Thursday, December 20, 2007

Working with animals

I've been at the family pile for the last few days working. I needed to get out of London so I could finish a lot of writing. I thought the countryside would be ideal for writing as the nearest pub is miles away and there isn't a lot to do apart from type furiously.

I was about half right. This morning I realised that I could spend no more time sat in front of the wood burning stove eating mince pies so I finally sat down in the downstairs drawing room to write. There is a vast table there over looking one of the gardens. It was a brilliantly clear and frosty morning and so I set about typing yet more nonsense about casinos.

This started off well enough. The geese were strangely interested in seeing this new person in the window so they spent an hour or so with their hot beaks pressed up against the window breathing heavily on the glass as I typed. After a while they got bored of that and went off to the duck pond for a swim. The duck pond was frozen over so they stamped on it for a bit and honked a lot before sitting down on the lawn where they could watch me from a distance while plucking at nearby trees and bushes.

Watching geese is quite a good break from writing they are mildly interesting but not enough to be completely distracting.

In the afternoon it got so cold in the drawing room that I retreated to the kitchen. The kitchen is a different world, it's got an AGA burbling away in one corner so it is warmer and there are three cats in residence. Two of them are rather elderly and one is a naughty baby cat. Spider - my cat - is jet black, evil and extremely clever. He is a bit wobbly these days so he just lounges around occasionally popping out to murder something rare. Spider loves all the other cats deeply.

The other cat is Stripy, she is an stroppy tabby cat who doesn't really wash herself as much as she should so he pongs a bit. She just about puts up with Spider but hats Maus.

The final cat in this trio is Maus, a young cat, almost a kitten who is gray and extremely naughty. Maus likes Spider and enjoys annoying Stripy. When I was trying to write she would run up and down my leg and would then stare in my eyes for a second before biting me on the chin.

After my chin had been attacked she would run off again into a corner of the room to plot her next move. These moves typically involved some sort of attack or going somewhere she shouldn't so I've spent most of the afternoon juggling cats or pulling small angry carnivores off my trousers.

It's been strangely productive and now I'm but an amusing anecdote or two from finishing this book. Phew.

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