The worst day of the year?

Is there any child, by which I really mean girl (in the privileged western world), who has not hated going into school on Valentine’s Day?

I dreaded it. Listening to all the smug girls with boyfriends, or the lying ones without, who were all inundated with cards. Or even just one card. Anything was better then admitting to none. Where were all my love-sick suitors?

Standard excuse: ‘The post hadn’t come before I left home.’ Thin though. Because all the smug types never forgot to ask on the day after. The late post excuse didn’t work on the next day.

Nor was it like Spain or Gibraltar when your street gets a delivery one day, and then you wait a day or two for the next. In fact domestic deliveries in our pueblo are relatively new. When we first arrived, the postie stood at the central crossroads in the village, halted all drivers as though he were on point duty, and pedestrians were accosted: ‘Roughseas! Ven aquí.’

It didn’t take long to learn to dutifully catch his eye, or slow down in the vehicle to ask if there was any mail, for us to deliver it home to ourselves.

But 40 years or more ago, the post was delivered unfailingly to little Roughseas’ house every day (except Sunday) by Alfie Apple (he had red cheeks) or Ronnie. They would hand the post over, giving us a summary of who the mail was from, and if there were any postcards, telling us how the sender was enjoying their holiday. As I grew older, I managed to find plenty of nude art postcards to send to my parents, knowing how embarrassed they would be.

But before that, the ghastly Valentine endurance test.

I can’t remember if I got one, two, or three cards in my school years. I was convinced at least one was from my grandmother who lived with us. I played it cool when I opened it. What mortified me was thinking she had bought it at the local paper shop. Everyone would know that no one fancied me, I was so undesirable that my grandmother had to buy me a card. Please earth. Open up and swallow me.

University was no better. I lived in hall of residence for two years. Did I get a load of cards shoved under my room door? Or even one? Or were there any in my slot in the post room?

Fast forward some years and I’m at Tullamarine airport, (Melbourne, Australia) with my rather new husband of slightly less than six months (our marriage, not his age). We had made the decision to leave home for selfish Roughseas to resume her career in the UK. I’d already turned down one decent job in Sydney to edit a magazine, thinking I could do better in the UK.

Out of nowhere, at the airport, Partner handed me an envelope, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day,’ he said cheerily.

Stunned comes nowhere near it. Not to mention the fact I’d never expected one (learned experience) so of course, I hadn’t bought one for him. And where on earth had he bought it? We’d been camping before we left and we spent all our time together. He’d had no chance to sneak off to a card shop. A quick scurry into an airport newsagency at Tullamarine maybe when he was going to the toilet and I was on rucksack guard duty? And asked to borrow a pen to write it? Whatever, it was nice.

Do we still give cards to each other? No. That stopped a long time ago. Whether or not couples consider themselves ‘romantic’ or not, we all show our appreciation in different ways. One woman at work always had a huge bunch of flowers from her husband delivered to the office. Me, I either took the day or half-day off. ‘I’m leaving at lunchtime,’ I told my secretary one year. ‘He’s picking me up with the dogs and we’re going to the beach because it’s Valentine’s Day.’ All three secretaries stopped typing, and just looked at me, speechless. And it was one of those days when I actually left on time, and not one, two, or three hours later.

But, it seems none of you like reading (about) romance. Which, so far on my poll, is lingering on the bottom shelf with one sad vote. Only under-voted by the category I described as ‘Boy’s Own’ eg Clive Cussler.

Nope, my blog readers are a highbrow lot, preferring (to date), classics, memoirs/bios, and humour/satire. More on this in another post.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

However, as my theme today is broadly romance (because I’ll be busy on Valentine’s Day) here are a couple of romance books.

Climax by Christina George

And … the publishing saga continues …

Our Heroine, Kate, from The Publisher and Shelf Life, is still vacillating between two men. Honestly sweetheart, either go for good sex or a good man. If you are lucky, go for both?

imageKate is now running her own successful publishing house, where, naturally she gets to choose good books, rather than commercial tat. She is of course, reunited with her irresistible lover Mac, the best editor ever in the publishing industry, who is now conveniently divorced, so the pair are engaged.

This third and final book in the series is more about personal relationships, even in the publishing part of the story. Kate signs a wonderful new author with a pen name, who is, surprise, surprise, only the younger sister of the other love interest in her life, the jilted fiancé, Nick. Not only is Nick’s sister an unknown, unpublished author, she was also unmentioned in books one and two, but clearly the introduction of a younger sister, returning from travelling, with a brilliant manuscript, is the sort of thing that happens when you want to fiddle with your plot and spice up your heroine’s sex love life once more in book three. Which is, of course, what happens.

