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Why ask me! (the St Valentines Day agony uncle!)

For reasons best known to themselves, over the years, people often used to seek my advice on matters miscellaneous. Recipes, wine advice, or restaurant recommendations, you could understand, being a restaurateur, but gardening, DIY, and least of all matters pertaining to amour! One friend, (who shall remain nameless) asked me last week, if I thought it would be better for him to take his girlfriend out to dinner on St Valentine’s Day, or would he fare better by cooking a meal at home! Me! What do I know?

It’s worth remembering the origins of Valentine's Day, which can be traced back to the ancient Roman celebration of Lupercalia. In addition to a bountiful feast, Lupercalia festivities are purported to have included the pairing of young women and men. Men would draw women's names from a box, and each couple would be paired until next year's celebration. While this pairing of couples set the tone for today's occasion, it wasn't called "Valentine's Day" until a priest named Valentine came along. Valentine, a romantic at heart, disobeyed Emperor Claudius II's decree that soldiers remain bachelors. Claudius handed down this decree believing that soldiers would be distracted and unable to concentrate on fighting if they were married or engaged. Valentine defied the emperor and secretly performed marriage ceremonies. As a result of his defiance, Valentine was put to death on February 14. After Valentine's death, he was named a saint. As Christianity spread through Rome, the priests moved Lupercalia from February 15 to February 14 and renamed it St. Valentine's Day to honour Saint Valentine.

So, considering St Valentine’s unfortunate demise, I suggested that my friend prepared a simple (he’s not a great cook) but appropriate meal for his young lady, and he might then not suffer the same fate!

I dug out this old You Tube video, from my days as a restaurateur, with some tips which will hopefully make it easy for him!

A glass of pink champagne and some flowers, he might even get away with it!

We will also however, try to arrange Valentines dinner reservations at some of our favourite restaurants, for anybody staying with us over that period, subject to availability!

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