Yesterday evening, with my southernised bones feeling the cold somewhat, I headed to John Lewis to see if I could find a sweater or two to keep me warmer that I was feeling.
I’d also realised, that morning, that my non-football scarf had gone missing from its place on a peg on the bedroom door. This means, in all likelihood, that Loki – the great hunter of items of clothes – has at some point managed to pull it down and cart it off somewhere to stash it.
Loki loves doing that. Since The Other Half uses a chair as an improvised second wardrobe, we constantly find socks and assorted undies strewn around the flat. She was once spotted dragging one end of a scarf out of a door – with Otto attached to the other end.
She also loves putting things in things. The Other Half found a cufflink in a shoe once. I went to put on a pair of boots the other day – and found a toy mouse inside one of them.
When the weather is good enough for the girls to be out, there’s a little water bowl we put in the garden for them: Loki is ever so fond of picking up twigs and then trying to put them in the water. Doubtless this is for profound reasons, but they remain beyond my comprehension.
Otto doesn't generally seem interested in clothes (except in the sort of tug-of-war scenario mentioned above). She finds it far more amusing to pull things off shelves, from potpourri to coins to pens. Pen sticks in particular are the bee's knees.
So off I toddled into the West End. But there were dangers in store – well, not just in store, but everywhere. Decorations strung across Oxford Street. Shop windows with lovely displays of tempting gifts that you love the look of but wouldn’t actually use. And shiny things.
Once inside John Lewis itself, a combination of live piano music, drifting down through the building, together with many more shiny things, lured me into a dangerously festive mood.
Dear readers, I confess: I wandered around the store’s ‘Christmas shop’ and grinned ridiculously at Santa decorations and displays of, err, shiny things. The way I enjoy bling these days, I might as well be a cat.
And then I wandered around the basement debating whether to buy a festive tablecloth and table decorations too.
Indeed, I swear that, if there hadn’t been A Very Important Football Match on the telly (only a press week prevented me from actually being in Manchester), then some seasonal disc might have burst out of its box and hurled itself joyfully into the CD player when I got home.
I make no guarantees: it might have been Handel’s Messiah, it might have been Dean Martin – but it might have been a collection of No1 singles, including the likes of Mud and Wizard and Slade too.
The virus is affecting me earlier than ever this year, it seems. If I'm not careful, I'll lose any pretence at bah humbuggery – and there’s still plenty of time for it to get a whole lot worse!