The sweet smell of revenge

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Indy Lifestyle Online
If there are fifty ways to leave your lover, florist Susan Rinberg has come up with method number fifty one. It only took one episode of the Adams Family and a touch of black humour to provide inspiration for a cottage industry. Floral Revenge was born, a flower arranging and delivery service - for people you hate.

We send flowers to mark just about every occasion from birth through to death, so why not when we split up? Susan's macabre flower arrangements, featuring near black roses and tulips, or fearsome black widow irises, are specially designed with divorces and relationship break-ups in mind. The bouquets are often tastefully arranged, with headless thorny stems to make as sharp and poignant a parting gift as is possible, on this side of the law anyway.

"People are often rendered a bit inarticulate at times of break-up," says Susan. "Some send them as an aggressive thing, others as a way of saying sorry it's over. A revenge bouquet conveys hurt feelings far more succinctly than those endless lists of "you did this, you did that", all of which have doubtless been run through countless times before."

Feedback suggests that, at the very least, the Revenge bouquet makes the sender - frequently a wife dumped for another woman - feel empowered. Call it a temporary feel- good factor. According to Susan one or two notorious divorce solicitors have started recommending her service as a way of cheering up their clients. At pounds 18.00, The Last Bloom, a single "black" rose in a satin-lined box makes an affordably powerful statement. But if the bust- up is particularly messy the Classical Decree 13 (pounds 48.50) is a suitably expensive end to what is probably an expensive divorce.

For maximum impact Susan recommends that the flowers are delivered in as public a manner as possible. For acute embarrassment, for example follow the lead of many a wronged wife and send the flowers to the offending recipient's place of work. This is particularly popular as a means of exposing illicit office romances.

And if the prospect of writing an attached card simply proves too much, Rinberg's order form contains a quotation list for those who are temporarily lost for words. Choose profound, if not exactly original, pearls of wisdom from Nancy Astor: "I married beneath me, all women do", to William Shakespeare's "Parting is such sweet sorrow". Both guaranteed to have your ex retching over his computer.

Although a recent divorcee herself, Rinberg hasn't resorted to sending such a bouquet to her own ex-husband: "He hasn't got any sense of humour," she says, "and anyway he got the leaflets printed up so it wouldn't have quite the same impact!"

The unusual nature of her work means that Susan often gets to hear the whole story, and consequently she's taken her role as half florist, half counsellor to heart: as far as the salacious details of individual cases are concerned, her lips are firmly sealed.

One word of advice, though. Make a note of the phone number - you never know when you might need it.

Floral Revenge, O181 445 7041