"I don't think we should go to Nanna's now," I said.
"What?" replied my mother indignantly, still pulling on her boots. We had, after all, bought my grandfather an eye-patch. He's had corrective surgery and one of his eyes isn't working, so we decided to make him a pirate. Although, to be honest, I think it was Cath's idea first.
"It's not the right time," I insisted.
I wrenched open the front door to reveal a cataclysm of heavy rain and howling wind. A rather miserable cat let out a doleful meow. I picked her up with one hand and deposited her on our floor, and she padded off down the hall.
Both my parents paused.
"I'll make tea," said Dad, walking off towards the kitchen.
For some reason, the sounds of heavy rain slapping against the windows, the artificial warmth inside and the fact that both parents are in the house, and that Dad's making tea, simply makes it feel like Christmas. I do rather loathe the plastic tree and its lack of pine scent throughout the living room - and I also can't get over the fact that this living room is on the ground floor (for most of my childhood it was on the first floor) - but I can't find any way to excuse it feeling like Christmas.
Because it nearly is. Nearly. And it's almost beginning to feel like it, as well.