A red red rose



Some of us are born romantic; some have romance thrust upon us. Some of us occasionally get it right by accident. I suppose honesty compels me to admit that I’m firmly in the third category.

Once upon a time, (but not actually in a galaxy far far away) my better half was in hospital after having a kidney operation. Anyway I did the whole dutiful husband thing, visiting and whatever. Yet on the horizon, Valentine’s Day was lurking. I pondered this. Admittedly not particularly deeply, and not particularly long, but I did ponder.

So I decided I’d buy a card. I went into the local ‘stores’ and looked at their selection. The problem with Valentine’s Day cards is that they’re either grossly romantic, the sort of thing you’d buy an aged aunt or grandmother, or virtually obscene. This card would inevitably be on display amongst the get-well cards by the side of a hospital bed so I wanted something appropriate. I found it, it was romantic, it was witty, and I snapped it up, happy to pay over a quid for it. I was even happier when it turned out to be only 26p.

So, card purchased, the job was sorted.
That evening, when I went to visit, I was ambushed. At the time there was a flower stall as part of the hospital entrance area and as I entered I was accosted by a young lady with a clip board. She obviously saw the panicked look in my eyes because she uttered the words I hoped to hear. “Don’t worry, this won’t cost you anything.”

I relaxed. Only a little, but I relaxed.

The young lady asked, “Who are you visiting.”

That seemed an innocent enough question, so I thought I could answer it safely, “My wife.”

“We’ve got a free prize draw, win a single perfect rose. Would you like to enter?”

I’d heard the magic word, ‘free’, so I nodded boldly and said yes.

So she asked, “Who would the flower be for?”

“My wife.”

Pen poised, she asked, “Why are you giving the flower to her.”

I’m afraid I must have looked at her as if she was wet behind the ears. “Because if I gave it to anyone else she’d kill me.”

With the younger generation put firmly in its place I smiled and walked on.

Next morning was the 14th, when I visited that night there was a ripple of applause in the ward. It seems that there had been an announcement on hospital radio that morning; my lady wife was to be given a single perfect rose.

A male nurse, dressed mainly in sheets as a cherub, presented her with the rose and then fished about in among the sheets for the message.

“You husband sends you this…” here he checked his note, “Because if he gave it to anybody else, you’d kill him.”

But still, not bad value, the full Valentine’s Day experience for twenty-six pence.


Should you wish to be wildly extravagant, you could treat yourself to this perfect rose



As the reviewer so sagaciously commented
“In this new adventure in the `Swords’ series, we again follow Benor and watch and feel as though we take part in his hectic life. He both pursues and is pursued when he `liberates’ a prince’s concubine (and keeps her!) and the prince, naturally, doesn’t want to let the matter rest. As well as being an excellent fighter, one of his companions on the journey is a master of the haute couture trade and manages to combine these two rather successfully.

Jim Webster has created a credible fantasy world here, populated by its own races, both rivals and allies, and with an intriguing group of wild creatures which you can almost taste when they are described as food species! There is a good deal of action in this book but also some softer, `Ahhh!’ moments which I won’t describe for fear of spoiling the story. Needless to say, he has once again used his own writing style to give us some wonderfully memorable phrases. I like his style and his gentle humour.”

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12 thoughts on “A red red rose

  1. willmacmillanjones February 14, 2014 at 11:53 am Reply

    Perfect, Jim. Just perfect.

    • jwebster2 February 14, 2014 at 12:35 pm Reply

      you’re not the only person who can do romance you know 🙂

  2. Kay Kauffman February 14, 2014 at 7:11 pm Reply

    If my husband gave me a flower with that message, I’d laugh my head off. As Will said, perfect. Just perfect. 😀

    • jwebster2 February 14, 2014 at 7:37 pm Reply

      My lady wife and I told the story to friends last night which is what brought it to mind 🙂

  3. Andrea Baker Author February 14, 2014 at 8:42 pm Reply

    All I can do is echo the above comments, now I’ve stopped laughing 😊brilliant

    • jwebster2 February 14, 2014 at 9:07 pm Reply

      The simple story of a simple man 🙂

  4. M T McGuire February 14, 2014 at 10:59 pm Reply

    Mwah ha ha hahrgh. McOther looked at me this evening and said.

    “Shit! Is it Valentines day today?”
    “Oh. I didn’t get you anything.”
    “That’s OK, I didn’t think you would so I didn’t get you anything either.”
    “Well, I’d looked out a bottle of champagne.”
    “We can have it tomorrow.”
    “Yeh, good plan, I’ve bought squid.”

    So…. I think we might be similar to you.



    • jwebster2 February 15, 2014 at 1:22 pm Reply

      It’s nice to know it’s not just me.
      What surprised me was a comment I read somewhere, the lady was bemoaning the fact her husband was too sloppy to actually sign his valentine card. I thought the whole point of them was that you didn’t sign them 😦

  5. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt February 14, 2022 at 7:34 am Reply

    And this is why she is still your wife.

    • jwebster2 February 14, 2022 at 8:09 am Reply

      There has to be a reason 😉

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