Isobel's Secret Santa Adventure

While Santa is down in the kitchen regaling himself with milk and cookies, and all the Knottwood children are playing with their new toys, the remaining adults take the opportunity to quickly open their presents...
He's been wearing THAT shirt for YEARS...

Some presents are less tangible. Noreen Nizhoni (so unhappy at LAST year's party) has just been reunited with hometown boyfriend Pete Shirley.  Pete has agreed to accept a job as Park Ranger at Knottwood Everglades while he writes his doctoral thesis instead of going back to Arizona - so Noreen is doubly happy!
It's SO nice to see Noreen back to her perky self!!

Alicia and Neville have their MIRACLE baby, Robin Emily... (Alicia wouldn't let Neville call her "Robin Hood"...)

This is IT!

And millionaire dentist Charles Hesketh Asmundsen has just been told by wife Catriona that they're expecting their OWN bundle of joy!

(I bet it will have Perfect Teeth...)

In fact, everyone's having such a GREAT TIME, nobody notices that Isobel Hanbro has slipped quietly out of the room...
NOW what is she up to?

Meanwhile,  just outside the Sponge Bob room, Noreen's older sister, Dr. Agnes Nizhoni, is absorbed in finally answering sheep farmer Gordon McGregor's marriage proposal...

The moment of TRUTH!

Oh dear!  We're intruding on a private Moment!

Oh dear!

Suddenly Santa's interruption is rudely interrupted...
What IS the matter with Santa?

Lord Richard of Avalon? WHAT a *SURPRISE!*


POOR Isobel...

Lord Richard listens courteously - and with growing amusement - for quite twenty minutes!  He has rarely heard such eloquence. Even Farmer McGregor and Dr. Agnes put in a good word for Horace!

(I don't think she's EVER been so earnest!)

Horace's unofficial appeal ends with Isobel is sobbing out her THANKS!
WHAT a relief!

Moments later, Horace gets the SURPRISE of his LIFE!

I think I'm going to FAINT!....


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Horaces STUNNING club (literally) by Knottwood's OFFICIAL BLACKSMITH, INTENTS, Smith of the West
LORD RICHARD's appearance (AND HORACE THE TROLL!) courtesy of R. A. Harnett
Dr. Agnes' necklace and hair ornament courtesy of LEONOR