Words are weasels. They leap into your path; they pause so you have time to think GOT YOU! and they elude you by plopping neatly back into the undergrowth.
So you bait a trap for the next one and go away for a while to indulge in your preferred diversion – another cup of tea or coffee, a chunk of chocolate, a hand-rolled cigarette.
Sometimes you come back to find the trap is empty. Sometimes you’ve caught the perfect weasel. It leads you smoothly to the next and the one after that.
If you’re really lucky you’ve caught a nest of little weasels and you work with them for an hour or three. You may lose time altogether and suddenly realise it’s dark and you ought to eat something more substantial than sweets or drink something stronger than tea.
However elusive weasels are by day, at night they have a nasty tendency to hunt you. When the little (Ed: darlings) bite, you just have to get out of your cosy bed, switch on the light and deal with them.
In the morning you may discover that the night-time weasels were lemmings in disguise. With or without regret you shovel them off the cliff into oblivion and reset your traps.
By the time the deadline comes around or perhaps some time after it passes, you have your allotted number of weasels lined up nose to tail in a satisfying order. Then the Editors come along. They go through the weasels you’ve grown quite fond of and suggest that at least some of them ought to be stoats.