Alert readers will doubtless have been wondering what I've been doing these past months. The short answer is "having a life", away from the keyboard.
"What is this 'life' of which you speak?" some of them doubtless wish to ask.
Well, today I had the following interaction with my offspring, Djangolina (12) and Guthlac (3).
"We have to eat up the leftovers that are in the fridge. There's one portion of burgers and pasta bake, one portion of rice and stir-fry, or the soup and a sandwich option. Guthlac?"
"Burger an' pasta bake, please."
"What would you like?"
"Same as him."
"By all the tuneless shriekings of Rkslthrlp, blind idiot god of swamp, fen and parts of Milton Keynes - what part of 'one portion' dost thou not understand, wench?" I explained, hurling my horned helmet to the rush-strewn flagstones of our semi-detached mead hall.
"Oh. Sorry. Chicken-and-leek soup and a sandwich then."
I relaxed my grip on the plaits of the visigothic handmaiden I had seized in my annoyance and lowered her back onto the mead-bench. "And would you prefer your sandwich cut into triangles or squares?"
"Triangles it shall be. Pass the two-handed axe, there's a dear..."