My Christmas morning got off to a terrifying start.
Christmas Eve, you see, is the night when Laura and Katie come over. It's become sort of a tradition around here. They come over, we exchange presents, they go away with something really really expensive and I stay at home with something really really cheap. Usually a mug of some kind. But this year, Laura excelled herself. "What do you get the man who has everything?" she wondered. "Oh, I know. A Pac-Man alarm clock. Obviously."
So I naively set the alarm when I went to bed, planning on being up for about ten on Christmas morning. Nothing like a nice lie-in, I figured.
So there I was. Asleep. Dreaming of fluffy things you dream of when you're asleep. And then... oh dear God... The loudest, most abrupt alarm call ever blasted into my ear, the Pac-Man theme HAMMERING my tender, tender ear-drums as I woke suddenly and violently, thrashing about to visions of giant yellow circles chasing me through a maze.
Thank you, Laura. I am now terrified of my alarm. Thank you so much.
An hour later I was at my parents' house, ignoring everyone except my little niece Sophie, to whom I presented a huge Mickey and Minnie Mouse...
Presents were exchanged, and for once I got GOOD stuff. My mother dragged the heaviest punchbag you could buy into the living room, dumped it on the floor and gestured that it was for me before collapsing into a very dignified heap of exhaustion. My brother and sisters got me a smaller punchbag (the cheap kind) but that's okay. They did their best. And let's face it- it's a darn sight better than the bath matts they got me last year.
Then there was some visiting of the relatives, a part of Christmas I used to hate but now I enjoy (well, mostly). I usually use it as an excuse to just talk about me and how great I am. My aunts and uncles and cousins love that. They say they don't, but I know they do. I read between the lines. It's one of my gifts.
Then it was back to the parents' place, where my OTHER nieces joined us, and we had Christmas dinner and I got to watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special. I actually didn't think it was the best Christmas Special they'd ever had, even though Matt Smith is now officially my favourite Doctor ever, but it was saved by a wonderful final scene with Amy Pond. I love Amy Pond. Amy Pond rules.
And then I came home, and signed 13 copies of Death Bringer.
When my publishers sent me the books to sign for the competition winners they neglected to send me any copies of the latest book- so if any of you winners have received your prizes yet, you will have noticed you're one book short! Fear not- I am on the case, and will be personally sending you the latest book as soon as the Post Office reopens.
I've also been going through the entries to the Australia/NZ competition. I have a few possible choices for the female Australian character, but the NZ male character still hasn't been decided. Kiwis, you have a week to dream up someone new before I have to choose. Granted, I haven't gone through ALL of the entries yet, so I may have missed the perfect male character, but you still have a chance to win- so get to it!
And so, to end this Blog entry, I figured I'd post two more pictures of my cats. This is one of them, in a box.
And this is another one, who has found a fantastic new sleeping place in my sock drawer.
Merry Christmas, my loyal minions.