The build up, the preparations, the present buying, making the beds, the cooking, the fun....Christmas has come and gone in a flash. We've all had a thoroughly good time - all seven humans and four dogs.
Of course the dogs don't know it's Christmas, but Boo, as top dog in the house, knows when something is going on. She recognised excitement in the air when the postman delivered more cards and parcels than usual, and the fridge was full of tasty treats.
Then Winnie, my son's dog came to stay while he spent Christmas in Australia. She's the smallest one of all....
And there was unrestrained joy and frenzied excitement when Eric's brother came to stay. Rudi is the one on the left, a lovely social chap just like Eric, but a bit more lively than his more serious brother..
And here they are altogether in this picture taken by my daughter Lucy. She can get them to pose brilliantly....
Boo, her two sons and little Winnie. Having them all around has reminded me of Christmases past, when my children were small. The rough and tumble, the constant wanting to go outdoors to play, the jockeying for prime positions on laps in front of the fire or the telly, and the ability of dogs and little children to just fall in a heap and sleep anywhere when they are really tired.
And all children and dogs need a good walk every day, come rain , come shine, to blow the cobwebs away. Mind you, so do the adults.
It has been so good to have them all here...they get on so well together. But this afternoon, Rudi had to go back down to Southsea with Lucy and the hairy husband.
I really didn't want to say goodbye to any of them, but I couldn't help laughing as they posed for on last photo. "Smile" I called out. Even Rudi obliged....
It suddenly seemed awfully quiet after they had gone, so it was an ideal time for the remaining three dogs and I to have a little nap on the sofa. We all needed one but I couldn't help but think how lovely it would be to have four dogs living here permanently.