I’ve been to the hospital quite a lot recently. Not for myself, but for a relative and staying there for a long loooonnng time. To the extent that I could find myself going above and beyond 12 hours without anything to scoff. I doubt very much if I’ll waste away but hunger does have the effect of making you start to crave certain things.

As soon as a friend mentioned in jest, I should take a jam sandwich up with me, I started fantasising about this very same thing. A comforting sandwich of yore, like the brown sauce sandwich or, for some – there is nothing finer than the salad cream sarnie. Then I received from a group of kind mates the most beautiful hamper from Betty’s to ‘keep up my strength’ and I made straight for the strawberry conserve.

I can’t tell you the last time I had a jam sandwich, but it tasted like food of the gods. It did make me wonder why the M & S shop in the hospital didn’t sell them. I bet a few people would prefer it to the arty-farty bries and other elaborate concoctions. Sometimes plain is all you need. Paddington had it right with his marmalade sandwiches – put together in a trice and just the thing in a crisis. Everyone should always carry some bread and conserve it if they think it’s going to be an age before they eat again.

Talking of the hospital, I forgot my phone one day. No problem, I’ll just use the payphone to ring the Other Half. Both of them broken. And some town planner really needs to do something about the traffic heading up Gawber Road and turning left into the car park because this week the road was as congested as I have ever seen it, gridlocked because of the amount of cars sitting waiting for a space and no one able to pass them because of the traffic coming up the other side.

Barnsley hospital was built at a time when the population was much less than it is now and it’s obviously struggling to keep up. I don’t know what the answer is, but if we have all that money around to spend on the town centre, some of it needs to be diverted to the dire situation of Gawber Road.

Blimey we are in December already are we? The year is romping isn’t it. Well the years actually because it is FOUR years since the Barnsley Book Vault opened on Market Street just before the pandemic and yet it survived and flourished. So a date for your diaries – on Saturday 16th , there will be a full day’s celebrations in the shop including visits by local authors and giveaways and all sorts going on.

Ronnie Steele’s new book is flying off the shelves faster than they can stock it and a signed book is always a nice pressy. I’ll be there in the morning to help with preorders of my new one out in Feb and signing some of my backlist, but if anyone wants a specific title could I ask that they contact the Book Vault beforehand so they can order it in. Should be a wonderful day, something nice to celebrate. A success story of a little shop that hasn’t had a council bunce to stay on its feet but is doing okay anyway.

What on earth were Barnsley FC thinking fielding an ineligible player and getting chucked out of the FA cup for it? A beyond costly mistake – apparently an ‘admin error’. Yes and the cheque’s in the post, the moon is made of cheese and I’m Angelina Jolie!