In theory, Kate is all set to marry hot sex-on-legs Mac, but for some reason she hasn’t got round to it. Presumably she was waiting to bump into Nick again in the streets of New York (Nick lives in California), which of course she does, so that she can spend another book messing both men about in her usual indecisive way.

There seemed to be a slight shift in the portrayal of the two male characters or maybe that was just selfish Kate always wanting the greener grass on the other side of the road. Or maybe the author was influenced by the negative comments she got on the earlier books for writing about a single woman having sex with a married man, so needed to make him less attractive and change the dynamics. I can’t speak for other industries, but media people do shag around and have affairs. I doubt it is the only industry where this happens.

This book, like the others in the trilogy, got loads of good reviews. But it seemed an unnecessary third book. The second book in the series (Shelf Life) ended quite clearly, so this book basically had to undo the atmosphere and feelings of that book’s ending. It didn’t really work for me. I did find the snippet about considering book bloggers for publicity interesting though. And as with the first books, there are too many errors, including two glaring inconsistencies in plot between this book and the two previous ones.

Note to authors: Keep those dinky little cards with notes about your key characters and what they do throughout your series. Don’t have them doing one thing in one book and recall differently later.

Note to editors: When editing a series, either keep the same dinky little cards, or re-read the earlier books when editing later ones.

Verdict: It’s a good enough light read if you don’t mind errors. As the ‘climax’ to the series, I don’t think it quite came off.

For an interesting idea, read the author’s blog post about who to cast in the film.

Book provided by iRead Book Tours.

From one publishing story to another.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Reunion of the Heart by Elaine Jeremiah

imageIn this case, Our Heroine is an author. As with Kate in The Publisher, Anna is also caught between two men, and although confused, she isn’t exactly Ms Innocence. Having a boyfriend doesn’t seem to preclude a few kisses with her other suitor even when she’s already told her boyfriend she loves him.

This book opens with OH chucking out her partner of three years when she discovers he has been cheating, and then going to a school reunion, held some 15 years after she left. There, she is reconciled with a couple of girlfriends but also meets two former (male) bullies who made her school years hell by abusing her and shoving food in her face because she was fat.

In a throw-away line about half-way through the book, OH tells us she was suicidal and bulimic because of the bullying. I think the author could have made more of this.

And of course, one of her would-be boyfriends is no less than one of her teenage tormentors. With the wisdom of hindsight, her girlfriends, all now aged 31 like OH, assure her that said bully always really liked her anyway, he was just trying to gain her attention. Shame no-one worked that out at the time instead of waiting 15 years to tell OH.

Luckily OH’s new literary agent has the hots for her, so sensibly she mixes work and sex, a bit like OH in The Publicist having an affair with a work colleague.

There is less about the book world in this one and more about OH’s indecision and inner turmoil so it’s more of a pure romance story. I found Anna somewhat grating, or in her sister’s words, ‘Miss Goody Two Shoes’, although snogging someone else in Paris while her boyfriend is in the UK is hardly pristine behaviour. The sister was a good character though, as was Anna’s best friend. Both were straight-speaking yet supportive. The ideal friend/sister who is incredibly hard to find, yet the loveable (?) Anna is blessed with both.

It’s another typical easy-read romance with few errors, although the formatting was adrift. The author assured me it had been fixed. However, it would be really nice if authors could send the latest published version to reviewers.

Book provided by the author.

With which, I will endeavour to close the door on romance and in future try to review books that seem to be popular on my polls.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Except to say here is where my heart is …

Boys in love with their chews
Boys in love with their chews
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105 comments on “The worst day of the year?

  1. Agreed. It was the worst day of the year. Where I went to school students were allowed to send their sweethearts flowers. To school. On Valentines Day. After I got past the grammar school age of everyone exchanging cards with the entire class I got one Valentine. It was sent to me at school. A very large bouquet of red roses. I’m sure it was quite expensive, and it was very sweet, but the sender was someone with whom I did not share affection. I didn’t even know he liked me until he sent those flowers.

    What’s worse than not getting a Valentine? Getting one from someone you wished hadn’t sent it. That’s not to sound unappreciative in the least.

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    • Gosh I can’t believe the flowers in school thing! America seems to treat everything differently. Someone else mentions the whole class exchanging cards routine. Amazing.

      I suppose the difficulty is in dealing with it. A bit like turning someone down when they ask you out. How do you say, thanks but no thanks nicely?

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      • It really did get out of hand and it’s been banned at the school I went to simply for safety reasons. The going thing was either big bouquets of roses or Coke cans with balloons tied to the tab. The majority of the students were bussed to school, so eventually, long after I graduated, balloons were banned because the bus drivers couldn’t even see for all the balloons!

