(I posted this earlier, and then it just plain vanished. Fortunately a friend caught it in his RSS reader so it is herewith reproduced. My apologies if you’re getting to enjoy it for the second time).

Today is St Valentine’s Day, the day when we honour the life of a bishop, a priest or a martyr, or possibly someone else, who probably died around 270AD, unless he didn’t, but is noted for doing something, though God knows what (literally – “… whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.”). Oh, and the whole thing was made up by Chaucer. Or not.

This remembrance takes different forms. In England there are two traditions. Those who have recently passed puberty will spend hours agonizing over how much of their pocket money they can spare on a dangling cubic zirconia or other trinket clad in genuine 3 carat gold, which must in turn be received with declarations of undying love from the object of their affection, followed by an hour’s frottage before mum comes to collect you.

In contrast, those for whom puberty is but a memory officially start the celebration with a cry of “oh bollocks!” Note that this can be as late as 5pm, while listening to the radio during the commute home. This is followed by a sprint round the nearest garage to get flowers, chocolates, gravy browning etc. Once the inevitable resentment from the spouse/significant other has subsided there may be a brief bout of frottage before spouse/s.o. goes to pick up her frustrated teen.

In both cases the intent is strictly sexual, with perhaps just a smattering of lurv. This helps to explain why the English find the American custom of giving Valentine gifts to your children bloody creepy.


This is approximately my 600th post. I can’t be definitive cus I don’t quite understand how WordPress counts them, but let’s celebrate anyway.


OK, you can go back to work now.

Pub Culture

I’ve been away for a few days at a family funeral. As is often traditional, the funeral itself was followed by a few hours at the pub toasting the departed. I’m quite a fan of spending a few hours over a couple of pints with friends, but I’m a long way from this particular set of relatives. Among the skills I lack to fit in are the ability to drink a lot, the desire to inhale the smoke from burning leaves, and perhaps most importantly the ability to form opinions and expound upon subjects I have no interest in. I phrased that last one carefully – I can form opinions free of the burden of knowledge with the best of them, but I rarely do so if I have no interest. By contrast my pub-mates of the last week would hold forth readily on subjects which I knew they knew nothing about, and in some cases where nobody knew much because it was utter conjecture. This did not limit their ability to make definitive statements on these topics, of course.

I’ve always known I’m boring, perhaps my inability to compete at random blather is one of the symptoms.

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