I’ve spent most of my life alone as a writer, which has undoubtedly diminished my gang potential. But I get on really, really well with gangs when I get the chance. I think you’d be hard pushed to find any TV crew who would say I was anything less than a joy to work with – and I them. I love the camaraderie, the bonding, the endless laughter. I’ve yet to do a shoot on which we were not all in tears at the end.

Now, I have discovered, on a forthcoming flight, I have been moved from seat 6A in the middle of the plane to 10A, right next to the bar and the toilet, because the aircraft has been changed. Listen. I know that in the grand scale of things, these are not major life problems. But I spend a lot of money with the airline and, after my sixth unanswered e-mail addressed to Customer Service about many other matters, am mightily fed up with the time and energy I constantly have to waste trying to get even a modicum of service at ground level.

At my maternal grandparents’ pub, there were many rules, but my grandfather introduced an air of unpredictability to the place. He was a born entertainer. A natural musician, he played the mouth organ and the banjo for customers, while my grandmother, between trips to the kitchen, looked on admiringly.

Mitya and I got on very well from the start; so much so, that he invited me back to talk more about TV – which would, of course, involve more drinking. We both enjoyed red wine, lots of it, and Mitya had the cash to pay a couple of hundred euros a bottle for it. Who was I to turn it down? I returned for another three weeks when, between bottles, Mitya tried to make sense of what was, to him, the nonsensical workings of British TV; but there was excitement in the air, as one of the ex-talent show producers was due to start work on a new “secret” show, and talk of other ideas was filling people with optimism. Or would have done, had Mitya known the first thing about TV

Mahoney brought immense poignancy to the role. In one episode, Frasier and Niles turn against Marty, believing that he once had an affair. It transpires that it was their mother who had been unfaithful, but out of respect for her, Marty had not wanted to taint the boys’ memory of her. Protecting his sons from harsh realities that might hurt them – the role of a fine father – is another aspect of this rich character.

Last night, she took a severe turn for the worse. She was struggling badly with her breathing and spent most of the night in the corner of the room, scratching the carpet. She is in great distress, panting non-stop, and I know what I have to do. 100%. Mum has trusted me to make the right decision. I’m spending a few hours with Maddie this afternoon before her visit to the vet at 6pm. I have no idea how to say goodbye.

This will go down as the year in which I discovered the extent of friendship. During my most difficult times, Facebook has been a godsend. I have been overwhelmed, moved beyond belief and genuinely surprised by people’s kindness: old and new friends, complete strangers, all expressing genuine concern and, regularly, offering practical help and support.

But here’s the thing: I really, really enjoyed it. I spend my life in front of a TV or computer screen and don’t get to talk to that many people during my working day. It was great to meet so many different folk and to see them having fun on what proved to be a very successful night. I’ve never been called “love” so many times in one day, and I enjoyed that, too (but don’t try it when I’m on the other side of the bar or you’ll get a smack in the gob).