Oh life is good.
Just when my kids have got old enough to tell me that I'm actually the only one in the family who likes races with wind-up toys and they don't want to play with me anymore, the Guardian has come to my rescue.
Here's Deborah Moggach's game:
"We all play the water game, which is the only game where you get punished for getting something right, which I think is a very good corrective to the usual scheme of things. You sit round the table and someone has to think up a topic - makes of cars, British birds - and then think of something from that category that they write on a secret piece of paper - a blue tit for example. You go round the table one by one and people have to guess what it is. The person who gets it right gets the glass of water thrown in their face."
It's got everything I love. Randomness, adrenaline, fun, and even a touch of cruelty thrown in. We did use to play something similar when the kids were small and we had those adult and kids parties when it's always the adults who get a bit, er, over-excited with the games. Here's our version:
An adult would have to sit on a chair at the end of the hall and face everyone else. A child would be positioned directly in front of the chair with a fully loaded watergun and then everyone else would - in turn - ask questions. The only rule was that, although they could be questions about anything, the questioner had to know the answer. Every time the adult in the chair got it wrong, the child would be allowed to shoot the watergun at him or her.
Funnily enough, there were as many screeching takers to be the question answerer as there were for the shooter. The best time was when we had an ex-Scottish rugby captain over to play. Everyone got drenched as we tried to figure out just who had scored what try in obscure games. Although if I remember, when it was his turn in the chair, we flummoxed him with details of fashion design. Actually I seem to remember that by that stage the children had got bored, and it was just the adults playing.
Yep, nothing like a bit of meanness to make Christmas go down well. This is what Deborah Moggach - who I just know would be my best friend if we were ever bored together at a party - says about it:
"The world is divided into two sets of people - those who say what a completely great idea it is and those who look at you as if you are crazy and ask why you would play such a cruel game. Well, life is cruel and it's not that much water anyway."
Oh oh oh but ..... just when I start thinking that the wind-up toy olympics could have had its day and glasses of water thrown in faces sounds more fun, I look at these little fellas, wound up and ready to go and my heart turns over. Don't worry, guys, I won't let you down, and it's just once, well ok twice, yes, yes, three times a year, H & R - and I know you do love it really.