The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

Love is……..a heart shaped potato wedge

on February 13, 2014

So it’s Saint Valentine’s Day. That one day of the year where red roses, chocolates and love hearts reign supreme and at a premium.

Yesterday I asked Husband what big, romantic plan did he have in store for me on Valentine’s Day. He replied with ‘I’m going out to get drunk’.

Valentine’s Day has come to mean different things to me over the years. As a young child and adolescent, there was the frisson of hope and anticipation over whether the school ‘postman’ would deliver a Valentine’s Day card to your desk from a Secret Admirer with the cryptic inscription of ‘Will you be my Valentine, love from ?’ Maybe your Secret Admirer wooed you with romantic poems. Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet and so are you. Perhaps the envelope was S.W.A.L.K.

How easy it can be to forget those days of innocence. Where Valentine’s Day was simple and not some expected grand gesture.

At what point did I become slightly jaded about the day. Perhaps when you become slightly jaded about many things like paying taxes and extortionate rent. When you feel coerced into something rather than acting on free will.

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I remember quite clearly being sixteen and a rather large gooseberry I now realise, with Big Brother Li and my now sister in law walking along Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, Hong Kong which looks across the harbour to Hong Kong island’s beautiful skyline. This is a prime spot for courting couples and naturally there are flower sellers peddling their wares. On spotting a young couple and gooseberry in tow, one such flower seller tried to persuade Big Brother Li to give his belle a single stem rose but he was having none of it. I was so mortified at what a tightwad he was and so embarrassed for my now sister in law and quite convinced that was to be the end of that budding romance. Big Brother Li is rather a stubborn one and quite forthright in his convictions and his refusal was because he quite simply didn’t want to be told when to be romantic. To mitigate his tightwadness, he did go to an actual florist the day after to buy a proper bouquet which is a huge deal for him and obviously worked.

I guess that’s what it comes down to. Love, spontaneous romance, acts of kindness to each other should happen at any time and it should have meaning to you and not to symbolise to the wider world that we are very much in love. Although I fully advocate effort to be made on Valentine’s Day in any new budding romance because it would be quite tragic not to have that before you stop finding each other’s farts endearing. But as relationships develop into years you need to count on more than one hand, there is something else you want to know. That you are both able to remind each other of that fresh excitement and rush of endorphins you once had when your relationship was new and unhindered by the hum drum daily grind of work, children, money and just stuff.

Yes, it is easy to mock the whole of Valentine’s Day being some commercial crap and therefore not to buy into it out of principle. Roses are so overrated and overpriced on this day when tomorrow you could buy double the quantity for the same price. Why stress out over booking Valentine’s Day dinner at the perfect restaurant when next weekend would still be ok. Why should romance be limited to one day out of 365 (or 366)?

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Mrs Calamari posted this photo of a heart shaped potato on Facebook a little while back and it reminded me of a painful Valentine’s Day incident some 10 or 11 years ago with a work colleague. I happened to walk past her desk and noticed one of those Sainsbury’s recipe cards. In my defence I can only claim to be possessed by the Anti-Cupid to have said out loud, ‘How sad.’ I’m not sure what exactly I was feeling sad about but I’m quite convinced it was the idea that there could be a recipe card explaining how to make Heart Shaped Potato Wedges and not that I thought she was sad for wanting to make Heart Shaped Potato Wedges.

Which obviously is how she took my meaning. Oh it was awful. The office was open plan, it was after lunch and everyone was back at their desks and I was left trying to dig myself out of a bottomless hole. The conversation that I hadn’t been privy to, just a mere five minutes earlier, was how this work colleague had excitedly been telling everyone that her and her boyfriend were not to be taken in by the commercial pressure of a fine meal out in some romantic restaurant so they were going to cook their first romantic Valentine’s Day meal at home together. Valentine’s Day principles I fully support! She was going to do the starter and pudding and her boyfriend the main course and she was very excited at having found some recipe cards in Sainsbury’s to give her just the ideas she needed. Until I came along with my ‘How sad’ which sent everything crashing down. Colleagues around us went silent. She screeched at me in a very vexed high pitch to explain exactly what did I mean by that. Oh, it’s still awful thinking about it now. She was very gracious when I did explain it was the idea of needing a recipe to make Heart Shaped Potato Wedges and not that to make them would be sad. But then that was rubbishing her culinary skills too. I should stop.

Romance and expressing your love and appreciation of someone is, of course, not limited to one day. But sometimes it can be a timely reminder that love and romance is very much alive and well in your relationship and even if you choose to do nothing special today, you may at least think of some romantic plan for another day. I may eschew any public display of Valentine’s Day affection but it is still a good reason to have a glass of red wine and steak and chips on a weekday. Husband has not gone out to get drunk as he declared but neither have we enjoyed a candlelit meal pour deux, lingering over wine and the warm glow of coupledom. Instead, we had #1 and 2 at the table stealing our chips and yabbering on about anything they can think of at high volume.

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Today, I was reminded that Valentine’s Day is still a simple affair. It’s just a day to let someone know you love them. #1 and 2 came back from school proffering homemade Valentine’s Day gifts for Husband and myself. Far be it for me to foist any ‘it’s a day of commercial crap’ onto them so young. I want them to grow up feeling free to express their feelings and I want them for as long as possible to enjoy the thrill that someone finds them interesting and will today pluck up the courage to let them know.

I hope someone broke off from the hum drum daily grind to let you know they love you. Better yet, I hope someone is still making Heart Shaped Potato Wedges for their someone special because it’s so easy to let go of these small acts of romantic gesture that can remind you of so much.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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One response to “Love is……..a heart shaped potato wedge

  1. […] ones. You must be rather proud of me too? I’m sure my former colleague who may still be doing heart shaped potato wedges for today’s dinner as a Valentine’s Day tradition most certainly would be. She was […]

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