Now that the Christmas tree has been relegated to the back patio, the New Year’s resolution (not to get p*ssed and pass out) has been broken (instantly), and I’ve removed the pine needles from my bra, lo and behold – it’s time for Valentine’s Day and Easter.
While sitting at my laptop this week, I received press releases urging readers to “give your sweetheart a liquid treat for Valentine’s Day” (the mind boggles) and similar. Meanwhile, Mini Eggs are on prominent display in my local Coop. The shelves may have been denuded of vegetables, bread and milk thanks to people panic-buying over an inch of snow here in Poohaven yesterday, but we can feast ourselves on a Cadburys Egg , Mini or Creme variety (nasty but nice), so that’s fine.
I really do despair - despite my media training which dictates that magazine features are produced months ahead, necessitating these early announcements of what we need for summer during winter. Thanks to media and retail requirements, we can’t even catch our breath, dispense with the ‘Big Freeze’ and take stock of the ‘tennies’ before being propelled full speed ahead into February (Valentine’s Day) and Easter (April).
I loathe Valentine’s Day. Give me Santa and baubles any day of the week compared to this poor excuse for florists to make a fortune while sickly couples paw at each other in restaurants during their consumption of treble-priced menus. Can’t we at least complete the January sales before being reminded of this dubious ‘occasion’ when we’re expected to pin our hearts on our sleeves?
In contrast, the Spanish had their ‘Three Kings’ celebration on January 6: a fiesta concluding the Christmas period when, traditionally, boiled sweets are thrown from floats to passing children. In Blighty, we’ve completely forgotten about Christmas by January 6 and are more likely to throw the Mini Eggs or a Valentine’s bouquet.
On the other hand, I’ve just seen a TV advert from PC World which says a certain gadget is “perfect for Dad watching the Christmas movie”. PC Woe is a tad behind on withdrawing this ad – unless they mean “perfect for Christmas 2010” which, methinks, is quite possible these days.
At the same time last year, I contributed towards a (yet unpublished) book called ‘The Akenside Syndrome’, which examined ex-Geordies’ tendency to be footloose and unsettled. Well, that’s me all over but it’s hardly surprising to feel that way when you consider the ‘churn’ here in Blighty: I don’t especially want to be rooted to it anyway. There’s never time to let the dust settle. If you do let it settle, it’s the wrong type of dust – snow to be precise – and too much of it has settled, so now Blighty is at a standstill. Ah well, the endless TV reports about ‘The Big Freeze’ give people something to focus on, other than the old stalwarts of The Downturn and The Pork Flu. We should all be grateful, I suppose. Apart from the people stuck at Gatwick Airport who are trying to escape Blighty but are, instead, sleeping on cardboard boxes with space blankets for cover and wondering why there are only two snow ploughs. Happy Valentine’s Day to you too!