In case it had skipped you by somehow, I feel it's my public duty to point out that tomorrow is Valentine's Day. I know some of you will have been planning your romantic surprises for weeks and have your heartfelt, personalised cards and pressies tucked away in a secret corner of your house, ready to pull out for the big reveal tomorrow.
But, for those of you who've been preoccupied with work, worry or the dreaded, never-ending demands of home schooling, this is your last minute warning to scoot down to the garage to grab a card and a big bar of chocolate for the love of your life. Why not chuck in a car air freshener or a spare bottle of ready mixed screen wash if you really want to push the boat out?
They may not seem like the most romantic presents but actually, if you think about it, those gifts from the garage are much more thoughtful in the long run. If your car is anything like mine and regularly infested with small people who, despite being told not to eat in the car or drop their litter, seem to behave like chimps at a particularly raucous tea party, a car air freshener is a lovely gift.
Behind my seat may resemble the local landfill but, thanks to that little perfume infused square of cardboard hanging from my rear-view mirror, my nose can take me away to a pine scented, mess free haven.
That pleasure will last a lot longer than a box of chocolates, certainly with me!
As for the window cleaner, given that I drive 60 miles to and from work when I'm not in lockdown, regularly travelling behind tractors and trailers, spitting up mud as they trundle along, I go through a lot of the stuff to keep my windscreen clean. Given the option of a bottle of that for the car or one of those cute little teddies holding a tiny satin heart, I'd plump for the former every time.
It's not that I hate Valentine's Day - you'll never see me turn away a delivery of red roses - or that I'm unromantic. It's just that I think showing love and affection to your other half is worth more in small doses spread across 12 months than in one big showy moment, once a year, on a pre-assigned day for love.
Romance is and should be a different thing for all of us, not a cut and paste, one size fits all experience. For instance, when I first learned to drive, my husband bought a little wooden box, put it in the boot of my car and stocked it with de-icer, spare cleaner fluid, a scraper for the window in case of ice and an emergency chocolate bar, just in case I got stuck for a few hours in the snow. The chocolate bar went almost as soon as I knew it was in there, but over the years he has replaced it, the de-icer and the screen cleaner numerous times.
That may not seem like a romantic gift to you, but it's always seemed so to me. Every day my husband performs a million of these, tiny, unmentioned acts, each of which lets me know I'm loved. In the winter, he goes out to my car, turns it on and sits in it until it warms up, so that I'm nice and cosy on my way to work.
If my job takes me away from home for the day, he'll call in with my mum, or more recently, stand outside her window and wave in, to check up on her and make sure she's okay because he knows I'll worry if I haven't been able to do so myself.
And at the end of the day, when I finally arrive back home, he points me to the sofa, brings me a cup of tea, wraps a blanket round me and gives me a cuddle while I offload the day's events. To me, each of those individual acts of care and aforethought, done without seeking thanks or recognition, are evidence of his wanting to keep me safe, happy and looked after and they're worth a million Valentine's Day roses...