Call me a romantic old fool – you’re a romantic old fool – but I can’t let Valentine’s Day go by without some recognition and I wouldn’t have let it go by this far had it not been for the fact that it was a day of mixed fortunes – as you will see if you read on. Let’s start with the on the downside side. It was the day, some time ago, not realising the significance of the date, we had chosen to have the pups ‘done’. On the most love-oriented day of the year our puppies love life was to be brought to an abrupt and permanent end. This was how the day began, dropping them off at the vets in full knowledge of the pain they were about to suffer through castration, spaying, neutering, search as we might we could not find a nice word for it. Archie, mild-mannered Archie went straight for the vet, he knew you see. We were upset when we got outside. In fact some tears were shed – mine.

Then, pulling ourselves together, we thought, ellen cafewell we’ve got a day to ourselves – a very rare event – so we had better make the most of it and it is Valentine’s Day. So, being the romantic old fool that I am, I decided to take Mrs Summerhouse for a little luxury shopping and a celebratory meal. No expense spared, yes, of course, my love, you may have the bacon sandwich and a large mug of tea of your choice (see above). Go ahead, spoil yourself, live a little. We were sitting in a cafe in Leeds market (see below for shot of roof),leeds market2 a place overflowing with romantic ambiance. In fact if it had any more romantic ambiance it would have a little bit. I, myself, chose the bacon and egg sandwich, no point skimping on such a day as this. The puppies would have wanted us to have a good time, we reasoned.

For dessert I walked to the next stall and bought 3 Twix bars for a £1. Yes, I know I spoil her and do you know she refused half a bar, a whole finger, said it was too soon after the bacon sandwich. But, my love, I reasoned, that’s what happens with dessert it comes more or less straight after the excellent first course and while you have some of your liquid refreshment, in this case a mug of tea, left.

I love Leeds market. We took full advantagemeat – 2 sirloins and 2 fillet steaks for £10 – beat that. A new watch strap for £3. Then outside where my lucky valentine bought two pairs of gloves – one for each evening dress, although I’m not sure woolly mitts are de rigeur these days. Then there was the light bulbs, four of them. No matter the expense, this was life in the fast lane. I bought a Freddy King CD for a fiver. My romanticism knew no bounds, I even allowed a man to give Mrs Summerhouse a single red rose on my behalf of course.


Of course there was a price to be paid for all this fun, isn’t there always? After a romantic day out we went back to pick up the pups. And a sorry sight they were, very subdued although Archie managed to attack the vet before he left. Smart boy that Archie. He, the vet, had put those ridiculous lampshades on them – to stop them licking their wounds he explained (and biting his hand off). We took them off as soon as we got home. The pups were delighted but it meant we had to watch them carefully to ensure that, now they could, they didn’t lick themselves and hence open up their wounds. They did manage to share a little of our meal – the prawn vol au vent and the duck l’orange went down well. So well that it took their little minds off licking themselves for a while.But after the meal, the practicality of our choice to remove the lampshades became  clear. It meant we stayed up all night, yes, all night with them. We slept on the sofas and as we tossed and turned our minds ran fondly over the day. Who would have thought that, at our age, a Valentine’s Day could be so full of romance.

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