This takes place the Christmas after Katya has returned from her adventures on the Silk Road. It's a transitional chapter and I'm hoping that the leap between Katya at 17 on her adventures in China and Pakistan, and Katya the WAAF typist during WW2 is not too big a leap.
Katya set down the tree bauble and sank onto the settee. The wireless was playing Christmas carols and it seemed right to be decorating the Christmas tree. She was supposed to finish dressing the tree before Aunt Olga, Uncle Nils and Irina arrived for Christmas Eve dinner. Good, promising smells were drifting through the open door from the kitchen. Katya had spent the morning in the kitchen peeling and chopping vegetables at her mother’s direction. Christmas Eve dinner was always a polyglot of English and Russian dishes, zakuski, mushroom soup, fish pate, roast beef with vegetables, kasha, noodles, poppy seed cake for afters, or mince pies. There was scarcely room on the table for plates and cutlery.Katya looked at the writing on the package, written by a confident hand in black ink. The postmark was a blur, obscuring even the stamp and the country of origin. She opened it carefully, the brown paper falling away to reveal a clump of newspaper, covered in closely printed Chinese characters. Katya peeled away the newspaper, layer after layer, like an onion, until her fingers were smeared with newsprint. Beneath the newspaper a bolt of dark blue silk, embroidered with dancing golden dragons was wrapped with great care around a small, bulky object. The silk, itself was beautiful and, unfolded, turned out to be several yards long, enough for a dress. It made Katya think of the evening sky in Baltit, after the sun had slid beyond the jagged rim of the mountains and just before the stars came out. Katya folded it and laid it on her lap. She looked at the little white jade pony with tears in her eyes. It was small enough to fit perfectly into the curve of her palm, curled up and sleeping Its stubby head rested on one folded foreleg - its bristly mane was defined by finely scored lines and its long tail curled around plump hindquarters. She set the pony down and searched through the crumpled Chinese newspaper for a letter or a note, but there was nothing. Then, again, no note was needed. It was enough that he remembered her and that, somewhere, in China, he had bought a little jade pony and wrapped it in silk to send to her. She picked up the pony again, comforted by the weight of it and by the knowledge that Andrew had chosen it for her.