On the eleventh day of Christmas...

It could have been 11 of these pipers that turned up. Picture: Andrew Mutimer

It could have been 11 of these pipers that turned up. Picture: Andrew Mutimer - Credit: citizenside.com

my true love sent to me, eleven pipers piping but even bagpipes couldn’t compete with the drums.

12 drummers drumming (we could only find a photo of five). Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

12 drummers drumming (we could only find a photo of five). Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

Loved One was supposed to be back at work on January 2nd but had phoned in sick citing a domestic crisis.

In fact, there had been a daily crisis since Christmas Day and it had reached the point where only sherry could help. The good thing about the maids a-milking, ladies dancing and Lords a-leaping was that they hadn’t stayed over or gone to the toilet in the back garden. The milkmaids left their cards in case Loved One got wind of any more acting work that might require eight women who could also sing and dance at a pinch.

The Lords a-leaping said they could turn up any time until the end of March as they had precious little work to do in Parliament because there wasn’t much going on viz new legislation. A couple of the older peers fell asleep on the sofa watching Escape to the Country but woke up in time to see Pointless.

On Day 11, Loved One peeped through the window as a container lorry and three coachloads turned up. The maids, ladies and Lords disembarked from one... and 11 people in kilts got off the other. A great wailing filled the air and Loved One realised they were firing up their bagpipes.

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“Oh, please, no,” she whispered to herself as the strains of Mull of Kintyre filled the air. They were good though, if you liked bagpipes. Fortunately, most of the neighbours did. After a well-deserved encore, the pipers piled back on the Lochs and Glens coach and it sped off, leaving Loved One to make cups of tea for the other performers and and deal with the birds.

Twelfth and last morning did not go well. Twelve enthusiastic drummers armed with junkyard drums (old dustbins, oil cans, saucepans etc set up such a racket in the street that the police were called.

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“And, what’s going on here, then?” asked the officer... who had been hearing strange tales about the house in Kingsnight Avenue for the last 11 days.

“Sorry, Officer. It’s another unwanted present from my True Love. To tell you the truth, I’m sick to death of it.”

By now the police presence has been noted and the drummers and pipers, the dancers, leapers and milkers had scarpered onto their coaches; the swans and geese had waddled indoors; the blackbirds had flown, the French hens were strutting up and down in the flower beds, the turtle doves were sitting on the roof and the partridge had scuttled under the privet hedge to avoid the fate of his 11 predecessors.

The police officer radio-ed his HQ to say all was quiet and no further action was needed.

The Loved One went indoors, shooed the wildfowl outside and sat down with a glass of sherry. It was all over... except, on the next day of January, there was a knock at the door and there, standing in the porch was True Love.

“Get lost,” said Loved One and slammed the door.

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