The taxi dropped us off a few doors away from the pub, and Hawkette and I struggled to carry our own heavy bags, plus Lytteltonwitch’s bag of books (Lytteltonwitch was under strict instructions from her doctor not to carry any heavy bags this weekend, so I’d promised to play pack horse for her), plus the two bags of duty free… we made it to the pub door, only to be confronted with a flight of steps. I lugged my share of the bags half way up them, and asked the bouncer standing at the top where we could find the Bookcrossers. He indicated another flight of steps, and said “Up there, round the corner, then up to the third floor”. Our hearts sank.
I volunteered to go and get help, and thus it was that the Sydney Bookcrossers’ first introduction to FutureCat was of a red-faced sweating woman laden down with duty free, who gasped out “I need someone strong, Lytteltonwitch and Hawkette are stuck at the bottom of the stairs with the rest of the bags”, and then collapsed into the nearest chair. Luckily, the wonderful Skyring and k-j-h sprang to our rescue, and raced downstairs to help the damsels in distress.
Once I’d recovered enough to look around me, all I could see were books and Bookcrossers – three tables laden with books and surrounded by eager Bookcrossers, plus others standing around talking and drinking. It would have been Bookcrossing heaven if it wasn’t for the noise – maybe having the registration event in a pub on a Friday night wasn’t such a good idea, because the music was up so loud that conversation was difficult, which was a pity, because the one thing that all these bookcrossers (most meeting for the first time) wanted to do was talk!
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I contributed a few books to the tables myself (I just opened my bag and pulled out the first few that came to hand). Some were pounced on by other Bookcrossers, and the rest were collected up at the end of the evening and re-released later. There were also a few books I’d brought over especially for particular Bookcrossers.
The Mathematics of Jane Austen by Elizabeth Smither
A Little English Book of Teas by Rosa Mashiter
Angel Baby by Lindsey Dawson
Running Backwards Over Sand by Stephanie Dowrick
The Champion by Maurice Gee
When in Rome by Ngaio Marsh
Banvard’s Folly by Paul S Collins
Motherstone by Maurice Gee
Oracles & Miracles by Stevan Eldred-Grigg
Paddy’s Puzzle by Fiona Kidman
Death of a Sparrow by Barbara Ker-Mann
The Vets by Stephen Leather
One by Richard Bach
Playing Waterloo by Peter Hawes
And, of course, the infamous cheat book. This book started off at a meetup where we happened to have internet access, and as a joke, everyone at the meetup caught and released it. Then it did the rounds again at the Christchurch mini-convention earlier this year, where the official “rules” for cheating were established (to make a journal entry on the book, you must have held it in your hand (photographic proof preferred), and you must not, under any circumstances, actually read it!). So it was a natural choice to take to the BC-AUS convention, where it was much appreciated: all weekend we saw it being passed around and photographed with various Bookcrossers.
Goody-bags were distributed – not only was it filled with bookmarks, labels, stickers, sheets for recording released books, and other useful things, but the bag itself was a nice cotton bag (ideal for carrying books!) emblazoned with the “Bookeroo” convention logo!
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Eventually, as the night wore on, the music got louder and the lights got dimmer, so someone suggested we move on to a cafe where we could actually talk (clever person, whoever it was!). About a dozen of us went to a cafe in the QVB (Queen Victoria Building), and sat around chatting in more convivial surroundings than the noisy pub.
[album 128913 15qvb2.JPG thumblink] The QVB by daylight.
Before we left (at nearly midnight – Lytteltonwitch and I were seriously feeling the 2-hour time difference!), Littlemave suggested that we place a few books around the base of the giant Christmas tree inside the building. There was a scarey security guard standing beside it though, so we just released the books on nearby benches instead.
We were going to walk back to Littlemave’s apartment, but even with her helping, the bags were too heavy to carry very far, so we got a taxi instead. I knew she’d said her apartment was pretty central, but I was surprised when the taxi pulled up in a side street right beside Hyde Park! And then even more surprised when we saw what an impressive looking building it was – this was no inner-city tenement! But (as Douglas Adams might have said) my surprise then turned to astonishment when I discovered that not only was the apartment on the top floor (penthouse!!!), but it had the most incredible view out across the city to the harbour!
But even a stunning view wasn’t enough to keep me awake by that time, and I very gratefully sunk into my top bunk (kindly given up by one of the Tinymaves, who were camping out in the lounge), and was quickly asleep.