Well ... that was January. Glad that's done now.
Everyone's been stuck at home again on yet another lockdown. That's a) good, because I get lots of company and walks but also b) bad, because everyone seems a bit cranky and down in the dumps. Plus it's bloomin' cold out.
Yet there was lots of good stuff too. It was nice to see that Joe Biden chap take over from the orange man, and immediately start talking about climate change and people being kind to each other once again. I liked that. And then, there was Bridgerton. My humans were amongst the 82 million people who enjoyed the sights and sounds of period Bath on Netflix - I wonder how many millions of dogs also tagged along for the televisual ride.
We remain stuck indoors, but it's not all doom and gloom. Life's better when everyone's happy, so each month I take a look on the bright side, sniff out the positives and yap about things that make me smile. I hope they cheer you up too.
Here's January's #YappyNews - your monthly round-up of inspiring, happy and heartwarming news stories from around the world ...
#1: SURPRISE PIZZA DONATION FOR NHS NURSES
The coronavirus era will be defined by random acts of kindness, goodwill and generosity.
This was exemplified by a simple gesture in January which left an NHS nurse "lost for words" after a group of sixth form pupils pooled their money together to buy pizza to surprise and encourage staff at the Royal Stoke University Hospital.
Critical care nurse Tina Waltho, who tweeted the photo, said: "At a time when healthcare staff feel so low and deflated, responses like this remind us that we are supported. The nurse who had been in charge on the day shift was in tears. She had barely eaten all day and was a little emotional."
The post was retweeted thousands of times, with many others lavishing praise and expressing thanks for the NHS during this crisis - showing, yet again, how appreciative so many of us are for the sacrifices that our critical care workers are making to win the battle against COVID-19.
Read the full story here: BBC News, 14 January 2021
#2: BOOK SALES SOAR DURING PANDEMIC
It's official: books are back in fashion.
With so much more time on our hands and so few other entertainment options and distractions available to us, Brits have fallen back in love with literature, with more than 200m print books sold in the UK in 2020. This is the highest volume in eight years, and is doubly impressive given how many bookshops were closed during last year's lockdowns.
Neilsen estimates that last year's book sales were worth £1.76bn, up 5.5% on 2019. Perhaps unsurprisingly, and rather wonderfully, Charlie Mackesy’s uplifting The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse was the biggest seller of all, a book that captured the nation's heart and brought us all together at a time when we all felt very far apart.
Waterstones' Kate Skipper commented: “So many people have turned to books for sustenance, information and joy through this difficult year."
Read the full story here: The Guardian, 25 January 2021
#3: bernie sanders memes raise millions for charity
I like US Senator Bernie Sanders' style. He dresses sensibly and appropriately for the weather. Good on him, I say. And I'm seemingly not the only one who agrees.
Senator Sanders’ wonderful mittens ended up being one of the most iconic moments from President Biden's history-making inaugration, and quickly turned into thousands of memes being created worldwide. Literally, he was everywhere.
Making the most of the unexpected spotlight, and turning a potential negative into a huge positive, the Senator capitalised on the opportunity to be a force for good, and added a new line of tongue-in-cheek merchandise on his website, with sales benefiting Vermont charities including Meals on Wheels and senior citizen advocacy groups. Selling out in less than 30 minutes, it's been reported that it raised around $1.8 million in the span of just five days.
So, on reflection, it proved to be a very good outfit choice indeed.
Read the full story here: Good News Network, 28 January 2021
See? There's plenty of good news still out there, if you look for it. I'll be keeping my flappy ears peeled and will remain close to the ground in my hunt for more #YappyNews to make you smile. If you spot a good one, throw me a bone: I'm @YappyAlfie!