Stress… or possibly just a bad sausage

Warning: the following will definitely fall into the “too much information” category for some of you. Feel free to skip down to the cute cat picture.

Quite a few years ago, I spent six months in Africa. A fantastic experience, but one of the downsides was contracting bacillic dysentery. As well as almost killing me, it had a lasting effect on my digestive system. Most of the time I’m perfectly fine, but as soon as life gets too stressful, my body tells me most violently that it’s time to calm things down a bit. So given how much stress I’ve been under with all this stupidity at work, I probably shouldn’t be surprised that I spent so much of last night and today sitting on the toilet 🙁

Or maybe it was that curry from the stall at the Relay for Life… or the barbecue at the bank tent… or just too much junk food over the weekend in general.

Oh well, a day of fasting and lots of peppermint tea seems to have settled things down a bit now. But it hasn’t been pleasant.

Ok, enough of that – time for a cute cat picture:

Saffy seems to have formed a bit of an attachment to the padded top to the filing cabinet 🙂

On Saturday I went to QEII with lytteltonwitch, for the Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. She was in a team representing the bank, as well as walking in the Survivor’s Lap, so I said I’d come along and walk with her. Of course, that was earlier in the week when the weather was better – by Saturday, the rain had set in. But we weren’t going to let a little bit of drizzle put us off, so we set off for QEII.

Lytteltonwitch’s bank had a big tent set up, so we at least had somewhere dry to wait while things got going. I’d brought my camera and a pile of books to release, and had planned to wander around taking photos of the stalls and costumes (some of which were really cool), and release books all over the place. Both plans were foiled, though, first by my camera’s battery running out after just a couple of pictures, and then by the rain getting so heavy that all the people with stalls and tents pulled the tables they’d had out in front back inside, so all the good release spots were gone. I ended up only releasing two books: The Enemy Within by L Ron Hubbard and Haven by John Maxim.

One of the few photos I got before the batteries gave out: Lytteltonwitch and some of her team-mates.

The Survivor’s Lap was first, which I think should have been called the Victory Lap, because it really felt like one watching it. All the survivors were wearing red sashes, and seeing them walking around the track in a big group was so moving. Everyone on the sidelines was applauding, and there were a few tears as well. I felt pretty close to tears myself, partly at just the sheer number of people wearing sashes, and at the expressions on the faces of everyone around me – such a mixture of pride and triumph for the survivors, and grief at the memory of those who hadn’t survived.

After the Survivor’s Lap, I joined lytteltonwitch on the track, and we spent the next hour and a half walking around the increasingly muddy and slippery track (maybe holding the event on the grass track wasn’t such a bright idea on the organisers’ part) and getting increasingly wet. We had fun, though – there was plenty going on both on and off the track, and everyone was cheerful despite the rain.

After our “shift” on the track, we went back to the bank’s tent so we could dry out a bit (and I could wring some of the water out of my t-shirt!) then browsed the stalls for some lunch. Then one of the bank team set up a barbecue in the tent, so we had a second lunch 🙂

Lot of fun, anyway, and we’re plotting for a Bookcrossing team (and free book stall!) for next year, or whenever the relay next comes to Christchurch (lytteltonwitch thinks it moves around to different towns in Canterbury each year).

Yesterday’s main event was a major shopping expedition, to get new gym shoes, and a few more bits and pieces I need for the world tour. And as all the books I’d intended to release at QEII were still in my bag (and not *too* damp :-)), I released them around the mall instead: Hyena Dawn by Christopher Sherlock; To the Coral Strand by John Masters; Within the Bounds by Marc Lodge; Hotel Transylvania by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro; Death in Zanzibar by MM Kaye (in a tropical pot plant); Suck My Toes by Fiona McGregor (in the shoe shop); Katie Mulholland by Catherine Cookson; and One by Richard Bach.

A few catches from the last few days: Cosmos by Carl Sagan, caught after three months; Dragonlance Legend: Test of the Twins by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, popping up on trains all over the North Island; The King’s Adventurer by Jean Plaidy, also caught after three months (three months seems to be a really common time for books to be in the wild, actually); and War Story by Derek Robinson, travelling from war memorial to war memorial.

And a few more recent releases: Moonraker by F Tennyson Jesse; The Moscow Club by Joseph Finder (in the Russian Department at the University, of course); Judge Dredd by Neal Barrett Jr.; The Hampton Heritage by Julie Ellis; Fancy Woman by Valerie Maskell; The Eighth Commandment by Lawrence Sanders; and Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less by Jeffrey Archer. My release rate has definitely been going back up lately!

Currently reading: Children of the Dust by Louise Lawrence
Currently listening to: Dirt Music by Tim Winton

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