Saturday, 16 February 2013

14 February

Every year I look at the blokes poring over saccharine verses in card shops, embarrassedly carrying bouquets on buses and trains and handing over large sums of cash for chocolates, cakes, champagne, roses, candlelit dinners.........And I wonder how they all have been so taken in. What tyranny of advertising, media hype and sentiment is it that drives people to subscribe to an invention designed only to part us from our money and if we don't, to feel guilt.
Then - most years - something catches my eye; a pink pig one year, a heart shaped egg poacher another, and I buy it on impulse to give to my love. Ha. We have always agreed that Valentine's Day is a pointless con to which we won't subscribe, which is also why you will never see me lunching in a restaurant on Mother's Day.
I never receive a Valentine card or gift and have never felt I was missing out especially as I receive bouquets and blooms all year round. But this year while I wasn't tempted by any cutesy pinky piggy frippery, I received a Valentine card. Life and relationships are just like that aren't they. Later that day, having quite forgotten what day it was, I spotted the loveliest little Cinderella carriage being drawn by white plumed horses through Covent Garden. Funny time for a wedding I thought and peeking inside saw the glummest young couple imaginable. Maybe she had been expecting something from Tiffany.
As children we were told that the feast of St Valentine was to celebrate the day that the birds begin to find their mates, heralding the start of spring. I still subscribe to that belief and this year like every other I remember, was struck that precisely on the day of St Valentine, not a day earlier or later, the light changed. The winter shadow had gone and despite the bitter cold, you could just make out the tantalising scent of early spring.

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