I welcomed the new year at a friends house somewhere near Nottingham, fourteen of us from college spending a decreasingly civilised evening making conversation of diminishing coherency. Supper was vast quantities of lasagne, consumed with alcohol purloined from the cellar of a generous parent and surrounded by replica armour from the civil war. Anyone who will waste decent wine on undiscriminating students and decorate their dining room with fearsome weaponry is alright in my book.

Drinking games of an increasingly ribald nature brought us to midnight, and we listened to the chimes of Big Ben as we attempted a rendition of ‘Auld Lang Syne’. After mumbling our way through a couple of verses, we were corralled outside to perform the world’s most arrhythmic and uncoordinated conga-line through the streets of the village. The faint hearted were soon off to bed, leaving the rest of us to make valiant effort to finish the drink before discovering exactly how many inebriated Cambridge University students it takes to successfully operate folding beds.

We emerged the next morning in states of varying dishevelment, the prize taken as ever by someone whose pillow-crafted hair defies belief, not to mention the laws of physics. A fry-up was prepared, the chef resplendent in blue dressing gown and slippers. (Looking through the photos my sister said he looked like a mafia boss, which is not the first time such comparison has been made). Fortification with bacon and egg returned some semblance of conscious thought, and after a shamefully brief attempt to help with the tidying everyone went their separate ways home.

A plot of sophistication against time shows an encouraging start before a precipitous plunge from which there is no recovery. Without doubt a grand New Year.