Anyway, all that is by the by. On Christmas Eve mad sister, long suffering husband and a few other family members did the traditional thing and went out for a curry. Earlier that day mad sister had made the mother of all yule logs containing about four bars of plain chocolate and a bucketful of cocoa powder. This she decorated with holly leaves, berries and a dusting of icing sugar. It looked wonderful. Then just before they headed out to the Indian restaurant she put it on the table in the lounge and closed all the doors so that her two dogs couldn't get at it. You may know that chocolate is poisonous to dogs and coming home from the restaurant to find no yule log and two dead dogs under the Christmas tree may well have taken some of the gloss off the seasonal festivities.
So, yule log safely locked away off they went to enjoy their vindaloo and chips. Later, at the restaurant mad sister's daughter and her husband decided to leave before the others because their baby girl was becoming restless and probably wanted a feed and a change of nappy. Or it could just have been that they were embarrassed by mad sister's animal impressions. Either way, they said they'd go back to mad sister's house, do whatever was necessary and wait for the others to return home. An hour later, mad sister and long suffering husband came in to find mad sister's daughter and her husband on the sofa quietly watch the television, while their baby daughter slept between them. Mad sister then noticed that that the door to the lounge was open. With a deep sense of foreboding she entered the room. Mad sister's daughter had gone in there and left the door ajar. There was no yule log on the table, but the wooden chopping board upon which it had sat was there with a few crumbs and a smear of chocolate icing on it. Laying on the rug were two sheepish looking lurchers, their long tailing beating a guilty tattoo on the floor while their eyes were saying "Yule log? What yule log."
Grabbing a mutt each by the collar mad sister and long suffering husband dragged the dogs into the back garden and shoved a hand into the animals' mouths in an attempt to make them throw up the chocolate log. Twenty minutes of this had produced nothing except teeth marks on the humans' hands.
"Do dogs even have a gag reflex?" Mad sister asked long suffering husband.
"How should I know?" He replied.
"Maybe we should get them to a vet." suggested mad sister.
"At eleven at night on Christmas Eve?"
"Keep trying. Try to get your fingers in a bit further."
"If I put my fingers in any further they'll come out of his bum" said long suffering husband loudly and irritably just as their next door neighbour who was putting the cat out peered over the fence.
"Yule log." said long suffering husband by way of explanation and the neighbour nodded and went back inside, presumably to discuss with his wife whether or not he should call the police or the RSPCA.
Eventually they gave up and let the dogs sleep in their room that night in case there was an emergency. There wasn't. Both dogs survived the ordeal and one of them produced his own chocolate log on Boxing Day, complete with a sprig of holly and three shiny red berries.
Well, that about wraps up 2013 - the year the World lost Nelson Mandela - Madiba. We also lost Peter O'Toole, Mikhail Kalashnikov, Ronnie Biggs, Joan Fontaine, David Coleman, Lou Reed, Ken Norton, Margaret Thatcher, Hugo Chavez, Tom Clancy, David Frost and my pal Badger.
If you're not British there's a fair chance that you will not have heard of David Coleman. He worked for many years as a sports commentator with the BBC. He was utterly brilliant and could be relied upon to put his foot in his mouth on a regular basis with hilarious results. Here are some of his best moments.
"That's the fastest time ever run - but it's not as fast as the world record."
"Don't tell those coming in the final result of that fantastic match, but let's just have another look at Italy's winning goal."
"He's 31 this year - last year he was 30."
"He just can't believe what's not happening to him."
"In a moment we hope to see the pole vault over the satellite."
"He is accelerating all the time. The last lap was run in 64 seconds and the one before that in 62."
"For those of you watching who do not have television sets, live commentary is on Radio 2."
"The late start is due to the time."
"It's gold or nothing...and it's nothing. He comes away with the silver medal."
"There is Brendan Foster, by himself with 20,000 people."
"Forest have now lost six matches without winning."
"He's even smaller in real life than he is on the track."
"The front wheel crosses the finish line, closely followed by the back wheel."
"And here's Moses Kiptanui - the 19-year-old Kenyan who turned 20 a few weeks ago."
"This could be a repeat of what will happen in the European games next week."
"That's the fastest time ever run, but it's not as fast as the world record."
"If that had gone in, it would have been a goal."
"This evening is a very different evening from the morning we had this morning."
"He's seven seconds ahead and that's a good question."
"I think there is no doubt, she'll probably qualify for the final."
"I have the feeling she (Manuela Machado) is an athlete who likes to get away from the opposition."
"Nobody has ever won the title twice before. He (Roger Black) has already done that."
"He's got his hands on his knees and holds his head in despair."
"Both of the Villa scorers - Withe and Mortimer - were born in Liverpool as was the Villa manager Ron Saunders who was born in Birkenhead."
"He is accelerating all the time. The last lap was run in 64 seconds and the one before in 62."
Zis jahr has been wunderbar. As you can see mein Englische is zo much better zan ven ich started. Now, ich vould just like to be offerink mein deepest sympathy to everyvun who lost ein lieben, human or animal in 2013. Der soughts of Herr Billy's staff, Herr Billy himself, Herr Baci und ich are viz you.