Catastrophic Christmas cooking (Belle)

Initially told to cater for ten people, there were now 24 people crushed around a dining table holding their knives and forks vertically and expressing impatience.

There was chaos behind the scenes. No one was helping me, and when I returned to collect my gravy it had been rejected by a passing guest who had tipped it down the sink.

I peeped into the dining room and saw that Ian Hislop had squeezed into a corner space. We were now 25 for lunch. The carrots were not going to stretch to that.

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