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December 2021, The Christmas Best Forgotten (As told by Beatrix, the border collie)

As I’ve told you in one of my other stories, Christmas time at our house is always a special time.  This year was gearing up to be a spectacular one after the cancelled celebrations in 2020 due to that Covid thing.

I knew things were getting exciting when Mum brought down the big purple suitcase.  The presence of this big suitcase means only one thing - Mum and Dad are going away. And when Mum and Dad go away together, they always, always take me with them.

Early in the morning of the 23 December, Mum was back and forwards packing the car.  I was so excited, even though I knew it meant me having a journey in the back of our small car with only half a seat.  But I wasn’t caring.  We were going on holiday.

Soon we were off.  Dad was driving to start with as he’s ok on the motorway.  Mum doesn’t let him drive on the country roads as he forgets where he’s going and gets into a bit of panic.

It was an uneventful trip, with a quick stop for a you know what on at Gretna services and for us to have a picnic in the car.  Mum and Dad said they didn’t want to go into the services because it was just too dangerous.  I wasn’t bothered though as I got my very own patch of grass to use.

A couple of hours later we stopped outside a house.  I wasn’t sure where we were exactly as I’d not been to this place before, but Mum went running in, so I followed her.  There was the lovely Chloe who gave me a smile and a cuddle.  But then I spotted that Minnie person and, not only that, there was another little human person too.

That Minnie was all over me.  She grabbed me, put her fingers close to my eyes, in my mouth and grabbed my tail. I looked at Mum.  She pointed to me and told me to be nice.  She also pointed to Minnie and told her to be gentle with me.

Do you know what that Minnie did?  She pointed at Grandma and giggled!  If I’d have done that to Mum, she would not have been happy! Mind you, thinking about it when I give mum a paw, she does smile at me.  Is giving the paw the same thing as pointing I wondered? 

The tiny human, Harley, was totally different.  He’s a little cutie and just tickled me and giggled.

I had a bit of a look around and saw a huge basket of toys way bigger than the basket at home.  And what was there on the top of all the toys?  A huge Peppa Pig sitting there like a great big soft lump of bacon.  I thought I’d just have a little play with it, grabbed it out of the basket and started shaking it about like I do with my toys at home.

Well Minnie was hysterical. She was laughing so much that she fell over.  It was a good job she had a nappy on there would have been an accident on the floor I’m sure.

Mum was not so happy and told me off saying I must not play with the children’s toys.  It was a different matter when that Minnie was at my house and she was putting my toy chop in her mouth getting baby slaver over everything.  Nobody told her off then.  And can I just remind you that was also the time when Minnie put Baby Jesus in her mouth and nobody said anything to her!

As for Chloe, well I thought that my mum had a scary cross face!  Chloe was certainly not a happy human.

Dad saved the day getting my tennis ball from his pocket.  It’s amazing the stuff he keeps in his pockets.  Mum’s always telling him he’s like a boy scout!

Minnie (or Mad Max as Mum now calls her) wasn’t so bad then.  She played ball with me quite the little girl and I’ve realized that my lovely smelly tennis ball is much nicer than a soft fluffy Peppa Pig.


The peace didn’t last long though and Minnie went back to prodding and poking me, so I growled at her and pushed her away. Mum decided we’d all had enough of each other.

Off we set in the car back up to the hotel where were staying.  Once I’d sniffed around the place and checked it was safe for us, we went back down the moving floor thing into the exciting food place.

Ben, my human brother came to meet us. I was so excited as it’s been ages since I’ve seen him.  He is always so pleased to see me.  He strokes me and talks so nicely to me and always drops some nibbles to me from the table when he thinks nobody is looking.  I like Ben.

I found it a bit strange in the food place as there were a lot of flashing lights and people sitting at tables around the room.  One person was up there singing at the top of his voice (which was hurting my ears) and everyone kept clapping.  I thought they were clapping for me to get up and dance, but no, they were just humans being humans.

Then it was back up to the room for a good night’s sleep before going back down to see that Minnie!

