You may not be shocked to hear that our conversation was at this moment interrupted by the arrival of a cat, which Speyer treated warmly, and addressed (to my surprise) as ‘Madame Hanska’. This was the first time I had ever heard Speyer refer to one of the cats by name. No matter that it was, by all appearances, the wrong one (a tag around the cat’s neck, I later noted, read ‘Gabriella’). The very fact that he was admitting the animal’s presence was impressive. Perhaps some of the festival spirit had rubbed off on him after all?
And in the meantime, season’s greetings to you all. May your holly be decked with snowflakes etc.