternative goes via Auckland, so I’m considering staying the night in Brisbane so I can get the direct flight to Christchurch in the morning), but otherwise it’s all coming together nicely.

Actually, speaking of Australia, I should put something on BCAUS to at least organise a meetup in Sydney on my way over.  Organising a Brisbane meetup will have to wait until I know how long I’m there.

In totally weird news, a certain local Bookcrosser has been masquerading as a new member and posting anonymous comments on an old LJ entry.  It was pretty obvious who it was from the start, but I played along to see where she’d take it.  Not very far, as it turned out – she lasted three comments before she started insulting us.  That was amusing enough, but then she followed up by sending me a friends request!  As the Tui ads would say, Yeah, right.  No idea what planet she’s on…