In our house we eat Christmas dinner about five. This is because we have eaten egg and bacon about eleven. That means that we put the turkey in the oven about one. Liz said she wanted to do the vegetables. She lives on the other side of Manchester. So I said what time’s she coming round? Dinner time was the answer. Does she know when dinner time is? I said. Olde dad said she’s coming round at half past. Half-past what? I said. Olde dad changes his tack. Half past eleven, he says. It is now three-fifteen. Which eleven? I say. Half past eleven in the morning or half-past eleven at night. Olde dad looks bemused. Which one is closest? he says. We’re about in the middle, I say. Half-past eleven in the morning, he says. But that was five hours ago. Dad says she must be late. Anyway, Liz is here now. She won’t touch sprouts, though. I’m the only one who actually likes sprouts. When do you put the veg on? We all look at the clock. Time gets very hard at Christmas. That depends when the bird’ll be ready. I opened the wine with the idea that the bird would be done at five. It’s Gevrey Chambertin, I say. It was Napolean’s favourite wine. Nobody is much impressed. It’ll be ready when it’s ready says Helen. Olde dad nods. That’s the most sensible thing anyone’s said all day.