I will be raising a glass to everyone, before my dog Benji knocks it out of my hand

So this is Christmas. The bauble covered, brightly-lit full stop we have at the end of each year doesnt seem like the old familiar friend it always has been.
Tier 3 and tier 4 have plunged plans into the sea. For the first time since I moved to my neighbourhood seven years ago, there will be no gallivanting from house to house, scoffing my neighbours mince pies and quaffing prosecco wondering for the fifth time that evening flitting into a warm home with twinkling lights and a pretty table laden with party food “how come this house is so much tidier than mine?” ( I have only recently worked out that most people tidy up and push a hoover about before they have visitors. Everyone seems to have been in on this but me.)
For all the awfulness of this year, as its christmas, Im going to crank up the glitter and sprinkle some light on the positives. First up, television. Its good isnt it? I never had time to watch it before but now that Im not skipping about the country doing gigs, Ive been like a woman from the middle-ages brought into the future and made to watch Brooklyn 99.
Ive been raving to bewildered friends: “Have you seen programmes? Arent they great!”. My children are 7 and 13. Age appropriate viewing went out of the window when the three of us cocooned ourselves in lockdown and gulped down series after series of comedies and dramas we would never have found time for in the old world.
Speaking of the children, I was very proud of how I handled homeschooling mine; in short, I didnt. I tried it, couldnt manage it, and so left it. People said things like “oh youre homeschooling?” like there would be any schools in the first place if parents could work and get have a clue how to plan lessons and get their children to take them seriously as an educator. 
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Although gigs disappeared for me, I was still finishing my novel in lockdown and doing other bits of work, as well as maniacally (and inexplicably) returfing my garden. There was no way I could have schooled them at home even if I did have the patience.
I was horrific at “home education”. I got one of my daughters maths questions wrong (she is seven. Please would you appreciate how hard this is to admit), I got stressed and  the whole time wanted to scream “how will we survive!??”. Which is not the calm environment needed for scholarly practice. (Have I even spelled practise correctly? I have no idea.  How can anyone imagine its a good idea to put me in charge of their learning.)
All I was good for was reading with, singing with, dancing with and doing roly polys with the dog and Im not sure if those things will be enough to get them into a Russell Group university. I gave up on the whole thing on day three and left my daughter to BBC Bitesize and my son to his schools online programme.
Teachers dont pull it out of a hat, Ive always respected teachers but now I am in awe. Those who can, teach and those who cant, do roly polys.
“Pivot” is the business-speak word for “your career as you know it has disappeared so youd better do something else quick before you lose your house” I pivoted by doing online talks for corporate companies. Its something I enjoy and will continue to do. The only problem was the publicity for it.
The most recent photo of had of myself was for my comedy show Skittish Warrior. It was a picture of me in a suit of armour holding a guinea pig. Its the sort of picture which makes sense pasted on a wall at the Edinburgh festival, not so much when promoting a talk about diversity. Not much is making sense at the moment though so me and the guinea pig seem to be getting away with it.
I got a second dog in lockdown, a Romanian rescue dog called Benji. My dogs have played a big part in keeping my spirits up this year and not sinking into hopelessness. Its hard to let your mind get too gloomy when you have a dog bouncing around your home which has spent its life living on the streets and rooting through bins.
The mess and destruction Benji has brought into our home has been a tonic. Every day we learn of new things that trigger him, a leaf falling off a tree, the fluffy lining of my winter coat, the smell of sealant, all set him off into a wild volley of barks which take an hour to calm. Theres little time for pandemic stress when you are mopping poop off the floor for the fifteenth time that morning.
This Christmas we should take a moment to look at the ways we have found to cope and be proud. I will be raising a glass to that, before Benji knocks it out of my hand and pees on the sofa.