It was Christmas Eve, about 7pm. All was ready. We had been to the pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk at the Torch Theatre, we'd laughed and we'd found that little spark of Christmas magic.
We had sprinkled sparkly reindeer food on the driveway to show Santa where to land. We had even added extra peanuts as it was extra cold and there was snow on the ground. We had set up at tray for Santa with a mince pie, carrots for the reindeer and a tot of brandy to keep out the cold. H8 and R7 had written their thank you notes and added some home made fudge to the plate of treats too.
We were logging on to the internet to find the NORAD site and track Santa's progress around the globe. He was busy delivering presents in Pakistan.
There was a sound at the door, boots stamping off snow. Santa? No, Daddy.
"Girls, go in the dining room with Mummy," he called hefting a large box through the door. We all fled back into the dining room where the computer showed Santa had moved on to Kurdistan or Kazakhstan or Astrakhan or somewhere.
Brian came in with the big box, placed it on the floor and said: "I've brought you a little visitor."
We peered in. The contents of the box peered back.
"Awww," we said.
He's a Jack Schnauzer, or in other words, his mum was a Jack Russell and his dad was a miniature Schnauzer. We have called him Scamp because he is one.
I have to admit when I first saw the box I thought it was new hens as we have a new coop. Hens would have been less trouble. I am very much in the 'a dog is for life not for Christmas' camp and Brian, quite rightly, thought I would be furious. I was, but only a little. It was an accident of timing and not Scamp's fault that he arrived on this planet eight weeks before the festive season. He is the right puppy at possibly the wrong time but that's easy to forgive.
That's not his present.
He's a total live wire. The life and soul of the party. Until he's tired.
We are getting used to him and he's getting used to us. He likes Uncle Mido, our big dog, but Mido's a bit bouncy for such a little pup so mostly they're together when Mido's in his dog pen and Scamp is annoying him from outside it. It is like having a baby again, or possibly a toddler boy. He's quite destructive, into everything all the time and not yet sleeping through the night. He isn't potty trained yet either and has the charming habit, while I'm sitting at the computer writing this, of gnawing on my new slippers. He's a Scamp!