This will be the first year in many that I have not been knee deep in in twice daily panto by now. I decided to take a year out so I could find out what a family Christmas is like on the days before and after the big day itself. I may end up regretting that new-found ability; time alone will tell.

One benefit, I blithely thought, would be the opportunity to get my Christmas cards written earlier than is usually the case, when I end up frenziedly scribbling between shows in a dressing room somewhere.

I would have them all done in November, I resolved, stamped and ready to pop in the letter box around about now with a relaxed and slightly smug smile upon my face. Then November came and went with complete disdain for the plans of mice and men and I’ve just got round to that annual task, which always makes me feel slightly guilty for a variety of reasons. The trees tumbling so that I can send a picture that someone else will only glance at for three seconds. The people whom I haven’t contacted since last year when we each promised that this year we would meet up, we really would… (at least that’s their bad as well as mine.). My inability to remember all the names of the recipients or their children.

But I have done the cards now and then I encountered the biggest hurdle of all. I took the envelopes with the names on the front and went to look up the addresses.

I changed computers this year. When I reluctantly got rid of my lovely old XP computer I copied all the data to a separate hard disk to install on my new computer. But the program that contained all my street addresses is incompatible with anything I can get now. I rarely use snail mail any more for letter writing, so have only just discovered that years of building an address book on Lotus Organizer has been useless, as the data won’t transfer to Outlook, Google Mail or any other similar program I can find. Don’t you just love technology?

So I would like to take this opportunity to ask you, dear reader, to think of this as my Christmas card to you this year. I hope you have a delightful time. Jingle Bells.

We really must meet up next year!