If you’re doing all your cards at once, take over the dining table, set out everything and then get a production line going. You can either address all the envelopes, then sign all the letters and so on until the last stamp is licked, or take one card through all the stations until it’s signed and sealed, and then begin the next, depending on what suits you best.
I was at Matthew’s place last night and we were balancing our mugs on our knees because his coffee table was strewn with cards and envelopes, when Hannah came around to drop off some CDs she’d borrowed. Hannah said that insisting young people listen to old music showed that Matthew was getting ready to be a grandfather and when Matthew said that he didn’t think that was likely, Hannah said that he was absolutely going to be grandfather to her children – far more than her own useless father, who didn’t deserve to come near them, so he’d better start deciding whether he wanted to be called Pop or Gramps. Matthew made jokes about christening mugs and bunny rugs for a while and I could see that he was tickled pink.
 My sister Wendy uses the ironing board. She says it’s to keep the dining table free for family dinners but it’s really an excuse to avoid ironing for a couple of days.
 Or stuck. (I concede that sticker stamps are more hygienic but I remember the tingle of subversion I felt as a child in licking an official document.)
 But the second method is slightly safer: my cousin Linda once had a hiccup with the first system and put her cards into the wrong envelopes. It wasn’t a problem for me that I got a note intended for Wendy, but her second best friend was annoyed to discover that Linda had had a lot of fun with her BFF that number two hadn’t been invited to.
 I pick him up on my way through to our theatre outings and he gives me coffee before we leave. He says it’s to sharpen my powers of concentration for parking between the pillars in the underground carpark, but I know it’s because he’s afraid of nodding off in the second act.
 Matthew is an aficionado of big bands and when Hannah said she didn’t know who Glenn Miller was, Matthew decided she needed some education.
 Although she admitted that she’d loved “In the Mood”.