There is something about Christmas mornings. Caroline says the stillness is almost tangible, and so it seemed today. Complete quiet in the house. Outside very cold but no snow; the garden frosted and the bird feeders undisturbed. Lying warm in bed, we can just hear the longcase clock strike seven, two floors below us. Across the road our neighbours’ grandchildren are up, and the house is ablaze with light: what noise there we can only imagine. Our five sleep on, long past the excitement of Santa’s arrival, but stockings on each door nonetheless. Such are the rituals of Christmas in this house.