Penarth, the sea, life and me

By Alison Powell

I WAS umming and ahhhhing about whether to write a loved up column this week, conscious that whilst love may be all around us for some, and we are stuck in the middle of St. Dwynwen’s day on 25th January and St. Valentines’ day on the 14th February, it’s not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea.

I’ve always had rather mixed feelings about one day on which you’re screamed at by card manufacturers, chocolate producers and teddy bears to show the one you love that you love them. I tend to kick back at being told how to feel and what day to feel it uppermost, by a bear hugging a foam filled heart with a plastic flower behind its’ ear and a dopey expression. I prefer to take advice on love and indeed all other matters from more respected sources. This is not sour grapes on my part. I have been equally conflicted whether in or out of a relationship. I remember being very loved up but cross when we rocked up at a favourite Indian restaurant that mid-week was usually quiet, only to get there and find it full of couples saying ‘I love you’ over their curry and there was no space for us regulars. I resent the price of set meals and flowers increasing, but most of all I question why some people behave badly off and on in relationships all year around, but think that a huge heart-shaped box of chocolates and some pink fizz sees you through.

Now, having said all of that, I love romance. I love for someone to cook for me or take me out and I love to cook for someone I care about; I love chocolates and flowers; I love being pampered and made to feel special and if a day is a prompt, a reminder amidst busy lives, to take time out and show someone special, just how special you think they are, then I do not object.

Relationships, along with how to make the perfect Yorkshire pudding and how to cover a cake smoothly with royal icing, fascinate me. My brother in law is expert at producing trays of towering, golden batter palaces. My friend Laura is queen of cakes, but I’m not sure I know anyone that has it all 100 per cent sussed when it comes to relationships. They are tricky things. They evolve and develop, change and move and the people in them are not always singing the same song. Some relationships are filled with kindness and care with the occasional ruffle or tear; others resemble a battlefield after a long, fierce, bitter, deadly day.

How we treat the one that we believe to be, ‘the one’ probably shouldn’t be that different to how we treat all of those important people in our lives. It’s about respect, kindness, care and being thoughtful. It shouldn’t take a teddy to tell us, we should just know, remember and try and show it much more than once a year.