I have been up and writing since 5.30 this morning. Over the last couple of days, a massive and draining burden has gone from my shoulders, its place taken by a lightness, energy and va-voom the like of which I haven't felt for a long time. And thusly, I tapped out nearly 2,000 words before breakfast, for heaven's sake! What more writerly flow could a writer wish for??
'I thought you had a chicken in here, with all that tapping going on,' said Daisy, who has popped up to my arty-crafty writing room in search of some wool. The weather of late has taken on a distinct Autumnal chill and it is time to be knitting her annual pair of Winter drawers and vest combination. She doesn't want to be caught out like last year, oh no, when she dropped all her feathers in the space of three days and it was all pink pimply buttocks flashing in and out the willow arch.
'No chickens,' I say. 'Just me typing.'
'Sounds most productive,' says Daisy. 'What do you think - jade chenille or dove grey mohair?' And she holds a ball of each against her chest.
I survey her choices. 'The grey mohair could be a bit itchy on bare chicken skin,' I say. 'Although I feel Jessica over at Rusty Duck would approve. Chenille would be warmer, but is jade green your colour?'
'Hmmm...' says Daisy. 'I see what you mean. Shall we have a tea break whilst we decide?'
'Good idea,' I say. I find when I am writing a lot I need to make sure I rise from my tush every hour to have a stretch and a jog on the spot. If I don't, the circulation to my legs is compromised by pressure from my not insubstantial buttockage, the resulting pins and needles causing much eeking and ouching. Also, a quick focus on another activity, like making a cuppa or listening to the news, allows me to reflect on what I have just written and root out obvious errors when I return to the screen and re-read.
And the last item on today's news happens to be the funniest, nay most surreal, thing I have heard for a while.
'A female panda in a Chinese zoo,' said the newsreader, 'appears to have faked her own pregnancy in order to be fed more cake.'
I kid you not! And it was BBC Radio 4 news, so it MUST be true! Apparently, the zoo have been waiting eagerly for this panda to give birth, a rare occurrence as only around 40% of female pandas give birth in captivity.
'As opposed to 0% of male pandas?' says Daisy.
'Oh, shush!' I say. 'You know what I mean. Have a biscuit and peruse your wool.'
And now it seems that this panda has learned that when the (stupid) humans thought there might be the patter of tiny panda paws in the offing, they fed the mummy pandas more treats, like cake, in order to pamper them. Pander to their condition, if you like a bit of a pun. So the crafty lady pandas were able to manipulate their hormone levels, thereby exhibiting all the features of a pregnancy and it was 'Bring on the cake trolley! This mamma needs a bun for the oven NOW!'
How clever is that? Or crafty, depending on what side of the cage bars you are sitting.
'So,' says Daisy, 'instead of knitting a pair of Winter drawers I could just take to the nest for my moult, pretend I am a bit broody and you will bring me cake and stuff?'
'No,' I say, 'that will not work at all. And I shall tell you why before you ask because I am just about to meet my chum Jane for a sewing day and need to finish this blog post quickly or I shall be late. Firstly, we are a cock-free zone so no baby chicks for you, and secondly you've just given away your cunning plan by telling me exactly what you are going to do. I bet that panda didn't walk stand around pushing a cushion up her frock in full view of the zoo staff.'
'I lack a certain guile and cunning in these matters, don't I?' says Daisy.
'You do,' I say. 'I'd just get knitting if I were you.'