Magnetically the cats are drawn to my office, where one lies awash with contentment merely to be admitted to such hallowed ground, yet another must climb upon me in ratification of his superiority. What happy lives, always finding interest and comfort, pens and paper-clips to hunt, places to become centre of attention or doze. Or indeed places where, languidly ensconsed, a cat may both doze and yet remain the focal point of human fascination.
That, of course, exposes the doom of a friendly and pretty cat. Forever such a beast tries to rest, and yet is stroked, petted and picked up. But I do not think that our three felines mind very much. Plentiful are the hours available for slumber whilst Danielle and I are out at work. A glimpse at the energetic night-craziness of the small creatures is evidence enough that their day-time hours are spent unrestrainedly in restful repose. And now our better insulated house is cozier for people and pets.
I visited Doru in the last horizontal rays of golden sunshine, enjoying the wake of a cold front that left cool clear air and a blue sky scattered with fractured fragments of cloud. We rode a little, and I relaxed into my deep comfortable saddle, feeling at one with the big stallion. The malaise of the previous autumn is cast off, and again riding is simple and natural as walking down the road. It seems so normal to be up there riding a good horse, he and I eager and curious about our surroundings. A few miles in the saddle, some sunshine, a little quiet, and life seems all the brighter. A cloak of timelessness is upon me, and I am at one with those who wandered these hills over millennia. No longer does technology separate us, neither speed nor glass distance me from the Downlands and their memories. I fell to thinking, and wondered at the Norsemen who flew the Raven Banner. Then I caught myself reflecting that Canute the Great wielded a Raven Banner, and that was "quite recently" in the year 1016. So, the writing of Downlanders, which is set in a time not "recent" - the early sixth century - has imposed a curious sense of chronology upon me. But I returned home refreshed, with new ideas for my book, and was able to write creatively. The dialogue between my heroine and three equestrian nomad teenagers came readily, and she showed them mercy for an indiscretion, surprising her band of companions. But through this she learns that the ethereal meadow-daughter chose her new name, and that unbeknown to her a great favour was granted by one she thought aloof. The story bounds on: and all that from a bright rays of a setting sun upon a dreamy ride pondering a Danish warrior's flag.