Cousin John called with best wishes for the New Year and just wanted to mention the Billy Connolly double CD. He was absolutely delighted with this thoughtful gift and was looking forward immensely to listening to it in the car.

I graciously accepted his thanks and reciprocated by thanking him for my M&S Men’s Grooming Set complete with black leather carry case. I assured him that when we next meet, my nasal hair will be trimmed, my bushy eyebrows will no longer meet in the middle and my ears will be fluff-free.

Then he went and spoiled it by claiming ‘Just one small problem, Norman. There were no actual CD’s inside the case.’ He kindly offered to send the empty case back so once again, I am condemned to make the trek into town, fighting with all the bargain hunters, to stand in a refund queue that spans 0.8 miles and requires external (armed) security guards to police.

As an interim measure, I asked him whether he could just enjoy the liner notes and look at the photographs until I manage to resolve the problem.

Norma was horrified. She immediately asked me to call Uncle Robert (lucky recipient of Tony Hancock’s Half Hour audio CD). Unfortunately, Uncle Robert also ripped off the wrapping and expectantly opened the CD only to find an empty jewel case with a mysterious note attached: ‘More in cupboard.’. He duly went to the cupboard but didn’t find any CD’s.

I told him this CD captured Hancock’s greatest and most surreal work; the ultimate in silent comedy rather than a sick joke by us.