Scenes from a Hospital Bed

10th February 2016

I’m writing this column from a hospital bed. Don’t worry, it’s nothing serious. Just a little bit of corrective surgery to my knee from an old football injury (serves you right for playing football into your late forties…says everyone…all the time).

The post-op tea and toast is wonderful. It’s just what the doctor ordered, quite literally. Of course, the bread is plastic, the butter comes in a little foil wrapper, the jam in a small plastic container and the biscuits in a sleeve of shrink wrap but when you’ve been under for a couple of hours, it feels like a feast.

So…the butter. It comes from a company with Lakeland in the title. That’s good, I thought, Something local. Yet when I checked on the wrapper, the head office was in County Cavan in Ireland. So, I thought, in mu post-op daze, when did Lakeland cover the counties of Donegal, Kerry and Cavan. Apparently never. Just because it says Lakeland on it, doesn’t mean it comes from Cumbria. A lesson to us all.

The jam comes from a family firm in Manchester. Now, of course, just because it’s from a family firm it doesn’t mean that it’s any better than any other company. It just means that the main shareholders are still the family who set the business up in the first place. I have no idea how they make their jams and marmalades. I’m just guessing that the family doesn’t all meet around the kitchen  on a Friday night to make jam.

The biscuits come from Crawfords and were manufactured in Ashby de la Zouch, where we once lived. They’re part of United Biscuits who, of course, own the Carlisle biscuit factory. Over 25% of our biscuits come from this one company. They’re huge.

So as I was sitting there recovering and tucking into my snack, I learned a few things. First of all, don’t assume that the name of a company means the same as you think it does, Secondly, a family firm doesn’t necessarily mean that it makes its products in the best way. Finally, most of the food we buy are made by a handful of companies.

And then I fell asleep…again.

< back to blog