“Max is a Mipim virgin,” says Chris

“And he has already had naked man antics.”

That really does need explaining to spare Max any unnecessary blushes. It wasn’t him who was naked, you see. He just took a photograph of someone who was. “Stephen and I got home last night and we were sitting on the balcony and suddenly this fat naked guy appeared on the street below,” he explains. “Was he actually completely naked?” asks Julia. “Butt naked,” confirms Max.

“So I got the camera out and shouted ‘Oi! Fat naked guy!’ and took a picture. The flash went off and he had a total sense of humour failure, broke through the ground floor door of the apartment, ran up to our room and started banging on the door. Obviously we hid behind the sofa.”

Through peals of laughter, Chris explains that he actually had to manoeuvre past the man on his way back to the apartment later. “He had calmed down by then, thank God,” he says. “But there was definitely something suspect about him.” “Suspect?” asks Julia. “Other than the fact he was naked?”

The group concurs that this is, without doubt, the craziest thing that has happened all week but it hasn’t been the only drama. Chris had his wallet stolen and has had to spend most of the day in a police station. “I waited for hours only to be told, ‘Ah monsieur. Demain.’ So I have to bloody well go back again.” Everyone is still laughing about the naked man, so sympathy is in short supply.

On to a more serious topic then. Dead pets. “When the kids were small we had three little guinea pigs,” recalls Chris. “We also had a terrier. I got a call from my wife Jane saying, ‘We have a bit of a problem with the guinea pigs.’ The dog had killed all three and buried one. Obviously we hid that part from the kids. We said guinea pigs just go underground sometimes.”

“I know a girl who went to meet her boyfriend’s parents for the first time and sat on the dog,” adds Stephen. “And killed it. That’s a bad first meeting. They got married though.”

The talk of deceased pets is getting a bit too much for Julia who is now wide-eyed, her hands clapped over her mouth, so we move on to something more topical – the recent story about a London architectural practice offering staff £6 an hour to work a 14-hour day: “It’s bizarre because a practice should be able to command the right level of fees to support its intake,” says Jeb. “It is certainly something to be very concerned about” adds Chris. “Architects are very able people and they need to be properly rewarded.”

The conversation continues but soon the iPhones are out and Jeb – for no apparent reason – is passing round a photo of a sheep. “We started with naked men and now we’ve moved onto animals,” laughs Chris before realising his fatal error. “That sounds bad. That’s going to be the headline isn’t it?”