Except that Ted went and pulled a muscle in his foreleg and went a bit limpetty, and this being Ted, it was hard to tell how much it hurt and how much he was hamming it up. And then the weather forecast changed to ⛅ with a possibility of ⛆. OK, I'd leave Ted at home with the Northerner and maybe venture as far as Llancarfan and Llantwit Major. I'd been meaning to visit the churches there for aaaages.
Except when I looked at my diary, I realised that every single day between now and 22nd December was at least partially taken up with either Work or Doing Things For Other People. And the forecast had turned to ⛄. So I decided I would drop Son the Elder off and return home to Do Some Of My Own Stuff. While I Had The Chance. And maybe just go over an hour earlier than necessary for the return leg to have a little wander around my past life.
I crept out of bed at 4.45am and did bathroomy stuff without putting the light/fan on so as not to disturb the Northerner, and emerged to ... porridge and tea, made by the Northerner who had been disturbed after all, bless him.
I was back home by 7.30am, just as day was dawning.
A bath, some present sorting and several batches of mince pies later, I was just driving past our house to make the return journey to Wales when I spotted the Northerner in our front garden. He was wrangling a beautiful but extremely headstrong border collie/husky cross, while Ted stood on our massive oak table and barked crossly through the front room window.
My phone beeped. 'Hi Mum - we've wrapped early. Can you come and pick me up now, please?'
I called Son the Elder back and carted a by now furiously discombobulated Ted over to my parents' house for safe-keeping. As I drove back along our road, I heard a shout and saw a worried-looking woman with damp hair. She was trying to run in slippers.
'Have you lost something?' I asked, getting out of the car.
'Yes, my dog, Star. I was having a shower and it all went very quiet and she was gone.'
Once that was sorted, I was off to Cardiff in the dregs of the light. There was just enough to glimpse how beautiful the snowy hills of the Ebbw valley looked as I whizzed past Newport on the M4.
Son the Elder was waiting in the appointed spot.
'Fancy a little look inside the Cathedral?' I asked, desperate for some seasonal light and something - anything - in the way of distraction.
'No, let's go straight home. I'm knackered, Mum. I've been up since five, you know.'
Yes, I did know. Funny, that.