These aren't mine, they were just on the table in the lounge we meet our clients in earlier, whether it was a flamboyant flourish or a nod to Valentine’s Day we weren't sure as we hadn't been there before. Having such a penchant for flowers, roses being high on the list, i couldn't resist. Obviously I couldn't take them per se but I could take their picture.
Now I'm on the tube home writing my blog post for today. I often write on the tube, it’s an efficient way to make use of the time as invariably I have ’the daily shot’ in the bag already. If I travelled home in the rush hour it would be unlikely I'd be able to get a seat and hence write, but later in the evening you can spread out a bit in the near empty carriage.
Tonight though, not exactly standing room only but pretty packed and generally in pairs. There’s a greater proliferation of hand-holding that I generally notice, several clutching a solitary wispy rose in a tight wrap of cellophane and one perhaps carting her body weight in roses. And the couple (too) close by to my right are kissing - a lot! Not that I'm looking but I can hear them being mere inches a way. The general mood of the other passengers is “get a room!” but still the slurping continues! There are also two sets of couple are currently in the process are taking photographs of each other, nothing to make one blush but I suspect “look at how cute we look on the tube” for Facebook later.
All this has given a sudden flash of déjà vu. It was either last Valentine’s or the one before. I, going home from the office on a late-night tube and most of the carriage is populated by adoring couples, so far so the same. I'm toiling away at my iPad and a man stumbles on to the tube, clearly a little worse for drink and something about his hooded look, his gait, his entire demeanour makes me think “rogue”, but I haven't decided if I should prefix it with “loveable” or not. He looks a shoe-in for any suspicious looking old miscreant a casting director needs for a East End gangland drama. He seems dissatisfied with the hand-holding pairs, mumbling his discontent shuffled down to my couplet-free zone. And soon he wants to engage me in conversation. Does he not know the rules of travelling on the London Underground? No eye contact, no conversing apart from the occasional “have you finished with that paper?” or “can you move down the train please?”.
I'm very reluctant but he declares it almost rude that I'm still tapping away on my iPad whilst he wants to talk. He makes a few enquiries about my jewellery (oh this old thing?) and asks if my possibly most favourite ring is diamond (of course I deny the truth) as he says he a professional. I'm now thinking perhaps he has a little place in Hatton Garden peddling engagement rings and I've misread him but then follows up with the admission that his chosen profession is “thief”. Fabulous! I feign mild curiosity all the time mentally checking all my valuables are safe. He then adds, “I only steal from people who can afford it...”, hmmm not sure how he ascertains that. And now for the good news “I'm too old for violence though these days, that's a younger man’s game all that!” Great well at least my new thieving BFF isn't going to hurt me if he thinks I have been withholding on the provenance of my pavé Champagne diamond (thankfully not as blingy as their white cousins) ring. I'm hoping he's getting off before my stop, the final one, but no, much to my luck, he could accompany me to my door. That's so not going to happen, I linger back purportedly searching for something in my bag and when I see he's gone on ahead I spot my saviour - a black cab with the welcoming amber light so manage my escape, my jewellery and limbs thankfully intact. This Valentine’s Day has been remarkably uneventful compared to that one. I think next year, however, I should have a better plan than an evening slaving over a hot spreadsheet and then the late-night couple express home!
And if anyone was thinking of getting me roses, beautiful, dark red, velvety blooms in a shiny black spherical vase sound just about perfect!