The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

February 14th – Valentine’s Day

loveFebruary 14th. It’s a big day as it celebrates love.

Traditionally it was the day when your special partner andor secret admirers espoused love and beyond. Now it has blossomed to include every sort of love. Perhaps the Min Pins are now carefully positioning their muddy paw prints on cards as my fingers fly across the keyboard.

At my grim boarding school there were really pretty girls that used to receive several cards on Valentine’s day. I can still hear their shrieks now as they ripped open the envelopes and honed into the messages.

My mum always sent me a card. With curly wurly writing so that I might not recognise who had sent it. Of course I saw through that but I was so grateful to walk up to the ‘post monitor’ and receive my card.

Opened alone and so appreciated. I even carefully glued them into my one day a day diary.

With Danny, those early days were such a time of hope and joy. We exchanged cards, a bit embarrassed, like teenagers. Most of these were eventually framed and added to The Love Gallery. These small framed tokens used to give me so much pleasure when I passed them on the way to the bathroom.

Over the past few years Valentine’s Day became a time of stress. I’m sure for both of us. I do remember several supermarket Valentine Meals ending up in the bin a couple of weeks after the event. We’d lost that innocent appreciative mojo.

A friend once said years ago,
“You are one of the last of the old romantics.”
I was surprised – thought most people were like me.

This year, dazzled by the hoards of signs reminding me that Valentine’s Day was approaching, I reckoned that it might be a bit of a struggle for a newby singleton.

Last week a bulky card arrived from America. Intrigued, I carefully opened the envelope.

I pulled out the longest Valentine’s card that I’d ever received. It was ‘signed’ in absentia by a few blog readers and CSH forumites.

I flopped down onto my old fur lined chair at the kitchen table and wept with a strange mixture of despair and delight. I’d been dreading Valentine’s Day but suddenly I felt cherished.

Thank you Michelle and Dan from Oregon and everyone who connived with this glorious plot. You have made this Valentine’s Day so special for me.

I need to go out and find a page a day dairy now that’s big enough to cosset this card. That drive into town will be a pleasure and I’m sure that I’ll smile all the way there.

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  1. Dementia is so scary and difficult. My friend’s father is going through the same and she says he is like a different person now. I imagine it must be hard sometimes to separate the person who you used to know and love from the disease when they are currently inhabiting the same body. Wishing you strength for these tough times…

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Dear Jon

    Thank you for your messages. Each one was truly appreciated and this may amaze you but they were read and reread. It has taken me ages to come out of my shell and face the world. I have always been a slow developer.

    For months I could only get up, eat and do my work. I know that you warned me about retreating from life. But I just didn’t have the heart to do anything else. Now I’m feeling a bit more focused.

    I’m OK but this has been a hell of a year. Despite the split with Danny, my Mum aged 94 has been very needy all through this year and has finally moved into the deluxe home of her choice.

    We thought that everything would settle down with her move but she had developed early dementia and now is wreaking havoc. She instructed my sister and I to sell her house and now believes that we are selling it for less than she paid for it 34 years ago. She believes that we want to snatch her cash. All that we want to do is generate enough money to pay for her care.

    Even though she has lost her marbles it’s very upsetting hearing her slagging me off every time that I visit.

    All my energy has to be concentrated on her at the moment.

    I miss the blog and would like to return but my hands are also full with the toy business which has taken up most of my waking hours this year.

    There is a large mortgage on the cottage that has to be paid at the mo.

    Thanks for all your support and I’ll be back as soon as I get the chance!

    With all best wishes


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