Thanks to the excessive generosity of my big brother, currently stationed in London, a brand-new laptop found its way into my Christmas stocking.

But not before Customs tracked me down and spoiled what was meant to be a surprise by telling me what my package contained and demanding a hefty sum of duty from me before they would make delivery.

Though miffed at the ruined surprise, my brother "took care of things" at his end and my present was delivered the very next day.

The courier was still backing down the driveway when I screamed with delight that my laptop had arrived. The room was filled with excitement and anticipation as the life forms and the withered old crone gathered around to watch the "unwrapping".


There was much cursing at the usual struggle with the evil freaking parcel tape, while we employed a combination of knives, scissors and pure brute force to prise open my prize.

It was akin to the birth of a child - boy or girl, I didn't give a hoot as long as it was healthy.

When we finally got to see it in all its glory, we all gasped in awe, marvelling at its beauty. All its bits were intact, it was a healthy weight and the cord hadn't got tangled at all. It was just perfect, and I was as proud as punch, as I took it in my arms and held it close.

Even better was that, unlike a child, this actually came with an instruction manual, didn't leak from every orifice and was whisper quiet. How lucky can a girl get? I was in love.

Although still unnamed at this stage (I'm waiting for its personality to develop further), "Lappy" goes everywhere with me. I should probably invest in a booster seat for it but, so far, it seems perfectly safe and happy in the back seat of my car, with me constantly checking on it via the rear-vision mirror.

So consumed with it, I've even adopted the controversial practice of having it in bed with me. Waffle is not too thrilled. I have drawn the line there though, choosing not to install a nanny-cam or monitor for the rare times I find myself separated from my new baby.

Worried that I was at risk of becoming an objectophile, I went online to reassure myself that the feelings I had for Lappy were, indeed, normal. In clarifying my own position I was surprised to learn just how many people have actually "tied the knot" with their chosen objects of desire. So many, that "objectophilia" is now considered a sexual orientation in itself and not a fetish.

I've always considered myself to be open-minded, hard to shock and certainly no prude, but even I struggle with the idea of having a close and intimate relationship with an inanimate object.

Though I have no doubts any feelings are real, it just seems a very one-sided affair. The object doesn't seem to bring very much to the table ... unless, of course, it is a table. The whole idea of never having a two-way conversation or sharing a joke and a glass of wine is disappointing.

Wedding planning must be nightmare. Do you send invites to the object's family? Does the object even have family? What do you put on your wedding gift register, I wonder? Any need for a pre-nup? Who gets what in the event of a divorce?

On the upside, there will no issues surrounding kids. There will no arguments, dinner won't have to be on the table at a set time and, thankfully, there will never be any fighting over the remote control.

It's fairly safe to assume, too, that at least one of you won't ever have an issue with being faithful.

Erika Eiffel (no prizes for guessing her groom) seems to be happy with her significant other, despite the challenges of a long-distance romance. I'm happy she's happy - must have been hard on her when her previous lover, the Berlin Wall, had a breakdown of sorts.

Although human, some of us may already feel our life partners are pretty close to being inanimate objects. Sitting for countless hours, motionless - and all but useless - in front of the telly or some other screened device.

Most women can certainly relate to having one-way conversations, where nobody seems to listen to a word you say - but objectophilia takes it to a whole other level.

But, deep down, I'm just an old-fashioned girl. Technology is already having an impact on human relationships and, for me at least, no object could ever take the place of a real live person.

As much as I may profess to love Lappy, I am confident that I won't be writing my wedding vows any time soon.

Have a safe and happy New Year - feedback welcomed as always:

Kate Stewart is an unemployed, reluctant mother of three, currently running amok in the city ... clutching a laptop.