All through the merriment of Christmas dinner, opening gifts, muddy walks, meeting up with friends there was a moment looming that I was dreading. On the eleventh day of Christmas, Nigel, Perran and I were to drive home from our visit to the Northumberland grandparents. But Pascoe would head straight back to Edinburgh and Carenza with him. And Perran was booked on the 5pm train back to Bristol.
One moment there had been five of us, eating mince pies round an open fire, the next just two. The house that we came back to was freezing cold and an evil smell wafted from the compost bin which we had forgotten to empty.
And to add insult to injury we had to take down the Christmas decorations.
If anything can add gloom to an already desolate scene, it is the sweeping up of glinting shreds of tinsel. If anything can make a cold day colder, it is the stacking away of Christmas cards full of warm greetings.
I sank into a post-yule Slough of Despond.
But then my phone lit up. Pascoe and Carenza were visiting Edinburgh zoo and were busy on WhatsApp. They were posting pictures of animals that reminded them of us.
And they had picked quite cuddly ones.
Thank heavens for the virtual world.