Minnie was much better behaved (for a while). I toyed with the idea of getting Peppa Pig out of the toy basket but then I remembered Chloe’s scary face and thought better of it.

I thought Mum was a bit quiet in the morning but was distracted with activities in the kitchen. Chicken and beef for were being cooked for dinner. Oh, the smell. I was starting to drool already.

Mum suddenly said she was taking me for a walk but she really wasn’t much fun at all, just plodding around the park kicking the tennis ball for me and not throwing it all. She didn’t even talk to me.

When we got back to the house, the smells were absolutely wonderful. Peppa Pig! Who needs her when you have chicken and beef to look forward to?

“I feel a bit sick,” said Mum. “I’ll just go for a lie down.”

More chicken for me I thought but then did feel a bit guilty for being selfish.

Mum came back down as dinner was being served. It was so exciting. All this food and little humans who love dropping food to me.

Then Mum disappeared upstairs again only to re-appear just as the food dropping was beginning to get interesting.

“Can we go back to the hotel,” she asked Dad.

No! I thought. I’ve not had any chicken yet.

But off we went with Dad driving, so things had to be bad.

Mum went straight into the little room, making lots of strange noises. I tell you, when she came out of that little room she was a grey as the winter sky outside! And she just slithered her way onto the big bed.

I wasn’t going near her! Dad could look after her. She was in an out of the little room so many times she was making me dizzy. I found myself a cosy comfortable space under the table where I was out of the way but could still keep my eye on the two of them.

Well would you believe it but then Dad started going in and out of the little room too. It wasn’t long before he was just as grey looking as Mum!

The next 24 hours passed very slowly for me. I was very worried about the two of them but didn’t know what I could do. There were times I was bursting for the toilet but I just had to hold it in. Usually, Mum and Dad are really good with me and take me for walks all the time but they spent all the time just laid on the bed not moving, not talking and crawling in and out of the little room.

I heard them talking about viruses with names like Covid and Nora.

Worse was to come though. When we go away Mum always packs my food into bags and Dad then puts some cheese or ham on top of the dry food. Not this time. I had to eat my dog food dry! The only thing that was offered to me was a dry oatcake! Some Christmas this was turning into!

The following day, Mum and Dad slowly packed all the bags and we were soon back in the car. A little stop at Mad Max’s house to say goodbye to everyone. I’ve never seen such a sad, poorly lot of humans in my life. The only humans laughing and smiling were Minnie and Harley!

Back into the car and Mum said she had to drive through the Dales until we got to the motorway as her stomach wouldn’t cope with being a passenger.

In the back of the car, I can sit up and look out of the window. I know the route well now and recognise lots of places.

Leaving Halifax, the weather was as sad looking as Mum and Dad and you could hardly see anything through the fog. As we travelled out of Calderdale, up to the heights of Denholme Gate and the Flappits, the fog lifted and it turned into a pleasant trip.

Just before darkness fell, we pulled into our drive at home. At last!

And it’s been a quiet time since then. There has been no festive spirit and very, very short walks. One good thing about this whole sad affair is that Mum hasn’t had all those musical toys playing everyday like every other Christmas holiday! I do feel a bit sad for her though as she loves Christmas and this has been a miserable time for her this year.

She says that this is making her even more determined to have her Christmas Tearoom where it will indeed be Christmas every day!




  • A lovely winter time tale written at Xmas 2021 in our modern world.
    Hope everyone recovers in time for spring walks at home.

    Angus Maciver
  • Sorry Beatrix that your mum and dad have been poorly. Hope you got your chicken or at least cheese or ham with your dinner for New Year. Best wishes from Nuala and my mum and dad. Hopefully we can meet up for an adventure in the spring and chase tennis balls together. X

    Nicky Lynch
  • Oh dear, so sorry you weren’t well Debra and Jim, glad Beatrix looked after you as best she could x

  • Poor Beatrix. I’m sure when everyone is feeling much better, you’ll go for long walks again

    Anne Murphy

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