Sunday: The Mystery Bus Tour

Bright and early on Sunday morning (ok, so it was 9 am again, but by this stage we’d had so many late nights that 9 felt *very* early), lytteltonwitch picked us up and took us into town, where our bus was waiting for us. We met the driver and his family (who we’d invited along for the ride, seeing as he had to work on Easter Sunday), loaded up the bus with boxes of books, and plastered the windows with Bookcrossing logos.
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It was much too big a bus for our small group, of course, but it had actually worked out cheaper than hiring a smaller bus (weird, but true!), and it did mean that everyone got a spare seat for their bags of books!
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We counted heads (then counted again because I lost count the first time…) and were off on the road to our secret destination: Akaroa. First stop along the way was to pick up Daveytay, who was waiting for us at a bus stop on our route (he’d dropped Cathietay and the picnic food off in town, and then driven back home to wait for the bus, to avoid having to find a park in town). Then things settled down for a while until we reached the first bit of windy road around the base of the hills, when Lollie-mavette was sick. A stop for fresh air perked her up, and finally we reached our first official stop, Little River, where we all piled out of the bus to use the toilets, buy post-cards, and release a few books.

My Little River releases:
Death Notes by Ruth Rendell
Disclosure by Michael Crichton
Paradise Lost by John Milton
Tyler’s Gold by Andrew Grant (which got caught!)

Then it was back in the bus, and up the steep road to Hilltop (with lots of jokes directed at the Australians about them needing breathing gear for the altitude), where we had a brief stop to admire the view. There was a barbed-wire fence at the edge of the carpark, and I had a couple of books I’d put in plastic bags, so it seemed the obvious thing to do to hang them from it.
You Can do the Cube by Patrick Bossert
Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie
They were quickly joined by other books, until we had a pretty impressive looking “book fence”.
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Not all of the releases at Hilltop were to the book fence. rarsberry released a book on a large rock at the lookout point, and we saw it being picked up and passed around by a group of people.
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I think they were put off by us watching them (and taking photos!) though, because in the end they left it where it was 🙁

Back in the bus, and down the hill to Akaroa. As we pulled into the domain, where we were going to have lunch and leave the bus, I spotted a promising sign: “Booksale!!!” I called out, and everyone pressed against the bus windows trying to spot where it was. It turned out to be in the bowls club, right next to where we were stopping! And a very promising sign read “Books 3 for $2” (Of course, we tried to claim that we’d known about it all along and that’s why we were stopping there, but for some reason nobody beleived us!) We left Cathytay in charge of setting out the lunch (don’t worry, several of us volunteered to help her, but she sent us off to the sale), and ran over to the bowls club to see what was on offer. Bookcrossing nirvana! Tables piled high with books, hardcover and paperback, many in very good condition, and all 3 for $2!
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(Photo courtesy of Skyring)

The people running the sale couldn’t beleive their eyes as we all swooped on the tables and began picking up armloads of books. We all left with at least one supermarket bag full, some people with several – so not only a lot of happy bookcrossers armed with new ammunition, but a happy bowls club that made a lot of money very quickly!

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Catsalive leaves books on windshields in the carpark on her way to the booksale.

Lunch was a picnic of subway sandwiches, hot soup (Cathietay’s clever idea when she realised the weather was going to stay overcast, and heated on a camping stove), biscuits and apples. Again, no shortage of food, and only cost us $8 a head! The catering was definitely something we did well with this weekend.

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You can tell it’s a Bookcrossing picnic – rarsberry gets in some reading time as she stirs the soup (I don’t know why this thumbnail came out sideways – the full picture is the right way up)

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Cathietay tests out the effects of soup on her new mug.

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The “books on fences” theme continues.

After lunch, we had three hours to kill before the bus had to leave again, so we went our separate ways to explore the town and release books. Of course, Akaroa is a very small town, so we were constantly bumping into other Bookcrossers, spotting bright yellow bags in the distance, and most of all spotting books, released in every conceivable location. For a while there it was getting hard to find somewhere to release a book where there wasn’t one already! Each time we’d meet another Bookcrosser we’d compare notes on where we’d released, what we’d seen picked up, the reactions we’d seen from tourists and locals… loads of fun (ok, so it probably sounds really boring, but trust me, if you’re a Bookcrosser this kind of stuff is fun!)
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My Akaroa releases:
Bebert et L’Omnibus by Francois Boyer (I cheated, because I knew our destination, so could bring a few French books for themed releases)
Le Sabbat by Maruice Sachs
Une Passion by Christiane Singer
Le Palace by Claude Simon
Le Fond Du Probleme by Graham Greene
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
The Pigman’s Legacy by Paul Zindel
The Scarlatti Inheritance by Robert Ludlum
Darts by Tom Barrett (Got caught!)
Crisis on Conshelf Ten by Monica Hughes
The Trojan Horse by Hammond Innes
The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
The Daffodil Girls by Peter Hawkins
Onward Virgin Soldiers by
Leslie Thomas

A History of the United States by RB Nye and JE Morpurgo
The Moon’s a Balloon by David Niven
The Case Against Adolf Eichmann ed. by Henry A Zeiger
Classic Irish Drama ed. by WA Armstrong
Three Plays by Sean O’Casey
A-Z and Back Again by Carol Mills

And best of all, the sun came out, and it turned into a perfect day!

As usual, most of the photos I took were of my releases, so I’ve included them in the journal entries for the books, but here’s a few of random scenery:
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Best release of the day was by Skyring, who in his inimitable fashion threw a book (safely waterproofed in a plastic bag, of course) into the harbour, much to the bemusement of the people walking by. It quickly attracted the attention of seagulls, and one large black-backed gull in particular took exception to it, pecking violently at the plastic bag. As it (accompanied by seagull) floated out to sea, we expected that would be the last we heard of it.

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(Photo courtesy of Skyring)

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But surprisingly, there was a happy ending to the seagull story – the book actually got caught! Some people spotted it from a boat, and rescued it (although lytteltonwitch is still sticking to her theory that it was actually the seagull who registered it, thus disproving rarsberry’s theory that beaks are ill-suited to typing).

We left Akaroa tired but happy, and headed home to Christchurch, with just one brief stop at Hilltop to replenish the bookfence (all the books we’d left there in the morning were gone!)

Goodbye California by Alistair Mclean
Proteus by Morris West
Flanagan’s Run by Tom McNab
Trophy Wife by Nicola Thorne (Got caught!)

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