        Yes when I was in grammar school, up to probably grade 4, the entire class exchanged Valentine cards. They sold them in the shops in packages of 25 or 30 for that sole purpose. I think they still do.

        After I wrote that part about getting a bouquet from someone for whom I didn’t share an affection being worse than not getting anything, I realized it must have been far worse to be the person who sent the Valentine to someone who didn’t share the same affection. It’s such a grand gesture. A risk.

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        • I just can’t imagine that. Nothing like that would have been allowed at our school. Sounds like a hauling off to the headmistress’s study.

          Sounds like sending everyone a Christmas card. Even the ones you never spoke to and hated.

          Yeah. Hard to reject, but even harder to be rejected.

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      • And, yes, we do seem to do everything on a grand scale here. The motto of many is ‘go big or go home’. So many tend to think bigger is better. If a little is good a lot must be great!

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  2. My husband is the hopeless romantic and I am not. Makes for a half-hearted Valentine’s Day (egad, what a terrible pun. Sorry, Kate.) I despise romance novels as a rule, but a dear friend mentioned Georgette Heyer as a must-read. Ugh, I thought, I’m not doing it. But I did subsequently mention the name to another great reading friend who waxed so rhapsodic over Heyer that I decided to give her a go. Her novels are quite good and forced me to rethink, a bit, my distaste for the genre.

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    • I thought it was quite funny, but I have an unpredictable SoH.

      Hmm, Georgette Heyer. Can’t remember if I ever read one and didn’t like it, or just avoided it out of principle. Jean Plaidy was another one to avoid once read, soppy romance dressed up in old fashioned clothes and alleged historical fiction. It’s not my favourite style of fiction by a long chalk.

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  3. I loathed Valentine’s day with a passion. I still detest the hype. As does McOther. We make a point of NOT doing anything lovey dovey on Valentine’s day and do it at other times, when Hallmark is not demanding it of us and the prices in restaurants are cheaper.

    At school I was like you except the horror was slightly ameliorated by the pact my brother and I had to send each other cards. It was depressing for both to only get a card from a sibling but at least when we went into school we could pretend we didn’t know who it was from.

    Later, at Uni, McOther, while in the throes of persuading me to go out with him got a group of my friends together, cut out about 300 red paper hearts, wrote silly mottos on them and had people post them to me from all over the UK. They were still arriving weeks after the event. That was kind of cool and probably the only valentine’s day card(s) he ever sent me. I think I still have a lot of them somewhere.

    Cheers

    MTM

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    • I love the story of the red paper hearts! I suspect they were rather successful, if you are still referring to McOther in the present. Well done, I would say.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ;-) He was very obviously a potential life partner from about day two. Although it took him 8 years to get round to proposing. Caution is his middle name… actually it’s not but it could well be.

        Cheers

        MTM

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    • How utterly sensible. I think we have had one Valentine’s meal out in our whole life together (Kings Langley, Herts, posh Italian, quite nice actually). Last year, or the year before, he breezed in and said, ‘no cheap flowers, so you’re not getting any’. I don’t know why he said it as I don’t get them anyway. Maybe he meant, ‘if there had been any, I might have got you some’. Might, I add. Might. The irony is, when you’re in a relationship, the whole circus is irrelevant.

      Ah, a useful sibling. Still, as you say takes away the pain.

      Like Diana, I’m impressed with that. One smart move.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am somewhat romantic but H the opposite but both of us never read romances. Perhaps the closest was Anna Karina or the Dr Zhivago movie. Oh, there was ‘Tammie’ many years ago. As for Valentine, that’s an English speaking world event, again , never a card or a wretched lornful sigh.
    We always have flowers in the house and the smell of nice food. That’s as romantic it will ever get. And then there is Milo.
    Any book with even a hint of a swoon or lingering kiss, we both bolt.

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    • Romantic readers seem to be in a minority on this blog. Probably reflects more on me than them. I liked both the books, although less keen on the films. No idea about Tammie. Next you will be mentioning Love Story!

      We have a couple of cacti and there is usually a foody smell too. Delicious. And dogs make everything all right.

      Swoons and lingering kisses are all right in extreme moderation, hopefully offset by something rather more interesting.

