The New Normal

Happy day of the scentless supermarket roses

If you must celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, then you could give your beloved a book instead of a bouquet. It’s a token of esteem that will last longer than three days at least, writes Christine Manby

Sunday 13 February 2022 21:30
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Happy Valentine’s Day. Or as we say in my house, “Happy Day of the Scentless Supermarket Roses”. Is there anything that sums up the relentless commercialism of a modern Valentine’s Day more succinctly than supermarket roses, with all the delicious perfume that makes the rose the queen of flowers bred right out of them? The only thing in their favour is that they’ll be bin-ready by the 16th.

But there’s nothing new in complaining about the pink-tinged hell that is the day of the patron saint of courtly love, so rather than continue to moan about the quality of the blooms that typically crowd my doorstep at this time of year, I’ve decided to look for other ways to celebrate 14 February. It isn’t just for lovers, you know. Saint Valentine is also patron saint of bee-keeping, fainting and the plague (though I imagine we’re none of us too excited about celebrating the plague right now. Or fainting, for that matter).

Lucky Americans can swerve the heart-shaped nonsense and celebrate their National Cream-Filled Chocolate Day. In my opinion this would be an excellent day for us Brits to adopt. Perhaps the prime minister would like to mandate it as a proper national holiday to boost his ratings in the polls. We could make it an annual tradition to give Lindor truffles – or any other cream-filled chocolate so long as it’s a proper mouthful – to our nearest and dearest. Just one truffle per person should be presented with a solemn bow. It must be eaten in one go. While your friend/lover/neighbour has their mouth full, you are allowed to tell them what you love about them or, alternatively, what you really think of their leather trousers/seedy moustache/planning application for a roof terrace. They are not allowed to answer back while they’re still eating. What do you think? It could catch on.

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