I've never seen anything like it. You bend down to clean out one litter tray and two kittens decide that that's exactly the moment they desperately need to use the facilities. Not the spare litter tray but the one you're trying to empty. Another two kittens jump on your back and a third sinks its claws into your leg and starts climbing.
And as soon as one litter tray is clean the two on your back leap down to christen it. It never ends! Several times I had to rescue Shelagh who, bent double underneath a backful of kittens, resembled an orange hunchback.
Of course Gypsy's no help. She has a dog's highly developed sense of what is and what isn't proper behaviour. Doing what she wants and paying her a lot of attention is proper behaviour - everything else deserves a woofing. And brightly coloured kittens swarming over her humans deserves extra woofing.
But, in between kitten duty, I did manage to get some work done over the weekend. First, I've updated the website, adding the Animals Behaving Typically chapter. I now have seven chapters of Nous Sommes Anglais posted there. For those not in the know, NSA is my 98% true, 2% borrowed from a more entertaining parallel universe, account of our first eight months in France. It is the ultimate expat horror story - with animals. I often describe it as 'A Year in Provence with Miss Marple and Gerald Durrell.' Not only does everything that can go wrong do so but it does so in a such a spectacular and bizarre way that at times I thought I was living in a Whitehall Farce.
It started the day we began our move from SW England to SW France, taking with us thee cats, two horses and a large constipated puppy. It was a thousand mile journey due south. Thirty-two hours into the move we'd covered 250 miles - all of them due east. We'd been diverted, had a storm rip the the roof off of our horse transport and been abandoned on a French cliff.
And then it got worse.
Culminating in my identity being stolen, our life savings seized and a Spanish bank account being opened in my name. Can it get worse than that? Yes, it can. The police forces of four countries then argue over whose jurisdiction the crime took place in. The French say it's Irish - as that's where the money was held. The Irish shake their heads - definitely a French crime as that's where the letters originated from. The English refuse to get involved even though false UK Passports had been used. And the Spanish... Well, they're far too busy to even think about this foreign crime for at least four weeks. So I had to solve the case myself. But unlike fictional detectives I had an 80 year-old mother-in-law and an excitable puppy who insisted they had to come along if I was going anywhere interesting - like a stakeout.
It was the most bizarre investigation ever. But, in between looking for toilets, I caught the perp and brought him to justice.
This week I'm going to start posting chapter eight on the blog. Thee Fetes and a Football Match takes us back to summer 1995 - a brief interlude between disasters - in which I drink too much and accidentally sign professional forms to play football for Racing Club; and discover the last vestiges of Al Jolson worship on continental Europe.
And, finally, also to come this month, Mindy Klasky, author of the award-winning, best-selling fantasy The Glasswrights' Apprentice will be dropping by the blog on her virtual book tour to answer a few questions about her lastest book The Girl's Guide to Witchcraft.