This year I bought an Advent calendar in the form of a string of little Christmas stockings numbered 1 to 24. In each stocking I put a nut (hazel, almond or walnut) and a chocolate (individually wrapped). The unused nuts I put in a bowl and we cracked a couple to get into the Christmas spirit. Mary found a particularly tough almond, which she handed to me. I heaved on the crackers and something snapped. The nut crackers had broken leaving the almond unscathed. I could only think that the crackers must have been faulty. Digging out another pair I squeezed hard again … and broke the spare crackers, too! Sometimes, it seems you really do need a sledgehammer to crack a nut.