Okay, I really was going to try and not gush about her, but look - how could I not?
This is Petra. The only kitty in the local cat home - and she just happened to be the most beautiful of soft rabbit-furred gold-eyed grey-tiger-striped creatures. She has a purr like a road drill, a bright, feisty nature, and a tendency to let off the foulest fishy fart-bombs.
My last furry travelling companion died a few years ago (on Christmas Day - he did make a devastating final exit) so it's a kind of sweet synchronicity that I finally find a cat just in time for the holidays.
As for the rest of the wilds - it's amazing here. The garden's full of long-tailed, blue and coal tits*, the forest surrounding's lousy with owls, and I am so happy I think I might be dreaming. There's a deep, expansive quiet for miles in every direction and the air tastes like champagne.
I have also, for the first time ever, a room to write in. (The one with the blue walls in Petra's pic). When I first started, years ago, I worked in a broom cupboard with views of - well, nothing. Now I've got a holly bush outside the window and winter sunlight falling into the room. And a project I'm very into taking slow shape on the computer.
Life is good, little tiger!
Wishing all my readers and friends a wonderful holiday filled with peace and joy and cheer.
* it's quite hard for a writer of dirty stories to avoid 'tits and pussy' jokes here. I think I deserve kudos for self-restraint, n'est ce pas?