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Still ‘with builder! Think it may even be a personal best for us in the longest-building-works-ever competition. Just like having a baby I do always forget just how protracted and how uncomfortable the whole process really is. Managed during this whole chaotic period to out-do even my own impressive track record of daftness when I forgot the sink had been disconnected and emptied cold tea over the poor chap organising the plumbing in the room below. The unfortunate man rather gloomily told me, as I handed him a towel, that it could have been worse and in fact that it had been very much worse: only last week it was the lavatory that the lady of the house had forgotten was disconnected, until that is, she found that the flush was accompanied with horrified roars of quite reasonable complaint from some very wet and somewhat disgruntled builders on the scaffolding.

In an attempt to escape the building works we have been to visit various friends and relations. Children surprisingly civilised (probably the stupefying effects of new Christmas gadgets that have been resisted up to now but seemed a reasonable form of bribe/pacifier given the confines of our living conditions at present). It was the dastardly dog that let the side down.

On our final leg before heading back to the dust ball of horror we stopped off for lunch with an old friend and mother to a god child ( just one of the surprisingly large number that I have mystifyingly managed to accrue) Having only been allowed to accompany us on the grounds of his strictly neuter status (a no-nut rule was in force at our hosts due to the excitable hormonal state of the bitch of the house ) our irrepressible hound, despite missing the vital parts to participate fully in this interesting experience was clearly rather over stimulated by the proximity of such a luscious lady. She was less than keen. This being so our outrageous mutt had to cast around for ways to impress the object of his affections.

Love clearly giving strength to what is usually the most cowardly of creatures (our Sir Galahad is frightened of the rabbit and terrified of the cat) our hero sallied forth only to find the perfect gift right there in the back yard. He had come across The Beloved Henrietta , Tikka, and Vindaloo before, with no ill-feeling, but today, thanks to his new-found machismo, clearly these ladies of the feathered bloomers represented all that was most tantalising.

Alerted to the catastrophe by some distressed cackling followed by a short squawk we hurried outside too late to save Tikka but in time to witness the guilty party reverentially laying this ill-gotten gain at the feet of the surprised maiden. A brutally murdered corpse is not often the valentine of choice but rather than being utterly revolted this member of the fairer sex clearly entered into the spirit of the thing. Carrying their prize between them they scarpered off into the bushes to make the most of their Feast before anyone had time to blink.

This threw rather a pall over the proceedings and it took some time to comfort the distraught child owner of Tikka. The bags of chocolate buttons kept in my hand bag for just such emergencies played a useful part. It was not until we were finally sitting down to our Sunday lunch that we realised the full extent of the predicament into which the horrid animal had plunged us – as there, on the table, were a couple of perfectly stuffed and roasted chickens ready for carving.

I am afraid that at this point the grownups The Grim Godmotherrather let themselves down as we first choked, then spluttered then, with all the unstoppable power of suppressed and inappropriate laughter, guffawed and howled until our tears joined the children’s. It turns out that laughter is indeed the best medicine. Whilst no one had the heart to carve the fowl, at least publicly (I suspect a nameless pie made an appearance later), we had a happy lunch of sausages with all the trimmings.

Having arrived as the favourite godmother bearing gifts I think it may be a while before I am thought of as anything other than the Godmother of Doom and her sidekick the Grim Woofer.