We were running a bit late, so littlemave suggested that instead of the others waiting for us, they should set out, and we’d head them off at the pass (for once I could see the value of cellphones!).
[And now I illustrate the danger of leaving writing your diary for a couple of weeks, because I can’t remember the exact order we visited the various landmarks in. So if you know the geography of Sydney, and think I’ve got it wrong, it’s probably because I have…]
First stop (I think, see note above) was the Museum. We didn’t actually go in, but a tinymave helpfully ran in and left Keep It Simple, Stupid by Peter Goldsworthy inside the entrance for me. Then we passed the Hyde Park Barracks, where I hid A Five Year Sentence by Bernice Rubens (seemed appropriate!) in a display on the barracks wall, and Sydney Hospital, which got What Katy Did at School by Susan Coolidge (on a windowsill) and The Stray Cat by Steven Paulsen, propped against a very strange fountain/sculpture of a dribbling pig.
We met the other bookcrossers outside the State Library of New South Wales, and I released Potiki by Patricia Grace. Inside the library was suitably hushed (and air-conditioned! – yet another thing I was rapidly learning to appreciate 😉 ), so we reverently looked at Tasman’s map on the floor of the foyer (releasing Planets by Denise and Grant Ford and a School Journal), and peered through the windows at all the people busy studying the books (it’s not a taking books out sort of library, it’s more like the British Library, where you just come and look at the books in situ), then headed through to another area where they had various rare books on display – a magnet for a bunch of booklovers! The way out led us past the gift shop (of course!), so I bought myself a little Trim badge (Trim was Matthew Flinders’s cat, who sailed around the world with him – there’s a statue of Matthew Flinders outside, and an accompanying statue of Trim, who seems to have become the library’s mascot, judging from the array of Trim memorabilia available in the gift shop) – Skyring pointed out that it was meeting of FutureCat and PastCat, and insisted on taking my photo next to Trim’s statue when we went outside. I released Cats by Denise and Grant Ford on the display case of Trim memorabilia in the gift shop, and Kate’s Christmas Present by Inger & Lasse Sandberg (which is about a cat) beside the statue.
After the library, we went back up to Hyde Park, strewing books on park benches, trees and statues as we walked:
Spooks of the Valley by Louis Jones
The One Kingdom by Sean Russell
The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter (I saw that one get caught, but it hasn’t been journalled yet)
Serious by John McEnroe
Then we headed into chinatown, passing a backpackers’ with a book swap shelf visible from the window (so we all piled in to inspect the shelf and leave a few books ourselves – I left Golden Deeds by Catherine Chidgey), and the Capital Theatre, where The Lion King is being performed. I had the perfect themed release to leave outside the theatre: Fluffy the Show Cat by Denise and Grant Ford (it even has a lion-like picture of a fluffy ginger cat on the cover complete with mane framing its face). Next stop was for ice-cream, at a place that specialised in exotic flavours (I chose green tea – it was surprisingly good!) and had a strange policy – if you wanted to sit down at a table to eat your icecream, then it cost twice what it did if you just stood and ate! Naturally, we all chose to stand! But I still left a book: Whales by Denise and Grant Ford.
By this time, the tinymaves were getting tired, so littlemave decided to take them home. The others were heading off to hit a few bookshops, but as I was flagging myself by this time, I decided not to join them, but headed back with littlemave & co. instead. Of course, we did a bit more bookcrossing on the way – releasing Inquisition by Anselm Audley next to a statue of a bull (a very weak themed release: bull – bullfighting – Spain – Spanish Inquisition), and a couple more books in the park: Where’s Waari ed. by Witi Ihimaera and Jennie’s Hat by Ezra Jack Keats.
Back at littlemave’s apartment, I managed to wrest control of the computer from the tiniestmave just long enough to check that none of my releases had been caught, and then settled down with the other two tinymaves to watch a video and try and recover a bit of energy before we had to head out again for the quiz night.