Daffodils at Fron Goch

Picture taken at my local garden centre last year, only weeks before we were all plunged into lockdown – they truly lift the spirits!

One doesn’t have to confine Valentine celebrations to those who are a couple/in a relationship. I have always liked to surprise my friends and family with little (home made) cards and treats at this time of year. It is a chance to also honour love and  friendship in its wider sense. Perhaps this year, while we are mostly in lockdown and with not much chance of fine wining and dining and treats outside the home, it is especially appropriate to remember and contact loved ones we are currently isolated from – and to cheer up those whom we are in close contact with.

To this end, I am planning a little family tea for tomorrow afternoon – Valentine’s day – just for the four of us and our dear friend and neighbour who we have been in a ‘bubble’ with ever since this whole rigmarole began. So my Saturday afternoon has been largely spent in the kitchen.

Well, we all have the best of intentions and we all have ‘one of those days’. This was certainly ‘one of those days’ for me! I have two bottomless heart-shaped cake tins which simply sit on a baking sheet. I planned to make a pink cake and ice it with buttercream and decorate with silver balls. True, I have never tried this before and should probably have looked it up somewhere first, but, hey, what the heck!

My first problem was with the food colouring. It simply didn’t want to turn my cake mixture pink. After using at least a quarter of a bottle of the stuff it had only managed to make the mixture an odd off-orange colour (which happily disappeared when it was baked) so I gave up and tipped the mixture into the baking tin. In cooking, about a fifth of the mixture decided to escape through the tiny slit along the bottom of the tin where it had fractionally warped and puff itself up in all sorts of fantastic – and useless – shapes, rendering the main cake skewed to one side.

Then I thought that I would make my darling husband some hand dipped chocolates…. perhaps I should have quite while I was ahead?

But tomorrow we shall gather around our hearth and our tea table; there will be hot buttered crumpets and chocolate ‘tiffin’ and a lopsided heart-shaped cake filled with home made jam and butter cream and decorated with pink icing and silver cashews. We shall each bring to the table poems, readings, songs or stories which reflect the themes of springtime and love. And we shall make a Valentine garland of loving messages and quotations to hang across our chimney breast, to inspire us and remind us all in days to come of this occasion when we sat together and lovingly listened to and appreciated each other’s company. Hopefully, no one will notice the wonky cake or the wildly formed chocolates!

With our human commonality and mutual connection in mind, I send my love out to all who read this. Let’s celebrate our care, understanding and – yes – love for each other. Let’s all try and spread a little love around our world. Have a very happy Valentine’s Day!