The last of the family left this morning.
So that's another Christmas survived, although it was a close run thing at various points.
Actually the whole thing has been a bit of a blur, and that blur had nothing to do with over-indulgence in any form.
Last week Prodigal Son announced that instead of coming home for Christmas he was going to take a job at a ski resort in France for 4 months and would be leaving on Christmas Eve.
However, the polar weather conditions at the beginning of this week resulted in airports being closed and an enormous backlog of delayed and cancelled flights. This in turn meant that he couldn't get a flight till today and was therefore able to get home for a few days over Christmas.
So far so good.
However, the ad hoc decision to go and work abroad for the ski season brought with it the necessity to get fully kitted out, plus organise all travel arrangements etc in the short, stressful period of just three days before Christmas, which in themselves are normally chock-a-block with 'stuff to do' pushed already high stress levels through the roof for all concerned.
Not to mention losing his wallet containing all his cash/Euros/bank cards etc between paying the driver then getting out of a taxi in the early hours of Christmas morning, and walking the short distance from the kerb to the front door.
All searches proved fruitless so the most likely scenario is that the wallet was dropped inside the taxi, and by the time its loss was realised not long afterwards and reported, driver had already picked up another fare, who most likely thought Christmas had come early.
Great start to Christmas Day but we all managed to successfully avoid recriminations and other family members rallied round to rummage down the back of their sofas and come up with enough Euros to keep Prodigal Son solvent for at least the first day or two in France. Of course with no cash cards he had no access to cash until new cards arrive here, probably sometime in the New Year, and are then forwarded to him. Luckily his job includes bed and board so at least he won't starve.
Then there was the problem of getting to Gatwick Airport in the early hours of Boxing Day morning for a flight at 6.30 am. Obviously public transport was out of the question because there wasn't any.
Fortunately, Artistic Daughter, who had already selflessly travelled up to London to collect her brother on Tuesday, was still well enough disposed toward him to offer to take him to the airport, thereby volunteering herself for no alcohol on Christmas Day and no sleep last night.
At 2.00 am this morning, Prodigal Son was still preparing for the trip, and after we waved him off at 2.30 am we fell into bed exhausted. Even Small Dog was unusually sleepy, although that may have been due to the hot buttered rum she surreptitiously snaffled from my glass when I wasn't looking.
We have heard that Prodigal Son has arrived safely in Grenoble and was en route to the ski resort where the temperature today is not expected to rise above -14 and there is a predicted snowfall of 10 cm tonight. He will have had no sleep either and will probably be expected to start work tonight.
And so today, with the departure of Gorgeous Daughter, we are alone at last, I have planned a day of indulgent sloth, after the frenetic activity of the past week. Small Dog has just wandered into the sitting room and settled down beside me after making a cosy nest in her fleecy blanky.
Sounds like a plan........