As many of you know (and as is set out in my author biography) I trained and worked as a lawyer. Therefore I am usually the half of my marriage who concerns themselves with the minutiae of contracts. However, this Christmas my wife turned her hand to it, obtaining for me the ideal present: my very own contractual variation.
In addition to the variation, she gave me two catnip mice and a laser pointer.
If you are not a lawyer you might assume that my pleasure is in fact in the right to keep cats; if you are a lawyer you will immediately understand that I really do take pleasure from someone varying a contract for me.
When we returned from visiting relatives we dragooned a friend with a car into taking us to a large pet shop so the mice have been joined by three fish on a string, a bell with a ball, a bed and a scratching post. Of course these will be shunned in favour of shoelaces, piled washing, and the dining table. All we lack are the cats themselves.
We have ideals of colour and age: kittens, one black and one silver tabby. However we will be happy with two moggies that get on.
Until we began our search I was unaware some shelters do not let people who are in rented accommodation adopt; apparently many cats arriving shelters have come from households where the tenancy has ended without another property that allows pets being found. Others do not let people adopt within several weeks either side of Christmas. The RSPCA are less restrictive; unfortunately it has been a good year for finding cats homes in our area so they only had three solitary cats. As cat lovers this caused us both ambivalent feelings: we are joyful that there are not many cats needing loving homes but we are disappointed that there were not two more in need.