No, not Highland Park….at least, not to start with.
By December 23rd I had done my shopping and was looking forward to battening down the hatches for a quiet Christmas….just a trifle to make and that was it.
So on Christmas Eve we were having breakfast on the balcony and looking forward to a peaceful day when our new neighbour arrived at his corral to feed his cattle.
His corral being the other side of the track and downhill from our place.
To encourage himself he switched on the local radio station giving all of us the benefit of its early morning programme …..the one before the playing of the national anthem at seven o’clock.
The programme format is that the announcer rings up unwary people chosen at random and asks them to dedicate a piece of music and to choose the style they prefer.
Early rising is common here, luckily, but even given that people tend to be somewhat terse, except the odd granny who intends to include her whole extended family in the dedication together with a description of the qualities and qualifications of each and every one, so the announcer generally has things his own way, the choice of music being between ‘romantica’ and ‘ranchero’.
Unfortunately, this was Christmas Eve, and the announcer was in festive mood – awash with the Christmas spirit.
Romantica and ranchero were not enough.
He offered Christmas music….
So once again I suffered the same syrupy guff that had made life hideous in the previous weeks…and then came the final coup de grace.
Jingle Bells performed by dogs.
Our canine horde, busy rootling under the table for unconsidered trifles, showed no hesitation.
Led by the Costa Rican King Charles Corgi they charged from the house as one, howling like the hounds of Herne the Hunter and heading for the corral, where their canine counterparts were woofing all the way.
Passing the neighbour at a fair lick they seized his radio, the Alsatian maintaining possession despite smart work in the scrum from the hairy brute with ears like periscopes and making his run for the line to smash the radio to pieces on the steps of our porch.
Deeply satisfied, all trotted back to the balcony to receive the congratulations of their admiring public, ears up and tails wagging.
Closely followed by the new neighbour, torn between laughter and exasperation.
Served with coffee and bacon sandwiches, laughter won.
But I felt obliged to go out shopping again to buy him another radio.
Ho, ho, sodding ho!