My good friend and most gracious lady, Queen Joan, whom I have oft attended when she did make a royal progress, recently requested the presence of myself and my old friend Lady Maud at the Biona Camp for Wilde Wommene and Colony of Enditers, where we did disport us most marvellously well.

And where I wrote about 5000 words, in less than a week, plus did some work on the translation project, and all quite painlessly.

My friends did not mind if I went to bed early. I got up around 6:30, when it got light, made a cup of tea, and went to a desk that had been cleared for me. I worked till around 9:00, when Joan and Maud were up, and then we’d have breakfast and do yoga together. Afternoons were spent at the beach or a park, before dinner out. In the evenings, we worked on a jigsaw puzzle. Hanging out and catching up was blissful.

There were no cats. The social life was built in, and took place in the afternoons and early evenings, instead of keeping me out late. Moreover, it did not involve discussion of movies and TV shows that I haven’t seen and am not interested in. There were no household distractions (call here, arrange that, get the other fixed) because it wasn’t my house. I went to my desk with a sense of pleasurable anticipation, eager to discover what that day’s work would bring.

Now, I love my cats, but they are a total pain in the ass in the morning, wanting to be fed as soon as I wake up, and if I don’t do it, Basement Cat will start banging cupboard doors, which wakes Sir John, and picking fights with the Grammarian, and so on and so forth. So when I work early in the mornings at home, it’s with one ear straining first for the pathetic cries of a black cat who can’t bear to be locked up any longer, and then for the hissing and grumbling from downstairs, and then I have to go close the bathroom door to stop the cupboard-banging. All four get different things for breakfast, because the Grammarian has kidney problems and the Tiny Cat has vitamins mixed in with her food and the Shakespearean Heroine gets other stuff mixed in for her joint problems. Basement Cat gets Prozac on his. So it’s not a matter of just putting out more kibble and getting on with things. Breakfast is a production, and flings me into housekeeping-caretaking mode.

I’m still working, now that I’m back, but a little more slowly and with rather more grim determination than pleasurable anticipation. Intense nostalgia for the break and deep gratitude to Queen Joan set in about ten minutes after I woke up yesterday.

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