Tonight, houseguests arrived. I had never met them before, and so it was a bit of a leap of faith. My friend Sarah’s brother-in-law and his wife had to come to Bristol for his PhD viva, and so he needed somewhere to stay. Given that Sarah has been a beyond-awesome help to me in the past few months, I thought that it would be pretty cool to offer them accommodation while they’re here. I was very worried, of course. Quite beyond the issue of potential personality incompatibility, I was more than worried about the whole stammer thing. It’s pretty bad at the moment, and so I was anxious about giving the wrong impression.

Happily, we seem to have got on very well together (hell, maybe I’ll see the opposite Facebook posts later), and I’ve been fascinated to learn about the Cape Leopard Trust that Quinton runs. It’s given me another perspective from my sheltered Western life into how things happen further afield. His stories about how animals are trapped and killed in South Africa have given me a lot to think about. I reckon that Jo and I should try to be much more active in this particular field, as both of us love animals and there’s so much more that we could do if we spent more time on this issue. It’s yet another motive to get the whole novel thing sorted, to try to gather a bit of influence to make a difference. And on that subject, Sarah’s editing suggestions are so good. This new draft is turning out to be crazy-strong, and that’s both scary and brilliant.

It should all be finished in the next couple of days. And then the real work begins.

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