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  5. The dogs are the real sweethearts.
    I always hated Valentines. Although I’d get a chance to be “artistic” sort-of in school with the annual projects. (red construction paper fades so it was difficult to find an intense red in the stack. I was probably the only on obsessive about it. And red fades all over you with glue no matter if construction paper or crepe paper…i was always a mess…”creative” covered/excused it.
    Always felt it was really a commercial deal.
    You getting surprised by a Valentine on the way to the UK sounds like a good movie plot. Made me smile. Real life is wonderful.
    (Celebrating is good, but we won’t be eating out on the 14th – too crowded, the food too poor in quality and service rushed. Too Hallmark mandated. Can’t go to the beach as Mardi Gras madness is down there. Molly is sure to have something in mind though…)

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    • Aren’t they always. Although not each others, well, depending on the time of day/months and how each is feeling. TM dog I.

      I remember how red paper was a nightmare to work with. Always bled. Didn’t exist in our schools. :) not red paper, Valentine’s Day. Somewhat awkward to abbreviate by initials to VD.

      I may write the follow-up part of that journey …

      Celebrating consists of waking up and saying, ‘happy valentines day’. Or Christmas/new year/birthday/anniversary. That’s good enough for me :)

      Liked by 1 person

      • We are the same way. Rather amused by all the hype. Valentines Day was always a kid’s holiday – and seasonal projects for unimaginative elementary school teachers. Maybe a dad would bring a mom a card – flowers and candy would have been rare in our neighborhood.
        People are so foolish. This whole Valentines thing here has been blown up by commercial interests, greeting card companies ( “cards for you dog, cat, and everyone in family – and you MUST buy one for all”), the flower industry, restaurants (bad service/bad food/crowds) and merchants. Now peopel are concerned/guilty over “those left out”. Really? Grow-up everyone. Read a post today with smilie feel good (for the person performing the “kindness”. Or is it a pity kindness) suggestions how we should all make sure Valentines Day is inclusive and “share the love”…so no one will be sad. Now I’m feeling like a grump. It’s a stupid commercial venture…sort of like the rest of our economy. Sigh. Try being nice and considerate all year long. That would be a step in the right direction.
        We finally have sun. Molly is already saying it’s hot. She’s miffed because the new puppy behind up won’t come close and sniff…her feeling are hurt so easily. Don’t know what real friendship and puppy love is all about. Paw waves and lovely breezes sent your way!

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        • Haha! Cards for dogs? Oh yes :)

          It was always adult, commercial, flowers, chocolates when I was young. Def not a kids holiday.

          Rainy days on and off here. Not today though. All tucked up now and off to sleep (the boys not me). Sleep tight Molly later on.

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          • See, now that’s different. Valentines was big in primary/elementary schools. We had to bring shoe boxes to make into Valentines Mailboxes. And there were big classroom parties where mom brought lots of sugary treats and we went home immediately afterwards. The Charlie Brown cartoon about Valentines was pretty realistic.
            Then there was a gap in secondary schools who did not have parties or encourage Valentine swaps.
            The romantic stuff was mainly young adults/college types in our neighborhood.

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  6. I don’t remember if we had Valentine in Italy, and I certainly did not care about it after we moved here.

    Plus, I went to an all boys high school. Nothing against that side of the fence, but the grass never looked greener to me, so no Valentine day cards.

    Not sure my wife and I did Valentine. We might have, but really, it would have been redundant (still is).

    As for romance . . . what do you mean I don’t like reading romance? Big romantic, I be. Love me stories with romance, I do.

    What I don’t like is romance stories aimed at a certain segment of the population (typically women, but not exclusively so) who likes reading highly idealized and overly-dramatic angst-riddled stories with guy who have longer hair than the heroines, who don’t own a decent shirt with buttons, and who apparently ride horses everywhere they go.

    Gimme a guy with a pair of Colts, a woman adept with knives, some conflict, swift justice, explosive retribution, and bad guys being sliced and diced, and I’m there in a heartbeat. I even don’t mind occasional kissing.

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    • I worked as an au pair outside Torino for a teenager called Valentina, does that count? Not that she needed looking after, or … maybe she did.

      Yeah, I think the stereotype stories are dire, unless you want something to send you to sleep. Incidentally the latest craze is billionaires. They don’t ride/shoot horses any more. Poor little innocent plucky spirited young thing now doesn’t just meet handsome rich man, she now meets absolutely stinking rich billionaire with a heart of gold. Cinderella is more plausible.

      I’m just editing a book about a kick-arse woman who throws knives and is a top assassin. She doesn’t even kiss anyone.

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  7. Some of my friends hate Valentine’s Day so much that they refer to it as “Singles’ Awareness Day.” Just a thought.

    And lovely tips on the cards thing. I’ve got a fancy spreadsheet doing the work of cards, but it really is useful to keep track of everything that’s going on. I shall definitely not delete the thing when the book is finished.

