It’s been a month of great ups and downs. This Sunday, it will be four weeks since the death of my step-dad, Roger. A year ago he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s – I remember getting the call while looking out over the skyline of Edinburgh, standing in my rented flat where I was up doing a show for two weeks and realising the devastating effect this curious and incurable disease was going to have on him and all of us.

Then a month later, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It was terminal and the prognosis was he would most likely have two to three months to live without treatment. He chose to have chemotherapy to prolong his life a little longer, and we all got to spend a wonderful Christmas together last year that will live long in the memory.

He lived a very happy life in the Peak District, was hugely popular in the village he had lived in all his life, and he was also part of a close-knit farming community. As a result, the church was packed for the funeral, with over 300 people in attendance, fifty of those standing outside, straining to hear and the rest crammed into the aisles and even the choir stalls. I doubt I could find fifty people to come to my funeral, so it was a very moving sight. He leaves behind two sons, four grandchildren, and two step daughters. We will all miss him.

As for the ups? I spent two days this month in a spa at Champneys, Henlow Grange, thanks to my marketing manager, Dawn Louise-Kerr, who decided this was an essential filming location for filming (with Eugenia of Ufocus Production) twelve tips from my forthcoming book, The Exceptional MC. It was hard work I tell you, to have to get in the jacuzzi at the end of each filming day. Some behind the scenes footage below! I was pretty frazzled by the end, so we made a silly song, which is going to be my new channel video for YouTube – it’s in Hot off the Press.

I promised you last month we would be plunged into darkness and sure enough we have, in more ways than one, what with a general election and the clocks going back, so I hope you find a bit of light in this newsletter.

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