I’m not holding out any hopes of a restful festive season. My wife is out of commission after knee replacement surgery, leaving me largely in charge of domestic duties. Three days have felt like three months.

At one point on Sunday I was trying to organise my daughter’s complicated logistics, find a tennis racket for my impatient son, calm my elderly mother (frantically waving an empty packet of Pall Mall from her cottage door), stop the gardener from trampling my newly sprung mealie shoots, locate a missing ice pack for my prone wife and rescue a howling Jack Russell firmly wedged in the fence of the electric gate. I might have lost it but for a soothing slug of grappa, which went down remarkably well at 8.15am...

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