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    • I seem to remember similar sentiments on a radfem forum I used to frequent. I do think it’s quite discriminatory by its nature. You aren’t with someone, so therefore you are inferior – no one wants you. Nasty.

      I do a mix of written and computer work. When I’m editing (and reading) I tend to carry a lot in my head. But when writing or checking about characters or incidents, it may help some people to make notes of key facts. Inconsistencies may seem small but they really stand out as glaring errors.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Believe me things were just as bad at school for the boys, and where girls can be acerbic in their comments boys just get physical. But during marriage, romance lived, even if sometimes we needed reminding why, and never a year went by without a card. I’m a beggar for keeping the industry going.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

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  9. I think Christmas is much worse than Valentine’s Day, since it starts in late August hereabouts.
    I’m not really into romantic fiction, though a book I’m reading now seems to be sneaking into that category to the consternation of the lieges (mainly me0.

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    • On my first holiday to mainland spain (camping in Andalucía) I was amazed with the low key Christmas atmosphere. It was really nice. This was at least twenty years ago, but in my village it’s still low key. Starts in December but that’s because there are two Spanish bank hold on 6 & 8th.

      I think romance/sex in fiction is ok. When it becomes the non-existent plot, I’m not too keen.

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  10. I don’t think I have ever had a valentine’s card. I had an anonymous love letter once, but could not guess whom it was from. Then I found it was from a married client who had been on the sick, but found fit for work- before absolutely everyone was found fit for work. He sent a christmas card, signed it, and referred to the love letter in it.

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  11. I grew up in St Valentine’s home town, for he was Bishop of Interamna, now less romantically named Terni and no one ever noticed or cared until the modern business of hyping everything took hold and nowadays even they, the Communist city council, try to make something of it/him.
    I think the two dogs chewing together is a much more satisfying picture than the roses. The pictures should be swapped for greater prominence to true love- bones.

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    • Interamna sounds very unromantic! Sort of like Interregnum. As Gerard above commented, must be an English-speaking thing.

      Money to be made everywhere. Even by atheist communists.

      Love your last comment. So true. And perhaps the simple things in lif should be loved. Even if it’s just dog chews. I was trying to do OTT images though to make the point. Big red rose and hearts. I leave it to my readers for the subtleties.

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  12. Valentines day, what! it has not existed in my life for many years,, I see only shops making money and emotional blackmail.. I am a romantic type but I dont need one day a year to show it,,one specific day that is..
    I am afraid I am not romantic reader I don’t why just not.. I have however written a love/romance story a couple of years ago, based around my youth years in the New Forest, and the real things I and friends did, only change was I included a girl I the main character fell in love with.. sorry for the publicity.. strange how I can write this material but not read…you probably remember my Xmas story a little while back… I did not have valentines cards when at school either, it did make me laugh hearing all the excuses…we kids could afford a card. hehee!

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    • Your views about one day a year echo mine about mother’s day. I saw no reason to buy expensive cards and flowers when I bought things for her throughout the year. Load of old claptrap, all of it.

      So you are romantic, you write romance, but you don’t read it? 😀❤️

      It was dire at school, I tell you. Talk about wrecking any self-esteem.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I can’t recall when Valentine’s became an issue in my calender. In the countryside where I grew up, I don’t recall anyone mentioning it.
    I think it is only a few years ago when it became big business in Nairobi and the city gets painted red, literally.
    As for me, 13th Feb, appears twice on my calender so I never get to see Val’s

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    • It *shouldnt* be an issue in anyone’s calendar. Like a lot of things, if people want to mark it, why do it publicly, not privately? Surely it is between two people, and why need cards and double-priced flowers? I’m not sure if the spread is English speaking or Americanisation, I suspect it’s the latter. We will have a nice day, as we always do, but, no hearts and flowers for us.

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  14. Oh the agony of waiting for the postman! I received a card once, but I thought my father might have sent it. And if he hadn’t, then who had? That was VERY frustrating.

    I suspect I wasn’t the only girl at school who bought a card, scribbled a cryptic message in it, and proudly flashed it around the playground. :D

    Dogs – so much more reliable than men. They love you always and regardless.

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    • Ah yes. After my grandma, my other chief suspect was my father. Neither equalled Richard Eyre sadly.

      I don’t think I ever bought my own card though, but why not? Teaches you how to play life’s games. Whether or not that is a good thing is different.

      Dogs. Oh yes. As is said, unconditional love. Although little dog is a bit of a tease and flits between us deciding who to lie against.

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  15. Gorgeous doggies! Where I went to school, Valentine’s Day didn’t seem to exist. I don’t remember even thinking about it. We only started giving Valentine’s cards once we were married. I won’t let him buy me flowers for Valentine’s because the prices are a real rip off, but I always wear red on the day, and we usually go out for a meal.

