My gift this Valentine’s Day was a positive Covid test. I couldn’t believe it – having avoided the dreaded lurgy for almost two years, two lines were staring back at me. The day was spent under a duvet in front of Netflix and binge watching Emily in Paris. I did get a beautiful single red rose from my husband which cheered me up a bit though.
This year I really wanted to celebrate properly, after last year being in lockdown – was that lockdown part three? I lose track. So, it’s just as well we planned our celebrations for the Saturday before Valentine’s, after all who wants to celebrate on a Monday anyway?
Despite lockdown last year, we did make the best of it and still celebrate with an afternoon tea delivered from Cutter and Squidge in London. I wore a jumper from Oasis with heart buttons on the sleeves and was spoilt with my favourite red roses and some heart earrings from Pandora, so I can’t really complain.
I know a lot of people see Valentine’s as commercialised and so don’t bother to celebrate it at all, but I think any opportunity to celebrate love is worth taking. Having said that I do try to avoid restaurants with set Valentine’s menus, as it is usually inferior food and service at an inflated price.
This year, we did something a little different to the norm. The huge slide at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, ArcelorMittal Orbit, had been on my bucket list for a while and as I can see it from my new office window, I figured it was time to take the plunge. I’ve always enjoyed theme park rides so thought this would be great, until I read that the last part of the slide is corkscrewing in the dark that is! Flashbacks hit me of Space Mountain at Disneyland Paris, aged 13 – the only ride I’ve ever hated.
The slide is the world’s longest tunnel slide at 178m long. There are viewing platforms to take in the views across London before you slide and they are breath-taking. You can see as far as the Shard, the O2 and Canary Wharf. Once up there and seeing the slide, my nerve started to go. There are transparent sections of the slide to take in the views and I was watching people go down. Was I too old for all this now? Did I really want to be doing it? I figured the slide has been there for ten years now (how were the Olympics ten years ago?) so it must be safe and you are only on it for 40 seconds so how bad could it really be?
Anyway our slot came and we put on the head protection and elbow pads and joined the queue. I decided to go first and get it over with and I really don’t know what I was worried about – if anything it was quite tame and I really enjoyed it. My other half on the other hand wasn’t so keen!
Afterwards as we walked round the structure, trying to get a good picture, you could hear people screaming as they came down and we looked at each other and said we were glad we hadn’t heard that before we went on it or we may have chickened out!
We finished the evening with a more traditional celebration – a meal at The Real Greek with prosecco and cocktails!
It’s so easy for day to day life to take over and to stop spending quality time with the one you love, so Valentine’s is the perfect reminder to appreciate each other.