I was glad that I had sneaked three Crunchies into her bag, so I didn't have to fear that she might suffer starvation if delayed for longer.
It feels odd without her; we got on so comfortably well, just the two of us (in the past, we have always been in the company of her husband and my son, and time alone felt like a great treat), and managed to cram a lot into those few days: shopping, meals, walks, a celebratory lunch in the country, catching up with my friends who haven't seen her for a long time.
Our lunch in the very pleasant setting of Matfen Hall was a great success, although there was some snow and a threat of more.
Nobody told us off for coming in through the main door where a wedding was planned:
We sat by the lounge fire until it was time to move into the library for lunch.
Today is really my birthday - how did I get to be 62 so soon? - and I have had a rare assortment of very nice presents, including :
Very warm mittens from Canada, made from recycled wool. I love the way they aren't identical in pattern, although the colours remain the same.
Fingerless gloves from Norway - to help protect my princessy hands from toys covered in dog drool, apparently.
Rubber contraptions from Scandinavia - alarming to look at but very practical and effective - that fit snugly over shoes and boots and stop one from falling, squeaking in alarm, arms flailing, on icy ground.
And cheerful ear muffs from Scotland.
Reluctantly modelled by my charming assistant, who thinks that anything fluffy is a toy, and therefore is better chewed than worn.
And a wreath, not in the least useful in cold weather, but very lovely nevertheless.
There was more: books, chocolates, flowers, a new bottle of Caleche perfume, stained glass, but enough for now; suffice to say that I feel very spoiled. And well equipped for the bout of icy weather that has descended upon us again. Ice, snow, dog slobber, bring it all on - I have the gloves, the mittens, the ear muffs, the ice spikes!