The meat is minced for the pies (at least, I assume so, as the screaming and pleas for mercy from the cellars stopped about ten minutes ago) and from the kitchen block wafts the warm, homely fumes of ketamine as it mulls gently on the range.
Snares and gin traps have been laid in all of the chimneys and hearths and here I rest, in my curule, in the velveteen study of the north tower, sipping a brandy, puffing on my crack pipe and warming my Hello Kitty slippers beside the fire. Boughs of holly and curtseys of ivy bedeck the wood panelling and carven lintels, tinsel and lametta, festively strewn from the skulls of my favourite poacher collection, glint merrily in the firelight.
Bing Crosby is on the gramophone (though he's beginning to smell a little) and my smoking jacket adds a chestnut-scented fog to the room. As I glance out of the lattice windows, bejewelled by raindrops like the tears of fallen angels or shamed televangelists, far over the dense pine forested hills below and beyond my humble abode, my thoughts turn, inevitably, to festive matters.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all you, wherever you may be and whatever you may be doing (and whomsoever you are doing it with!) a very happy, splendid and largely law-enforcement-free Christmas, 2011. May your days be merry and bright and all that jazz.
To help with your festive happiness, I offer this happy tune, which is very popular in these here parts.
Happy Christmas, Teotiland.
The Hon. Major-General (Retd.) Lord St John Crispin Wombat of Harness.