A mere sprinkling of snow, despite what the forecasters said: and so it was that Magnus and I decided to preface Christmas lunch with a bit of stern striding into the magically clear hillbog of Shetland.
This, in my case, after a mere five hours sleep, thanks to Santa-impersonation and Susan being called out at 6.30 am. But still, the lethargy and inner aches fell away as we scrambled over fences and burns to the amazing line of watermills above Burnside, and thence to the imposing height of the old stone circle and rocky outcrop high above our croft at Gateside.
The idea had been to take good old labrador Quopyle out for a lengthy walk, but it was only when Mag and I reached the summit that we realised we had left Quoyle behind in the borrowed Peugeot 406 estate (the Citroen C2 GT being hospitalised with a stone-trashed radiator).
A quick tumble down to rescue the indignant dug (who was compensated, with Thick and Stupid the St Bernards, with a decent walk later: worry not) and then home in time for the best Christmas lunch ever - organic Lunna turkey, Bressay sprouts, some slow-simmered (14 hours) beef from mysterious and local sources and our own lamb, roasted with smoked garlic. Not that we ate it all, you understand. Selection was the thing.
Some Champagne - a present from the TMS production team- , a smattering of superb Chilean Cab Sauv/Syrah, and then a Highland Park while watching en famille, a DVD of Alexander MqacKendrick's wondrous The Maggie - the best Scottish film ever made. The aforementioned multi-dog walk, and asleep for two hours before waking up for some music, snacks and my first encounter with Jon Ronson's sublimely funny The Men Who Stare At Goats.
It's now Boxing day, my digestion seems remarkably healthy, considering yesterday's gut-abuse, and the outdoors calls. It's clear, luminous, and snowless. So far.