Show some common sense and scale down your Christmas celebrations this year – like the Queen
11th December 2020

IT is with a very heavy heart I have decided not to go home to see my mum and dad for Christmas.

The restrictions in central Scotland mean I can’t go to visit my parents before the five-day Christmas “amnesty”.

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And having thought it through, I’ve come to the conclusion it’s just not worth the risk to both of them for me to make the journey north.

Trains, planes and buses are booked solid from December 23 to 27 and the roads will be chock-a-block.

There is simply no chance I could drive all the way from London to East Kilbride without stopping for petrol and going to the loo, which means being in contact with far too many people.

I don’t want to end up ­catching the virus at a service station then infecting my mum and dad, or potentially breathing in the virus on a crowded train or bus.

I’m still too nervous to take a flight, especially if it’s full, so I will just stay put.

My dad is not well enough to travel after a series of setbacks, including breaking his ankle and suffering from a horrendous lung infection that has left him feeling very frail, so they can’t come to visit us either.

Even if both parents were in the best of health, I would be very uneasy about them ­travelling south because of how busy it’s going to be — which ­obviously carries a substantial chance of them catching Covid.

I honestly think most of us should scale down our celebrations for this year.

I’m not in any way suggesting we ban Christmas altogether. Just that we think long and hard about large gatherings of friends and family and settle for a Zoom call instead.

I’m fully aware it’s not the kind of Christmas we want — or, indeed, deserve — after the year we’ve all been through.

But I’m worried we will reap the whirlwind and end up in the tightest of all lockdowns at the start of 2021.

We are so close to kicking Covid’s ass, especially now we have a vaccine, that it would be shameful to throw it all away for a roast dinner that’s grown too big for its boots.

Believe me, I know the ­festive season is a lot more than eating, drinking and slumping in front of the TV.

Christmas is about family and friends — which is why it’s going to be so hard not to see those we have missed so much.

But I still think it’s absolutely the right thing to do. I’m in good company, as the Queen is having a very quiet Christmas at Windsor.

It will just be Her Majesty and Prince Philip, with a TV dinner and individual Christmas ­puddings.

I bet she’s secretly delighted at not having to get all dressed up and ­bejeweled then having to deal with the awkwardness of ­having two turkeys at the table — the cooked one and her embarrassing son Prince Andrew.

This year our Queen can just slip into her comfies and sit with a bumper box of chocolate liqueurs watching herself giving the festive message and, later on, enjoying Call The Midwife.

Most of my friends and family will be having their quietest Christmas ever and not going out at all at New Year.

I know it’s tempting to celebrate the end of 2020 with a giant bash and quaffing large quantities of booze.

But again, it’s just not worth it. It would undo all the sacrifices people have made this year and would be horribly unfair on our hard-pushed frontline NHS staff.

They deserve a bit of respite and for us to show a bit of common sense.

So this year it will be me, my husband Steve, daughter Rosie and our border terrier Angus — and lots of teary phone calls home.

It’s going to be a very emotional time.

But we can do it for one year and think of the wonderful parties in 2021 when all of this is eventually over.

Joe's my Strictly winner

STOP what you are doing and get online for a big belly laugh.

The comedy genius Joe Tracini has been entertaining us through the summer with his fantastic “interpretive dances”, but he has surpassed himself.

Joe, who played Dennis Savage in Hollyoaks, has managed to get on the set of Strictly Come Dancing to do one of his show-stopping routines.

He even enlisted the help of host Tess Daly and the judges, with Craig Revel Horwood putting in a hilarious cameo and two of the professional dancers trying to pull off one of Joe’s iconic moves.

His hilarious routine is in danger of upstaging tonight’s semi-finals.

Obviously, I’m rooting for my friend Ranvir Singh, who has stunned us all by discovering her inner goddess even though she has never danced like this before.

But Bill Bailey, Maisie Smith, HRVY and Jamie Laing would all be worthy winners of the glitterball.

Although I do think they should make a special extra glittery ball for the utterly fabulous and twinkle-toed Joe Tracini.

Smiles better Vic

I DO wish Victoria Beckham would do more interviews, especially on TV.

She spoke to my friend, fashion expert Mark Heyes, this week and came across as funny, naughty and a right good laugh.

This is in total contrast to the unsmiling woman we see snapped by the paparazzi or launching her latest fashion show.

The love for her husband and children shone through, as well as her passion for fashion, and despite what she seems to think, Victoria has a really cute smile and should show it off more often.

After all, she has a hell of a lot to be happy about.

Corrie’s important watch

THE slow-burn domestic abuse story on Corrie ended on the soap’s 60th birthday with vile Geoff hurtling to his death after a last jibe at poor Yasmeen.

There have been harrowing scenes featuring Ian Bartholomew as Geoff, and Shelley King’s Yasmeen.

At times it was so overwhelming that poor Ian decided to get some support.

He told me that at the beginning of the pandemic he “unloaded” worries to a counsellor so he didn’t take evil Geoff home with him.

I thought it was brave of Ian to admit he needed a bit of help dealing with such a demanding role.

Ian is very proud of the fact the storyline has helped so many people suffering from mental and physical domestic abuse.

Sadly, we know the problem has worsened dramatically during the pandemic.

It’s even more important for those affected to seek help.

Ian, and Corrie’s writers and producers, worked closely with Women’s Aid to ensure the scripts were authentic.

And Ian has released a single to raise money for the charity.

The Corrie storyline was a tough watch but has raised awareness and may even have saved lives.

Geoff, meanwhile, will go down as one of the soap’s most evil villains.

Bye, I'll really miss EU

I’M distraught that we will most likely be crashing out of Europe.

The EU wasn’t perfect – far from it – but I always think it’s better to be at a rubbish party than to have your nose pressed against the window, denied entry.

We’ve all been so preoccupied with the small matter of a terrifying global pandemic to really think about what Brexit means and how it will impact on our lives.

Already we know supermarkets are stocking up with “long-life” produce and doctors are concerned about the supply of medicines.

Those truck-loads of vaccines arriving from Belgium sailed into the UK.

But what’s going to happen to them getting in and out in the New Year?

Small businesses already on their knees because of Covid restrictions could find themselves finished off by Brexit.

And what about travel to Europe? It’s going to be problematic, to say the least.

We could actually be denied entry into countries such as Spain, France and Germany from New Year’s Day onwards due to Covid restrictions on countries outside the EU.

Even if they do let us in, no longer will we sail through border control with our electronic passports but instead will have to wait in long, long queues with a booth manned by a bored official who keeps popping out for a fag every half hour.

Taking your pets abroad is now so complicated it would be easier to adopt a child than fill out the forms.

I could go on and on. At a time when we should all be pulling together – and the speedy discovery of a Covid vaccine shows just what can be achieved when we pool our resources – the UK is self-isolating . . .and not in a good way.

It is so unnecessary and terribly sad.

Farewell Babs

IT wasn’t unexpected but it was still so very hard to hear news of the death of Dame Barbara Windsor.

She lived with dementia with such dignity, campaigning to raise funds and awareness almost right up until the end.

That passion, the sheer big-heartedness and utter determination summed her up.

She was so kind to her fans, always stopping for a chat, a quick photo and a giggle.

Barbara was also a cracking actress, who could handle both comedy and drama with ease and aplomb.

My thoughts are with her devoted husband Scott, who loved her so much and will be shattered by her death.

We won’t see her like again.

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