I find myself in charge!!!

The LTLP is laid up with a broken leg following an unfortunate incident with an old lady brandishing a Renault Megane. The day-to-day practicalities have sort of fallen into place (she tells me to do things and points her crutches a lot; I do them). Christmas dinner is another matter and I am starting to feel the pressure.

In the lounge are my mother, my father, the LTLPs mother and the LTLPs father. Unaccountably, we have failed to invite the Bin Ladens or James Blunt. Pleasant hubbubs of conversation occur in 3-minute bursts between the 2398572-hour periods of black-hole-deep silence.

The turkey looks dolefully at me as I hump it into a tin. I have no sympathy for it. If turkeys are not going to vote then they have no business complaining when things dont turn out as they would like. It is a magnificent Norfolk Black from Jason the Duck Man, and seems to be labelled best before the 24th December.

If Jason the Duck Man is having a laugh at my expense then I will have strong words the next time we meet.

I can feel the Baby staring. She has picked up on my insecurity from within her Guantanamo playpen. I try to radiate personal authority as the oven heats up. She stares. Stares.

And now the hams are misbehaving. We accidentally have twice the number of hams envisaged, due to me having too much to drink in the Village Pub a month or so back, ordering one from Len the Fish, and then forgetting all about it until said ham turned up like an unexpected Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights (but ham). The LTLP has also, with a superhuman effort and lots of telling and crutch-pointing, roasted a ham. The hams do not get on. They glower at each other across the worktop.

It is too much for me. Truculent hams, prematurely-aged turkeys, suspicious Babies and politely-conversing relatives. Christmas was never meant to be about this. Whither the Baby Jesus, Cliff Richard, Raymond Briggs et al? I lob the turkey into the inferno and get myself a pint.