As my memory of jungle deprivations, excitements and trials fades, I am now in the throes of panto twice daily down in wintry Bournemouth. Christmas is everywhere to be seen and heard and this year I am, I have to confess, woefully unprepared.

I suppose five weeks on the other side of the world followed by an immediate immersion into the fantasy world of Sleeping Beauty with Su Pollard twice daily, six days a week, does not leave a lot of time for a measured and careful preparation for the Yule jollifications.

I am afraid, for instance, that the sending of Christmas cards has been a total failure this year. Every year I promise myself to organise my address book and grapple with the (I am told) simple notion of printing labels up to ease the whole process. I also intend to have them all done and ready to send by the end of November. Dream on!

But I also struggle with the whole idea of sending out hundreds of cards that are barely scrutinised before being jettisoned – and hopefully recycled – a couple of weeks later. Yes, there are people with whom one has little or no contact between each year’s end, despite the hastily scrawled ‘Must see you in 2013’ messages, but whom one wishes to reassure that they are still in our thoughts. But, on the other hand, however much I appreciate the thought of those who send me a card, I genuinely do not notice if people don’t send me one.

Anyway I shall be emailing felicitations to many this year and hope they will understand the lack of investment in card and stamp.

And, of course, with two shows on both Christmas Eve and Boxing day, I shall be savouring that one precious day when we sit down as a family and celebrate together in the way that has evolved over the decades and which my daughters regard as sacrosanct and immutable. And it will be doubly delightful for me this year after I have confirmed for myself during my bush-tucker trip just how important my family is to me. I knew already, of course, but somehow that time to think in a jungle clearing reinforced my certainty about what really matters.

So, I hope you all have your best possible Christmas too and can share it with those who you care about and I thank you for dipping, even occasionally, into my inconsequential ramblings.