But I’m hooked now. Tier Points are my drug of choice, and I would have to spend at least three months in Air Miles Rehab to wean me off the scheme. My only hope is that Sir Richard Branson might read this and, for the sake of my health, give me a Lifetime Gold Membership as a result of the acres of free publicity I continue to give him and his airline.

She bore her illness with the same fortitude and resilience as she did everything. Despite being a conductor, she was a very private person and, unless pushed, would not outwardly want to delve too deeply. ‘Ah, well, there we are then,’ she would say, when I went into major self-analysis mode. But she did think deeply and she was always intuitive, understanding and sympathetic to me. I hope I was to her, too.

WHAAAAAAAT? Pass the Parcel is fixed? Why had it taken me over 40 years to work this out? Was that the real reason I never got the prize when I was growing up? Because, having won everything else (Musical Chairs? My arse could hit a seat at 50mph), I was prevented from winning yet another game and outdoing the Also Rans?

Having decided, some weeks previous, to audition for The Voice USA and encouraged by my friend Ruth on an apartment-hunting trip to LA, I’d filled in the form late at night. Ruth assured me that she’d be my friend in the wings, telling the viewing audience about my tough life and how many obstacles I had overcome on my “journey”. We rehearsed it quite a few times. Alcohol had been consumed.

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