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    • Give a dog a bone? At least they were distracted from disruption or havoc for a few minutes.

      Interesting it didn’t exist. Didn’t your parents do it? My dad would buy loads of flowers and hide them the night before so my mum could have them first thing. They weren’t too expensive back then.

      Flower prices now are terrible. I looked at a bouquet one year. Forty quid! But aren’t the meals expensive? If there is a set Val meal the price usually shoots up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No, I don’t remember my parents ever doing Valentines. :? We’re going out with a bunch of friends for valentine dinner this year, and i have no idea how much it will cost till we see the menu. Whatever! Previous years, we’ve often gone out for lunch instead of dinner.

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  16. I enjoyed two laugh-aloud moments in your post:
    the inclusion of the clarification “(our marriage, not his age),” and the mention of the nude art cards sent to your parents.

    I also enjoyed the story of the 300 red paper hearts in one of the comments.

    Valentines Day has not been my friend either – although I don’t remember anyone gloating about the cards they had received. Perhaps I was/am just oblivious, but if so I am grateful. I also don’t actually remember getting any valentines cards – ever – except from my mother (who, I should mention, has always enjoyed sending the cards to all her kids, and now all her grandkids – when she remembers).

    Your dogs are lovely – and a wonderful addition to your post.

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    • Thanks Diana. I realised when I had written the statement that it sounded like I had married a baby! As well as the nude art, very tasteful mind, I also wrote lots of double entendre :) totally knowing the postie would read the lot first. Such fun.

      Wasn’t MTs 300 hearts story fantastic? I loved that too.

      Interesting how many people didn’t get cards, or faked them, or got them from family. Makes you wonder who really does send them?

      I wanted a different take on the theme, and the dogs fitted the bill nicely. Plus, I have a few dog/animal people readers. I loved the comment that said they would be a better featured image!

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  17. Yes…I’m in college right now and I’l be dreading all the people walking around campus parading their partners and the gifts received…but I’ll try to enjoy friends’ company though!

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  18. I do admit that way, way back when I was in grades 3 and 4 (or so) it was fun. We were all far too innocent to see the romantic side of it and so, my class would prepare hand-made cut-out valentines which we would put in a box at the front of the room. My mom would but two large sheets of cut-out valentine cards and i would prepare one for everyone in my class. Give one; get one. I didn’t quite understand how it worked at the time but i do recall that both the giving and getting was a lot of fun.
    These days I find myself seeing it differently. Far too much nonsense pushed at me by the marketing departments of restaurants, hotels, jewelers, florists and just about every other retailer who really wants to put their hand in my pocket for whatever reason they can come up with.
    That said, I do expect my better half and i will likely go to a nice restaurant somewhere around that date. What the heck–we’ve been good and deserve a treat.
    In a different vein, these days I occupy myself overseeing the teaching and learning commons for the faculty of education at Memorial U here in St. John’s. Just for fun I decorate the place seasonally. I had fall decorations, added some stuff briefly around Halloween, put some poppies on the wall at Remembrance day, decorated for Christmas and now have some snowflakes on the walls and a few sleds throughout the room for winter.
    But NO–there will be no additions for valentines. The very thought makes me cringe :-)

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    • I’m amazed at this school Valentine thing. It just did not happen as part of the curriculum at my school. The only festive thing we ever did was stir the Christmas pudding.

      Jewellery is ok if there is a sale on and I am running out of earrings because I have lost one as usual. But that’s about taking advantage of the sale, not the concept. I asked Sylvia (another day in paradise) aren’t meals out on the 14th more expensive?

      I see you are doing really well at not working :D have I missed any posts from you? or maybe WP has unfollowed me from you. Seasonal decoration sounds good. Depending on what it is. Sort of like putting on an exhibition or display, I could quite enjoy that.

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      • Back when I went to grammar school we tended to decorate the classroom for various seasons. Not so much though, after, say grade 7. I guess it was not deemed cool. Later, when I became a high school teacher, I slowly came around to the idea of decorating my classroom(s). I found two very nice things: 1–when I took the time to decorate the spaces the students tended to take better care of them too and 2–I found that I always had many helping hands who were willing to stay through the lunch time or even after school and do the decorating with me. I’m finding the same even now–the students don’t mind helping out at all.
        Yes–restaurants do capitalize on Valentines by upping the prices significantly. Almost criminal!

