Christmas has come and gone, and it was a good one.

Both sons and their girlfriends came along to share the festivities with us, and the twins entertained us, and the dogs behaved very well indeed. Even Jeffie, who is scared half to death of quite a lot of things* did very well with the babies and did nothing worse than slime them with dog drool whenever he got the chance.¬† He’d lick hands, or feet, or if he got half a chance, give them a full face wash.

The babies, for their part, behaved very well with the dogs, all things considered, though we will be working on teaching them that eyeballs don’t grow back once you pluck them out.¬† Don’t worry – we were vigilant.¬† Both dogs and both human pups were well protected from each other at all times.

Here’s Jeffie, looking oh-so-stressed at having to share his house with two infants.


And we ate too much.

There was Christmas dinner, of course, and then there were the ‘nibbles’, as my parents used to call them: figs and dates and stuffed and chocolate covered prunes and sausage rolls and mince pies and cake!¬† Oh, yes, there was cake!¬† And plenty of cheese, including a really nice piece of Red Leicester and a new favourite of mine; Cornish Yarg, which is covered in nettles and tastes faintly of mushrooms.

And we drank … well, maybe slightly immoderately but nobody got drunk, anyway.¬† Stars of the table were the Brunello di Montalcino for Christmas and a surprising bottle of Prosecco for New Year.¬† I don’t drink white wine, but this was good!¬†¬† Very gentle and really not acidic at all.¬† Fun to drink bubbles again.


We spent evenings playing board games – and haven’t they come a long way since my childhood hankerings for a game of Monopoly or Careers or Buccaneer?

One of the most entertaining was called ‘Aye, Dark Overlord’ which had us laughing so much that I needed a Ventolin and the lovely T – well, I thought she was going to expire on the spot.¬† The idea was that one player took the part of the aforesaid Dark Overlord and the rest of us were his (or her) minions.¬† The first Dark Overlord started by spinning a yarn about a mission she’d sent us on and required an explanation from us all in turn as to why it hadn’t been accomplished.¬† The cards we were dealt allowed us to prevaricate, invent, stall, grovel, whine, interrupt our comrades in arms and shift the blame at every opportunity.¬† The Dark Overlord herself had the ability to give us a Withering Stare by way of chastisement, which ended the round on the spot, and once someone had acquired three Withering Stares, he (or she) was out and became the new Dark Overlord for his (or her) sins.¬† It was absolutely hilarious!

Here’s Son No 1 in his Dark Overlord persona with T as a failing minion:


We also played a game called Pirate Dice which was fun, but not as much fun as it sounded.¬† All our ships got stalled, spun round and crashed into reefs until we were trading broadsides and floundering like a bunch of politicians, but not getting anywhere very much. But the fun thing about Pirate Dice is that Son No. 1 (who had brought it along) did some of the artwork for it.¬† He’s actually very accomplished at this type of artwork, and has also invented games of his own, which we have played with him, and those are fun, too!

And this is one of my favourite pictures of the whole event.¬† When it was time to go home, one small reindeer discovered¬† that there was a third twin in the hallway of Grandma’s house – and a second mother!


Well, it’s all over now, till next year.¬† And won’t those two be fun in 2014?¬† They’ll be on their feet by then and into everything.

We’re gonna need some bigger reindeer suits!

Oh yes – I nearly forgot: HAPPY NEW YEAR!


* Balls, Flying foxes, children, loud noises, dropped objects, squeaky toys, nail clippers, and small dogs, to name but a few.