Peace reigns. We have done a sweep of the house for belongings that might have been forgotten in some corner of the house: a child's drinking cup here, a small pair of slippers there but the important stuff - the special soft toys - is all safely stowed. And Offspring Number One and his little family have set off on their way homewards.
Small pockets of chaos remain. There are little piles of story books relating to Christmas. Offspring Number Two turned up with these when her big brother arrived, so that he had extra reading matter for his small girl. (Oddly this included Carol Ann Duffy's "Wenceslas A Christmas Poem", a beautifully illustrated version of this extended poem but not really a small children's book. I might just secrete this away to add to my own collection!) Offspring Number Two, however, was quick to point out that this was a library loan for the duration of their visit. She has built up this collection of Christmas books, she explained, over almost twenty years (her eldest offspring is now nineteen) and she does not want to lose any of them as she finds them useful in her primary school teaching. And then there is the sentimental value. So Offspring Number One's almost three year old has had to leave The Santa Trap behind, despite relishing the story.
There is also a certain amount of baby equipment dotted around. Offspring Number One's child no longer needs any of this but Offspring Number Two's latest is only four months old and is just coming into the stage where she can use stuff with weird names like "bounceroo", or perhaps it is "jumperoo". We hope Offspring Number Two will come and collect this large and clunky item with its collection of noise-producing dangly bits and that it is not her plan to leave it here for her tiny one's entertainment on visits to our house. (And the collection of children's Christmas stories.) We can generate quite enough clutter of our own.
Don't get me wrong! It has been absolutely lovely to have both offspring and all their offspring around. I can think of nothing nicer ... for a while ... and in measured doses. But if we all lived together on a permanent basis maybe some of the charm would wear off.
No, a delightful time has been had by all but I seem to have been cooking and baking for weeks; in reality it is less that ten days but that's how it goes.
One last push to prepare a nice dish to take to an old friend's house for New Year's Eve and after that I think we should live on soups, beans on toast and scrambled, poached or boiled eggs for a while!
Forget about post-truth. It's almost the end of the post-Christmas period.