We're at Hilary and Rupert's house in Lewes. Its Hilary's 40th birthday weekend, and we've had a lovely vegetarian stew, a whole plate of cheeses and too many chocolates.
The journey down here was insane. I left Highgate at 4pm, after frantically tidying the house, and immediately got stuck in rush hour traffic. I thought I was going to beat the London mass exodus, but had forgotten that the phenomenon takes place in the mid afternoon on Fridays.
By the time I'd reached the Blackwall Tunnel I was ready to dig my eyes out with a rusty spoon. My foot kept going into spasm on account of its hitting the clutch and the brakes so regularly, and my back was aching like crazy. There's nothing more claustrophobic than the experience of getting stuck in painstakingly slow moving traffic.
It took four and a bit hours to get down here, a fact made all the more unpalatable by the fact that Iain and Raily, who left Aylesbury two hours later than me, arrived just ten minutes later! Our car's computer reliably informed me that I'd driven at an average speed of 18 miles per hour, which must be some sort of inverse land speed record!
We drove from Lewes to Gatwick at 11.30pm; a mercy dash to rescue Tanya from the airport, whose plane down from Glasgow had been delayed by snow. Despite the delay being nothing to do with any of us, we were forced to pay £3 for the privilege of picking her up. The same thing happens at Stansted Airport these days. I think that's bordering on the definition of daylight robbery!
Still, it was lovely to see Tanya, who we must now address as Doctor Cheadle on account of her recently completing a PHD at Glasgow University. How blinking clever are my friends?