Valentine’s day is like chocolate or wine. When you know you can’t quite reach it you want it more. During my secondary school years, my school, which was an all-girls school (state school before any of you make any assumptions) would partner in a money-making enterprise with the nearby boy’s school. We could buy roses that would be sent to the person of our choice at the other school. And even though we were starting to understand the concept of gender equality we also loved tradition. There was no way that us girls were going to send anything to a boy. They would have to do all of the work and put their hands in their not very deep pockets and make the first move. So, every year my friends and I would see that the rose deliverers would be walking our way. We would be trying so desperately hard not to look up. Not to look at all bothered but inside screaming at the top of our voices “bring that rose to me, surely that rose is for me, and the other 10 that are also in the basket. I know they are all for me, thank you so much.” And then trying even harder not to look crestfallen when the basket of roses is carried straight past us to the group of cool girls sat at the back of the classroom. Of the 7 years I was at the school I only ever once got a rose. I have a sneaking suspicion it was a joke from a friend of my twin brother but even so I carried that rose home with pride on the bus. No-one else needed to know that it was a joke. I wore that smug look well.
Later in my 20s or 30s at the times when I was single, every year this day would pester my mind until I could think of nothing else. All of those ‘smug marrieds’ and ‘young love couples’ enjoying a romantic day or evening together. How dare they. Now that I have managed to get out of single life and in to ‘smug marrieds’ the notion of Valentine’s day could not be further from my mind. Are J and me going to do anything to celebrate this highly marketed and commercialised event? Of course not. I have informed J on many an occasion that I would rather get a present on any other day of the year than the 14th of February. Obviously, what I meant, and he was supposed to understand, is that I would rather get a present on EVERY day of the year except the 14th February. And of course, what I also mean is that if he were to walk in the door after work on this very day with a lovely bunch of flowers and some chocolates and the offer to make me a three-course dinner, that would of course be entirely acceptable.
And to the other big love for many people at this time of year and the 6 Nations. England men are actually doing rather well this year which has come as quite a surprise to me; and also, slightly disappointing because I can’t rant about them. England women are also doing pretty well, the French women last weekend deciding that they would like to copy their male compatriots and not turn up. Well they did turn up but they left their rugby brains and skill in ‘Europe’. Brexit is already disrupting the good game.
Cricket has also hit the headlines this week because Joe Root, England captain, told a member of the West Indies opposition not to use the term ‘gay’ during his sledging. Because being gay is not an insult. Quite right too but now, Root has been hailed as some kind of hero. What he said is a normal response, it is not heroic. What a quite frankly ridiculous word to use. But he is a public figure and even more amazingly he is not gay and still said this so he got even more brownie points. What? Having the human ability to defend others. Well done, truly amazing. Please read this with the note of sarcasm of which I have written it.
Jake Humphry, former children’s TV presenter turned sports presenter has also defended a whole raft of people even though he is not one of them. He stated the obvious, that being female is not a qualification. I wish it was though. One more qualification in the bag. Jake said this because many football supporters were moaning that female footballers were commentating and working as pundits on male football. What will happen next? Male pundits and commentators who have not played at the highest level will commentate on the men’s game, or that members of the public who are not and never will be sports commentators or pundits will make comments on sports commentators or pundits or journalists who have never played sport to a high level will write articles that these same men will pay money for to read every week. Imagine that.
Jeff the Fern is now definitely a bathroom plant. I think he may have even grown slightly since he has been relocated to his new tropical home. He will stay there and enjoy the sights and sounds of his new environment. Lucky him. Me trying to shave my legs with my growing bump is not a pleasant sight. J may have to take over leg shaving responsibilities soon. To his credit he does already clip and paint my toenails and is really rather good at it. Well done husband.
Baby Bear is now moving a lot more so I think I am definitely pregnant; after 26 weeks I think it can now be confirmed. But even bigger news is that 7 days ago I became an Auntie for the first time. My twin brother and his wife have just had their first baby. He is the most adorable, cute little thing. Tiny but perfectly formed. No auntie bias here but just complete fact. He watched his first game of rugby on TV at 4 days old. I think he was asleep for most of it but I am sure that something got through. The future is bright.