WE are all struggling through this pandemic the best way we can.
We’ve been scared, frustrated, upset, weary and bored at times by the whole damned mess. Politicians have repeatedly let us down, their lack of clarity is baffling and there still appears to be no coherent plan.
I’ve watched as people cared for the sick and mourned their dead, and at times, like many of you, I’ve been overwhelmed by dread.
Then I look at my friend and colleague Kate Garraway, who has had to bear the burden of her husband Derek being ambushed by Covid-19 in April.
Kate has been extraordinary, which is why I am furious with those who have criticised her for returning to work, when they have absolutely no idea of what she has been going through.
She has decided to step back from GMB for a while to concentrate on Derek and their children and those who have criticised her should be ashamed of themselves for making things even more difficult for the whole family.
Derek may now be free of the virus but the after-effects have been catastrophic.
The poor man has been in an induced coma, and although now more aware of his surroundings, he is still extremely ill.
Kate’s mantra “where there is life, there’s hope”, has kept her going, and I reckon on some level Derek is aware of how much she and their children, Darcy, 14, and 11-year-old Billy are willing him to make a recovery.
Kate has been astonishingly brave and positive throughout this whole ordeal, although she was tearful this week when talking about Derek’s recent birthday. His family sang Happy Birthday to him via Facebook, which must have been bittersweet for all of them.
She has had to maintain a brave face for her children and give them some sort of stability for the past five months.
To try to further give their lives a bit more normality, Kate went back to work last month.
In fact, she was actively encouraged to do so by doctors who felt it was essential for her wellbeing, and frankly, she has to make a living because she has two children to take care of.
I know coming back to presenting duties on Good Morning Britain wasn’t easy for Kate, and there have been a few wobbles when she has given updates on how Derek is doing, but all of us are so proud of the way she has coped.
That’s why the nasty, malicious carping from moronic trolls is so upsetting. How dare they have a go at Kate for hosting the show and having the “audacity” to smile and laugh at funny items with her co-hosts. It’s sickening, and no matter how much anyone tries to ignore such malevolent cretins, Kate will have been deeply hurt.
I had a horrible feeling this might happen, but thankfully the vast majority of viewers wish her nothing but the best, and would be overjoyed to see Derek on the road to recovery.
All of us admire Kate’s courage and honesty and know that even in the darkest of times, it’s vital to hang on to positivity and yes, to even have a giggle at something silly or absurd.
Watching their mum back on TV gave much needed routine and stability to Darcy and Billy, especially seeing her smile and having fun.
They knew it didn’t mean she is not worried sick about their dad, but were well aware he would want her to continue working and providing for the family.
As a journalist, Kate has amassed so much knowledge about Covid-19 and she has also been tested to her very limits.
Typically, she wants to pass on that knowledge to help others and is planning to write a book about her experiences and what she has learned during this tough time.
It was always her plan to do a self-help book and she had begun it before the pandemic, but now her wise words will be even more relevant and helpful than ever.
I can’t wait for the day when Derek is back home, growing stronger every day and the whole family is finally reunited, and I hope she is back at work with us very soon.
Happy Birthday Madonna – 62 years old, mad as a box of frogs but looking utterly radiant surrounded by her children at a party in Jamaica.
She can be infuriating and even downright bonkers (that crazy Covid-19 video in the flower stream bubble bath was a nonsensical low point) but there’s no one quite like her.
She’s a trailblazer, was always a staunch ally for the LGBT community before it was trendy and has always paddled her own canoe.
Long may Her Madge continue to reign, especially as right now we need some light relief wherever we can get it.
I’M not in the least bit surprised that “dad bods” have become so popular among women of all ages.
These are the bodies belonging to men who proudly show off rather cute little pot bellies and love handles.
Becoming softer round the edges usually happens to blokes after the birth of a couple of kids, when they start to comfort eat due to lack of sleep and stop being obsessed with going to the gym.
These boys trade top-of-the-range bikes and tight Lyrca cycling gear for comfy joggers while pushing a pram, and are all the better for it.
Having a dad bod is also seen as a sign of confidence, being happy in your own skin and showing that you enjoy life and that having a weekend pizza and a couple of beers is more than OK.
I reckon there’s nothing more off-putting than a man with a ripped six-pack who is no stranger to the mirror and exists on steroids and just steamed vegetables.
They are usually dull, self-obsessed and not in the least bit alluring.
Dad bods are far less intimidating and much more fun to cuddle.
Like a lot of men, famous stars including Leonardo DiCaprio and Zac Efron have developed the Dad Bod during lockdown and have been roundly showing off their new physiques.
I think they are far more sexy and desirable than when their cheekbones could cut through a home-made loaf.
You have to get the balance right, though.
When it tips over into a very large balcony hanging over “the nursery” then that’s no longer a Dad Bod but just a big old beer gut and it shows a man who has simply given up and is on a fast track to obesity and a heart attack.
BRITNEY Spears is a grown-up woman with two teenage sons, a hugely successful music career and an adoring fan base. But the 38-year-old has less freedom than an impoverished girl in a Jane Austen novel.
Since her much-publicised meltdown in 2007 – when she went into a beauty salon and shaved her head, looking like a little lost deer caught in the headlights – Britney has had very little control over her life.
Her father Jamie has legal “conservatorship” over his daughter, basically deciding where and how she lives her life and conducts her career.
He also keeps hold of the purse strings.
Last year he stepped away from the role, citing health problems of his own . . . and Britney doesn’t want him back.
Thirteen years ago she was clearly suffering with mental health issues and needed her father’s help.
But now Britney understandably wants control of her own destiny.
This week she decided to fight back and took to the courts to have her human rights and civil liberties restored.
But her bid was unsuccessful and she will need to wait until February 2021 before taking further action.
She is a fragile woman and obviously needs support. But looking at it from the outside, the kind of control her father exerts over Britney’s life seems way too much.
Surely some kind of compromise can be reached, with the situation regularly revised to ensure Britney isn’t left feeling trapped like a songbird in a very gilded cage.
I SIMPLY cannot begin to imagine the pain actor John Michie and his family are going through right now.
This week, the man who supplied the drugs that killed John’s daughter in 2017 had his manslaughter conviction quashed.
Louella Fletcher-Michie had gone to a music festival with her boyfriend, Ceon Broughton, who gave her the hallucinogenic 2C-P drug and filmed her tripping for hours. Belatedly realising she was in real trouble and crying for her mum, he phoned her family. They rushed to the scene but were too late to save her. Crucially, he did not at any point take her to a medical tent or seek expert help.
This week a High Court judge decided that even if he had called for paramedics, it was not clear Louella would have survived – so Broughton’s appeal against his sentence of eight and a half years was upheld. Broughton has to live with his actions but not from behind bars.
Meanwhile, John and his family – who have maintained a dignified silence through the most recent twist of the knife in their tragedy – continue to mourn their lost Louella.
For them, it is a life sentence of heartbreak and pain.
JUST when you thought reality telly’s Below Deck couldn’t get any better, they go and set a whole series in Tahiti.
There are all the usual shenanigans. Entitled and demanding guests, the crew squabbling one minute and at it like rabbits the next and Captain Lee sailing above it all while coming out with hilarious one liners like: “I’m madder than a p***ed-on chicken”, which I plan to use as often as possible in my daily life.
Meanwhile, all the action takes place amid the amazing sunrises and stunning sunsets of the South Pacific.
It’s no exaggeration to say that this utterly ludicrous, vacuous and extremely daft series has kept me sane during these scary times.
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