When I was a kid, the idea of getting a letter or package addressed to me was a rare and wonderous thing. Despite the fact that it happened only two or three times a year, whenever the post arrived I would always get a brief moment of potential excitement, followed by a brief moment of disappointment as everything was always marked for my parents.
These days, by contrast, I tend to feel a slight sense of relief if nothing arrives in the post. Almost all mail is bills, junk or brochures for someone who might have lived in this house 10 years ago.
However, yesterday morning my curiosity was roused when Maggie told me I had a package with a handwritten address on it. As anything handwritten at this time of year tends to be addressed to the whole family, and I didn't recognise the handwriting, I couldn't begin to guess who it was from, or what it might contain.
I gave it a wee shake, turned it this way and that, looked for a return address and expressed my lack of knowledge as to what it could possibly be. Eventually Maggie became a little impatient and told me just to open the damn thing.
To my surprise and delight it turned out to be 2 packets of peanut butter M&Ms - a sweet I fell in love with in Canada and cannot be bought in the UK.
It transpired that Brave Astronaut made note of my throw-away comment several posts back, that I would kill for peanut butter M&Ms. After discussions with his friend, Stitch Bitch, who was travelling to the UK to see relatives, he persuaded her to bring over a couple of bags and mail them to me in the UK.
Given that my wife and son had been online a night or two before to see if they could find any, and had sadly concluded that they'd left it too late to import from the US to be sure they could arrive before Xmas, this was wonderfully serendipitous.
So my thanks to Brave Astronaut and Stitch Bitch. All that remains is for me to receive instructions on who I now have to kill for them.