It’s Saint Valentine’s Day and…

… I haven’t written anything here for ages.

Well, not ages, in fact… just a week or so.  But that is how I started my St Valentine’s Day blog post this time last year.

Reading it again, I decided to re-post it, not least as a little memory to old Valentine himself, who seems to have been a good sort, and who came to a sticky end, as you will see if you read to the end.

Actors, jugglers and musicians on stilts, Calle Obispo, Havana

This time last year (2011), I had just come back from Cuba and I wanted to write a lot about that enigmatic place. I still haven’t written much about that trip – the experience was such a mixed one for me, a lifelong and unquestioning fan of Fidel Castro, who now thinks he might have got it all a bit wrong …

With a new friend in Plaza de Catedral, Havana

Anyway, this time last year… 

I went to Craven Cottage, home of Fulham Football Club, with my daughter Rowan and her husband Brendan. We went to watch Fulham v Chelsea, the West London derby soccer game which ended in a rather tame 0-0 draw.

Rowan and Brendan were chosen as the Fulham FC Valentine’s Day Couple of the Year in 2007, the year that they got married. I thought I would hunt out some photos of the day when they went on the pitch before a game and were presented with a bag of goodies from the match sponsor, The presentation was made by ‘Diddy’ David Hamilton.

Readers from the UK who are over 50 might remember Hamilton as a radio DJ. 🙂

Rowan, Brendan and Orla presented to the crowd by David Hamilton. is a computer company. When Rowan and Brendan opened the bags, they were full of computer leads. How romantic is THAT?

There was an exciting moment when Brendan’s daughter Orla, who was about ten at the time, saw Fulham FC owner Mohammed Al-Fayed and ran to ask him to sign her football. The sudden movement nearly caused apoplexy amongst Al-Fayed’s bodyguards, but he was sweetness itself.

Mohammed Al-Fayed signs Orla's football. A tight-lipped bodyguard (left) looks on…

And finally, I think we should spare a thought for St Valentine himself, whose trials and tribulations never get mentioned at this time of the year.

St Valentine, probably hiding a billet doux in the masonry somewhere…

Valentinus was a Roman priest who was martyred when Claudius the Second was Emperor. At the time, Christians were persecuted, especially if they tried to marry in a religious ceremony. Valentinus was arrested and imprisoned when he was caught carrying out a service of marriage. Claudius took a liking to the rather charming prisoner, but then the priest made the mistake of trying to convert the Emperor, whereupon he was condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stoned. When that failed to kill him, he was beheaded. It is said that he wrote letters to his loved ones while he was awaiting his execution.

A long way from cards with dreadful poetry and fluffy pink rabbits, eh?

LATE BREAKING NEWS (Valentine’s Day, 2012) – I have a guest blog on the back burner from my mate the video genius Russell Stannard, and I will make sure I get it ready for publication by the end of the week.

And that’s a promise! 🙂

8 thoughts on “It’s Saint Valentine’s Day and…

  1. Hope the wolf soon disappears and we can look forward to hearing about your Cuba trip and you can introduce ELT colleagues to us!

  2. Laly is here with me looking at the photos of Rowan, Brendan and Orla – I had seen them before but Laly hadn’t. Her comments are: “Ken must have nearly had a heart attack to see his daughter and son-in-law chosen on Valentine’s Day from among all Fulham’s supporters.”

  3. I didn’t know the History of Valentine. But now I do. I always think that any day I learn something new is a good day. Nearly as good as my latest motto taken from an Emirates Airlines Ad which asks ‘ When was the last time you did something for the first time ?.’ When you have one of those days, that really is a good day. !!

    1. I saw it on Facebook first, then did some wiki-research. Whatever snooty people say about Wikipedia, it gives everyone the chance to learn something new.

    1. The funny thing is he’s SO short but he wears this long black coat that would look the right length on me, and I’m 1.87m. 🙂

      Actually, Diddy is a brilliant pre-match host and presenter…

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