Get Thee Behind Me, Geraldine

And lo, the sun did shine through the clouds and point a finger of light to show the weary travellers the way. But it was a false light, for it led them only to Geraldine, and no matter what path they chose, all roads led to Geraldine. And so to Geraldine they went…

Lytteltonwitch and I went on an adventure yesterday, with the plan of a bit of bookcrossing, a bit of sight-seeing, and a bit of geocaching. Lytteltonwitch had, for a change, worked out a rough itinerary, but after doing all that clever planning, hadn’t actually remembered to put the map back in the car, so there we were in South Canterbury, trying to avoid getting onto the main highways (and the heavy Easter weekend traffic), and somehow whichever tiny side-road we took, it would end up heading to Geraldine. And as half of Canterbury had been up in Wanaka for the War Birds, and were all heading home via Geraldine, that was the last place we wanted to be. By the third time we turned off only to find another sign pointing to Geraldine, we were starting to think it was following us. And then when the clouds parted and a beam of light illuminated the houses on the hill in the distance, we were starting to wonder if someone was trying to tell us something!

The rest of the trip was equally full of adventures and weird moments. Like the car that seemed to be following us – we kept seeing it, even though we did a lot of backtracking after false turns. We couldn’t figure out if they were just as lost as us, or if they were geocaching too, and were waiting for us to get out of the way so they could search for caches.

One of the main places we wanted to visit was Raincliff, where there are some pre-European Maori rock drawings. Unfortunately they were vandalised by graffitists recently – they’ve managed to repair the damage, but they’ve had to put a big fence around the drawings to stop anyone else damaging it. Makes it a bit difficult to see them properly, but I managed to stick my camera through the fence and get an ok picture:

You can’t really tell from the photo, but the central figure in black has been drawn around a ridge of stone that is the perfect shape for its body, with legs and arms added in charcoal. Really cool.

Another must-visit destination was Hanging Rock – not only was there an ingeniously hidden geocache there, but lytteltonwitch had a copy of Picnic at Hanging Rock that was just begging to be released somewhere appropriate.

Our whole trip could, as usual, be tracked via our release notes, actually:

Triple Factor by Owen Sela at a petrol station;
Hot Water Man by Deborah Moggach under the fish in Raikaia;
The Bell Branch by Lucy Walker on the Temuka shoe tree;
Adam Bede by George Eliot at the Richard Pearce memorial outside Temuka;
Make a Cow Laugh by John Holgate on the bridge at Hanging Rock;
Children of the Dust by Louise Lawrence at the rock drawings in Raincliff;
Mr Stone and the Knights Companion by VS Naipul at a church just outside Raincliff;
Children’s Children by Maisie Moscow on a memorial to early settlers at Pioneer Park;
The Modern World by Malcolm Bradbury and Shakespeare’s Bawdy by Eric Partridge in The Old Library at Fairlie, where we stopped for lunch;
The Venetian Affair by Helen MacInnes on the war memorial at Albury;
The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M Auel on a time capsule marker at Cave;
Cats in the Belfry by Patricia Knoll in a church at Cave;
Cannes by Iain Johnstone at a memorial to irrigation just outside Cave;
The Train Robbers by Piers Paul Read at the railway station in Pleasant Point (where the Thomas the Tank Engine train (sorry, I mean “Denny” the Tank Engine – no copyright violation here, officer) was doing joy rides);
For the Love of a Stranger by Erin Pizzey inside a moa (yes, I did say “inside” – have a look at the release photo :-)) at Alford Forest;
Black Out by John Lawton at the entrance to Mt Hutt;
and finally Lion in the Evening by Alan Scholefield in the KFC at Hornby when we stopped to pick up dinner on the way home.

The rest of the long weekend was equally busy, trying to get all the last minute stuff done before I leave (two weeks tomorrow!). I finally managed to get the bookstrings finished tonight (gluing the knots was what was holding me up, because I only had limited space to lie the glued strings out to dry, so I could only do 30-odd at a time), with gift-tags attached, and divided up according to how many we’ve promised for the various conventions in London, Madrid, Chania, Hamburg, and Genoa.

I also got some last minute shopping done, taking advantage of Kathmandu’s sale to pick up a couple of pairs of cargo pants (lighter to carry than my usual jeans), and silly little things like a new strap for my watch (which was falling apart). I’m slowly ticking things off my to do list.

What I didn’t manage to do was set up my phone for roaming. Australia and the UK are fine, because roaming is automatic there, but I have to get it set up beforehand for the other countries – and to do that they needed proper photo ID (and wouldn’t accept my credit card as ID, even though it has my photo on it). So I’ll have to go back next weekend. The Vodafone guy also gave me the bad news that my phone won’t work in America anyway – apparently they use different frequencies there or something, which my old cheap phone won’t cope with (typical America, has to be different from the rest of the world!). He tried to convince me to buy a $240 phone that would cope with America, but I think I’ll just wait until I get there and buy the cheapest phone I can find – there’s got to be one cheaper than that!

Fleebo and crasy were back in Christchurch on Sunday, so we had a brunch meetup at Trattorie. Another very well attended meetup, with, as well as the usual suspects, the gwilks, angela7715, and a reporter from the press, opshopper, who was taking notes for a potential article on bookcrossing. I made sure she got all the details about next year’s convention, so hopefully she’ll give us some good publicity. Lytteltonwitch and I wore our new t-shirts to show them off to everyone – the 2009 logo looks fantastic on them!

Currently reading: Love Like Hate Adore by Deirdre Purcell
Currently listening to: About a Boy by Nick Hornby

15 sleeps to go!!!!!

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