RIGHT, it?s here, the piped Slade of the winter party season, vol et vent overload.
Whoever invented the vol et vent certainly had a sense of humour. Chicken or prawns in decorator?s filler encased in puff pastry with a semi-detached lid. Yummy.
They are designed to be served two ways, cold and palate-clagging or incandescent so that when you spit them out they stick to the kitchen wall. Hence the filler.
Of all the regulars of Christmas they are among the least attractive. Second only to pointless small talk, which is worse for some than others. I know a dentist who dreads the approach of an open mouth: ?What do you think this is.? Either halitosis or a bad cattle cake habit. And a vet who has been asked to diagnose a fat Labrador lying in its bed 20 miles away.
For car hacks the fear factor is in the question what is the best car you have ever driven? The expected answer is something exotic and fast; the two-million bhp Castrato Whirlybird with twin turbo jets and a Jacuzzi.
Well, sorry but it is not so much that those days have gone, rather they were never there. What does it for me is a Range Rover. Any Range Rover but preferably with Autobiography trim.
Yes I could live with the massive national debt guaranteed by the all-powerful five-litre mission to Mars that is the V8 petrol but then if you can afford Â£102,000 who cares about 21mpg and tax charged at the same rate as by a socialist utopia spanking its bankers.
On the other hand there is nothing wrong with the 3.0-litre TDV6, the subject of this chatter.
It could be described as the bread and butter end of the line-up but then Range Rover does not really do bread and butter. Blinis and beluga yes. Hovis and Country Life no.
There is nothing new or exceptional about the turbo V6. A good sprinter for a diesel-powered small county; 0-60mph in 7.2 seconds via an eight-speed automatic gearbox with agreeable consumption of 40mpg and Â£220 tax bill.
Neither has anybody reinvented four-wheel traction since you last looked. It can be left in auto and the car makes its own mind up orthe centre console selector offers a number ofducks and dives for more serious work. Ground clearance is 296mm and the body also sits high which makes for some interestingsights as those with displaced ballast attempt re-entry.
One thing I remain convinced of is that if you lean towards a lot of 4x4 countryside capers you may want to reconsider the standard road tyres.
The sheer luxury of an Autobiography begs the question do I go home and rough it or shall we watch the telly in here? Yes, for those boring interludes while the beaters blank in the next drive, you have the full freeview package.
There are many technical features and very thankful we should be for the surround camera system and parking assistance. Even the hydrophobic doors and memory exterior mirrors with approach lamps to point the way to that mud you were about to stand in make a difference.
Obviously there is also extensive entertainment and plenty of electrical goods with a clear, logical eight inch touch screen which mysteriously has a setting called ?stealth?. I am not sure what it is for. Perhaps it enables you to creep up on small, unruly countries. Yes, a special forces Range Rover.
And while all these better than pineapple chunks features are life enhancing it is not these, not even the herd of cows needed to trim the interior or the climate control and heated steering wheel, which keep the Rangy top of my list.
All these wonderful fixtures are, well, wonderful but the attraction is about the drive. Here is a car you never tire of. Take it out and you want to stay with it until the tank is dry. From the elevated view of the world to the smoothness of the ride. Ever noticed how you seldom see someone razzing a Range Rover through the bends? That?s because when you get to this level of understanding testosterone is fully under control.
To be honest I have not felt so comfortably detached from the burdens of life since I last had a general anaesthetic.
Bolt-on extras pushed the basic price of Â£91,550 to over Â£96,000 but you would want the adaptive headlights, head up display and self-parking. But not the lane departure warning, please not one of those.
Now doctor, about this annoying twitch I get when people ask me what car they should buy while I am eating my decorative nibbles.