        As for me, these past few weeks I have not bee writing. The time I would normally devote to it has been taken over with other things. For example I’ve been spending time with my daughter tutoring her on Chem and math. The chem in particular is brutal. It’s so-called grade 12 material but I distinctly recall having learned it myself at second year university. I’ve also been digitizing my old VHS-C tapes, many of which go all the way back to the early nineties. I figure I’d better do it now before they become brittle.

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        • Are our school ages the same? Our classrooms were only decorated up to about age 7. After that it was only subject specific. I do think the idea is good, but I don’t remember taking any interest in it. My nose was always stuck in a book.

          Oh well, when you reappear, I’ll look forward to my Newfie slice of life.

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  19. Valentine’s Day ranks right up there with the forced festivities of New Year’s Eve – neither of which I have ever enjoyed. I did however like the little Valentine’s cards in Elementary school, with the flimsy envelopes. But really it was a futile activity as everyone in class had to bring in Valentine cards for everyone else, so no one felt left out. Maybe Elementary School is the last true vestige of social etiquette and when Middle School hits, all bets are off. Hmm, I never really thought about that. But you are right, Valentine’s Day kind of stinks – and the chocolates in the heart boxes are usually quite awful.
    PS: The puppies are beautiful!!!!.

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    • Hi sparkyplants, tried to visit your blog but it’s private. Oh well. NYE can be tolerable, so long as you aren’t stuck waiting around for midnight. How time drags. Best to escape home, standard excuse, got to walk the dogs, be there when fireworks go off. Great dogs, great excuse.

      This card exchange at school is illuminating, must be a North American thing. Unless others have started doing it now? Don’t know. Never had chocs for Val Day. Just as well, as I am not a choccy person.

      The big puppy is about 14! Little one around 18 months so still puppyish. Or moving towards troublesome teens this year in person years. They say thanks, they both are naughty attention seekers.

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      • Hi roughseasinthemed, try SD Gates at wordpress, I had another blog (gardening) which is now defunct, deleted it.
        Dogs are good excuse for so many things, aren’t they the best? I have always had Great Danes which tend to be aloof at times, they spend a lot of time sleeping. But we also have a Golden Retriever who I have to say is the sweetest, most loyal dog I have ever had the honor of knowing. He likes to sit at my feet and hug them. Which is nice, but he is very fluffy and warm, and if you have to get up and do something, you feel bad for moving him. The things we do for dogs, but the things they do for us are so much better.

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        • As you know, I tracked you down :)

          We had a black Labrador and a setter/collie cross, often mistaken for a flat-coated one. Our little Podenco adores lying on us, and gets extremely cantankerous if we want to move. But he was thrown out at a few days old, so never knew a litter, we are his pack I supose.

          Liked by 1 person

  20. I can categorically claim to never having received or sent a Valentine’s card. The whole event is a florist, chocolate and card sellers marketing heaven. I have family members who delight in sending each other enormous padded cards with nauseating verses inside. Why? I just don’t get it. If I did receive anything so utterly tasteless it would go straight in the recycling.

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    • Well that’s clear then Jenny! I remember my mum and dad sending those expensive padded cards to each other. I thought they were the fashion at the time. Are they still in vogue? Of course, I’m curious now, do you send/give any cards?

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      • Yes, for birthdays. And Christmas, although I’m paring the list down gradually. I sound like a right old misery, don’t I, but if Husband wants to buy me a bunch of flowers I’d rather it was spontaneous than he be reminded by a marketing ploy. And red really isn’t my colour… :)

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        • I’m currently doing my best to keep Chrissy cards to a single pack size, ie half a doz. birthdays are all email greetings these days. Although I have been known to wake up and say happy birthday darling. Less effort than an email to him.

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  21. Very cute photo of your doggie pals.

    I did dimly dislike Valentine’s Day too as a child when I wondered how many Valentines I would get. I was happy just to get enough from my female classmates, never mind boys.

    As for high school and university, I never paid attention to Valentine’s Day. And long until I met my partner. We’re pretty simple: a dinner at home or somewhere.

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    • Got to be grounded in reality, animals do that for us.

      We so never did the Valentine’s to classmates thing, this is a real revelation to me reading how many North Americans did that.

      I think it’s easier when you leave the institutions behind. And when you have a partner, it takes on a whole different meaning anyway.

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  22. Valentines Day is all over the shop here, big enough you can’t miss it but not really an Aussie tradition… don’t remember it being a significant issue at school. But I really enjoyed your reminiscing and stories; and I empathize, the G.O. and I never seem to synchronize Valentines Day gestures, and I absolutely hate overpriced flowers. This year the promotional frenzy will be at a peak, as the day falls on a Saturday, so there’ll be not so much as a thought for us about going out for a dinner, although a stroll along King Street might be entertaining to see the Newtown flavour of it.

