We don’t celebrate Valentine's Day. Over the years past loves have amorously pursued me with carnations, inappropriate jewellery, even more inappropriate underwear and once randomly, a teapot.
So when the Husband and I got together I made it clear there was to be no fuss. Well minimal fuss. Just a tasteful, cool card with similar messaging inside. And a big big bunch of blooms. Preferably a hand tied bouquet that you have to wrap both arms around. The sort that you wouldn’t even attempt to get on the tube with and head straight for a fast black instead, if you could get an arm free to hail it of course. This year with no money the Husband ditched the flowers and grabbed a last minute hotel deal instead - not on actual Valentines night because when you have a B&B they are prime dates so you have to pretend. Hello very special (where we got married) south west hotel. Hang the consequences we thought, we need a mini break away from our mini break. We embarked on the sort of pre-planning military organisation that is also needed around our flood torn villages and towns right now. We shipped in my parents who would be marvellous in a national crisis as Dad turns up everywhere with his cordless drill packed in the boot alongside Mother’s Pie. The pie varies between shepherds, fish, blackberry & apple and her version of moussaka which doesn’t include aubergine because it doesn’t agree with her. Which is pretty much meat and potato pie. Once she made a cherry pie but we have never had it since. We know we have left the kids, the house and the B&B in great hands. Albeit the sort of hands that can’t work the Sky box, the hob or the child car seats. Curly Child barely looked up from his grandparents' ipad to wave us off. Funny thing is, the hotel turns out to be Not Quite What It Was. It is knee deep in amazing reviews, some of them written by us over past years. But it feels like it has sat back, put its feet up and lit a cigar. No need to try so hard and the first evidence of this is a flippant phone call as we are on our way to say the swimming pool is off limits. Emergency roof repairs apparently and before I have finished my sentence about that actually being an important part of our stay she signs off with an imperceptibly ironic ‘thanks for being so understanding’. And from there we and it slide gently downhill. From not very chilled white wine to an overpacked bar full of non-residents with no space for the residents who are paying to sit in it. Disappointing supper, slow service, nothing to bill-haggle over but obvious enough after the brilliance of past years. Maybe it’s just me. Expectations high. Needing the cosseting of a scrumptious hotel after the slog of setting up our tiny B&B. Seeing the excitement on our guests faces as they arrive and the appreciation as they leave and wanting just occasionally for it to be me arriving somewhere to be greeted with a pile of still warm scones. Maybe. Now next Valentine's Day I want no fuss.