It's the shortest day of the year and we're going to burn all the clocks.
But first we need to try to not burn lunch which was prepped for a 3pm kick off and it is now nearly 4pm. Being fashionably late in the Groucho Club is all well and good but when you've got perfect roasties in goose fat turning before your very eyes into blocks of rock then it is unacceptable. How do you like your lamb? Grey and overcooked, well that's just as well as that's how chef is preparing it.
When guests finally do arrive - it was their idea to meet first in the pub and not congregate in the living room over a glass or two of Lidl Prosecco (£3.99) the temptation is to say "where the f*ck have you been?" without a hint of amusement while throwing red hot rocks (spuds) at them as they run off back to the pub. But I show some civilised bonhomie and smile, while wielding the electric knife with unusual elan.
Fully scoffed we repair to the seafront where Brighton's age old pagan festival "The Burning of the Clocks" is about to take place on the beach. Historians and antiquarians have argued over the precise date at which this ceremony was first recorded - some say it was 2001, some say in the millenium before that! Who knows indeed. All I know is that there's going to be some fireworks - whooppee!
It's like a vast Pet Shop boys video, with very groovy music, and children wearing illuminated clocks on their heads, like those Swiss Railway clocks, available in Conran, rather than some broken little Ikea thingie. The procession of lanternbearers who have walked slowly - very slowly, they were late by my reckoning - from the city centre hand over their lanterns which are ponderously carried out by the clock children to a stage set on the beach where they are ceremoniously thrown inside into a big pile. Of discarded lanterns (I'm assuming they had clocks painted on them, as that's the name of the thing - as opposed to the Burning of The Lanterns). This goes on for a bit then the time-meeces scarper and the whole thing goes up in flames - whooosh! - really quickly, as this spectacular photograph testifies.
A HUGE pall of thick black smoke rises up into the night sky but since it's dark you can't actually see it. Black smoke. Black sky, had it been during the day there would have been a call to the emergency services but instead we are distracted by the fireworks which last a good ten minutes and are whizz bang brilliant.
We then repair, or in some people's case, return to the world's greatest pub where the most fantastic musical night unfolds before us - everything from the 78rpm deejay to Brighton's best guitarists strumming away in unison and almost always in tune.
Suddenly it's midnight and the year's shortest day has melted away. It's cold, there's a recession on, but a paper hat or two and some Lidl prosecco have seen them off. Until Monday.
I don't like Mondays.