On the ninth day of Christmas...
PUBLISHED: 00:06 03 January 2019
... my true love sent to me, nine ladies dancing and then the peers leapt in.
The only good thing about day nine was that it wouldn’t be long until Tweflth Night and the unsolicited Christmas gifting would have to end. This is what the beloved was thinking while having a morning cup of coffee. Then the opening strains of Act III of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake wafted through the air and nine members of the corps de ballet, on point, performing a tightly choreographed routine on the front path. All were in tutus and slightly blue from the cold. The Loved One opened the front door and ushered them into the sitting room where they formed a tableau on the Ikea mat.
“I’ll make cocoa,” said Loved One. No one wants to see a ballerina die of hyperthermia in the front garden. After a warming drink, the dancers put their cardigans on and they played charades for an hour or two until a stretch limo arrived to take them back to the Opera House.
“Come and see the show,” they urged Loved One, who would have gone but there was the days’ contingent of winged creatures to deal with; variously donate to wildfowl sanctuaries, release into the wild, feed and... er, pluck for supper.
Day 10 dawned bright and frosty. Loved One had slept well and was up early to get ready for the squawking, flapping, swimming, laying, milking, pas de chats and what ever was due to arrive next.
No real pattern had emerged. Even the Bletchley code crackers would be hard-pressed to predict what might appear on the doorstep today. And when 12 peers of the realm scissor-jumped and Fosbury flopped over the 18-inch privet hedge, she was astonished. With an average age of 69, the House of Lords is probably not the ideal place to locate expert at leaping and, indeed, when one of the younger barons Fosbury Flopped into the hydrangea, the Loved One was forced to go outside and halt proceedings.
“Thought you were never going to stop us,” said one old boy. “I had a hip replacement in the summer and I’m not as nimble as when I was in my seventies.”
Baroness Bakewell (Joan) accepted the offer of a sticking plaster after the hedge scratched her arm.
It turned out the Lords had been selected at random but tomorrow, some of the bishops, with the busy Christmas period over, had volunteered to do the leaping.