How can I read when the rabbit’s in the bath!?

It’s interesting how sometimes the mindset needed to enjoy a book can be scuppered, obliterated, scratched and peed on by a nervous cat.

It has been a trying week. I should be grateful, it’s about time the landlord had the place rewired (50 year-old fuses!), the roof and windows repaired. And I am, when the electricians, joiners and builders are out of here next week, it will be great. And the worst of the mess is now over, as due to the age of the house, to get access to certain parts hatches had to be cut into ceilings, floors taken up, all the while the house cold and dark and full of men from 7am to 7pm. I escaped to work for the best part of the day, but my poor house rabbit was forced to live in the bath during or she’d have hopped out the permanently open front door and not come back. And at night she was also strictly monitored as I was scared she’d disappear under a floorboard and not be able to get out again. I fear it has been a hard time for her, her bed and litter tray suddenly very close together, forced to be in the bathroom while legions of tradesmen pee. In the end I found a board to cover half the bath with, to give her (and the men) some privacy. Still, her eyes pleaded with me every time I went in there ‘Get me out! I’ve seen you rescue spiders from this slippery-sided hell, why not me?!’


This is Mabel (when allowed out of the bath for the evening), angrily tuning her back on the child fireplace safety guard being used to restrict exploration.

My cat has just the kind of opinion of me any cat in her position would. Daggers for eyes, that one.

However, I have managed to read a little in my lunch break, and finished Zadie Smith’s NW, and got Ali Smith’s Public Library out of the (public) library. I initially got that out as I thought short stories would be easier to read when men are shouting and Radio One is playing and there’s an absence of floor, and so I may as well sit in the car, but even that’s not worked.

Some activities like running, or cooking, can help me let off steam and be relaxing even when going through a trying time, but reading just doesn’t work. This has got me thinking about other things that make it hard to read. I remember a midwife telling me to bring a book to read during labour. Pah! I’d be amazed if anyone managed to get the most out of a book then. The only upside I could see is a heavy book can be a good thing to throw at people who make unhelpful comments like ‘Imagine your cervix is a flower opening up to greet the sun’  THWACK!

Feel free to add to the list!

  • The political mess that is the 2016
  • Toothache/any other really sharp, loud ache
  • Proper stress/bereavement/redundancy
  • Not wanting to finish the current book (urgh, David Copperfield. URGH!)
  • Dogs barking/neighbours/teenager’s music/old people’s music
  • Lost specs!

There is also the distraction of the damned internet, and Youtube, a medium made for the short attention spans of a distracted, stressed people. I have been watching Monty Python on my phone in cafes to delay going home.