Editing, reading… Oh, and cat-sitting

It’s been an interesting week, so far. Tuesday was our regular Plot Bunnies meeting, where there were, for the second meeting in a row, 12 of us, yesterday I went training and was able to stay for the late, newly created strengthening and conditioning class (think lots of bruise-inducing arm blocks and punished stomach muscles – ouch), and I was able to stay because I was to spend the night with friends in Peacehaven, a little way east of Brighton, who had asked me to cat-sit while they were in California.

Now, those who have known me a long time know that I am allergic to cats. So, now, do Jonny and Kristina, the aforementioned friends (who were also two of the 12 on Tuesday night). However, now that Kristina has official permission to stay in the UK indefinitely with her lovely husband, they have been able to go to California to spend some time with her family, safe in the knowledge that she will be allowed back into the UK. The cats, Pickwick and Sebastian, came over a while back from the States, so they needed a cat-sitter. And this role fell to me.

Jonny and Kristina have supplied me with boxes of antihistamine, and the cats are miffed that they are not currently allowed into the bedroom. If I let them in, and they curled up on the bed, I am not exaggerating by saying I would quite simply not be able to sleep. Even last night, after dosing myself up, I was wheezing and coughing. Fuck knows, I’m glad I’m not asthmatic, coz the cat allergy and its resultant sneezes and wheezes is quite bad enough, thank you very fucking much she who loves cats can’t snuggle them coz she’ll sneeze and her eyes will itch and stream… And, breathe… Little rant, there. I love cats. I have always loved cats. Twice, we had a family cat. The tangible difference, now there is no cat living at my folks’ place, is I no longer need to carry tissues round with me. I still carry hankies of the cotton variety, but old habits are hard to break, and besides, you never know when you might need one.

So this is where I am as I write. A flat in Peacehaven, in charge (huh, yeah, right) of two rather large and lovely cats.

I made a trip into town, today. This is not, in itself, an achievement, but I was aware that the m-ticket app could be unreliable. Having installed it on my phone in preparation, eager to save myself a few quid on bus fares, I was more than a little chuffed when the thing actually worked. I didn’t even have to swear at it. So, anyway, I made a trip to Boots and went to the bank and wandered around before I found myself in Lush. Purely accidental, of course, while I was in there, I bought some yummy Neon Love soap (which smells unbelievable) and a new lip balm, of which I had, this very day, just run out.

And I have also been editing. Note, I did not say “proofreading” – I said “editing”. Danil, one of the instructors at my club (you may remember I edited his book about kung fu back in 2012), wrote a fantasy novel a few years back and, having dug it out and dusted it off, asked me to proofread it for him. We met one afternoon after I had been training and it turned out he wanted me to edit it as well. This is what I do. It’s fiction, and when I see bits of what people are writing, I itch to edit it, just as I do when one of our members posts something they’ve written onto the Plot Bunnies website for critique. (It’s no good giving you a link to an example, as that area of the site is private.) We talked at some length about what he needed me to do, agreed on a fee we were both happy with, and the first few chapters are now covered in red ink. This is my preliminary work, mind. In order for Danil to be able to make any sense of my scribbles, I shall be transferring them into a file on screen, so he can make the changes or ignore my marks as he deems appropriate.

And I have also been reading. I’ve wanted to read Children of God, the sequel to The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, for some time, so I borrowed it (read, pilfered it from Laz’s bookshelf) and now I’m nearly through it. But, in the meantime, we were scheduled to discuss another book at the Plot Bunnies meeting – that has now been postponed until next month to give more people a chance to read it, but it was Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch, and was another one I had been meaning to read for ages. Suffice to say, I whizzed through it and now want to read the rest of the series. Result. (Even better, I got this one from the library – bonus.) This was one of the reasons we started the reading meetings in the first place – to give people a chance to read outside of their comfort zone, find books and writers they might otherwise not have read. We’ve discovered some gems this way that we would have missed, had we not been having the book discussions.

So now, as I await news of the safe arrival of Jonny and Kristina in California, I am going to curl up with Children of God (not literally – don’t say you ever had me down as a Jesus freak… If you did, you didn’t know me at all…), which I hope to finish very shortly. I’d better – I brought three more books with me. And if I run out? There are bookcases here I can explore. (As it always is, it was practically the first thing I looked at when I visited, pre-cat-sitting, last week – though a flat overflowing with books was a given, knowing these two, so I knew I would not have a problem selecting something to read.)

Two cats, asleep – check. Cosy flat – check. Full stomach – check.


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