A lone, regal silhouette stares from an upstairs window at snow-swept Sandringham, the Norfolk estate where the Royal Family gathers annually for the Christmas holidays.
HM the Queen keeps the vigil, dividing her gaze between her Blackberry and a good old fashioned squint out the window, for she knows this year could be the merriest Christmas ever, so long as travel chaos prevents the rest of her charming family from showing up as planned.
"Thousand of Britons are facing ruined Christmas travel plans on account of the weather," said Lord Hamish Snobworth VIXI E I E I O, Palace-turned-Country-House spokesman, "and the feeling here is that the season will be well celebrated if the lesser members of the Royal Family are among them."
Heavy snow, impassable roads and blocked trains hold out the promise HM will celebrate a happy, peaceful Christmas Day with a just-us-two meal on trays with the Duke of Edinburgh.
"Just think of it," said Snobworth, "no ill-concealed resentment over who sits where at the dinner table, no ill-concealed resentment of longevity, no ill-concealed fears longevity won't repeat itself, no ill-concealed boredom during the broadcast, and best of all, a proper turkey and not one of those stringy organic creatures passing for one."
The Queen is thought to be delighted at the utter silence round the place. Reports suggest however that Sorry, Doshless of York, had raised bridge funding and was subsequently en route via to dogsled, determined nothing would deprive her of the annual 'Poor Fergie banished to Wood Farm again' headline in the Daily Mail.
"It's really shaping up to be the best holiday ever, weather not permitting. Though she is at loose ends in one respect. With no guests in the place there's fewer lights to switch off. And you know how she is about the electric bill."