'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even the monkey, 'cause we'd had a little contretemps over the proper way to make a brandy butter daiquiri and I'd locked it in the downstairs lav.
I sat before the fire, reindeer resplendent on my jumper and the Christmas tree seeming to sparkle as the saveloys caught the light. Everything was ready. I'd put the sprouts on when the hawthorn bloomed and they would be perfect, served in champagne flutes with little festive hats of prawns. On the table by the hearth Santa's sherry waited, even though I am old enough to know better. I always leave a carrot out for Rudolph, too, and a little wrap of ket for Blitzen.
I let the monkey out to watch Fanny degrade a turkey. When she brandished the secateurs I felt a hot paw slide into mine and I made a silent toast to Our Lady of Culinary Derangement. God bless you, Fanny Cradock. Gob less everyone.
At midnight the monkey downed its eggnog and pulled on its balaclava. The snow had stayed, buffed lethal by the cold. The monkey left no prints as it swaggered to the shed. I poured myself a Snowball and pulled my chair up to the window just in time to see the shed doors open and the laden sleigh slide out and snicker away over the spangled drifts, off, up into the sky, the cat that pulled it turning and smiling at me with a mouth just like my own before it disappeared behind the moon.
Later on I sewed my stocking shut, just to be on the safe side.