This morning, I tried to elevate my festive mood by the application of coriander magic trees and yoga. Trying position 378d, however, I began to totter and sway and finally fell over, thereby upsetting the bookcase against which I had leaned while performing my contortions. Down fluttered all the precious antiquarian tomes and, in an instant, were set ablaze by the candle I had put onto the top shelf (to amplify the hoped-for atmosphere of contemplation). Within seconds, a dozen volumes were destroyed that had survived wars, conflagrations and other hardships before.

After having quenched the fire I therefore got the liquor out and proceeded to put myself into New Year’s mood straightaway.