Now we all stand here together, waiting. We know the time has come, but yet we are reluctant to perform the ultimate act. The Marketing Consultant is upon the altar, thighs buttered and raised in readiness. The Chiropodist-In-Chief has consecrated the jar of Holy Anointing Marmalade, and the okapi has been immersed in extra-virgin olive oil and lightly seasoned.
But, still, we wait.
The omens are not quite as auspicious as we'd hoped. Some of the television aerials are out of alignment and this morning none of the toast fell butter-side down!
So, perhaps it would be wiser to wait until all the homing goats have returned to the stable before we begin the rites.
It is a shame, I know, especially as the very nice lady from the cake shop, Fanny Knickerless, has gone to a great deal of trouble in making some rather appetising-looking post-orgy snacks. The Scotch Eggs, in particular, look very tempting indeed.
However, we must always stick to the ritual as laid down in the most Holy Handbook. We all know what happened last time we angered the Gods by ignoring the Sign of the Incontinent Badger on the Mantelpiece. I still have a bad back, Gladys Hushmythighs, our former local librarian (now retired), still walks with a slight limp, and Maureen herself still cannot bear to be alone in a room with a lettuce.