It’s what you do, isn’t it? A lovely long walk with the family and a bouncy dog, blow off all those cobwebs, burn off some of those Christmas calories and work up an appetite for the next feast.
So this is how it actually goes: Husband announces: “Right, are we going on this walk or not?” and puts on his boots.
First hurdle, as always, is breaking this desperate news to my poor son, Boy Genius, who has vital work to do on his laptop in his new fleece onesie. After faking tears, then anger, then sulks, he demands to know just why he has to come. “So we can spend some time as a family just chatting,” I say brightly. “So why don’t I stay here and Facetime you?” he groans.
Leaving him to get dressed, I quickly wash up the 126 glasses that have materialised in the kitchen since breakfast, wipe down all the surfaces, and sort out the recycling. I run upstairs to put on thick socks, set my daughter’s hair and the give the over-used bathroom a quick spray n clean. This is when a Holmes-style examination of the electric toothbrush heads arrangement reveals Boy Genius hasn’t brushed his teeth since Christmas Eve. Boy Genius is summoned to the bathroom and given a stern talk, and brushes his teeth while I put away all the ironing I did earlier.
Boy Genius then decides the walk will be half-worthwhile if he brings one of his presents, a balloon helicopter from the Science Museum, with us. At least, it says Science Museum on the box, but any scientists who actually had anything to do with this ear-splitting flop want shoving in a box and out with the recycling themselves.
Back downstairs, Husband’s tiny concentration span has dissolved and he is playing virtual table tennis. Once he is re-roused, the dog is harnessed and our pockets stuffed with plastic dog-dump bags. Only now does The Festive Family Walk begin.
Boy Genius cheers up telling me the pros and cons of dual play on Portal 2. Daughter climbs trees, Husband complains about the mud, and the dog tries to savage a lovely old English sheepdog called Alfie that got within six feet of her. She celebrates this victory by rolling in fox shit.
We go home, I shampoo the dog and then we spend a lovely family afternoon dipping mini-doughnuts in warm chocolate sauce. This is our new festive family tradition.