Christmas can be a tense time for all manner of reasons – money (or lack of it), expectations both gifting and culinary, too much packed into too short a space of time, ungrateful relations – all typical and well-documented reasons for a spike of temper even from the calmest and most organised of people.

She is calm and organised – sure, no-one is immune from a bout of ill-temper, but hers are kept to a minimum, with any displeasures being marked by silence rather than by noise.

Anyway, Christmas 2022 was only days away, but with an unusual mash of people coming to stay, and an untimely death in the greater family which was immediately time-consuming. So, alongside all of the other seasonal pressures, the volcano was on the cusp of a mighty eruption.

As one classic pre-Christmas job, an audit of the contents of the kitchen ‘fridge was being carried out one evening only a few days before ‘the big day’. It was his job to answer the questions about quantities and availability in the great white box.

But before the first one was fired at him from across the kitchen, his eyes lighted upon the cheese container, and two pieces which had been forgotten about, having been purchased at a country cheese farm recently. ‘I must taste that one’ thought he, and dived across to get a sharp knife from the adjacent drawer. He was through the wrapping quick as a flash – it was the sheep’s cheese as opposed to the goat variety, and it was different and it was good – and he said so.

Oh dear, this was the lighting of the touch paper, with lists obviously not top of his order of priority at that moment, when confronted by cheese.

‘You’re not in there to eat sheep’s cheese!’ He was well and truly rebuked. His remarking that it was particularly good, merely poured petrol on the flames. This was not a good time for him to be in the kitchen, but he was chastened and returned to his task of providing inventory, whilst laughing out loud at the poetic humour of the expression.

But it does go to show that on certain days of the year, one has to be ever vigilant as to the mood of those around, especially when the loads are already intolerantly high. A little more thought and keep the humour back for a better occasion. He survived the Christmas holiday without any visible injuries.