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    • I don’t remember how big it was in 1986, just that there were obviously cards somewhere in Melbourne!

      We dropped the separate gestures years ago and just decided what to do, like the afternoon on the beach. I hate overpriced flowers too. Same flowers, twice or ten times the price? I don’t think so.

      Oh well, take some pix ;)

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  23. I remember very, very little about Valentine’s Day in school or getting cards from anyone. When I was really little though, I used to love getting a box of candy from my dad. It was the only time he ever went out to buy me anything. My mom was usually the one to do it all. He didn’t even know what was in the boxes for a birthday or any other occasion. Anyway, I’m not a fan of this holiday. I’ve written my feelings about it before on my blog. It all seems so pretentious … forced. I prefer the little things my hubby does daily for me. Thanks for coming over to my blog and reading about the saga of the feet. :-P

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    • My parents did nothing for Valentine’s day for me, for which I’m pleased. Would have felt like a sympathy vote. Sounds like a whole different day in America.

      No idea what your link policy is so here’s my first post about the ankle. Shows why I couldn’t have the op for 12 days. My husband has done a hell of a lot for me every day since then. More than his fair share.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. I have never really cared for Valentine’s Day. I haven’t received a valentine since I was in Elementary school other than what my kids made for me when they were in school. I have to tell you sweet friend, your heart is in the right place and that is a super picture of sweet Pippa and sweet Snowy. Thanks, for your visits and comments on our blogs. Hugs and nose kisses

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    • I think it’s one of those strange situations, if you have someone it’s irrelevant, if you don’t, you are made to feel you are missing out. Who wins? Florists, chocolatiers and card retailers.

      Yeah, my boys are where the heart is. Poor abandoned things, both of them. Not as bad as Chancy though :(, although Pippa did have a chewed up ear and blood around his neck that took ages to disappear.

      I’ve always enjoyed your blogs, so I’ll pop by yours and Chancy’s when I can.

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  25. When I was a kid, our carrier was named Larry and you could smell his cigarette before you saw him. It was always dangling on his lower lip. I love that you sent your parents postcards with nudes.

    I don’t really have many bad memories related to Valentine’s Day. Not that I ever got any cards or anything. I hardly dated until I was in college. I just didn’t care in high school and I had a core group of friends who knew I didn’t care. They probably knew I was gay, but not ready to come out so they left the subject alone.

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    • I think everyone smoked when I was young, but I don’t remember the posties doing it on their rounds. They were often on bikes too, and cycling, breathing and smoking don’t mix too well.

      Hey they were arty postcards. Extremely tasteful. I’d spent a fair amount of time studying art and sculpture within my degree anyway.

      I don’t even remember gay/lesbians coming into conversation at my school. Just about every girl seemed desperate enough to get into bed with any boy that an alternative wasn’t even considered.

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  26. I was never a fan of Valentine’s Day – even as a youngster it seemed a bit contrived. And romantic love certainly wasn’t something I wanted any part of in grammar school. These days, my wife appreciates a nice card, but they aren’t easy to find. (It’s rather stunning how many supposedly personal cards have pop culture images such as “Duck Dynasty” on them. Nothing says love like bearded, dirty hunters, right?) And I always make it a point to take my girls, ages 11, 13, 13 and 14, a box of donuts on Valentine’s Day. Of course, I enjoy the donuts as much as they do, so it’s a “win-win,” as they say.

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  27. am finally beginning to visit blogs again. Valentine’s Day was a big event in elementary school, and almost everyone in the class gave cards to almost everyone else in the class for a number of years. i remember for one year, one of the art projects was to create a personalized Valentine’s mailbox out of a shoe carton, and then you were able to deliver Valentine’s cards to people that way.
     
    i had completely forgotten this, but you could buy some multi-paged booklet of big tear-out or cut-out cards with sappy/cute/witty sayings on them, and there were more than enough for your whole class. and the meaning of it? never did actually find out, but it was certainly nice to go home at the end of the day with a stack of cards.
     
    am not sure when that tradition ended, but probably with the end of elementary school, in grade 7.
     
    anyhow, i too enjoyed the story of the 300 red hearts shared by M T McGuire. How delightful is that!
     
    and your two pups – they are adorable. thanks for sharing, and Happy Belated Valentine’s Day :)

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    • Haha. I’m behind too. I’m amazed at all the Valentine’s Day cards that happened at school in North America. Just seems weird.

      But yes, the red hearts is such a winner. I think she can live on that story for many years. ❤️

      Any excuse to add the boys as I haven’t revived Pippadogblog yet. Bad me. So they need some exposure on here :)

      Like

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