I had just finished the annual purgatory of completing my Self Assessment for HMRC when I heard the most exuberant racket from downstairs, a co-mingling of many voices all roaring and bellowing at the same time, each layered over or under the others, almost a choral descant and certainly hortative and entirely incomprehensible so that I had to go down to discover what on Earth was afoot: inn the kitchen I found my resident Aunties, May and Cristo, joined at the table by Daphne and Maude and with them Father Mungo Macaneny – gargantuan ex-grappler and occasionally-de-frocked priest – and Lulu and three members of her Gullane Gurrrrl Gang, who had evidently transported several packing cases (originally tea chests) jam-packet with books and papers of all sizes and colours; a slew of them was spread across the table, and people were picking them up, willy-nilly and searching for, then reading out, something they seemed to find extremely important, but all were doing so at the same time and no sense of order could be found; so I switched off the lights, and everything went both dark and silent, until there was a wheezy "be'jasus!" from Fr Mungo, and a "fer fucksake!" from Lulu who asked with pluck and gumption: "whaur's yer fuse-boax? ah'll check if ony's tripped, eh?" and she switched on a powerful torch, which scanned the pale faces round the table and came to rest on me, caught in the spotlight, like a winter fish, my hand still on the switch: "you?" she cried and I switched the lights back on!