There is a noise in the kitchen.

I turn to investigate. Mrs Short Tony has appeared, like the shopkeeper in the Mr Benn cartoons.

“I’ve brought the list for you,” she announces.

I am nonplussed by this. I have a slight hangover, and am not functioning at my usual 85% capacity. She clearly notices my vacant look.

“The list. For the Village Book Group.”

I have joined a book group!!!

There is a dim memory of a conversation about this in the Village Pub. It had seemed an extremely good idea – I do not get much intellectual stimulation at present what with looking after the baby, not having a satellite dish etc. I go to take the list, only to find it snatched away.

“You are not,” she states, “allowed to join if you are only planning to write sarcastic things about it on the Internet.”

I am genuinely stung by this, and protest some protestations. In fact I am a bit insulted. After extensive negotiations it is agreed that I am allowed to join the book group if I impose a strict news blackout of its activities. I assent to this, shamefully capitulating to the petty tyranny of Blair’s fascist id card state.

She hands me the list and tells me to choose a book. On close examination, I haven’t read any of them, which is a bit of an unexpected hurdle. In the end I pass on the Robbie Williams and Dan Brown ones and settle on one called ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’, as it is most probably about space, and I particularly like books set in space.

She takes my choice to put in her important book group file. I am pleased with my new position amongst the literati, notwithstanding the frustration that I will never be able to talk about it.

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