CAN you believe we are in February already?

If you are feeling a bit glum may I recommend buying a hyacinth from your local supermarket where they are as cheap as chips (mind you chips aren’t cheap these days are they? You either buy fish and chips or pay the month’s mortgage!). Anyway, they won’t break the bank and they’re scented with spring and will cheer you up. Or a bunch of daffs.

There’s something about spring flowers that just lift the spirits. February for me is full of promise and good things (if you can call leaving your 50s behind a good thing).

My new book will be out on February 15 and I’m just giving you the heads up that if you order it from our local Book Vault on Market Street, you’ll get a goody bag with it from me full of lovely things because it’s nice for me to treat local people and support a Barnsley shop who supports me, and so many other local authors too. And they will post out my book, as they will any book you buy from there, if you have difficulty getting there in person.

I hope that we never lose these sorts of bookshops where the people running them are passionate about the books they sell, more than about the profit they make.

The lead up to a book release always makes me think of the wonderful Jill Craven who was the best librarian any library, anywhere ever had – and also a wonderful PR woman.

She would frogmarch people over to the book section where my novels were and ‘force’ them to borrow.

My launches are poorer for not having her there on cutting-cake duty. I am indebted to so many wonderful people in my town for the leg up. Please don’t ever desert me.

Mums, don’t miss giving your kids the MMR vaccine.

When mine were little, there was a lot of scaremongering about some serious complications the vaccine could bring with it and it was worrying, but the consequences of not letting our kids have the jab was far, far worse.

As it turns out, there was a lot of rubbish said which didn’t help the medics who knew that if our kids weren’t inoculated and did catch measles, there was a chance they would be very, very poorly, even possibly die.

Measles is a nasty ailment and if kids don’t have the vaccine, it can lead to numbers of cases swelling because it is highly contagious. It is terrifying it is on the rise.

Please, mums, protect your children, let them have the jab.

What a bittersweet story on the front of the Chron last week featuring the best of people and the worst.

Frank Goldthorpe from Thurnscoe, who is in his 70s, was walking his old Jack Russell when she was bitten by a dog off its lead and killed. So another prat who can’t control his animal causing devastation and will probably get off with a slap on the wrist.

I’ll say it again, it could so easily have been a child, but bad enough it happens to a much beloved pet.

The police were on the ball and caught the animal and the community put their arms around Frank and found him another little soul to try and help heal his broken heart.

I’m so glad for Frank, it can’t replace his old dog of course and he shouldn’t have had to. When is this dog problem going to stop because what they’ve got in place at present clearly isn’t working.