The thing is, everyone's been saying for weeks, 'All set for Christmas, then?' and I've been saying, 'oh yes,' since there's nothing I need to do for Christmas given that a) apart from Lily, there's only me and Dan, and Dan doesn't give presents, and b) I was waiting to see whether the world ended before I wasted my money. Now, at the eleventh hour, I am thinking, 'Argh,' given that a) the world hasn't ended and b) what about Sal and Giles and Phoebe and my godson Arthur, who we're spending Christmas with?
Which is why I'm on a chicken liver mission. I have trawled the butchers of south-west London, but everywhere has sold out of chicken livers. Except, as it turns out, Tesco frozen section. If I make the till before nightfall, I shall make gallons of chicken liver pâté with lashings of brandy, and, tomorrow, the fact that I haven't bought any presents will be forgotten in our heavenly chicken liver pâté haze.
The Tesco triumph comes hot on the heels of my Chelsea Garden Centre triumph. Lily insisted on our having a Christmas tree and in a fit of non-curmudgeonliness I capitulated.
'Have you got anything cheap and nasty?' was my opening gambit. It wasn't quite what I meant to say. I think I meant something like 'cheap and cheerful,' or 'any seconds'.
Without uttering a word, the garden centre man led me to the back of the yard to a sodden pile of prone trees in their webbing sheaths.
'That too big for yer?' He pointed to a monster 10 footer.
'Yes,' I choked. That would surely set us back at least 80 quid.
'This?' He started ripping the webbing off a handsome 7 footer. 'Don't even know what's wrong with this one,' he added, inspecting it for missing branches and other irregularities, of which there were none.
'Well, it looks perfect,' I said, 'but how much is it?' According to their scale of charges it should be at least 60 quid.
'£20,' he said.
So that is how we came to have the best-ever Christmas tree this year.
'Even though it still looks rather bare,' says Lily, looking over my shoulder as I type.
Happy Christmas everyone.