Sunday, 22 March 2015

Flower Power

The recent UK Mother’s Day was, for me, something of an empowering moment.  Now, before you go thinking I’m some sort of diva, let me just say this is absolutely not true.  Well, not usually anyway.  But as Mother’s Day dawned it rapidly became apparent it was going to be just another day.  And somewhere deep within, a bit of feistiness made itself known.
          ‘Happy Mother’s Day,’ said my son, handing me a vast bunch of ribbon-tied tulips.
          ‘Happy Mother’s Day,’ trilled my daughter and gave me not one, but two, gaily wrapped prezzies.
          ‘Thank you,’ I beamed.  ‘The tulips are perfect.’  I eagerly tore at the pretty paper on the parcels.  ‘Ooh, a lovely mug and,’ I peered into the layers of paper, ‘a notebook and pen.’
          ‘For your shopping lists,’ Eleanor replied.
          ‘Indeed!’ I hugged the notebook to my heart.  It has to be said that my ‘shopping lists’ drive the family mad.  They are never written on one piece of paper, but rather dotted all around the house.  Urgent scribble for dishwasher tablets and cat food can be found on the back of an envelope…bread and milk on the bottom of a bank statement…butter and cheese on a random till receipt…and think of something exciting for dinner on my diary page.  So when the family try to add to my shopping list with their own requests, it can be something of a challenge.
          ‘That’s nice,’ said Mr V, admiring the mug and notebook.
          I straightened up.  Oh goodie.  The husband’s gift was due next.  I smiled in anticipation.
          ‘Oh yes,’ said Mr V as realisation dawned.  ‘It’s Mother’s Day.  Your card is in the boot of my car.’
          Naturally.  I always keep a stash of celebration cards in my car boot.  Not.  ‘Well go and get it!’ I made chivvying motions with my hands.
          ‘Ah, but I haven’t written in it yet.’
          ‘Then get writing!’ I cried.  ‘I want my card!  And present!’
          ‘Present?’ said Mr V looking alarmed.
          ‘Yes.  Present.  Can I just remind you, every Father’s Day I spoil you rotten.  Last year you were whisked off to your favourite restaurant. The bill came to several arms and legs and was paid for by Yours Truly.’
          ‘And I haven’t forgotten,’ said Mr V, lying through his teeth. ‘It’s just that the flowers I selected are…um…still at the florist.’
          ‘John Lewis’ florist?’
          ‘Er…no.  Tesco.’
          ‘They do lovely flowers at Tesco,’ said Mr V defensively. ‘In fact, if you come with me, you can choose your own. Satisfied?’
          ‘I’ll have to be, won’t I!’
          An hour later, I surveyed what was left of our local supermarket’s motley flowers after a frenzied last-minute buy-out by terrified men all over the South-East of England.
          ‘These are nice,’ said my husband, brandishing a bunch of brown roses.
          ‘They’re dead!’
          ‘Okay, what about these?’ he touched the cellophane wrapped around some shrivelled chrysanthemums.
          ‘Everything here is on its last legs.  I know, let’s go to the garden centre.  They’ll have oodles of beautiful bouquets.’
          ‘Right-oh,’ warbled Mr V, clutching his wallet nervously.
          Outside it had begun to drizzle.  My husband, who’d insisted on coming out without a jacket, looked at the sky and shivered.  Ten minutes later we arrived at the garden centre. By this point the drizzle had turned to fine rain. We ran, dodging the raindrops, until under cover.  Everywhere were beautiful blooms – flowering pot plants, hanging baskets overflowing with a waterfall of riotous colour, and pretty pastel shrubs.  But no bouquets.  I went over to an assistant.
          ‘Hello.  Where’s your florist?’
          ‘Yeah…couldn’t compete against Tesco.’
          ‘I know,’ said Mr excitedly. ‘We’ll go to one of those roadside stalls that you see all over the place on occasions like today.’
          ‘Good idea.’
          Outside the rainfall had increased.  We legged it to the car.
          ‘It’s chuffing freezing,’ said my husband through chattering teeth.  He hit dials, flicked switches, and ramped up the car’s temperature.  ‘Let’s find these flowers and get home.’
          As you can see, he’s incredibly romantic.  I’m being ironic by the way.  So we drove.  And drove.  And then we drove some more.  After about thirty miles we still hadn’t found any roadside stalls selling bundles of Mother’s Day bouquets.
          ‘I don’t think I’m going to get my flowers,’ I sighed.
          It was at that precise moment my husband did an emergency stop.  As we ricocheted forwards and backwards in our seats, Mr V pointed in wonder to the vision before us.  The Co-Op.  And outside the shop’s door were numerous buckets of water containing umpteen bunches of flowers.
          ‘Wait here,’ commanded Mr V.  Flinging open the driver’s door, he dashed across the road and disappeared into the shop.  I waited, squirming in my seat with pleasure.  At last!  Flowers!  Romance!  I closed my eyes in anticipation and kept them closed until he returned.  The door opened and suddenly blooms were being pushed into my face.  All seven of them.
          ‘Oh.’  I turned to him in disappointment.
          ‘No good?’
          ‘They’re lovely.  I was just…expecting more.’
          ‘Yes.  Please can I have some more?’  We seemed to have dropped into an Oliver Twist moment.
          ‘More flowers?’
          ‘More flowers.’  It was Mother’s Day dammit!
          Outside, the steady rain chose that moment to turn into a torrential downpour.  But back to the shop Mr V went.  Moments later he reappeared and I swear everything went into slow motion.  There was my husband, arms full of blooms, white shirt sticking to his man boobs…I mean taut the rain drenched him from head to toe, striding towards me with a triumphant look upon his face.  I don’t think he’ll forget to buy flowers next year.  Which reminds me.
          What did the bee say to the flower?  ‘Hello, honey…’


  1. Debbie, I just loved your tale of woe. Hope you weren't too bedraggled when you got home and yes, I'm sure Mr V won't forget next year...but maybe a little reminder a couple of days before, just to be sure.

  2. I had my ski jacket on, so was very snug. Unlike my husband who seemed to be channelling a wet shirt contest!