The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Valentine’s Day – a celebration of love

Photo: And so they lived happily ever after

Photo: And so they lived happily ever after

I’m a huge romantic.

I love this card that Danny sent me when we first met. He had no idea that it was designed and made by someone that I knew years before. It always gives me a small jolt when I look at it. The fairytale words “So they lived happily ever after” are so innocent, pure and hugely optimistic. I treasure this little picture.

At boarding school I envied the girls who received lots of Valentine’s cards from real boys. There were shrieks.
“Ohhhh. I think it’s from Henry!”
“Where was it sent from?”
“Taunton. But he could have sent it to someone to post it to me. Who’s yours from. Why you’ve got three!”

I got one card every year. Although my mum tried to disguise her writing with swooping twirls and whirls, I knew that it was from her. The postmark was Torbay, where we lived. I could even visualise the post box at the end of our road where the card was posted. But this didn’t matter, I’d got a card.

We don’t post our cards to each other. There’s never enough time. But with a little scheming they do magically appear on the doormat along with the rest of the post.

Usually, I rush into Waitrose the day before as they have a good range of cards. This afternoon, they had pushed the boat out with cards, books and foodie treats. Then I spotted a large group around an arrangement of food. A large sign announced “ Waitrose Valentine’s dinner for two £10.00” – this included a starter, main course and side dish and a pud. As the kitchen is still in an unbelievable state (this decorator is in) an easy special meal tempted me along with the rest of the group.

Our meal would normally have cost £16.00. The range of dishes to choose from was excellent. They also had a deluxe brunch offer for a fiver. Rejected as we have saved Carol’s eggs (priceless and now three) for Valentine’s brunch.

Waitrose also has offers on wine and champagne. Some of the latter were standing clothed in zipped chillers, looking like rotund surfers in wet suits cautiously lined up for their first plunge.

Tesco is doing a rival promotion. A Finest main meal for two, with side dish, pud and a bottle of wine for £9.00. All over Newmarket, people will be indulging in these discount meals tomorrow night.

Listening to Any Questions on BBC radio 4 tonight, someone mentioned that you can now buy Valentine’s cards for any loved one from your spouse, partner, your parents to even your cat. I hope that the Min Pins are not hoping for cards in the post tomorrow morning. The commercialisation of this day is horrifying on the one hand but on the other it’s good that this festival is now moving towards a celebration of love, rather than just lovers and romantic love. Everyone could always do with a little more love.

  Leave a reply


  1. We went for the Waitrose offer – I bought parma ham, steak, green veg and cheese for pud. We’ll actually be having nuts/nibbles as a starter, steak, homemade chunky oven chips, the green veg and I’m going to try my hand at making a lemon brulee. We’ll have the cheese and ham for dinner one night during the week so the £10.00 really will turn out to be good value.

    Hope you’re feeling 100% better.

    …and, sorry can’t shut up… tomorrow, finally, the slow cooker will be christened. I’m going to make Lamb Shanks Tagine.

  2. Toffeeapple

    How sweet to have a little something to treasure. I managed to get myself a complete un-romantic! He has, in 16 years, bought me one bouquet and that at the insistence of the wife of his business partner.

  3. We no longer “do” Valentines day. Boring arent we.

    Anyways, I am going private on my blog if you wish to read it, please email me at

    scatty78 (at) googlemail (dot) com

    have a great day

  4. kate (uk)

    We’re having stchristvalentinemasday today as my niece and family had a dead car so couldn’t make it for christmas so they are with me (shortly) today instead..turkey and trimmings for lunch, heart shaped cakes for tea….

  5. Haha, I receive a card from the cats every year. It’s kinda sweet. Not only Valentines Day but Mothers Day too.

    We were going to try out Marks and Spencers version of the offer but it was so mobbed when we got there. I just high tailed it out of there.

    Hope you have a wonderful day!

    Katie xox

  6. I had a tear in my eye at the beginning of this post, a smile on my face half-way through (you bargain spotter, you) and a sigh at the end. Yes, a little more love in this world, wouldn’t go amiss. Happy Valentine’s, Fiona.

  7. Oh goodness, my daughters have made cards for all the ponies, and the goats. The goats will at least appreciate the flavour, I suppose! And we buy chocolate and make cards for the children. I usually abhor the commercialisation of what the Americans call ‘holidays’, but I make an exception for Valentines. I don’t want my 12 year old to be waiting for ‘Henry’ ! I’m happy she made, and received, cards for her sister, her dad and me!

  8. I have just left my Hubbies card in the kitchen for him to spot when he comes out of the bath!
    He will leave mine somewhere too for me to find. This is how it is every year but this year seems a little more special as he has been having a really tough time at work for the last 3 months, money is really tight and we have been under a lot of stress but, we have supported each other 100%.
    All this has made me realise just what’s important in our lives and its us!

    Enjoy each other, eat some good food (try one of Fiona’s recipes!)and relax.
    Happy valentines every one x x x

  9. Steelkitten

    Hubby always gets a card from the cats, and this year he’s had a little something from the chickens and the hedgehogs too. Just to say a little thank you for looking after them and worrying about them all year!

    Their pressies are always handmade (and frequently edible), as are mine to him because I too think Valentine’s Day has become over commercialised.

  10. michelle sheets

    I thought you’d like this after the “Catholic cat rescue” post.
    I was looking for a valentine’s card for my husband Dan, and after flipping through quite a few, I came across a humorous one that ended with “I’m so happy you’re my guy” but what I thought I read was “I’m so happy you’re not gay”.
    The really funny thing was I showed it to the sales gal in the card shop, and she had to read it twice, because thats what she thought she saw too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,237,279 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2012 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder