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At one stage of the morning there were five squirrels chasing each other round the near garden, running up and down trees and shrubs, throwing each other off various bird feeders, and generally wreaking mayhem. This one suddenly leapt up onto the patio wall while I was shooting through the kitchen window with the BZ at full stretch – as you can see, this is too close for a 400mm lens, and also if I’m honest too close to the house for comfort. R suggested to me a couple of weeks ago that the squirrels were getting very bold, and that we probably shouldn’t leave the back door open unless we were actually in the kitchen, and I think he’s right – the thought of the damage those claws could inflict on the furniture¬† makes me shudder.

R and I spent much of the day pootling about the house, cleaning and tidying in a fairly relaxed way, knowing that only Child Two would be arriving home today and that half the chores could happily wait until tomorrow. Then at 3pm I took a call from the Bride-to-Be, brightly enquiring if there was a particular time when we wanted her and her intended to arrive with us…. which was a bit of a shock, and let to a brief exchange of views in fluent Anglo-Saxon, followed by an emergency trip to Waitrose by R and me to buy yet more food.

Having succeeded in our mission, we were able to relax again, and enjoy having all of our little family together for the evening: it feels as though the festive season has properly begun.