I have yet to pet-sit over the festive period but I am not adverse to the idea! As a mater of fact I like the thought of dog emptying on December 25th or mucking out the odd hamster.

It could have been just Mum and me staring at each other over a flaming Christmas Pudding this year. However, my Mother invited her friend, Irena who was on her own, to join us for the festivities making it a convivial couple of days.

Knowing Mum’s friend is tea-total we stocked up on sparkling grape juice and other soft drinks. Although the mince pies, Christmas cake and pudding heavily laced with alcohol proved a quandary for us. In the end Mother decided not to ignite the pudding with vodka and to serve clotted cream with it and the mince pies instead of brandy butter!

Staggering into the lounge after an excellent, slightly alcoholic meal we plonked ourselves down on the settee unable to eat another morsel! Mum picked-up a box of liqueur truffles and waved them under Irena’s nose.

“It’s ok!” she smiled “They’re made with rum essence!!”