It is quarter to twelve on Christmas Eve, and everything is very peaceful. We have just decorated the tree (one of the bay trees out of the greenhouse) with my collection of chenille birds and a few clear glass drops. Dr Biswell and the Professor are sitting either side of the sitting room fire honking at one another antiphonally, since they are both suffering with their sinuses. For the first time in weeks, we have time to sit about, potter, and refrain from organizing tasks in order of priority. Miss T returned from Olympia — also with a cold — she has seen ever so many very famous showjumpers who have been nice to her, and we duly arranged our faces in expressions of intelligent comprehension while she told us who they were. She won two of her races, and had a fantastic time. I must say, returning to the subject of Christmas, the run up could have been a great deal worse. Dr Biswell and I went out to do the shopping this afternoon, which we thought would be absolutely hideous — the farmshop we prefer to use had very sensibly stopped trading on Tuesday when we were still in Aberdeen putting the world to rights — the Professor said he couldn’t stand it and so Dr Biswell and I went off to Inverurie Tesco, which was seething, but in fact, turned out to be perfectly tolerable, for two significant and probably connected reasons: 1. Everyone was good tempered. 2. There was no music. It’s the repeating tapeloop bombinating between ‘White Christmas’, ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Silent Night’ which drives you bonkers at this time of year. Tomorrow’s problems include cooking a leg of venison — my ex-Gamekeeper’s largesse. I haven’t a clue how to do this, but it’ll probably be all right, and if it’s not, we can have sausages.