“LOVE is a many splendored thing” warbled legendary troubadour Nat King Cole many years ago. He was right, of course, and it is also a splendid thing, but it is not always a sparkly or shiny thing bursting with fireworks, especially after it has had a year or two to calm down and draw breath.
Susie Fowler-Watt encapsulates a mature love rather beautifully in her column this month (I’m sure Alex was consulted prepublication) and she is right about so much.
This month Valentine’s Day will offer lovers the opportunity to shower one another with heartshaped ephemera and gushy cards and hand over many, many pounds for unseasonal flowers.
It will also mean that is it impossible to get a table for several days around the 14th; I could easily be convinced that Valentine was not a martyred Roman priest but was, in fact, a canny restaurateur looking to boost those quiet February bookings. (This has precedent, of a sort; the ploughman’s lunch is not the centuries-old fare of horny-handed sons of the soil as you might imagine but was invented in the 60s by the Milk Marketing Board, looking to up Cheddar sales.)
Fortunately for me, Mrs Castle is too much the skinflint to embrace the gooey excesses of Valentine’s Day; she would be aghast if I presented her with a three-foot high Teddy bearing the legend ‘Mr Snuggles luvs oo’ or some similar horror. A suggestion to dine out on the 14th would also be met with pursed lips and a crisp remark about the place being rammed to the gunnels.
She is not a total skinflint, however, when it comes to marking the onward journey of our relationship. This autumn marks the 30th anniversary of our nuptials and I suspect a failure to celebrate this properly will result in a chill wind cool enough to reverse the effects of global warming.
Indeed we were watching the recent TV programme which featured the Crown Jewels in startling close-up. “Something to think about in September,” said herself.
But for this month we will, like Susie and Alex, let Valentine’s Day slip by largely unremarked. We are not just being curmudgeonly, though and will certainly pay a visit in due course to some of the romantic spots around Norfolk featured in this issue, probably for a nice walk on Holkham Beach.
If nothing else it will get the old step count up on our Fitbits (other wearable fitness trackers are available, but they’re probably not as good). We are not early adopters of new technology, but we catch up in our own time, as befits Norfolk residents.
These Fitbits (unimaginatively known as Fatbits in our house) have introduced a competitive element to our lives. It is not about the number of steps walked daily – 9,226 at time of writing, if you’re asking – but more about the quality of our slumbers.
The casual morning enquiry “did you sleep well?” is now answered in detail with percentages of REM, time spent awake, light and deep sleep, measured against the statistical norm for people of our age, height, weight, hair colour and musical preference. It’s enough to send a soul back to bed.
Enjoy February, whether or not you embrace Valentine’s Day. Now if you’ll excuse me I have another 774 steps to do.
Dominic Castle Editor, EDP Norfolk Magazine 01603 772758 / 07725 201153 firstname.lastname@example.org