So it’s Valentine’s Day again. That time of year when half the nation takes leave of their senses and feels compelled to send bouquets, chocolates and human-sized teddy bears to work colleagues, classmates and random strangers. There are countless suggestions for the origins of this odd annual outburst of pent-up romantic feeling: pagan fertility rites, medieval courting rituals and celebration days for martyred saints, to name just a few. My own personal favourite tells of a physician named Valentine who concocted his own medicines from honey, wine, herbs and spices – an early home economist, perhaps.
Of course, all of these theories mean not a jot because Valentine’s Day actually involves the owners of flower and card shops rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of last minute lovers running around like headless chickens, frantically looking for any gift, no matter how tacky, to give to their significant other. The country’s tills ring in unison – Kerching!
Okay, I’m beginning to sound a pinch cynical. Do forgive me, as I’m actually a big softie at heart, but you should know that my Valentine’s Day so far has been pretty tedious. After arising at pain o’clock (5am to be exact) this morning, I drove all the way to Shrewsbury for an afternoon of yet more gratuitous self-promotion, then drove all the way back again. Who says romance is dead?
But I should not be too disheartened. Yesterday, I checked my email to discover that some kind soul had left a Tesco value Valentine’s card in my inbox. I hear that you can buy them in store for three pence. At least somebody loves me – even if they are a cheapskate.