Typical. The pre-convention excitement kicks off today, and I’ve got a cold. Probably inevitable given how much racing around I’ve been doing lately, but I just wish it could have held off for another week… oh well, I’ve thrown half a pharmacy at it (not my normal behaviour at all, given that I adhere to the aphorism that if you treat a cold it will last 7 days, but untreated it will last a week, so my preferred treatment is rest and maybe a disprin or two. But rest is not an option this week, so I paid a visit to the chemist for every magic potion they could offer), and apart from having totally lost my voice, I seem to be surviving so far.

After a bit of confusion over domestic vs international terminal (apparently Auckland is another country, according to Qantas at least), libertine101 and the trolls arrived this morning. After a quick cup of tea here, lytteltonwitch dropped the trolls off at their motel, and then we went to the printers to drop off the files for the convention booklets and things. Next stop was a supermarket for libertine101 to stock up on food she can actually eat, then a restaurant supply shop for some essential sign holders, and another visit to the school to confirm the AV setup.

All the boring stuff out the way, lytteltonwitch headed out to the airport for her next pickup, and libertine101 and I caught a bus into town. I always enjoy exploring my own city with a visitor – you see so much more through fresh eyes (I never knew how many cats lurked in the Arts Centre windows, for a start!). We visited the cathedral (though passed on climbing the bell tower) and the art gallery, and wandered around the arts centre area for a while. I even released a few books! Nice New Neighbours by Franz Brandenberg on the Bridge of Remembrance, The Little Fat Policeman by Margaret Wise Brown and Edith Thacher Hurd outside the police station, The Gismo from Outer Space by Keo Felker Lazarus by the river, and Mister Wolf and Me by Mary Francis Shura on the girl reading sculpture outside the Dyslexia Society (and it’s already been caught!).

It was getting close to 6 by this time, and starting to get cold, so we headed towards Cafe Bleu for the meetup. When we got there, lytteltonwitch was standing outside, and all was dark and closed up. No, we hadn’t thought to check they would actually be open for the meetup – they’re always open on Tuesday nights, so we just assumed. The Indian place next door was open though, so we plastered Cafe Bleu’s door with post-its directing any stray bookcrossers there. It turned out to be a great choice – the service was a little slow and sometimes utterly confused (at one point our end of the table was feeling unloved, because the waiters delivered water and poppadoms to the other end, but not to us… but then when they brought the rice, they only gave it to our end of the table, so it wasn’t anything personal after all ;-)), but the food when it did arrive was wonderful. And of course the company was excellent – as well as the convention early arrivals we had a couple of local bookcrossers who can’t make it to the convention, and a couple passing through from Blenheim who decided to drop in to the meetup to say hi, so we invited them to join us for dinner – I think there were 14 of us around the table in the end. Lots of bookcrossers, lots of books (Breath by Michael Symmons Roberts and The Girl in a Swing by Richard Adams), lots of chatter (even if I couldn’t raise my voice high enough to be heard beyond my immediate neighbour), and good food – what more could you want?

After dinner we retired to The Bog, where MarcieNZ was playing, but although the music was excellent (and apparently one of the musicians is someone who’s “world famous in NZ”), by this time libertine101 was visibly sagging, and the noise level combined with my whispered voice meant I couldn’t talk to anyone, so we left after just a couple of songs.

Looks like the convention is under way!

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